Thursday, February 23, 2017

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Third Shift and Out on the Farm

10-16-14 FLASH MOB: 1942--  April 1943.  "Baltimore, Maryland.  Third shift workers waiting on a street corner to be picked up by carpools around midnight."  Marjory Collins OWI.  

With gas rationing and restrictions, carpooling was a good idea.  They are waiting under a store sign "Parks Cut Rate Drugs/Liquors."

10-14-14  MIDNIGHT SNACKERS: 1943--  April 1943.  "Baltimore, Maryland.  Third shift workers getting snack at drugstore on the corner where they shared car will pick them up around midnight."  Marjory Collins, OWI

10-11-14 IRON WOMAN: 1943.  H=June 1943.  Arlington County, Virginia.  "Arlington Farms, war duration residence halls.  Laundry room in Idaho Hall."  Woman ironing.  Esther Bubley, OWI.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Looking Back to 1942: Famous Actress Dies

From the January 18, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Carole Lombard is killed in a plane tragedy."

Carole Lombard, the wife of Clark Gable, had gone back to her home state of Indiana after the U.S. entered the war and had raised over $2 million in war bonds in a single evening.  She was anxious to get back to Los Angeles and took a plane instead of the train she was scheduled to return on.

The plane stopped in Las Vegas to refuel, but crashed into Potosi Mountain, killing all aboard.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Looking Back to 1942: Home Front Hero

From the January 18, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Mrs. Emily Fox, living at 809 North Twelfth Street, does not get about much but she is doing her share in winning the war.  Despite the fact that she is past 80 years of age, she is one of the most active Red Cross knitters in the city.

"She is setting a pace that many of the knitters of less than half her age will find difficult to maintain.  Mrs. Fox is now working on her 31st Red Cross sweater.  That is a record which should be the envy of many a Red Cross knitter.

A Home Front Hero.  --GreGen

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Aircraft Carriers on the Great Lakes

From the Detroit and Cleveland Navigation Company--  Wikipedia.

During World War II, there was a great need for aircraft carriers to train the huge number of pilots needed in their service.  It was too dangerous for "practice" carriers on the Atlantic or Pacific oceans, but the Great Lakes were safe from enemy attack.

This company's ship, Greater Buffalo, 598 feet, was converted into the aircraft carrier USS Sable.  On its first day of service, 59 pilots became qualified after nine hours of operating planes with each doing eight landings and take-offs from the new carrier.

Landings and take-offs took place seven days a week.  One of the pilots who trained on the Sable was future president George H.W. Bush.

The Buffalo Line's See and Bee became the USS Wolverine aircraft carrier, also used on the Great Lakes.

Another Detroit and Cleveland Navigation Company ship, the Greater Detroit, was not taken by the Navy and during the war saw its passenger revenue increase dramatically, partly due to gas rationing.  But business fell off tremendously after the war and the ship was soon retired.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Pentagon Launches Effort to Identify Crew Members Lost on the USS Turner

From the February 12, 2017, Portland (Oregon) Press Herald "Pentagon launches effort to solve World War II ship mystery" by Chrisd Carola, AP.

An explosion caused the destroyer USS Turner to sink near New York Harbor and nearly 130 of its crew of almost 300 were listed as missing and still are.  According to the research of Ted Darcy, a World War II researcher, at least four of them are buried at a Long Island cemetery, and perhaps most if not all of the rest.

The Pentagon is now looking into it.

The USS Turner was 10-months old at the time and sank off Sandy Hook, New Jersey, on January 3, 1944, after a series of explosions rocked the ship.  The Navy could not determine the cause of the initial blast, but did find that munitions were being handled below deck at the time.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Looking Back to 1941: USS Indiana Launched

From the December 7, 2016, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1941, 75 Years Ago.

"The USS Indiana, 35,000 ton floating fortress, carrying nine 16-inch guns and other armament, making her the hardest hitting warship afloat, was launched six months ahead of schedule."

All those speed-up as a prelude to war.  Too bad nothing was written about  Pearl harbor back then that was reported in "Looking Back."


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

German U-boat Found Off the Azores

From the February 6, 2017, Fox News Science "German WWII U-boat discovered off the Azores."

The wreck of the U-581 was found in an announcement made this week.  The U-boat is 2.953 feet down off the south coast of Pico Island in the Azores.  It was sunk in 1942, after an attack by the British destroyer HMS Westcott.

The ship was sunk by depth charges on February 2, 1942.  The ship's commander ordered the crew to abandon ship and all but 4 of he 46-man crew survived.  One of the sub's officers, Walter Sitck, swam four miles to Pico Island and later made his way back to Germany.  The other 41 were rescued and became prisoners of war.

Always An Exciting Bit of News When the Wreck of a Ship Is Found.  --GreGen

Monday, February 13, 2017

103-Year Old Lieutenant Who Survived Pearl Harbor Attacks Shares His Stories

From the Feb. 10, 2017, WJLA 7 ABC, Washington, D.C. by Q. McCray.

Lt. Jim Downing, the second-oldest surviving Pearl Harbor survivor was on the USS West Virginia that day.  This week he visited and recorded his oral history at the American Veterans Center in Arlington, Virginia.

he is in the D.C. area from February 1-10 and attending and speaking at several events.

For more World War II oral histories, go to

Way to Go, Lt. Downing.  GreGen

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Massive World War II Bomb Evacuation in Greece

From the Feb. 10, 2017, NPR Northern Public Radio "Long-Buried World War II Bomb Prompts Massive Evacuation In Greece" by Colin Dwyer.

It was found by a gas station in Greece's second largest city, the port of Thessaloniki, buried 16-feet deep next to the station's underground gas tanks by a gas company crew.

They are believed to be between 150-250 kilograms.

Being a major port, the city was of a high strategic importance during the war.

Some 72,000 people with in a 1.2 mile radius will be evacuated for the disarming taking place on Sunday.


Irish Lighthouse World War II: Blacksod Lighthouse, Critical in D-Day

Located on the West coast of Ireland.

The lighthouse keeper gave the weather forecast that enabled General Eisenhower to make the decision to land Allied forces in Normandy, France on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

Some meteorologists had predicted a week of bad weather for France at the beginning of June.  The Germans believed this forecast and Field Marshal Rommel left the front lines in France to visit his family in Germany.

The observer at Blacksod Bay predicted a mid-week break and Eisenhower acted on that prediction.  This was a big reason for Allied success that day.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Irish Lighthouses in World War II: Blacksod Lighthouse

Blackrock Mayo Lighthouse sustained gunfire during World War II.  A German plane attacked the SS Macville in deep water near the lighthouse.

Stray bullets shattered panes in the lighthouse, but the keepers were unhurt.


Irish Lighthouse in World War II: Eagle Island Lighthouse

On the northwest coast of Ireland.

In November 1940, a lighthouse keeper spotted the tanker San Demetrio.

A German pocket battleship had attacked it and its convoy making its way across the North Atlantic.

While most of the other ships in the convoy were destroyed, the San Demetrio was so severely damaged that the crew abandoned it.  However, the ship did not sink, and after several days, five crew members returned to the ship, extinguished the flames, restarted her engines, and headed for Eagle Island.

The keepers spotted her and notified a tug and a destroyer to come to the ship's aid.


Irish Lighthouses in World War II: Lusitania Survivor Also Survived a WWII Attack

Albert Bestie was a junior officer on board the Lusitania in World War I and was swept overboard by the inrushing water when the ship sank

Later, during World War II, he survived an attack by German aircraft on the Irish lightship Isolda off the Irish coast.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Irish Lighthouses in World War II-- Part 2: Ballycotton Island Lighthouse

And, there were a large number of German vessels operating in the area.  In the first weeks of the war, a German U-boat sank the Cunard passenger liner SS Athenia two hundred miles off the west coast of Ireland.

The Athenia was carrying 1,103 passengers and was sunk by the U-30 on September 3, 1939.

Another U-boat sank the British aircraft carrier HMS Courageous off the southwest coast.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Irish Lighthouses in World War II-- Part 1: Ballycotton Island Lighthouse

From "Lighthouses of Ireland" by Kevin McCarthy.

Ballycotton Island Lighthouse is located along Ireland's southern coast near Cork.  The waters near it recently have been often used by the Royal Navy from their Haulbowline Island facility in Cork Harbor.  The Royal Navy transferred that facility to Ireland in 1938.

During World War II, even though Ireland remained neutral, the Irosh government established the Marine and Coastwatching Services in 1940. and took over the old Royal Naval Repair and Victualling Yard and Naval Hospital on Haulbowline Island.

They sent their ships out to patrol the area, protect navigational aids, enforce the fishing limits, rescue shipwreck survivors and ward off unfriendly ships (German).


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Carpooling a Patriotic Thing to Do During the War

From the January 18, 2017, USA Today  "Time to get patriotic about carpooling" by Marco della Cava.

During World War II the U.S. government tried to guilt commuters into carpooling.

One of its weapons was a poster showing a driver at the wheel of his car, driving down the road.  Riding shotgun, a ghostly der Fuhrer.  It read:  "When you ride ALONE, you ride with Hitler!  Join a car-sharing club TODAY!"

Of course, this would save valuable gasoline and Americans were rationed as to how much they could get anyway.

Perhaps, we should return to that with the crowded roads of today.


Shorpy Home Front Photo: Esther Bubley's Sister

From the December 11, 2016, PARDON MY RACK: 1943.

January 1943.  Washington, D.C..  "Girl in the doorway at a boarding house.  With Esther Bubley (or her sister Enid) in front."  Nearest camera.  Esther Bubley, OWI.

It was very crowded at the place they were staying, Dissin's Guest House.  The woman in the foreground was Enid.  Sisters Enid, Claire and Esther lived in Washington, D.C., during the war.  Dissin's was the former mansion of Charles Mather Ffoulke at 2013 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, now the site of the Embassy Row Hotel.

Very cramped quarters.

Charles Mather Foulke (1841-1909) was an investment banker and art collector.


Looking Back to 1941: Victory Book Campaign

From the January 11, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"DeKalb's part in the Victory Book Campaign, a national drive being sponsored by the American Library Association, the Red Cross, and the United Service Organizations to secure books for soldiers, sailors and marines, was enthusiastically launched last evening at the DeKalb Public Library."


Monday, February 6, 2017

Shorpy Home Front: The Dance and the Eating

JANUARY 10, 2017--  A BITE TWO EAT:1943:  April 1943.  "Washington, D.C..  A cafeteria."  Esther Bubley, OWI.  Two ladies chowing down.

JANUARY 11, 2017--  FLIRTY DANCING:  April 1943.  Washington, D.C.  "Jitterbugs at an Elks Club dance, the 'cleanest dances in town'."  Esther Bubley, OWI.

Wonder what the "dirty" dances were?

Even in war, people gotta eat and dance.


Funeral for Another USS Oklahoma Victim: Walter Sollie

From the January 4, 2017, Pensacola (Florida) News Journal "Funeral service set for sailor killed at Pearl Harbor."

A service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, January 6, at the Pensacola Naval Air Station Chapel for Walter Sollie who was in the USS Oklahoma's boiler room December 7, 1941.  He died at age 37.

His DNA in bones was discovered to match a surviving niece, Betty (Tom) Tumipseed of Milton.

Mr. Solle was born in Myrtlewood, Alabama and grew up in Atmore.  He enlisted in 1923.  Service was aboard the USS Pruitt, Huron, Northampton, Maryland and lastly, the Oklahoma.

His remains will be buried at 12:30 p.m., Friday, at Barrancas National Cemetery.

Walter Solle was a Water Tender 1st Class.

Sixteen million served in the U.S. military during World War II.  More than 400,000 died in the service of their country, including Mr. Sollie.  There are still 73,104 unaccounted for, of which he was one until recently.