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25 April ANZAC Women

 

ANZAC Women

With today’s pandemic situation, we are seeing many similarities to WWI (ending in 1919), the 1920 pandemic, the Great Depression and WWII predicaments that also affected the entire planet.

We are additionally discovering that along with our militarys, there are many others that deserve our thanks and appreciation.  So __ with that in mind, I chose, along with Garrulous Gwendoline’s encouragement, to salute the nurses that risked their lives working beside the ANZAC troops that are to be honored this 25 April.

 

Miss Phyllis M. Boissier 

(pictured bottom right in the above image)

Elected Matron of Manly Cottage Hospital in 1912, Boissier then joined the World War I effort. She signed up with the Australian Army Nursing Service and traveled to Egypt in 1914. She was awarded the Royal Red Cross for her war service at Gezirah, where she tended to the wounded soldiers from Gallipoli. She became Matron of the hospital at Dieppe, France in 1917.

In 1918 she accepted the role of Matron at the RPAH. During her years as Matron, Miss Boissier contended with overcrowding in the wards.  She also dealt with complications related to a new onsite building project which caused increased expenditures exacerbated by the Great Depression.   An outbreak of pneumonic flu challenged Miss Bossier, as almost one hundred nurses became sick and were unfit to work.

Pearl Elizabeth Corkhill

Pearl Corkhill

Australian nurse Pearl Elizabeth Corkhill earned a prestigious Military Medal for her bravery as she tended to injured patients during a heavy air raid by German forces. She was serving at a casualty clearing station not far from the front line in Abbeville, France when it came under attack on 23 August, 1918.

During the bombing, Corkhill remained calm and continued to tend to her wounded patients, despite the danger.

Louise Mack

(10 October 1870 – 23 November 1935)

Marie Louise Hamilton Mack was an Australian poet, journalist and novelist. During the First World War, she reported from the front line for London’s Daily Mail and Evening News. She later wrote an autobiography titled A Woman’s Experiences in the Great War and was the author of 16 novels and a book of poetry.

New Zealand nurse, E.S. Barker, Malta 1915

Esther Barker – 

New Zealand’s Ms. Barker and 2 friends were caught in France when war broke out and they sewed shirts for the troops.  During the Gallipoli campaign, “The Trio” as the three artists called themselves, joined up as British Red Cross voluntary aides and sailed for Malta with about 200 other women.

WRN Enid Bell

Enid Bell –

Ms. Bell, a New Zealand nurse Enid Bell was the first ever member of the Women’s Royal Naval Service.  Enid Bell trained as an ambulance driver, and went to France with the British Red Cross in April 1917

Elizabeth Kenny

(20 September 1880 – 30 November 1952)

Elizabeth Kenny was an unaccredited Australian nurse, who developed a controversial new approach to polio treatment while caring for ill soldiers during the First World War.  Her muscle rehabilitation principles became the foundation of physiotherapy.

Working in Australia as an unaccredited bush nurse, Kenny was later accepted to serve during WWI.

She was assigned to dangerous missions on “dark ships”, transport that ran with all lights off between Australia and England. She made 16 round trips and one around the world and was officially promoted to the rank of Sister..

Katie Louisa Ardill

(3 August 1886 – 3 January 1955)

Katie Louisa Ardill was among the first female doctors to join the British Expeditionary Forces in 1915 after her application to serve with the Australian Expeditionary Forces was rejected because she was a woman. At that time, the Australian government prohibited women from service, compelling them to join overseas units instead.

She served as a doctor, treating wounded soldiers for four years in Britain, France and Egypt during the First World War and was promoted to the rank of Captain.

Major Alice Ross-King 

Major Alice Ross-King

(5 August 1887 – 17 August 1968)

Alice Ross-King was one of four nurses awarded a Military Medal for their selfless actions at a casualty clearing station close to the trenches during an air raid in France on 22 July 1917.

Ross-King rescued patients in tents shattered by bombs, either carrying them to safety or putting tables over their beds to protect them. She and three other nurses, Dorothy Cawood, Mary Jane Derrer, and Clare Deacon, were recognized for their courageous actions.

When WWII broke out, Alice re-enlisted with the Australian Army Women’s Medical Services and was heavily involved in raising funds for the Red Cross.

Lest we forget.

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Military Humor – 

desert humor

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quarantine Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Trevor Beech – Manawatu, NZ; RNZ Navy # 4345, WWII, radar

Allan Godbaz – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 4311330

Ian Gordon – Richmond, AUS; RA Air Force, Air Commodore (Ret.)

Gordon Habgood – NZ; RNZ Air Force, Squadron leader

Roger Midgley – Gandarra, AUS; RA Navy #R63489

John Parkes – Pukeohe, NZ; RNZ Army # 16417

Dorothy (Ford) Pollard – Rotorua, NZ; WRNZ Air Force # 4374, WWII

Reece Stratford – Nelson, NZ; 2NZEF # 273145, WWII, 23rd Battalion

Barry Tebbs – Hamilton, NZ; RNZ Air Force LAC # 344661

Michael Wright – Canberra, AUS; RA Navy, Commander (Ret.)

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The Songs We Sang

Have fun with this post and please remember these anniversaries:

30 January – 75th anniversary of the 6th Ranger Battalion at Cabanatuan, P.I.

AND:

30-31 January – 75th anniversary of the 188th Regiment + elements/ 11th Airborne Division amphibious assault on Nasugbu Beach, P.I. in 1945

Thanks for the reminder of the proud anniversaries from my friend Matt Underwood, past Editor of “The Voice of the Angels”, 11th Airborne Division Association.

"To the Warrior his Arms"

Released in 1959 and based on his book The songs we sang,  musician Les Cleveland accompanied by his group the D Day Dodgers released this collection of often very irreverent songs that were sung by New Zealand Servicemen during the Second World War.

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In World War Two, New Zealand sent two infantry divisions overseas and supplied a great many sailors and airmen for the Allied Forces. Though the war has been over for fifteen years, the songs are still with us.  Many of us have half-forgotten them; others will have heard only a few of them and these in a variety of versions – but all will listen to them with new interest, conscious that the songs speak with unfading humour and sentiment of difficult days, conscious too that they occupy a unique place in New Zealand music and folk-lore. they are sings that deserve to live again.

One of the…

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British Commonwealth Occupation Forces – Japan

 

Participation in the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) marked the first time that Australians were involved in the military occupation of a sovereign nation which it had defeated in war. BCOF participation in the allied occupation force was announced on 31 January 1946, though planning and negotiations had been in progress since the end of the war. The main body of Australian troops arrived in Japan on 21 February.

Up to 45,000 Australians served in BCOF, including an infantry contingent of 4,700, base units consisting of 5,300, an air force wing of 2,200 and 130 from the Australian General Hospital. The Australian Navy also had a presence in the region as part of the British Pacific Fleet. For two thirds of the period of occupation the Commonwealth was represented solely by Australians and throughout its existence BCOF was always commanded by an Australian officer.

Japanese prefectures

The BCOF area of responsibility was the western prefectures of Shimani, Yamaguchi, Tottori, Okayama, Hiroshima and Shikoku Island. BCOF headquarters were located at Kure, the army was encamped at Hiro, the RAAF at Iwakuni, and the naval shore establishment at the former Japanese naval base at Kure. At the peak of its involvement the Australian component of BCOF was responsible for over 20 million Japanese citizens and 57,000 sq. kilometres of country. Adjacent to the area of Australian responsibility were prefectures occupied by the 2 New Zealand EF (Japan), the British and Indian Division (Brindiv) and, further away, the US 8th Army. 

100 Yen BCOF note

The main Australian occupation component was the 34th Infantry Brigade, which arrived in early 1946, and was made up of the 65th, 66th and 67th Battalions. The RAN ships that served were: HMAS Australia, HMAS Hobart, HMAS Shropshire and the destroyers: HMAS AruntaBataanCulgoaMurchisonShoalhavenQuadrantQuiberon. Landing Ships Infantry: ManooraWestralia and Kanimbla were used for transport. 

The Australian air force component was stationed at Bofu, in Yamaguchi Prefecture. The RAAF Squadrons which served were No. 76, No. 77 and No. 82, all flying Mustangs. The air force component of BCOF was known as BCAIR. By 1950 only one Australian squadron, No 77, remained in Japan.

By early 1947, BCOF had begun to decline from its peak of over 40,000 service personnel from the UK, New Zealand, India and Australia and, by the end of 1948, BCOF was composed entirely of Australians. The force was dismantled during 1951 as responsibilities in Japan were handed over to the British Commonwealth Forces Korea. Some personnel stayed on to serve in the Korean War. Members of No 77 Squadron, for example, had their ‘going home’ celebrations interrupted by the news that they were to be sent immediately to Korea. BCOF ceased to exist on 28 April 1951 when the Japanese Peace Treaty came into effect.

BCOF

The primary objective of BCOF was to enforce the terms of the unconditional surrender that had ended the war the previous September. The task of exercising military government over Japan was the responsibility of the United States forces. BCOF was required to maintain military control and to supervise the demilitarization and disposal of the remnants of Japan’s war making capacity. To this end, Australian army and air force personnel were involved in the location and securing of military stores and installations.

BCOF medal, Australian

The Intelligence Sections of the Australian battalions were given targets to investigate by BCOF Headquarters, in the form of grid references for dumps of Japanese military equipment. Warlike materials were destroyed and other equipment was kept for use by BCOF or returned to the Japanese. The destruction or conversion to civilian use of military equipment was carried out by Japanese civilians under Australian supervision. Regular patrols and road reconnaissances were initiated and carried out in the Australian area of responsibility as part of BCOF’s general surveillance duties.

The RAN component of BCOF was responsible for patrolling the Inland Sea to prevent both smuggling and the illegal immigration of Koreans to Japan. In this task they were assisted by the RAAF whose aircraft were also involved in tracking vessels suspected of smuggling or transporting illegal immigrants. RAAF squadrons also flew surveillance patrols over each of the prefectures in the BCOF zone in order to help locate left over weapons and ordnance.

During 1947, the BCOF began to wind down its presence in Japan. However, BCOF bases provided staging posts for Commonwealth forces deployed to the Korean War from 1950 onwards. The BCOF was effectively wound-up in 1951, as control of Commonwealth forces in Japan was transferred to British Commonwealth Forces Korea.

Click on images to enlarge.

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BCOF Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Kjell F. Andersen – New London, CT; Merchant Marines, WWII, ETO, / US Army, Korea

Mary Barraco – Renaix, BEL; Danish Resistance, WWII, Captain, USO, POW

Albert Bracy (104) – Durham, CAN; Queen’s Own Rifles, WWII, Hamilton Light Infantry

Leslie Edgerton – NZ; RAF/ RNZ Air Force, WWII, ETO, 75th Squadron

Lyle “Moose” Hardy – Belconnen, AUS; RA Air Force, Sgt., (Ret.)

Kenneth Johnson – Doncaster, ENG; RAF, WWII, Warrant Officer, 61st & 9th Squadrons

Alan Lepper – Taranaki, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 432823, WWII

Vera McLane – London, ENG; RAF, WWII, Photograph intelligence

James K. Thompson – Allentown, NY/Largo, FL; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Esme Wirth – Leeton, AUS; Australian Womens Land Army, WWII

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PTO & CBI reactions to V-E Day

US Army 77th Division hears the news on Okinawa

Victory in Europe was welcome news to Allied troops in the Pacific and the China-Burma-India theaters of war. They greeted it with thanksgiving but there was little celebration. As a London Times special correspondent in Burma wrote, “The war is over. Let us get on with the war.” Now that Europe would no longer be receiving the bulk of troops and materiel, officers and enlisted personnel in the war against Japan hoped they would be given more men and equipment quickly, in order to end their war sooner.

Meanwhile, fighting continued in New Guinea, the Philippines, Okinawa, the CBI and elsewhere. Kamikazes still made suicide dives to sink Allied ships. The lights may have gone on over Europe and America, but a funeral pall still darkened the Pacific and Asia.

SMITTY _ New Guinea 10/24/44

Smitty, my father, when asked how he had felt, merely shrugged. “I was happy for my fellow soldiers over there, but we had work to do, so we didn’t think about it very long.”

From The May 7, 1945 Edition of Stars and Stripes

OKINAWA, May 6 (ANS)—The reported death of Adolf Hitler and the word of surrender of the German armies in Italy was good news to soldiers, sailors and marines here but there was no celebrating.Most of the fighting men figured it wouldn’t mean a thing to them “until we can see some help coming and see a chance of ending the war out here.”

They termed Hitler’s death “good riddance” and said it was a good thing he went that way because there probably would have been lots of bickering around if we had taken him alive.”

Gen. Daniel I. Sultan

Gen. Dan I. Sultan, commander of the India-Burma Theater, on V-E Day, paid tribute to the fighting men who won the European war in a short statement to the troops of the India-Burma Theater broadcast over the American Army radio stations in the Theater. The text of Gen. Sultan’s statement:
“Today in Europe, German military might has been broken. After almost six years, organized hostilities have ceased. The great work of reconstruction of the shattered continent can now begin.
“We recognize the tremendous achievements of the Allied Armies in Europe who won this victory, for we too have been fighting. We know the cost of driving back a tenacious enemy – we know the necessity for close co-operation of all branches of our forces, the close union with our allies in the common cause. We know the heartbreaking conditions of combat under adverse weather and over difficult terrain – the back-breaking work of construction and supply in support of combat operations. So, as fighting men, we pay tribute to the fighting men in Europe.
“Their victory is in part our victory. We have done with less man and supplies, so that they might have more. Their victory brings our victory nearer. The men who broke the German ground defenses in the west, who destroyed her essential industries from the air, can now turn their attention to the war with Japan. The industrial strength of the United States, until now producing for the war both in Europe and in Asia, can turn its full productive force to the Far East.
“This is the day of Germany’s defeat and Europe’s liberation, but we must not forget that there is still a tough battle to be fought before the Japs are licked. Every one of us knows his part in that fight; and if every one of us will do his part to the utmost, Japan’s defeat and the liberation of Asia will come surely and swiftly.”

The Pacific War

 

The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia greeted V-E Day with the question, “Since when has it been customary to celebrate victory halfway through a contest?” The war with Japan had been the great threat to Australia itself, and the country’s sons were still fighting and dying in that war. Accordingly, the mood was more somber than in Europe. On May 9, some 100,000 people attended a service at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.

For the most part New Zealanders observed V-E Day on May 9, although there was some spontaneous dancing in the streets. Preparations had been underway for weeks, in part to keep celebrations from getting out of control. Events included speeches, thanksgiving services, and the singing of the national anthems of New Zealand, America and the Soviet Union. A People’s Victory March in Christchurch drew 25,000.

In the U.S., many communities attempted to subdue celebrations, wanting to give the occasion the solemnity they felt it deserved and reminding Americans that, as Truman said, “Our victory is only half over.” Across the country, however, joyous celebrations broke out. Thousands gathered in New York’s Times Square. New Orleans took on the appearance of Mardi Gras, with people dancing in the streets. Church bells rang out the glorious news in small towns and major cities.

In the Soviet Union, Stalin himself seemed less than enthusiastic. His deputy Nikita Khrushchev telephoned to congratulate the Soviet leader on his victory, and Stalin reportedly snapped at him, “Why are you bothering me? I am working.” The USSR’s official victory parade took place in a downpour over a month later, on June 24.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

‘Bring back rationing!’

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Harold Bishop – Sacramento, CA; US Navy, WWII, submarine service

Christopher A. Celiz – Summerville, SC; US Army, Afghanistan (7th deployment), Sgt. 1st Class, KIA

Dallas ‘Chris’ Christenson – Pensecola, FL, US Air Force, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, MSgt. (Ret.)

John Hart – Keesville, NY; US Army / US Navy

Melvin Hilscher – Kulm, ND; US Army, WWII

James McLean – AUS; RA Air Force # 428761, WWII, Flight Sgt., 83rd Squadron

George Meyer – Bristol, CT; US Navy, WWII, Medical Corps

Ruskin Reddoch – Troy, AL; USMC, WWII, 1st Lt., Silver Star, Purple Heart

Elliot Seidman – Delray Beach, FL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radioman

Maria Swafford – Boydton, VA; Civilian, US Map Service, D.C., WWII

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Kiwis Over the Pacific

Flight Officer, Geoff Fisken

During early World War II operations in the Pacific, Geoff Fisken would become one of the most outstanding pilots of the RNZAF—the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

Fisken was born in Gisborne, New Zealand, in 1918, and during the 1930s he learned to fly a de Havilland Gypsy Moth biplane. In 1939, Fisken was working for a farmer in Masterton, and at the outbreak of war in Europe he volunteered for flying duty.  In October 1941, as the threat of war with Japan was increasing, No. 67 Squadron was moved to Mingaladon, Burma, but Fisken was posted instead to No. 243 Squadron RAF.

With the Japanese attacks across East Asia and the western Pacific on December 8, 1941, No. 243 Squadron was assigned to defend the Royal Navy’s Force Z––the battleship HMS Prince of Walesand battlecruiser HMS Repulse. Two days later the British warships were attacked and sunk by Japanese air units. Then, as the Japanese advanced down the Malay Peninsula, Singapore became the target of an increasing number of bombing raids.

RNZ on Guadalcanal

After continuous missions,  No. 243 Squadron had lost the majority of its pilots and virtually all its aircraft. As a result, it was merged with No. 453 Squadron of the RAAF, which continued to operate along with No. 488 Squadron RNZAF.  Fisken claimed another fighter destroyed on February 1. Five days later he was bounced by two Japanese fighters, shooting down one while narrowly escaping the other, though he was injured in the arm and leg by a cannon shell. On the eve of Singapore’s surrender, Commonwealth pilots were withdrawn to Batavia (now Jakarta), Java, and later to Australia. As a result of his performance in Singapore, Geoff Fisken received a commission and was promoted to the rank of pilot officer.

Fisken was just one of hundreds of New Zealanders––Kiwis––who loved nothing more than a good brawl but of whom little is known today outside their island nation.

“Too Young To Die” by Bryan Cox

Many of you history buffs out there already have “Too Young To Die” by Bryan Cox or have seen a book review and already know The story of  Flight Sergeant Bryan Cox, who suffered a failure of both his radio and lights during the return flight but happened to stumble upon the landing strip at Green Island just as he was nearly out of fuel. It was not only a fortunate day for him, but also his 20th birthday. Below is another story of that day…

Bryan Cox (19), WWII

Continually fighting throughout the war, on January 15, 1945, during a strike on Toboi Wharf in Simpson Harbor at Rabaul, conducted by aircraft of Nos. 14 and 16 Squadrons flying from Green Island and No. 24 from Bougainville––a total of 36 Corsairs––one was knocked down by antiaircraft fire. The F4U was piloted by Flight Lieutenant Francis George Keefe of No. 14 Squadron, who managed to bail out, landing in the harbor.

An exceptional swimmer, Keefe struck out for the harbor entrance. For some time he made good progress. Then, in the middle of the afternoon, by which time he had been swimming for six hours, the tide and wind changed and he began to drift back up the harbor.

RNZAF on Green Island

A rescue force had been quickly organized while sections of Corsairs kept watch overhead to prevent Japanese attempts to capture Keefe. Two bamboo rafts were assembled and loaded aboard a Ventura at Green Island, intended to be dropped to the downed pilot.

As two Corsairs orbited above Rabaul awaiting the arrival of the Ventura, an American Catalina pilot circling just beyond the harbor entrance spotted Keefe and twice requested permission to land and pick him up. The request was denied both times by the officer in charge, Squadron Leader Paul Green, the commander of No. 16 Squadron, due to the threat posed by Japanese coastal and antiaircraft guns.

RNZAF doing maintenance after a Rabaul mission

When the Ventura arrived, it was accompanied by another 12 Corsairs, whose task was to strafe the Rabaul waterfront while the Ventura dropped the rafts. Everything went as planned, but Keefe failed or was unable to reach the rafts. The rescue was then aborted, and all aircraft were directed to return to base.

Approximately halfway back to Green Island, the Corsairs encountered a tropical storm front stretching across the horizon and down to sea level. Due to limited navigation aids, the aircraft were required to maintain a tight formation as the storm and darkness reduced visibility. The pilots could only see the navigation lights of the other aircraft in their flight.

Five of the Corsairs crashed into the sea, one crashed at Green Island as it was making its landing approach, and a seventh simply disappeared. The lost pilots included Flight Lieutenant B.S. Hay, Flight Officer A.N. Saward, Flight Sergeant I.J. Munro, and Flight Sergeant J.S. McArthur from No. 14 Squadron and Flight Lieutenant T.R.F. Johnson, Flight Officer G. Randell, and Flight Sergeant R.W. Albrecht from No. 16 Squadron.

RNZAF on Espiritu Santo

After the war, it was reported by Japanese troops captured at Rabaul that Keefe had managed to swim ashore. With a wounded arm, he was taken prisoner and died a few days later.

From September 3, 1939, to August 15, 1945, a total of 3,687 RNZAF personnel died in service, the majority with RAF Bomber Command flying in Britain and over Europe. The RNZAF had grown from a small prewar force to over 41,000 men and women (WAAFs) by 1945, including just over 10,000 serving with the RAF in Europe and Africa; 24 RNZAF squadrons saw service in the Pacific. On VJ Day, the RNZAF had more than 7,000 of its personnel stationed throughout the Solomons and Bismarcks.

The Kiwi airmen had not only fought proudly against their Japanese foes, but also carved out a place for themselves among their much larger Allies—Britain, Australia, and the United States—as they wrote their names into the history of the Pacific air war.

Click on images to enlarge.

Information from: ‘WWII Magazine’ and ‘Too Young To Die’ by Bryan Cox. Another excellent resource you might wish to look into “Kiwi Air Power” by Matthew Wright.

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Military Humor – 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Earl Baugh – Searcy, AR; US Navy, WWII, SeaBees

Avadon Chaves – Modesto, CA; US Army, Iraq, Spc., 1/6/2nd Brig. Combat Team

Raymond Debenham – Kalapol, NZ; RNZ Navy # 14075

RNZAF Airtrainers perform farewell flight

David Fail – Manawatu, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 412665, WWII

Bruce McCandless – Boston, MA; US Navy, Cuba, pilot / NASA, astronaut

Peter O’Donnell – Auckland, NZ ; RNZ Air Force # M83478

Bryan Raos – Te Kauwhata, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 459204, Flight Lt.

Robert Scott – Linwood, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 414822, WWII

John Sweeney – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 452589, WWII

Jerry Yellin – Newark, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 78th Fighter Squadron, P-51 pilot

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New Zealand Minesweepers Sink an Enemy Sub – Intermission Story (19)

Kiwi attacking the I-1 submarine

A story I failed to locate from 1943.

By early 1943 the ships of the New Zealand minesweeping flotilla were patrolling along the Guadalcanal coast. The Americans had landed successfully, but Japanese land, air and sea forces held footholds and were still contesting the islands. Although the destroyers of the nocturnal ‘Tokyo Express’ were still active, the Bird-class ships’ usual targets were small craft and submarines attempting to land troops and supplies.

Lt.Cmdr. Peter Phipps, HMNZNS Moa

On the night of 29 January Kiwi and Moa were patrolling along Kamimbo Bay, on the north-western corner of Guadacanal, when Kiwi detected a submarine. It made a depth charge attack, but then lost contact. Kiwi continued to attack and on its third run, the damaged submarine surfaced and attempted to fight it out.

On paper it was two-to-one, but the Japanese sub I-1 was a formidable opponent. At 2135 tons surfaced, the Type J1 class were one and a half times bigger than Moa and Kiwi combined. Undamaged, the sub could outrun them by about five knots. The I-1’s 140-mm gun had greater range and hitting power than the New Zealand ships’ 102-mm guns, and it also had powerful torpedoes. No wonder that to the Kiwi’s crew in the dark, the Japanese shells sounded ‘like an express train going through’.

Lt. Comdr. Gordon Brisdon, HMNZNS Kiwi

In confined waters the Kiwi’s commander, Lieutenant-Commander Gordon Brisdon, decided to get in close to negate some of the sub’s advantages. But that meant braving a hail of fire from light-calibre weapons. Japanese machine-guns bullets sprayed the Kiwi, mortally wounding Acting Leading Signalman C.H. Buchanan. In pain and bleeding, he remained at his post, lighting up the sub for the gunners with his searchlight.

With a crunching sound, the Kiwi rammed the I-1 right behind the conning tower. Locked together, the vessels continued to blaze away at each other with light weapons. Twice more Brisdon pulled his ship away from the huge submarine only to ram it again, badly damaging his opponent and crumpling his own bows. When Kiwi’s main gun overheated, Moa took over, chasing the submarine until it ran aground on a reef.

The wreck of Japanese sub I-1

This information comes directly from the New Zealand history website.  By clicking on the links additional information can be acquired.

Critical codes remained on board the submarine and the Japanese command tried unsuccessfully to destroy the boat with air and submarine attacks.  The US Navy reportedly salvaged code books, charts, manuals, the ship’s log and other secret documents.

I-1 sub’s deck gun, now sitting in Torpedo bay Navy Museum.

The sinking of the Japanese submarine was only one of the contributions made by New Zealand to the defeat of Japan in the Pacific. The sinking of I-1 remains one of the proudest moments in New Zealand naval history.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Alto ‘Bud’ Adams – St.Lucie County, FL; US Navy, WWII

Colin Bennett – Gisborne, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 46820, WWII

Allan Cameron – Taranaki, NZ; RNZ Army # 459507, WWII, SSgt.

Vivian King (102) – New Plymouth, NZ; 27 NZ(MG)BTN # 42512, WWII, Sgt.

John Pay – Hawkes Bay, NZ; RNZ Air Force, WWII, PTO

Henry ‘Joe’ Sargeant – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Navy, WWII

Harry Dean Stanton – W.Irvine, KY; US Navy, WWII

Bruce Stott – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Navy # 10517, WWII

Hugh Turnbull (103) – Wellington, NZ; British Army ONZM # 129228, WWII, artillery

Jason Woodworth – Kea’au, HI; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

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Soldiers’s Stories & Kiwi Air Power

Soldier's Stories

Soldier’s Stories

One day I happened across a blog written by Myra Miller and I stopped in for a visit.  Ms. Miller and her family were compiling stories from WWII to be published soon.  I was invited to submit one of Smitty’s letters – and I most certainly took her up on her offer!

Myra Miller PhD.

Myra Miller PhD.

Smitty’s Letter X, Jungle Juice was accepted and now, appears on pages 286-288.  I received my copy right before Christmas!  The timing could not have been better.

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The volume: Soldiers stories: A Collection of WWII Memoirs is out on the stands!  This 317 page historical collection honors our Greatest Generation veterans, both male and female soldiers, from theaters of operations around the world.  They will grab and transport you into the past and once you are there – you witness the tears, the laughs, the success and the failures which created a complete transformation of this world of ours.

The design is by Myra Miller and the illustrations by Ken Miller which make up a handsome edition to anyone’s library.  My copy is a welcomed addition to mine.

If you wish a copy for yourself, please visit Myra’s site HERE!  It is also available through Barnes and Noble.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Also, I downloaded a copy of Matthew Wright’s Kiwi Air Power, that he was graciously offering to us free of charge [and will be doing so again in the future] and can be found on Amazon.  You can also download a copy from Matthew Wright’s blog by clicking on the book cover, located HERE!

Matthew Wright, author

Matthew Wright, author

Right up front, Mr. Wright informs the reader that he will show the how and the why of the New Zealand’s Air Force.  The rather rough start, their combat and now, their continuation – rather than the what.

Mr. Wright’s writing expertise together with personal remarks from the men themselves, you can visualize all they supplied in men and machines to support England in the war, some airmen serving with the RAF, and on into the Cold War.  You read about the political struggles and strength of will that prevailed.

I am enjoying my copy very much and suggest anyone interested in history – quick – get a copy for yourself!

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Holiday Humor – fb_img_1482158893635

new_year_002

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Anderson – Jones County, GA; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Sr. Chief (Ret.)

Robert Caplan – Knoxville, TN; US Navy, WWII

The Big Picture...

The Big Picture…

Thomas Corbett – Dorchester, MA; USMC, WWII, USS Bennington

Kenneth Fransen – Sun City, AZ; US Army, Korea

Thelburn Knepp – Peoria, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 89th Infantry Division

Bruce Linzy – Gay, FL; US Army, Company C/1st Batt./87th RCT

John Murray – Bronx, NY; US Air Force

Julian Parrish – San Diego, CA; USMC, Vietnam, 1st Force Recon, Colonel

Robert Thamm – NY & FL, US Navy

Don Witherspoon – Lamar, SC; US Army, Korea, 9th Reg./2nd Infantry Division, Silver Star

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Two Bloggers Tackle WWII – Book Reviews

"Surviving the Death Railway" by: Hilary Custance Green

“Surviving the Death Railway” by: Hilary Custance Green

About the book….

The ordeals of the POWs put to slave labour by their Japanese masters on the ‘Burma Railway’ have been well documented yet never cease to shock. It is impossible not to be horrified and moved by their stoic courage in the face of inhuman brutality, appalling hardship and ever-present death.

While Barry Custance Baker was enduring his 1000 days of captivity, his young wife Phyllis was attempting to correspond with him and the families of Barry’s unit. Fortunately these moving letters have been preserved and appear, edited by their daughter Hilary, in this book along with Barry’s graphic memoir written after the War.

Surviving the Death Railway’s combination of first-hand account, correspondence and comment provide a unique insight into the long nightmare experienced by those in the Far East and at home.

The result is a powerful and inspiring account of one of the most shameful chapters in the history of mankind which makes for compelling reading.

About the author, Hilary Custance Green…

Hilary Custance Green

Hilary Custance Green

Hilary Custance Green has BAs in Fine Arts (UEA) and Sculpture (St Martin’s School of Art) and spent twenty years sculpting. In 1993 she graduated with an Open University BSc in Psychology and spent fifteen years working in brain science, gaining a PhD in Cognitive Psychology from Cambridge in 1999.
She has had three novels published and has spent six years researching this book. 
Born in Malaya in 1915, Barry Custance Baker married Phyllis, a fellow Cambridge graduate in 1939. Barry joined the Royal Corps of Signals and this book records his experiences as a POW. After gaining his freedom, they had three more children post-war. Barry stayed in the army until 1959, then took up teaching. Phyllis filled her life with voluntary work and the theatre.

Hilary Green’s blog can be located HERE!

"Pacific War" by: Matthew Wright

“Pacific War” by: Matthew Wright

In December 1941, Japan attacked the British Empire and the United States, turning the European war that had raged since 1939 into a global conflict. For a few desperate months during early 1942, the Kiwis faced a deep crisis. Australia had its own threat to face. Britain was stretched to the utmost against Germany, and the United States — with millions still unemployed — took time to turn its huge industry to war production.

Despite a heavy commitment to the European war, New Zealanders eventually fought the Japanese on land, sea and air, from Malaya to the Solomons and, finally, in Japanese home waters. Kiwis also contributed in many other ways, providing bases and recreation facilities for US forces, food for the whole campaign, even sending physicists to work on the atomic bomb project.
This was not easy. New Zealand had heavy commitments in North Africa and Europe. Even after the crisis of 1942 had passed, the country struggled to find the resources to keep air force, navy and army operating in the Pacific. New Zealand’s land component was finally withdrawn in 1944 after ongoing manpower issues reached crisis point — an issue that soon became entwined with Pacific politics and New Zealand’s role in the war. This book focuses on the army contribution and the politics that surrounded it; but we must not undervalue New Zealand’s ongoing and long-term air and naval campaigns in theatre. The navy, in particular, took a front-line role from the beginning of the Pacific struggle in December 1941 to the very last actions of the war in August 1945.

About the author..

Matthew J. Wright

Matthew J. Wright

I’m a New Zealand writer. My main interests are in the sciences – physics, particularly, though I’m deeply curious about a lot of stuff, especially the human condition. I have qualifications in writing, music and anthropology among other fields, and hold multiple post-graduate degrees in history. I’m also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society at University College, London. However, I don’t define myself as a historian and prefer not to be labelled as one.

I write a lot. I published my first short story in 1976 and since the early 1980s have worked professionally as a writer, historian, journalist, reviewer, and in media relations. My publications include more than 550 articles, academic papers, reviews and over 50 books on topics ranging from travel guides to biography, engineering, military and social history. I’ve been published principally by Penguin Random House.

Matthew Wright’s blog can be located Here!

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TWO OTHER BOOKS ON THE WAR WILL BE HIGHLIGHTED IN A FEW WEEKS.

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February 1944 (1)

93rd SeaBees on Nissan Island

93rd SeaBees on Nissan Island

1 February – Operation CATCHPOLE (operations against Eniwetok and Ujelang Atolls in the Marshall Islands) is begun to occupy and defend Eniwetok Atoll.  This will furnish a striking base for operations against the Marianas. During the operation, the 7th Air Force aircraft operating from newly acquired bases in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands neutralized airfields in the Marianas and continued to pound by-passed airfields in the Marshalls.

1-4 February in an effort to reinforce Nissan Island, in the Green Islands, enemy submarines I-185 and I-169 left Rabaul carrying troops.  Due to heavy seas, only 77 soldiers made it to shore and the boats returned to their base with the remainder of the reinforcements.

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1-8 February – In the Marshall Islands, Kwajalein Atoll would cost 372 American casualties and the islands of Roi-Namaur totaled 737.  After 8 days of battles, the Japanese had 11, 612 casualties.

4-25 February – in Burma, the Japanese 55th Div., led by Gen. Hanaya Tadashi, counterattacked the British XV Corps, under LtGen. Christison, in Operation Ha-Go.  By going around the east flank on the 6th, they overran the 7th Indian Div. HQ.  Gen. Slim brought up the 26th Indian Div. and moved the British 36th Div. into support.  The West African 81st was in the Kaladan Valley parallel.

Gen. Wingate 3,000 re-formed and re-trained Long Range Penetration Unit – Chindits – crossed the northern Burma border.  The 7th Indian Div. encircled by the enemy received air drops of food and ammo and continued to fight the Japanese, who were dependent upon the whatever supplies arrived by land route.  By the 24th, the Allied troops finally dislodged from Ngakyedauk Pass.  The Japanese and one element of the 5th Div. were now cut off from the other two.

10 February – the US Marines landed on Arno Atoll.   USMC P-40s and Navy fighters made a dive-bomb attack on Vunakanau Airfield, B-25’s made a follow-up bombing.  P-39’s hit the buildings at Bonis and barges at Matchin Bay and near Green Island.

12 February – the Australian 8th Brigade on New Guinea met up with the US troops at Saidor.  At this point, only 60 miles of coastline in northern Huon Peninsula remained in Japanese control.

New Zealand troops on Nissan Island

New Zealand troops on Nissan Island

15 February – Operation Squarepeg began when the ships of the 3rd Amphibious Force put the 3rd New Zealand Infantry Division on Nissan and smaller islands in the Green Island sector.  Five NZ soldiers were KIA on Sirot Island.  This put them half-way between Bougainville and New Ireland, making it strategically possible to by-pass some enormous enemy garrisons.  Plans for the Philippines could now proceed without the previously expected loss of life.

SeaBees and equipment come ashore on Nissan Island.

SeaBees and equipment come ashore on Nissan Island.

The US Navy 93rd SeaBees would later land and battle for the muddy atoll to produce roads and essential airstrips on Nissan.  The Catalina “Black Cats” would move in and PT units set up on Barahun Island.  Within weeks a steady stream of supply ships, Cassiopeia, Harper, Talbot, Unicoi and others will rendezvous with smaller vessels to ship the matériels through the shallow channel.

To be continued….

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – a9

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Ahlemeyer – Broad Channel, NY; US Army, Vietnam

Michael Herr – Syracuse, NY; Vietnam War Correspondent and authormohnblume-b-lis

Fritoso Lopez – Fayetteville, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Henry Mezzack – Perkinsville, VT; US Army Air Corps/AF, WWII, KOrea, Lt.Colonel (Ret. 26 years)

Gladys Roche – Fitchburg, MA; US Navy WAVE, WWII

John Saini – Healdsburg, CA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc, KIA (Tarawa)

Ron Sheppard – Manawatu, NZ; 6th Field Reg., gunner # 8000468, WWII/ RNZAF # 76980, Sgt.

Kenneth Troutman – Independence, MO; US Navy, WWII

Basil Williams – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 412776, WWII, POW

Keith Williams – Visalia, CA US Army, Afghanistan, 4th Infantry Div., Pfc, KIA

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January 1944 (2)

Pappy Boyington, famed rebel leader of the Black Sheep Squadron

Pappy Boyington, famed rebel leader of the Black Sheep Squadron

3 January – Greg “Pappy” Boyington commanded 46 fighters, flying from Ondonga, to Rabaul.  Several needed to abort due to mechanical failure.  From 20-24,000′ they dove to intercept 27 Zeros of the 253 Kokutai, while they were already confronted with 27 Zeros of the 204 Kokutai.  Boyington’s F4U 17915 and his wingman F4U 02723 were shot down and both men were listed as missing.

New Britain

New Britain

4 January – the ‘Snooper Squadron’ of the 13th Air Force flew their first mission. Fifteen B-24’s, escorted by 70 or more P-38’s and US Navy F6F’s bombed Lakunai Airfield, near Rabaul, on New Britain.  The enemy sent 80-90 fighters to intercept.  The US claimed 20 enemy aircraft downed and lost one B-24 and 2 damaged.  Twelve other aircraft supported ground troops on Bougainville.

Marines on Cape Gloucester

Marines on Cape Gloucester

6-9 January – Australian troops at Cape Gloucester in northern New Britain experienced heavy fighting on these 3 days as they advanced to the Aogiri River.  By the 9th, they had taken the Aogiri Ridge.

11 January – US B-24 Liberators made a Low-level attack on Japanese shipping around Kwajalein Atoll.  They sank 2 vessels and damaged 4 others.  The carrier aircraft would continue bombing in preparation for Operation Flintlock for the Marshall Islands.  This area comprises 32 island groups, the largest being Kwajalein that consists of some 100 islets that form a lagoon 66 miles long and 20 miles wide.

Gen. Adachi at Buna, New Guinea

Gen. Adachi at Buna, New Guinea

On New Guinea, 9 days after the US landed at Saidor, Gen. Adachi was back in Madang, but the 14,000 troops he sent ahead on foot, would not reach him until 1 March.  More than 4,000 men of the Japanese 20th and 51st divisions had died enroute.  Between the terrain, shortage of supplies and American strafing, they were ill-equipped to fight for the town.

Japanese Sgt. Eiji Lizuka, 51st Div., survived the journey: “We passed many dead and dying soldiers.  As we had no fresh uniforms or shoes we would strip the dead and take theirs.  Sometimes we took clothes and boots from men who were still alive, but could no longer move, and we said to them, ‘You don’t need such fine shoes any more.’  They would watch us with dull eyes and let us do anything.  We even took water canteens from them.  That was the worst, to hear a soldier say, ‘Don’t take my canteen away from me, I’m still alive.”‘

In Burma, 36 A-36’s, P-51’s and P-40’s of the 10th Air Force, pounded an encampment of approximately 4,900 enemy troops and a large amount of supplies, causing considerable damage.

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Men of the 10th Air Force, 7th Bombardment Group

13 January –  in China, two B-25’s of the 14th Air Force made a sweep from Hong Kong to Hainan attacking 4 large boats, several warehouses, a radio station and a car at Fort Bayard, China.  One of the vessels exploded.
15 January – on New Guinea, the Australian troops took Sio, which put them 50 miles from the American troops at Saidor.  The Japanese on the Huon became disorganized as the Australians took over the Finiesterre Range in the northern sector of the peninsula.

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Matariki Maori Festivals – 

The Pleiades star cluster.

The Pleiades star cluster.

No Matariki Maori festival can be official with out a Haka.  This particular dance was performed to honor a veteran….

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

George Bellamy – Nelson, NZ; RNZ Navy # 4342, WWII, Signalman

Samuel Christie – Atlanta, GA; US Merchant Marine, WWII

Margraten Cemetery, Netherlands

Margraten Cemetery, Netherlands

Leonard Irons – Ormeau, AUS; RNZ Expeditionary Force # 41691, WWII, 27th Battalion, POW

Henry Logan – Sleepy Hollow, NY; US Air Force, intelligence

Edward McAleer – Chelmsford, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188th/11th Airborne Division

Michael Norin – Los Angeles, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, cryptographer

Maurice O’Connor – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Army # 21089, WWII, gunner, Anti-Tank Regiment

Benjamin Prange – Hickman, NE; US Army, Afghanistan, SSgt., 4th Infantry, KIA

Glen Stockton – St. Joseph, MO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, pilot

Paul Tully – Short Hills, NJ; US Army, WWII

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