Friday, January 19, 2018

Hunters Turn In Their Shells

From the December 27, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Within the last week or two, many hunters have responded to the plea of the Sportsmen's club to return the empty shell cases to the depository at the Wylde store.

"The rabbit hunters, it has been reported, have been thoughtful and have returned nearly all they cases they used.  The shells are wanted by the government."

Even Hunters In On War Effort.  --GreGen

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Hemp Industry in Illinois-- Part 3: "Hemp for Victory"

The U.S. government even produced a film "Hemp for Victory."  The plant was needed to make "shoes for millions of American soldiers,"  "parachute webbing for our paratroopers," fire hoses and millions of feet of rope for our battleships.

There are farmers who claim hemp still grows along railroad tracks where it fell off cars during World War II.

From Hempology

The pilot hemp plant was built in Polo, Illinois.

The need for hemp came about when U.S. supplies of it from Asia were cut off during the war.

The first harvest was in 1943.  Camp Grant had many German POWs captured in North Africa.  They were  brought in by the busload to harvest.

On January 6, 1944, 52 truckloads of hemp was harvested.  As the war wound down, the government began closing plants because of the availability of supplies of hemp from Central America.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

The "Prompt Liquidation" of Works Project Administration

From the December 13, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"President Roosevelt ordered the 'prompt liquidation' of the Works Project Administration.  War work has reached the point where a national work relief program is no longer needed."

Between people going into the military and working in war factories, there was no need to find jobs for people anymore.  The Great Depression was over.  But the WPA had done its job and we have many things still that came about because of this program.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Hemp Industry in Illinois-- Part 2: Growing Hemp Was Patriotic Duty

Industrial hemp contains less than .03 % THC, the active chemical compound that provides the psychological effects sought by users.

Industrial hemp looks like bamboo.  Its fiber is used to make cloth and fabric while its seeds and oil are used in foods and other products.  Now, most hemp in the U.S. comes from Canada and China.

Illinois became a leading hemp producer in 1943 with the opening of the Polo Hemp Mill (located an hour west of Elgin).  Local farmers grew hemp as part of their patriotic duty for the war effort.


The Hemp Industry in Illinois-- Part 1: Victim of War on Drugs, Hemp Industry Poised for Comeback

There were several mentions of DeKalb County being chosen a site for a new hemp industry to help the war effort.  In the last post, I wrote about sites for hemp mills.

From the May 22, 2014, Chicago Daily Herald  "A victim of war on drugs, hemp poised for Illinois comeback."  Burt Constable.

This week, the Illinois legislature moved a step closer to reviving the plant once hailed in our state as part of our patriotic duty.  A bill to allow Illinois colleges to do research on industrial hemp.

Illinois once had a thriving hemp industry, but not anymore.

The tall agricultural hemp once grown by Illinois farmers is not the same as the leafy pot plants grown for medical marijuana or by illegal drug producers.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Farmers Being Contacted to Grow Hemp in 1942: Hemp For Victory

From the December 27, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Farmers of DeKalb County who are being contacted at the present time concerning the growing of hemp for the proposed processing mills to be established in Kirkland and Shabbona, might find income from their crop that will run about $100 per acre.

"At the same time the matter of income is not being stressed in urging farmers to contact for growing the crop and the general impression is given that the revenue will be about what can be expected from soy beans."


Monday, January 8, 2018

Hemp Mill Sites Selected in Illinois: Growing Hemp for the War

From the December 20, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Kirkland, Sandwich and Shabbona have been tentative designation sites for hemp mills according to the announcement made today by Lee M. Gentry, chairman of the State Federal Farm War Board.

"Tentative site s for fourteen of the fifteen hemp mills which are to be built have been selected, the others being at Earlville, Woodstock, Galva, Ladd, Wyoming, Galesburg, Roseville, Mononk, Gibson City, Lexington and Polo."


Scrap Being Stolen: The Useless Tire

From the November 19, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Collection depots placed around the city of DeKalb seem to be experiencing trouble with petty thieves.  One crate which has been installed on Fourth Street, similar to the one in front of city hall has had several large pieces of junk deposited in it and later found to be missing.

"One person deposited a worn out tire in the container and while it was left out overnight, someone helped himself.  The tire is worthless as far as use is concerned, and it is believed that some youngster took it and sold it to a dealer in scrap for some "show money."

Some More Interested in Selves Than the War Effort.  --GreGen

Sunday, January 7, 2018

"The Mighty Eighth"-- Part 7: Out To Take Pictures

The navigator carries his chest chute and a briefcase with maps.  The pilot turns to his navigator to say something before they climb into the cramped cockpit of their De Havilland Mosquito Mk XVI.

With no armed escort and no defensive armament except the .45s on their belts, the mission destination is the heart of Nazi Germany.  They will fly alone, stealth and speed their only protection.  Equipped with aerial cameras and million-candlepower photoflash bombs that will detonate at 2,000 feet, they do the critical work of recording images of potential strategic targets.

I Don't Think I'd Volunteer For This Mission.  --GreGen

Saturday, January 6, 2018

"The Mighty Eighth"-- Part 6: Eyes of the Eighth

These are taken from the Paralyzed Veterans of America "Hereoes of the Air" 2018 Calendar featuring the aviation artwork of Gil Cohen.

A great calendar for a great cause.  Every month has a painting and information about it/



"It is 1944.  The rain had ended about an hour earlier, leaving a damp, penetrating chill in the air.  Aircraft of the 25th Bomb Group sit on the tarmac of the 8th Air Force Station 376, Watton, England.  A mechanic makes a last-minute check of the aircraft's starboard landing gear.

"A mud-spattered jeep pulls up, and two figures emerge from the vehicle.  The pilot and his navigator are dressed in full flight gear, parachute harness and flying helmet with oxygen mask."


"The Mighty Eighth"-- Part 5: The Crewmen

"The Eighth Air Force crewman was the final link in a complex chain of command that enabled The Mighty Eighth to accomplish thousands of combat missions.

"All of the planning and preparation of hundreds of personnel rested in the hands of the combat crews.  Each flyer handled his individual feelings and emotions in his own personal way as he proceeded to the target for the day."

Michael Faley, Historian of the 100th Bomb Group

Friday, January 5, 2018

"The Mighty 8th"-- Part 4: 262 Fighter Aces and Still Most Powerful Air Striking Force in the World

There were 261 fighter aces in the 8th AF in World War II.  (A fighter ace is generally considered as having shot down five or more enemy planes in aerial combat.)

To honor these brave acts and others, the Eight Air Force was awarded 17 Medals of Honor in World War II.  They were also awarded 20 Distinguished Service Crosses, 852 Silver Stars, 7,000 Purple Hearts, 46,000 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 442,000 Air Medals.

Even more awards were made after the war.  They still remain uncounted.

The 8th AF has continued in active service since its inception, with its units serving in every armed conflict the United States has engaged ever since.

It presently consists of most of the SAC units in the eastern half of  the United States, plus England, Germany, Spain and Greece, with about 50,000 persons assigned.  A recent 8th AF Commander has stated that it is still the most powerful air striking force in the world.


"The Mighty Eighth"-- Part 3: Early Missions in 1942

Soon after, on July 4, 1942, the first combat operation by members of the 8th AF Bomber Command occurred.  Six USA crews borrowed RAF A-20 Havocs from the British, painted USA markings on them and flew a low-level mission to German airfields in Holland.

Then, on July 26th, the 31st Fighter Group flew six Spitfires with the RAF on a sortie over the French coastal areas.  This was the first 8th AF fighter operation in World War II.

However, the First Official Mission of the 8th AF using their own planes, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses, did not occur until August 17, 1942.  The target was Rouen, France.  Colonel Frank A. Armstrong was the air commander for the missions.

The lead pilot was Paul Tibbets (of "Enola Gay" fame -- he dropped the first atom bomb).


Thursday, January 4, 2018

"The Mighty Eighth"-- Part 2: Headquarters Near London

Brigadier General Ira C. Eaker took the 8th AF Bomber Headquarters to England in February 1942, locating it at High Wycombe, 30 miles WNW of London.

In April, Major General Carl Spaatz, moved the Headquarters to Bushy Park, just 15 miles outside of London.  Subsequent commanders included Lt. General James H. Doolittle and Major General William A Kepner.

On June 29, 1942, a crew of the 15th Bomb Squadron flew a RAF A-20 in a British formation on a bombing mission on the railroad yards of Hazebrouck, France.  This mission made the Squadron Commander, Charles C. Kegelman, and his crew the first USAAF members to bomb occupied Europe.


Heroes of the Air 2018 Calendar: The Eighth Air Force-- Part 1: "The Mighty Eighth"

Put out by the Paralyzed Veterans of America organization.

History and beautiful artwork by Gil Cohen.

In World War II, the Eighth Air Force (8th AF) became the greatest air armada of any country during the war in any war with an estimated 350,000 Americans serving by the war's end.  At peak strength, the 8th AF could put up over 2,000 four-engined bombers and more than 1,000 fighters on a mission.

For these reasons the 8th AF is also known as "The Mighty Eighth."

The 8th AF was activated as part of the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) in January 1942 at Hunter Field, Savannah, Georgia.  Colonel Asa N. Duncan was named its first commander.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Drive Over 35 MPH and Lose Your Gas Ration Book

From the December 27, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"The new mileage rationing regulations give the War Price and Rationing Boards the power to revoke a consumer's gasoline ration and to declare a consumer ineligible to receive tire certificates, if the consumer violates certain provisions of the regulations.

"Motorists convicted of driving their cars at a speed in excess of 35 miles per hour will be subject to automatic revocation of their gasoline ration book."

Obey the Speed Limit Or Else.  --GreGen

DeKalb Doctor Goes to War in 1942

From the December 13, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Dr. Harold E. Spafford, who has been in DeKalb for the past wight years, will report for active duty with the United States Navy having been commissioned a lieutenant commander."

Our Loss, Navy's Gain.  --GreGen

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Hosiery Depot Set Up in Sycamore

From the December 20, 2017, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"According to an announcement from the office of the State's Attorney Ross E. Millet, who as county salvage coordinator, a hosiery depot has been set up in the store of McAllister and company on State Street in Sycamore.

"This is for the receipt of discarded nylon and silk hosiery as well as several combination materials in hosiery containing either rayon, silk or nylon."


Christmas for the Boys-- Part 4: "And a Blonde With That Pair of Gloves"

The sick recipients were invited to provide wish lists.  Most weren't too particular, but "one patient added a blonde to his request for a pair of gloves."

About 12,000 readers sent gifts, most of them asking to help more than one ailing service member

The reason for giving among readers was varied, but one Elkhart, Indiana, woman shared a common sentiment:  "The best Christmas present I could wish for is the knowledge that thru my puny efforts some of these gallant boys will realize that we on the home front appreciate what they are doing for us."

Pictures accompanying the article:

World War II Battle of Guadalcanal veterans Bernard Sgilagyl, Varner Johnson, George Stevo, Leland Kimrey and Harry Simonetti open gifts in 1943.

Lt. Mary Wrona, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, plays Santa to Pvts. Ray Radke and Stephen Valenti, both from Chicago, in the hospital at Rockford's Camp Grant in 1943.

A Great Deal.  --GreGen

Christmas For the Boys At War-- Part 3: "Adopt a Yank In Sick Bay"

The Tribune didn't repeat the "Adopt a Yank for Christmas" program in 1942, noting that, "For security reasons, the war and navy departments have forbidden the release of names of men in the armed forces."

But in 1943, the Tribune launched a new campaign, the "Adopt a Yank in Sick Bay" at the end of November.  Gifts and  letters would be directed to service members receiving care in hospitals in the Chicago area.

The total  number of Yanks in Chicago area hospitals was secret, but the Tribune learned there were a lot of them.  The response, however, was tremendous and by Christmas the Tribune reported, "More than 30,000 hospitalized soldiers, sailors, marines of this war and veterans of World War I will receive gifts."