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Antique doll tied to local WWII soldier

Pfc. Vincent Burcroff, of Wolcott, enlisted in the U.S. Army on Jan. 1, 1941, to fight in World War II. His girlfriend, Matilda Lattin, worried about his safety, created a doll in his image in the hopes it would be a good luck charm and bring him back to their community. 

It was not to be, according to Lattin’s son, Wolcott Supervisor Lynn Chatfield. He currently has the doll, which is in pristine condition and wearing a uniform similar to Burcroff’s.

“It was what a lot of the women did, make these dolls,” Chatfield said. 

Burcroff, a member of the 16th Infantry Regiment, First Division, was killed on Nov. 8, 1942, at Oran, Africa, soon after the American troops landed. He was the first soldier from Wolcott to die in combat during WWII.

Chatfield recently showed the doll to Assemblyman Brian Manktelow, R-130th District, an Army veteran interested in local items that have a military connection. Manktelow enjoyed learning that nearly the whole Wolcott community came out to show their respects to Burcroff, paying silent respect as the funeral procession moved through the village.

All business places were closed during the services. Wolcott American Legion Post 881 provided the pallbearers and a color guard for the service. Wolcott Memorial Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars, furnished honorary pallbearers. Burcroff was buried in North Wolcott Cemetery.

Burcroff was survived by his mother, Lula, and sister, Viola Neal, of Sodus, as well as six brothers: Nelson and Lon, of Cayuga; Donald, of Rochester; Lawrence, of Savannah; and Raymond of Wolcott, all of whom were in the service at the time of his death.

Chatfield plans to donate the doll to the Wolcott Historical Society for its museum.

Wolcott Supervisor Lynn Chatfield holds a doll his mother made for Pfc. Vincent Burcroff as he served in World War II. Pictured, from left, are Chatfield and Assemblyman Brian Manktelow, R-130th District.