Thursday, May 25, 2017

Looking Back to 1942: Bicycles Becoming Very Popular

From the March 8, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Bicycles have come into their own again in DeKalb.  The bicycle is again becoming a common medium of transportation, harking back to the days 30 or so years ago, when the bicycle was the favorite means of getting to and from work and to and from school.

"At the DeKalb plant of the California Packing Company a dozen or more of the office staff and others now employed are using bicycles and several have placed orders for bicycles."

Impact of Gas Rationing and Lack of Tires.  --GreGen

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Making Model Planes for the War Effort at DeKalb High School

From the February 15, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Students of the DeKalb Township High School, working under the general direction of Edward Lindgren, member of the faculty, head of the Industrial Arts Department, have set up an organization and started actual construction work on 100 model airplanes that have been requested by the government.

"The models will be taken to training centers of the nation's armed forces and because they are in exact scale they will prove valuable in being used for identification of various types of planes."

You've Got To Know Friend From Foe.  --GreGen

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Red Cross Sewing Center in DeKalb

From the February 15, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"The Red Cross sewing center located in the Ellwood School in DeKalb will be open on Thursday afternoon only.

"The sewing center located on the second floor of the Chronicle building is open every afternoon."

Sewing for the Boys.  --GreGen

Looking Back to 1942: Sugar Rationing Books Begin

From the February15, 2017,  MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"County Clerk Earle W. Joiner today received 41,000 applications for sugar war ration books.

"Although exact instructions have not been received, it is the understanding of the county clerk that the applications received today will be placed in the hands of a school teacher, who will have charge of compiling the information which will be secured through the blanks.  The blank is an application for a sugar rationing book it is understood."

This information is compiled at the Joiner Library in Sycamore.  Was this named after Earle W. Joiner?

A Sweet Job, But, In Addition To Grading Papers, Etc..  --GreGen

Monday, May 22, 2017

Looking Back to 1942: The Ben Franklin Store's Patriotic Window in Sycamore

From the March 1, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

"Another 'Victory' store window display is receiving attention these days in Sycamore.  The Ben Franklin store has an eyeball of red, white and blue for all passersby.  The entire window is ablaze with the national colors.

"Flags and a display of candy comprise the exhibit.  It is impressive with patriotism rather than commercial appeal.  It is part of the Sycamore retail effort in selling war bonds and stamps."

Getting Our Patriotism On.  --GreGen

Friday, May 19, 2017

The USS Bayfield (APA-33)-- Part 2: At D-Day

The Bayfield was 492 feet long, had a beam of 69.6 feet and regular complement of 51 officers and 524 enlisted.  As a transport, it could carry 80 officers and 1,146 troops.  It was capable of 18 knots and mounted two 5-inch guns and an assortment of anti-aircraft guns.

After commissioning, it carried troops to the British Isles for the D-Day invasion (and Yogi Berra as well).  At D-day, Berra was a gunner's mate, but not on the Bayfield, but a much smaller rocket ship.  After disembarking its troops, the Bayfield supplied firepower and later operated in the area for a while before taking part in operations on the southern coast of France.


The USS Bayfield (APA-33)-- Part 1: Served in Three Wars

From Wikipedia.

Yogi Berra served aboard this vessel during World War II.

A Bayfield-class attack transport named for Bayfield, Wisconsin.  This ship participated in three wars and atomic testing.  And, as I wrote about earlier in the week, was the ship that famous New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra served on during World War II.  (Evidently not the Coast Guard ship Buckley as reported in the article.  I could not find any mention of a Coast Guard ship of that name.)

It was commissioned 20 November 1943 and decommissioned 28 June 1968.

It received four Battle Stars in World War II, four in the Korean War and two in the Vietnam War.

The Bayfield was scrapped in September 1969.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Bits of War: Winston Churchill's Secret Bunkers and Quonset Huts

**  From the March 9, 2017, Express (U.K.)  "Winston Churchill's SECRET bunkers hidden all over Britain in THESE classified locations.

There was, of course, a serious threat of German invasion in the early 1940s.  There were over 600 secret bunkers spread out over the British landscape.  It was planned to have specially-trained groups of soldiers conduct guerrilla type operations out of them.

**  From the February 17, 2016, Wilmington (NC) Biz  "Proposed Mixed-Use Project Includes Historic Wilmington Structure."

A quonset hut in Wilmington, constructed after World War II is on the path of preservation.  The U.S. Navy used quonset huts a lot during World War II because they were light and easy to build.

Quonset huts were named after Quinset Pointe, a peninsula and former site of a Rhode Island Navy base where they were first made.

--Quon me.  --GreGen

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Yogi At War-- Part 4: First to Receive the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award

When the team behind the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award began preparations for their first awards in 2013, it was an easy decision in Yogi Berra's case.  Said founder Peter Fertig:  We all agreed -- that was the one thing that the board all agreed to -- that Yogi  should have been first, and he was."

Berra received the honor, named for another Hall of Famer noted for his wartime naval service, pitcher Bob Feller.  Berra received the award at his museum in Montclair, New Jersey.  He was also honored there last June on  the 70th anniversary of D-Day for his service that day.

"He was a humble person, "Fertig said pf Berra.  "He was a warm, caring human being who served at a very delicate time in our nation's history.  And he was an instrumental part of it, being at D-Day."

Quite the Amazing Person, Even If he Was a New York Yankee.  --GreGen (White Sox Fan)

Yogi At War-- Part 3: Very Impressive Baseball Stats

Yogi Berra played that major league team and did well, but he was still an unknown., but that was not for long.

He was in the majors with the Yankees at the tail end of the 1946 season and earned his first of ten World Series rings as a Yankee player in 1947 and was voted into his first All-Star game in 1948.

From Wikipedia.

Born 1925  Died September 22, 2015, age 90.

Lifetime Stats:

.285 batting average
358 home runs
1,430 RBIs

18-times All-Star
13 World Series Championships (some as a manager or coach)
3 times AL MVP:  1951, 1954, 1955.

Not Bad for a Swabbie.  --GreGen

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Yogi At War-- Part 2: On Rocket Ship at D-Day

Yogi Berra spent D-Day on a 36-foot long boat just off the Normandy coast that lobbed rockets inland in support of the troops on the beaches.

He remembered getting in some trouble then:  "I kept coming up top to look around, and they kept telling me to get back down there or I'd get hit.  I just wanted to see what was going on.  I liked it more up there!"

Yogi also served in North Africa and Italy before eventually returning to the States to Groton, Connecticut where he joined the submarine base's baseball team; when the club played against the Major League New York Giants.  In that game, Yogi, a Yankee minor-leaguer, went 3-for-4.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Yogi At War-- Part 1: Almost Went With the Army

From the October 12, 2015, Navy Times "Yogi at war: Before pinstripes, Berra donned Navy blue" by Kevin Lilley.

Many consider Yogi Berra as the greatest catcher in history, but in 1943, he first year in pro baseball, he hit .253 with a midlevel minor league baseball team.  But, like many other professional sports figures of the time, Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra joined the military.

Yogi Berra died September 22, 2015, at age 90.

But, before getting to the majors, he left the diamond to serve in the Navy during World War II.  He remembered:  "I almost joined the Army after I had enlisted in the Navy.  The Army would have allowed me to spend a couple weeks back home before I shipped out.  But, off I went to the Navy."

He headed to Europe aboard the Buckley, a Coast Guard attack transport.  Both his ship and Berra had been pressed into Navy service for the Allied invasion of German-occupied France.

There is some confusion here as I can find no mention of a Coast Guard ship named the Buckley, but several sources have Berra serving on the USS Bayfield, an attack transport.

--More to Come.  --GreGen

Bits of War: More Pearl Harbor Deaths-- Daniel S. Schroeder and Bud Christopherson

Always sad as the Greatest Generation continues to pass away.

**  Jan. 31, 2017, Reading Eagle  "Man believed to be Berks County's last Pearl Harbor survivor passes away."

Daniel S. Schroeder, 96, of Wernersville.  Former U.S. Navy captain  he was 21 years old on the USS Ash and had been guest of honor of the 75th anniversary commemoration back in December.

**  Jan. 30, 2017, Statesman Journal

Alvin "Bud" Christopherson 1925-2017.  Memorial service held Jan. 23, 2017 in Portland.  Pearl harbor survivor at Schofield Barracks.  Earned a Bronze Star that day.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Bits of War: Deaths-- Bob Adler (Served on USS West Virginia) and Ken Hartle (Pearl Harbor Survivor)

**  Jan. 17, 2017, Lake County (Wisconsin) Now:  Robert "Bob" Andler, 96.  Born April 30, 1926 in Chicago.  Died Jan. 8, 2017.  In World War II served on the USS West Virginia from March 1944 to May 1946.

**  January 30, 2017 Times of San Diego "Navy Diver  Retrieved Bodies From Pearl Harbor, Dies in Escondido at age 103" by Tom McAllister.

Ken Hartle died January 24.  He may have been the oldest remaining Pearl Harbor salvage diver.

He wouldn't talk about recovering bodies at Pearl Harbor, but did speak of towing unexploded torpedoes and salvaging ships.


Death of Clare Hollingworth, Reporter Who Broke News of World War II

From the January 10, 2017, New York Times by Margalit Fox.

Clare Hollingworth died January 10, 2017, at age 105.

Less than a week after first getting a job with the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph in 1939, she was driving alone from Gleiwitz, then in Germany, to Katowice in Poland, a distance of less than twenty miles.

She happened to be looking when wind lifted a piece of tarpaulin the German side of the road which was being used to screen the village below.  She saw "large numbers of troops, literally hundreds of tanks, armored cars and field guns."

She knew at that moment that the Germans were getting ready to attack Poland and telephoned her editor on August 28, 1939.  Her article was published the next day by the British newspaper The Guardian.

This was probably the greatest scoop of modern times.  Hitler invaded Poland on September 1, 1939 and war began.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Shorpy Home Front Photos: She Sells Celery and Game Night

January 15, 2017--  SHE SELLS CELERY: 1942--  November 1942"  Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  "Mennonite farm woman at her stall in the Central Market."  Marjory Collins, OWI  She is standing under a sign for Millers Celery.

January 14, 2017--  GAME NIGHT: 1942--  October 1942.   "New York.  Dr. and Mrs. Winn with daughters Janet and Marie, a Czech-American family, playing Chinese checkers while the grandmother knits."  Marjory Collins, OWI

Comment:  John A. Winn, his wife Hanna and daughters came to the U.S. from Czechoslovakia in 1939.  he became a well-known psychiatrist and died in 1983.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Looking Back to 1942: The Knit-A-Bit Club

From the February 1, 2017, MidWeek (Dekalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1942. 75 Years Ago.

"Members of the Knit-A-Bit club have established an enviable record in knitting for Red Cross needs.  At the present time every member of the club has completed at least one sweater and Mrs. John McClenahan leads the membership with thirteen completed and turned in."

Sewing for the Military and Red Cross.  --GreGen

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

DeKalb County, Illinois, At War: Books for the Boys

From the February 1, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Books, over 2,500 of them, were collected in a drive sponsored by the friends of the Library, in order to provide reading matter for the boys in army camps and naval training stations throughout the country."


Shorpy Home Front Photos: TVA and Coal

JANUARY 23, 2017--  Turn, Turn Turn: 1942--  June 1942.  "Tennessee Valley Authority power and conservation.  Fort Loudoun Dam construction.  Workman opening valve on a new pipeline of Fort Loudoun Dam, farthest upstream of the TVS's main Tennessee River projects.

"Scheduled for closure and first storage of water early in 1943, this dam will create a 15,000 acre lake reaching 55 miles upstream of Knoxville..  This reservoir will have a useful storage capacity of 126,000 acre-feet.  Power installation of 64,000 kilowatts is authorized, with a possible ultimate of 96.000 kilowatts."  Alfred Palmer, OWI.

JANUARY 16, 2017--  Big John: 1942--  November 1942:  "Pittsburgh (vicinity).  Montour No. 4 mine of the Pittsburgh Cone Company.  Coal miner waiting to go underground."  John Collier, OWI.  The miner is a black man.  Everyone doing their part for the war effort.

What Made America Powerful.  --GreGen

Monday, May 8, 2017

155-mm Long Tom Cannons

From Wikipedia.

The gunmount in the last two entries was designed to hold a 155-mm cannon.  These cannons were used in World War II and the Korean War and fired 100-pound shells with a maximum range of 13.7 miles.

They were a military field gun developed by the United States and classified as secondary armament in coastal defense.

One can be seen at Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, Alabama, by the USS Alabama.

There are also ten others on display around the country.