Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Ongoing Red Cross Cross Charging for Doughnuts Story: The Cost of Free Doughnuts: 70 Years of Regret

From the July 13, 2012, National Public Radio "The Cost of Free Doughnuts: 70 Years of Regret."

There is a lot of talk nowadays about inline companies trying to find ways to charge people for their now free services.  But, NPR wants them to take a look back into the past before they make a move.  This is a precautionary tale.

Many World War II veterans still don't like the Red Cross because of something that happened way back during the war years.  And this story had to deal with doughnuts.

During the war, the Red Cross had comfort stations for American soldiers overseas featuring free coffee and doughnuts.  But in 1942, they started charging money for them.

This is a true story.

But, the Red Cross didn't want to do this.  The U.S. Secretary of War asked them to start charging.  British soldiers had to pay for theirs at their places and the free one for the Americans were causing tension.  After protesting, the Red Cross complied, but just for a short time and then went back to free.

It is still free, but those old veterans haven't forgotten.

My uncle Delbert was in the war and I had often heard him talk about that.  But never heard him mention that paying for the doughnuts ceased very soon after it started.


Shorpy's Home Front in Manhattan

Two recent photographs from the Shorpy site.

OCTOBER 25, 2015 MANHATTAN: 1942:  September, 1942.  New York, New York.  Looking north from Ninth Street station at the Third Avenue elevated railway as a train leaves on the local track."  By Marjory Collins, OWI.

OCTOBER 24, 2015 THE CAUTIOUS COMMUTER 1942:  September 1942.  "New York, New York.  Waiting for the Third Avenue elevated railway at 89th Street about 8:45 a.m."  By Marjory Collins, OWI.

You still had to get from point A to Point B and public transportation was the way to go with all the rationing.

--GreGen  (Greatest Generation)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Berlin's Jewish Museum Closed as WWII Bomb Defused

From the Oct. 25, 2015, CTV News "Berlin's Jewish Museum closed as experts defuse WW II-era bomb found nearby" AP.

A 250-kilogram American bomb was unearthed during construction work.  Some 11,000 residents were forced to be evacuated during the defusing, as well as the museum closing.

Meanwhile, in Kobienz, 5,000 more people were evacuated for the removal of another 250-kilogram bomb found four meters under ground during the construction of a school.

Those Bombs Are Still There.  --GreGen

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Pearl Harbor Survivor Recalls Day of Infamy

From the August 18, 2015, Rockdale (Ga.?) News "Veteran's Story: A Pearl Harbor Story: Centenarian recalls day of infamy" by Peter Mecca

Wayne Shelnutt, 100, had a special ceremony for himself in Rockdale County.

He was on the USS California that fateful day and nursing a hot cup of coffee after breakfast when he heard someone yell, "What is that airplane doing up there?"  He walked a few steps to the door and looked up and saw a plane with big red balls on its wings pass over the California and drop a bomb on Ford Island.

General Quarters sounded and everyone ran to their battle stations.  One hundred of the crew died and sixty-two were wounded..

Mr. Shelnutt was born in 1915 and joined the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933 and served for a year before joining the Navy in 1934.

The  California had been at sea for exercises and was just returning to Pearl Harbor on December 5 when someone had said they'd seen a submarine.  They stayed up all night searching for it but didn't find anything.. They entered Pearl Harbor and tied up at Fox Birth One.

The ship opened all hatches and the double bottom of the hull for an inspection by the admiral on Monday so the ship's water tight integrity had been compromised.  he was the only one from his gun crew to survive.

It is so good to write about Pearl harbor survivors and have them still be alive these days.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Army Ship Nevada Lost During World War II-- Part 2

The Nevada now had a 30 degree list when the Comanche arrived.  They found the Nevada's lifeboats gone and circled the stricken ship before seeing two red flames go off in the distance.  Investigating, they found 32 men from the Nevada in a lifeboat.  One moment, the lifeboat would be  way below the Comanche and the next, way above it.  Many attempts were made and three men were lost getting the Nevada's men aboard.

Another raft with six men was found.  Several of the Comanche's crew donned rubber suits and jumped into the water and rescued five others, including the ship's mascot, a dog named Grondal.

The Nevada's other lifeboats and rafts were never found.

The 28-year-old ship was too damaged and plans were made to sink her but the storm died.  On December 18, 1943, the USAT Nevada, 950 tons, carrying a military cargo, sank by the bow.

Twenty-six survivors and Grondal were transported to Narsarssuak, Greenland, and transferred to the USAT Fairfax.

Ten months earlier, the Comanche has helped rescue passengers and crew from the USAT Dorchester which had been torpedoed and sunk by the U-223 off the coast of Newfoundland.  The story of the Four chaplains came from this.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Army Ship Nevada Lost During World War II-- Part 1

From the August 16, 2015, Nevada Appeal by David Henley.

Mr. Henley is a columnist whio has written the combat histories of World War II ships with Nevada-related names:  USS Nevada, USS Churchill County, USS Carson City, USS Douglas County, USS Minden, USS Reno, USS Washoe County, and USS Las Vegas Victory.

The U.S. Army Transport Nevada was sunk in the Arctic Ocean December 15, 1943, about 200  miles south of Greenland.  It became separated from Convoy 5G-36 during a bad gale that had 20-foot high waves, snow squalls and 60 mph winds.

Visibility was near zero and the ship began taking in water.  The pumps couldn't keep up with it.  Captain George P. Turiga of the Nevada radioed "Mayday!"  The 165-foot long Coast Guard cutter Comanche was the closest ship, but it took seven hours to arrive at the scene.


Monday, October 26, 2015

Battleship USS Missouri Commemorates End of World War II

From the August 17, 2015, Travel Weekly "Battleship Missouri to commemorate end of World War II's 70th anniversary" by Shane Nelson.

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) will deliver the keynote address September 2.  The ship will feature an exhibit of rare artifacts from the proceedings including two pens used by Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz to sign the Declaration of Surrender.  There will also be a pen used by Douglas MacArthur.


Death of Pearl Harbor Survivor Chester Jankowski

From the October 23, 2015, Belleville (Illinois) News-Democrat "Pearl GHarbor survivor from Swansea dies at 93."

Chester Jankowski was on the USS Oklahoma during the attack and regularly attended veteran events and spoke at schools of his experiences.  He stressed it is important for people to know about Pearl Harbor and the importance of being ready so it doesn't happen again.

After Pearl Harbor, he served on ships off North Africa, Guam and Okinawa.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

DeKalb County Selective Service Board

From the Sycamore/DeKalb County, Ill., Oct. 20, 2015, MidWeek "Looking Back."

October 1940--  "Charles Townsend of Sycamore has been named by the Illinois Selective Service officials to serve as one of the draft boards of DeKalb County.  He will serve with Thomas F. Courtney of DeKalb and Frank McKinley of Sandwich and these three new men will have jurisdiction over the draftees of DeKalb County District Number One which includes the townships of Franklin, Kingston, Genoa, South Grove, Mayfield and Malta.

"To serve on the draft board of DeKalb County District Number Two, which includes the City of Sycamore, are Ed E. Gallagher of DeKalb, Otto Babcock of Warterman and A.M. Thompson of Sandwich."

Even though the United States wasn't in World War II yet, the country was certainly getting ready for it.


Friday, October 23, 2015

WWII Cubs Fan Finally Gets Chance to See Team: "...the Hell With That"

From the Oct. 21, 2015, CBS Chicago "World War II Vet Who Turned Down '45 World Series Tickets Gets Chance To Cheer On Cubs" by Brad Edwards.

Bill Madden is from South Bend, Indiana,  and said, "I'm here to provide a miracle for the Cubs.  I was shot twice and buried once."  He fought at Iwo Jima the day after his 19th birthday.

"They played Detroit in 1945 they lost in 7 games."  This was when he returned to the U.S. and was in a Chicago naval hospital.  "The Cubs sent over free tickets to the wounded veterans no strings attached.  They got to the hospital.  The hospital official said you can't go have the tickets unless you work for them.  We said the hell with that."  So, he didn't get to see the Cubs then.

But Wednesday, he was at what ended up as the last game of the NLCS as a guest of the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes.

Sadly, he Didn't Provide That Miracle.  --GreGen

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Shorpy Photos of America's Home Front: Swimming and an Early Form of Point and Click

10-21-15:  Modern Photography: 1943.  July 1943.  Glen Echo, Maryland.  "Climbing the ladder to the sliding board at Glen Echo swimming pool on a hot day."  By Esther Bubles.  Although the caption didn't say it, probably for OWI.    Even with war on, life at home continued.  Kids went swimming.

10-14-155  Family Business: 1943.  April 1943.  "San Augustine, Texas. Clyde Smith, grocer, with his two daughters."  By John Vachon, OWI.  You still had to eat.  Apparently one of the old grocery stores where items were behind counters.  An early form of point and click.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Death of Ben Kuroki-- Part 2: "I Had to Fight Like Hell for the Right to Fight for My Own Country"

Born in Gaithersburg, Nebraska, to Japanese immigrant farmers, Mr. Kuroki said, "I had to fight like hell for the right to fight for my own country."  The Army Air Corps tried to keep him out of action because of his heritage.

He was shipped to England with his unit and was a clerk but applied for the post of aerial gunner and got it.

After serving in the European Theater, he was sent back to the United States and was one of the first ethnic Japanese allowed to enter the Pacific Theater of the war.  He was sent to internment camps to persuade Nisei to join the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

Then, he wanted to actually serve in the fighting in the Pacific Theater, but there was a ban against Japanese-Americans serving there.  Friends of the Commonwealth Club lobbied for his getting to serve and he got the job.

Most of his missions in the Pacific involved the bombing of Japan.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Death of Ben Kuroki-- Part 1: Nisei Received Three Distinguished Flying Crosses

From the September 17, 2015, Nichi Bei "'Legendary' World War II veteran Ben Kuroki passes."

"Legendary aerial gunner" Ben Kuroki died September 1, 2015, in California according to the Japanese-American Veterans Association.  He was 98.

A total of five Nisei served as aerial gunners during the war, but he was the only one to serve in the  Asia-Pacific Theater.  he also flew in the African and European theaters.  Kuroki received three Distinguished Flying Crosses, the second highest medal for air combat.

He flew a total of 25 missions against Germany and was in the Ploesti Raid.  In addition, there were another 28 missions in the Pacific.


Pearl Harbor Survivor Deaths in 2014-- Part 2

June 13, 2014, CBS 6 "Pearl Harbor survivor from Crockett dies."

William Jaspar "Bob" White, 94.   Was on the USS YO44, a fuel ship where he manned a machine gun. "The Japanese plane came right down on the side of the deck and he saw that fella driving the plane," said his widow.

May 29, 2014, Times Record News Wichita Falls "Pearl Harbor survivor dies at 93."

Gordon Brown of Graham, one of two brothers from Young County to survive the attack on Pearl Harbor has died.  Gordon Brown and his brother John were both on the USS West Virginia.  His family said that it took them a month to find out if the brothers survived.

After Pearl Harbor, he served on the USS Minneapolis, a heavy cruiser, which was in every major Pacific battle except Iwo Jima.

Brother John died in 2002.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Pearl Harbor Survivor Deaths in 2014-- Part 1

5-2-14 Toledo (Ohio) Blade "Charles E. Kessinger; 1914-2014: World War II vet survived attack on Dec. 7, 1941" by Mark Zaborney.

That morning he was to play center field for the USS Pennsylvania's baseball team vs. the one from the USS Oklahoma.

He served on the USS Pennsylvania during the rest of the war and fought in 13 operations.

5-4-14 My San Antonio "Brooks was Pearl Harbor survivor."

Harry William Brooks died May 2, 2014, 93.  Enlisted straight out of high school, planning to leave the Navy in February 1942.   On USS Pennsylvania at Pearl harbor and the war canceled his plans to leave.  Also served during the Korean War.


Shorpy World War II Photos: Agnes the Operator

10-8-15  AGNES THE OPERATOR, 1942--  July 1942. "Production Machine guns of various calibers.  Agnes Mahan, bench lathe operator at a large Eastern firearms plant, makes oil drills for .50 caliber machine gun barrels.

Photo from Colt's Patent Firearms Mfg. Co. Hartford, Connecticut."  Photo by Andreas Feininger, OWI.

Showing a "Rosie the Riveter" hard at work producing the weapons of war for the U.S. military on the Home Front.

10-2-15 SLOW TRAIN COMING, 1943.  John Delano, OWI.  Another in a large series of pictures of trains.  This, of course, was a very important part of our war effort.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Accidental Sinking of HMS Hussar Off Normandy By Friendly Fire-- Part 2

After D-Day, the Hussar, Britomart, Jason and Salamander were assigned to the 1st Minesweeping Flotilla to clear German minefields north of Normandy to open additional ports to supply Allied forces ashore.

On the afternoon of 27 August 1944, the flotilla was sweeping off Cap d'Antifer in preparation for the battleship Warspite and monitors Erebus and Roberts to engage the German coastal artillery at Le Havre which had been delaying the advance of Canadian troops to that port.

The headquarters officer assigned to minesweeping had neglected to inform the British officer in charge of the area of the flotilla's operations.  There was a huge fear of attack by German E-boats operating out of Le Havre.

The minesweepers were spotted and thought to be those E-boats since no one knew they were there.  The Allied staff requested that No. 263 and No.255 Squadrons RAF to attack the ships.  Sixteen Typhoons were sent out and realized they were not E-boats, but were told there were no Allied ships in the area and to go ahead and attack.

The British planes came out of the sun at 13:30 and sank the Hussar and Britomart and damaged the Salamander so much it was written off as a total wreck.

Eighty-six British seamen lost their lives and another 124 were injured.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Accidental Sinking of the HMS Hussar by Friendly Fire Off Normandy-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

In my War of 1812 blog, I have been writing about the HMS Hussar which was sunk in 1780, but two of its cannons mark the site of Fort Clinton in New York City's Central Park.  I also looked at the names of other HMS Hussars and found this one, whose end is of interest.

The HMS Hussar was a Royal Navy minesweeper of the Halcyon-class.  Commissioned 16 January 1935, it was 245 feet long with a 33.5 foot beam and crew of 80.

It was sunk by RAF Hawker Typhoons on 27 August 1944 when it was mistakenly identified as a German ship.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Great War Ends!-- Part 7: Rescuing Our Men Held Captive

Once Germany was defeated and divisions and bombers began redeploying to Asia was the first time the United States was able to bring the full weight of its war machine on Japan.  Early in the war, GIs in the Pacific were often outnumbered, even as they fought the tropical heat and disease, and tens of thousands were taken prisoner.

At the same time Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, they also landed troops in the Philippines which eventually was forced to surrender.  Those who did were forced on the Bataan Death March and spent the rest of the war in horrible Japanese prison camps.  Among them were members of a National Guard unit from Maywood.

When Japan surrendered there began a frantic effort to find and supply our troops being held by them.  These camps were all across Japan and on the Asian mainland.  The locations of some of the camps weren't exactly known.  What was known, however, were the inhumane conditions and starvation being forced on our troops.

On August 25-- eleven days after the surrender, a U.S. search plane charted a prison camp 70 miles north of Tokyo.  Some 120 prisoners were naked, but all delirious with joy when they saw Lt. Roy Bean's fighter plane.

"I had no supplies but threw over my package of cigarettes," Bean said.  "In all the hell we have been thru, it did my heart more good to see those men than to go home."

--A Great Day, the Greatest Generation.  --GreGen

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Great War Ends!-- Part 6: Overlooked China-Burma-India Theater

Another Chicagoan in Paris suggested sending a thank-you gift to his fellow GIs in the Pacific and sought donations standing in front of a giant tree in front of the Red Cross facility.  Within an hour, hundreds of dollar bills and thousands of franc notes had been pinned to the tree.

Another Chicago GI lamented, however, that military in the China-Burma-India theater were the "forgotten" boys of the war.

This was true as shortly after America's entry into the war, American and British leaders had decided that the first priority of the war was to be the European Theater and the Pacific second.

You rarely hear of the China-Burma-India Theater of the war.


Great War Ends!-- Part 5: V-J Day Celebrated in the Loop and Chinatown

On Guam, Sgt. Francis Hoban of Chicago had fought in several island campaigns and told a Tribune correspondent, "I'd rather have been in the Loop when peace came but any place is a good place to hear the Japs admit they are whipped."

V-E day had been marked solemnly by Chicagoans aware that the fight would shift to the Pacific.  For V-J Day, the joy was unshackled.  Enormous crowds flocked to the Loop and celebrated with abandon.

In Chicago's Chinatown, fireworks and a ceremonial dragon dance marked China's liberation from a long and brutal occupation.  The Tribune reported:  "The firecracker stockpile was brought from China before the Japanese invasion and stored against the day of victory."

In Paris, Corporal Robert MacKinnon told a Tribune reporter that he hated to miss the Chicago celebration.  "At home, I'd have taken my fiancee to Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street where there would surely have been a crowd throwing confetti," he said.  "There's have been hugging and kissing and yelling too.  Anyway we're all thinking hard about home today."

A Time to Celebrate.  --GreGen

Monday, October 12, 2015

Great War Ends!-- Part 4: "Rebel Yells and Cowpoke Hoots"

As Japan and the United States continued negotiations, the public was kept in the dark.  On August 13, the Chicago Tribune reported:  "With nerves a little frayed from an overlong period of expectancy, Chicago continued yesterday to wait and wonder about the result of Japanese peace negotiations."

The war had been on for the U.S. ever since Pearl Harbor had been bombed in 1941.  The war would end with a frantic effort to drop supplies and medical supplies to GIs held in the horrible conditions of Japanese prison camps.  In between, there had been the savage battles on remote Pacific islands that few gad ever heard of: Midway, Guam and Iwo Jima.

So, when Japan's unconditional surrender was announced August 14, it unleashed a flood of pent-up emotion.

On U.S. aircraft carriers, the news elicited "rebel yells and western cowpoke hoots."


Hats at the Ranger Inn in Chicago-- Part 2: Some More Facts

The original hat was hung by the relative going into the United States Army Air Force.  The hats were hung from the bar's rafters and eventually there were 420.  Sixty of them were left by women.

At the hat reclamation party, several hundred people didn't want their dusty old hats, but were there for the free drinks. Three of the unclaimed hats were from those who were killed in action.

After the Fact:

Military hats recalled or disposed in 2001 from China by the United States: 618,000.

Illinois residents killed during the war: 22,283.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Hats at the Ranger Inn in Chicago-- Part 1: Go Off to War, Leave Your Hat

From the August 16, 2015, Chicago Tribune "10 things you might not know about Chicago Taverns" by Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer.

I listed all of them on my Cooter's History Thing blog the last several days.

In 1941, the Ratcliffe family threw a party at its Rogers Park bar, the Ranger Inn, for a relative who was going into the Army.  That GI left his civilian hat at the bar, saying he would reclaim it when he was out of the service.

For the next four years, more than 400 people hung their hats there as they went off to war.  When peace came, the bar held a hat-claiming party.  Those hats that went unclaimed were disposed of in a bonfire.  The American Legion held a memorial service for three hat owners who never returned from the war.


Great War Ends! Japs Will Surrender to Gen. M'Arthur-- Part 3: Not So Easy

On August 10, 1945, the day after the Nagasaki bombing, Col. William Black was telling a reporter that he and his men were headed to what was expected to be an especially bloody campaign when a troopship's loudspeaker announced that Japan had surrendered.  Black told the reporter, "Scratch that line out about redeployment.  Make it read, 'We have been reprieved.'"

That surrender news proved a bit premature.  President Truman had warned the Japanese that if they didn't surrender right away, other Japanese cities would suffer a similar fate.

Japan and the U.S. had differing ideas as to what the surrender entailed.  And messages between the two governments had to pass through quite a series of hoops.  U.S. response to Japan's offer was transmitted by the Radio Corporation of America to neutral Switzerland where it was decoded, given to Swiss authorities, who handed it over to Japanese diplomats, who recoded it and radioed it to the foreign office in Tokyo.

The American public was kept in the dark about what was happening the whole time.


Friday, October 9, 2015

"Great War Ends! Japs Will Surrender to Gen. M'Arthur"-- Part 2: Japan Was Holding On

Today, many younger Americans believe World War II ended immediately after the atom bombs were dropped.  It didn't.

Japan had held on for three months after Germany's surrender against increased Allied attack and most believed that the only way to bring Japan to its knees would be a massive invasion.  American casualties were estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands and Japanese, including civilians would be astronomical.

Throughout the spring of 1945, troopships landed in east coast ports carrying soldiers from Europe who were to be redeployed in the Pacific.  General Homer Groninger, commander of the New York port observed, "This is the start of the big parade to the Pacific."  he said this on the arrival of the famed Blackhawk Division, the first arriving contingent.  Seven hundred of them were from the Chicago area.


"Great War Ends! Japs Will Surrender to Gen. M'Arthur"-- Part 1

From the August 9, 2015, Chicago Tribune. "On V-J Day, Chicagoans celebrated with abandon" by Ron Grossman.

The newspaper ran a copy of the top of the August 15, 1945, Chicago Tribune's Two-Star Final.  Three Cents--  Pay No More.

The banner headline at top of this blog entry.

Other headlines on the page:

U.S.S. Indianapolis Sunk; All Aboard Casualties: Lost in Action After Delivering Atom Bomb Parts.

Army To Free Millions; Cut Draft Quotas.

Jury Asks Execution of Petain.

Words That Ended War.

Hirohito Accepts Role of Puppet; Agrees To carry Out Allied Orders.

Truman to Proclaim V-J Day After Emissaries Complete Signing of Formal Terms.Emperor Says Atom Bomb Made Nippon Give Up.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The USS North Carolina Floats Again

I came across mention in the Wilmington (NC) Star-News that the latest round of rain in the state has put the Cape Fear River in flood stage and that as a result the battleship will actually float above the mud it is mired in at some point today.

It last floated in 2010 as a result of heavy rains and high tide.  This also happened during Hurricane Floyd and the March storm of 1993.

Go, You Old Battleship.  --GreGen

Gold Hunters Blocked from the Site of Alleged Nazi Train-- Part 2

From the September 9, 2015, CNBC "WWII tunnel found in search for Nazi gold train" by Matt Clinch.

Gold rush fever intensified Wednesday with the confirmation that a tunnel was found near the suspected site of a lost German gold train.  The trainis believed to have been carrying billions of dollars in gold and disappeared in the closing days of the war in Europe..

Now, officials in the city of Walbrzych in Poland report the finding of "a railway tunnel with a multi-level complex of underground corridors from the days of World War II."

It is possible that the train, fleeing the advancing Red Army, was carrying 300 tons of gold, precious stones and firearms.  One death has been attributed to this new gold rush.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Gold Hunters Blocked From Site of Alleged Nazi Train-- Part 1

From the Sept. 1, 2015, Chicago Tribune.

Polish authorities have blocked off a wooded area near a railroad track after scores of treasure hunters swarmed southwest Poland looking for an alleged Nazi gold train.

The city of Walbrzych and its surrounding hills are experiencing a gold rush after two men, a Pole and a German, informed authorities through their lawyers that they have found a Nazi train with armaments and valuables that reportedly went missing in the spring of 1945 while fleeing the advancing Red Army.


Dane Saved Chinese Lives During the Rape of Nanking-- Part 6: A Refuge

Bernahrd Sindberg, now in charge of the plant, with Karl Guenther, a German, painted a Danish flag and German Swastika flag on the factory to keep the Japanese from bombing or attacking it.  Japan was not at war with either of those countries.

When Chinese civilians realized that the building was safe, they began flocking there.  Bernhard and Karl set up a makeshift hospital on the grounds and started providing shelter.  They would risk their lives leaving the compound to go to the Red Cross to get food, supplies and medicine.

Meanwhile, conditions in the factory started failing.  The Chinese suffered from hunger, disease and the cold.

The Japanese were aware of what was going on, and after three months, forced Sindberg to leave and sent him to Shanghai where he took a ship to Europe and arrived in Italy where his father picked him up and they drove home.  On the way, they stopped at Geneva where he was honored and thanked by the Chinese delegation.

Later, Sindberg moved to the United States and lived there the rest of his life.


A Dane Saved Chinese Lives During the Rape of Nanking-- Part 5: China

Bernhard Sindberg arrived in China in 1934, once again as a stowaway on a Danish merchant ship, but this time he was caught, but escaped.  He then held several different jobs, including one where he demonstrated Dutch rifles to the Chinese.

One job that he held for awhile probably had a huge impact on his later days in Nanking.  He was the chauffeur for English journalist Penbroke Stephens after the Japanese occupied Shanghai.  The Daily Telegraph reporter covering the Sino-Japanese War was noted for his front line style of reporting until he was killed doing just that.

The Danish company F.L. Smidth was building a concrete factory in Nanking and hired Sindberg as a guard.  It was dangerous, but well-paid work.  He arrived in Nanking on December 2, 1937.  Eleven days later the Japanese occupied the city and the atrocities began.  Sindberg documented them with his camera and wrote extensively about what he was seeing.


Monday, October 5, 2015

A Dane Saved Chinese Lives During the Rape of Nanking-- Part 4: Bernhard Arp Sindberg

From Wikipedia.

Born 19 February 1911, Died 1983.  Known in China as "Mr. Xin," "Xinbo," "The Greatest Dane," "The Shining Buddha" or "Our Savior."

Sindberg always had the urge to travel and see things and eventually left home, after running away often, at age 17.  He lived most of his life in the United States, but traveled extensively around the world.

He was one of the view foreigners to witness the Japanese Rape of Nanking.  His pictures, letters and journals show the atrocities that took place.  In addition, his business efforts are responsible for saving as many as 6,000 Chinese civilians, which has given him the title "Friend of China."

At age 17, he went to the United States, but returned home.  His next time away, he joined the French Foreign Legion, but didn't like the desert and deserted after ten months by being a stowaway on a ship.


A Dane Saved Chinese Lives During the Rape of Nanking-- Part 3

The Chinese government never recognized Nernhard Sindberg during his lifetime, but did send a delegation to Denmark in 2000 to search for him.  He had years earlier, but they did find his relatives.  In 2005, members were invited to China and given the VIP treatment as Bernhard was honored by the government.

Ole Sindberg inherited his half-brother's documents and donated some of them to the University of Texas in Austin.  But he still has dozens of documents at his Trout Valley home.  he even has a 1954 motorcycle from the same company his brother once worked for, which he occasionally drives around town.

He spent three hours with the documentary crew and then more hours telling the story to his grandchildren.

One relative, Sonya, intends to use Bernhard's story as the basis of her undergraduate thesis at Lake Forest College.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Dane Saved Chinese Lives During the Rape of Nanking-- Part 2

Ole Sindberg's father was also the father of Bernhard Sindberg, though Bernhard was 23 years older.  However, Ole began having contact with Bernhard in 1962 when they were working in British Columbia, Canada.  They met for dinner in Vancouver and afterwards retired to Ole's hotel room where Bernhard told stories that lasted well into the night.

The two stayed in touch and over time, Ole began to realize his brother's stories were true.

Bernhard Sindberg had made a number of stops after he left Denmark.  As a teen, he joined and deserted from the French Foreign Legion, got thrown into the brig of a ship traveling from the U.S. to China, and selling motorcycles and machine guns.In 1937, a Danish company put him in charge of a cement factory in Nanking, where civilians were being brutally murdered and abused by Japanese soldiers.

It was then that Bernhard decided that he could do something to help them.  With the regular staff gone, Bernhard invited civilians to the factory and painted a huge Danish flag on the roof.  He maintained a good relationship with the Japanese in order to protect his factory and Chinese citizens.


A Dane Saved As Many as 20,000 Chinese During the Rape of Nanking-- Part 1

From the September 24, 2015, Northwest Herald (Illinois) "  Man tells of brother's life-saving actions during Rape of Nanking" by Caitlin Swieca.

This story came about because a Chinese TV crew recently interviewed Ole Sindber,81, in Trout Valley, Illinois.  They were there to document what his half-brother Bernhard had done to save the lives of thousands of Chinese during the Japanese Rape of Nanking in the late 1930s.

Bernhard Sindberg died in 1983 and is regarded as a hero by the Chinese government for sheltering thousands of innocent Chinese citizens in a Danish-owned cement factory through the worst of the massacre in 1937 and 1938.

The Chinese government estimates that 300,000 people died in the first six weeks of the occupation and Sindberg may have saved as many as 20,000 lives, although estimates vary greatly.

The story is being documented by the China Jiangsu Broadcasting Corp. and will in a 10-part series dedicated to heroes of the massacre.

Ming Liu is the director of the documentary and contacted Ole Sindberg, a native Dane now living in Trout Valley, to tell of his brother's deeds.


Friday, October 2, 2015

USS Schenck (DD-159)-- Part 2

From then on, it escorted convoys carrying much-needed supplies to England.  It escorted its first convoy right away in September.  After the U.S. formally entered the war, it continued its North Atlantic  until 1943.

It was decommissioned 17 May 1946 and sold for scrap.

The ship was 314 feet long, 31 foot beam and had a crew of 122.  Besides torpedoes and depth charges, it mounted four 4-inch guns and one 3-inch.


The USS Schenck (DD-159)-- Part 1: Neutrality Patrol and Civil War Connection

From Wikipedia.

Yesterday, I wrote about Rear Admiral Robert B. Ellis.  At one time, he commanded the destroyer USS Schenck (DD-159)  It was a Wickes-Class destroyer commissioned 30 October 1919.

It was named after James F. Schenck who served in the Mexican and Civil War.  he was the first to raise and American flag in California in 1846.  During the Civil War, he commanded the USS Powhattan and the Third Division of ships during Admiral Porter's bombardment of Fort Fisher.

The USS Schenck began its Neutrality Patrol off the east coast of the United States on 8 September 1939 and then patrolled off Key West.  It then took USNA midshipmen on two cruises from Annapolis and then began patrolling the Caribbean looking for German ships.  Ellis commanded the Schenck from 1941 to May 25, 1942.

On September 15, 1941, it went to Newfoundland and escorted convoys.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Rear Admiral Robert Beaman Ellis-- Part 2: Destroyer Man and Castro

Rear Admiral Robert Ellis died July 15, 1984.  He graduated from the USNA.  In World War II, he commanded a squadron of destroyers. One of his ships, the USS Reuben James was sunk by a German U-boat off the coast of the U.S. before the U.S. entered World War II.  He also commanded the destroyer USS Schenck (DD-159) while a lieutenant-commander from 1941 to May 26, 1942.

He served in the Navy for 33 years and during that time was chief of staff for the US Navy Sixth Fleet in 1952 and the US North Atlantic and Mediterranean Command in 1954.

He was in command of the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during Castro's insurgency.  A newspaper article mentions him in regards to 30 U.S. servicemen and 4 civilians who were being held captive by Castro in 1958.

The Wilmington (NC) Star-News ran an obituary for him July 17, 1984 and said he retired from the Navy in 1959 and spent six years as superintendent of the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial.

He moved to Griffin, Georgia, in 1976 and lived there until his death and was buried in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.


Rear Admiral Robert B. Ellis-- Part 1:Superintendent of USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial

In yesterday's post, I mentioned this man as the superintendent of the Battleship North Carolina back in 1965.

He was from Durham, North Carolina and died in 1984 at the age of 81.  During World War II he served as chief of staff of the Navy's Sixth Fleet and in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Command.

When the USS North Carolina entered its final mooring opposite Wilmington, N.C., Pearl Harbor had not quite been 20 years earlier.  Thousands of men and women from World War II visited the ship in those days.  Sadly, not so many anymore.