Blog Archives

Ceylon and the SOE

SOE resistance museum

The Special Operations Executive (SOE) resulted from bringing together the UK’s three secret services for the duration of the War in order to conduct espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance. Ceylon was initially a base for SOE personnel operating in South East Asia with headquarters in Kandy and a training facility at the Mount Lavinia Hotel. Operatives were inserted into Japanese occupied South East Asia via submarine.

When SEAC moved from Delhi to Kandy so did SOE Force 136 under Head of Mission Colin Mackenzie CMG. According to Ashley Jackson, writing in The British Empire and the Second World War, “Ceylon had been transformed strategically from a relative backwater, a mere operations sub-branch of the India Mission, into Force 136’s main base.”

Capt Freddie Chapman had trained Australian and New Zealand troops in guerrilla warfare at the Special Training School 101 in Singapore. They would remain in Malaya during Japanese occupation to harass the enemy as part of Force 136. Capt Chapman had already forged an alliance with the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) composed of anti-Japanese Chinese. They were armed by the British and instructed to take to the jungles in order to continue the war against the Japanese. The MCP led by the legendry Chin Peng was highly disciplined and were fed, supported and given shelter by local Chinese.

SOE Ceylon/Malaya

In early 1945 Capt Chapman was brought out to Kandy to arrange for weapons and equipment for his guerrilla fighters about half being Britons who had worked or lived in Malaya before the war, the rest Chinese. “Air supplies from Ceylon supported the 3,500 Malayans trained to harass the Japanese when the British mounted their amphibious assault late in the war. Liberators of No. 357 Squadron from Minneriya in Ceylon, for example, flew 249 sorties in June and July 1945 in support of forces in Malaya,” explains Prof Jackson.

In late 1944 Gen Roger Blaizot commander of the Forces Francaises Extrême Orient (the Far East French Expeditionary Forces) arrived in Ceylon along with French troops to establish a Free French Military Mission to the Far East. Gen Blaizot and his troops were inserted into French Indochina where they operated till the end of the War. According to Jackson “Ceylon also became an important (signals) intelligence-gathering outpost of Bletchley Park (the future Government Communications Headquarters [GCHQ]) and a regional headquarters for Special Operations Executive.”

In Operation Bunkum launched from Ceylon, agents were ferried by submarine to the Andaman Islands to report back on Japanese forces, a clandestine mission which they carried out successfully maintaining radio contact with Calcutta. In another operation, a group of Thais living in the UK volunteered for a mission for which they boarded the submarine HMS Tactician to be dropped off on the Thai coast. Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) also trained Thai agents at SEAC who were ferried by HMS Tactician to carry out assaults in Phuket and Penang.

In collaboration with the Dutch and operating out of bases in Ceylon, RAF Liberators parachuted agents into Sumatra. And the US Office of Strategic Services (the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency) also operated out of Ceylon with headquarters in Kandy, training camps in Galle and Trincomalee and a supply depot in Colombo. “RAF Special Duties squadrons, usually flying long-range Liberators, were used to parachute agents and supplies into occupied territory, and most sorties were flown from Ceylon bases,” writes Jackson.

SOE Force 136

While combat experience in Ceylon was limited, the CDF benefited from training with British and Allied units rotated through Sri Lanka, especially for jungle warfare in South East Asia. Individual officers and soldiers of the CDF also had combat experience in other theaters.

In addition to service in the Cocos Islands, members of the CDF also volunteered for active duty in Burma. Writing in his Sunday Times article Forgotten campaign, forgotten veterans Sergei De Silva Ranasinghe says Brian Kirkenbeek was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant with the 2nd Battalion CLI in 1942. In January 1944 he was posted to D Company 4/5th Gurkha Rifles at Arakan where he saw action. On his return to Ceylon he was promoted and rejoined the CLI at China Bay. Ranasinghe goes on to say that some volunteered for service in Europe and experienced combat in that theater.

Three new units of the CDF were raised during the War, the Ceylon Signal Corp and the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1943, and the Royal Military Police (Ceylon) in 1944. At the end of the war the CDF which comprised 645 officers and 14,247 other ranks was demobilized. Col R.J.F. Mendis OBE ED was appointed Commander of the CDF in April 1946 and Lt Col Anton M. Muttukumaru became commander of the CLI which reverted to its peacetime strength.

The British noted that the Ceylonese Board of Ministers did everything within their power to maximize the island’s contribution to the war effort. They channeled personnel and material resources in support of the war effort.

SOE equipment

The only exception being the Lanka Sama Samaja Party which opposed the War and whose leaders were incarcerated or went underground for the duration of the War. However the civilian ministers wholeheartedly supported the war effort and there was total cooperation from the Island’s political, civil and military leadership.

In 1948 this political relationship resulted in Ceylon acquiring Dominion Status within months of India. Prof Ashley Jackson in The British Empire and the Second World War concludes that “this was a result of pressure from senior British military and civilian officials in Ceylon in favor of a significant advance towards full self-government.”

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British Military Humor – 

MI5 playing ‘I spy…’

“Keep your voice down there’s a tap on the phone”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Keigan Baker – Panama City, FL; US Air Force, Airman 1st Class, 24th Special Operations Wing, KIA

Michael Canonico – Chester, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. A/188/11th Airborne Division

Fletcher Derrick – Mt. Pleasant, SC; US Army, Medical Corps, 8th Artillery Div., surgeon / Army Intelligence, Order of the Palmetto (Ret.)

Fred Goodson – Gastonia, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 508/82nd A/B Division / USAR, Colonel (Ret. 39 y.)

Nancy Hookham – Eastbourne, ENG; British Navy WREN; WWII, Bletchley Park

Jesse Irvin (99) – Coushatta, LA; US Army, WWII

Harold Little – Watertown, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Elsie McCurry – Texarkana, AR; Civilian, aircraft manufacture and repair

Carolyn J. Protzmann – Franklin, NH; US Air Force / US National Guard, BGeneral (Ret.)

Clarence Rutherford – Augusta, KS; US Army Air Corps, CBI, WWII

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Clemson U. honors Ben Skardon (102)

‘Ben’ Skardon

Clemson University will award its highest honor, the Clemson Medallion, to two distinguished alumni — Professor Emeritus Beverly “Ben” Skardon and Trustee Emeritus Allen Price Wood. Skardon and Wood will be honored at a presentation ceremony in February 2020. Skardon, who lives in Clemson, is a native of Walterboro. His brother, Jimmy Skardon, still lives here.

Clemson University President James P. Clements said he is proud that the university is honoring Skardon and Wood for their leadership and contributions to the university. “Both of these men have helped shaped the university in important ways,” said Clements. “Col. Skardon made a lasting impact by teaching countless students during his career on the faculty, and students are being educated every day in buildings that Allen Wood designed. It is safe to say that our university would not be what it is today without these two outstanding leaders.”

Ben Skardon in Army dress greens, formal photo in 1938 Clemson University TAPS yearbook.

Skardon, 102, is a 1938 Clemson graduate and veteran of the U.S. Army. He fought in the Philippines in World War II, earning two Silver Stars and a Bronze Star for valor before becoming a prisoner of war when American troops were forced to surrender to the Japanese April 9, 1942. Skardon lived through one of the most infamous ordeals of World War II, the Bataan Death March, and survived for more than three years in Japanese prison camps despite becoming deathly ill.

Two fellow Clemson alumni, Henry Leitner and Otis Morgan, kept him alive by spoon-feeding him and eventually trading his gold Clemson ring — which he had managed to keep hidden — for food. It is a story now told at every Clemson ring ceremony, when Clemson seniors receive their class rings. Leitner and Morgan did not survive the war. Skardon honors them every year by walking in the Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

Retired U.S. Army Col. Ben Skardon, at 99, a survivor of the Bataan Death March, walks in the annual Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, accompanied by two Army medics, March 19, 2017. This was the tenth time Skardon walked in the march, and he is the only survivor of the real Bataan Death March who walks in the memorial march. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Staff Sgt. Ken Scar)

He is the only survivor of the real march who walks in the memorial march. Last year, at 101, he walked more than three miles through the desert to honor his friends. Skardon went on to serve in Korea in 1951-52 and retired from the Army at the rank of colonel in 1962. He joined the Clemson faculty in the department of English in 1964 and was named Alumni Master Teacher in 1977. He taught at Clemson until his retirement in 1983.

Skardon has received several honors from the university, including the Alumni Distinguished Service Award. In 2013 the university established the Skardon Clemson Ring Endowment, which helps fund the ring ceremony, and in 2016 the Memorial Stadium flagpole was dedicated in his honor.

On Skardon’s 100th birthday on August 11, 2017, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster presented him with the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest honor. In March 2018 Skardon received the Congressional Gold Medal honoring Filipino and American Veterans of World War II, which is one of the highest civilian awards in the United States.

 

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Blythe – Long Beach, CA; US Navy, WWII, ETO, minesweeper / PTO, USS Ticonderoga

Bruce Brigham – Fort Knox, KY; US Army, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Lt. Colonel, Quartermaster Corps

Alive Ferguson (99) – Williamsburg, VA; US Navy WAVES, nurse

Ruth (Baker) Gilbert – White Plains, NY; Civilian, aircraft riveter

Lyle Norquist – Thief River Falls, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

Monroe Ozment – Rome, GA; USMC, PTO, Purple Heart

Nathan Rawson – Thompson, VA; US Army, WWII

Fred Reed – Gardendal, AL; US Army, WWII, Purple Heart

Mary White – Perryville, MD; Civilian nurse’s aide

Al Worden – Jackson, MI; US Air Force / NASA astronaut, West Point Alum 1955

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188th at Desert Rock, Nevada / Manzanar Relocation Center

 

One last mention of the 188th Regiment/11th Airborne Division at Desert Rock – at least for now….   🙂

 

I located this newsletter from the National Association of Atomic Veterans, Inc., published in 2013.  It might better answer many of the questions some of the readers had from the previous posts.

http://naav.com/assets/2013_03_NAAV_Newsletter.pdf

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Manzanar Relocation Center  – east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Manzanar covered an impressive 540 acres of land in Owens Valley. Yet the desert was not a welcome home for most of the camp’s internees. The arid landscape made for blistering hot summers and harsh, cold winters.

While some large-scale farming helped keep the concentration camp self-sufficient, most of the internees were forced to hold industrial jobs at the camp’s garment and mattress factories. Wages for their work often topped out at less than 20 dollars a month.

Though it was surrounded by barbed wire and a series of guard towers, Manzanar comprised a variety of buildings, including churches, shops, a hospital, a post office, and an auditorium for schooling. Men and women shared bathrooms and bathing facilities, and living assignments were frequently random, meaning that a woman might be assigned to live with a man other than her husband. All in all, mess halls and residences were crowded and sparse.

Manzanar and the other internment camps closed after World War II, but many of the internees had nowhere to go. While the economic impact of their imprisonment was devastating, the social and cultural implications were likewise detrimental.

It wasn’t until 1988 that the U.S. federal government provided redress to these citizens, and offered each survivor $20,000. In 1992, Manzanar Relocation Center was declared a National Historic Site. President Bush offered a formal apology the following year.

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During the camp’s four years of existence, photographers were invited there to capture what daily life was like for the relocated citizens. Famed photographer Ansel Adams was one of just a few individuals to photograph the internees, though censorship no-doubt shaped his photos. Still, the images above provide a small glimpse at what life was like in the concentration camps.

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Emery Arsenault – Dennisport, CT; US Army, WWII, PTO

James Ayala (100) – Ellsworth, KS; US Army, WWII, ETO, tank gunner, 2 Bronze Stars

Lawrence Bunts – Nampa, ID; USMC, WWII, PTO

James J. Cansler – Bolivar, MO; US Army, WWII, ETO, Co. C/1/28/8th Infantry Division, KIA (Germany)

Gordon Duggan Sr. – Enfield, CT; US Coast Guard, WWII, USS Glendale

John “Red” Gartner – Omaha, NE; US Navy, WWII, CBI, submarine tender USS Beaver

William Myers – Munday, TX; US Army, WWII, ETO,23rd HQ “Ghost Army”

Joseph Pelliccio – Bayonne, NJ; US Navy, WWII, USS Iowa / Korea, USS New Jersey

Charles “John Boy” Smith – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Air Force & Navy, # 4312868

Rosalind P. Walter – NYC, NY; Civilian, Corsair aircraft riveter.

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Veterans Stories – The Atomic Marine

An eye-witness story concerning Desert Rock!

William R. Ablan, pen name of Richard L. Muniz

“They put us out in the middle of nowhere.” Sheriff Toby Madrid had his hands wrapped around a cup of black coffee, his feet up on the desk. The casual laid back attitude belied the tension in his jaw. He also wasn’t looking at JR or me as he spoke, but at the wall. It was almost that if he looked at us, he’d never finish talking about what he had to say.

“They told us we were there to be part of an atomic bomb test.”

welcometodesertrockThe test the Sheriff was talking about was part of what we know today as the Desert Rock Exercises.  My research seems to single him out for what was called Desert Rock IV, or a series of tests called Operation Tumbler-Snapper.

From 1951 to 1957, at the Nevada Proving Grounds, a small camp called Camp Desert Rock was built. Its job was…

View original post 886 more words

The Last Living Paratrooper from MacArthur’s return …..

Gen. Douglas MacArthur (l.) and Richard “Dick” Adams (r.)

Richard Adams describes General MacArthur as “quite a guy.”

In commemoration of the 75th year of World War II in the Philippines, one of its heroes returned. Richard “Dick” Adams visited Corregidor once again, but this time, he did not parachute out of a C-47 plane to land on the towering trees of the Rock. The 98-year-old understandably opted to ride a ferry.

He was recently, poignantly, at the MacArthur Suite of the Manila Hotel, in a room dedicated to Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who led the American and Filipino troops in liberating the country from Japanese occupation. MacArthur actually stayed in that suite for six years, as Manila Hotel’s honorary general manager.

It was a time of fear across the country as Japanese forces ravaged Manila and the countryside. People clung to MacArthur’s words, “I shall return,” which he said after he was forced to abandon the Philippine island fortress of Corregidor under orders from U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt in March 1942. Left behind at Corregidor and the Bataan Peninsula were 90,000 American and Filipino soldiers, who, lacking food, supplies, and support, would soon succumb to the Japanese offensive.

‘Dick’ Adams

It was at this battered battleground that Adams, as a young paratrooper assigned to the HQ Company 3rd Bn in an 81 mm mortar platoon, arrived on February 16, 1945. He is the last surviving paratrooper of the group and he shares his memories of the wartime experience.

What he remembers the most about his Corregidor landing is the wind. “It was a beautiful day when we came in at about a thousand feet above the water and then the island came up 500 feet so we jumped in about four to five hundred feet,” he says. “And the wind was a little too hard so they dropped it down and once they came after us we were pretty close to the ground.”

The landing itself was over pretty quickly, but the wind blew him toward a cliff and not the golf course that he was aiming for. Luckily, he says, he landed on a tree and that kept him from going down further.

He thinks something else saved him that day. “I wear a Miraculous Medal that my mother gave me. The second day after my jump, I noticed that the medal was gone, it was torn off,” he says. “About a week after we went to Corregidor, we went up to the hill and there were so many flies. You couldn’t open a can and put it in your mouth. The flies were terrible because the battlefield was kind of a mess that encourages the flies. I went back down to the jump field to get a parachute to protect me from the flies and came back towards the hill. It came out of my hands and when I picked it up, I saw it.  There was my medal, in the middle of the field. So that was kind of a Miraculous Medal.”

PT-32, one of 4 boats used in the escape.

Adams spent a good part of the first day getting injured troopers to the first aid station. He was in Corregidor until early March, when General MacArthur returned. He was part of the border patrol, spending most of his time on the hills and further down, he recalls.

Although a young recruit at the time, having joined the troops only a few months prior to his assignment, he understood the significance of that tiny island.  “It was kind of a guard in Manila Bay. It has a kind of control on any ship that came in through there. It was mainly a field with a fortress where they control it,” he shares. “Also, it was the last place where the phrase ‘I shall return’ became significant because that’s where General MacArthur left from going to Australia and then he came back. It was important in a sense that it controls the Manila Bay, but it is also significant just because it was the last place that the Americans surrendered from.”

“It was a pretty scary place,” he says of wartime Philippines. “I joined a few months earlier, so I was kind of new in the game at that time. We were in Mindoro and I ended up in the hospital. After Corregidor, we ran in Negros, so we got around a little bit. We spent most of our time up in the woods.”

He has vivid memories of MacArthur. “We did meet once in a while. I was at the dock when he came in and, as a matter of fact, the first time I was back in Corregidor I was in the museum and I found a picture of myself that was standing on the dock where he and I met. So, I welcomed him, but I don’t think he knows. He was quite a guy.”

After the Negros campaign and occupation duty in Japan, Adams returned home and joined the National Guard as operations sergeant in the 165th Infantry and left 20 years after as a master sergeant. He obtained a law degree from St. John University and is retired from General Motors. He has two daughters, one of whom is an Air Force Captain.

Pictures are courtesy of Manila Hotel

 

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His first trip back to Corregidor was in 2012 and he described it as an emotional trip. “I like going back to Corregidor. It’s really an honor to be here. It’s a little embarrassing when there are people standing around taking pictures—the people you should be taking pictures of, they are not here. Some might be still in Corregidor. My whole climb to fame is that I was there and I’m still here,” he says.

Of his visit, he shares, “I’m doing these to honor those people, the Filipinos and Americans that defended the island and also those who on the 16th came back to Corregidor. I think we are honoring those not only who came back on the 16th but everyone who was left.”

By : esqiremag.com   |   Feb 18, 2020

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Military Humor – 

“Yes, sailor, we docked 2 days ago!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Margaret Adamchak – Bridgeport, CT; Civilian, WWII, Naval Dept. employee

John Dennis – Tucson, AZ; US Navy, WWII, radar, USS Rochambeau

Paul H. Gebser – San Diego, CA; US Navy, WWII, Machinist’s Mate 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

John Henry – Lugarno, AUS; RA Air Force, WWII, pilot instructor

Benjamin Meo – Haddon Heights, NJ; USMC, WWII

Carl Overcash – Rowan County, NC; US Army, WWII, PTO

Augustin Polasek – MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, bomber pilot, Colonel (Ret.)

Andrew Schmitz – Richmond, VA; US Navy, WWII, fireman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Donald Stratton – Red Cloud, NE; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Arizona survivor / USS Stack / author, “All the Gallant Men”

Charles Wion – La Junta, CO; US Navy, WWII, Signalman

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“THIS IS THE ARMY” conclusion

After touring the English provinces, the company went to North Africa for two weeks and then sailed for Italy. This Is the Army was presented at the San Carlo Opera House in Naples in early April 1944. The group arrived in Rome by truck only six days after the Eternal City fell to the Allies. The musical was presented twice a day at the Royal Opera House in June.

Egypt was the next stop in early August, with This Is the Army being performed at the Cairo Opera House until the end of the month. September and October were spent in Iran. The company then traveled to the vast Pacific Theater, with New Guinea the first stop at the end of December 1944.

The company eventually landed at Guam in early August 1945, days before the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan. A number of island-hopping stops followed, from Leyte in the Philippines to Okinawa, Iwo Jima, and other Pacific islands. The touring company reached Hawaii on October 10 and gave its final performance in Honolulu on October 22, 1945.  Irving Berlin spoke after the last performance and expressed hope that he would never again have to compose a war song.

“This Is the Army” was made into a Technicolor movie by Warner Brothers in 1943. The film starred future President Ronald Reagan (then an Army lieutenant), George Murphy (later a senator from California), and Joan Leslie. The motion picture was produced by Hal B. Wallis and Jack L. Warner and directed by Michael Curtiz. The entire cast and crew were transported to Hollywood in February 1943 and stayed at a large tent camp near Warner Brothers Studio under military command.

The cast still had drill duty

Irving Berlin’s doleful cinematic performance of “Oh How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning,” recreating the role he previously played in his World War I musical “Yip! Yip! Yaphank”, is legendary. Boxer Joe Louis, Frances Langford, and Ezra Stone also appeared in the movie version, along with Kate Smith, who naturally sang “God Bless America.” Included in the cast were hundreds of soldiers released from duty until the filming was completed.

Although the movie was mainly a musical that merged entertainment and propaganda, a thin plot tells the story of Jerry Jones (George Murphy) and his son, Johnny (Ronald Reagan), during the course of two world wars. “This Is The Army” won an Academy Award in 1943 for best musical score..

Berlin was drafted into the Army in 1917 during World War I and was sent to Camp Upton in Yaphank, Long Island, where he wrote the musical “Yip! Yip! Yaphank”. The review raised $83,000 to build a service center at Camp Upton. However, the service center was never built, and Berlin never found out what became of the money.

“God Bless America,” which was originally written for this show, was thought to be a little too hymn-like for a musical, and remained unknown and unpublished in Berlin’s files. Kate Smith introduced the song during a CBS radio broadcast on Armistice Day, November 11, 1938, and recorded “God Bless America” for RCA Victor on March 21, 1939. Her original version was reissued over the years on many occasions and was also recorded by numerous other artists.

Kate Smith singing, “God Bless America”

Berlin wanted “God Bless America” to be the final number of the Broadway musical. Director Ezra Stone had other ideas and used the song “This Time.” Stone eventually realized how wrong he was!

“This is the Army” was especially significant in that African American performers were included in the cast at Mr. Berlin’s insistence.  “This Is the Army”  thus became the only integrated unit in the military at that time, with white and African American soldiers working and living together.

“This Is the Army” eventually raised more than $10 million for the Army Emergency Relief Fund from the stage productions and movie version until performances ceased at the end of 1945.

By Sheldon Winkler

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Military Humor – Sad Sack style – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Thomas Arias – NYC, NY; US Merchant Marines / US Air Force

Melray R. Ballard – W. Benson, UT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Stanley Bieber – Oakland, CA; USMC, WWII & Korea, radioman

Adelard Dubreuil (100) – Putnam, CT; US Army, WWII, ETO, 7th Armored Division

Teddie Massie Sr. – Lesage, WV; US Army, WWII & Korea

Michael Priano – Brooklyn, NY; OSS, WWII, CBI, ‘frogman’, Bronze Star

Desmond Scott – London, ENG; Royal Navy, WWII

Robert Styslinger – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army, Korea, 1st Lt., B/57/7th Infantry Div., Bronze Star, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Harold Vienot – Brighton, CO; US Army, WWII, ETO

Joe Walsh (100) – East Orange, NJ; USMC; WWII, Pearl Harbor / Korea, D.I. Sgt.

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“THIS IS THE ARMY!” part one (1)

“This Is The Army”

The most successful and popular patriotic show of World War II and one of the most unique productions in the history of entertainment was Irving Berlin’s This Is the Army, which originally began as a Broadway musical. General George C. Marshall gave Berlin permission to stage a morale-boosting revue early in 1942 to raise money for the military.

Rehearsals were held at Camp Upton, New York, beginning in the spring of 1942 in an old Civilian Conservation Corps barracks called T-11. At one end was a large recreation room with a stone fireplace, where Berlin placed his special piano.  It was next to a latrine, which had a hot water tank. Berlin liked to lean against the tank to warm his back.

Rehearsal

Berlin completed most of the score by the end of April. The show was then auditioned on Governor’s Island in New York Harbor for General Irving J. Phillipson.  Immediately thereafter, Berlin received the approval he was waiting for.

The musical, which was directed by 24-year-old Ezra Stone (radio’s Henry Aldrich), opened on Broadway with a cast of 300 uniformed soldiers on July 4, 1942, to rave reviews. The most popular songs from the revue were “This Is the Army Mr. Jones” and “I Left My Heart at the Stage Door Canteen.” Other notable numbers include “I’m Getting Tired So I Can Sleep,” “How About a Cheer for the Navy,” “American Eagles,” and “With My Head in the Clouds for the Air Corps.”.

Irving Berlin

The show was so successful that the initial four-week engagement was extended to 12 weeks followed by a national tour, and then with a greatly reduced cast to tours of the European, Far East, and Pacific Theaters. Berlin ingeniously inserted new songs into the show depending on the audience and location. In England, he added “My British Buddy,” and in the Pacific he included “Heaven Watch the Philippines.”

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt saw the show several times during its first weeks at the Broadway Theatre and became a devotee. She desperately wanted her husband to see it, but he was unable to travel to New York City. A special matinee command performance was arranged for October 8, 1942, at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., for the president.  He thoroughly enjoyed the performance and invited the complete cast and crew to the White House the following day. The president shook hands with the entire company, over 350 soldiers, which kept him up until 1:30 the following morning.

This Is the Army was an exposition of patriotism as well as pure and simple entertainment, and the musical theater was an exceptional vehicle for boosting wartime morale. The show was a rousing, captivating musical tribute to Americans in uniform, including those in the Navy and Air Corps.

Irving Berlin with his cast

The story of Army life was told simply in song and dance, with a bit of added comedy. No battle scenes, no deaths, and no destruction were introduced. Girls, sweethearts, and mothers were the objects of songs. Kathleen E.R. Smith, in her book, God Bless America—Tin Pan Alley Goes to War, contends that the impression of Army life presented was more like a summer camp vacation instead of the serious matter of preparing for war.

By the time the national tour of This Is the Army concluded on February 13, 1943, in San Francisco, about $2 million had been raised for the Army Emergency Relief Fund for deserving wives, children, and parents of servicemen and women.

Irving Berlin & the Royals

The international touring company of This Is the Army first went to England in November 1943, and Irving Berlin met King George VI and Queen Elizabeth after a London performance. Berlin also received an invitation to lunch with Prime Minister Winston Churchill at his 10 Downing Street residence in error.  The invitation was intended for Isaiah Berlin, a well-known English philosopher and political thinker who was assigned to the British embassy in Washington at that time. Churchill did not realize the error until well after the meeting, when he was informed that his lunch guest that day was the famous American songwriter.

To be continued……

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Personal Shout Out – 

For the coming of a new decade – may I wish each and every reader who passes by here a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!

Happy New Year, From Over “The Hump”

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Military Humor – 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

Jack B. Farris Jr. – Charlotte, SC; US Army, Vietnam, Grenada, Pentagon, Lt. General

Michael J. Goble – Westwood, NJ; US Army, Afghanistan, Sgt. 1st Class, 1/7th Special Forces Group, KIA

Larry Heinemann – Bryan, TX; US Army, Vietnam / author-historian

George M. Johnson – Seaford, DE; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 2nd Lt., 38 BS/30 Bomb Group, B-24J co-pilot, KIA (Tarawa)

George Larsen – San Francisco, CA; US Coast Guard, WWII, PTO, Chief Petty Officer

John V. Phillips – Mineral Springs, MO; US Army, WWII, PTO, Sgt., HQ Co./31st Infantry Division, POW, KIA (Cabanatuan)

Richard Robertson – Gonzaleles, LA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Lowell S. Twedt – USA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, P-38J pilot,71 FS/1 st Flight Group, KIA

William Winchester – Mount Hope, AL; US Army, Korea, 1/24/25th Infantry Division, KIA (Camp # 5)

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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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