Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Two Pearl Harbor Survivors Die in 2013

From the Feb. 27, 2013, Kitsup (Washington) Sun by Ed Friedrich.

Gebhard "Jerry" Jensch of Poulsbo, 93,  died Feb. 21 and Don Green, 90, of Allyn died Feb. 25th.

Also, Joseph Stenstrom, 92, of Poulsbo, died Dec. 20, 2012.

The Kitsap Sun can only confirm eight remaining Pearl Harbor survivors in Kitsap County.

Jensch was a gunners mate on the USS California which had 105 killed in the battle.  He manned a 5-inch anti-aircraft gun and swam to Ford Island.  Though he wasn't hit, the Navy thought he'd died and notified his parents.  His obituary appeared on the front page of his hometown paper in Saginaw, Michigan.  When the Navy found he was alive, they quickly notified his parents by telegraph.

--GreGen.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Pearl Harbor Survivor and Wife Buried on the Same Day

From the Feb. 27, 2013, CBS 47 TV by Kathryn Herr.

From Sanger, California.

Roy and Juanita Molder had quite a love story, beginning shortly after Pearl Harbor, where Roy was stationed on the USS Rigel the day of the attack.

he was active in the PHSA and often talked to area school children about it.

They would have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this August.  They spent their who;e lives together and died just hours apart.  Roy died Feb. 23 at age 89.  Juanita, 88, died the next day.

He always called her "Bright Eyes," the name he called her on the day they met.

The burial was with full military honors.

Quite a Story.  --GreGen

SS Cape Girardeau, 1943

From the Feb. 18, 2013, Southeast Missourian.

From the Nov. 8, 1943 Southeast Missourian which had a picture of te launch of the SS Cape Girardeau, a cargo and passenger ship launched on a Sunday in Wilmington, California, by the Consolidated Steel Corporation.  the event was witnessed by 25,000 shipbuilders, employers and former residents of Cape Girardeau.  It was 417 feet long and weighed 12,900 tons.

Wikipedia

The SS Cape Girardeau was a Type C1-S-AY-1 Infantry Landing Ship chartered by the British Ministry of War during World War II.  It had been completed as the SS Empire Spearhead in 1944.  In June 1944, it was transferred to the Royal Navy and took part in Operation Overlord.

In 1947, it was returned to the U.S. Maritime Commission and renamed the Cape Girardeau.  In 1950, it was laid up in the James River and renamed the Empire Spearhead before being scrapped in 1966.

The name Cape Girardeau came because Mrs. Bergland of the company office wanted a ship named after her home city.  Cape Girardeau is the only inland cape in the U.S..  Then the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce got the names of more than 200 former residents in the Los Angeles area and sent them invitations.

How sweet.  --GreGen


Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Brutal Murmansk Run-- Part 4: "It Looked Like He Was Doing Some Kind of Crazy Dance"

In the Battle of the Atlantic there were 1,600 Canadian merchant mariners killed, the highest casualty rate of any Canadian service during the war.  The Royal Canadian Navy lost 2,000 and Royal Canadian Air Force lost 752.

One of Mr. Polowi's memories of the Murmansk Run was watching the helmsmen in the wheelhouse during a storm trying to dick gushes of water shooting out of the speaking tube.  "It looked as if he was doing some kind of crazy dance."

Mr. Polowi is a regular speaker at schools recounting his World War II experiences.

--GreGen

The Brutal Murmansk Run-- Part 3: Loved Crow's Nest Duty

Overriding most everything was the fear of that mighty cold water.  If you were unfortunate enough to go in, you only had three minutes to live.  Then there were near-constant alerts where you had to stand battle stations in usually wet and freezing conditions.  Mr. Polowin recalled one time at his station for a whole day.

Sometimes they would get a break with what was called "reduced alerts", where, to keep the crew alert, the heating inside the ship was turned off.

With luck, they would make it back to Scapa Flow (which was closed in 1956) and then the process would be repeated.  In total, he made four of these trips.

In rough seas, they would stick knives in wooden tables to hold their plates in place.  Being young often meant crow's nest duty for Polowi, but he liked it, "You were above the spray and usually didn't get wet."

--GreGen

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Brutal Murmansk Run-- Part 2: "If They Intended to Terrify, They Did"

They would receive orders to escort a convoy across the Atlantic.  The ships would oil up in Iceland then join the convoy which was usually so large they couldn't see all the ships.

It took ten days to get to Murmansk and then unloading.  The ships would get more oil.  There was nothing to do ashore.

During each ten day trip over the top of Europe, "One's mind was so focused by fear and discomfort, and the body carrying an adrenaline load, that entertainment wasn't a thought.

Mr. Polowin would hear booms and see flashes on the horizon and knew that ships had been torpedoed.  he heard air attacks but didn't see much in the near darkness, adding, "Stuka (dive bombers) made an awful sound when they attacked.  If they intended to terrify, they did."

--GreGen

The Brutal Murmansk Run-- Part 1: 45 Minutes of Daylight

From the Feb. 17, 2013, Ottawa (Canada) Citizen "Brutal Murmansk Run kept Russian supplied during Second World War" by Dave Brown.

The Arctic Ocean across the top of Europe gets 45 minutes of winter daylight in what is referred to as the Murmansk Run.  Earlier this year, the Russian Embassy in Ottawa put out a call asking for veterans who made the run to come forward.  In most cases, family members of deceased showed up, but also one actual veteran did.

Alex Polowin, 88, was an underaged Royal Canadian Navy volunteer for the Murmansk Run.  Here is his memories of it:

He was one of 275 crew members on the HMCS Huron, a Tribal-class destroyer.  Murmansk duty started at Scapa Flow, the home base of British Grand Fleet located at the top of the British Isles.  They would spend many boring weeks at anchor in bleak landscape.  There was little entertainment ashore.

The Murmansk Run usually only took place during the winter to take advantage of the lack of sunlight.

--HreGen

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Judge George N. Leighton's World War II Service: the 93rd Infantry Division

From Wikipedia.

George N. leighton served in the 93rd Infantry Division which was a "colored" unit in the very much segregated U.S. Army, serving in both world wars.

During World War I, the unit acquired the name "Blue Helmets" from the French army while serving alongside French units an the Battle of the Marne.  Their shoulder patch bore a blue French Adrian helmet.

They were reactivated 15 May 1942, at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and most of the division saw service in the Pacific Theater where they were primarily used in construction units and defensive operations.  Campaigns they participated in were New Guinea, Northern Solomons and Bismarck Archipelago.

They were inactivated in 1945 but some of its units continued in the Illinois and Maryland National Guard.

--GreGen

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Judge George N. Leighton's World War II Service-- Part 2

Unfortunately, i wasn't able to find out much about his service in the war other than in passing.

On March 10, 1942, George Leighton was ordered to active duty and reported to Fort Benning, Georgia.  On June 13, 1943, he reported to the 93rd Infantry Division in Arizona and from there he served in the Pacific Theater, rising to the rank of captain.

Since he was black, I had to figure that the 93rd Infantry Division must also be a black outfit as he never would have been made an officer to command white troops.

More research was necessary.

--GreGen

Judge George N. Leighton's World War Service: The Black Experience-- Part 1

Earlier this month, I wrote about Chicago Judge George N. Leighton's highly controversial decision on March 5, 1965,   Two policemen had arrested Simon Suarez after he refused to do what they told them then got into a fight and slashed one officer in the face with a broken bottle and beat the other one.

Judge Leighton ruled that the arrest wasn't lawful and that the officers shouldn't have drawn their guns.  This decision set off shock and outrage among many Chicagoans.

This, however, didn't cause Judge Leighton problems two years later when he was nominated for a federal judgeship.  Then, in 2012, the Cook County Criminal Courts  Building at 26th and Cal was renamed in his honor.

I'd never heard of the man before, so looked him up on Wikipedia and other sources and found out he was a captain during World War II.  Then, it became apparent he was also a black man and this was a period in the U.S. military when blacks were extremely discriminated against.

There must be something to this story.

--GreGen

Death of Arctic Convoy Veteran in England: "The Worst Journey in the World"

From the Feb. 26, 2013, Grimsby (U.K.) Telegraph "Tribute  to war veteran Neville Boden who battled 'the worst journey in the world'...and survived

Former Merchant Navy officer Neville Boden, who sailed on "notoriously treacherous Arctic Convoys" has died at age 86.  He died Feb. 16th after a long illness.

During the war, he served on the MV Marathon carrying aircraft fuel to the Soviet Union in 1943, facing icy conditions, the threat of constant attack from the air and, of course, German U-boats.  Winston Churchill called it "The worst journey in the world."  Mr. Boden also served on the HMLSI Empire Lance, a ship that brought British troops to Normandy during the D-Day landings.  He also sailed on ships from the United States and Caribbean carrying petrol before they joined the Arctic Convoy.

He was born in Lancaster in 1926

Last year, one of the Arctic Veterans was denied the Russian Silver Ushakov Medal for Bravery because of British rules concerning military decorations.

--GreGen

Bits of War: WWII Mine Found-- British Arctic Convoy and Bomber Command Vets Honored

Short Stories of World War II.

1.  WWII MINE FOUND--  Jan. 28, 2013.  A fishing boat came across an unexploded World War II mine off Brixham, England.  Bomb disposal units called in and carried out a controlled explosion.

2.  BRITISH ARCTIC CONVOY AND BOMBER COMMAND VETS HONORED--  Feb. 23, 2013.  They will be receiving awards in recognition of heroism and bravery within weeks according to Defence Minister Mark Francois.

Production of the Arctic Star and Bomber Command Clasp will start this week.  Up to a quarter million veterans and families of those who have died are eligible.

--GreGen

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"Hearing the Roar" at Pearl Harbor: "Cal" Calderone

From the February 5, 2013, CantonRep.com "World War II: Then and Now: "Hearing the Roar" by Gary Brown.

Adone "Cal" Calderone of Jackson Township was a Pearl Harbor and was a musician of the USS West Virginia, playing the tuba and bass.  Each battleship had its own band and there was a competition scheduled for the different bands, but his couldn't perform because they were scheduled for guard duty.

The band master of the USS Arizona was a friend and had invited him over to spend the night before the attack and have breakfast the next morning.  he declined as he wanted to go to the USS Oklahoma and then go to church with a friend.  He returned to the West Virginia on the night of December 6th.

"If I'd gone to the Arizona, I'd be dead.  Nobody from the Arizona's band survived.  Had he stayed that night on the Oklahoma, he also might have been dead.

That morning on his ship, "I had gotten up, got cleaned up and was talking to a couple friends, then WHAM!"  The third torpedo blew the area I was in up and that's when I got hit by some shrapnel.  A guy next to me said, 'Hey Cal, you're bleeding.'  I didn't even know."

After treatment, he returned to his post, "I was in damage control and we were getting damaged."

I researched for obituaries and didn't find any for him, so he must still be alive.

--GreGen

Monday, March 23, 2015

"Secret Listeners" Revealed

From the Jan. 29, 2013, Jewish Daily Forward "World War II 'Secret Listeners' revealed: by Anne Joseph.

Secret Listener Fritz Lustig was told his job was more important than firing a machine gun or driving a tank.

The "Listeners" were a group of Austrian or German refugees who "monitored, recorded and made detailed transcripts of private conversations between Nazi prisoners of war in the United Kingdom."

Between 1942 and 1945, Trent Park was used to imprison high-ranking officers and allowed a comfortable existence with the idea that making them feel relaxed and happy might cause them to discuss sensitive affairs of state amongst themselves, unaware that their quarters were bugged.

Microphones were in the flower pots, a snooker table and elsewhere.  The listeners were in the basement.

Lustig believes he is the only still-living Listener.

--GreGen

Saturday, March 21, 2015

New York's Grand Central Palace

From Wikipedia.

I had never heard of this building when I wrote about it earlier today for my February Calendar blog entry about the World War posters.

It was an exhibition hall in New York City built in 1911, replacing an earlier Grand Central Palace on the same site.  Standing 13 stories tall and occupying Lexington Avenue between 46th and 47th Streets.  It was built over the railroad tracks leading into the Grand Central Terminal.

It served as New York City's main exposition hall until it closed in 1953.  In the late 1920s, early 1930s, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was held here

Besides dances and the hospital mentioned in the previous blog, it also served as an induction center during World War II.  many physical fitness exams were given here.  I was unable to find out any other information about its role during the two world wars, but being by the railroads, I am sure many military personnel passed through it.

It was demolished in 1964 to make way for 245 Park Avenue building which has 48 floors and was completed in 1967.

--GreGen

World War Calendar Posters for 2015-- Part 5: Joan of Arc Saved Her Country, You Save Yours

Another one from World War I.  Joan of Arc Saved France.  Haskell Coffin, United States Treasury Office, 1918.

Showed a young Joan of Arc in full armor holding her sword aloft.  It reads:  "Joan of Arc Saved France --  WOMEN OF AMERICA SAVE YOUR COUNTRY --  BUY WAR SAVING STAMPS --  UNITED STATES TREASURY DEPARTMENT --  W.S.S. War Saving Stamps Issued  By the United States Government.

In an effort to reduce military surplus and increase revenue, in 1919 the U.S. government converted unused hand grenades into piggy banks.  These banks were loaned to school children to encourage them to save coins to buy War Savings Stamps.  They could keep the grenade bank as a reward if they saved enough to buy a stamp.

--GreGen

World War Calendar Posters-- Part 4: 7th Vacation Ball at Grand Central Palace

This one is from World War I.

7th Vacation Ball.  February calendar.

On the poster, an army soldier and a navy sailor saluting a young woman holding an American flag.

"Under the Auspices of the Vacation Association, Inc. 7TH VACATION BALL --  GRAND CENTRAL PALACE --Lincoln's Birthday --  Feb. 12, 1918 --  8 P.M.  --  Admission  Fifty vents  --  Including Hat Check  --  THE BALL WITHOUT AN INTERMISSION."

Two floors of the Grand Central Palace's twelve floors served as a dance hall until September 1918 when the building was leased to the U.S. government.  Once the government refitted the building, the Grand Central palace became the largest military hospital in the nation, caring for 18,190 injured and sick returning World War I veterans.

I wonder if they also took care of those who had the influenza from the Great Epidemic?

--GreGen


Friday, March 20, 2015

World War Poster Calendar-- Part 4: United We Are Strong

"United We Are Strong--  United We Will Win."

This is the poster for January featuring a painting of around twenty huge cannons pointing skyward and firing with the flags of Denmark, U.K., U.S., China, Soviet Union, Australia and other Allies.

Made by Henry Koerner, office of War Information, 1943.

Henry Koerner escaped from Austria in 1938 after it was annexed by Germany.  Soon after his arrival in the United States, Koerner began his career as an artist for the United States government creating numerous posters for the war effort.

--GreGen

HMS Beryl Was a Second World War Hero Ship

From the Feb. 16, 2013, Hull (England) Daily Mail "Beverly-built HMS Beryl was a true World War hero."

The beryl was a trawler requisitioned by the Royal Navy.  It was sent to defend Malta's capital port of Valletta and endured a two year siege by the Axis.  It is reportedly the only Royal Navy surface warship to stay afloat during the duration.

It earned the nickname "The Flagship of Malta" and became the symbol  of the defiant defense of that important Mediterranean island.  Its enduarance lasted from 1940 to 1942 with the effective end in November 1942.  During that time, the Luftwaffe and Italian Air Force conducted some 3000 bombing raids.

It was built in 1934 and named the Lady Adelaide.  The ship was bought by the Royal Navy in 1939 and adopted and sponsored by the town of Bourne in Lincolnshire for 55,000 pounds during warship week.

Two of the streets there have HMS Beryl-related names: Beryl Mews and Sellwood Terrace (named for Commander Harry Sellwood).

After its service at Malta, the Beryl took part in the Allied landings on Sicily.

Postwar,  it went back to being a trawler until it was scrapped in the 1960s  Beverly-built ships served in both World Wars.

--GreGen


Thursday, March 19, 2015

World War Poster Calendar for 2015-- Part 3: The Collection

"The posters featured in this calendar are from the National Museum of American History's Archives Center.  War posters can be found in the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana and the Princeton University Poster Collection.

"Created by Isadore Warshaw, the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana was donated to the museum in two parts in 1968 and 1972.  The posters represent only a small portion of the significant collection of ephemera.

The Princeton Posters were donated by the university in the 1960s.

--GreGen

World War Poster Calendar for 2015-- Part 2: Military Posters

"During World Wars I and II, the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom used posters to motivate  civilian involvement and military enlistment.  Often both nations used the same art work, with only the text differing.

"Posters were considered a crucial component of Total War--war that is waged on all fronts using all available resources.  Civilians and members of the military were bombarded with posters encouraging participation in battlefield and home front war efforts.

"Contemporary popular artists were often commissioned to paint posters and drew on popular culture references and images to increase the recognition and, thus,  effectiveness of such posters.  Causes reflected in war posters ranged from recruitment for the military to not wasting food.

"Some posters aimed to motivate people, while others employed guilt and fear to spur participation.  Regardless of specific purpose, war posters were prominent in public and private spaces during both wars and significantly aided the war effort."

--GreGen

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

World War Poster Calendar for 2015-- Part 1

I bought a 2015 Calendar of World War I and II posters and it is hanging beside the bar at Margaritaville.

It is published by Zebra Publishing.

"Inexpensive, accessible, and ever-present, the poster has been an ideal agent for making war aims the personal mission of every American.  American government agencies, businesses and private organizations have historically issued posters linking the military front with the home front -- calling upon every citizen to boost production at work and home.

"These posters help tell the story of allies mobilizing human and natural resources by uniting the power of art with the power of advertising.

"The National Museum of American History holds a vast collection of military posters.  Collectively, these 'pictures of persuasion' offer a wealth of art, history, design, and popular culture for us to understand.  Throughout their history, posters have been a significant means of mass communication, often with striking visual effect."

For more information on the Smithsonian, visit www.si.edu/

--GreGen

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

U-Boat Sunk By Toilet Troubles Found

From the May 29, 2012 Scotsman "Found after 70 years, the wreck of the U-1206."

It took a twelve year search by a team of divers, but the wreck of the U-1206, mentioned in yesterday's post, was found 12 miles off Cruden Bay, Scotland, in 86 meters of water.

According to its commander, Captain Karl Schlitt, "I was in the engine room, when, at the front of the boat, there was a water leak.  What I have learned is a mechanic had tried to repair the forward WC's outboard vent."

WC refers to Water Closet, a term used for toilets.

Something Stinks.  --GreGen

Monday, March 16, 2015

Toilet Troubles in World War II Caused the U-1206 to Be Sunk

I decided to write about one of the last post's 10 Unusual Events of World War II and chose Toilet Troubles.Relieving one's self in a submerged submarine is the same as on dry land, but getting rid of it is considerably more complicated  It requires advanced technology and training of personnel.

A horrible event on the German U-1206 involving system failure led to four deaths.  The original U-boat head system was a two-valve system good only during shallow dives.

Newer VIIC U-boats such as the U-1206 were outfitted with high pressure valves rigged for deep-water dives.

On April 14, 1945, while 200-feet deep off Scotland and under the command of Karl-Adolph Schlitt, the toilet was improperly flushed and began flooding compartments with sewage and salt water.  This concoction leaked onto the ship's batteries, creating deadly chlorine gas, forcing the submarine to surface.

While repairs were being made, the submarine was spotted by  British patrols and forced to surrender.  The Germans, however, scuttled their ship before leaving.

One sailor died in the attack and three more drowned and the other 46 were captured

Some historians blame Schlitt for the incident.  The U-1206 wreck was discovered in 2012.

You Know, Schlitt Sounds a Bit ZLike )____.  --GreGen

Saturday, March 14, 2015

10 Unusual Events of World War II

From the Feb. 13, 2013, Listverse by Nene Adams.

I'm just listing.  For photos and details go to the site.

10.  Nazi Spy in U.S.
9.  Allied Diamond Heist
8.  Bat Man

7.  Streetcar Assault
6.  Raining Sheep
5.  Boat Drop
4.  Toilet Troubles

3.  Free Love
2.  Radio Traitor
1.  Lady Sniper

An Interesting Look.  --GreGen

"Mein Kampf" Reissue Debated in Germany-- Part 2

"Described as a rambling, repetitive work panned by literary critics for its pedantic style 'Mein Kampf' was drafted by Hitler in a Bavarian jail after the failed Nazi uprising in Munich of November 1923.  It was originally published in two volumes in 1925 and 1926, with later, joint editions forming a kind of Nazi handbook.

"During the Third Reich, some German cities doled out copies to Aryan newlyweds as a wedding gift.

"The book also laid the groundwork for the Holocaust stating, for instance, that Jews are and 'will remain the eternal parasite, a freeloader that, like a malignant bacterium, spreads rapidly whenever a fertile breeding ground is made available to it.

"Mein Kampf" means "My Struggle."  It was never actually banned in Germany after the war, but reprinting it was.  It is estimated that some 12.4 million copies were made of it before 1946 and hundreds of thousands are thought to still exist.

Personally, my opinion is that it is history and as such should be available for anyone.

--GreGen

'Mein Kampf' Reissue Debated in Germany-- Part 1

From the February 26, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Anthony Faiola.

SOME SEE HISTORICAL TOOL; OTHERS FEAR A FORUM FOR HITLER.

"This book is too dangerous for the general public," library historian Florian Sepp warns.  "Mein Kampf is Adolf Hitler's autobiographical manifesto of hate.  It is restricted at the Bavarian State Library.

"Nevertheless, the book that once served as a kind of Nazi bible and was banned from domestic reprints since the end of World War II, will soon be returning to German bookstores.

"The prohibition on reissue for years was upheld by the state of Bavaria, which owns the German copyright and legally blocked attempts to duplicate it."  Those rights expire in December and the first print run  of it since Hitler's death will be out early next year.

This reissue has caused a whole lot of controversy.

Not Surprisingly.  --GreGen

Friday, March 13, 2015

Some Players on the '43 Sox and Cubs

From Baseball Almanac.

I was wondering if there were any players on either team that I might have heard of since this was several years before I was born.

These are the Cubs I had heard of:

INFIELDERS

Phil Cavarretto
Stan Hack
Eddie Stanky

OUTFIELDERS:

Bill Nicholson
Andy Pafko
Ed Sauer
Peanuts Lowry

CHICAGO WHITE SOX:

INFIELDERS

Luke Appling
Tont Cuccinllo

Of interest, Luke Appling had the highest Sox salary at $11,000.  No figures for the Cubs in this area.

Not Many.  --DaCoot

War Caused Sox and Cubs to Train at French Lick-- Part 3

But, march in Indiana is definitely not March on Catalina Island, California, where the Cubs had trained from 1922-1942. or Pasadena, California, where the Sox had trained from 1933-1942.  The first workout was forced inside.  Rain, snow and cold consistently plagued the teams in their new spring home in Indiana.

A March 20, 1943, Tribune story reported:   "The first workout was held in two areas of the vast French Lick Springs hotel.  The infielders and outfielders did their stuff in the auditorium and the batterymen worked in an adjoining room.  In the latter enclosure a dirt stage had been rigged up to supply natural footing for the bespiked pitchers.  For the catcher's backstop there was a line of mattresses."

Both teams returned to French Lick for 1944, but the next year, the White Sox relocated 105 miles north to Terre Haute, Indiana.  The Cubs remained for one final year.

By 1946, the travel restrictions were lifted and, despite the travel savings to Indiana, both teams were back practicing in sunny and much warmer California.

They Never returned to Those Licks.  --Cooter


Thursday, March 12, 2015

War Caused Sox and Cubs to Train at French Lick-- Part 2

The Chicago tribune reported on December 30, 1943, Chicago Tribune reported, "The Cubs and White Sox, bitter intercity rivals since shortly before the turn of the century, are to share sulfur water tubs for three weeks in French Lick, Ind.."

In January, the Tribune discussed the financial benefits despite the meteorological challenges: "Altho the northern training might involve a weather risk (the French Lick press agent insists it was a comforting  87 degrees there last April 6), the novelty is certain to have its financial consolation.  This, of course, goes for all the clubs.

"Going to French Lick, a matter of 279 miles from Chicago, represents quite a difference in rail fare from the approximate 2,250 miles between here and California.  And with training time, at least for the Sox and Cubs, cut down to three weeks, the room and board bill will be reduced by about one-half.

"A lot of clubs, after being forced into the plan by the transportation problem, may find it so practical they'll be doing it after the war."

--GreGen

World War II Caused White Sox and Cubs to Hold Spring Training in French Lick, Indiana-- Part 1

From February 22, 2015, Chicago Tribune "The Last Row: Preparing for battle in Indiana" by Tim Bannon.

BECAUSE OF WARTIME TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS, COMMISSIONER  LIMITS SPRING TRAINING SITES.

The White Soc and Cubs have had spring training in many places and most-often in warmer spring climes.  But one place that both trained (and at the same time) that was nearer had the strange name of French Lick, Indiana.  (Also home of famed NBA and Indiana State basketball player Larry Bird.)

Because of World War II travel restrictions, Baseball Commissioner Judge Landis declared that all teams should hold spring training in 1943 north of the Mason-Dixon line and east of the Mississippi River.  (There were no MLB teams west of St. Louis or south of St. Louis, Cincinnati and Washington, D.C..)

After some scouting, both Chicago teams picked the southern Indiana spa town known for its salt lick and sulfur springs.

Play ball At the Lick.  --GreGen

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Shells Tested at Wateree Pond in S.C.

Yesterday, I mentioned that the anti-aircraft shells made at the Charlotte plant were tested at Wateree Pond in South Carolina.

The pond is located 58 miles south of Charlotte.  The range was 800 yards bu 1100 yards oriented north to south along Lake Wateree.  The Navy leased the site in 1943 for a proving range for 40 mm anti-aircraft shells.

Rounds were fired from fixed positions on the south side of the lake at a target on the north end.

--GreGen

Working At the Charlotte Shell Plant

Dorothy Elizabeth Hood Terry worked in the prime and firing pin area #7.  She had to apply and take a test to get the job.  Most of the employees were women, but supervisors were usually men.  The pay was good and many people moved to Charlotte to work there.

Each piece of the shell was made in a different part of the building and moved through conveyor belts.  Shifts worked around the clock  Shifts: 7 a.m.-3 p.m., 3 p.m.-11 p.m. and 11 p.m.- 7 a.m..  These shifts were changed each month.

It was extremely dangerous work and rings were absolutely forbidden on line.

They had to have air raid drills as well as the plant would be a definite target should enemy planes come.

--GreGen

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Shell Plant in Charlotte, N.C.-- Part 2

The plant was spread out over 2,000 acres and was essentially its own city with water, electric and sewer lines.

It went from hand-loading to assembly line operation during the war.  Great speed and safety was stressed.  It received the Army-Navy "E" Award for excellence in April 1944.  The plant's peak day for production occurred on December 6, 1944 when it produced 213,143 rounds of anti-aircraft shells in just 24 hours.

A testing ground was established at the Wateree Pond in South Carolina.  Test rounds were sent by truck and if acceptable, the whole batch was sent to the Navy by train.

With the war winding down and the Japanese Air Force practically gone, production was cut back starting in July 1945.

It then became a Navy communication depot.

The "Shell Plant" does not exist today.

--GreGen

The Shell Plant in Charlotte, N.C.-- Part 1

From the Charlotte-MacKlenburg Story Site "The Home Front: Places- the Shell Plant."

It was located ten miles south of Charlotte (now part of a part of Charlotte) on York Road near the southeast corner of the intersection of Westinghouse Boulevard and South Tryon-Highway 49.
On March 3, 1942, 25 Charlotte leaders organized and went to Washington, D.C. to get some war industry for the city.

Charlotte's location, transportation links and labor supply were pushed and they got s plant.

It was built for $20 million with over 200 buildings and operated by the U.S. Rubber Company.  It produced 75 mm anti-aircraft shells for the Navy.

After the war, it became a reclamation center for Navy Salvage.

--Not the Shell Oil Co. But A-A Shells.  --GreGen

Monday, March 9, 2015

Man on Pearl Harbor Flight Recalls Uncle's USS Arizona Death

From the Feb. 3, 2013, Bloomberg by James M. Clash.

James M. Clash went for a ride with the Pacific Warbirds who take tourists for rides in SNJ-5 single prop planes for a flight over Pearl Harbor at the same altitude as the Japanese planes did.

His uncle, Donald Clash was a second class fireman's apprentice seaman on the USS Arizona that day and lost his life.

The Pacific Warbirds leave from a small briefing room made up to look like one from Qorld War II.  The SNJ-5 is the U.S. Navy's designation for the single engine North American Aviation T-6 Texan.  They were made to look like Japanese Zeros in the movie "Tora, Tora, Tora."

The Pearl Harbor Experience costs $1200 + tax.

--GreGen

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Detroit: America's Arsenal of Democracy-- Part 2

Half of the Consolidated B-24 Liberators were made at the Ford Willow River Plant.  More B-24s were made than any other bomber.  It was considered better-built than the more famous B-17 Flying Fortress which it outperformed in speed, range and bomb capacity.  Liberator crews were credited with downing 2,600 enemy aircraft.

The 80-acre plant was  built in just six months in 1941.  By 1943 it had 42,000 employees building 230 B-24s a month.  By 1944 that number was up to 650 a month.  By the time production was halted in 1945, 8,600 had been built.

Good money was made by workers, but housing shortages, rationing and lack of resources earned Detroit the nickname "Arsehole of Democracy."  Frustrated Willow Run workers dubbed the factory "Will It Run?"

During the war, 700,000+ Detroiters worked in war factories.

Aptly Earned Title.  --GreGen

Detroit: America's World War II Arsenal of Democracy-- Part 1

From Feb. 5, 2013, Yahoo! Contributor Network "World War II Detroit: America's 'Arsenal of Democracy" by Marlissa Sachteleben.

Detroit produced 30% of U.S. war machinery, equipment and munitions.  Labor worked around the clock.  Jobs were plentiful.  Actually, there were more jobs than workers.

The Detroit Historical Museum has a new exhibit on the city's role in the war.

Some 91% of all helmets worn by the American military were made in Detroit.  Half of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator bombers were made at the Ford Willow Run plant.

--GreGen

Friday, March 6, 2015

N.C. Shipbuilding Co. Launches 57th Liberty Ship

From the February 5, 2013, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Looking Back"

JANUARY 14, 1943:  The N.C. Shipbuilding Company in Wilmington launched its 57th Liberty Ship, the Robert Howe, named for General Robert Howe of Brunswick County, hero of the Revolutionary War.

Born in 1732, he became the colonies' highest-ranking officer.  Died Nov. 1786 at his Brunswick home.

This ship was scrapped in 1971.

--GreGen

Death of a Battle of Midway Hero in 2013

JIM MURI, 93
A Battle of Midway hero died February 3, 2013.  He saved his crippled B-26 bomber by buzzing the deck of a Japanese aircraft carrier.

On June 4, 1942, he piloted one of four b-26 bombers from Midway Island.  His plane was hit by gunfire and three wounded.  Even so, he managed to launch a torpedo at the Japanese aircraft carrier Akagi.

He then flew his bomber about tree-top high along the flight deck of the ship because its guns were facing outward and managed to crash land back on Midway Island.  Afterwards, they counted some 500 bullet holes in the plane.

Losses at the Battle of Midway:

U.S.: 1 aircraft carrier, 145 planes, 307 men.

Japanese:  4 aircraft carriers, 1 heavy cruiser, 291 planes and 4,800 men.

--GreGen

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Japanese Battleship Musashi Found Near Philippines

From the March 4, 2015, NPR "Japanese World War II Battleship Musashi Found, Billionaire Paul Allen Says."

The formidable battleship was sunk by U.S. planes on October 24, 1944 during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, one of the world's largest-ever naval battles.  The exact location of the wreck has not been known until now.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, whose father served during World War II, says his research team found it March 1st in the Sibuyan Sea by the Philippines.  They used historical records from four different countries, detailed topographical data and advanced technology aboard his yacht M/Y Octopus.

Photos and film were taken at the wreck site, about a kilometer deep.  The ship was launched in 1940 and 1023 died with it.  Mr. Allen has been looking for it for eight years.

Always Great to Locate a Lost Shipwreck.  --GreGen

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Patty Andrews and Sisters Helped Rally the Troops with Voices

From the Jan. 31, 2013, Globe and Mail "With hero sisters, Patty Andrews rallied troops through the Second World War" by Bob Thomas.

Though the Andrews Sisters never served, they certainly supported the Allied War Effort with their wonderful voices.

Patty Andrews was the middle sister, lead singer and chief clown of the group.

Some of their more famous songs:

"I'll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time"
Their first hit was in 1937 with "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen."
Probably their biggest hit was "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy."

In 1940 they were in the Bob Hope and Bing Crosby "Road to Rio" movie.

--GreGen

Shorpy Goes to War-- Part 2: Crowded Commute, American Family and StopTruck

CROWDED COMMUTE: 1942, 1-30-13.  April 1943.  "Baltimore, Maryland.  Students and workers returning home on a trolley at 5 p.m..  There is a sign saying, "Please leave by rear door."  A man is smoking.  Evidently these buses are not segregated as blacks are seated by whites.

AN AMERICAN FAMILY: 1943, 1-29-13.  March 1943.  "Rochester, New York.  The Babcocks, an American family, tuning in for war news.  Mr. and Mrs. Babcock with children Shirley, Howard and Earl.  All of them are sitting by the radio and looking at it.  By Ralph Amdursky, OWI.

Comment: I enjoyed the golden glow of the tuner on our upright radio.  An air raid warden once knocked on the family's door during a blackout drill and said he could see the tuner light from the street.

Comment:  Perhaps they were listening to shows instead of news.

TRUCK STOP: 1942, 1-27-13.  March 1943.  "Transport refueling at Hecht Co. warehouse on New York Avenue in Washington, D.C..  John Vachon OWI.

There is a truck by the pump.

Comment:  It is a '36 GMC truck.  Also a truck on the scale.  Macy's owned the Hecht Warehouse.  The building is still there and on the NRHP, considered to be an art deco masterpiece of architecture.

--GreGen

Shorpy Goes to War-- Part 1: Civil Servants, Washing Machines and Trolleys

Some interesting World War II photographs from that great Shorpy site.  Just type in the title to see the photo.  These photos paint an interesting picture of the American home front.  All taken by the Office of War Information (OWI).

Make sure to view photos in full size and read the comments.

CIVIL SERVANT: 1942: 1-31-13  August 1942.  "Ella Watson, government chairwoman who provides for a family of six on her salary of $1,080 per year.  She has  been a federal employee for 26 years.

DRUDGE REPORT: 1943: 1-30-13.  March 1943.  "Rochester, New York.  Mrs. Babcock doing the family laundry with an electric washing machine and a wringer.   Ralph Amdursky, OWI..  Even the wringer is motorized.  Even with a war underway, laundry at home still had to be done.

TRACKLESS TROLLEY: 1943:  1-30-13.  April 1943.  "Baltimore, Maryland.  Rushing to catch the trackless trolley home from work at 4 p.m."  Basically an electric bus.  Marjory Collins (OWI).  Shows two ladies walking to door of it, just off work.

Comment:  In 1943, this trolley would have been one of the few non-military vehicles allowed to be built because of metal and tire shortages and rationing.  Baltimore had many war production plants and always had a chronic housing shortage and a way to get the workers back and forth to work.  These trolleys were also important because they didn't require gas for operation.

The War at Home.  --GreGen

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Ducks Coming to Chicago?-- Part 2: World War II Service

Combat use.

They were first used in the invasion of Sicily in 1943.  They also played an integral role in the early stages of the D-Day invasion, transporting ammunition and cargo from the ships to the beaches.

Tours and Recreational Use

Some of the locations for Duck tours include:
San Francisco
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Boston
San Diego
Miami
Washington, D.C.
Branson. Mo.
Cincinnati
Stone Mountain, Ga.
Wisconsin Dells

May the Duck Be With You.  --GreGen

Ducks Coming to Chicago?-- Part 1: DUKWs

From the Jan. 18, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Company hoping to run duck boats on the river-- and streets" by Lizzie Johnson.

"Duck boat tours could be coming to the Chicago River as soon as this summer."  Entertainment Cruises operates more than 30 vessels across the country in various cities.  Chicago had a duck boat tour service in the late 1990s, but it was discontinued.  The boats hold 37 passengers and ramps would be constructed at Marina Towers and West Polk Street.  Of course, there are a lot of permits that must be obtained.

The DUKW stands for: "D" The model year 1942, "U"- the body style, utility, "K" stands for all-wheel vehicle and "W" represents dual rear axles.Ducks are very popular in the Wisconsin Dells and are massive World War II-era vehicles with many restored and retrofitted.

They were used for amphibious operations during World War II and were 31 feet long, had a boat shaped hull/body with maximum land speed of 50 mph and water speed of 6.4 mph.

During the war, they were based on the GMC cargo truck and more than 20,000 were built.

--GreGen

No Pleasure Driving Allowed Here

From the Jan. 30, 2013, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Back Then."

JANUARY 10, 1943: New Hanover County deputy sheriffs will be instructed to report the license numbers of motorists found to be pleasure driving in the Wilmington area.  Governor Broughton ordered the pleasure driving ban but gave no instructions on how to deal with those found breaking it.

Sheriff Jones said that motorists at oyster roasts or drive-ins likely would not be cited since those places serve food.  Since the start of the war, there had been a 30% decrease in personal driving in North Carolina as the state tried to conserve resources for the war effort.

Mama said No Pleasure driving 'Round here!!  --GreGen


Monday, March 2, 2015

Follow Up On Richard Crosariol

I looked up his name since this was a 2013 article, and, sadly, Mr. Crosariol died May 25, 2014 at age 96.  He lived in Indian Head, Maryland and had been born in Illinois on April 15, 1918.

After the attack began, he helped load a 5-inch 25 caliber anti-aircraft gun.  He evidently served aboard the USS Maryland after it was repaired during the rest of the war in the Pacific.  The ship was hit by a torpedo off Saipan and had to return to Pearl Harbor for repairs.  Later, a kamikaze crashed into the ship in Leyte Gulf.

One of the Greatest.--GreGen

Maryland's Last Surviving Pearl Harbor Marine Honored in 2013: Richard Crosariol

From the Jan. 18, 2013, BuyNet.com (Maryland) "State's Last Surviving Pearl Harbor Marine Honored" by Connie Hempel.

Richard Crosariol received a Marine Corps NCO sword, the oldest U.S. military weapon still in service.  He enlisted in the Marines in 1940 at the age of 21.  After boot camp he was sent to Hawaii and assigned to the battleship USS Maryland.  He is the last Marine survivor of the attack from that ship.

During his 20-year career, he rose to the rank of sergeant-major.

He remembers getting ready for mass that eventful Sunday: "The only thing I heard was a rap, rap, rap, from the bullets.  Soon the announcement came, 'This is no drill!  Man your battle stations!'"

During the first attack, the Maryland was hit by two bombs, but none in the second one as the ship was obscured by smoke.

--GreGen


Storm Turns Up lard From WWII Shipwreck

From the Jan. 18, 2013, Live Science.

Holiday storms in Scotland caused decades old lard from a shipwreck to wash ashore.  Four large chinks of lard came up on land.  They were originally in barrels which have long since rusted away, but the lard kept its shape.

The lard washed up on St. Cyrus Beach about 100 miles north of Edinburgh.

That lard was still a bright white under the barnacles.  The merchant ship (name not given) was sunk in the war and every few decades the lard washes ashore.

The lard first started washing ashore during the war.  People collected it, boiled it tio get the sand out and then used it as lard was in short supply.

I doubt that this really old lard will be used.

--GreLard.

World War II Plane Grounded for Tuneup-- Part 3

The only plane being lowered this time is the Stuka.  All undergo servicing every decade or so.  A 3-D scan has shown that there is a small trap door under the pilot's seat that has been sealed over.  It is believed that at one time it was used for the pilot to have a clearer view of targets on the ground.  (Well, I believe it might have been used for relief.)

The plane;s mechanical systems are also being serviced and when it is again raised as early as Monday (Feb. 23) its flaps will be in a  more accurate position for portraying a divebombing run.

Cleaning is done partly like restoring a fine painting and partly like a car wash.  As we know, a lot of dust can build up over a decade.  But it's not just soap and water.  But, its deionized water applied with a chemical-free cleanser.

They say the bullet holes will remain.

And, the Museum of Science and Industry also has the German U-boat U-505.

Seeing My WWII Stuff.  --GreGen