Monday, August 31, 2015

The LST That Became a "Highway" LST-393-- Part 3: "Heartbreak Highway"

I always have to wonder why LSTs were not also given names and just referred to by their number?  They were certainly big enough to have their own name.

The old two-lane highway between Muskegon and Grand Rapids, US-16, was so crowded with automobiles and trucks in the 1940s and 1950s, it was called "Heartbreak Highway."  Getting new cars from Detroit to Muskegon was a major reason I-96 was built in Michigan.  It was finished in 1962..  The LST-393, now called the MV Highway 16, delivered its first civilian cargo on June 24, 1948, and in its first week delivered 190 new GM cars.

It made nine trips a week at 14 mph with a 7 1/2 hour crossing, manned by a crew of 23.  It could carry 16 cars at a time and it took two hours to unload.  Cost to cost for a car was $7.

In 1949, the ship made 684 crossings.  On July 4, 1949, it was involved in the worst Muskegon boating accident ever when it struck the 25-foot cabin cruiser K-D-Bob II in the Muskegon Outer Channel.  Only 2 of 8 aboard the cruiser survived.

The ship last sailed on July 30, 1973.  After that, it was put out of business by trains.

Today the LST-393 is a museum ship.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The LST That Became a "Highway" LST-393-- Part 2: "Large Slow Targets"

In 1948, it became part of US-Highway 16 when it began ferry new cars and others between Muskegon, Michigan, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The LST-393 was one of 1,051 built with half scrapped after the war.  Just a dozen LSTs now remain.  In case you're wondering, LST stands for Landing Ship Tank.  They were capable of landing tanks, vehicles and troops right on beaches during amphibious actions.

Sailors on them refereed to them as "Large Slow Targets," but others say these "Blue Collar Workhorses" were more important to the final Allied victory than the biggest, most modern battleships.

On March 28, 1948, the Wisconsin-Michigan Steamship Company, a subsidiary of Sand products Corporation of Detroit bought the LST-393 for $150,000.

There was a huge demand for new cars after the war (since none were made during most of it.  The Wisconsin-Michigan ferry Milwaukee Clipper couldn't keep up ferrying the cars across Lake Michigan.

Of interest, the LST-393 had delivered Muskegon-built tanks to Europe.

--GreGen

Friday, August 28, 2015

The LST That Become a "Highway" LST-393-- Part 1: 25 Years As MV Highway 16

From the June 10, 2013 M Live "Look back: WWII veteran ship spends time as a civilian on the Great Lakes" by Dave LeMieux.

LST-393, now a museum, spent 25 years as MV Highway 16 before becoming a museum in Muskegon, Michigan.  During the war it was at at landings on Sicily, Salerno, Italy and was at Omaha Beach on D-Day.  It won three Battle Stars during the war.

In 1948 it became MV Highway 16 when it began ferrying cars between Muskegon and Milwaukee.

--GreGen

Thursday, August 27, 2015

World War II's "Doodlebugs"

BBC News: England "Doodlebugs 'diverted' to Kent to save London."

Doodlebugs were the name given to Germany's V-1 Flying Bombs, ancestor of today's cruise missiles.  These targetted Britain from secret sites along the French and Dutch coasts.

Their first strikes were in 1944 at London, Kent and Sussex.  The first fatalities were recorded at Bethnal Green.  Some 2,419 hit London.

False intelligence leaked to the Germans caused many to land away from London in Kent, Sussex and Essex.

The name Doodlebug, in case you're wondering, came from the sound the V-1s made.

June 13, 1944, one landed at Bethnal Green.

When they were coming in, you would hear the engine stoop and 15 seconds later would come the explosion as it landed.  These were among the first guidance systems developed.  The rocket was programmed to go down after a certain number of times which would cause the elevator to go down and fuel ran out.  There would be that dreadful silence, then boom.  This was extremely bad on British morale.

--GreGen

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Keeping the Spirit of 45 Alive in McHenry-- Part 7: The Roll, Doves and Taps

After opening remarks, they read off the roll of World War II veterans, my favorite part of the ceremony.  These are the real deal, the Greatest Generation.  However, it goes by way too fast to write their names down.

I did get a Kerry Harwell, a real "Rosie the Riveter" who will be 100 in November.

John Babbit served on seaplanes from 1942-1946

Robert Blake, from McHenry, was in the Navy 1944-1946 and went in two days after graduating from MvHenry High School.

"Taps" was then played for the 400,000 who died during the war and for all who have died since.

Then the white doves were released, who always fly up into the air and circle several times while trying to find their direction home to Woodstock.

The Legacy Girls then sang "God Bless America" after which about sixteen buglers play taps "round the park."  Just one bugler playing "Taps" can bring a tear to your eye, but the sound of all those bugles going at different times around you just doesn't give you much of a chance.

As usual, the fire department had a huge U.S. flag hanging from their truck ladders which were fully extended.

A Proper Salute to the Greatest Generation.  --GreGen

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Keeping the Spirit of 45 Alive-- Part 6: We Still Have the "Kiss" Statue

Last year we were told that the "Kiss" statue would be with us no longer as it was to be moved to a place in Branson, Missouri.  This, of course, is a statue of the sailor kissing the nurse made so famous in the photo in Times Square, New York City, in the celebration that took place after the announcement was made that Japan had surrendered.

It is one of four bronze statues of the event around the United States and McHenry has had one for several years now.  It was displayed in front of the gazebo, as usual.

We were told that Branson fell through because they didn't want to pay the high cost to ship the statue there.

Their Loss, our Gain.  --GreGen

Monday, August 24, 2015

Keeping the Spirit of 45 Alive-- Part 5: Big Bill's Little Band and the Legacy Sisters

August 9, 2015, Sunday

We had a concert/radio show broadcast for the first hour.  Bill's Little Big Band (about 18 members) provided the music and every so often an announcer would come on to pitch commercials of the era, only in humorous form.  The band played that great Big Band/Swing music which was so popular from the era.

At the end, they had a special announcement recording of President Truman's August 14, 1945, announcement that Japan had surrendered and the WAR WAS OVER!!  That 70th anniversary of that date will come along this Friday.

Then the Legacy sisters, an Andrews Sisters tribute trio, got up and sang "The Star-Spangled Banner."  This was a new and hopefully continued in the future, feature.  Really enjoyed this.

This is the sixth time the Keep the Spirit of 45 Alive has been commemorated in McHenry, Illinois.  Only a few other towns across the country have done this all six times since Congress decreed this to be celebrated on the second Sunday of August.

--GreGen

Saturday, August 22, 2015

First McHenry Blackout on August 12th

Another article I saw at the Keep the Spirit of 45 Alive at McHenry, Illinois' Veterans Park (probably by the McHenry Plaindealer and no date given) was one on a blackout to take place in the city.

I knew they had blackouts along the coasts, especially the Atlantic and Gulf because of the threat from German U-boats and espionage, but was unaware of ones this far inland.  I guess there was always the possibility of an air raid.

The war reached everywhere.

--GreGen

Friday, August 21, 2015

Short S.25 Sunderlands and RAF Mount Batten

The plane found in the previous entry in Plymouth Sound was a Short S.25 Sunderland flying boat patrol bomber, receiving its name from the Short brothers who built it and the port of Sunderland in northeast England where they were built.

It was one of the most powerful and widely used flying boats during World War II.  From its pictures, it was huge.  They were often used to hunt down and sink German U-boats.

RAF Mount Batten was a major Sunderlnad base in southern England.

--GreGen

World War II Wreck Mystery in Plymouth Sound, England

From the September 22, 2013, BBC News: England "Quest to solve WWII wreck mystery in Plymouth Sound."

Three years ago, sports diver Danny Daniels discovered a plane wreck in Plymouth Sound and at first thought it was a German bomber.  But since then,it has been found to be an RAF Flying Boat, a Sunderland based at RAF Mount Batten.

It had crashed off Plymouth in December 1941 with 15 crew and passengers of whom only 4 survived.

Identification was made through its propeller and pieces of RAF insignia crockery.

--GreGen

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Go Back to World War II at McHenry Open House

From the August 12, 2015 Daily herald (Illinois)

McHenry County Conservation District's Living History Open House was held from noon to 4 p.m. August 16th at the Powers-Walker House Historic Landmark at Glacier Park on Il. Route 31 and Harts Road in Ringwood.

A tour will be given of the 1854-era house.  The focus will be on the history of the house, residents and northeastern Illinois region during World War II.  Much attention will be given to the Schaefer and Steinmetz families who lived in the house during that era.

--GreGen

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Day the War Ended-- Part 6:

Thankfully, there was no need for an invasion of Japan and all the casualties that would occur on both sides.  By this date in 1945, U.S. bombers had turned most Japanese cities, made mostly of wood and paper to wastelands.  Many more Japanese civilians died in conventional bombing than from the atomic ones.  I have heard that the reasons Hiroshima and Nagasaki were chosen was primarily because there wasn't enough left standing in the other cities which would not show the power of the bombs' destructiveness.

Still, the Imperial Army and what was left of the Imperial fought on.  Then those two bombs fell, one on August 6 and the other three days later.

Now, seventy years later, "we recall how America won a war it had to win because the freedom of the world was at stake.  We pause to commemorate, to express thanks and pay respects to all who died, as we do on each anniversary of August 14, 1945.

"the day the war was over."

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Day the War Ended-- Part 5: No Invasion of Japan

As the war was approaching its end, and victory was imminent, a Tribune editorial wrote that American fighting men "accomplished the impossible.  They were backed by American production, which also accomplished the impossible."

And, we still have ongoing debate as to the use of the atom bombs.  In two flashes of light, estimated death toll in Hiroshima was 140,000 and 70,000 for Nagasaki.

Was Japan already on its knees and ready to surrender before they were dropped?  Or did the military plan to fight to annihilation.  (My own opinion was the latter.)

Perhaps a blockade would slowly bring Japan to the table (but our Navy and Air Force had already essentially strangled the country sinking most every Japanese ship, both naval and merchant).  We had seen what the Japanese did on Okinawa, fighting to the death.  What would an American invasion of the Japanese homeland cost in American lives and finances?

--GreGen

The Day the War Ended-- Part 4: Different From Our Era of Long Wars

Arthur Sears Henning, the Chicago Tribune's Washington bureau chief wrote the banner headline, "THE GREAT WAR ENDS!"

His paragraph said simply: "The war is over."

"The Japanese empire," he continued, "fell before the military and industrial might of the United States, climaxed last week by the projection of two atomic bombs-- America's terrible, new secret weapon-- upon two Japanese cities with devastating effect."

Further, he said, "the victory came "Three years eight months and seven days after the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.  In this day and age of wars that seem to go on forever, this is a really short time.  All of World War II took place between Hitler's invasion of Poland in 1939 and this day.  Our war on terrorism is still going strong nearly 14 years after 9/11.

--GreGen

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Day the War Ended-- Part 3: The Blog Will Continue

This blog began primarily because of the 70th anniversary of World War II.  It is so sad to see that generation dying off as fast as they are.  Growing up, there were always World War II veterans around.  Many of my parents' friends were veterans as was my uncle Delbert on my dad's side (survived the Battle of the Bulge with the 101st).

Even though the war has ended, I will continue this blog longer,the same as I am doing with my War of 1812 blog.

I've Gotten Very Interested in This History.  --GreGen (Greatest Generation)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Day the War Ended-- Part 2: 70 Years After Japan's Surrender, the Climax of WWII Resonates

It was August 14, 1945 and on the final combat mission of the war, a B-29 bomber called Uninvited dropped bombs on an oil refinery in northern Japan about six hours before Truman's announcement of the end.  Its crew included Sgt. Robert Pizer from Chicago.  the plane returned safely to its base on Guam.

Now, every American GI could be expected to come home.

The war was over.

At State and Madison in the Loop thousands gathered in an impromptu celebration.  Mrs. Luke Devine wept when she heard on a car radio, knowing that it meant her two brothers would be OK.

Tribune Bureau Chief in Washington, sat down to write the story under huge banner headline, "GREAT WAR ENDS!"

Heady Times Indeed.  --GreGen

The Day the War Ended-- Part 1: August 14, 1945

From the August 14, 2015, Chicago Tribune Editorials.

"The war was over.

"In Washington, Secretary of State James Byrnes got the news by phone from Switzerland, where the Japanese government communicated its unconditional surrender.  Byrnes slammed down the handset in excitement, threw on his Panama hat and hurried across the street to the White House to inform President Harry Truman.  "The war was over.

"It was Aug. 14, 1945."

These had to be heady days.

--GreGen

D-Day to be Recreated in Ohio

American forces will land all over again as D-Day is played out once again on the shores of Lake Erie, Ohio, northeast of Cleveland.

AUGIST 21-22:  D-Day Conneaut.  This town on lake Erie, northeast of Cleveland, annually stages what is billed as the largest D-Day re-enactment in the United States.

It includes amphibious landing, inland combat re-enactments and encampments representing both Allied and German forces.

Sounds Interesting.  --GreGen

Friday, August 14, 2015

Surrender of Japan 70 Years Ago Today

Wikipedia calls it for August 15, 1945, the Chicago Tribune says August 14th, but that may be the  one day difference of time.

Either way, World War II came to an end 70 years ago today.

Thank you Harry Truman for having the courage to drop those atom bombs to force Japan to surrender.  A lot of Japanese died from the two bombs, but had they not been dropped many millions would have died as they were prepared to fight for the last person.  U.S. casualties would probably have been in the 500,000 range.

Thank You, harry truman.  --GreGen

Remembering the 7 Powell Brothers-- Part 1

From the March 18, 2015, War Stories Online "WWII Stories: Remembering the 7 Powell brothers."

When this was written, George Powell was 99 and the only surviving brother.  He has since died.  (See the previous two posts.)

However, it wasn't rare for multiple siblings to enlist during World War II.  The 1998 "Saving Private Ryan" Steven Spielberg movie is believed to be based on the Niland brothers from New York.  Two died during the Normandy Invasion and third one was killed when he was shot down in Burma.  At that time the fourth one was rescued from combat and sent home.

There were eight brothers who served (believed to be the most of any family) from the Fedele family of Rochester, New York.

--GreGen

Last of Seven Illinois Brothers Dies-- Part 2

While George Powell was proud of his military service, he rarely discussed it..  he was a naval aviation mechanic serving in the Pacific.  None of his brothers talked about it much either.Nephew Jim Powell said, "They didn't dwell on their service.  They just came back, went to work and raised their families."

--GreGen

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Last of Seven Illinois Brothers Who Served Dies-- Part 2: Powell Brothers Memorial Highway

John Powell, 37, said: "This is the end of an era-- the last of 13 children to go.  That generation will never be repeated.

Stete Sen. Sam McCann, R-Carlinville, said plans for a dedication ceremony, which will unveil signs along the highway are still in the works.  The ceremony will likely be August 14, tomorrow, to coincide with the annual Powell family reunion.

George Powell's daughter Paula Prusick, said her father was pleased when he heard of the honor, but that he probably would not have been able to attend because of declining health.  He was incredibly sharp right up to the end.  His wife Lillian died in 2012.  he worked at an auto manufacturing plant in Lansing after the war and then worked for the Michigan state liquor control commission.

He retired in 1978 then fished "almost every day" until he was in his late 80s.

--GreGen

Last of Seven Illinois Brothers Who Served Died in July-- Part 1: George Powell

From the July 10, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Served in WWII with 6 brothers" by Kate Thayer.

GEORGE POWELL, 99.   (1915-2015)

Died July 8, 2015.

"The lone surviving sibling of a downstate family that sent seven sons to war died Wednesday, marking what loved ones described as the 'end of an era.'"

George Powell was one of 13 children and one of seven brothers who served in WWII.  Military records show that at least six of them served in active war zones in Europe and the Pacific.  All survived the war and would return at varying times to the family's farmhouse in downstate Hillview, about 60 miles southwest of Springfield.

The family's name will soon be honored when a stretch of U.S. Route 67 is dedicated to their honor.  About 35 miles passing through Green County will now be known as the Powell Brothers Memorial Highway after a joint resolution passed the Illinois General Assembly last spring.

I have been writing about the five Steinsdoerfer brothers from McHenry.

GreGen

Some More Steinsdoerfer Brothers and a Relative?

I also found a Leonard J. Steinsdoerfer, born Dec. 15, 1917, died September 27, 1977.  Private in U.S. Army during World War II, buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in McHenry, Illinois.

Also, Alvin N. Steinsdoerfer, born 17 January 1916 and buried in McHenry, Illinois.  It listed both Woodland Cemetery and St. Mary's Cemetery for him.

The dates of birth would match the ages in 1944, so these were most likely three of the five brothers.  I couldn't find anything about the Richard and Irvin Steinsdoerfer brothers.

I did, however, find a Donald W. Steinsdoerfer, born in 1922, died in 2000 who served in the Army during World War II in Find-a-Grave.  he was born Feb. 24, 1922, in McHenry, Illinois.  Most likely a relative of the others.

--GreGen

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

James J. Steinsdoerfer, One of the Five Brothers Who Served from McHenry

Yesterday, I wrote about the five Steinsdoerfer brothers serving in the U.S. military from McHenry County, Illinois, during World War II.  At first I wasn't able to find out anything but eventually came across and article and obituary for a person I believe to have been one of them.

James J. Steinsdoerfer, 81.  Died in 2003.  He is buried in Woodland Cemetery in McHenry, Illinois.  This would have put him at 22 in 1944.  He died June 7, 2003 and was born March 15, 1922 in McHenry.  He had enlisted in the Army on Dec. 28, 1942, at Fort Miles, Delaware and served at the Battle of the Bulge in the 52nd Coast Artillery.

--GreGen

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive in McHenry-- Part 4: The Hunter Boat Company

Another article shown at the ceremony was a short one about the Hunter Boat Company in McHenry , Illinois, (a big builder of recreation boats for the Chain of Lakes and elsewhere) receiving an order from the U.S. Army to manufacture several hundred boats on an assembly line basis.

I found out from the McHenry, Illinois,  Walking Tour that the Hunter Boat Company was located on the east side of the Fox River at 31112 Lincoln Road, across Pearl Street bridge from Riverside Street.

Everett Hunter moved his company from Chicago and located here in 1910 to take advantage of the Fox River and Chain of Lakes.  At one time they operated 18 tour boats to take visitors to the famed lotus beds on Fox lake and Grasslake.

They made everything from rowboats, speed boats to yachts..

In World War II, they made boats for the U.S. navy (although the article mentioned the U.S. Army).

--GreGen


Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive-- Part 3: Five Steinsdoerfer Brothers Serving

Another article mentioned the poor McHenry County mother who had sons in the service of her country.  The September 9, 1944,  McHenry Plaindealer had a write up about the five Steinsdoerfer brothers serving.

Richard, 18, the youngest had just completed basic training
Alvin, 28, the oldest
Leonard, 26
James, 22
Irvin, 21

That was one woman who wouldn't want to see someone approaching her house with a telegram.

I was also unable to find any further information on the five brothers.  I sure would have liked to know their story.

All For Country.  --GreGen

Monday, August 10, 2015

Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive, August 9-- Part 2: Two Harvard (Ill.) Casualties

Bill's Liitle Big band played music from the era at the gazebo for an hour from 4-5 p.m..  I went over to two tents with artifacts and newspapers from World War II.

One article from the June 29, 1944, McHenry Plaindealer headlined "Two Harvard Men-- Latest Casualties in McHenry County."  Private Everett Roberts, a farmer before the war, died June 1st.

Staff Sergeant Ray Kennedy had been missing over Romania since June 11.  he had enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 and had completed 26 missions, receiving the Air Medal.

I was unable to learn anything else about these two men.

--GreGen

Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive in McHenry, August 9-- Part 1

I left the Parish Fest in nearby Johnsburg, Illinois, to go to this event in McHenry's Veterans Park.  This was my third time there.  I wish that the Parish Fest would be held on a different day as I always have to leave and hour and a half early.

But, i wouldn't miss this as it is my way of saying thanks to the Greatest Generation.  This is why I sign off each of these blogs as GreGen, short for it.

I parked nearby and carried my folding chair to the park, stopping along the way to buy a hamburger from the Polish Legion of American Veterans.  They are rebuilding their place, which caught fired and was destroyed back on Mother's Day 2014.  I told them I was looking forward to the place reopening, especially for their fantastic Sunday breakfast buffets.  The last one I had been at was on that fire day.

--GreGen

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive in McHenry, Illinois, on Sunday

This Sunday, August 9, 2015, McHenry, Illinois, will again host a huge ceremony in downtown Veterans Park.  Each year this draws hundreds of people, including many members of the Greatest Generation.

Once again, i will be there.  I wouldn't miss it.  In my own small way this is my way to show respect to the people who lived through both the Great depression and World War II.

Making this even more special is that this also marks the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender after the atom bombs were dropped.

However, this always takes place on the same Sunday as Johnsburg's St. John's Church has their annual Parish Fest, so I have to come from there.  I wish they would have Parish Fest on a different day.

-GreGen

Watch Out For "Horned Scullies"

In the last post I mentioned that two live bombs were found while divers were looking for "horned scullies" near Vero Beach in Florida.

The Random House Dictionary describes a "horned scully" as "A tapered block of concrete with projecting steel rails placed underwater to tear holes in the bottom of ships.

The Germans used these to defend their Atlantic Wall and were also at the Normandy invasion beaches.  U.S. troops referred to them as "Horned Scullies."

--GreGen

Suspected WWII Bombs Found in Water Near Vero Beach in 2014

From the Jan. 25, 2014, TC Palm (Fla.) by Will Greenlee.

Residents were asked to stay inside their houses or leave on Tuesday after two suspected bombs were found in eleven feet of water, fifty feet apart.  This was at the site of the former Fort Pierce Naval Amphibious Training Base during the war.

These were found while divers were looking for "Horned Scullies," which were obstacles built to damage landing craft.

Explosion and Ordnance Disposal Unit was called in to excavate them this weekend.  It is not known if they had explosives in them.

Follow up:  one was a 1000 pound bomb and the other a 500 pound.  They were detonated Tuesday.  I guess they were still dangerous.

First Sharks, Now This.  --GreGen

Friday, August 7, 2015

Veteran Recalls Fighting Japanese in the Aleutian Islands-- Part 2

He was pinned down with little cover.  He dared not fire his rifle for fear it would enable the Japanese to locate his position.

"We laid there for maybe three hours.  That's when I froze my feet and fingers.  My hands were like ice, and they're still like ice.  I still have ringing in my ears from all of the noise."

"From where we were, we could see our battleships off to the left, out in the ocean-- the Idaho, Pennsylvania and Nevada.  When those ships were firing their big guns, there was so much smoke, you couldn't even see the ship.

"Boy, they were letting go, BANG! BANG!  Some of the shells came pretty close yo us."

--GreGen

Veteran Recalls Fighting the Japanese in the Aleutians-- Part 1

From the Jan. 25, 2014, Lehigh (Pa.) Morning Call by David Venditta.

Clifford A. Hahn, 91, left school in the 7th grade to support his family.  In 1942, a few days after his 20th birthday, he left his job at Bethlehem Steel and joined the 7th Infantry Division and took part in the fighting in  the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, Marshall islands, Philippines and Okinawa.

Arriving in teh Aleutians, he was in summer clothing.  he left California on a troop ship and went to Dutch Harbor and then landed at Attu.  They had thin coats and were always wet because of the snow and no gloves.

They landed in May 1942.  NMr. Hahn recalled that the Japanese had 4-5 anti-aircraft guns on the other side "...and  they let go with all their guns.  I got hit in the knee by a piece of shrapnel-- it knocked me down.  It was just enough to give me pain."

--GreGen


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Shorpy Home Front Photographs-- Part 3: Women Drivers

JAN. 12, 2014--  CORPORAL KINK: 1942--  August 1942 Fort Belvoir, Virginia.  "Soldiers using a barbed wire anchor spike to screw in a picket.  He is wearing special gloves that are made for handling barbed wire."  By Howard Lieberman, OWI.  Comment that he is wearing a World War I helmet and carrying a Springfield '03 rifle.

JAN. 12, 2014--  DRIVER 469--  November 1942.  Salt Lake City, Utah.  "Women training to operate buses and taxicabs."  By Andreas Feininger, OWI.  To replace the men who were off in service.

JAN. 9, 2014--  ENGAUGED: 1942--  September 1942. "Washington, D.C. Conversion of the Shoreham Hotel furnaces from oil to coal burning system."  By Howard Lieberman, OWI  This helped conserve oil for the war effort.

--GreGen

Shorpy Home Front Photographs-- Part 2

Jan. 17, 2014--  THE PENTAGON: 1940.

June 16, 2014--  THE "HUMP OFFICE: 1942--  December 1942 "Switch lists coming in by teletype to the hump office iof the Chicago & northwestern railroad yard in Chicago."  Jack Delano, OWI.

JAN. 15, 2014--  DATA ENTRY: 1942--  January 1942, Washington, D.C..  "U.S. Office of Defense.  Transportation system of port control and its traffic channel control.  using IBM punch card equipment.  Photo of a woman typing punch cards.  Early computer system.

--GreGen

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Shorpy Home Front Photographs-- Part 1: Chicago's Union Station

From the Shorpy site.  Well worth going to these photos and taking a look at them, making them larger and definitely read the comments.

JAN. 17, 2014  FOR US: 1943--  January 1943 "Chicago, Illinois, Union Station train concourse.  By Jack Delano, Office of War Information (OWI)  There is a huge sign at the end of the hall.  A comment said that the bonds purchased matured in 40 years at five times their cost.

JUNE 6, 2007  MODEL FLIGHT: 1943--  "Model airplanes decorate the ceiling of train concourse at Union Station in Chicago, Illinois.  By Jack Delano OWI (who took a lot of train photos during the war).  Comment: saw them at age 7  Another comment said they were made by youngsters.

JAN. 17, 2014  FOR THEM, BOMBS: 1943--  January 1942 "Chicago, Illinois, Union Station train concourse.  By Jack Delano, OWI.  There is a sign showing the way to the USO Lounge and Servicemen's Canteen.

--GreGen

Death of Pearl Harbor Survivor Harry Anderson in 2014

From the Jan. 8, 2014, Lake County (Cal.) News "Harry Anderson dies at 95; Lakeport man had survived Pearl Harbor attack" by Eliabeth Larson.

Mr. Anderson was a member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association (PHSA)and with his passing, that leaves just one remaining member of the Lake County PHSA, 89-year-old Bill Slater of Lakeport.

Mr. Anderson was born August 27, 1918, in Sacramento, California and joined the Navy in 1938.  He was a 23-year-old Seaman 1st class, on the USS Tennessee that day.  "We didn't have any idea we were going to be attacked."

He had just finished breakfast and had gone on an errand for supplies when a bomb hit the Tennessee's second turret.  It was one of two hits.  A large chunk of metal went through the seat where he had been for breakfast and he kept it as a souvenir.

The ship was sent back to Bremerton, Washington, for repairs near the end of the war and that is where Mr. Anderson  met and married Maryona Buhring.

I wonder if Frank Curre, for whom this blog is dedicated, knew Mr. Anderson as both men were on the USS Tennessee?

--GreGen

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Death of USS Indianapolis Survivor Florian M. Stamm

From VoyForms and July 26, 2015, Indianapolis Star.

I mentioned his death yesterday in my coverage of the 70th reunion of the the USS Indianapolis survivors.

Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, survivor of the USS Indianapolis.

Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 30, 2015, (the 70th anniversary of the ship's sinking) at Mount Horeb Evangelical Church.  Burial with full military honors took place at Mount Horeb Union Cemetery.  Mr. Stamm died July 26, in Dodgeville, Wisconsin.  He was born Jan. 17, 1924, in Adams County, Wisconsin.

One of the 317 USS Indianapolis survivors to be rescued from the sea after their four-days of hell, today, with his passing, there are only 30 of them left.

His youngest son, David Stamm, wife and son, were at the reunion when he died.

--GreGen

Telegram That Riled Hitler Auctioned

From the July 11. 2015, USA Today "Telegram that riled Hitler in final days sells at auction" by John Johnson.

A telegram from Hermann Goering in the last week of Hitler's life was sold at auction.  An American soldier took it as a souvenir in Hitler's bunker, not knowing of its importance as it was written in German which he couldn't read.

It was dated April 23, 1945 in went to Hitler in his Berlin bunker as Allied forces were fighting in the city.  In it, Goering told Hitler that he'd assume command of Germany if he didn't hear from Hitler that night.  Hitler had previously designated Goering as his successor.

Hitler considered the move as a coup and went into a rage.

It was found in the bunker by U.S. Army Captain Benjamin Braden who took it with him to his home in South Carolina and stuck it in a safe.  His son found it and it sold for$55,000 to an anonymous buyer.

--GreGen

Monday, August 3, 2015

USS Indianapolis Tragedy Was July 30, 1945-- Part 5: 70 Years Ago

Carol Burnside has gotten to know the survivors really well.  She has been attending these reunions since she was ten.  her father was the pilot, Chuck Gwinn, who spotted the survivors bobbing in the Pacific Ocean four days into their ordeal.  Had he not done so, many more would have been lost.  The survivors call him "The Angel."

On the last day of the reunion, on Sunday, during a memorial service for the deceased, it was announced that Florian Stamm, 91, of Wisconsin, had died the night before.  His 24-year-old grandson made a film about the Indianapolis' survivors for a class project.

There are now just 31 survivors of the USS Indianapolis.

--GreGen

USS Indianapolis Tragedy Was July 30, 1945-- Part 4

Survivor Cleatus Lebow, 91, arrived in the Indianapolis airport from his home in Memphis, Tennessee, and was really impressed with the 3,000 people there to greet him waving American flags, clapping and cheering.  Sure makes you feel appreciated.

One of the most-honored guests was Hunter Scott, who, as an adolescent became obsessed with clearing the name of the Indianapolis' captain, Charles B. McVay III, who was court martialed and found guilty for the ship's loss.  To a man, the ship's crew consider that their captain was the Navy's scapegoat for its failure to realize the ship was missing and immediately organize search parties.  Largely due to Scott's efforts, McVay was exonerated by the U.S. Congress and President Clinton in 2000.

Not Forgotten On This Blog.  --GreGen

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The USS Indianapolis Tragedy Was July 30, 1945-- Part 3

Four days before the USS Indianapolis was sunk, it had delivered the components for the atom bomb to Tinian.  That bomb was assembled and dropped on Hiroshima less than two weeks later.  By the time the survivors were spotted in the water, the war was over.

The reunions are also a history of reconciliation.  The daughter and granddaughter of Mochitsura Hashimoto, commander of the Japanese submarine that fired the torpedoes, were in attendance.  Atsuke Iida, the granddaughter, lives in Centralia, Illinois.  They were treated very nicely by all gathered for the occasion.

Dick Thelen, who was a truck driver after the war for 44 years said: "We all came home and tried to forget the war.  In seven years I didn't say one word to my wife about the sinking.  She didn't know nothing."

--GreGen

The USS Indianapolis Tragedy Was July 30, 1945-- Part 2

Fourteen of the 31 surviving crew members gathered recently in Indianapolis for the 70th reunion.  Hundreds of family members, friends and dignitaries were also in attendance.  Most everyone realized that here probably will not be a 75th anniversary reunion.

The reunions have been held annually the last several years and before that biannually.

Harold Bray, 88, a retired police officer from Benicia, California, is the youngest survivor still living.  He says: "Our numbers are dropping fast.  We've lost three since the last reunion.  It's really tough to belong to a club like this."

--GreGen