Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Apple Jack and Gasoline

February 9, 2017  APPLE JACK: 1942.  November 1942.  Washington, D.C.  "Young huckster in the Southwest section."  Gordon Parks, OWI.  Not sure what he is carrying in the basket.  Could be apples, but I think way too round.

February 6, 2017  AMERICAN GAS: 1942.  November 1942.  Washington, D.C.  "Negro mechanic for the Amoco oil company."  Gordon Parks, OWI

I couldn't see the price of the gas, but one comment said it was 18.7 cents a gallon, adjusted for inflation for today it would be $2.80.


Monday, February 27, 2017

Looking Back to 1941: Air Raid Sirens in DeKalb

From the January 4, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1941, 75 Years Ago.

"An ingenious scheme is being tried out to give DeKalb siren warnings for blackouts.  Phonograph records are being made from a siren on a fire truck at the fire station.

"The records will be used on public address loudspeaker systems mounted on high spots in the city.  The plan saves the city the cost of buying huge sirens as is being done in many larger cities."

Save a Buck Here, Save a Buck There.  --GreGen

Friday, February 24, 2017

Looking Back to 1941: Local Airport Now Under Guard

From the January 4, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) :"Looking Back."

1941, 75 Years Ago.

"Following orders of the federal government, a 24-hour a day armed guard is now on duty at the Waterman Airport, it was announced this morning by Spencer Mack, operator of the establishment.

"Armed guards are also on duty at the government weather bulletin station, which is situated near the hangar."

Fear of Enemy Espionage.  --GreGen

Thursday, February 23, 2017

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Looking Back to 1942: Famous Actress Dies

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

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Carole Lombard is killed in a plane tragedy."

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

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


Monday, February 20, 2017

Looking Back to 1942: Home Front Hero

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

1942, 75 Years Ago.

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

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

A Home Front Hero.  --GreGen

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Aircraft Carriers on the Great Lakes

From the Detroit and Cleveland Navigation Company--  Wikipedia.

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

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

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

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

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


Friday, February 17, 2017

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

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

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

The Pentagon is now looking into it.

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


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Looking Back to 1941: USS Indiana Launched

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

1941, 75 Years Ago.

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

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


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

German U-boat Found Off the Azores

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 13, 2017

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

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

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

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

For more World War II oral histories, go to www.americanveteranscenter.org.

Way to Go, Lt. Downing.  GreGen

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Massive World War II Bomb Evacuation in Greece

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

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

They are believed to be between 150-250 kilograms.

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

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


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

Located on the West coast of Ireland.

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

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

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


Friday, February 10, 2017

Irish Lighthouses in World War II: Blacksod Lighthouse

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

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


Irish Lighthouse in World War II: Eagle Island Lighthouse

On the northwest coast of Ireland.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Thursday, February 9, 2017

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

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

From "Lighthouses of Ireland" by Kevin McCarthy.

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

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

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


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Carpooling a Patriotic Thing to Do During the War

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

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

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

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

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


Shorpy Home Front Photo: Esther Bubley's Sister

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

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

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

Very cramped quarters.

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


Looking Back to 1941: Victory Book Campaign

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

1942, 75 Years Ago.

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


Monday, February 6, 2017

Shorpy Home Front: The Dance and the Eating

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

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

Wonder what the "dirty" dances were?

Even in war, people gotta eat and dance.


Funeral for Another USS Oklahoma Victim: Walter Sollie

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

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

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

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

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

Walter Solle was a Water Tender 1st Class.

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


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Looking Back to 1942: Chief Feathergill Has a Third Accident in Squad Car

From the January 4, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Chief of Police Horace Feathergill is probably wondering if fate or somebody isn't preparing him for the worst.   Yesterday while he was driving the city squad car carefully about the community it was hit by a skidding car.

"Damage was not great.  The interesting thing is that it is the third time since the car was bought that it has been bumped and each time the chief was driving.

"Details of yesterday's dented fender adventure were lacking because the chief was too busy checking up on the community's tire situation."


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Looking Back to 1941: Col. Poust of 129th Visits Sycamore

From the January 4, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Colonel Cassius Poust of the 129th, stationed at Camp Forrest, Tennessee, arrived in Sycamore on Sunday for a brief six-day leave."


Friday, February 3, 2017

World War II and the Rise of Barmaids-- Part 2: "Barmaids-For-the-Duration"

A 1945 Chicago Tribune story referred to these women as "barmaids-for-the-duration."  They were hired with the understanding that they would resign as soon as the men came home.  That year, the local bartenders union admitted 123 women into their organization.  They worked under Union rules and earned the Chicago minimum wage of $45 weekly.

It turned out that the women performed their jobs just as well as men.

After the war ended, most lost their jobs, but about 30 were still working.  The Chicago bartenders union set April 30, 1946, as the deadline for tavern owners to fire the females.  Only, they did make exceptions if the woman owned the bar or was married to the owner.

Those union rules stayed on the books until the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Stuff I Didn't Know.  --GreGen

World War II and the Rise of Barmaids-- Part 1: Your New Bartender

From the October 16, 2016, Chicago Tribune "Chicago Flashback:  Raise a glass to barmaids of WWII era" by Lara Weber.

Think of this the next time you go into a bar and are served by a woman.

"Call it the shattering of the martini glass ceiling -- the moment when bar and tavern owners decided that a woman could pour a pint or mix a Manhattan as well as a man.

"It took a war to get there.

"For much of America's history, laws and local customs prevented women from working as bartenders.  But when the U.S. entered World War II and thousands of men shipped off for military service, women went to work."

Bartender, Pour Me Another One, Just Like the Last One.  --GreGen

His Pearl Harbor Death Was Highly Exaggerated-- Part 11: His Old "Prune Barge" At Saipan With Him

In June 1944, James Hamlin and his ship, the USS La Salle landed troops on Saipan.

His old ship, the battleship USS California, now repaired, was also there bombarding the island.  It was the first time he had seen his old ship since Pearl Harbor.  Hamlin hollered through his tears, "Go get 'em Prune Barge!"

During his time in the Pacific, James Hamlin won five battle stars in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and then was shipped stateside in 1944 and was master-at-arms at the Navy Shore Patrol in Chicago when the war in the Pacific ended September 2, 1945.

He left the Navy in 1946 and lived with Almyra until her death in 1997.  They'll be together eventually again at Paducah's Mount Kenton Cemetery.

According to Hamlin he doesn't have a grudge against the Japanese even though they sank two ships from under him.  "They were just following orders like we were.  I don't hate them, and I hope they don't hate me either."

Quite a Story.  --GreGen

Thursday, February 2, 2017

His Pearl Harbor Death Was Highly Exaggerated-- Part 10:

James Hamlin was on the USS Chicago at the Battles of the Coral Sea and Guadalcanal in 1942.    Again, he was not hurt when a Japanese torpedo smashed the bow of the Chicago off Savo Island (by Guadalcanal).  And, he escaped death again when the Chicago was sunk by Japanese planes January 29-30, 1943.

He was serving on the USS La Salle, a transport, when it landed Marines at the Battle of Tarawa in November 1943.  He said,  "I remember singing 'I'll Be Home for Christmas' when we put them ashore.  A lot of them didn't make it though."


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

His Pearl Harbor Death Was Highly Exaggerated-- Part 9: How Hamlin Was Listed As Lost In Action

He was probably wearing this uniform when he joined the crew of the cruiser USS Chicago which had also been in Pearl harbor during the attack.  This ship left to hunt for the Japanese fleet and get a little payback.

Meanwhile, back on the USS California, authorities were unaware he was on the USS Chicago and compiling lists of casualties.  James Hamlin being absent, he was listed as missing and thought to be dead on his ship or in the harbor.

This is why his parents were sent the telegram saying he was lost in action.


His Pearl Harbor Death Was Highly Exaggerated-- Part 8: A Non-Regulation Uniform

Hamlin bedded down for the night on the balcony of the Ford Island Theater.

By the morning he first noticed that his white uniform was ruined.  After all, he had swam through an oil slick to Ford Island the day before.  He found a pile of clothing and rummaged through it and made himself a new uniform, though not quite regulation: a Navy chambray work shirt and khaki trousers, a brown Marine shoe and a black Navy shoe.


His Pearl Habor Death Was Highly Exaggerated-- Part 7: "Please Don't Shoot Me"

When the Japanese planes left, James Hamlin returned to his ship, the USS California to help fight fires and keep her afloat, but it sank.  However, the main deck and superstructure were above water.  he worked until almost midnight salvaging equipment and gear.

At one time that night, he fell off the gangway into the water.  An officer ordered him to go ashore and get some sleep.

He told me, though, that wherever I went I should be whistling and singing because the military personnel there were shooting anything that moved.  Hamlin continued, "I don't remember what I sang but I remember I said, 'Please don't shoot me' at the end of every verse."

Needless To Say, They Were Expecting a Land Attack As Well.  --GreGen

His Pearl Harbor Death Was Highly Exaggerated-- Part 6: Hiding in a Real "Fine Target"

Reaching Ford Island, he ran to an airplane hangar for protection.  There were already many soldiers, sailors and Marines in there.  "It seemed to dawn on everybody at the same time that this was a fine target and we all scattered."

He spent the rest of the attack in a nearby ditch.