Sidney S. Gaskins was born in Illinois in 1894. In Rye his family lived at 46 Centre St.. Sidney served as an officer in the U.S. Army during World War II.
Sidney Gaskins, Veteran of World War I, Now a Captain
PINE CAMP, N. Y. , August 12, 1st Lt. Sidney S. Gaskins, whose home is at Rye, N. Y. , a veteran of World War I, has. been promoted to captain in the 1211th SCSU, Italian Service Unit, at Pine Camp, N. Y. , it was announced today by Colonel L. R. Clement, post commander.
Capt. Gaskins, who served overseas in World War I with the 30th Division, entered the service on January 19, 1942 at Camp Upton, N. Y. , and since that time has served at Alfred University and Raritan Arsenal before being transferred to Pine Camp. At this military installation he is training inspector for the 1211th Italian Service Unit. Prior to entering the service, Capt. Gaskins was engaged in real estate work in Rye.
Italian Service Unit
Italian POWs were right to view the decision to support the U. S. war effort as a serious one. It would dramatically affect the quality of their experience as prisoners in the U. S. And, in turn, for those who would become immersed in relationships and the abundance of life in America, it would lead them to the question after the war of whether they should live in Italy or seize the opportunity to build a new life under the flag of another nation.
The almost 45,000 Italian POWs who eventually agreed to join Italian Service Units were relocated, almost immediately, to coastal and industrial sites across the United States. They worked with American civilians and military personnel in combat related work for the remainder of the war. By contrast, non-collaborating Italian POWs were kept in highly isolated camps in places like Texas, Arizona, Wyoming and Hawaii.
In addition to having jobs and earning money, men involved in the Italian Service Units were given increased freedom of movement and as a result, increased interaction with American civilians. Across the country, there was an outpouring of interest on the part of Italian Americans who were looking in the Italian POW camps for relatives, family friends or simply people from their hometowns. As a result a number of Catholic parishes in many states arranged to host dinners where Italian Americans could meet and visit with Italian POWs. These courtesies were extended almost exclusively to POWs who had agreed to support the war effort and even the freedoms granted these Italian Service Unit members varied greatly depending on where they were situated in the U. S.
Sidney S. Gaskins Rye City Assessor Dies in Hospital
City Assessor Sidney S. Gaskins died Tuesday afternoon in the United Hospital from a heart attack. He was first afflicted a year or more ago, but recovered and resumed his work. The fatal attack occurred Monday and he was at once removed to the hospital. He was fifty-nine years old.
Mr. Gaskins was born on February 6, 1894, the son of the late Fred H. and Minnie Malcolm Gaskins.
He was a veteran of World Wars I and II. When he returned to service for World War II, he was given a commission and served as a captain of cavalry in charge of prisoners of war at Pine Camp and at the Presidio of San Francisco.
Before becoming City Assessor in 1949, Mr. Gaskins was engaged in the real estate business in Rye. He had resided here since 1919 and in late years made his home with his daughter, Mrs. Carl Ellis of Country Gardens who is his only survivor. His wife, Eva Farrell Brown Gaskins, died in 1939. He was a charter member of the Shenorock Shore Club and a member of the Society of American Wars, Rye Post, 128, American Legion, and the Order of the Purple Heart.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday at the William H. Graham Funeral Home, 1036 Boston Post Road. In lieu of flowers a contribution to the building fund of United Hospital would be appreciated.