Thursday, January 31, 2013

Missing D-Day Ship Found

From the Sept. 19, 2011, BBC "Missing D-Day shipwreck LCT 427 found in Solent."

The LCT 427 (Landing Craft Tank) was returning to Portsmouth in the early hours of June 7, 1944, after successfully delivering a cargo of tanks to Sword Beach.

Four miles from short, it collided with the battleship HMS Rodney and was sliced in half with all twelve crew members dying.  Divers from the Southsea Sub-Aqua Club have located the two halves of the ship.

Because of the scale and magnitude of the Normandy invasion, the incident went unreported for two months.  The two parts were discovered in 100 feet of water standing upright several hundred meters apart in the main shipping channel opposite Portsmouth and Southampton, which is normally off limits to divers unless they get special permission.

The ship is in remarkable condition with AA guns and ammunition boxes apparent.

There are many unidentified WW II wrecks along Britain's south coast..

The 427 was a British ship that had been built by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden, New Jersey, that had come over to Britain in the Lend-Lease Program.

Just One of Those Stories You Don't Hear.  --GreGen

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

SS Gairsoppa: The Lifeboat-- Part 2

Steering toward the rocky cove, huge waves capsized the boat and all but three died.  Fortunately, another wave righted the boat.  Ayres dragged himself back aboard.  Now there were just three survivors, including Hampshire and Thomas.

Another breaker crashed into the boat and Hampshire was washed to his death.  Ayres and Thomas made it to a nearby rock.  Another wave washed Thomas backwards and he too drowned.

Ayres was about to give up when he heard the voices.

Three young girls, Betty Driver, Olive Martin and her sister, all evacuees from Tottenham in London, were walking along the cliffs when they saw the boat flip over  One ran to a nearby farm for help.  The other two ran down to the beach, shouting for Ayres to keep swimming.

The first girl returned with coast guard man Brian Richard, who threw the rope.  Ayres was saved.

The bodies of Hampshire, Thomas and two Lascars were recovered and buried in a nearby cemetery.

Coerthillan Cove, where Ayres was rescued, it just a few miles from his home.  For his efforts, he was awarded the MBE for heroics and a War Medal for bravery at sea.

He returned to the sea nine months later and spoke little of the experience afterwards.  After the war, he was in the Royal Navy Reserve and he died in 1992.

Quite the Hero.  --GreGen

SS Gairsoppa: The Lifeboat-- Part 1

Everyone was suffering from the cold.  Ayres, 31, was the only man skilled at sailing a small boat and took command.  He sailed east using an oar as a rudder as the boat's had been lost. 

As far as food supply, they had some condensed milk and dry biscuits that could hardly be swallowed.  They are also very short on water.  Each man received half a pint during the day and a half pint at night.  The Lascars began drinking salt water and men began dying.

On the eighth day, the water ran out and more began dying.

Ayres had little sleep and only he and 18-year-old Robert Hampshire, the Gairsoppa's radio officer, and Norman Thomas, 20, a gunner, were strong enough to ma oars.

There were only seven survivors when one shouted, "Land!!"  It was the Lizard Lighthouse, on the southwest coast of Cornwall, some 300 miles from where the Gairsoppa had sunk.

Rescue?  --GreGen

SS Gairsoppa: The Sinking-- Part 2

Continued from Jan. 25th.

On February 16, 1941, a German long-range reconnaissance plane spotted the Gairsoppa and the information was relayed to a nearby U-boat.  The U-101, under Captain Ernst Mengerson headed for the "kill."  At 2230 hours, a massive explosion blew apart the Gairsoppa's No. 2 hold.  The foremast crashed to the deck, taking out the ship's radio antennae so no distress signal was sent out.

The Gairsoppa was sinking fast and the order given to abandon ship and the men made for the lifeboats.  The German submarine surfaced and opened fire on the sinking ship with machine guns.  Bullets cut the ropes of one of the lifeboats and sent it crashing into the sea.

Dozens of sailors leaped overboard and swam toward it, including Second Officer Richard Ayres.  Once on it, the men began frantically pushing away from the stricken ship to avoid being pulled down with it.  They also had to avoid the still-spinning propeller.

They managed to put some distance between them and the ship and watched as the Gairsoppa sank just twenty minutes after being hit.

Just 31 had been able to climb aboard the lifeboat, 8 Europeans and 23 Indians (from India) known as Lascars.

Now They're In for It.  --GreGen

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bits Of War: Pearl Harbor Survivor-- LST-325

1.  GEORGE F. MILLS--  Of Pensacola, Florida, 1920-2012, died Dec. 26th.  Born Sioux City, Iowa, grew up in California.  Joined Navy in 1938 and was at Pearl Harbor (but I did not find out where).  Then fought in the Pacific, Aleutian Islands and Philippines, making chief by the end of the war.


2.  LST-325--  Set sail Jan. 7th for Port Arthur, Texas for six weeks in drydock, something it does every ten years.  So don't expect to see it at its home port in Evansville, Indiana, on the Ohio River until some time in March.

GreGen

How Monopoly Games Helped the Allied War Effort

From the Jan. 9, 2013 Atlantic Magazine "How Monopoly Games Helped Allied POWs Escape During World War II" by Megan Garber.

British airmen shot down over Germany and captured and then taken to prisons.  The Geneva Convention allowed the Red Cross and other groups to distribute care packages to prisoners.  Some items that could be included were "games and past times."

Some groups like Licensed Victuallers Prisoners relief Fund sent hidden items in the games like compasses, money and maps to be used in escape attempts.

These were prepared with assistance from MI9, the British secret Service.

When Go to Jail Really Meant Break Out of Jail.  --GreGen

Search for Spitfires in Burma

The past several months, there has been an expedition in Burma searching for some 140 British Spitfires thought to have been buried in that country as World War II drew to a close.

In northern Burma, they found a water-filled crate that might contain one of those "lost Spitfires."  Unfortunately, as of early January, it was not known whether the contents of the crate also contained a plane.  A camera was inserted, but there was too much water (which doesn't bode well for the plane's condition.

Spitfires were probably the key plane used in turning back the Germans during the Battle of Britain.  About 20,000 were built.  Around 140 still exist, not counting the ones hoped to be in Burma.

Near the end of the war, reportedly, American engineers buried them, still in their shipping crates.

Several digs are planned across the nation.  Burma will get one for its own display if they are found.

The practice of burying planes, tanks, jeeps and so forth was common at the end of the war.  They had just become surplus.

Hope They Find Them.  --Cooter

Monday, January 28, 2013

Back Then: Wilmington, NC, During World War II-- Part 2

Continuing with headlines from 1942.

World War II Changes Lives in the Region

World War II Brings Ships, Rules, Cuts in Production

Port City gets Ration Books

Wartime Housing Needed, But Halt Called to Building

Waterfront Stroll in 1942 Required Permit

Pennies Got You Cigarettes, Food

World War II Brings Whiskey Rationing

Shipyard Workers begin Moving Into Maffitt Village

The war definitely affected the homefront as well.  Wilmington grew from a population of around 10,000 to over 100,000.  And that was not counting the many military service men who passed through.

The Star-News is to commended for its real-time coverage of the war.

Way to Go, S-N.  --GreGen

Back Then: Wilmington, NC, During World War II-- Part 1

From the Wilmington (NC) Star-News.

In a year in review column, the Back Then column looked back over items culled from 1942 newspapers.  I have written about many of these during the course of the year.

Pearl Harbor Spurs Spate of Local Stories

Life During Wartime Tops Headlines

Sentries Man City Roofs

World War II Takes Air Out of Tire Production

Expansion Plans Made For Shipyard Boulevard

More to Come.  --GreGen

U.S. Army Ocean Tugs During World War II

From Wikipedia.

Back on January  5th and 9th, I wrote about ST tugs built in Deland, Florida, for the war.  I didn't know a lot about ocean-going tugs, so had to do some research.

First off, I was surprised that they were under Army control.  Being boats, I'd have to think Navy.  Were they commanded by Army officers?

They were classified as LT or ST and a total of 718 were built for the Army by 46 shipbuilders and contractors and made of steel and wood.  The "LT" stood for Large Tug and "ST or STS" for small tug.  American Machinery Corporation in Deland built ST-672 to ST-679 among others (since these were some specifically mentioned in the earlier posts.

In a different source, I found that the ST-676 was built by American Machinery in Orlando, Florida between May and July 1944.  After the war, it was sold in 1948 and had the names Sackalila and Manapla.

The ST-679 was built on the same dates as the 676 and after being sold, had the names Atlantis and Atonatl before being broken up in 1971.

SIDK: Stuff I Didn't Know.  --GreGen

Friday, January 25, 2013

SS Gairsoppa: The Sinking-- Part 1

The 399-foot-long Gairsoppa was completed in 1919 and was located in 2011.  During the month of February 1941, German submarines sank 30 British ships.

The ship left India December 1940 and sailed to Sierra Leone where it joined Convoy SL 64 heading for Liverpool with no military escort when it departed January 31, 1941.  Many of the ships in the convoy were old and heavily laden.  As such, the convoy averaged just 8 knots, becoming quite a target for U-Boats.

The Gairsoppa weighed 7000 tons and also was carrying iron and tea along with the silver. It had had to burn more fuel to maintain its position in heavy seas.  Captain Gerald Hyland feared that he didn't have enough fuel to reach Liverpool and received permission to leave the convoy and make for Galway, on Ireland's southwest coast on Feb. 14, 1941.

More to Come.  --GreGen

SS Gairsoppa: Survivor Has One of the Most Awesome Stories of the War

From the September 29, 2011, Mail Online (Bri) "A U-boat attack, sunken treasure about to be salvaged and one of the most awesome survival stories of the war" by Annabel Venning.

Richard Ayres had spent 13 days adrift in a rudderless lifeboat and had watched his mates die one by one.  Then, his boat capsized in the surf and he was about to give up when he heard children on shore shouting, "Stick it, mister!  Stick it, mister!!"

Barely conscious, Ayres made one last effort to drag himself ashore through the treacherous Cornish surf, then, he saw a rope.  He wrapped it around himself and then was pulled ashore and was unconscious by the time he reached the beach.  He was saved by children.

He was the only member of the 85 aboard the SS Gairsoppa to survive when it was sunk February 17, 1941.

Today, the wreck of the Gairsoppa is deeper than the Titanic, some three miles, 300 miles off the southwest coast of Ireland and what is of great interest now, it went down carrying 240 tons of silver.

More to Come.  --GreGen

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Five Pearl Harbor Survivors At the Blessing of the Roses Ceremony

From the Dec. 28, 2012, Farmingdale (NY) Observer.

The Blessing of the Roses was held at the American Airplane Museum on December 7th.

Pearl Harbor survivors in attendance:

Richard Abeles of the USS Dale
Gerard Barboss of the USS Raleigh
Bernard Berner of the Schofield Barracks
Seymour Blutt of Hickam Field
Michael Montelione of Schofield Barracks

Frank Castronovacy of Elmot was unable to attend because of health reasons.

The Thinning Ranks.  --GreGen

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New Zealand and U. S. Were Planning a Tsunami Weapon

From the Dec. 31, 2012, News.com.au by AFP.

A new book discusses a joint United States-New Zealand project launched in June 1944.  A US Naval officers had noticed that blasting operations to clear coral reefs sometimes produced a huge wave.

A test was carried out north of Auckland led scientists to believe that a series of ten massive blasts offshore could produce a ten-metre tsunami capable of inundating a small coastal city.

The project was shelved in early 1945 despite success on some small-scale tests.

Of interest, back in the Civil War, Union General Benjamin Butler proposed a similar plan to destroy the Confederate Fort Fisher guarding an approach to Wilmington, NC.  A Union ship was loaded with gunpowder, run into shore near the fort and exploded. Butler thought the concussion would knock the sand fort down.  It didn't.

Waves Over You.  --GreGen

New Zealand World War II Battery to Remain

From the December 31, 2012, Nelson (NZ) by Tracy Neal.

The only surviving World War II structure in Nelson is in danger of being gone due to collapse down The Cliffs above Rocks Road.

During the war, this was a Gun Battery Observation Post.  It weighs 60 tons and was built in 1943 as part of the Cliffs Coastal Battery.

Australia and New Zealand were particularly vulnerable to attack from the Japanese. 

It Is Good To Save Old Stuff.  --GreGen

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Five Pearl Harbor Survivors Honored-- Part 2

Gene Camp was an Army sergeant in charge of an anti-aircraft battery that day.  Raynaldo Botello died in 2005 and was on the USS Detroit.  John Shingleton died Feb. 23, 2012, and was on the USS Maryland.

William St. John was a radioman first class at NAS Kaneohe and remembers the big grins on the Japanese pilots' faces as they flew by his station at the two-story radar/radio transmitter facility, "They would come in and bank away from the tower, at our level.  They did not fire a single shot at us as we stood there in the window watching them."

Sad to Be Losing These Great Stories.  --GreGen

Five Pearl Harbor Veterans Honored At Annual Lunch-- Part 1

From the Dec. 8, 2012, My San Antonio (Texas) by Sig Christenson.

Harry Brooks, 92; William St. John, 91; Richard Anderson, 90; Gene Camp, 92; and Kenneth Platt, 91, were honored at an annual lunch commemorating that day 71 years ago which launched the U.S. into World War II.

Richard Anderson and his best friend Eugene Whitcomb joined the Army and Navy together and after their respective boot camps, found themselves stationed at Honolulu.  Whenever they'd get liberty, they would spend time together at their respective duty stations.  That Dec. 7th, Anderson would have been aboard his ship, the USS Arizona.  Fortunately for him, it was his turn to visit with his friend.

There are only fourteen known Pearl Harbor survivors still alive in the San Antonio area.  Their local PHSA chapter is now closed.

Fast Leaving Us.  --GreGen

Monday, January 21, 2013

German S-Mines: The Bouncing Bettys

From Wikipedia.

I had never heard of a German S-mine such as the one that injured actor Charles Durning so badly in France, so had to look them up.  I found it was more commonly referred to by U.S. troops as the infamous "Bouncing Betty."  I had heard of Bouncing Bettys before, one of the most-feared mines in the German arsenal.

The Germans called the S-mine a Schrapnellmine, hence the name.  It was also referred to as a bounding mine.

When triggered, it would launch into the air about 2-3 feet and detonate, sending a lethal spray of shrapnel in all directions.  The Germans developed it in the 1930s and it was a key part in their defensive strategies and inflicted heavy casualties.  They were especially used on the beaches along the Atlantic Wall and present at the D-Day beaches.

American soldiers gave it the nickname and it tended to seriously main more often than cause death.  The 5.1-inch tall, 3.9-inch diameter mine wounded and killed many Allied soldiers during the war, but the exact numbers are not known.

Watch Where You Step.  --GreGen

World War II Veteran and Actor Charles Durning Dies

Died December 24, 2012 at age 89.

He was considered the King of Character Actors and noted for roles in famous movies like "The Sting," "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" and "O Brother, Where Art Thou."  I especially liked him as Governor and entrepreneur Pappy O' Daniel in the last one. 

But, he was also quite the hero from World War II.

He was one of the first soldiers at Omaha Beach during D-Day and the only member of his unit to survive where he killed several German soldiers and was wounded in the leg.  Later, he was bayoneted by a young German soldier and then killed him with a rock.

Captured at the Battle of the Bulge, he was almost killed in a subsequent massacre.

He was wounded by a German s-mine on June 15, 1944 and severely wounded in the left and right thighs, right hand, front head region and interior left chest wall.  He made a remarkably fast recovery and was fit for duty by Dec. 6, that year.

He received a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts during the war and would rarely talk of his experiences.

One of the Greatest.  --GreGen

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Remembering World War II Holidays at RCAAB

From the Dec. 31, 2012, Ellsworth Air Force Base by Airman Ashley J. Woolridge.

Rapid City Army Air Base (RCAAB) was built in South Dakota in 1842, established for training B-17 crews for combat in Europe.

On December 7, 1942, the base was preparing for winter storms and held a Pearl Harbor memorial service.

December 26th, the base was saddened by the tremendously high casualties being suffered by crews who had trained there.  Daylight bombing was going on and with it, tremendous losses.  Plus, at the base, there was a measles epidemic.  So, the Christmas spirit just wasn't there.

During 1943, news of more and more RCAAB men killed in Europe continued to come in.

On December 10, 1943, Sergeants Max and Buddy Baer, professional boxers, fought a series of exhibition bouts to entertain the airmen.

Way Out There On the Plains.  --GreGen

Victim of a Kamikaze Attack: Sailor Says Decision to Write a Letter Probably Saved His Life-- Part 5

Edward Rasmussen was aboard the destroyer USS William D. Porter when a kamikaze sank it June 10, 1945.  Continuing with the interview of him.

WHAT WERE YOU DOING WHEN THE BOMB HIT THE SHIP?

"I had finished eating breakfast.  I was down below where we'd sleep.  I though 'Should I write a letter?'  I'd be sitting on the floor if I wrote a letter.  I decided not to so I was standing up when the ship got hit.  If I was sitting on the deck, I'd probably have my spine broke. 

I was standing on one foot putting my shoes on and so when it hit the only thing that wrecked me is my foot.  My big toe is the only thing that got broken.  Fortunately, we had no casualties."


WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THE SHIP SANK?

"It took us almost thirty days to get back to San Francisco [on rescue ships] and then we had thirty days leave.  I had to go to an armory in Chicago and they sent me to Navy Pier.  Then I was transferred back to Great Lakes.


WHAT ARE SOME OF THE GOOD MEMORIES YOU HAVE FROM BEING AT SEA?

"We were one of the only ships that had an ice cream machine.  We installed it and it worked just fine.  We had movies too.  We always had three meals a day, a nice warm place to sleep, showers every day and movies only when it was safe."

A Great Job, Unless Your Ship Gets Sunk.  --GreGen

Friday, January 18, 2013

Almost Blew Up President Roosevelt: Sailor Says Decision to Write a Letter Probably Saved His Life-- Part 4

Continuing with the Oops! that occurred with the USS Iowa when President Roosevelt was aboard.  A torpedo was accidentally fired at the Iowa.

"We had to turn around and go to Bermuda and we were under arrest for two weeks.  They thought we were an outfit that was going to be blowing up President Roosevelt.  One of the chief torpedo men was supposed to go to jail, but then president Roosevelt said not to send him to jail because it was an accident.

They took the captain off our ship and gave us a better one.  When you're young like that you don't think about what's going on.  But as you get older you realize every minute you have a chance of dying--that's how close it was."

WHAT WAS GOING ON THE DAY THAT THE PORTER GOT HIT?

"June 10, 1945, at around 8 o'clock in the morning, we were trying to locate any [Japanese].  There were these kamikaze planes coming in.  When we got hit it was by a plane made out of canvas and wood so we couldn't pick it up on the radar.

Fortunately the plane hit the water and missed the ship.  The bomb that was on there went underneath the ship and exploded down there and lifted the boat three feet, made it start leaking.  It took the ship three and a half hours to sink."

And, He's Still Not Finished.  --GreGen

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sailor Says Decision to Write a Letter Probably Saved His Life-- Part 3

From the Dec.6, 2012, Lake County Journal.  Continued from Dec. 20, 2012.

When asked how he communicated with his family while overseas, Edward Rasmussen said, "Once in a while you could send them a letter.  But, you couldn't tell them where you were.  You could just say that you were doing OK."

What happened when the Porter helped to escort the ship carrying President Roosevelt to North Africa.  "President Roosevelt was on the ship the Iowa.  He was going over to visit [Winston] Churchill and [Joseph] Stalin.  They were going to have a meeting.  Part way over there we were practicing and someone up on the bridge hit a button and the torpedo tubes turned out.

Since we were practicing, they weren't supposed to go out.  And all the sudden, 'Whish!'  We just fired a torpedo at the Iowa.  They aimed all their big guns at us if we did anymore.  It was just the one thing."

More to Come.  --GreGen

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

North Carolina's USMC Camp Lejeune Gets Its Name

From the Jan. 1, 2013, Wilmington Star-News "Back Then."

DECEMBER 19,1942  The Marine Corps Amphibious Training Base at New River was named for Lt. General John Archer Lejeune, Corps Commandant from 1920-1929.  He had died just the month before, Nov. 29, 1942.  Of course, training for amphibious landings would be crucial in the war being fought in the Pacific against the Japanese.

He was noted as the only-ever Marine officer to hold an Army division command when he directed the 2nd Division in World War I.

Of course, I've heard there is some question as to the correct pronunciation of the camp's name.  Most of us pronounce is as Camp Lashune.  I've also heard it as Camp Lajern.

Will the Real Lejeune Please Stand Up?  --GreGen

Monday, January 14, 2013

Forced Internment in Britain

From the Dec. 31, 2012, Boing Boing.

Most people are aware of the internment of Japanese-Americans during the war.  There was even Japanese-Canadian internment in that country, but the British government rounded up persons of German, Austrian and Italian descent as well.

Some were put into camps and others deported of Canada and Australia.  Others were labeled as potential enemies and heavily spied upon.

Sadly, many were Jewish refugees who had fled to Britain for safety to avoid Nazi persecution.

Stuff  I Didn't Know.  --GreGen

Sunday, January 13, 2013

World War II "Buffalo Soldier" Honored

From the Jan. 3, 2013, Cleveland Sun News "Cleveland Heights 'Buffalo Soldier' honored for WW II service" by Brian Byrne.

Joseph Pyles, 93, originally from Kentucky, served in the black 92nd Infantry Division.  His duty was going across the country returning AWOL soldiers to the military.  Of course, this was during the time when racism was all over the military.

He remembers being denied service at a Texas restaurant while German POWs were dining inside.  He figures that although he had a .45 revolver, he had no bullets as the commanders didn't trust him or his fellow black soldiers.

He later saw combat in Italy in 1944.

Today, It seems Hard to Believe That Men Willing to Lay Their Lives on the Line for Their Country Would Have Been Treated This Way.  --GreGen

Friday, January 11, 2013

World War II Deaths

From the Dec. 26, 2012, Hendricks County (Ind) Flyer. 


EUGENE C. "GENE" HOSTETTER

Born 1925, died Dec. 20, 2012.

Served in the Pacific aboard the destroyer USS Mahan and was aboard it when it was sunk Dec. 7, 1944.


DAVID L. JONES

Born 1925, died Dec. 23, 2012.

1944 high school graduate and enlisted that year in the Army.  Member of Field Artillery, proficient in firing the 105 Howitzers.  On his way to Germany when Victory in Europe was signed to end the war there.  Returned to US and became a drill sergeant for new inductees at Fort Bragg, NC.

And, We Keep Losing the Greatest Generation.  --GreGen

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Bunker Photographs

From the Jan. 8, 2013, Huffington Post "World War II Bunkers, As Captured By Photographer Jonathan Andrew."

Forty-two-year-old Jonathan Andrew is fro Amsterdam and started taking pictures of World War II bunkers across Europe in 2009.

So far,he has taken pictures in France along Germany's vaunted Atlantic Wall, built to keep the Allies out and the target of the D-Day attack.  He has also catalogued ones in the Netherlands and Belgium.

It would be quite a trip to go to Britain and France in June of 2014 to retrace those events.

GreGen

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Deland Tugboats Served Country in World War II-- Part 2

Sitting here looking out at the Gulf of Mexico by the door to the room.  I had been out at the picnic table, but it started drizzling, unfortunately.  Water and laptops don't work together so well.

Continued from Jan. 5th.

The ST-676, sister ship of the ST-679, was part of the infamous convoy NY-119 which met disaster in September 1944.  The convoy was escorted by the USS Mason and several small STs, tugboats.  Sixteen of the ships in it sank in a massive storm, but the ST 676 survived.

The Deland-built tugs were 86-feet long.  During the course of the war, some were lost in action.  After the war, most were sold to other countries.  None are currently in U.S. waters, but two are known to still be operating in Europe.

The Little-Bitty Tugboats That Could.  --GreGen

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Bit of the War Here On Florida's Forgotten Coast

Spent Saturday and Sunday night at a motel on St. George Island.  Before this trip, we'd never heard of the place, but it will definitely be on future destination lists.  It is what Florida was like in the "old days."

There is a bit of World War II history connected with the area though.

A freighter was sunk by a U-boat some twenty miles offshore from Apalachicola.  And, during World War II, a secret base called Camp Gordon Johnson was set up by Lanark Village for amphibious training for the Normandy D-Day invasion.

The word is that munitions from the war are still found throughout Franklin and Wakulla counties and folks are warned not to handle them.

So, Some "Forgotten" War Stuff.  --GreGen

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Deland Tugboats Served Country in World War II-- Part 1

From the Dec. 25, 2012, Daytona Beach (Fl) News-Journal by Anthony De Feo.

Marshall McLaughlin and Ed Johnson, both 83, built tugboats as teenagers in the 1940s at the Beresford Boatworks which were used in World War II overseas operations.  They and others were at the West Valusia Historical Society's monthly meeting where a presentation was made on the subject.

More than 300 tugs were built for the war between 1943 and 1945 by the American Machine Corporation, one of only a handful of companies building these essential little boats.

McLaughlin was just out of high school and was a pipefitter's helper.  The company built 36 tugs.

They were shown a plaque from one of their tugs which read "U.S. Army S.T. 679, Built By American Machinery Corp., Beresford, Florida."

Which Way to Tug?  --GreGen

Friday, January 4, 2013

"Pappy" Boyington Captured 69 Years Ago

From the Jan. 3, 2013, Marines website "69 years ago today, legendary World War II ace made final flight" by Corporal Andrea Dickerson.

On Jan. 3, 1944, Col. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, leader of the Marine Fighter Squadron 214, "The Black Sheep Squadron," flew his final combat mission of the war.  He downed three Japanese planes on this day, bringing his total to 26, tying him with First World War ace Eddie Rickenbacker.

He then was shot down himself and picked up by a Japanese submarine and spent the next twenty months as a POW where he was beaten, interrogated, tortured and starved.  He survived and was rescued.  Returning to the U.S., he received a  Medal of Honor and Navy Cross from President Truman.

He retired from service August 1, 1947.

Quite a Story.  --GreGen

Thursday, January 3, 2013

U.S. Aircraft Carriers With a War of 1812 Connection

In my War of 1812 Blog, "Not So Forgotten," I am writing about the USS Ticonderoga, a ship that was sunk and later raised and in danger of falling apart if something is not done.  If memory serves me, I believe there was a World War II aircraft carrier by that name.

I also came across s sister ship of the War of 1812 vessel by the name USS Saratoga, which also was an aircraft carrier.

I'll Have to Do Some More Research.  --GreGen