Merredin, Australia

This is more and likely an area that not many know of or would even consider as concerned with WWII, but the World War II Sites in Merredin provide a fascinating insight into the role the Central Wheatbelt played in Australia’s preparation for World War II.

Military history enthusiasts will be captivated by the RAAF No 10 Store Depot which comprises of igloo shaped tin hangars.  They were originally built in 1943 to store American aircraft for the war. From the sky the hangars were camouflaged to look like a salt lake.

Take a drive to the High Frequency Direction Finding Installation, also known as the Radar Hut. It was built to give advance warning of an impending invasion.

Merredin

The country town of Merredin is a three hour drive northeast of Perth. A visit to the Australian General Army Hospital and the nearby Military Museum will complete your World War II tour of Merredin.

Australian General Army Hospital

Located off Benson Rd, The remains of the former field Hospital that was relocated to Merredin from Gaza Ridge, Palestine in 1942 can be viewed in native bushland adjacent to Merredin Peak. Extensive interpretation on site, but only the foundation of the hospital are visible.

Aviation Fuel Tanks

These tanks can be viewed from the car park of the BP Roadhouse on the Great Eastern Highway. Part of a home has been built on top of the aviation fuel tanks which sit partly above and partly below ground. The tanks held six million litres of fuel used at the Cunderdin Airfield.

RAAF WWII Supply Hangar, Merredin

RAAF No10 Stores Depot

Located on the Nungarin-Merredin Road / Railway Ave. These igloo shaped hangars were part of the RAAF No10 Stores Depot commenced in 1943. The Depot held bulk and technical stores, especially radar and radio spares. Sheets of tin placed on the ground helped camouflage the site as a salt lake. RAAF personnel lived in nearby houses with vegetable gardens and flowers beds rather than barracks, also as a camouflage technique. On Private property, can be viewed from the roadside.

HF/DF Installation

Located on the Merredin-Chandler road. In the paddock just past Hunts Dam is the High Frequency Direction Finding Installation, locally known as the Radar Hut. It’s role was to give advance warning of an impending invasion. It is believed to have been completed in February 1945. On Private property, can be viewed from the roadside.

Ammunition Dumps

Nokaning East Road (gravel road). Scattered rows of rounded concrete buildings set in the paddocks. The 46 concrete igloos were constructed to house a wide range of munitions. You can still make out the numbers on some doors. The area would have been guarded by personnel who lived in approximately 40 timber framed buildings hidden amongst the trees.  On Private property, can be viewed from the roadside.

At the Military Museum

Military Museum

This museum located on the Great Eastern Highway contains memorabilia from all major conflicts since World War 1 and is a great place from which to start your exploration of the Military history of the Wheatbelt.

Vietnam Veteran’s Reflection Pond Memorial

Located in Roy Little Park , Merredin this monument constructed by Wheatbelt Vietnam Veterans was dedicated on Long Tan Day, August 18th 2006, to mark the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jackey D. Blosser – WV; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. D/1/32/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Glenn Crocker – Maize, KS; US Navy, WWII, pilot

James Dennis – Sussex, ENG; 28th Batt./Royal Essex Regiment/5th Army, WWII

Jack Garwood – Villages, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO

Edward Herbert – Boonton, PA; 11th Airborne Division

Max W. Lower – Lewiston, UT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, TSgt., 345/98/9th Air Force, KIA (Romania)

James McCauley – Tucson, AZ; USMC, WWII, pilot

Patrick Ryan – Brooklyn, NY; US Navy, WWII

Gerald Smith – Denver, CO; US Navy, WWII, PTO / US Army, Korea, 7th Infantry Division

Frederick Willman Jr. – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

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Borneo – a world forgotten / Lt. Gen. E.M. Flanagan Jr.

Australians landing on Borneo

Part of the wider Borneo campaign of the Pacific War, was fought between 10 June and 15 August 1945 in North Borneo (later known as Sabah). The battle involved a series of amphibious landings by Australian forces on various points on the mainland around Brunei Bay and upon islands situated around the bay. Japanese opposition to the landings was sporadic initially, although as the campaign progressed a number of considerable clashes occurred and both sides suffered relatively significant casualties. Ultimately, however, the Australians were successful in seizing control of the region.

Codenamed Operation Oboe Six, the battle was part of the second phase of the Allied operations to capture the island of Borneo. Previously in May a brigade-sized force had been put ashore on Tarakan. A total of 29,000–30,000 men were committed to the operation by the Allies, with the majority of the ground forces being provided by the Australian 9th Division, under the command of Major General George Wootten and consisting of the 20th and 24th Brigades, along with naval support from the United States Navy and Royal Australian Navy and aerial support from the United States Army Air Forces, the United States Marine Corps and elements of the Royal Australian Air Force’s 1st Tactical Air Force.

Borneo

Two United States Army units, the 727th Amphibian Tractor Battalion who manned the LVTs and the 593rd Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment’s Boat Battalion, were also attached to the Australians. Having been planned by General Douglas MacArthur to take place in three stages—preparatory bombardment, forced landings, advance—the objective of the operation was to enable the Allies to establish “an advanced fleet base” in order to enable subsequent naval operations, to capture the vast oil and rubber supplies available in the area and to re-establish British civil administration.  Intelligence estimated that there were approximately 31,000 Japanese troops on Borneo.

Borneo map

Despite the progress that had been made on the southern mainland,  the fighting intensified as the Japanese defenders retreated inland to a heavily fortified position known as “the Pocket.” After the battle 180 Japanese dead were counted, bringing the total killed during the fighting on Labuan to 389. Against this the Australians suffered 34 killed and 93 wounded.

The second main landing came on 16 June on the mainland at Weston, in the north-eastern part of Brunei Bay. Many times the fighting came down to hand-to-hand combat.

In early August 1945, two atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and on 15 August the Japanese Emperor, Hirohito, effectively announced an end to hostilities, with the formal surrender being signed on 2 September 1945. As a result of the ceasefire, the planned Allied invasion of Japan was no longer required and as a result, the strategic gains provided by the capture of North Borneo were arguably negated.

Combat in Borneo

Throughout the course of the fighting on North Borneo, the Australians lost 114 men killed or died of wounds while another 221 men were wounded. Against this, the Japanese lost at least 1,234 men, while 130 had been captured. On top of this, a further 1,800 Japanese were estimated to have been killed by guerrilla forces operating as part of the clandestine Services Reconnaissance Department.

Borneo

After the fighting was over, the Australians began the task for establishing British civil administration, rebuilding the infrastructure that had been damaged and providing for the civilians that had been displaced in the fighting. Following the ceasefire, there were still a large number of Japanese troops in North Borneo—by October 1945 it was estimated that there was over 21,000 Japanese soldiers and civilians still in North Borneo—and the 9th Division was made responsible for organizing the surrender, provisioning and protection of these personnel.

Lt. Gen. Masao Baba at Borneo surrender

They were also tasked with liberating the Allied civilian internees and prisoners of war that were being held at Batu Lintang camp in Kuching, Sarawak. As civil administration was slowly restored, in October 1945, the Australian demobilization process began. Initially this process was slow as there were few troops able to relieve the Australian forces in Borneo and as such only long service personnel were released for return to Australia. The 9th Division remained in North Borneo performing garrison duties until January 1946, when it was relieved by the 32nd Indian Brigade, and subsequently disbanded.

This situation remained until 1963, when the region was subsumed by the Malaysian state of Sabah.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

“Did you hear about the cruise ship that got stranded for 5 days? Must have been tough.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salute to Lt. General Edward M. Flanagan Jr. –

Lt.General E.M. Flanagan

 

Edward Flanagan Jr. Beaufort, SC – Lt. General (retired) Edward M. (Fly) Flanagan, 98, made his final jump on Thursday, November 7, 2019 at his home on Lady’s Island. He spent his life in daily acts of adoration of his wife and devotion to God. A three-star Army General, accomplished author and military historian.

Born and raised in Saugerties, NY, the son of Edward and Marie (Sinnot) Flanagan, he was a career military officer stationed at home and abroad including Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Germany. After graduating from the United States Military Academy in 1943 he became a paratrooper and fought in the Pacific during World War II. He had a combat jump into the Philippines with the 11th Airborne Division and participated in the occupation of Japan at the end of the war.

He met his wife, Marguerite Farrell while on leave from West Point and they were married in 1945 when he returned from the war. He had a distinguished military career, rising to the rank of Lt. General and his commands included the 25th Infantry Division (Assistant Division Commander), 1st Infantry Division, U.S. Army center for Special Warfare and U.S. Army Special Warfare School (Green Berets), Eighth United States Army and Sixth United States Army. He retired from active duty in 1978.

11th Airborne Division patch

During his retirement he did extensive research and wrote a number of military history books including Angels at Dawn; The History of the 11th Airborne Division; Rakkasans; The Los Banos Raid; Airborne A Combat History of American Airborne Forces; and Lighting: The 101st in the Gulf War.

The General was kind enough to call me twice when he heard my father had served with the 11th Airborne and that I was using many of his well-researched books as a resource of my information.  He was only too eager to help.

The General will be buried with fellow graduates at the West Point Military Academy.

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The Caterpillar Club

Portraits of Henry Wacker and John Boettner frame an illustration of their July 21, 1919, jump from a Goodyear airship, qualifying them as the first two members of the Caterpillar Club. NASM-00152652

A hundred years ago, tragedy struck the skies of Chicago just before five in the afternoon on July 21, 1919.  The Goodyear airship, Wingfoot Air Express, more commonly known as the Wingfoot Express, took off from Grant Park, destined for the White City Amusement Park balloon hangar. The Wingfoot Express had successfully made its maiden flight that morning and another later in the afternoon. As the airship passed over the Illinois Trust and Savings Bank, it turned into a “mammoth red ball of fire.” Four tiny parachutes became visible over the financial district. Only two survived—Henry Wacker, the chief mechanic, and John Boettner, the pilot. They became known as members one and two of the Caterpillar Club, an organization formed in November 1922 consisting of people who had used parachutes to make an emergency jump.

The wreckage of the Goodyear Airship Wingfoot Express falling onto a bank building in Chicago, Illinois, July 21, 1919, people and cars can be seen in the foreground. The photograph is signed, “To B.E. Walls, From First Caterpillar [sic] Club Member, July 21, 1919, Henry Wacker”, Wacker’s parachute can be seen below the falling wreckage. NASM-2007-72

United States Air Force 1st Lieutenant Harold R. Harris, served as the inspiration for the creation of the Caterpillar Club.  On October 20, 1922, Harris was testing experimental ailerons on a Loening pursuit monoplane at McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio.  As he banked in tandem with Lieutenant Muir Fairchild, Harris lost control of the plane. He slid out of his aircraft and attempted to open his parachute several times. It is estimated that he had fallen from 2,500 feet to 500 feet before successfully deploying his chute—marking what is thought to be the first successful use of a parachute in an emergency situation from an airplane.

At a 1943 dinner at the Wings Club, Colonel Harold R. Harris, commanding officer of the Air Transport Command (center), is presented the Switlik Trophy commemorating the first jump from an aircraft via parachute by Stanley Switlik (right) donor of the plaque and leading proponent of safety parachutes. Capt. Harold L. Foster (left) President of the Caterpillar Club looks on. NASM-00143229

Milton H. St. Clair, a parachute engineer at McCook Field, and Verne Timmerman and Maurice Hutton, journalists for the Dayton Daily Herald, figured that Harris was just the first of many future emergency parachute jumps. St. Clair suggested the term “caterpillar” from a description on the composition of a parachute: “mainsail and lines…are woven from the finest silk. The lowly worm spins a cocoon, crawls out and flies away from certain death.”  Thus was born the Caterpillar Club.

Irene McFarland

Irene McFarland became the first female member of the Caterpillar Club on July 4, 1925. A stunt jumper, McFarland was scheduled to test a parachute of her own design in a 3,500 foot jump. Government regulations required that she wear a backup Irving chute. Despite her protests, McFarland wore the emergency chute and used it when her original failed. The Club accepted her as a member even though she intended a parachute jump because she did not intend to use the emergency pack, which saved her life.

The parachute companies quickly got in on the marketing game, presenting pins to the latest emergency parachutists who could confirm which brand of chute they had used. While Robert Fitzgerald of Wright Field maintained the “official” records of the self-proclaimed “mythical organization.”

 

Leslie Irvin of  Irving Air Chute Co., Stanley Switlik of Switlik Parachute Co. and others kept their own lists. Members could be eligible for special deals. For example, on February 25, 1932, Keith’s Theater in Washington, DC, reserved a box for the estimated 17 local members to view the movie The Lost Squadron, advertised as having “more crashes than Wall Street.”

Milton H. St. Clair, parachute engineer and co-founder of the Caterpillar Club, points to a sign for Caterpillar farm tractors.

With the dawning of WW II, it appeared the ranks of the Caterpillar Club would grow exponentially. The Club decided to take its status beyond “mythical” to “organized” and officially incorporated on April 6, 1943.  Stanley Switlik provided office space and assistance with applications and credentials.

Today the ranks of Caterpillar Club members number in the tens of thousands. Both Irving (as Airborne Systems) and Switlik continue to register members. Famous members include John Glenn, Jimmy Doolittle and George H.W. Bush.  With four jumps to his credit, Charles Lindbergh is probably the member with the most pins.

Lt. Charles Lindbergh parachuting from his disabled airplane, circa 1926.

Maurice Hutton, co-founder of the Caterpillar Club and aviation editor for the Dayton Daily Herald, poses for a photo wearing flight gear and standing next to his plane

And how are Wacker and Boettner members one and two, if the Club was founded three years later with Harris as the first member? The Caterpillar Club was willing to add back-dated members. William O’Connor was the first to be added with a 1920 exhibition jump requiring an emergency chute, making him number one, then number three when Wacker and Boettner were added about nine years after the fact.

 

John Boettner continued to pilot airships for Goodyear and rose to the rank of Commander in the US Navy, flying in World War II. Henry Wacker went on to work for B.F. Goodrich and the WPA. He proudly autographed photos of his jump as “the first Caterpillar Club member.” And every year on July 21, the anniversary of his jump, he took his parachute out of storage and aired it out, in honor of the day it saved his life.

 

Story derived from a Smithsonian Museum article.

Please click on images to enlarge.

 

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jack P. Ancker – NM; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 17th Airborne Division / Korea & Vietnam, Col. (Ret.)

Carl Bell – Gresham, OR; US Navy, WWII, USS Pickens

‘Last Flight’, by Rhads

William B. Clarke – Smyrna, DE; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Vincennes / Korea, USS Worchester

Joseph Damico – Poughkeepsie, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 76/3rd Army

Kenneth E. Ford – Albia, IA; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. C/1/32, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Louis Kulma – Parisville, MI; US Merchant Marines, WWII, chief radio operator

Isabelle Messenger (100) – Peru, MA; Civilian, Red Cross, WWII, ETO, Medal of Freedom

Nicholas Panipinto – Bradenton, FL; US Army, Korea, Spc., 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team/1st Calvary, KIA

Lonnie Ware – Marrero, LA; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Robert Waring – Fredericksburg, VA; US Army, Korea, 101 Airborne Division / US Coast Guard Res., Cmdr. (Ret. 40 y.)

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Veterans Day 2019

For each and every veteran – Thank You!!

For All Our Todays and Yesterdays

Armistice Day Becomes Veterans Day

World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, had ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918.  Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.

For their loyalty

War Dog Memorial on Guam.

 

US Military dog insignia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Things That Make a Soldier Great

The things that make a soldier great and send him out to die,

To face the flaming cannon’s mouth, nor ever question why,

Are lilacs by a little porch, the row of tulips red,

The peonies and pansies, too, the old petunia bed,

The grass plot where his children play, the roses on the wall:

‘Tis these that make a soldier great. He’s fighting for them all.

‘Tis not the pomp and pride of kings that make a soldier brave;

‘Tis not allegiance to the flag that over him may wave;

For soldiers never fight so well on land or on the foam

As when behind the cause they see the little place called home.

Endanger but that humble street whereon his children run–

You make a soldier of the man who never bore a gun.

 

What is it through the battle smoke the valiant soldier sees?

The little garden far away, the budding apple trees,

The little patch of ground back there, the children at their play,

Perhaps a tiny mound behind the simple church of gray.

The golden thread of courage isn’t linked to castle dome

But to the spot, where’er it be–the humble spot called home.

 

And now the lilacs bud again and all is lovely there,

And homesick soldiers far away know spring is in the air;

The tulips come to bloom again, the grass once more is green,

And every man can see the spot where all his joys have been.

He sees his children smile at him, he hears the bugle call,

And only death can stop him now–he’s fighting for them all.

by: Edgar A, Guest

For All Those In Free Countries Celebrating Remembrance 0r Poppy Day

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Current News – 

In honor the Veterans who are in hospice, there is a drive for Christmas cards, and if possible, small gifts for those who are about to go on their final mission.  Please do your best for them – they did it for you!

https://equipsblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/08/reblog-from-national-anthem-girl-send-christmas-cards-to-lonely-vets-in-hospice-care/

Veteran’s Last Patrol; attn: Holiday Drive, P.O. Box 6111, Spartanburg, SC 29304

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Willard R. Best – Staunton, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, SSgt., 40th/1st Air Div./8th Air Force, gunner, KIA (Germany)

Leon E. Clevenger – Durham, NC; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. K/3/21/24th Infantry Division, KIA (Kalgo-ri, South Korea)

Harry Dexter – Davenport, IA; US Army, MSgt., 11th Airborne Division

Herbert B. Jacobson – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII, Pearl Harbor, KIA, USS Oklahoma

Servando Lopez – Alice, TX; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star, Silver Star, Purple Heart

Ralph Nichols – Dawson, GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 551/82nd Airborne Division

Robert Register – Jacksonville, FL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, minesweeper USS Notable # 267

William Timpner – Stamps, AR; US Army, WWII

Frank Wills – Columbus, OH; US Navy, WWII, PTO, submarine service

Peter Zemanick – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army, 504/82nd Airborne Division

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U.S. Marine Corps Birthday – 10 November 2019

What does the celebration mean to Marines across the globe?  To General John Lejeune it meant a great deal.  On 1 November 1921, he issued Marine Corps Order No. 47, Series 1921, which provided a summary of the history, mission and traditions of the Corps and directed that the order be read to every command each subsequent year on 10 November.

The reading of Order 47, Series 1921

 

To read Order 47 please click HERE!

 

 

USMC Birthday Cake

 

 

At the Marine Corps Ball, one key piece of the ceremony is to present the first piece of cake to the oldest Marine in the room, who in turn gives the next to the junior Marine.  This symbolic gesture is the passing of experience and knowledge from the veteran to the recruit.  We should all emulate their example and take part in history.

 

To all those who are able – Enjoy the fruits of your labor and revel in the spectacle and unabashed camaraderie that is the U.S. Marine Corps!!

 

 

 

 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Current News – Charly Priest Review

As I explained to Charly Priest, I am the farthest thing from a poet that anyone could meet, but I am attempting a review of his Kindle/Paperback book.  I hope everyone bears with me.

Priest is an unusual sort, and his poetry bears witness to this statement, but he’s humorous, serious and down-right confusing at times.  There is no clearer explanation of him than that which is written at the end of the book by himself.

There are some that make you think, such as his poem “The Priest”, but I think he hunkers down and shows more of his true self in Chapter 4, and I was impressed.  Such as “Land of the Killers” you can hear his own experiences in the Spanish Legion during deployment.  “In Warfare”, that with all said and done, boils down to the last line, “where it’s a day-to-day reality of the insane.”

“Invisible People”, we’ve either known one of these or were one ourselves;  “Seven Sins”, he expresses the human condition as he sees it and “After the End” with great advice to all.

To find his book, Click Here!

To locate his blog, Click Here!!

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Marine Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Somebody stop that guy and give him a piece of cake!!!”

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Rudy Boesch – Virginia Beach, VA; US Navy, Vietnam, Master Chief SEAL (Ret. 46 y.), Bronze Star

Larry Brown – Columbus, OH; USMC, Vietnam

Thomas H. Cooper – Chattanooga, TN; USMC, WWII, PTO, Cpl. # 295826, 2nd Amtrac Battalion, KIA (Tarawa)

Glen “Bud” Daniel – Belleville, KS; USMC, WWII, 2ndLt., pilot, Purple Heart

Darryly Fleming – Orange Park, FL; USMC, Chief Warrant Officer-5 (Ret.)

Harry C. Morrissey – Everett, MA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Co. B/1/7/1st Marines, KIA (Guadalcanal)

Paul Plasse – Waterville, ME; US Navy, WWII, ETO

Kenneth Ross – Mosinee, WI; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Thomas Walker III – Gadsen, AL; USMC, WWII, Sgt.

Jack Van Zandt – Danville, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc, Co. A/1/6/2nd Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

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Home Front – Wartime Recipes (4)

Please thank Carolyn on her website for putting these delicious meals on-line!       We often discuss the food our parents and grandparents dined on, despite rationing and wartime, they ate quite well – here are some of the recipes you might want to try out.

Carnation Milk ad, 1942

Recipe 101: Gingernuts

Recipe 102: Eggless christmas pudding

Recipe 103: Leftovers stew

Recipe 104: Vinaigrette dressing

Recipe 105: Apple pudding

Recipe 106: Irish omelette

Recipe 107: Potato cakes

Recipe 108: Glazed turnips (Canadian recipe)

Recipe 109: Carrot roll

Recipe 110: Wartime Bara Brith

Recipe 111: Bread and prune pudding

Recipe 112: Sausage stovies

Recipe 113: Malted loaf

Recipe 114: Toad in the Hole

Recipe 115: Summer berry jam

Recipe 116: Scones

Recipe 117: Mock cream 3

Recipe 118: Vegetable Pie

Recipe 119: Air-raid apple chutney

Recipe 120: Lentil curry

Recipe 121: Haricot bean croquettes

Recipe 122: Leek and Lentil Pie

Recipe 123: Coconut Cream

Recipe 124: Colcannon

Recipe 125: Carrot and Sultana Pudding

Recipe 126: Lemon Syrup Sauce

Recipe 127: Bean and Vegetable Sheperd’s Pie

Recipe 128: Chocolate Layer Cake

Recipe 129: Small Cottage Tea Loaves

Recipe 130: Vinegar Cake

From: The 1940’s Experiment 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

 

WHO IS THE RHODES SCHOLAR HERE?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Leonard Cabral – Westport, CT; US Army, Vietnam, 11th Airborne Division

David Garner – Darlington, SC; US Navy, Lt. (Ret. 24 y.)

Cemetery at Lae, New Guinea, 1945

Eugene E. Lochowicz – Milwaukee, WI; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pfc, A/28/8th Infantry Division, KIA (GER.)

John Moon (103) – Macomb, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO, 5th Marines

Ramon Moreno – El Paso, TX; US Navy, WWII & Korea

Marjorie Farber Ross – Michigan City, IN; Civilian, Curtis Wright Aircraft, engineer apprentice

Eric Taylor – Te Puke, NZ; RNZEF # 63229, WWII, PTO

Walter W. Tobin Jr. – Glen Lake, MI; US Army, Korea, Sgt., 1/32/7/31st RCT, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

George Wagner – Chicago, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO

Tom Zauche – Grand Arbor, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

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No Hallowe’en in the early ’40’s

 

WWII put quite the damper on any activity as chaotic as Halloween was back in those days … according to history war shortages made everyone edgy, and towns clamped down on Halloween pranking with both curfews and notices sent home from principals and police. There was a national plea for conservation: any piece of property damaged during Halloween pranking was a direct affront to the war effort.

In 1942 the Chicago City Council voted to abolish Halloween and institute instead “Conservation Day” on October 31st. (This wasn’t the only attempt to reshape Halloween: President Truman tried to declare it “Youth Honor Day” in 1950 but the House of Representatives, sidetracked by the Korean War, neglected to act on the motion. In 1941 the last week of October was declared “National Donut Week,” and then years later, “National Popcorn Week.”)

Editorial pages coast to coast filled with warnings to young people and their parents, such as this one from the Superintendent of Schools in Rochester, NY in 1942: “Letting the air out of tires isn’t fun anymore. It’s sabotage. Soaping windows isn’t fun this year. Your government needs soaps and greases for the war…Even ringing doorbells has lost is appeal because it may mean disturbing the sleep of a tied war worker who needs his rest.”

SO, WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE OUR OWN FUN TODAY!!

C’mon!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Military Pumpkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To find templates for your own pumpkin carvingsCLICK HERE !!

Click on images to enlarge,  have fun,  but be safe!!

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Edwin Benson – W. Newton, MA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pvt., Co. L/3/2nd Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

Leo Cohen – Far Rockaway, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 11th Armored Div., tank operator, Purple Heart

Porfirio C. Franco Jr. – Albuquerque, NM; US Army, WWII, PTO, Pvt., POW, KIA (Manila)

Howard ‘Mike’ Hunt – Plok City, IA; US Army Air Corps, WWII & Korea

Billy E. Johnson – White Oak, TX; USMC, Korea, Pfc, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Russell Lubbers – Bozeman, MT; US Army, Korea

John Moro – Columbus, OH; US Navy, WWII, USS Hancock

Sam Storms – LaFeria, TX; US Army, Korea, Major, Silver Star, Purple Heart, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Grady Trainor – Clarksville, TN; US Army, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Sgt. Major (Ret. 31 y.), Silver Star, Bronze Star,

Raymond Wallace – Dexter, ME; US Army, Vietnam

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Ted Nelson – Stud Welder / Anne Clare, Book Review

Ted Nelson

Eighty years ago, many rural homes weren’t electrified, nor did they have indoor plumbing.  Glenn Miller and Billie Holiday were at the top of the charts. A brand-spanking-new car could be yours for well under $1,000. And the state-of-the-art battleships — whole floating cities unto themselves — were that era’s equivalent of the Space Shuttle. While working at Mare Island Naval Shipyard Ted Nelson had his big idea. And what an idea! Ultimately, Nelson’s advancement helped save the Navy so many man-hours that he earned top-of-the-line commendations and set in motion a legacy of excellence that remains on the leading edge of the industry to this very day.

Mare Island Shipyard, WWII

The Mare Island Naval Shipyard, where Nelson worked in the years leading up to and during World War II, was the Navy’s first base on the Pacific Coast, located just north of San Francisco and now a California Historical Landmark. In its day it was the United States’ controlling force in the area’s shipbuilding efforts – at least 89 seagoing vessels were constructed onsite before its closure. During its World War II years, the Mare yard specialized in submarines, making it something of a hotbed of innovation, and young Ted Nelson, working on both repairs and new construction, fit right in.

“Prior to World War II, the Navy was attaching wood decking on many vessels using through-bolting,’” says John von der Lieth, Senior Nelson Stud Welding Field Sales Representative at Stanley Engineered Fastening. “This often required many levels of scaffolding underneath the wood deck just to install nuts onto threaded bolts attaching the wood to the steel frame below. The nuts were often also then tack-welded to prevent them from vibrating loose.”

“Well, Ted was a real inventor type, and he devised a handheld arc welding gun that looked kind of like a drill press. He would insert a threaded stud into the gun and place that down into a pre-drilled hole in the wood decking, making contact with the steel frame of the vessel below. The stud gun was connected to an arc-welding power source and a timing control device. When triggered, the stud gun coil would energize, lifting the stud off the steel frame just enough to establish an electric arc. Within a split second, the stud was melted (along with the steel base metal) and then was plunged home into the molten pool, establishing a complete joint penetration weld, and all of this was taking place from the topside of the wood decking.”

“The ‘Nelson Stud Welding Process thus eliminated the need for the vast scaffolding below the wood decks, dramatically reducing the time involved to install the decking, and producing a superior quality, full penetration welded connection. Ted also produced a special flanged nut to securely fasten the top side of the wood planks onto the studs, filling the pre-drilled, countersunk holes that were created to install the threaded studs. This also allowed for much easier replacement of any future damaged wood decking,” explained von der Lieth. “It changed the face of the war effort.”

Ted nelson ‘E’ citation

So, with his ingenuity and strong desire to solve a problem, Ted Nelson saved the Navy an estimated 50 million man-hours and the Nelson Specialty Welding Equipment Corp. was awarded two Navy “E” Citations, presented only to companies who met outstanding production criteria during the war effort. Not only did production numbers climb, the stud welding process also saved an unparalleled amount of money with respect to the foregone need for scaffolding, as well as labor and materials cost.

Ted Nelson’s invention was right on time. “The Nelson welding guns, studs, and nuts were used to install wood decking on submarines, battleships, and aircraft carriers. The patent for the decking gun was filed May 31, 1941,” says Clark Champney, Nelson Stud Welding Application Development Manager, and resident Nelson historian at Stanley Engineered Fastening. “Six months and one week later on December 8, 1941, the United Stated entered World War II.”

After the war, Nelson took his invention private, setting up shop in a coastal California garage in Nelson Stud Welding’s first incarnation. “Ted Nelson had the mind-set early on that his invention could be used in a wide variety of industries – he had a real vision,” says von der Lieth. “Although he hadn’t been a part of the company for many years at the time of his death in the 1990s, he was still a very active inventor into his 80s – he’d invented a hospital bed that rotated 360 degrees for hip replacement patients. He invented a glider that had an emergency engine in it – they called it the Hummingbird. He had countless minor inventions, and that’s why he ultimately sold the stud welding business – because he was an inventor type; problem-solving was his first love.”

Story idea from: Koji Kanemoto

Click on images to enlarge.

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Book Review – “Whom Shall I Fear?”  by: Anne Clare, our Naptime Author

“Whom Shall I Fear?, by Anne Clare

Without giving readers too much insight and being the cause of stumbling into a spoiler, I shall begin this review by applauding Anne Clare, who has researched her way into creating a lovely romantic tale intertwined with the struggles and pains of war.
Amid the years of WWII bombings, the loss, deprivations and combat, two very different people are seemingly thrown together. Their worries, dreams and realities are shown to you through their correspondence. BUT – behind it all lurks the sinister aspirations of a narcissistic coward and his cohorts.
I found myself thinking about the story long after putting the book down – and to me, that is one major characteristic of an excellent novel.
Thank you, Anne, for granting me the privilege of owning a copy of your creation and for giving me the lingering question in my mind of – who should they have feared the most?
I highly recommend “Whom Shall I Fear?” to all.

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Military Humor – 

“These aren’t barnacles. Someone stuck their gum down here.”

Shipbuilding Safety Award – or – Why women live longer than men.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Charles Atkinson – Arvada, CO; US Army, Vietnam, Military Police

Eugene Barbezat – St. Johns. AZ; US Army / US Air Force, Vietnam, Lt. Col. (Ret.), Intelligence

Tom Curtsinger – KY; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Warren Eginton – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, WWII, PTO, 716th Tank Battalion

Donald Love – Hamilton, NZ; British Merchant Navy, # R258982. WWII

Lynn McDonald – Rochester, NH; US Army Air Corps, glider pilot

Leon “Jack” Persac Jr. – Baton Rouge, LA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 ball turret gunner

Robert D. Sullivan – Fairbury, NE; US Army, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Lt. Colonel (Ret. 27 y.)

Homer Terry – Tahoka, TX; US Air Force, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, pilot/logistics, Colonel (Ret. 32 y.)

Channing R. Whitaker – Granger, IA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pvt., Co. A/1/6th Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

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Ruby Boye, WRAN Coastwatcher

Ruby Boye

 

MRS. RUBY BOYE lived with her husband, Mr. Skov Boye, at Vanikoro, a small tropical island in the Santa Cruz group of the then British Solomon Islands

Soon after the commencement of World War 2, the Australian Navy installed a powerful AWA tele-radio for communication between Vanikoro and Tulagi. The radio was operated by a qualified telegraphist on the island.

The Vanikoro radio operator wished to return to Australia to join the RAAF.  Before departing, he taught Ruby how to transmit weather reports and operate the radio in code, and during the following months she learned Morse Code from a book.  Eric Feldt, the Commander in Charge of the Coastwatcher movement,  appointed Mr. and Mrs. Boye as members of his organization.

Ruby Boye on Vanikoro

Mr. and Mrs. Boye realized the importance of Vanikoro in relation to coastwatching, and few white men knew more about the Solomons and Santa Cruz Islands than Mr. Boye.  When the evacuee ship arrived, Ruby refused to leave, announcing that she proposed to stay and operate her radio.  As well as their own safety, Mr. and Mrs. Boye had their two sons, Ken in the RAAF and Don, still a schoolboy in Sydney, to consider.

With the evacuation of the other Europeans from Vanikoro, Ruby and Skov took on many extra tasks. They had to act as doctor treating the sick. They extracted teeth and arbitrated disputes between the natives.

After the Japanese landed at Tulagi, Charles Bignell, a Solomon Islands plantation owner, called at Vanikoro in his ketch for fresh water and food. Charles warned Ruby and her husband that a Japanese ship was in the Santa Anna area. Charles’ wife, Kathleen, and son, Ted, both good friends of Ruby’s, had been captured by the Japanese at Rabaul. Margaret Clarence’s book ‘Yield Not to the Wind‘ covers this episode.

Ruby Boye

Between 4th and 8th May 1942, the Battle of the Coral Sea took place. Ruby,  some 700 miles away from the Coral Sea Battle area, was sending out coded meteorological data, and acted as an emergency relay station in communicating reports between coastwatching stations in the Solomons and Vila, the US Navy base receiving station, in the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu).

The USS Lexington was lost while the Japanese carrier Shoho was sunk. HMAS  Australia and Hobart took part in the battle. The Japanese main object, the capture of Port Moresby, was denied them, nor did they ever get as far south again.

Even so in 1942 Japanese naval forces were operating north, south, east and west of Vanikoro.  Ruby was on duty during the Battle of Savo Island in August 1942, when HMAS Canberra was lost, together with the USS  AstoriaVincennes and Quincy.

Guadalcanal, where the Japanese fought until early 1943, was only some 500 miles north by west of Vanikoro and during that critical period, Ruby was in easy range of Japanese aircraft that flew at low heights over the Island on many occasions. For safety reasons it was decided to relocate the tall radio mast and equipment across the river from the living quarters.

A punt.

After the suspension bridge crossing the river from the residence to the radio shack was destroyed in a cyclone, four times a day, often in torrential tropical downpours, this indomitable lady had to cross the crocodile-infested Lawrence River by punt, and then often walk through ankle-deep mud to transmit the important meteorological data obtained from her own readings.

The night transmitting session was the most hair-raising, because the crocodiles became active at dusk. Spotlights would sometimes reveal the evil eyes gleaming like two orange lights in the dark. In fact a number of dogs and cats were killed and fowls perched under Ruby’s residence were often seized by the crocodiles.

Newspaper article on Ruby Boye

In September 1942, the USS Wasp was torpedoed while covering a Guadalcanal Troop Convoy. The burning carrier sank with the loss of 193 sailors, leaving during that month the USS Hornet as the only operational undamaged US carrier in the Pacific. The Hornet was to meet her end in the Battle of Santa Cruz, in October 1942. In the same engagement, the Japanese carriers Zuiho and Shokaku were damaged. This battle took place very close to the Island Group of which Vanikoro was part. Ruby recalls: After sending the usual weather report, an English-speaking Japanese voice came crackling through. ‘Calling Mrs. Boye, Japanese Commander say you get out.’ The message at this point was jammed by other coastwatchers and she was informed later the rest of the message was unprintable.

Japanese aircraft dropped pamphlets to the Vanikoro natives telling them to work for the Japanese and report the whereabouts of Europeans. On Guadacanal, coastwatchers found the bodies of nuns and priests bayoneted  by the Japanese. As a result of the Japanese threats, it was considered desirable that Ruby should be in uniform for the sake of her own protection.

Remainder of Ruby Boye article.

At times US Navy seaplane tenders, including the USS Curtiss, were based at Vanikoro to refuel and service Catalina flying boats.  A group of American Naval Officers landed, Mr. Boye was greeted by an Admiral who said ‘My name is Halsey. I’d like to meet that wonderful lady who operates the radio here.’ Admiral William A. ‘Bull’ Halsey was the C- in-C of the South Pacific area at that time.  He had such a high regard for Ruby that he arranged for a US Naval Catalina Flying Boat to take her south for medical treatment for shingles. While Ruby was on sick leave, she was replaced by four US Naval Radio men, two on duty and two off.

In 1944 Ruby was awarded the BEM for meritorious service as a Coastwatcher in the Solomons. In addition, she received the 1939/45 Star, the Pacific Star, the War Medal and the Australian Service Medal, the Returned From Active Service Badge and is a Life Member of the WRANS Association.

The letters of appreciation, the photos and autographs from Admirals Nimitz, Halsey and Fitch and the recent invitation to Texas for the Grand Opening of the Admiral Nimitz Memorial mean more to Ruby than money.

Ruby returned to Sydney in 1947 with her husband when he became terminally ill. He arrived in Sydney just two weeks before his death.  Ruby Boye passed away 14 September 1990.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – Saturday Evening Post style – 

“And when you go forth into the world,
be it as riveters, welders, or mechanics,
keep ever bright before you the slogan of
Sweet Lawn Seminary—’A lady, first, a lady always!'”
June 5, 1943

“It’s some game she learned in the Army.”
August 22, 1942

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joseph F. Boschetti – Philadelphia, PA; USMC, WWII, PTO, KIA (Tarawa)

Edward Dillon (100) – San Diego, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 3rd Army

Philip Gamache – Blairsville, GA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Richard Keatinge – Tenderfield, AUS; Australian Military, WWII, Medical Team

Imogene Kinge – Monette, TX; Civilian, “Rosie”, aircraft construction

Birdie McInnis – Clanton, AL; Civilian, WWII, Brooklyn Army Airfield, aircraft inspector

Richard Oster – New Orleans, LA; US Army, WWII, PTO

Gerald B. Raeymacker – Erie, PA; US Army, Korea, Sgt., KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Evelyn Smith – Westwood, KS; Civilian, Secretary to the Commander of the 6th Corps, Camp McCoy

Louis Wiesehan Jr. – Richmond, IN; USMC; WWII, PTO, F/2/8th Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

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“Violet Lightning” and “Mighty Wind” – Japanese Late War Fighters

N1K Shiden

Two planes fielded by the Japanese late in WWII, the Kawanishi N1K1-J and N1K2-J fighters, became popular with the Japanese military, despite having an unusual development history.

In the history of aircraft design, it hasn’t been that unusual for land-based planes to be converted into seaplanes. It’s a natural step from the more familiar role to a somewhat more unusual one, removing wheels, adding floats, and making other adaptations.

For the Kawanishi N1K1-J, however, the pattern was the other way around. The N1K1-J Kyofu (meaning “mighty wind”) was a seaplane fighter. It was successful enough to be adapted into the land-based N1K1-J Shiden (meaning “violet lightning”).

By the time the N1K1-J Shiden went into production, the tide of war had already turned against Japan. The Allies, particularly the Americans, were pushing them back across the Pacific, island by island. On the mainland, the Chinese kept fighting with the help of international support, while the British pushed back in Burma. As the sphere of Japanese control shrank, so did the safe territory that the nation’s factories could operate in.

The result was production problems for the N1K1-J. Raids by Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers on factories on the Japanese mainland added to existing difficulties of supply and production.

The N1K1-J Shiden came into service late in the war. It started to be fielded across the Pacific theater in May 1944. Despite the production problems, large numbers of N1K1-J Shidens were produced – over 1,400 by the end of the war.

The titles given to these fighters by their creators were full of dignity and drama. The codename given to them by the Allies was less so. The Japanese used “Mighty Wind” and “Violet Lightning” whereas the Allied forces referred to the planes by the codename “George”, a Christian name common in England at the time.

One of the most successful features of the plane was its automatic combat flaps. This unique feature helped pilots to make extreme combat maneuvers by giving them extra lift. This made it one of the most successful all-round fighters in the Pacific theater, able to take on fighters and bombers alike.

The N1K1-J Shiden’s biggest downside was that it perform well at high altitudes. This was a problem for the Japanese air force, as they faced, the most powerful bombers of the war. The B-29 could reach an altitude of nearly 32,000 feet for bombing runs on Japan, and from the end of 1943, the Americans decided not to use any other bombers in their raids against the Japanese. Any Japanese plane that couldn’t perform well at high altitude would struggle to defend the homeland.

Early models of the Shiden had further problems. The mid-mounted wing produced poor visibility, a serious problem for pilots caught up in dogfights. The landing gear, the most important change from the seaplane version, was also inadequate. Changes needed to be made.

N1K2 “Violetbolt”

The result was a new model, the N1K2-J Shiden-Kai. The prototype for this version first flew at the end of December 1943 and it was soon rushed into mass production.

The N1K2-J was so successful that it soon became the standard land-based fighter and fighter-bomber of the Japanese military. It could hold its own in combat against almost anything the Allies threw against it. Though the tide of war was against them, Japanese fighter pilots at least had an edge in the skies.

The N1K2-J wasn’t just better because of its superior flying abilities. As with several of the best weapons in history, its advantage also came from being easy to produce. An N1K2-J could be completed in half the time it took to build one of its predecessors. With the losses mounting and the pressure on, this was a vital feature for the Japanese.

The N1K2-J was equipped with a mix of weaponry – in the wings were four 20mm cannons, while a pair of 550lb bombs were fixed underneath. This allowed the plane to act in a support role, not just as an interceptor. It could use its cannons in the skies against other planes, or to strafe enemy infantry and ships, which were also the targets for the bombs.

The presence of cannons rather than machine-guns was important. In the early war, many fighters on both sides had relied on machine-guns. But the experience of combat had taught the military that bullets were not enough to take out the latest planes and that cannons firing explosive rounds would be needed instead.

“George”

The N1K2-J had a maximum speed of 370mph and a rate of climb of 3,300 feet per minute. This put it on a par with the Spitfires and Messerschmitts doing much of the fighting in Europe. It also made it superior to the Grumman F4F Wildcat, a fighter widely used by the Americans in the Pacific.

It was, however, slightly out-matched for speed and climb by Grumman’s major late-war plane, the F6F Hellcat. The Shiden-Kai was a good enough plane to compete with its main adversaries, but American industry still held the edge.

Despite its superiority in the air, some N1K2-Js were deliberately crashed by their pilots.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

The official Taliban Suppository

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Armstrong – Albany, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 11th Airborne Division, Honor Guard

Milton Beatty – Baton Rouge, LA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Sea Bee

Leonard Davidson (99) – Auckland, NZ; NZ Home Defense, WWII, Sgt.

Jack Gucker – Seattle, WA; US Army, WWII, APO

Nicholas Kakos – MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Norris Leafdale – Banner County, NE; US Army, WWII, PTO

Quentin W. McCall – Union Church, MS; USMC, WWII, PTO, KIA (Tarawa)

Chester Posey – Clifton, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII & Korea, navigator/gunner

Lyle Spalding – Louisville, KY; USMC, WWII

Garth Youd – Lakeshore, UT; US Army, WWII, ETO, 401st Field Artillery Battalion

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