Friday, January 29, 2016

D-Day Sailor Recalls "Miracle Survival"-- Part 1: His LCT Hit a Mine

From the June 6, 2014, WCF (Cedar Valley) Courier "Waterloo D-Day sailor recalls 'miracle' survival" by Pat Kinney.

Glen McClain has a memorial in the back of his desk.  A welder by trade, he has put together the yardarm of a ship with twelve rebar crosses.

He and his shipmates were sailing toward Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944.  He is the only one left.  They never made it to the beach as their landing craft hit a mine and was obliterated.

Most of his men died that day.  One had his lower jaw blown away and died the next day.  The only other survivor, Nick Vasilou of Charleston, West Virginia, lost both of his legs.  McClain saved him.  They became lasting friends after that, but Nick died fifteen years ago of cancer.

Of the 100 soldiers they were carrying, nearly all of them died as well.


World War II Deaths in 2014

J.F. COLEMAN, 95.  (1918-May 13, 2014)  USMC 1941.  Fighter pilot, dive bombing missions in the Pacific Theater.  Became a test pilot in vertical take-offs and landings.

PETER AYERST, 93  (1920-May 15, 2014)  British World War II Spitfire pilot.  Eventually Wing-Commander.  Last surviving 73 Squadron pilot from Castle Bromwich.
Joined the RAF in 1938 and posted with 73 Squadron August 1939 and initially flew Hurricanes.  His first victory was in April 1940.  In 1942 transferred to North Africa.  Flew Spitfires as a bomber escort.  His war record was 5 Destroyed, 1 Probable, 3 Damaged and 2 destroyed on ground.

HIRAM MANN, 92  Army Lt.Colonel Tuskegee Airmen, 332nd Fighter Group.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Higgins Boats and Copper Mines

MAY 26, 2014,  ARC STORY: 1942--  July 1942:  "An electric arc welder at a large Southern boatyard examines a bead he has just run on a steel ramp boat which will be used in military beach landings of men, tanks and other equipment on hostile shores, Higgins Industries, New Orleans."  By Howard Hollem, OWI.

The famous Higgins Boats so often used in the war and especially at D-Day.

MAY 22, 2014,  BINGHAM MINE: 1942--  November 1942.  "Utah Copper-- Bingham Mine.  Part of the open-pit workings f the Utah Copper Company at Bingham Canyon, Utah.  The steam locomotive is bringing empty cars from the Utah Copper mills at Magna and Arthur."  By Andreas Feininger, OWI

MAY 21, 2014,  WAR MACHINE: 1942--  November 1942.  "Floatation machine at one of the copper concentrations of the Utah Copper Company.  Its plants at Magna and Arthur in Utah are treating vast quantities of the copper so vital for war purposes."  By Andreas Feininger, OWI.

Reasons for Eventual U.S. Victory.  --GreGen

Shorpy Photos: Home Front-- Railroad Ladies and Meat Grinders

APRIL 25, 2014,  SISTER ACT: 1943--  May 1943.  Pitcairn, Pa.  "Twins Amy and Mary Rose Lindich, 21, employed by Pennsylvania Railroad as car repairmen, earning  72 cents per hour.  They reside in Jeannette and carpool with fellow worker."  By Marjory Collins.

APRIL 23, 2014,  GRINDER: 1943--  Moreno Valley, Colfax County, New Mexico.  Girl grinding meat at home.  By John Collier, OWI.    None of that store bought stuff here.  Several comments by people who remember using the old hand-cranked, stuff the meat into the cylinder, meat grinders.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Shorpy Photos: Home Front Bombers

APRIL 29, 2014, NEW SHOE 1943--  Dec. 1942.  "A landing wheel with its huge rubber 'shoe' is trumbled out in a service tractor to a new B-17F (Flying Fortress) bomber awaiting completion at Boeing's Seattle plant."  Operated by a woman, who make up half the plant's workers.  By Andreas Feininger, OWI.

APRIL 27, 2014, LET'S BUILD A BOMBER: 1942--  Dec. 1942  "Production of B-17 heqavy bomber.  A skilled team of men and women workers at Boeing plant Seattle complete assembly and fitting operations of a fuselage section for a new B-17F (Flying Fortress)."  By Andreas Feininger.

Bombers, Oh My!  --GreGen

Shorpy Photos: Home Front Trains

MAY 1, 2014, SECONDS FAST: 1943:  March 1943.  More Marceline, Missouri "A dispatcher at work in the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Rail Road office."  By Jack Delano, OWI.  As I said before, Jack delano rode a lot of trains.

MAY 1, 1943  ANOTHER PHOTO--  Another photo of the above.

MAY 4, 2014, OIL + WATER: 1943--  March 1943  "Two trains passing on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad.  The above two by Jack Delano, OWI.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Remains of Two Wisconsin USS Oklahoma Survivors Identified

From the Jan. 21, 2016, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by Meg Jones.

When the USS Oklahoma sank at Pearl Harbor, 429 men died.  Many of them were entombed in the overturned ship for many months afterwards and their bodies were unidentified when it was finally uprighted.

The two Wisconsin people:

Petty Officer First Class Vernon T. lake, 43, of Green Bay

Chief Petty Officer Albert E. Hayden, 44, of Hudson.

In 2008, another Wisconsin sailor on the ship was identified, Lawrence Boxrucher, Fireman 2nd Class.


Pearl Harbor Survivor Jack Stoeber Dies

From the Jan. 21, 2016, Milford (Ct.) Mirror by Jill Dion.

Jack Stoeber, 98, died Jan. 16, 2016.  he graduated from Milford High School in 1936 and was on the USS Whitney during the attack.  Afterwards he was Chief Carpenter's Mate on the USS Pickens at Iwo Jima, Okinawa and the Philippines.

At Pearl Harbor, Mr. Stoeber was 21 and wasn't supposed to even be on board the Whitney as he was supposed to meet his uncle on Saturday night, but the plans changed and he returned to his ship.

He had just gotten out of the shower when the attack came.  The Whitney suffered no damage, but he said, "A loader got hit with shrapnel in the arm, but that was it.  They were going after the battleships."

Reporting to a gun on his ship, he said, "I hit one plane flying down low, and he crashed."


Monday, January 25, 2016

Shorpy Photos: Making Planes

MAY 8, 2014, SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED: 1942--  August 1942.  "Vultee Aircraft Co., Nashville.  using an electric drill on a fuselage in a sub-assembly section."  By Jack Delano, OWI.

MAY 8, 2014, DANNY THE DRILLER: 1942--  Another photo of the same plane as above.  Comment:  Appears to be A-31 Vengeance dive bomber which were built at Nashville at the Stinson plant.

They were not used in combat by U.S. forces, but saw action in the RAF, RAAF and Indian Air Force in Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific.  Only used by U.S. to tow targets.

There was some question as to why the driller was not in the military.


Shorpy Photos: Home Front-- Trains

MAY 11, 2014  THE TRAVELERS: 1943--  January 1943  "At information desk at Union station Chicago."  By Jack Delano, OWI.

Comments:  Noticed a flag of the Philippines hanging from the ceiling.  Flags of the Allies on display at Chicago's Union Station.

Another said that in 1943, her mother, a new wife, rode the train from New Orleans to Los Angeles to be with her father before he went off to the war in the Pacific.  She said, "Mom, with no child in tow, made the trip sitting on her suitcase; no gallant GI offered his coach seat."

MAY 10, 2014  THE SHOPTOWN SHOPS: 1942--  March 1943.  Fort Madison, Iowa.  "In the train control room at the Shopton shops of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, testing pneumatic train control equipment.  This rack is used for testing about eight different parts of the apparatus."  By Jack Delano, OWI.  Mr. Delano took a lot of train pictures during the war.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Shorpy Photos: Home Front-- Part 3 Busses and Street Cars

MAY 16, 2014  FARE MAIDEN: 1943--  June 1943.  Washington, D.C.  "Hattie B. Sheehan, a street car conductor for the Capital Transit Company.  By Esther Bubley, OWI.  Because men were away, women started doing former male jobs.

MAY 14, 2014, GOING PLACES: 1943--  September 1943.  "A Greyhound bus trip from Louisville to Memphis and the terminals.  Roberta Locker, going from Elora, Tennessee, to work.  By Esther Bubley, OWI.


Shorpy Photos: Followup on Chinese Seamen

These were comments from yesterday's post on "With Relish: 1942."

There was some discussion as to whether one was drinking a Pepsi or grape Nehi.

The two Chinese sailors were off the M.V. Glenstrae out of Liverpool.

The Glenstrae was launched in 1920, but not delivered until 1922 by Harland & Wolff of Glasgow and was originally named the M.V. Glengarry until 1939.

It was 485.6 feet long.

On September 7, 1940, it took a direct hit during an air raid over London Dock.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Shorpy Photos: The Home Front-- Part 2: Chinese Seamen in New York

MAY 19, 2014  WITH RELISH: 1942--  September 1942.  New York City.  "First Chinese seamen granted shore leave in wartime America.  Chinese seamen on United Nation vessels may now obtain shore leave in American ports.  Heretofore, because of the large number of desertions by Chinese crew members, alien seamen of Chinese nationality have been detained on board when their ships touched American ports.

"As a result of conferences between representatives of the Chinese Embassy, the Recruitment and Manning Organization of War Shipping Administration, and Immigration and Naturalization Service of the department of Justice, Chinese seamen may now be granted shore leave if guarantees are given that they will not desert.

"Lee Ah Ding and Yee Chee Ching, Chinese seamen from a British freighter, try hot dogs for the first time.  Yee ate a hot dog.  Lee refused but did enjoy a Coke."

By Edward Gates, OWI.


Shorpy Photos: The Home Front-- Part 1: Mercury and "Widgets"

May 21, 2014--  QUICKSILVER CAR: 1942--  December 1942.  "Production Mercury.  Loading mercury ore into a mine car by hand at New Idria, California plant of the New Idria Quicksilver Mining Company.  Triple distilled mercury is produced from cinnibar, an ore containing sulfur and mercury mined at a number of workings near the plant."  By Andreas Feininger, OWI.

MAY 20, 2014  HANDLE WITH CARE: 1942--  Circa 1942.  "Lost caption of a woman operating "yet another War-Winning Widget in Factorytown, USA."  What is she making?

Comments said the machine is to bend tubing.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Another Pearl Harbor Survivor Dies, Harold George Slater, 94

From the jan. 14, 2016, NBC Connecticut "Pearl harbor, World War II Veteran Dies at 94."

Died jan. 13, 2016.

Born in Connecticut in 1921.  Joined the Army at age 16.  Stationed at Fort DeRussey, Battery C, 64th Coast Artillery Division.  Then it became Fort Shafter.

He was at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked and later landed at Omaha Beach in Normandy after D-Day.   Mr. Slater moved across France, Belgium, was at the Battle of the Bulge and then into Germany.

He trained recruits for 18 months during the Korean War.

Past president of the Nutmeg Chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association for about twenty years until it disbanded.


Deaths: John Murray-- Part 2

John Murray and his partner Dennis Trettel, learned how to forecast the weather's effects on the operations of their clients in the Chicago area and were the first to use the color code to indicate weather severity

Locally in Chicago, his company had accounts with the City of Chicago, Commonwealth Edison, Ravinia, the Cubs and Brach's Candy company.

John Murray was born in Chicago.  While attending Loyola University, he joined the Army Air Forces meteorology division and was sent to the University of Michigan where he received a bachelor's degree, specializing in micrometeorology.

I was unable to find out if he was one of the meteoroligists who played such an important role in D-Day.  Perhaps he was.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Deaths: John Murray, Weather Forecaster During the War-- Part 1

JOHN MURRAY (1921-2015)

From the Jan. 6, 2015, Chicago Tribune  "Weather forecast firm took industry by storm" by Joan Giangrasse Kates.

John Murray started, with a partner, a small weather forecasting service after serving as a military meteorologist during World War II.  The firm became the source of highly specialized forecasts for major industries as well as regular people.

He died December 9, 2015, at age 94.

His partner was Dennis Trettel, cofounder of Murray and Trettel.  Both were veterans Army Air Force weather officers who used their expertise gained in war for peace time.  They gave companies specific real-time weather, better than what the Weather Bureau, now the National Weather Service was doing.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Rocky Was More Than Pearl Harbor Survivor

From the Jan. 15, 2016, Kitsap (Washington State) Sun by Ed Friedrich.

Maynard "Rocky" Hoffman, 97, died Jan. 15, 2016.  At age 21, he was a sergeant at Ewa Marine Corps Air Station, about three miles from Pearl Harbor when the attack came.

All 49 planes based there were either destroyed or seriously damaged.  Four Marines and two civilians were killed and twenty wounded.

He served in the USMC and Marine reserves for twenty years.


The End of the YP-346-- Part 9

From Pacifis Wrecksites.

On September 9, 1842, the YP-346 was attacked with gunfire from Japanese light cruiser Sendai and three destroyers while entering Tulagi Harbor.

The ship was forced aground and only one crew member was lost when he was struck by shrapnel and fell overboard.


"Floating Targets"-- Part 8: YP-346 to the Rescue

Around midnight, the YP-346 entered the channel and the USS Tucker requested assistance.  The YP-346 gave the stricken destroyer a tow but soon realized the Tucker was coming apart and cut the line..

The YP-346 then went to Malo island and rescued 165 survivors of the destroyer.

The next day, thinking the two large (the Tucker had completely broken apart) objects in the channel were enemy submarines, American aviators bombed the Tucker.

The YP-346's next assignment was Guadalcanal, which proved to be her last.


Friday, January 15, 2016

World War II's "Floating Targets" the YPs-- Part 7: The End of the USS Tucker

On the morning of December 7, 1941, the USS Tucker (DD-372)had beem at Pearl harbor, where it shot down at least two, possibly 3 enemy aircraft.  For the next five months it escorted convoys.

Just after midnight on August 3, 1942, the USS Gamble, USS Tracy and USS Breese laid 171 mines at the three entrances to Espiritu Santo.  They were Mark VI mines, each containing 1600 pounds of TNT.

On August 3, at 2145, the Tucker was leading the SS Nira Luckenbach, a freighter, into one of the three entrances, the Segond Channel.  they had no idea that the new mines had been laid.

The Tucker hit a mine and was almost lifted out of the water.  The ship buckled.   The freighter refused to assist for fear of other mines.  Around midnight, the YP-346 entered the channel.



The YP designation stood for Yard Patrol Craft.  Today, such naval ships are used for training and research purposes.  YP is Hull Classification Symbol System.

After Pearl Harbor, the government leased the California tuna boat fleet for the duration of the war.

Sic hundred tuna boat men also volunteered.

The YPs patrolled the coast of the United states, the Panama Canal and the South Pacific.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

World War II's "Floating Targets"-- Part 6: An Encounter With the USS Tucker

YPs were diesel powered with a top speed of 10 knots.

The YP-346 hauled supplies to remote islands and, whenever possible, trolled for tuna (after all, they had originally been tuna boats).  They also played the role of entrepreneurs when they would buy items at one place and sell for good profit at other places.  Nothing wrong with making a buck during war.

The Navy has two sets of signals:  one for major warships and one for minor ones like the YPs.

At midnight August 3, 1942, the YP-346 was near Point Victor on its way to Espiritu Santo, when the USS Tucker (DD-347) flashed its signal lights with the message "Identify yourself at once."  The problem was that the YP-346 didn't have the signal to reply.  A tense few moments ended when Theodora ordered his signalman to reply in straight English and the destroyer let the ship pass.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

World War II's "Floating Targets"-- Part 5: Loss of the YP-277

The YPs knew the harbor at La Parouse Pinnacle had been mined, but for security reasons, only the lead ship, the Challenger (YP-239) had a map of their locations.

On May 23, the YPs entered the harbor single file behind the Challenger.  Suddenly, the Triumpho (YP-277), third inline, exploded, then exploded again.  Then a third monster explosion disintegrated the ship.  Total fatalities were unknown, but YPs typically carried crews of17.

The other three YPs arrived safely at their destination.

No one knows what caused the end of the Triumpho (Triumfo).  Some believe it hit a mine, others say it was a fuel accident.


World War II's "Floating Targets"-- Part 4: YPs, the "Hooligan Navy"

The crews of the YP boats consisted of Navy sailors and the San Diego tuna men.  It did not take long for the tuna men to realize they knew more about the ship than their counterparts  Nearly 600 San Diego tuna men were now in the Navy and wore their uniforms deliberately askew earning them the name "Hooligan Navy."  They also generally left the decks unswabbed.

Vince Battaglia remembers 9 months without mail and 7 without pay.They had problems with the 50-caliber machine guns.  Jack Theodore recalled, "Those .50 calibers were good for nothing.  I didn't even use them when I got hurt."

The boat also had 12 depth charges astern mounted above the bait box.

Even though they were not intended for active combat, that was not the case.  Early on a group of four YPs transported fuel and supplies from Pearl Harbor to La Perouse Pinnacle, 260 miles south of Midway Island.  Heat made the fuel drums so hot, crews had to hose them down every two hours.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

World War II's "Floating Targets"-- Part 3: How They Got to Be Floating Targets

At San Diego, the tuna boats were turned into warships.  They were given several coats of slate-gray paint plus two .50 caliber machine guns, one aft and one forward of the pilot house.  The color they were painted was the same as that which was on battleships which made them "floating targets."

"We got no training.  They gave me the ship that I was commanding, an office.  That was it," said Vince Battaglia.  He remembers the nicknames given to the YP ships:  "Pork Chop Express,"  "Errand Boys of the Pacific"  and "Yippies."  But his own favorite is "Hooligan Navy."

They arrived at Pearl Harbor on May 18, 1942 and the sight overwhelmed him: "the battered, blackened wreckage; tall crane refloating vessels on oil-slicked waters; military personnel everywhere scraping grit from the hulls or waiting to be shipped out."

He also said he'd never forget the barges "filled with a lot of clothing" from the dead.


World War II's "Floating Targets"-- Part 2: The Fate of the Japanese-American and Italian-American Sailors

Soon after Pearl Harbor, the Navy ordered all tuna boats to return to their nearest port.  Many, including the Prospect, had Japanese-Americans crews.  When the boat docked at Point Loma "the crew was removed under marine guard and the cargo of tuna unloaded."

The Van Camp Sea Company owned the boat and "the government seized the ship."  The crew was then shipped to a relocation camp at Poston, Arizona, along with 2000 other Japanese-Americans from San Diego.

At the time, California also had over 1500 regular Italian-American seamen and the government wouldn't let them work on boats or around the docks.

Even though he was Italian, Vince Batfaglia was appointed commander of the YP-346.


Monday, January 11, 2016

No Training for the "Floating Targets"-- Part 1: Didn't Want to Go Into the Army

From the May 15, 2013, San Diego Reader "Unforgettable: Floating Targets, part 1" by Jeff Smith.

The YP-346 was a 120-foot former tuna boat named the Prospect.

"Just after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Vince Battaglia thought the war ion the Pacific would be 'a big joke.  You know, we'd win it in a week."

He was assigned to the YP-346 in May 1942 and started for Pearl Harbor less than a week after joining the Navy.  He had joined it after a friend had been drafted into the Army and he didn't want to go there.

He became a warrant officer right away because he had his master's license to captain a ship.


Shorpy War Photo: "Fifty-Eight An Hour"

From April 1, 2014, Shorpy "Fifty-eight and Hour: 1943.

June 1943.  "Pitcairn, Pa.  Mrs. Bernice Stevens of Braddock, Pa., mother of one child, employed in the engine house of the Pennsylvania Railroad, earns 58 cents per hour.  She is cleaning a locomotive with a high pressure nozzle.  Her husband is in the Army. "

Photo by Marjory Collins, OWI.

She is a black woman.  One comment says that she would be earning $7.87 today.

The Home Front.  --GreGen

Friday, January 8, 2016

Ed Vezey, Last USS Oklahoma Survivor, Dies

From the Jan. 5, 2016,

Mr. Vezey died on January 2.  He was instrumental in getting the USS Oklahoma Memorial established on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor.

Ed Vezey went to Pearl Harbor every year and was born in College Station, Texas.

Sorry to See This.  --GreGen

Shorpy War Photos-- Part 5: Red, White & Brew

**  April 3, 2014, DEPARTURE WINDOW: 1943--  December 1943.  "A lieutenant in the Arm,y Air Transport Command calling the airport to check on flight conditions before checking out of the United Nations service center."  Photo by Esther Bubley, OWI.  He appears to be in a hotel room.

**  April 3, 2014, NAVY FLIER: 1942--  July 1942.  "U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland.  Gymnast on the flying rings."

**  April 2, 2014,  RED, WHITE & BREW: 1943--  May 1943.  "Palacious, Texas, liquor store.  Very small building."  Photo by John Vachon, OWI.

The name of the store is The American Liquor Store and it features a U.S. flag on the sign.

Comment:  Palacios was the home of Camp Hulen, Texas National Guard before the war and anti-aircraft training facility during the war.


Shorpy War Photos-- Part 4: U.S. "Ronson" Tanks

**  April 8, 2014, THE RITES OF SPRING: 1943  June 1943, Arlington County, Virginia.  "Arlington Farms, war duration residence halls.  Sunbathers on the sidewalks in the back of Idaho Hall." Esther Bubley, OWI.  These were residence halls for women working in Washington, D.C., across the river.  Obviously, Arlington Farms were popular with the soldiers and sailors.

**  April 6, 2014, NORTHWARD BOUND: 1942.  SEPTEMBER 1942  "Richmond, West Virginia, train station scene of the departure of men to help the harvest in upstate New York.  Photo by John Collier.  The need for soldiers led to labor shortages.  At first I thought they were bound to join the military.

**  April 5, 2014, STUDENT DRIVER: 1942.  June 1942. "Light tank, Fort Knox, Kentucky." Photo by Alfred Palmer, OWI.  A man is peering out of a slot in front.  They had to learn how to drive tanks.

Comment:  World War II vets called these U.S. tanks "Ronson" after the popular cigarette lighter.  The company advertised that Ronson lighters, "Lights up first time, every time."  This regarding how easily they caught fire when hit by a shell.

The tank pictured was an M3 Stuart.

Another comment said that his father called them death traps.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Shorpy War Photos-- Part 3: Hitler Youth

APRIL 9, 2014, MOD CAFE: 1944--  September 3, 1943  "U.S.O. canteen, Penn station, Harrisburg, Pa.  Serving bar.  Travelers Aid and Pennsylvania Railroad."    Photo by Gottscho-Schleisner.  An ultra modern place.  Wonder if they served alcohol?

APRIL 8, 2014, BFF: 1938--  1938, Stuttgart, Germany.  "Hitler Youth in tent during festivities for the 6th National Days of Foreign Germans."  Photo by Heinrich Hoffmann.

Comments:  membership was mandatory for all boys.  The two in the front belong to Hitlerjugend.  The ones in the back belong to Deuschesjungvolk.  Hitler Youth led to German soldiers.


18th-Century Marble Bust Looted By Nazis Returned to Poland

From the Dec. 20, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Monika Scislowska, AP.

It is the bust of goddess Diana looted by the Nazis in 1940 and returned to Waesaw after recently surfacing in a Vienna auction.  french sculptor master Jean-Antoine Houdon made it and it is valued at $270,000.  This is the latest development in Poland's long effort to retrieve tens of thousands of works of art looted from museums and private collections during World War II.

Poland has a list of 63,000 missing works of art.

The white marble bust was returned to Warsaw's Lazienki Palace following months of effort by the Polish government and the Art recovery Group Ltd.

Poland's last king, Stanislaw August Poniatowski bought it in the late 18th century.

It was first looted from the palace by Bolshevik troops during World War I, but returned when Polish troops enter Russia in 1920.  It vanished again in 1940 during the German occupation of Poland.

Seven other looted works of art were returned to Poland in 2015.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Death of Another Pearl Harbor Survivor: Ford Wothington Rice, 100

From the Jan. 4, 2016, Ventura County (Cal.) Star "Pearl Harbor survivor dies at age 100 at Simi Valley home."

Ford Worthington Rice served 20+ years in the Navy.  He was born in 1915 and was on the USS Solace, a hospital ship at Pearl Harbor when the attack came.  He was watching the colors being posted on the USS Arizona when he saw Japanese planes.

One flew right by him, "He turned his head and looked right at me as he went by," before dropping a torpedo at the Arizona.

Mr. Rice helped rescue and care for those Arizona survivors.


The Bellamy Salute to the American Flag

From Wikipedia.

Yesterday I mentioned the American school children doing what really looks a lot like the Nazi salute to the American flag in a Shorpy picture.  I did some more research and there was good old Wiki.

Francis Bellamy was a minister and author of the American Pledge of Allegiance.  He developed this flag salute to go along with it which is sometimes referred to as "The Flag Salute."

However, in the 1920s and 1930s Italian fascists and the Nazis adopted a salute with a very similar form which was derived from the Roman Salute.

This caused problems with the Bellamy Salute.

The salute officially became hand-over-the-heart salute when Congress amended the Flag Code on December 22, 1942.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Shorpy War Photos-- Part 2: Rowers and Nazi Salute in American Schools?

From the Shorpy photo site.

APRIL 11, 2014 BEACHED: 1942--  July 1942  July 1942  "U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, rowing crew.  Lt. Whitman, OWI.

Even with the war on, the new officers still had to be trained.

APRIL 9, 2014  TO THE REPUBLIC: 1942  May 1942  "Southington, Ct..  School children pledging allegiance to the flag."  By Fenno Jacobs, OWI.

A very interesting photo.  At first I thought they were doing the Nazi salute as the kids were holding up their right hands at a 45 degree angle. with the hand palm down

A reader commented that this was the Bellamy Salute where students were to turn their hands over when the words "to my flag" were said.  Later it was changed to the right hand over the heart and the words "to the flag."

This occurred because what they were doing was too similar to the Nazi salute.

Later, the hand was changed to over the heart throughout the pledge.

A Really Interesting Photo.  --GreGen

Shorpy War Photos-- Part 1: Bombers and Workers

From the Shorpy Photo site.

APRIL 16, 2014  "HATCHLINGS":  1942.  October 1942 "New  B-25 bombers lined up for final inspection and tests at North American Aviation plant in Kansas City, Kansas.  Alfred Palmer, OWI.

The reason we won the war.

APRIL 15, 2014, VENETIAN BLONDE:  1943.  June 1943.  Arlington County, Virginia.  "Arlington Farms, war duration residence halls.  A room at Idaho Hall."  By Esther Bubley, OWI.  The women are listening to a radio in front of Venetian blinds.

Arlington Farms house female office workers from Washington, D.C., during the war and reportedly was a popular destination for soldiers on leave.  I have written about it before.  Hit the label for Arlington Farms.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Some Bizarre World War II Plans-- Part 2: Making Hitler Feminine and Exploding Volcanoes

Continued from Dec. 24, 2015.  The original article had ten items listed. These are just the ones dealing with World War II.

5.  The Bid to Bomb Japan's Volcanoes.  In 1944 a scientist, Harold Whitnall,  wrote in Popular Science that the Japanese held their volcanoes to be sacred and bombing them would demoralize them.  Also, unstable volcanoes might induce devastating earthquakes and eruptions.

3.  Both the Allies and Axis turned Nostradamus prophecies into propaganda.  Josef Goebbels hired astrologer Karl Kraft to publish Nazified versions of the prophesies.   The British and Americans did as well.

2.  Plan to defeat Hitler with harmones.  they were designed to make Hitler feminine by secretly adding estrogen to Hitler's food.

You Never Know.  --GreGen

Draft Hits DeKalb County (Illinois) in 1940-- Part 3: No Big Sendoff for First Draftees

At 5:36 p.m. November 29, 1040, the first four draftees boarded the train of the Chicago Great Western in Sycamore.  It was a dark and cold evening.  There to see them off were two newspapermen and G.N. Blackman, chief clerk of draft board number 2.

The four draftees were: Robert Blair of Clare; Wilbur Matson, DeKalb; Reuel Hovland, Waterman; and Clyde Mischler, who got his mail in Elburn rural mail delivery but resided in DeKalb County.

Only Blair was a native of DeKalb County.  Matson a former Galva resident working in DeKalb, Hovland from Maddock, N.D. and working in Waterman, Mischler from from Udel, Iowa.

"There was no music, no doughnuts nor any other farewell ceremony.  There was no crowd.  There were war clouds in the air hovering near the United States but for the most part the guns were roaring only in Europe."

Off to Train for War.  --GreGen

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Draft Hits DeKalb County in 1940-- Part 2

On Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015, I wrote about the first four men to be called up to service in the peace-time draft in 1940.

I found a follow-up article about them.

From the April 1, 1947 True Republican from DeKalb County "Selective Service Office Will Remain Open: Record Work Continues Despite End of Draft."

Obviously, the draft had come to an end with the end of the war.It had ended at the stroke of midnight the night before.

The first registration for the draft in DeKalb County took place October 16, 1940.  In Sycamore, young men ages 16-35 registered at six polling places.

A total of 649 registered and received their cards in Sycamore Township and 4,415 in the county.


Hard Sauce and Clear Soup

This past week I wrote about the White House Christmas dinner during the war and mentioned they were having clear soup and hard sauce.  I was unfamiliar with both of these items and looked them up.

CLEAR SOUP--  Primarily liquid, usually served warm and combining ingredients like meat and vegetables.

HARD SAUCE--  Sweet, rich dessert sauce made by creaming butter and sugar with liquor, often rum.

New Words for Me.  --GreGen

Friday, January 1, 2016


Also in the Dec. 25, 2015, post, Stanley Niemczura mentioned that he and his plane had hedgehopped from Foggia to his airfield in Cerignola, Italy.

I wasn't sure of what that meant, but found out hedgehopping is when an airplane flies close to the ground, rising above objects as they appear.  This would be what a crop-spraying plane would do.

So, That's What It Is.  --GreGen

Follow Up: The Foggia Airfield Complex in Italy

From Wikipedia.

On December 25, 2015, I wrote about tail-gunner Stanley Niemczura,  in a B-24 Liberator who went on a bombing mission over Germany on Christmas Day 1944.  It mentioned that they had landed in Foggia, Italy, so I did some more research on the place as I'd never heard of it.

The Foggia Airfields was a World War II military airfield complex with numerous airfields located within a 25 mile radius of Foggia, Italy.  It was used by the 15th Air Force for the bombardment of Germany in 1944 and 1945.

It had been constructed by the Italian Air Force before the war.  After Italy and the United States signed an armistice in 1943, it was seized by the German Luftwaffe and afterwards heavily bombed by the Allies.

After its capture, it became a major Allied command center for ground and naval forces in the Adriatic Sea area.  One of the Foggia Airfields was at Cerignola, Italy and used by the 12th and 15th Air Forces.  It was used by the 456th Bombardment Group B-24 Liberators beginning in January 1944.  This was Mr. Niemczura's outfit.


Japan and South Korea Reach Landmark Deal on World War II Sex Slaves

From the Dec. 28, 2015, Detroit Free Press by AP.

An apology will be given by the Japanese prime minister and a pledge of more than $8 million will be given to the survivors.  This has been a point of contention between the two countries for decades now.

Korean women were forced into brothels run by the Japanese military.

This did not only take place in Korea.  Altogether, some 200,000 women became sex slaves.

There are 46 surviving Korean sex slaves, now in their 80s and 90s.


Witnesses to Infamy, Surviving USS Arizona Veterans Tell of Their Experiences That Day

From USA Today "Witnesses to infamy: The survivors of the attack on the battleship USS Arizona."  An AZCentral documentary by Pat Shannahan.

The survivors tell their experiences along with video clips.  This video is well worth watching.

Survivors interviewed:  Don Stratton, Clare Hetrick, John Anderson, Lauren bruner and Lou Conter.

Worth a Watch.  --GreGen