The Other Pearl Harbor Story – Kimmel and Short | Pacific Paratrooper

People around the nation, including some vocal congressmen, asked why America had been caught off guard at Pearl Harbor. President Franklin D. Roosevelt said he would appoint an investigatory commi…

Source: The Other Pearl Harbor Story – Kimmel and Short | Pacific Paratrooper

Censorship ~ Did you ever wonder who blacked out those letters? | Pacific Paratrooper

There was some censoring in the Civil War because letters sometimes had to cross enemy lines. Most of the censoring came from the prisoner-of-war camps. For example, if someone was writing a letter…

Source: Censorship ~ Did you ever wonder who blacked out those letters? | Pacific Paratrooper

Intermission (5) – POW in Japan

Can you imagine what it must be like to be marched out to face a firing squad, say goodbye to your closest friend who is standing next to you and then have the squad shoulder their rifles and march…

Source: Intermission (5) – POW in Japan

A fool on a hill…: The House by the Lake, by Thomas Harding

housebylakeThomas Harding’s grandparents were originally called Hirschowitz, and they were Jews who managed to escape from Hitler’s Germany just before escape pretty much ceased to be an option. They were relatively fortunate; most of their family got out too. When they came to England, Erich refused to…

Source: A fool on a hill…: The House by the Lake, by Thomas Harding

Making Maps Under Fire: Surveying New Guinea in World War II | The Rant Foundry

HMAS Whyalla in camouflage in New Guinea

The part played by the Hydrographic Surveying Services of the Royal Australian Navy was acknowledged by the Allied leaders of the Southwest Pacific Area as an integral factor contributing to the su…

Source: Making Maps Under Fire: Surveying New Guinea in World War II | The Rant Foundry

A Look Inside Florence’s Strangest Archive

For six centuries, the Corsini Family has recorded everything that’s ever happened to them…

Source: A Look Inside Florence’s Strangest Archive

Intermission (3) – Current News on The Hump

At 7:40 a.m. Jan. 25, 1944, five B-24 Liberator heavy bombers from the 308th Bombardment Group, 425th Squadron, took off from their base at Kunming, China, on a routine supply run to India. Their r…

Source: Intermission (3) – Current News on The Hump

Women in WWII | Pacific Paratrooper

In honor of Women’s History Month this week’s posts will be a dedication to them…..

As WWII unfolded around the globe, women were also affected. Some found themselves pressed into jobs and duties they would never have previously considered. Hitler derided Americans as degenerate for putting the women to work, but nearly 350,000 American females alone served in uniform voluntarily. A transformation of half the population, never seen before, that began evolving in the early ‘40s and continues today.

For the WASPs, 1,830 female pilots volunteered for Avenger Field outside Sweetwater, Texas alone and it was the only co-ed air base in the U.S. These women would ferry aircraft coming off the assembly lines from the factories to the base. They acted as test pilots; assessing the performance of the planes. The WASPs were flight instructors and would shuttle officers around to the posts where they were needed. For artillery practice, they would…

Source: Women in WWII | Pacific Paratrooper

Eye Witness Account – Bougainville | Pacific Paratrooper

stevecibik

Lt. Steve Cibik, 21st Marines

“We were a veteran company with Guadalcanal behind us and we thought we knew the jungle.  But here on Bougainville we were battling a jungle such as we had never dreamed of.  For 19 days we struggled in miasmal swamps, fought vines that wrapped themselves bout our neck like whips, birds that dived at us like screaming Stukas, bats whose wings whirred like falling artillery shells, snakes, lizards and insects without name or number.  For 19 days we attacked this natural enemy with our machetes and knives, hacking our way through…

Source: Eye Witness Account – Bougainville | Pacific Paratrooper

Anecdotage

Originally posted on The Slog.

My great-aunt Lizzie was a mill-girl with aspirations to better herself. Whereas in 2015, ‘aspiration’ is really a euphemism for material greed, back in 1908 it wasn’t. A hundred and seven years ago it meant becoming respectable through marriage. Neither is that attractive as a trait, but in terms of anthropology, the latter is both more natural and not entirely dysfunctional. At the turn of the century before last, it was entirely understandable: if you worked a ten-hour day six days a week and would receive no compensation for falling into the machinery as a result of fatigue, then eschewing the need to do that was a highly desirable step in the right direction.

Like most members of my family, Elizabeth didn’t like her given name. When still very young, she opted for Lilly (or Lil) as a suitable nickname, and to her dying day intensely disliked being called Lizzie. One rather suspects that – given the racy success of the Jersey Lilly as Edward VII’s mistress – she saw this as part of her single-handed attempt to climb the socio-demographic mountain put in the Lower Order’s way in those days. The mountain still exists, the main difference now being that…

Source: Anecdotage

Tales from the walled garden #3: when Alice met Charlie

A fascinating glimpse of English family history at the turn of the century from Tish Farrell.

Tish Farrell

Charles Alice 2 (2)Charles Alice 2 (3)

I think I can safely say that  my genetic make-up, in parts of its configuration, is down to a malfunctioning umbrella. At least this is what I gather from my Aunt Evelyn’s brief account of how her parents, my paternal grandparents got together.

But before we get into the umbrella business, please meet my grandmother, Alice Gertrude Eaton, a grocer’s cashier from Streatham, London (I have a notion that it was an early Sainsbury’s store because the emporium’s founders, John James and Mary Ann Sainsbury had the policy that ‘lady clerks made the stores run better’), and grandfather, Charles Ashford, head gardener, born in Twyford, Hampshire. You have seen them in their latter years in my earlier posts from the walled garden (see: #1, #2)

In  many respects they are an unlikely couple. Alice was a city girl through and through. She is perhaps unusual, too…

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February 1943 (2)

Pacific Paratrooper

"Warm Reception" by Jim Dietz of the Guadalcanal Cactus Air Force. “Warm Reception” by Jim Dietz of the Guadalcanal Cactus Air Force.

7-18 February – Chiang Kai-shek agreed to use his forces in the Burma campaign, but as usual, this was in exchange for a promise of even more US financial aid.  Mahatma Gandhi started his 21-day hunger strike in India in his non-violent opposition to British policies in his country.

Chindits 1943 Chindits 1943

The 47th and 55th Indian Brigades were beaten back at Donbaik in the Arakan peninsula.  The Chindits opposed the enemy for the first time on the 18th in Burma and advanced.  They managed to cut the Japanese railroad line between Mandalay and Myitkyina.

New Guinea New Guinea

12 February – the Allies initiated the Elkton Plan; a campaign designed by MacArthur to eject the Japanese from New Guinea, New Britain and the Solomons.  This would isolate the enemy headquarters at Rabaul.  (The original plan included capturing Rabaul, but was scrapped…

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Christmas in January 1943

Pacific Paratrooper

Cabanatuan Prison Camp Cabanatuan Prison Camp

Commander Melvin H.McCoy of the U.S.Navy had survived the Bataan death march on the Philippines and was now in the notorious Davao Prison camp on Mindanao. Like most prisoners of the Japanese they were on starvation rations and men were dying on a daily basis.

On 29th January 1943 they got a lucky break. For whatever reason the Japanese had for once decided to hand over the Red Cross parcels that had been sent from the States. This was a very irregular event. Many prisoners of the Japanese never saw any of them.

Red Cross parcel Red Cross parcel

The importance of such support from home could never be underestimated:

“It’s Christmas, Commander McCoy!” he shouted. “It’s Christmas!”

I was well aware that Christmas had already passed, practically without notice, so I asked him to explain his excitement.

“Stuff from home,” he babbled. “Boxes from the States. Red Cross boxes.”

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Current News

Pacific Paratrooper

Marines come home. Marines come home.

Remains of Missing WWII Veterans Return

Story courtesy of KHON.com & info from “Goodbye Darkness” by William Manchester

PEARL HARBOR (KHON2) — 39 U.S. marines who were missing in action during World War II were honored in a ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor- Hickam on July 26th.

These veterans were reunited with their families after 72 years as unidentified remains. After the Battle of Tarawa during World War II the marines were considered to be missing in action.

Crews of scientists, historians, and surveyors from the non-profit History Flight have combed through Tarawa for the past decade. This is considered to be the largest recovery of missing in action veterans ever recorded.

Four of the veterans received the Medal of Honor; including 1st Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Jr.  Bonnyman, an engineer officer, along with 5 of his men, were responsible for approximately 200 enemy KIA, including the commanding…

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Willow Run

Pacific Paratrooper

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Whatever its flaws, the clunky, clumsy B-24 Liberator was the only bomber capable of crossing the vast distances between the Pacific Islands, especially after the ingenuity of Charles Lindbergh showed the aviators how to stretch their fuel.  The more the US planned to push the Japanese forces back from those many islands, the more they required the production of this aircraft.  It wasn’t long before assembly plants sprung up in San Diego, Dallas, Fort Worth and Tulsa.  But none would symbolize the rise of Liberator construction as the facility built near Detroit know as Willow Run.

WillowRun_1000

Managed by the Ford Motor Co., the factory itself was in some respects a greater engineering feat than the planes it produced.  It was the largest plant in the world, spread across 3.5 million square feet, with 28,855 windows and 152,000 fluorescent lights.  The assembly line traveled so far that, when it reached the…

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