Friday, September 29, 2017

Downhill Slider, 1944: The Lighthouse

from Shorpy Old Photo Site.

MAY 27, 2017, DOWNHILL SLIDER: 1944  <arch 1944.  "Children playing on the roof of the Lighthouse, an institution for the blind, at 111 East 59th Street, New York.'  Richard Boyer, OWI.  The photo shows just one young girl of a slide wearing dark glasses.

The Lighthouse Guild: Vision and Hearing is still in existence serving the visually impaired.  The Lighthouse Guild was formed in 2013 and had begun in 1905 by sisters Winifred and Edith Holt who founded the Lighthouse which became a pioneer in the field  of vision rehabilitation.

They also had a summer camp for the children.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Keeping the Buses Running and "Arming" the Kids

From the Shorpy Old Photo Site.

MAY 22, 2017--  HOUND DOC: 1943.  September 1943.  Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania.  "A mechanic at the Greyhound Garage."  Esther Bubley, OWI.  With tire, gasoline rationing, bus riding became much more popular.

MAY 26, 2017--  THE CHILDREN'S ARMY: 1942--  Washington, D.C., 1942.  "Children playing, using sticks as guns."  Color.  Louise Rosskam, OWI.  The boys are "armed" and girls aren't.  The girls are also wearing dresses."

One of the comments was, "They don't need no stinkin' Nintendo."  Or "Idge Phones."


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Pearl Harbor Survivor Finally Gets His Purple Heart

From the September 16, 2017, Herald Dispatch (West Virginia)

Wetzel "Sundown" Sanders, 94, was at an anti-aircraft battery at Hospital Point, manning a .50 caliber machine gun.  He shot down multiple Japanese planes, but a chunk of shrapnel hit him and he ran to the hospital.

However, his paperwork for the wound was misplaced.

He remained in Hawaii until may 1942, and after that participated in other Pacific battles.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Remains of USS Oklahoma's Ensign William "Bill" Manley Thompson Identified

From the September 20, 2017, CGS 6  "Remains of sailor killed during Pearl Harbor attack identified after 75 years."

The remains of Ensign William Manley Thompson, of New Jersey, are now home and buried in the family plot at Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg, Virginia.

He was 21 years old when he died on the USS Oklahoma on December 7, 1941.

Ensign Thompson graduated from high school in 1937 and the University of North Carolina in 1941.

In his last letter home, November 23, 1941, he said he had enjoyed his Thanksgiving dinner and was considering buying a guitar and probably a car.  Since Christmas was nearing, he needed to start his shopping for presents, especially since he expected his ship to be at sea on maneuvers on that date.

It is so nice that these honored dead heroes are having their bodies identified after such a long time buried as unknowns.


Monday, September 25, 2017


Gerald "Jerry" Barbosa, who just recently died and I wrote about in the last two posts, served on this ship.

One site had the nickname of the ship as the USS Ivory Soap -- It Floats.

It was built by the Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Company at Evansville, Indiana.  Laid down 25 June 1942, launched 31 October 1942 and commissioned 10 February 1943  It ended service 9 December 1944 and was transferred to the Royal Navy and returned to the Navy 13 April 1946 and sold 5 September 1946.

It served in the European Theater:

Sicilian Occupation July 1943

Salerno Landing  September 1943

Invasion of Normandy  June 1944

During its service, it earned three Battle Stars.


Death of Pearl Harbor Survivor Gerald "Jerry" Barbosa-- Part 2

He remembers being on the USS Raleigh,  "There were machine-gun bullets bouncing off the deck."  His body shook and he reached for his gun and began shooting at any moving target.  "All of a sudden, it looked like the ship was pitching out of the water and bounced back down again.'  It had been hit by a torpedo dropped by a plane on the port side.

The Raleigh fired 13,526 rounds of ammunition that day.

He participated in many battles later in the war on the LST-157., but he remembered D-Day the most.  "When the tide goes out you got nowhere to go.  Your ship is on dry land, and you can't move it until the tide comes in.  By the time the evening comes around, the German fighter pilots are coming over because we're sitting ducks."

Another of the Greatest.  --GreGen

Friday, September 22, 2017

Death of Pearl Harbor Survivor Gerald "Jerry" Barbosa-- Part 1

From the September 20, 2017, Long Island Herald "Pearl Harbor, D-Day East Meadow veteran was 93" by Stephany Reyer.

Gerald "Jerry" Barbosa joined the Navy in March 1941.  His twin brother and younger brother also joined the Navy.

He was a gunner's mate ion the USS Raleigh during the attack and he died September 15 and was one of the few Pearl Harbor veterans still living in the area.

In March 1941, when he joined he was only 17 years old.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Trains and More Trains

Jack Delano sure took a lot of train pictures for the Office of War Information.

Here are five more:

MAY 21-2017--  Red Means Go: 1943  Illinois Central Railroad, Chicago

MAY 23, 2017--  Locomotive Dreams: 1942  Chicago and North Western roundhouse.

JUNE 6, 2017--  Pabst Backward:  April 1943  Illinois Central and Pabst Blue Ribbon neon sign, Chicago.

JUNE 16, 2017--  40th Street Shops:  1942   Dec. 1942   Chicago & North Western RR locomotives.

AUGUST 31, 2017--  Backtrack: 1943   Willard, New Mexico

See Train, Go train, Jack.  --GreGen

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"Throw Your Scrap Into the Fight" in 1942

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

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Throw your scrap into the fight!  Although there have been campaigns conducted for the gathering of scrap metals and rubber, a crisis exists in the United States war production program unless more of these vital materials can be secured.

"The only way that the problem can be solved is for the American people to cooperate fully, and this means the people in DeKalb County as well."

Pots and Pans...Anything!!  --This Means YOU, DEKALB COUNTY!!!  --GreGen

Driving Your Auto On Hot Days Not Good for Your Tires in 1942

From the August 9, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Automobile dealers, especially those who specialize in tires, state those persons who go driving on a hot day, fail to realize that the hot pavements are not conducive to saving of tires.

"If the rubber on any auto is old, it has lost much of its heat resistance, and quickly blows out.  Tires are difficult to get nowadays, and drivers are warned that motoring in hot weather is not helping in the war effort against the enemy."

A Sunday Afternoon Drive in the Summer Is Helping Hitler and Tojo.  --GreGen

Working At the Old Beet Farm in 1942

From the August 2, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942. 75 Years Ago.

"According to an announcement from the Chicago Welfare Commission, nineteen men from the welfare rolls have been sent to DeKalb County to work on the beet farms in the county.

"They are being sent to help relieve the shortage in farm labor and further aid to farmers was also promised by the commission.

Beet Me Baby, Eight To the Bar.  --GreGen

The Navy Needs Your Binoculars in 1942

From the August 2, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  'Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Although nearly 2,000 binoculars meeting requirements have been received by the Navy Department since the first appeal was made the need for these important instruments is desperate.

"Mayor Hugh J. Hakata of DeKalb received a letter from the Navy Department recently asking that he again [bring] the great need of the binoculars to the attention of the public."

All the Better to See You, My Dear.  --GreGen

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sycamore Vet Recalls World War II-- Part 6: Playing Dead on Saipan

Karen Narayan, daughter of Burton and Wayne's oldest brother, Ernest, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, said she recalled a story about Wayne fighting unarmed against Japanese soldiers in Saipan in which he disguised himself in blood from another soldier and played dead until the Japanese left hours later.

"I asked Uncle Wayne, 'How could you do all this," she said.  "His reply was, 'Karen, just as you go to the grocery store shopping, we just did.  We didn't think about what we were doing, we just did.'"


Friday, September 15, 2017

Sycamore Vet Recalls the War-- Part 5: Bernice's War Story and Afterwards

Burton Miller's wife, Bernice, said she worked making uniforms for soldiers during the war, while men would work on farms and in factories.

"All of our foods were rationed, and we had food stamps," Bernice said.  "You could only get so much gas and so much everything at that time."

She said that they first lived in a one-room apartment, had no car and were on a waiting list to get a refrigerator.  She had to take three street cars, each costing 8 cents, to get to her job at Marshall Field's.

"We went down the hall to go to the bathroom where four families shared.  It was rough, "she said.  "We were able to get an apartment over a home, so we thought we were in heaven to get that because it had a bedroom and a living room."


Sycamore Vet Recounts Pearl Harbor-- Part 4: Six Blankets and Couldn't Get Warm

Burton Miller went on to serve in England, France and Belgium, where he conveyed orders and communications during the Battle of the Bulge, the last major German offensive campaign of World War II.

One of the barracks in Belgium that he was in was an old chicken house where the soldiers had to endure the cold winter.  "I had six blankets and I couldn't get warm," Burton remembered.

Burton then had to go to the hospital, although he can't remember why.

"That was after Hitler took over Europe," he said.  "We had our fighter planes that went from England to France and then to Belgium supporting our troops, chasing Hitler at the time.  And when I got to Belgium, I had to go to the hospital, and when I came back, the war was over."

He married Bernice in 1946 and lived in Chicago for about sixty years.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sycamore Vet Recounts Pearl Harbor-- Part 3: Brother Wayne Was Looking for His Brother's Body

Burton Miller was out of high school and studying in college, but his brother Wayne was not yet old enough to enlist in the military.  "We had to lie a little bit [about Wayne's age]," Burton said.

Wayne's job at Wheeler Air Field at the time of the attack was outfitting men with parachutes, so he was tasked with identifying bodies based on their parachute numbers.

"[Wayne] was down at one of the hangars that they had converted into a morgue, and he was going through looking for his brother," Bruce said.

Burton Miller was stationed in Hawaii for two years after the attack.

"The rest of the two years was like heaven," Burton said.  "It rained every other day.  It could've been worse, and it was worse in Belgium."


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sycamore Vet Recounts Pearl Harbor Attack-- Part 2: "What Could Be Better?"

Thirty-three men died at Wheeler Field that day.

Both brothers survived the attack, but they didn't see each other for another three days, as the men hid, fearing the Japanese had invaded the island.  Their mother wouldn't get word of their survival until a month later.  (That had to be a really hard month for the family.

Bruce Miller, Burton's son, said his father and uncle enlisted in the Army Air Corps after seeing an ad in their local newspaper in Mount Vernon.  They had been in Hawaii for less than a year when the attack came.

"The ad said to sign up  for four years in the Army Air Corps and spend three years in Hawaii,"  Bruce said.  "This was 1940 and they had no idea what was coming, and they thought, 'What could be better?'  Two farm boys got away from milking cows and doing chores."

The Army Air Corps became the Army Air Forces on June 20, 1941.


Sycamore Vet Recounts Pearl Harbor Attack-- Part 1: "A Bomb Comes Down Right Next To Me"

From the December 7, 2016, Northwest Herald (McHenry County, Illinois) by Stephanie Markham.

95-year-old served in Army Air Force.

Burton Miller was on his way to eat breakfast when the first bombs started falling.  He was 19 that Dec. 7, 1941, and he and his 17-year-old brother, Wayne, were stationed at Wheeler Field in Hawaii -- one of the first places the Japanese attacked.

It was a bright Sunday morning and he broke his usual routine and got up for breakfast.  Meanwhile, brother Wayne was taking a shower in the barracks.

"I got up and went for breakfast for the first time, and I got through the breakfast door, and a bomb comes down right next to me.  And it hits the lawn, and it didn't hit the street, so I started running because they said that [the Japanese] were going to land troops there."

He has lived in Sycamore for the past four years with his wife, Bernice, also 95.  His brother Wayne died in 2001 at age 88.


Pelosi Tours WWII Exhibit About Japanese-Americans

From the September  1, 2017, Chicago Tribune by Steve Johnson.

Twice there have been exhibitions in Chicago's new Alphawood Gallery  and twice U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has visited.

Most recently she was there August 31 and she toured "And Then They Came for Me" the primarily photographic exhibition telling the story of Japanese-American improvement by the U.S. government during World War II.

"This is an inspiration to me, said Pelosi, whose district was among was among those especially affected when the government forced more than 100,000 people of Japanese descent, most of them U.S. citizens, into internment camps beginning in 1942.  "It hit me hard when we came in because it was so many images about a thing our country had done that we were ashamed of."

The free show is open through November and features mostly black-and-white photography of the internees taken by Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams and others.

A Sad Time In Our History, But Something That Must Not be Erased.  --GreGen

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society-- Part 2: Started in 1904

From their site.

In 1904, several Naval officers, wives of Naval officers and civilian friends saw the need for a more formal and organized assistance to Naval personnel.  The Society incorporated on January 23 with initial funding coming from the proceeds of the 1903 Army-Navy Football game.

In its first year, the Society gave $9,500 to widows and families of enlisted men.

During World War I, military pay was often delayed and the Society began an interest free loan program for Navy and Marine Corps personnel.  Eventually this expanded to help with other needs such as medical bills.

Anticipating personnel needs of World War II, President Roosevelt authorized a public appeal for support to benefit the military relief organizations.

The national fundraising effort helped establish the Society's Reserve Fund in 1942.  The Dubuque Navy Day on August 23, 1942, was part of this effort.

Monday, September 11, 2017

9-11 16th Anniversary Today

Yesterday, when the Safen und Spiel Festival in Johnsburg, Illinois, proved too crowded and no parking, we decided to go on a Chain Crawl crawl to get some more passport stamps.

We drove to McHenry and visited two places overlooking the Fox River.  The first was Snuggery and the second was Vickie's.  At Vickie's, I saw a poster for upcoming events in McHenry and one of them was an the 11th annual observance of 9-11 in veterans Park.

I am sorry to say that this was the first I'd even thought about it.  Sure glad I saw that poster as I'll be there at 9  a.m..

I'll Not Forget.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society-- Part 1: To Aid and Assist

From Wikipedia.

The purpose of the mass induction and baseball game on August 23, 1942, in Dubuque, Iowa, was to raise money for the Navy Relief Society Fund.

The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society was established in 1904 "to provide, in partnership with the Navy and Marine Corps, financial, educational, and other assistances to members of the Naval service of the United States, eligible family members, and survivors in need, and to receive and manage funds to administer these programs.


Dubuque, Iowa, In World War II-- Part 2: Mass Induction and Baseball Game

"A mass induction of Navy recruits was planned for August 23, 1942, prior to a baseball game scheduled for Navy Day.  An entrance fee was charged with all the money given to the Navy Relief Society.

"Family members were later encouraged to write positive letters to their relatives in the armed forces and not burden them with problems at home."


Dubuque, Iowa, in World War II-- Part 1: A Local Boy at Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941

From the Encyclopedia Dubuque.

Leo F. Greenwood, a native of the "northeast" end of Dubuque, was on the battleship USS West Virginia at the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  He survived and abandoned ship.  Oil from the stricken battleships had leaked out and the water of the harbor caught fire, requiring him to swim under water to reach safety (probably on Ford Island).

There, he found cover and remained for the rest of the attack.

Years later, a Navy diver found and returned his pocket watch and photo album that he had stored in his footlocker.

He became a member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.

Mr. Greenwood served on the USS West Virginia from 1939-1941 and was a Seaman First Class.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Navy Day in Dubuque, Iowa, August 23, 1942-- Part 4: One Helluva Team

Baseball Hall of Famer Mickey Cochrane, the former star catcher for the Detroit Tigers, was appointed supervising officer in charge of athletics at Great Lakes and he assembled a formidable team of players who had left their American and National league teams to join America's war effort.

Throughout the war, the training facility's baseball teams compiled a record of 188-32 in exhibition contests.

Probably Stacked the Field.  --GreGen

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Navy Day in Dubuque, Iowa, August 23, 1942-- Part 3: Great Lakes Wins By Lopsided 16-1 Score


"The colors of Old Glory -- red, white and blue -- predominated as the crowd watched Naval officers swear Dubuqueland men into service.  The color of green -- the proceeds of the game --  went to Navy relief.  And the color of big-league baseball prevailed as the crowd watched the Great Lakes' star-studded team lick the Naval Pre-Flight Training School 16-1.

"The latter color in part was provided by a home run with the bases full by Chet Hajduk of the Chicago White Sox, the battery of Johnny Rigney and old "Iron Mike" Cochrane, and the appearance of Benny McCoy, Johnny Lucadello, Don Padgett, Ernie Andres, Joe Grace and Sam Harshaney -- all former major-league stars.

"The victory here was the second consecutive lopsided win for Great Lakes over the Seahawks in two days.  The win was the 59th of the year for the men coached by Lt. Gordon Cochrane, the above-mentioned Mr. "Iron Mike" or "Mickey" of professional baseball fame."

The Seahawks trained in Iowa City, Iowa, home of the Iowa Hawkeyes, hence the name Seahawks.


Navy Day in Dubuque, Iowa, 1942-- Part 2: Lots of Memories This Day

"Memories of some will center on the colorful ceremonies of the flag raising and mass inductions of the naval recruits before the baseball game; for some it will be the memory of witnessing a son, a brother, a sweetheart, a husband, or a pal being sworn into service with the nation's armed forces at an hour of great peril; and for some it will be the thrill of witnessing some of the greatest stars of baseball perform, even if the game was a one-sided affair.

"But the big result of the day is that a substantial sum of money will be added to the Navy Relief Society Fund, all proceeds of the day going to that fund."

(Former major-league players starred during the exhibition game, as the Telegraph Herald reported on August 24, 1942.)


Monday, September 4, 2017

Navy Day in Dubuque, Iowa, 1942-- Part 1: 32 Enlisted and a Baseball Game

From the August 24, 2017, Dubuque (Iowa) Telegraph Herald "75 years ago: Bravery, baseball on display" by Erik Hogstrom.

I wrote about this last week, August 24.

Here is the Telegraph Herald story from August 24, 1942:

"There are several thousand residents of Dubuque and Dubuqueland who will long cherish happy memories of Dubuque's Navy Day program.

"They include the approximately 4,000 persons who jammed the stands of the Municipal Athletic Field on Sunday afternoon to witness the inductions of 32 Dubuqueland recruits into the U.S. Navy and the baseball game between the Great Lakes Naval Training Station at Great Lakes, Ill., and the Navy Pre-Flight Training School of Iowa City.


Saturday, September 2, 2017

LST-779-- Part 1: (1944-1946) Last American Ship to See the USS Indianapolis

From the U.S. naval History and Heritage Command.

Last week I wrote that this was the last American ship to see the USS Indianapolis.  It operated 1944-1946.

328 feet long, 50 foot beam, 11.6 knots, crew of 117.  Could carry equipment and 163 troops.

It was laid down 21 May 1944 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and launched 1 July 1944.  It took just 41 days from when it was laid down to launch.  That's pretty fast.  Because of it being launched into a river, it slid sideways into it.

It was commissioned in New Orleans 3 August 1944  Its commander was Lt. (j.g.) Joseph A. Hopkins, USNR.


World War II at Carolina Beach, N.C.-- Part 2: Mom's Recollections-- Restrictions and U-boats

My mother's family owned a cottage right on the oceanfront on Carolina Beach's Southern Extension.  She said that at night there were constantly military patrols going up and down the beach looking for U-boats.

You also were not allowed to have wet clothes on.  U-boats lurking offshore would surface and send people ashore on reconnaissance missions.  They'd get wet in the process.

The story continues that one time a German U-boat was sunk and one of the crew members was found to have a movie ticket to a Wilmington theater dated just a few days earlier.

Also, they were extremely strict on the blackout at the beach.  Lights onshore would silhouette Allied merchant ships plying the offshore waters, making them easy targets for a torpedo.


Friday, September 1, 2017

World War II at Carolina Beach, N.C.-- Part 1: Sharing the Cottage

Carolina Beach is located near Wilmington, North Carolina, and on the Atlantic Ocean.

I have been writing about the service of Claude R. Pfaff during World War I, in my Cooter's History Thing Blog.  After the war he returned to Winston-Salem, N.C., but started going to Carolina Beach for fishing and eventually built a cottage there in the 1930s.

During World War II, the Pfaffs often ended up sharing their small cottage with a family of strangers.  Because of the shortage of housing in the Wilmington area (with all of its war industry, the huge North Carolina Shipbuilding Company and military posts in the area), property owners were required to rent to families of soldiers scheduled to ship out overseas.

They would get a one week vacation at the beach before they had to separate.

Only office space was exempt from this requirement, so Mrs. Pfaff designated one room as an office.

A Little Privacy, Please.  --GreGen