Oregon Local and Selected International History News for 2012

Statistics of Battle

During World War II EAMs ruled – Electrical Accounting Machines – of which IBM made the most and were used extensively during the war. Here is a story of how a statistician flew combat missions out of Italy to help win the war.


The EURO, Bankers, Germany and a Unified Europe

An interesting article that ties in all of the above to the current economic problems in the Euro Zone of countries back to the goals – twice failed – that Germany would had created if it had won in WW I or  II – of having a single united Europe.


Then There Were 9 -  Americans in the Battle of Britain

The son of Canadian Hugh Reilley, who has been reported as being American in every reference since the war, emailed me about this case of mistaken nationality - he is Canadian. A web site talking about his role in the Battle of Britain and how it was initially stated he was an American since he father was is at:


WW I Memorial Plaque Stolen for Scrap

A bronze pried off the memorial at Christ Church, Willaston, Wirral in the UK, has not been recovered – but the their was.


Twice Sunk – But Lucky only Once

Richard Simpson was a seaman on the ship that was heading to Russia during WW I but was sunk by a mine – and out of the 650 aboard he and 10 others survived. The ship was also carrying Lord Kitchener.

He continued on to serve during the war but was again sunk in 1917 – and this time did not survive.


Touring a Battlefield and finding a Realtive’s Grave

The Cambuslang Volunteers Flute Band was on tour in Belgium when Billy Wilson found out a relative of his was buried in one of the cemeteries he was able to visit.


Honoring the USS West Virginia on Pearl Harbor Day

The ship’s mast is on the West Virginia campus. Winning the Navy Cross that was, while on the West Virginia, was “Dorie” Miller – later killed in action in 1943.


Hitler Curios – made in the USA DURING the war – causes confusion

People have seen (or heard of) the anti-Hilter movies made during the war (seldom seen now) but not many people know that the US firms also made anti-Hitler items and sold them during the war. Thomas Wittmann has some of them and when people on a tour of homes saw them in a display case they did not know what they were looking at.

He buys and sells military collectables at his web site. http://www.wwiidaggers.com/welcome.htm

Story at:


School of Fish Leads to SB2C Helldiver

While on a technical dive – going deeper than 130 feet – Randy Jordan saw a school of fish swim 90 degrees to the current – rare and they usually only do that when going to some protected place. He followed them and found a WW II Helldiver on the sand.

However, the rules for Navy a/c are different than other a/c wrecks:

"Any disturbance to a sunken Navy ship or aircraft wreck requires a permit under the Sunken Military Craft Act of 2004," per Robert S. Neyland, head of the underwater archaeology branch for the Naval History.


Related story with a photo is at:


C-47 Found in China

Lost on 17 November 1942, one of the first transport aircraft lost shipping supplies into China, as part of the China National Aviation Corp (CNA). Cousin Bob Willett, a retired banker, was able to get into there and find his a/c. Crew was pilot John J. Dean, co-pilot , Jimmy Browne, and Chinese radioman K.L. Yang.


FAA Allows WW II a/c to Fly to Sitka for Alaska Day

FAA issued the permit for the a/c to get to Alaska on December 16, 2011 -- however the event was held two months ago in October 2011. It seems people need to plan at least two years ahead to get proper permits now.


Son Finds Photo of Dad’s B-17 – as it was Shot Down

One of the most famous B-17 photos snapped, the pilot’s son only discovered that it was his father’s plane in 2002.

Other stories on the site also.

“'Well, we had our mortar behind some houses and the Germans had their mortar across the street. We were lobbing shells at each other until they stopped lobbing them at us.'”


Tonopah Air Field and Aircraft Training Accidents

Almost as many aircraft were lost / damaged in training in the US as there were lost in combat during World War II. This Nevada training base lost crew of both fighters and bombers during and after the war in accidents.

On the early Bell Aircroba P-39s: “the machine guns would vibrate loose causing bullet to ricochet into the propeller gear-boxes causing some of the planes to shoot themselves down.”


A Crewmate of President Bush

Joseph Daniel Scarpello died at the age of 95 in December 2011 was on the USS San Janinto at the same time President Bush was on the carrier. He was awarded a Bronze Star. He also was qualified to fly blimps.


Kilmark’s Chapel – at 25,000 feet over Germany

As a pilot in the 772 Squadron of the 463rd Heavy Bombardment Group -- the "Swoose" Group – in the 15th Air Force flying out of Italy he had the distinction of being involved in five crash landings – including a ditching in the Adriatic. Out of a total of 43 missions.


A Mechanic with the “Grey Goose Island Hoppers” 11th Bombardment Group

Tillman Jurgens joined up as a mechanic in the Army Air Forces after Pearl Harbor and was assigned to the 11th Bombardment Group (H) in the Pacific. The groups’ original a/c – B-17s – were all destroyed at Pearl Harbor. In 1943 the group turned in B-17s for B-24s which were better suited for long overwater flights than the B-17s.


On Duty in Hawaii on December 7, 1941

However, being on the north end of Oahu, with mountains in-between them and Pearl Harbor – when the attack started no one knew why training was happening on Sunday near the harbor.

"It was commonplace to hear loud explosions every day of the week," explained Rossi, an artillery gunnery corporal for the 11th Field Artillery Battery A of the 25th Infantry Regiment. "We shot shells into the ocean, infantry or engineers were usually doing something. Seven days a week, everyone was practicing their jobs."


WW II Memorabilia needs a Home

Amos Nicholson was a B-24 mechanic in the 343rd Bomb Squadron and has accumulated a lot of items from his time working and painting nose art on B-24s.

His first assignment as an artist had him paint the noses of the squadron’s B-24s; which had been named Snow White with the other seven a/c the Seven Dwarfs when they were at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. And so, working with camel hair brushes and quick-drying paint that gave him little room for error, the would-be artist transformed these bombers — starting with Dopey — into a Disney parade of colorful characters.


Never Throw Away Documentation

Wounded over Japan while flying out the Aleutians, Jack Olson did not get his medals during the war since he knew it would upset his mom that he was wounded. He kept all his military records though, and even with the fire that destroyed 40% of the WW II service records, he had enough records of his own, along with some research, to prove he was entitled to the Purple Heart and other medals earned during the war.


Two Georgians and Pearl Harbor

Bob Kerr & Bob Schmutzler are two of maybe 24 Georgians still living who were at Pearl Harbor in 1941.

In 1992 he met with some of the pilots who attacked Pearl Harbor. He asked them about their perspective on the attack. “They were surprised at seeing people run in so many directions. They expected to see more opposition. They never believed it would be so easy.”


Where Roads Names Meet there stands a Tank

Bangalore is a device that was created to clear barbed wire entaglements – but it is also a city in India that has a rich military history – noted by the names of its older roads. At the junction of two stands a Sherman.


Emergency Notes

Not calling out for help on a bugle, but monetary notes used to pay locals and by use of service personnel during WW II both in some US possessions and overseas.


Camp Laguna – Training for Combat in WW II

When the US started setting up camps it had at its disposal a vast variety of training areas – mountains, swamps, plains, rain forests and deserts. And it set up training camps in all of these areas (some places had all 5 into one place). Camp Laguna had the perfect setup to train people for North Africa.


Wounded While Photographing at 23,000 Feet

Sometimes you take a shot and get a shot - Air Force Flight Engineer Paul L. Tuck Jr. ; 767th Bombardment Squadron of the 461st; was shooting a picture of Augsburg with a camera when the Germans shot back with a piece of flak. Both were successful in hitting their target.


Honoring Americans in Belgium

 Belgium citizens “adopt” the graves of US Servicemen who are buried in their country. They know that relatives cannot visit so they adopt a grave and put flowers on them.  In the Henri-Chapelle cemetery two brothers from Durant – one killed during the Battle of the Bulge and the other while flying a B-17 over Germany get flags and flowers every year.


Looking for a Lost C-109

The C-109 was the purpose built cargo version of the B-24. For 10 years a C-109 was at the Gaston Ohio before it was sold. Now Paul Quinn is trying to find out what happened to that aircraft.


Getting back “The Lady Be Good”

Now that Libya is somewhat free, maybe we can get back our B-24 that crashed in 1943 that has been stored in a Tobruk police station for years. This article from the Salem Oregon newspaper provides a good chronicle of the aircraft.


Millie Dalrymple -- WASP Pilot

She was assigned to class 44-4 and became of the few WASP pilots during the war. Her husband was KIA flying B-17s over Germany.

The WASP unit was formed so that women could take over the routine ferry duties of moving aircraft around the US so that the men could be assigned to combat duties. By mid-1944 there were so many male pilots being trained, and coming back from combat, there was no longer a need to have the WASP perform this function.

The WASP program was disbanded on December 20, 1944.


Maria Dolores Hernandez – Nurse

When the Second World War started there were not enough nurses in the military and so many civilian nurses were commissioned and inducted into the services. Maria was a Red Cross nurse who was so commissioned into the military in 1940.


Ground Crews – In for the Duration

Unlike flight crews who flew a certain number of missions and then could go home, ground crews stayed until the war was won. Gaylord L. Whiting was such a ground crew who from July of 1942 till the end served was assigned to the 15th Air Force, 5th Wing, 49th Squadron, 2nd Bomb Group, 352 Bomb Squad, 301 G.R. earning 12 Battle Stars and 4 Presidential Citations in the process. He died on December 18, 2011.


In the Marines at Tarawa and Iwo

Gene "Tim" Shawaryn, now 90, was 16 when he saw a newsreel about the Marines and decided to join them. He landed at Red Beach at Tarawa at 9:30 on November 20, 1943. “Amid a storm of machine gun fire and artillery shells, Shawaryn finally got out carrying an M-1 carbine, 12 half-pound blocks of TNT, two Bangalore torpedoes, two 1 lb. blocks of TNT and fuses and blasting caps.” He followed Sgt. Marion Gaudet over the seawall but he and Sgt Gaudet were both wounded later on in the day – and both were wounded again at Iwo Jima.


National Eighth Air Force YouTube Page

The National 8th AFHS, through Pat Keeley, posts videos onto their channel from the reunions and other venues.  Their YouTube page is: http://www.youtube.com/user/8thafhs?feature=g-all-f

A short 5 Minute Dogfight during The “Battle of Britain”

A video fictionalized account of a dogfight using both live action and modern animation techniques between a Bf-109E vs. a Spitfire Mk I during the Battle of Britain. The account is fictionalized – but the ending was true for some pilots.


On the Ground at Hickham on December 7, 1941

Major James F. Walls USAF-Ret. passed away March 4, 2012 in Smyrna Tennessee.  After graduating from high school Maj. Walls enlisted in the Army Air Corp and was trained as an aircraft mechanic.  Assigned to the 4th Reconnaissance Squadron based at Hickam Airfield in Hawaii he was there when the Japanese attacked on December 7th 1941.  Literally surviving with only the clothes on his back during that day in infamy, Maj. Walls went to flight school and ended up qualifying to fly gliders, fighters and transports.  After retiring from the United States Air Force in 1959 he opened a restaurant named the Omni Hut which remains family owned and is still in business.  He is survived by his wife Sally and 5 children. 

Liberty Ship Davy Crockett Removal / Salvage

It had been tied up along the Columbia River for 10+ years and was being salvaged for scrap – then they took too much from it and it broke in half. The Coast Guard stepped in and used money in paid into an account for just that and finished the salvage clean it up.


In a related shipping note Cunard Line of England registered Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary 2, and Queen Victoria cruise ships under the Flag of Bermuda. This was likely due to the regulatory requirement to pay ship's personnel the same wages as people working in the UK. The QM2 was also recently refurbished by the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg.

Unsinkable “Stoker” John Priest – Sailed on 6 ships – of which 4 sank including the Titantic

Serving on the Olympic (sister ship of the Titantic) which collision with a navy ship along with Captain Smith and was damaged, he went to Titantic – sunk (1912), Alcantara - sunk (1916), Britannic – sunk (1916), Donegel – sunk (1917).

How many “National” WW I memorials in the USA?

The first, and only “National” memorial to WW I is in Kansas City, Kansas, but Washington DC built a memorial to ITS’ veterans along the mall. Some are trying to get it designated as the “National” WW I but the DC Government says it was built to honor those what died who were from DC, and are listed on it, not the whole nation.

Born in the Trenches – A Donkey received the “Dicken Medal”

The medal is the highest award that can be given to an animal in the British Army. The donkey was born in 1916 and served throughout WW I in the front lines – being wounded three times.

Germany & Greek twinned Towns

Germany is the economic powerhouse of Europe, and like many nations it has twinned towns to promote trade with other nation’s towns, but the relationship with Greece is still complicated.

During WW II over 300,000 Greeks died as a result of combat, disease, and starvation while Germany occupied Greece.

WW I Artist Archive – Humorous drawings from a WW I German Artist

German artist Albert Heim drew lighthearted fare from the trenches of WW I due to a commission by Lt General Theodor von Wundt of the 26th Division. The collection of 80 drawings is being auctioned off.

Why Germany fought on – a new book, The End, by Ian Kershaw examines this fact

During the last 10 months of the war 2.6 MILLION German soldiers died, (about 1/2 of all soldiers killed during the whole war) and around 900,000 civilians died – and this book he examines why the soldiers fought on when they knew the war was lost.

The End: Hitler’s Germany, 1944-45


Possible memorial to Children Killed in 1945

On March 5, 1945, a Do-24 aircraft evacuating children from Russian forces was shot down into Lake Resko – where it still remains. If enough money is raised they will raise the remains still in the aircraft for re-burial and monument.
Almost a million German soldiers and civilians remain unaccounted for from WW II.

In Dnipropetrovsk the organization there has discovered and reburied 130 Red Army soldiers, 18 German and 2 civilians they discovered.
The German government plans to have most large scale search activities completed by 2015. Some 400,000 Germans died in the Ukraine area of operations during World War II.

A Combat Nurse in North Africa

Dorthy Pacenta was on duty in North Africa five months after she joined the US Army in 1943 ending up in Marseilles at the end of the war.

"In summer we couldn't take temperatures in the afternoon because the thermometers would go up to the top."

Over 59,000 nurses were in the Army.

Where’s the Border? 2,500 years of disputes between Eritrea and Ethiopia

From when the area was known as “Punt” 2,500 years ago, the borders of Ethiopia has been altered by European and African powers ever since. And it still goes on.

New WWII Memorial in Phoenix Arizona

To be finished by December 7, 2012 in time for the 71st Anniversary of Pearl Harbor, Governor Jan Brewer signed the legislation recently.

A Forward Artillery Assistant in the 88th Division

Cloyce Edmon was assigned that job after being in a Tank Destroyer Unit (disbanded), then kitchen duty in the 88th Division, and when fed-up with that - and he complained about it -  he was assigned as a relay operator then re-assigned to a forward artillery controller for the rest of the war.


Ancient India and NAZI Germany

The writings of ancient Indians had an influence in Germany since the mid-1800s and directly affected the leaders of NAZI Germany.

Appeasement as a Policy prior to WW II

The meanings of words are often altered over time and their original meanings at their time of creation gets forgotten. Appeasement is one such word that had a different meaning back in the 1930s than it does not when people hear it.

How it was used by Britain and Australia to prevent WW II in context of the times it was used changes everything.

Australia and Appeasement: Imperial Foreign Policy and the Origins of World War II
By Christopher Waters
I.B. Tauris, 310pp, $39.95 (HB)

P-47 Pilot Donald E. Hillman dead at 93

He flew 145 combat missions in his 10 months of combat in the 8th and 9th Air Force over Europe before being captured. He was in Stalag Luft III, the “Great Escape” camp after the 1944 escape. He lived in Seattle and worked for Boeing.

C-47 Dakota from 1950 Malayan Emergency

The passengers and crew of a C-47 which went down in 1950 during the Malayan conflict with England were finally buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery.

A 250 Acre Combat Town

The French and British built a town in France, Jeoffrecourt,  outside of Reims to train soldiers in urban combat.

Wings of Freedom Tour

The annual “Wings of Freedom” aircraft tour around the USA has started again. The tour includes the  B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator and P-51 Mustang.

Another B-17, The Yankee Lady, is also out on tour.

This is the Collings Foundation annual tour.

Was there a B-24 Named “Spirit of West Tech”?

During WW II Cleveland’s West Technical High School raised $275,076 to purchase a B-24 Liberator in 1944 and have it named after them. The money was sent but no one knows if there was ever a bomber named for them or not. Now they want to find out.

According to the B-24 Nose Art Name Directory no aircraft was ever named for them.


Honeymoon at Attlebridge

A newlywed couple travels to Attlebridge, where the 466th Bomb Group was stationed, in order to visit where his grandfather flew from during WW II.
They were married under the wing of a DC-3.

Operation Cornflakes

Battles were also fought by propaganda means during World War II against Germany. The British dropped lots of leaflets during the war, and many of their early raids over Germany in 1939 were JUST to drop propaganda leaflets. Once the US joined the war the OSS – Office of Strategic Service – started their propaganda efforts against Germany. The OSS, using units of the 8th AF, flew B-17s from England dropping leaflets in all of Europe to aid this effort, but in 1945 they got even more devious by getting the German mail service to deliver forged mail and propaganda for them using P-47s from the 15th Air Force.
Over the course of Operation Cornflakes, 320 bags of fake mail were dropped, containing more than 96,000 pieces of propaganda mail.  

James Morehead, Ace, Dies at 95

Flying P-40s out of Darwin, Australia, in 1942 he achieved his first three victories against a Japanese bomber formation when leading his squadron. He achieved his last victory by shooing down a Bf-109 over Romania in 1944.

“Aerial gunnery is a matter of interception. You cannot look at the target, shoot at the target and ever hit the target. You’re going to hit eight feet behind if you point right at him.”


Paul Crumb – Lived for Real what appears in Movie Scripts

Joining the Army when he was 18, he first saw combat as part of K Company of the 47th Regiment of the 9th Infantry, nicknamed "Raiders", during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. From that he then ended up at the Ludendorff Bridge, at Remagan Germany, and his unit was one of the ones that first went across the bridge to capture it.

Another Scene from a Movie – also real

In the movie “12 O’Clock High” a B-17 tries to land with a non-pilot at the controls and explodes. In real life this did occur and two airmen earned the Medal of Honor for their actions. Staff Sgt. Archibald Mathies and Lt. Walter Truemper died while trying to land at Glatton air base in England.

Glenn Miller Mystery – Another Clue

A plane spotter’s logbook recording of a Norseman on December 15 while he worked at Woodley airfield adds another clue to the mystery.


Lake Pontchartrain and PBYs

New Orleans is home to the National WW II Museum but before that it was also home to where PBYs - “Catalina” - flying boats were built. The plant is still there.

Paul Allen’s Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik

The plane was assembled from four different IL-2s with the primary being Il-2M3 serial number 30540 built in 1943 and shot down in 1944.
"It has been decades since anyone has been able to get an Il-2 engine, the Mikulin AM-38F, to function. So, the FHC aircraft flies with a left-turning Allison V-1710-113 1,475-horsepower engine from a P-38 Lighting fighter."

Pieces form the Past

Gerald Smith gets in the mail pieces of his B-26 from Italy. Shot down and captured in November of 1944 an Italian who witnessed the crash collected pieces and sent them to the pilot’s family who then sent it onto co-pilot Smith.

Hunting for Buried Airplanes

Freeman AAF , http://www.indianamilitary.org/FreemanAAF/Museum/FF_museum.html , was where hundreds of German aircraft were sent after the war for evaluation – and some of them may be buried on the airfield.

Chadderton Factory - Birthplace of the Lancaster - Shuts Down

Opening in 1939 as Avro Headquarters, the factory built Bristol Blenheims, Manchesters, then Lancasters and others.

Nurse McDonald of WW I

A scrapbook of drawings, poems and other writings written by soldiers in London recovering from wounds is re-discovered. The bound volume is now being auctioned off. As to history of the nurse and what became of her, no one knows.

A new WW I Memorial to the “Football Battalion”

Built only in 2010, it is on the Somme Battlefield.

German Soldiers from WW I & WWII buried at Cannock Chase in the Midlands (UK)

The soldiers all died in the UK from WW I Zeppelins, in POW camps of WW I & WW II and combat over the UK. All were removed from elsewhere and then put into a combined cemetery. One of those buried there is a German Field Marshall from WW II. He died at Aldershot POW camp in July of 1945. He signed the surrender papers at Field Marshall Montgomery’s HQ in May of 1945.

A Six “P” saying from the Military

Prior planning prevents piss poor performance.

Wooden Bomb Witness dies in Germany

Lt-Col Werner Thiel is the last living witness – on the ground anyway – to have seen wooden bombs fall onto a wooden airfield. This ex-pilot of the Luftwaffe was born in Dillenburg on 24 August 1923, became lieutenant in the Luftwaffe in 1943. He was detached at the Luftkriegschule Werder (near Potsdam) where he was the witness in an early morning from October 1943 of the dropping of a dozen of dummy wooden bombs on fake wooden airplanes. The bombs were marked with the painted words « Wood for wood»!

This extraordinary testimony from a German officer has been filmed on 28th December 2010 by Pierre-Antoine Courouble, the author of "L'énigme des bombes en bois" and director Philippe Leynaud who was working on a similar subject. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_tGOxoIhIE&feature=related ).

At the end of the filmed interview, Werner Thiel addresses the allied pilot who had that typically peculiar sense of humor.

An French-American project is in the works to produce a documentary film about the subject. Olivier Hermitant, from « Route07 production », 
(http://vimeo.com/11526361) is offering his services in order to find the rare bird, a veteran of WW2 who was the witness or perhaps actor of the dropping of these wooden bombs on German targets.

Spitfires buried in Burma to be returned

At the end of WW II 20 Spitfires were buried below ground, after being sealed in their shipping crates, due to the fear of the Japanese capturing them before being ready to fly.

Now 67 years later a dogged Mr. Cundall went hunting for them over the past 15 years, they were located, and now will be returned to the UK.


Amelia Earhart Story
In the December 22, 2010 issue of the Roseburg Beacon, Art Chino writes about being on Saipan and talking to some Marines who talked about seeing a twin-engined airplane on Saipan guarded by US soldiers in unusual uniforms – and other items that further the idea that Amelia was killed by the Japanese after landing on Saipan. The same story he was told was repeated by others Marines 70+ years alter. Roseburg Beacon News Vol 3 Issue 51 December 22, 2010. [Editor’s Note: Their online archive only goes back to April 2011, I have a copy of the article in PDF format. Email me if you want to send you the whole article.]

B-17 Ground School at Boeing Field

For $750 you can attend a two day ground school on the basic operation of the B-17F at the Museum of Flight. Course is held May 19 & 20 at the Museum of Flight (http://www.museumofflight.org/) .

On Day 2 you continue in school but also go on a short flight in the EAA B-17G “Aluminum Overcast” (included in the cost.)

At the end people attending also get:

To sign up contact Mike Lavelle, Director of Public Programs, at 206-768-7162.


A Short Biography of Philip Johnson of Boeing

As president of Boeing during WW II he helped create and organize the production of aircraft including the Stearman, B-17 and B-29.
"He realized that aircraft design had evolved beyond what he knew. He kept himself informed, but understood the need to focus on what everybody thought he was best at: building the company and maintaining good relations with the government and other manufacturers."  Guillaume de Syon, history professor at Albright College.


Where Not to Land a B-17

Wanting to visit his wife while on a training flight, Lt Glen Dye landed at the local airfield – and got the Flying Fortress stuck in the mud.

New Book about “Torch” Landings – Twelve Desperate Miles

The first large combat naval invasion occurred at Guadalcanal in August of 1942, but “Operation Torch” was unique that the whole invasion fleet sailed directly from the US then invaded French North Africa.  It is the story of the Contessa, a banana boat, used to transport supplies up 12 miles of river to ensure that a captured airfield had aviation fuel and bombs to use immediately by allied aircraft.


Watching Graves Being Dung while in a Hospital

George Robert Buys:  “. . . remembers waking up in a body cast and being placed in a tent where recovery was not expected. Graves were being dug as he looked out under the tent flap.” Bronze Star, Silver Star and a Purple Heart  are just some of his awards earned during WW II.


A Chance Meeting turns into a Research Project

Wearing a ball cap with a B-17 logo on it, Kevin Pearson was asked by an old guy what he knew about B-17s – the old was the pilot of the B-17 “Lassie Come Home” and was shot down on August 16, 1944 and he started researching that mission – over many years.

40 Missions in a B-26

Jackson “J.W.” Stine flew in a Martin B-26 “Marauder” as part of the 12th Air Force out of Italy during WW II. He was recently honored by a friend of his giving him a shadow-box with awards, medals, images of the various planes that he flew during the war.

112 Years at War - from the Boer War to Afghanistan

 This bible has traveled with a soldier from this family since it was first printed in New South Wales, Australia. Captain Justin McBurney currently has it in Afghanistan in 2012, 112 years after it was given to Trooper Alfred Maxwell in 1900 when he was shipped to South Africa to fight in the Boer War.

Last Reunion of the “Doolittle Raiders”?

There are now only five left alive, and four were on hand when 20 B-25s flew into Ohio from around the USA to honor them. Lt Cole, co-pilot to General Doolittle on the mission, attended the reunion.


A Sheet Metal technician and a Hair cutter on Tinian

Working at Douglas aircraft plant for two years before being drafted he was initially trained for the infantry he was instead sent to the Pacific since he had taken classes and then worked on aircraft so he went to maintain B-29s of the 20th Air force.


Performing Multi-Duties in a B-24

Trained as a radio operator in B-24 Liberator, he performed that duty, waist gunner, and also a ball turret gunner on various missions. He even shot up a train once when they were flying back low when in the ball turret during the Battle 0f the Bulge.

Wartime Novels by Philip Kerr

There are lots of World War II novels that have been written, but in the USA you seldom see them written with the AXIS people being the hero (or anti-hero) and their point of view of the war and their problems that they had. This is the 7th Novel by Kerr about his hero – but it takes place in 1941 whereas some of the others 6 already published were set anywhere from 1939 to 1945.


Sniper Companies are back in the TOE of Russian Infantry Units

During WW II well over 100,000 snipers were trained by the USSR Army. They were deployed both as individuals and as a unit – there were even all female Russian sniper companies. Now Russia had again formed complete sniper companies and not just have the two man team assigned to individual units. Now each brigade will get a company.

In the Polish Resistance in WW II

TADEUSZ `Tad’ Maclejewski was 16 when the war started in 1939, two years later at 18 he officially joined the Polish Resistance and sent reports back to England. Later picked up and put into a concentration camp, he survived and later immigrated to the USA.


A Thought

History is lived forwards but read backwards.

A Vimy Ridge Diary

Cleaning out a room a son finds a diary of his Canadian father about the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
“(At) 2.30 AM we were told to put on our equipment and get ready for battle. We had been asleep owing to the strain on our nerves,” it reads. “We fill in at 3 a.m. and marched to a position in the sunken road about 100 yards from the front line. The rum was issued at 4:30 a.m. and we sat waiting for the barrage to open up. The time seemed very short. At 5:30 a.m. the barrage opened in a twinkling of an eye and we scrambled up the bank and started over the top.”

Last US Vehicle out of Iraq

A Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) was loaded onto a ship in Kuwait and sent back to the US on April 2, 2012. It was the last USA that saw combat in Iraq and was loaded which is coming back to the states.

 Malta during WW I

In the Second World War Malta was the lone outpost of the British Navy, Air Force, and Army from 1940 thru 1941 which enabled the British Empire to win North Africa. During the First World War it housed POWs. Including future Admiral Donitz who was captured in October 1918 after his U-Boat was sunk.

Foreigners in NAZI Armies

There were many peoples who set up combat units within the NAZI Army, French, Belgium, Ukrainians, Latvia, Lithuania, and there was even a Georgian unit. There were enough Georgians living within the greater Reich that the Georgian Legion was set up within the Wehrmacht by December 30, 1941. They came from the same area of the country that Joseph Stalin was born but choose the other side once the Soviet Union was attacked.

New Book on the Eastern Front “OstKrieg”

Published last year it is covers the war – Krieg - in the East – Ost - and how it was fought in a vastly different manner than in the West.

Germans are asked to Interview their WW II Generation

After interviewing his own grandfather, German historian Moritz Pfeiffer then fact checked everything and then wrote a book. (in German only). Now others are trying to get the current generation to interview the Germans still left alive who fought in WW II. Pfeiffer’s grandfather was in Infantry Regiment 208 of the 79th Infantry Division and was wounded in late 1942 – before the unit was sent to Stalingrad.

Moritz Pfeiffer: "Mein Großvater im Krieg 1939-1945. Erinnerung und Fakten im Vergleich". Donat-Verlag, Bremen 2012, 216 Seiten.


Finding and Reburying Soldiers and Civilians in Latvia

This man started going on digs when responded to an advert for volunteers to look for graves from WW II over 20 years ago; it now is his full time job. It helps that he likes to collect WW II memorabilia and is allowed to take some of what he finds home.

Fighting Across a 9 Yard wide river

In late 1945 the 24th Battalion was in Italy trying to cross a river only 27 feet wide – but too deep to ford.
“It was the rhythmic sound of horses' hooves that tipped Jack Riddell off to the shifting position of enemies at the battle for the Senio River.”

Raymond Aubrac - Hero in the French Resistance dead at 97

Captured in 1943, his wife was able to get into prison to talk with him and then afterwards lead a Resistance group that attacked the German truck taking him and fellow Resistance member Jean Moulin freeing them. He died April 11, 2012.

With The “Red Bull” Division in Europe

The 34th Infantry Division was the first US Division to be sent to England in 1942. Oscar Clifford Falken was there with them from 1940 till April 1945 when he was able to go on leave back home.  He was on leave when VE day occurred.
On April 28, 1945, the German 34th Division surrendered to the American 34th Infantry Division.
The Red Bull Division history shows that its units spent a total of 517 days in combat.

Two members of the “Devil’s Brigade” die on the same day

Mark Radcliffe & Joe Glass, Mark born in the US and Joe born in Canada, were part of the "Plough Project" which was the First Special Service Force (FSSF) commando unit made up of Canadian and US soldiers. This unit inspired the movie “The Devil’s Brigade”.
Capt. Radcliffe had earned one Silver Star, six Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts.
Joe Glass was wounded twice and did over 90 night combat patrols.
They both died on April 4, 2012 in Montana.
The history of the Holocaust and the deportation of 76000 French and other European Jews to Germany by France's collaborationist Vichy regime during World War II also contributes to the French hesitancy to count its citizens by race or religion

442nd RCT Member Visits Poland

Virgil Westdale went to Poland to participate in "International March of the Living", a 1.6-mile walk from the Auschwitz to Birkenau camps set for April 18 which is Holocaust Remembrance Day.  He had had his pilot’s license revoked by the War Department because of his Japanese heritage, ending his dreams of flying fighter planes and thus fought in the Infantry.
One of Westdale’s book is “Blue Skies and Thunder”.

Stolen 500 Year Old Painting returned to Owners

“Cristo Portacroce” was left behind when the family fled France in 1940. Sold by the Vichy Government, it was finally located and returned to the family - now living in Florida. Artwork sold illegally, in this case during WW II, has to be returned to the owners when identified. It happened to be on loan to the Brogan Museum in Florida and thus they found out about it.


UXBs in Germany

A good article on UXBs – UneXploded Bombs – that littler Germany, albeit underground.

“In Brandenburg alone, the area surrounding Berlin that I visited and the most infested of Germany’s states, around 350 tons of unexploded munitions are destroyed annually, including grenades, mortars, artillery shells, mines and aerial bombs.”


Watch an Animated battle of “Shiloh” / “Pittsburg Landing”

The US Civil War from 1861 thru 1865 had thousands of battles, but the South used a different Naming system than the North. The North used water features (mainly) while the South used place names.

The Civil War Trust has produced an animated map of the battle and it is on their web site.

Cassino Italy Flattened Twice in 75 Years

Originally flattened and destroyed as a result of the Battle of Cassino during WW II, the town bet on derivatives to pay off debt it owned in order to provide free health care to people and the town got flattened – financially – this time when its bet did not pay off - and then sued "crying foul" after they found out they bet wrong.


Evading the German Concentration Camps in Yugoslavia

Playing soccer more often than going to the Jewish temple meant Jakob Ehrlich survived when Yugoslavia was invaded by Germany in 1941 his fellow players convinced him to flee Sarajevo. In the end the US Army Air Force airlifted him to safety along with many other refugees as the Russians approached.


Utah Honors Former POWS

Around 50 former POWs live in Utah and the state holds an annual those alive with a luncheon.

IFF – Identify Friend or Foe

IFF is the electronic way of letting another aircraft or ground unit know if you are friendly – and then there is the visual method. This museum in Santa Barbara California has the models that were used to train people to identify the silhouette of planes, tanks and other military gear so you can find out if they are “friend or foe”.

35 Missions as a Radio-Operator in the B-17s of the 401 BG (H)

Marion E. Searcy, died at the age of 87 in Murphysboro, Ill. He flew 35 combat missions as part of the 8th Air Force over Europe.


A New Book about the P-51 Group known as "The Yoxford Boys"

Joey Maddox is now the author of two books about the Mustang pilots of the 357th FG flying in the 8th Air Force. Some famous members of the group include Chuck Yeager, Leonard “Kit” Carson, Bud Anderson, and Richard “Pete” Peterson. The author lives somewhere around New Orleans in Louisiana.


Love Letters from Field Marshall Rommel

Letters published in Germany show a different side of the General.

Drawing and Typing through the war on the USS Massachusetts

Bil Canfield joined the war effort and was assigned to the battleship USS Massachusetts in 1942. He volunteered to type, which got him into the ward room to work side by side with officers and then also drew cartoons for the shipboard newspaper.

Soviet Penal Battalions

A new PC game is being published about the Soviet Penal Battalions of WW II - aka The Great Patriotic War.
These battalions are famous for being formed under Stalin’s “No step back!” order #227. They consisted of court-martialed officers that were given a chance to redeem their crimes, or incompetence, in blood by serving as the lowest enlisted rank in a battalion that was assigned the most dangerous tasks.
The game is called Men of War: Condemned Heroes

SSG Reckless of the 5th Marines

This YouTube video tells the story of how this Marine made 51 trip up and down hills in Korea in 1953 taking ammo and supplies up, and wounded marines back down.


British TV Show Redcap

Many British shows never make it across the pond to the US – especially since many times they are short lived series that never made the syndication limit for the USA. Redcap is a show about the Royal Military Police – this show being a NCSI type show but ran for 26 episodes in 1964 and 1965 on ABC! Then there is the revival version in 2000 that had only 12 total episodes and the SIB – Special Investigative Branch – unit was based in Germany in this version. So NCIS as a TV concept is not new!
Thanks to Robin Bell for this info.

Keeping 8th AF Memories Alive

Gus Nathan, Past President of the New York Southern Wing Chapter, 8th AFHS is compiling an 8th AF veteran history book, with veteran stories and experiences during WWII in the European Theatre. If anyone is interested in keeping these memories alive send a picture of the soldier, in uniform (including what chapter they belong to) to:  Gus Nathan 8th AFHS P.O. Box 297 Centuck Station Yonkers, New York 10710. Each contributor will receive a copy of the book. Telephone number is 914-439-6883.  Questions contact: gusnathan @ aol.com .

EAA B-17 Aluminum Overcast at Hillsboro May 18-20

The fully restored flying B-17G that is owned by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) will be at the Hillsboro Airport, located west of Portland on May 18, 19 & 20th. While there you can walk through the aircraft or pay to take a short ride (without having to use an O2 Walk-around bottle) in this World War II heavy bomber.

To book a flight contact their tour office at: 800-359-6217
Other NW stop locations:
May 24-28 Seattle, WA Boeing Field / King County International Airport
June 01-03 Spokane, WA Felts Field Airport
July 23  AirVenture Oshkosh 

See www.eaa.org for the full 2012 tour dates where the Flying Fortress will be at.

Seattle Museum of Flight May events

Special Lectures and Aircraft Tours
"Boeing B-17 Ground School"
Saturday and Sunday, May 19-20, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Aircraft Fly-In Event
Aluminum Overcast: The EAA B-17 Bomber Tours and Rides
Thursday, May 24 through Monday, May 28

Aircraft Fly-In Event
Cascade War Birds Fly-In
Saturday, May 26, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Oregon International Air Show in August

It occurs August 3, 4, & 5th at the Hillsboro Airport.  The USAF Thunderbirds will be at the show this year.

Aviation Breakfast Club in Portland

This club meets at American legion Post 150 on 2nd Sundays of each month at 10 AM. The post is right off of I-205 at the Johnson Creek Blvd exit then north on Fuller to SE 89th Avenue.

Wings of Freedom Website

This is the site of the B-17 “Lacy Bomber” aka “Lacey Lady” that has been sitting along McLoughlin Blvd originally above the gasoline station’s pumps in Milwaukie Oregon since 1947 and is undergoing restoration.

KATU TV did an article with lots of good photos about this project. http://www.katu.com/news/95638799.html

Wings of Freedom website: http://www.b17wingsoffreedom.org/

USS Ranger Foundation

This group is working to bring this carrier to be permanently home-ported as a museum in Oregon.
They are having a large screen showing of “Top Gun” on Sunday May 6th from Noon till 3 PM at the Mt Hood Theater, 401 E. Powell Blvd, Gresham, OR 97030 as a fund raiser. If you want to see – and feel – this Tom Cruise classic be there. $10 a person. Tickets can be purchased online. Only 500 are available.

Patriotic Tribute at Volcanoes Stadium on July 4, 5 and 6th 2012

This is done at the Volcanoes Baseball field in Salem-Keizer, Oregon.

They will be honoring, so far, at least 77 outstanding men and women from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East and other points around the world for their service to our country.   A tremendous cross section of people – The Old/The Young   Men/Women   Officers/Enlisted   Top-Level Commanders/Refrigeration Specialist   All Branches   Deployed/Non-Deployed   Battle Tested/Non-BattleTested   Warriors of Color and Various Nationalities    Family Members/Husband and Wife   Father-Daughter/Father-Son In Law   A Tremendous Contingent of ten from Kingsley/and seven from the Washington National Guard.  

Three tremendous days to Thank, Honor and Salute our outstanding members of the Armed Forces – past and present.

General Rees, the Adjutant General of the Oregon National Guard, confirmed so we are excited by that.  

We even have General Eisenhower’s bodyguard – PFC Jim Rumelhart – 1944-1946.

$5.00 Outfield Seats ; Reserved Seats - $9.00 ; Box Seats - $11.00
Call or Email Jerry Howard 503-779-4088; j.howard @ volcanoesbaseball.com

Sing Songs About P-38s!

On the P-38 Association web site they have various song lyrics that were written about the Lockheed P-38 Lightning.

95th BG


8th AFHS Chapters in the USA

Virginia – http://www.8thaf-virginia.org

11th Air Force Association

Write to:
John Cloe;4360 Shoshoni Ave; Anchorage, Alaska 99516  907-345-7472 jcloe @ gci.net  to share stories, info etc.
To Join write to: 11th AF Association; 355 Broken Post Road, Texarkana, Texas 75503

398 BG Association


445 BG Website

445th Bomb Group updated web address is:  http://www.445BG.org

ANA Twitter Feed

The Association of Naval Aviators now has a Twitter Feed. Got to Twitter.com and then "follow" @AssnNavAviation

Michael Field, CAPT USN (Ret.), is the one who will be posting the tweets.

ANA National web site is http://www.anahq.org

Red Tail

The organization that was created to fly a P-51C “Mustang” in the colors of the “Tuskegee Airmen” around the US , www.retail.org, like other non-profit flying outfits, is promoting their education and plane by asking people to “fill the tank” of their Mustang. They have a traveling exhibit that goes along with the Mustang.

Avgas currently averages around $4.10 a gallon in the USA. Internal fuel tanks on the C model held 105 gallons – before an 85 gallon auxiliary fuselage tank was installed behind the pilot’s seat (184 total gallons useable). So if you have $779 you can let the plane fly for 950 miles at 362 MPH.

A good timeline of the P-51 is at: http://p51h.home.comcast.net/~p51h/time/time.htm

They too are restoring a Mustang.

American Air Museum in Britain

A separate building on the Duxford Airfield initially dedicated to just the American Army Air Forces during WW II, they now also have modern jet aircraft in the museum, but the main emphasis is still WW II. Duxford Airfield is part of the Imperial War Museum complex of sites. Their B-17 is currently undergoing restoration. They also have a B-24. [Editor’s note: It is extremely hard to get good photos within the museum of the aircraft – there is almost always part of one a/c blocking another. It was a museum that looked cool on the outside, but functionally it makes actually looking and learning about the aircraft that you are there to see impossible. It is one of those building designs that wins awards from other designers but messed up the purpose of the building in my opinion. I’ve been there 6 times, the first in 1982. It was better and easier to view the American a/c before they built the combined museum.]


P-40 of the RAF Found in Sahara

Found “intact” after it ditched in the Sahara. Most paint still on it, ammo still there and all the parts. Only the fabric on the various control surfaces have disappeared. Photos by Jakub Perka.


A Short History of the War of 1812

Another of the “forgotten” wars of the USA is the War of 1812. It is also another case where the war was officially over and a battle was still fought. This also occurred during the US Civil War where battles were fought in the Pacific long after the war was over.

Colorizing WW II Newsreels

Ever since TNT Network started colorizing old movies to update them to people who grew up with color TVs as their norm, there has been a rush to take old WW I and newer newsreels and colorize them. Sometimes colorization works, often you can see that it has been dubbed onto the B&W images with less than pleasing results. The French firm Clarke, Costelle & Co. out of Paris has been doing this since 2009, and sometimes the new version even looks correct – most often not.  But they are getting better. They are now doing their third & fourth colorization of historical eras: Apocalypse: World War One and Apocalypse: Cold War.
The WW I colorization will air in August of 2014 – 100 years after the start of that war.
[Editor’s Note: Colorization may re-trigger  a new copyright so none of the color clips can be used for the next 95 years unless paid for. Fair use exempted of course.]

In the Ambulance Service in WW I

Bad eyesight did not get you out of WW I – they put you to work somewhere and for Richard Bryner it was driving an ambulance from the front lines to the rear. The front line did not end at the trench line, it often went back a two to three miles behind there since shelling often occurred to block men and supplies from reaching the front line and you were always a target.

NAVY POW Camps in Germany

Germany, like the allies, grouped POWs according to rank and service. British Merchant sailors had their own camp for them and passed their time racing horses.

A scrapbook of the years of the men is up for auction.


 WW I Pilot May Have been Found

A wreck discovered on mountain peak on Thasos may lead to the solving of what happened to Flight Lt Warner Hutchins Peberdy when he failed to return from a recon mission to Macedonia.

A WW I Monument  Damaged in Car Accident Rebuilt

A monument erected to honor a Victoria Cross holder John Bernard Croak who died in WW I in France has been rebuilt and restored in Glace Bay Nova Scotia.
All soldiers who died under British Command in all wars (prior to now) remain buried where they were killed; they were not shipped back to their home areas to be re-buried where relatives can visit their graves.

A Site where the Soviet Veterans can talk about their experiences

After the 2nd World War, aka The Great Patriotic War as it was (and still is) known in Russia, many stories could not be told – especially if anything critical of the USSR handling of the war was in it. Now, before those still left alive die, their stories are being recorded and presented.

May 9 in Russia – Still A Victory Day

Over 20 million Soviet citizens (including military) died during WW II. It is an astounding number, but the Eastern Front was a massive battlefield from June 22, 1941 till May 9, 1945. Germany had  10 million soldiers counted as casualties in the East (including those who died after being captured, around 3 ½ million) out of the total 13.4 million killed, wounded or captured during the war.

Outdoor Museum near Moscow

30 Kilometers north of Moscow (around 21 miles) on the site where the first winter T-34 lead counter-offensive started in 1941, there exists an outdoor museum showing the military equipment used in WW II.


PRAVDA 100 years old

Started by Lenin, as a legally recognized newspaper by the Tsarist state on May 5, 1912, PRAVDA means “The Truth” in Russian.
The other main newspaper during the Soviet era was Izvestia which means ‘delivered messages’ (usually translated as ‘news’).
Old Soviet saying: There is no truth in “News” and no news in “Truth”.

From Singing to Horses to Singing on Stage

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was a soldier on the Eastern Front in the winter of 1943 caring for horses, often singing to them as he kept care of them. After being released as a POW in 1948 he took to singing on stage in Germany, England – Coventry Cathedral - and other locations in the world. He died at the age of 86 on May 18th.

In 1945 40% of all German units still had horses as their main transportation method. Germany started the war with 70% of all units using horses as their main transportation equipment. 10 Tons of fodder a day was needed to keep a German infantry division’s horses fed.

Secret Missions: Dangerous Before You Even Start

During WW II going on a secret mission meant that danger started once you accepted it – you could be killed before actually going into enemy territory. FBI Special Agent Harold Haberfeld out of New York  was killed when the plane he was in crashed taking him on the mission to North Africa.

Getting Trench Foot at the Battle of Cassino

As a replacement infantryman in WWII 'Bing' Crosby W. Powell was assigned to L company in the 168th Regiment of the 34th Division just before the heavy winter fighting at Cassino. Wounded he was recovered enough to land at Anzio. "At Anzio, you were safer at the front (lines) than at the back."

With the 79th Fighter Group in Italy

When the Americans invaded Italy in 1943 at Salerno, after capturing Sicily in July/August , the invasion went badly due to the defensive line the Germans had set up around all likely invasion sites. Air power made the difference when the 79th (flying Curtiss P-40s) was called in to attack enemy gun positions around the beachhead – with a warning to stay above 1,500 feet since Navy Gunners on assault ships were known to shoot at any airplane near them with their .50 caliber or 20 mm and 40 mm anti-aircraft  guns. (During the invasion of Sicily 23 C-47s carrying paratroopers were shot down by Navy ships and another 37 damaged.) "We didn't dare go down on the deck, like we wanted to, and come in at them. We were told to stay at 1,500 feet, which meant we were sitting ducks for the German gunners."

Joining the Woman’s Army Corps

With her brothers in the Army, one a pilot flying B-25s in the South Pacific, Aylett Griffin Irving refused a commission so she could get into the war faster. She ended up meeting the son of the last Calvary General in the Army on a ship to the South Pacific and marrying him. Her other brother was awarded a medal for liberating nurses in 1944 that had been captured by the Japanese in 1942 outside of Manila before the Japanese could kill them.

Going Up Mount Cassino and seeing your Cousin Coming Down

As part of the 3rd Infantry division Jack Ziccarelli landed at Salerno and fought his up the Italian boot. While crossing the Volturno River he was lightly wounded in the left arm and leg, but not enough to have him sent to a hospital right then so he stayed with his unit. Going up St. Nick’s hill later on he saw his cousin who was in another unit coming down. Both ended up severely wounded but alive.

Italy Supreme Court agrees with The International Court on War Crimes Compensation

The International Court at The Hague had ruled that Italians cannot sue Germany for compensation since a nation is immune from being sued by individuals.

From Ball Turret to Bombardier

After flying 30 missions as a ball turret gunner Sgt. Ray Fairman was promoted to being a “toggler” – dropping the bombs when he saw the lead plane drop theirs from the bombardier position. He flew in the 40th Bomb Wing, 92 Bomb Group 325th Bomber squadron in the 8th Air Force – and he always carried a camera.
The Germans knew his number:
” Then there was the time the plane was hit by shrapnel. One piece ripped through the side of the plane and lodged in Fairman’s parachute pack. When the jagged metal was removed upon landing, he saw that it had a number stamped on it by the ever-efficient German war machine. The number was exactly the same as his service number: 36876493.”
He flew 42 ½ missions – being shot down on April 13, 1945.

389th Bomber Group Museum at Hethel

If you are in Norfolk, England, on June 10 you can visit the museum between 10 AM and 2 PM. Parking charge of 2 pounds.
The 389th Bomb Group (Heavy) flew Consolidated B-24 Liberators out of the airbase.Like many former airbases it is not easy to get to.
“To get to the museum from the A11 Wymondham bypass, take the exit signed Mulbarton and Lotus Cars. Follow the signs for Lotus Cars and turn left into Potash Lane. Go past the Lotus Car factory gates to where the road is closed. A farm entrance is on the right and go through it, following the signs to the exhibition.”
Now imagine trying to get to a base during WW II when ALL road signs had been taken down in the summer of 1940!

With Very Little Training a Replacement Rifleman during the “Bulge”

Told he had bad eyes when he tried to join at 18, Russell Pollitt went to work instead then got drafted in July and was given two sets of eyeglasses. After a short time of basic training was shipped out in November for Europe. He ended up in Company C,  58th Armored Infantry, 8th Armored Division.
When wounded and pinned down during combat he had to wait it out and saw someone crawling toward him.
 “But when he got within, oh, about six to eight feet, he turned his head around sideways. At that time the German made a helmet that went down this way, and down that way. Our helmets didn’t do that, they went around the other way. So that told me he was the enemy. And I don’t know what he detected about me, but just before I shot him he detected who I was too and he was trying to get his gun up to shoot me but I beat him.”

Added to the Black Watch Honor Roll

Serving throughout the war from 1914 untill he was wounded in 1918, Lieutenant Patrick Wright Anderson started in the infantry in the Black Watch but was wounded while flying  as an Observer in the Royal Flying Corps in 18 Squadron on 27 June, 1918. He died in 1921 of his wounds.

Rescued by a Sub in the Pacific

His B-24 Liberator plane forced to ditch in the lonely Pacific Ocean after a mission to Guam, Howard Mann and his other 8 crew-members floated in the Pacific for 9 days till a sub rescued them.


Flying B-29 missions out of China

Before the capture of the Marianas, where Saipan and Tinian are at, B-29s flew missions out of China – and it was not easy. Capt. Oliver B. Eisan was a lead navigator of these B-29s during this China time but was shot down on the January 6, 1945 mission to Omura, which is near Nagasaki when a Japanese fighter shot out their #2 and #3 engines which later caused a fire on the starboard side and the plane went into a vertical dive into a bank of clouds never to be seen again.


Flying Escort Missions over Germany

“It was a lot of fun until they started shooting at us.” John Huff was a P-51 pilot from February 1944 till October 1944 flying out of England in the 339th Fighter Group 503rd Squadron. He was at the Seattle Museum of Flight during the visit of EAA’s Aluminum Overcast was there in May.

Alfred Soo was also at the museum, but he did not finish his combat tour, he was shot down by flak over the target in November of 1944.


B-24 Ball Turret Gunner out of Spinazzola, Italy

The 15th Air Force had the same strategic mission as the 8th – they just did it out of the mud of Italy instead of the fog of England. Larry Hilte started flying his missions on Valentine’s day in 1945 and his first mission was a visit to Vienna.

They took a brand new B-24 to Italy called “Pleasure Bent” but like any brand new a/c it was taken away and given to another crew so they inherited “Yugo Kid”. On March 1, 1945 “Pleasure Bent” was hit and went down and all the crew in it were killed.


Shot Down in “Our Baby” over France

Flying a B-24 out of Lavenham, where the 389th Bomb Group, was based, it was the lead a/c of the group when shot up by flak the crew had to bail out. On board that day was Col Beirne Lay Jr – who wrote “12 O’Clock High”. John Watson was a ball turret gunner and though he evaded for a few weeks, he was eventually captured and became a POW – but not before he and some 200 other POWs were sent to Buchenwald Concentration camp before being sent to Stalag Luft III – “The Great Escape” camp.


“Diamond Lil” Nose Gear Fails

The only other airworthy B-24, Diamond Lil, nose gear collapsed at Charlotte Douglass International Airport on May 26th.


The B-24 “Witchcraft” is touring the west Coast and will be at Salem Oregon on June 6 thru the 8th at McNary Field. The P-51 and B-17 will also be there. After that they move on to Pasco Washington. http://www.collingsfoundation.org/cf_schedule-wof.htm

Wendover Tower Restored

The Control Tower at Wendover Air Base, which saw lots of action training B-29 crews near the end of the war, has been fully restored and was re-dedicated on May 31, 2012 as a museum. There maybe only one or two other control towers left in the US of that type.


Witness to the Attack on Sydney Harbor on May 31, 1942

During WW II a Japanese submarine shelled and torpedoed the harbor at Sydney. Don Roberts was awake and heard the shells coming in. The USS Chicago was in the harbor at the time. One ship was sunk, the converted ferry HMAS Kuttabul, killing 21 sailors.


Mapping the attack on Japan

At the start of WW II every nation had a real lack of detailed maps in the area they were fighting in – even in 1944 maps of Normandy were based on Michelin maps (Editor: and state so on the one I have.)  so the Map Davison of the OSS created over 8,000 separate maps as they were needed – from high altitude 1:150,000 to detailed 1:10,000 scale maps.

As the war progressed the level of detail in the maps would change leaving out civilian items and leaving only military ones –even if next to a pure civilian area.

Two researches, David Fedman of Stanford and Cary Karacas, did a study of how the maps changed during the war against Japan and track the destruction of the core of 65 cities in Japan.


Missing Corsair Pilot Finally Located

During a mission to Rabaul Papua New Guinea Lt Moszek Murray Zanger collided with his wingman over New Guinea and bailed out. He made it out to sea but was picked up by a Japanese patrol boat and held captive for 6 months before he was deliberately killed by the Japanese and then buried next to an airfield. They finally located his aircraft crash site.


New Monument Dedicated in Vancouver, Washington

Over 9,000 merchant seamen died during WW II, and very few monuments exist for them. Tauno Alanko was a crewman on the Liberty ship star of Oregon in the Caribbean when it was sunk by the U-162 on August 30, 1942. One of the crewmen was killed during the attack.

The new memorial is the Merchant Seaman Memorial on Vancouver's Veterans Affairs campus.

If you can locate the Star of Oregon under the ocean – it still has its’ 1,600 pounds of gold dust on board.


Shooting Down a Japanese Pilot – then saving him

During an attack against his ship, where he was assigned to the medical unit, he was on deck tending to the wounded when a plane came at his ship so he jumped to a gun and shot down the aircraft. Then the captain came to him and told him to help out a Japanese pilot who they just captured on the other side – and it was the pilot of the plane he had just shot down.


Further info on P-40 of the RAF Found in Sahara

After the story broke about the P-40 all the photos were pulled from Picasa so he could make some money from them [I suspect] to news outlets. He had 50 or so photos before he pulled them down.  The Daily Telegraph had a good write up on it.


A Short History of the Akutan Zero

A nearly intact Zero was found on Akutan island after it crashed on Akutan killing the pilot due to battle damage sustained while attacking Dutch Harbor, Alaska. And it changed the tactics that Americans used when fighting the Zero.


Dutch Harbor Battle – and how it changed Alaska

Alaska went from being a backwater territory where people were bribed to go there with free land during the dust bowl (and most came back after two winters) the Japanese invasion of two Aleutian islands changed the Alaska into the front line and had its own 11th Air Force there for three years flying combat missions to Japan and was also a pipeline of aircraft to the USSR.


Official WW II Monument in Salem

Oregon is one of four states without an “official state sanctioned” WW II memorial. A 33 foot tall 5 sided obelisk has been designed, cut, but yet to be erected on the state capitol grounds. Around 152,000 Oregonians were in the service; 3,757 were killed.  http://oregonww2memorial.com for information and how to donate.
[Editor’s Note: There are some states that still have not erected monuments for the US CIVIL War!]

Bomber Command Gets a Monument in London

After the war the RAF Bomber Command members, and their leaders, were about the only people who never got a dedicated ribbon, award or monument. This was due to the utter destruction of some 55 German cities by Bomber Command – first widely understood and advertised by the destruction of Dresden in 1945 and by the photos sent home by American solders as they advanced into Germany of the damage seen in cities not caused by any ground combat.

During the war 55,573 member of Bomber command died, some 8,600 were wounded and made it back to England, and around 9,500 were captured. A total of 128,000 passed through the command. RAF bombers were built to bomb, and making it easy for the crew to escape from a damaged bomber was not designed into their aircraft so most often 5 out of 7 men in a RAF bomber were killed when it was shot down. There was one entry hatch into a Lancaster for the crew in front, and one separate entry for the tail gunner. The RAF lost some 9,000 bombers during the war. In contrast, on average 7.5 men per 10 man crew would survive when a B-17 or B-24 was shot down. There were 4 / 5 exits out of a B-17/B-24: side entry, bomb bay, tail gunner door, forward hatch, and in a B-24 also a top hatch and you could also climb out some windows at times.


Navy Recruiting Drones - Aircraft Drones

At the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey California, one of the teachers is trying to figure out how to get RC - Remote Control - aircraft drones to attack other RC Drones.

None are likely to be a good as "Queen Bee" - which was the first RC Aircraft effectively used by the Navy - the British Navy - which took a Tiger Moth and make it an RC Aircraft for use as a gunnery target for the British Navy in the 1930s. It is unarmed - "stingless" - so the British called them "drones" - using the male bee analogy since male honeybees have no stingers and the word has since been adopted by other militaries.


Oregon Aviation Historical Society

There actually is one and they have a web site at: http://oregonaviation.org/

The latest person to be inducted into the Hall of Fame was Henry “Hank Troh.

World War I book invites new look at German history

From 1880s thru the start of World War I there was a large increase in the size of standing armies in the world (except USA) and with it people of different religions were mixed together (except  in the Balkans) in units. A new book examines the German Army of World War I and finds that Anti-Semitism was no greater in it than in other militaries.


Re-Thinking the Legacy of the War Time Leader of Hungary Admiral Miklos Horthy

Miklos was the leader of Hungary from 1920 till 1944 when Hungary dropped out of the war and he was initially viewed as a failure due to becoming an ally of Germany before "Operation Barbarossa" on June 22, 1941 - the Axis invasion of The USSR. However time has started to shed a different light on his leadership during the depression in Europe and World War II and some think he actually did well in a bad situation.


New Mini-series about Gallipoli Campaign of World War I

A six part series is being made in Australia starting in 2013 about the invasion of Turkey by mainly Anzac troops in a effort to knock Turkey out of the war. Winston Churchill was one of the main proponents of the effort, he was in charge of the British Navy, and urged it on (much like during World War II and Italy). It was a bungled invasion mainly due to the commanders of the navy and land forces not understanding the terrain and never having conducted a modern naval invasion and the need for speed.


A new film biography about Otto Frank - Father of Anne Frank
This new 75 minute long film about tells more about him via rarely seen interviews and additional research about him. He was a German Officer during World War I and went to the Netherlands after the rise of the NAZI party in Germany and the ensuring laws that were passed against Jews.


Ukrainian Citizenship and Deported People of WW II

When the AXIS invaded the USSR, Stalin had whole groups of people in western USSR, that he thought were sympathetic to the AXIS cause rounded up and shipped out to camps and cities in the east. Now the Ukraine may allow the descendants of those who were deported to regain their citizenship based on those facts.

Junkers 88 being recovered from the Baltic

Originally thought to be a Stuka buried in the mud, due to some parts of the Ju-88 and Ju-87 had in common like in the outer wings, they have recovered parts of the right side. Once they found out it was an Ju-88 they had to re-think the salvage operation due to the increased size of the aircraft.


New History Book on World War II by Antony Beevor

Trying to cover all aspects of WW II in a single readable book is difficult. A review of the book by The Guardian in the UK.


West Africa and the Supply Lines of World War II

Once North Africa and the Mediterranean supply line to Egypt was effectively cut the AXIS power, the fastest way to get supplies to the Middle East was by air.


Auction of an RAF Pilot's Flying Helmet and Medals

Group Captain Mike Stephens died in 2004 and his son is going to auction off all his items. He was credited with 22 victories during the war and starting before the war, fought in The Battle of Britain, and continued till the very end.


Air Raid Shelters of Rome - A video Tour

Closed off to people (the only bunker currently open to the public lies under Palazzo Valentini) this web site allows people to tour the shelters built against air raids via video that they he was allowed to take of them.

"Mussolini liked reinforced, underground bunkers and wanted to copy Hitler, so 12 anti-aircraft posts were built during World War II. They were shelters for the elite."

Journalist Lorenzo Grazzi, set up the website:  www.bunkerdiroma.it


Flying in Fighters Was the Goal - Being in Bomber Command was usually the Outcome for Australian volunteers

When the war started 3179 airmen and 310 officers were in the Royal Australian Air Force. 450 of them were sent to Britain with short service commissions in the Royal Air Force. Most ended up in Bomber Command. Losing a leg in ground combat Roberts Dustan applied for, and got into, the RAF as a tail gunner - he used crutches to get to the aircraft during the war. He completed a full tour of 30 operations, the day before his 21st birthday.


In the 1930s Britain developed the radio controlled Queen Bee, a remotely controlled unmanned Tiger Moth aircraft for a fleet’s gunnery firing practice.

Remembering the war on the Eastern Front War – But the Veterans are US Citizens

At least now they are, they emigrated from the USSR to the USA long after the war.


Patriotic Salute July 4, 5, 6 at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer

At I-5 Exit 260, Keizer Oregon, there will be a three day event to honor USA veterans of all wars.
Admission prices (which includes a baseball game!) is:

Gates open 5:15, concert at 5:40, military ceremonies at 6:40; game at 7:15. Fireworks are set off / launched after each game.

Call or Email: Jerry Howard-503-779-4088; j.howard@volcanoesbaseball.com

Coins on Graves

By Doug Williams via Rob Morris

While visiting some cemeteries you may notice that headstones marking certain graves have coins on them, left by previous visitors to the grave. These coins have distinct meanings when left on the headstones of those who gave their life while serving in America's military, & these meanings vary depending on the denomination of coin.

A coin left on a headstone or at the grave site is meant as a message to the deceased soldier's family that someone else has visited the grave to pay respect.

Leaving a penny at the grave means simply that you visited.

A nickel indicates that you & the deceased trained at boot camp together, while a dime means you served with him in some capacity.

By leaving a quarter at the grave, you are telling the family that you were with the solider when he was killed.

According to tradition, the money left at graves in national cemeteries & state veterans cemeteries is eventually collected, & the funds are put toward maintaining the cemetery or paying burial costs for indigent veterans.

In the U.S., this practice became common during the Vietnam war, due to the political divide in the country over the war; leaving a coin was seen as a more practical way to communicate that you had visited the grave than contacting the soldier's family, which could devolve into an uncomfortable argument over politics relating to the war. Some Vietnam veterans would leave coins as a "down payment" to buy their fallen comrades a beer or play a hand of cards when they would finally be reunited.

The tradition of leaving coins on the headstones of military men & women can be traced to as far back as the Roman Empire.

In the Dogfight of his Life

On June 19,1944, Fred ‘Buck’ Dungan of San Clemente sent his Navy Hellcat fighter plane into a steep dive to take on about 60 Japanese planes over Guam, destroying one and disabling another before surviving a wild one-on-one fight to the death against a Japanese pilot. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross that day, and two weeks later earned the Navy Cross and Purple Heart in a fight over another Japanese-held island.


“Hell Hawks” Facebook Group

Facebook site devoted to the 365th Fighter Group of World War II. Robert F Dorr, author, who wrote the Book “Hell Hawks”, has created a Facebook group devoted to the men of the 365th who flew P-47s during World War Two.
Amazon Link: Hell Hawks!: The Untold Story of the American Fliers Who Savaged Hitler's Wehrmacht


Lost Dog Tag Returned to a Marine of Carlton's Raiders

While stationed on Guadalcanal in 1942/1943 John Joseph Keker lost one of his two dog tags that they wore back then. An Australian on duty in 2011 was in a local's house when he saw a shoebox of Dog tags that have been found on the island - and set out to return them to the person who lost them, or their relative.


Uniforms Reflect the times and the People

A complete Navy Nurses uniform was donated to the Fall River Mass. Historical Society. The World War I Navy Nurse uniform was donated by relatives of Mary Rebecca McIntyre who died in 1963. She was around 5'2" tall when she joined the nurse corps in 1917.


June 28, 1919 - Versailles Peace Treaty Signed

A short history summary of the four main powers that created the treaty and the goals each had for what they did and what they wanted from it.


A Woman Soldier in the First World War

Unlike other women soldiers, this one carried a rifle, fought in battles, was wounded, won combat awards - and lived to tell about it.  Flora Sandes, from Suffolk England, was also fighting in what is now Serbia in one of the forgotten corners of World War I - and as a regular Serbian Soldier.


Morning Patrol - 3 Kills and Shot down - while still in your Pajamas

World War I pilot Flight Lieutenant Alan Jerrard was sent off to attack an enemy airfield so fast he just put on his flying clothes over his pajamas and went off in his Sopwith Camel - and was shot down and captured. He escaped and his regiment gave him an engraved 10 pound commemorative bowl which is now being auctioned off. He won the Victoria Cross during this exploit. It is being auctioned doff on July 18 in Salisbury.


Touring the “Memphis Belle” Restoration

If you have the time on a Friday and are in Dayton, you can take a three hour tour to the B-17F “Memphis Belle”. Restoration will be completed sometime in 2014. The Belle was the first officially recognized bomber and crew to finish 25 combat missions over Europe and be sent home from the 8th Air Force. The 8th started flying combat missions on August 17, 1942 and it took 9 months before a crew, Lt Robert Morgan’s crew, successfully completed their missions some 10 months later. During this timeframe most crews were only able to complete around 15 missions before being shot down.


Japanese Zero Takes to the Air over Everett Washington
Flying Heritage Collection's now has a Mitsubishi “Zero” in its collection of flying aircraft. It was discovered and recovered from Babo Airfield on New Guinea, restored to flying condition in Russia, and now on display during the summer months in Washington State.

Memory Train - Moscow to the Brest Fortress and the Veterans of WW II

The Memorial Train was started in 200.  The idea was to have Soviet Era veterans of the war in the east travel across Europe to pass along their stores to the newest generation and they visit battles and memorials along the way.
The Brest Fortress held out for almost a month against the Germans after the initial invasion on June 22, 1941.

Captured during War - Returned during Peace

A medical doctor of the German 129th Division found items in a damaged section of the Kalinin museum in 1941 and sent the items back to his wife. In her will it was stated that they should be returned to the museum. The city is now named Tver. The doctor was killed in the battle of Rzhev in September of 1942. [Sending them back likely saved them. The article does not state what happened to the items in the damaged museum that were left there.]

"The war against Russia is a road to hell." - French general and diplomat Caulaincourt

An interesting comparison of significant dates in the lifes of Napoleon and Hitler.

Revised Soviet Losses during World War II

The USSR lost 27 million people during World War II aka The Great Patriotic War: 11.3 million soldiers on the frontlines, 4.5 million in guerilla warfare, about 6 million were captured – and 6.2 million civilians were killed by the combat around them and due to starvation, deportation/execution by the NAZI (and some Soviet) government actions.

Flying “FIFI” During World War II

Evertt Atkinson, 90, started out in fighters, thrown into the  left seat of a B-17, then ended up flying B-29s against Japan. He totaled two aircraft during training.

“There are times when you can get an airplane in a situation where you're beyond the limitations of the envelope of performance. In that circumstance, you're not a pilot, you're a passenger. I found that out."


Decoding Bomb Group Orders on a Daily Basis

As a cryptographer in the 301st Bombardment Group (Heavy) which flew Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses,  Staff Sgt. Chester Bartram always knew where the group was going before anyone else – since he decoded the mission orders for the group.


June - A Month Full of Historical Dates

In the world of warfare the summer months, June, July & August, is usually decisive in the annals of history. Here is a summary of 4 such events from Canada. [Editors’ note: The Battle of Bladensburg, was fought on the hill where Bladensburg Junior High School is now at. The loss there allowed the British Forces to cross the Anacostia River, which was a deep water port back then, and get into Washington D.C. Ironically, you now drive into DC by driving through Peace Cross Circle which is dedicated to World War I and nothing is there talking about the battle during the War of 1812.]


Gerald "Mike" Kight Buried in White Salmon – 68 years after being Killed

A member of the 3rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division he was killed during “Operation Market Garden” in the fall of 1944. History researches with metal detectors looking for WW II artifacts found his field grave.


George Vujnovich - Lead the Rescue Mission "Operation Halyard" in Yugoslavia in 1944 Dead at 91

During 1944 hundreds of Allied airmen were hidden within Yugoslavia to prevent their capture. In August of 1944 he parachuted into Serbia, built a landing strip, and then flew 512 airmen to safety – without losing a single airplane or airmen during the whole rescue operation. There was a book written about this whole operate called “The Forgotten 500” in 2007.


Modern Power for an Old Bird

The turrets of the B-17 were electrically powered (B-24s were hydralic) so to see them in use the plane has to have an engine running - that is unless Chroma Systems Solutions donates their battery system to you. The B-17 "City of Savannah", which is undergoing restoration, will have these units installed so that the non-flying B-17 will be able to actually operate the turrets for people to see in the museum.


Searching for Aircraft and Servicemen who flew "The Hump"

There are around 90 aircraft are still missing which crashed flying supplies into and out of China from India during World war II - with around 400 missing crewmen. Over 600 aircraft were lost from 1942 till 1945 flying supplies to China.


Fighting the War in a C-46

World War II saw the widespread use of dedicated transport aircraft by all sides – with the US building and providing the most. The C-46 is less widely known transport but there is still one still left out of the 3,181 built – and it is at Charlotte-Monroe airport and is called “Tinker Belle”.
Jeb Stewart, now 91,  flew one for two years. “It was nothing fancy, nothing heroic. It was a job -- like the Pony Express.”

Pieces of the B-17 “C Batt” Sent to Relatives from Italy

Kemp Martin's B-17, 20th Squadron, 2nd Bomb Group,  was shot down near Salerno in 1943 and in 2009 Italian researches found parts of the aircraft and sent pieces of it back to his relatives as a memento this year.

Remains of P-51 Pilot 2nd Lt. Charles "Butch" Moritz buried in Illinois

Lt Moritz was killed while on a training flight in England in 1944 as a result of a mid-air collision with another P-51. Aircraft researches were searching for the 2nd plane and found his instead – 18 feet below ground.

Western Aeroplane and Automobile Museum

Going “Up the Gorge” and taking Exit 62 from the start of I-84 in Portland gets you to this museum. Open 7 days a week 9 Am till 5 PM except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years’ day.

Northwest Antique Airplane Cub


Virginia 8th AFHS


Flying in the Mediterranean Theatre in P-38s

Robert “Smoky” A. Vrilakas, who lives in Happy Valley Oregon, published a book in February of 2012 called "Look Mom-- I Can Fly! Memoirs of a World War II P-38 Fighter Pilot ", about his time flying combat during 1943 and 1944 in the MTO.

Published by Amethyst Moon Publishing Company http://www.ampubbooks.com/

Amazon Book link: Look Mom - I Can Fly! Memoirs of a World War II P-38 Fighter Pilot

Amazon Kindle link: Look, Mom-I Can Fly! Memoirs of a World War II P-38 Fighter Pilot

There are a lot fewer books about combat flying in the Africa /Med / Italy even though the number of personnel who flew in combat are about the same in number compared to those that flew out of England.

Nuthampstead Airfield Museum

The home field for the 398th Bombardment Group (Heavy) during World War II, the airfield is building a new museum complex to house artifacts. You can find out more by going to their web site at http://www.398th.org and / or visit in person at:
Nuthampstead Airfield Museum; c/o Bee Farm; Nuthampstead; Royston; Hertfordshire, SG8 8NB, U.K.

PS: You will be happy to know that the Woodman Inn pub is close by the museum. http://www.thewoodman-in.co.uk

“White 3” Goes 2,500 Miles

From pilot Wolf Czaia who flew the brand new Me-262 from Washington’s Paine Field, to Virginia.

‘After the successful completion of the flight test program and some bureaucratic and weather delays, I ferried the airplane from Paine Field, Washington to Suffolk County Airport in Virginia. For the last two test flights we had converted it to the two-seat configuration, which allowed our lead mechanic Mike Anderson to come along as crew chief/navigator on this 2,500 mile trip. As our FAA- operating limitations mandated 'Day VFR only', and the max altitude of 18 000 ft, not exactly optimal for range, it took us four days and six refueling stops across the continent to reach our destination, with "WHITE 3" performing flawlessly. ATC doesn't have a computer code yet for the Me262, and controllers frequently asked me for the type of airplane.  They usually couldn't wait then to pass the information on to 'their' airliners on the same frequency, e.g. "Delta 123, you have a MESSERSCHMITT!! in your ten o'clock, five miles". One of the many funny replies: "Are we being invaded?"...

After receiving its new airworthiness certificate and operating limitations (the initial ones were valid only for flight test and repositioning), I'll be flying "WHITE 3" from its maintenance base in Suffolk County to its final destination, a small airport south of Virginia Beach with a 5000ft grass runway, where it will join - as the first jet - the world's largest collection of privately owned warbirds in the "Military Aviation Museum." ‘

Winning Gold in the Olympics – Dying in World War II

There were American, German, Hungarian and Japanese Gold Medal Winners who won medals between the wars and who were killed as a result of World War II. This includes General George S. Patton Jr. and Col Takeichi Nishi – who died on Iwo Jima.

New Exhibit Hall for Veterans

Pierre Claeyssen’s Veterans’ Museum and Library built a  new exhibit hall which is dedicated to local veterans of every American conflict since World War I. Sgt. Major Robert Forties, a Veteran of the Normandy Invasion in WWII with the 82nd Airborne and recipient of the Silver Star, Bronze Star and five (5!) Purple Hearts, was there to present plaques.

First Victoria Cross Awarded to a Private of WW I Auctioned off

He got word that he was awarded it by the Germans – since he been captured in 1914 – but he eventually escaped the POW camp in 1918. It was sold for 276,000 pounds.

New book on the American Volunteers in World War I – before war was declared by the USA

When the “Great War” started in 1914 Americans began to volunteer for the Allies often going to Britain and France on their own and most ended up in the Ambulance Corps if they went to France, some in the Lafayette Escadrille and while few did get into the front lines most others went into support roles. A new book by Ed and Libby Klekowski  “Eyewitnesses to the Great War" published by McFarland & Company of North Carolina and London, tells their stories by using their firsthand accounts of some of the people who went “Over There” before the US formally went “Over There”.

Amazon link: Eyewitnesses to the Great War

Rob Morris’s Book Published

A new book about the 95 Bombardment Group (Heavy) that flew out of Horham during WW II is officially out on August 1, 2012. It's about the 95th, but the 100th flew with the 95th most of the time, and there are many 100 vets who were interviewed for the book. No less than Michael Faley has endorsed the book.  The 95th has a really nice site at Horham – they have restored the “Red Feather Club” and it hosts reunions and is open for rent on (what’s left) of the airbase.

95th BG Horham UK web site: http://www.95thbg-horham.com/
95th BG Web site: http://95thbg.org/95th_joomla/

Amazon link: The Wild Blue Yonder and Beyond: The 95th Bomb Group in War and Peace


A Medic in the Australian Army

Declared unfit for combat Ian Jacobs when he tried to enlist he instead enlisted into the Commonwealth Medical Services and served till 1944 till leaving the service as a Major in North Africa, India and Palestine – including the siege of Tobruk.

During many Pacific Battles he collected Souvenirs -  Birds, Shells and Plants

Trained as a pharmacist and assigned to the 11th Marines (1st Marine Division), Sammy Ray took part in battles at Peleliu, Okinawa among others. But while not being shot at he would go around collecting plants and birds and send them back to the Smithsonian Institution.

New book out on Georgy Zhukov

In the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin being good at something always meant you had to walk a fine line between good enough to do your job so as not to get shot, while also not being seen as too good and thus famous and popular to live and become a threat to Stalin’s popularity and be killed. Zhukov survived and did both but at the same time was written out of the official Communist history books after the war in order that Stalin be seen as the one person who saved the U.S.S.R. from NAZI Germany. General Zhukov was there at Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk, Berlin and led the victory parade in Moscow – before being exiled to a demeaning command and forced into retirement – but he lived and died a natural death.

STALIN‘S GENERAL: THE LIFE OF GEORGY ZHUKOV by Geoffrey Roberts, Random House, 334 pages.
Amazon link: Stalin's General

Azerbaijan to pay stipends to WW II Veterans

By official decreed those who served during the war will now get a monthly income as a “thank-you” of their service between 1941 and 1945.

A Successful POW Escape – Not easy if you are Indian

Ram Swarup was captured in Italy in 1943 and sent to a German POW camp – where he eventually escaped from and made a “home run” back to Allied lines. This was not easy to do being from Rupnagar district of India since you definitely cannot blend in easily with other Europeans. One other Indian, Tikka Khan, who was captured with 2 Field Regiment at Bir Hakeim (Libya) in 1942, also successfully escaped.
Other famous units from India which fought in WW II include the Long Range Squadron, which was incorporated into the Long Range Desert Group, and the Punjab Regiment.

Medals of Captain Mike Stephens Auctioned Off

The nine medals that the 22 plane ace was awarded during World War II were sold for 93,000 pounds. Like the RAF pilot during the Battle of Britain, he almost bailed out his burning plane, but went back into his Hurricane fighter to shoot down a German Bf-109 fighter over Libya who had shot up his plane and got it on fire flew ahead , so he climbed back in and shot it down, then bailed out.


 10th Mountain Division back in Italy

A few veterans of this division made a visit back to Italy on a reunion tour of the battlefields that the division fought on. “At its conception, the division was only a battalion and unique to the U.S. Army. Known as the 87th Mountain Infantry Battalion, it was activated at Fort Lewis, Wash., in December 1941, with many of its first Soldiers being handpicked or recruited for their abilities in mountaineering and skiing. “
The division trained on Mount Hood in Oregon for some to learn and for others to gain practice in skiing.
"A Soldier's Story," written by division veteran and former Senator Bob Dole was given to Charlie Smith and Senator Dole mentions him in the book and the locations where he fought.
“ ‘This is the first time I've known exactly where I was at during the war.’ Smith said with a smile."

Germany Agrees to pay claims to Jewish people still living in former Soviet Union Areas

Established in 1952, the Hardship fund pays claims (primarily) to Jewish people who were victimized as a result of NAZI policies during World War II who were living in the Soviet Union when war commenced.
Claim filings begin on November 1, 2012.

Bombardier and Pilot of the “Able Mable” meet up one last time

The last two crewmembers still alive of the B-17 named “Able Mable”, which flew 30 missions over Germany, meet up as John Fisher, 95 lies at home. They flew in the 334th Bomber Squadron of the 95th Bomb Group in the 8th Air Force.

Silver Bars Recovered from WW II Torpedoed Ship

Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. has recovered 1,203 silver bars from the SS Gairsoppa, a 412-foot British cargo ship that sank after being torpedoed by a German U-boat in February 1941.
In prior war when buying weapons, or any goods, purchases had to be paid for in hard currency - silver or gold and then physically shipped around the world. Multiple ships carrying gold and silver were sunk during the war and now various firms are finding the wrecks and recovering the medals.

Book: World War II Remembered

Published by the University Press of New England it consists of 56 Essays about World War II by those who participated in the war - who now live in a retirement community.

Amazon link: World War II Remembered


What Makes an Ace an Ace?

Since the beginning of aerial combat only 816 fighter pilots have become Aces while flying for the USA. Only 39 achieved that status during the Korean War and 3 during the Vietnam War - none since. The "10 sortie rule" then comes into play. If was often stated that if a fighter pilot survived their first 10 sorties they often survived the war. (At least for those Western Allied pilots who had a tour limit. German, Italian, Japanese, & Russian pilots flew until killed, wounded out of combat, or captured.)


Japanese Command Bunker Complex Still There

At the Sasebo Naval District on Kyushu the Japanese Military built an underground command complex which still exists today. The main role was to coordinate the air defenses of southern Japan.


Benito Mussolini’s Air Raid Bunkers under his House

Like all military and political planners after the “Great War” people feared bombs raining down causing destruction on a vast scale from enemy bombers – and so built shelters for both the common people – and the top leaders. You can tour the shelters that Italian leader Benito Mussolini had built under his house – now a museum.
The only nations that actually experienced deliberate bombings designed to destroy whole cities, which all the theorists expected to be the normal use of bombers, was Germany and Japan.

Hunting Skills and a Short Stature – You’re A Ball Turret Gunner

James L. Moore joined the military in 1944 with plans of becoming a pilot – but with so many pilots already in training and the expectation from the War Department was that the war would be over before anyone starting pilot training in mid-1944 could graduate after a year and a half of training, so they changed his assignment into that of a B-17 Ball Turret gunner. He flew his first mission in January of 1945 and was shot down on his sixth – but he and the rest of the crew were able to bail out over Russian occupied Poland and avoid being captured by the Germans.

Air Force Two – Is now an Fire Fighter Tanker Aircraft

This proves being #2 is often being forgotten. A Convair C131-H that for one brief mission was not just a cargo plane used by President Nixon support staff hauling cargo behind the 747 which was normally “Air Force One”, it became “Air Force One” for a day when he had to visit West Virginia and the only plane that could land there was the C-131. It now flies out of Canada.

The Memphis Belle – at MacDill AFB in Florida

After the War Bond Tour of the “Memphis Belle” in 1943, the plane was stationed at MacDill as a training plane forcrews – the Army Air Force was not going to let a flyable aircraft stay on the tarmac.

Getting into the Pilot’s Seat of a B-24 again at 89

The Collings Foundation tour allowed Chris Christensen into the pilot’s seat of their B-24 at the stop at Silverhawk Aviation in Nebraska. Christensen was 22 at the time he started flying missions out of Italy in 1944 as part of the 15th Air Force.


B-24 “Hot Stuff” finished 25 missions before the “Memphis Belle”– but Crashed in Iceland on the way to the States

It is stated that “history is written by the victors” but in this case the first 25 mission victory award  was assigned to the B-17 “Memphis Belle” due to the crash of the B-24 “Hot Stuff” going home on a War Bond Tour. The pilot and 4 other crew members of the B-24 were supposed to be on the flight – but was bumped off the plane due to General Andrews wanting to get back to DC to get his 4th Star. “Hot Stuff” was a plane in “Ted’s Traveling Circus”, the 93 Bombardment Group (Heavy).  A certificate signed by Col. Edward "Ted" Timberlake, shows mission No. 25 over Naples, Italy, dated "7 Feb. 43.".


Wheels Up – Plane Down – and now the Medals for it

Russell Erikson had to land his B-24 gear up at Shipham England after a mission to Hamburg due to battle damage – the ground crew counted over 200 holes in the aircraft after he landed it. The paperwork for his WW II medals finally caught up with him and at 89 he was awarded Air Medal with a Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Three Bronze Service Stars and the World War II Victory Medal.

Agent “Garbo” – Master Spy for both the British and the Germans

Juan Pujol Garcia was an unlikely hero of World War II -  by sending valid and imaginary military data to the Germans over a long period of time it got them to be so trusting of his information so that when he finally told a flat out lie – they believed him during the Normandy Invasion.

Purposely Not Being Taught History is not just a USA Trend

It seems that a new survey in England has found out that just under 43% of all 17 and 18 years in school that were surveyed (1000 people) knew that it was fought in the air – and only around 2% knew it occurred in 1940.

A Movie about the Inventor of the ZERO Dr. Hirokoshi – In Anime

A possible movie by Studio Ghibli based on the man who designed the Japanese WW II Zero Dr. Hirokoshi, may be in the works by animator Hayao Miyazaki.
The Japanese A6M2 “Zero” fighter started off the war with a 12:1 kill ratio against the Allies.

“HomeTown Heros” – Audio recordings of WW II Veterans

On radio station KMJ (no idea where the radio station is at, web site does not show city/state at all) they have recorded interviews of various veterans and published them on their web site.
Wilbur Gomes, 98th BG (H) and others are interviewed.

Visiting Tibenham’s B-24 Base

Scott Culver is the son of a B-24 Ball turret gunner who flew the Consolidated B-24 Liberator while Col. Jimmy Stewart was the Commanding Officer of the unit. He went over to England to visit the base his father flew out of during 1943/1944 when he was assigned to the 703rd Bombardment Squadron.  They had an air festival there on July 8th.

The B-17G Pilots of the plane “Pretty Baby's Boys” get a DFC after 67 Years

Piloting the heavily damaged B-17 back from the mission on 20 March 1945 to Vienna they made it over the Alps but had to ditch the a/c in the Adriatic. The navigator, Harvey S. Horn, was able to get all the required paperwork together and submit it to the Air Force so that the two pilots could get the award. They were based out of Foggia, Italy as part of the 772nd Bomber Squadron, 463th Bomber Group, 15th Air Force. Harvey wrote a book called “Goldfish-Silver Boot, The Story of a World War II Prisoner of War" about the crew’s POW experience.


Amazon link: Goldfish - Silver Boot | The Story of a World War II Prisoner Of War

A Veteran of the Flying Tigers – but not a Pilot

The Pilots of the AVG – American Volunteer Group – got all the press of their combat exploits in China but the ground crews and other support personnel were also part of the AVG – yet some are still not granted veteran status. John Yee is one such person – he was an official translator for the AVG. He became a US Citizen in 1952 but because he is missing a piece of paper, unlikely ever to be found, the US Government has repeatedly denied his status as a Veteran of the AVG and be entitled to military benefits.

Ding Hao!

The term roughly means, "you're the best" in Chinese.
Often repeated in WW II movies, and the nose art on P-51B North American made Mustang Serial number 43-6315 as flown by Maj. James Howard of the 356th Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group, 9th AF. He flew in China with the AVG before going into the 9th AF.  The term was spread throughout India by the AVG initially. CBI WWII pilots used 'Ding Hao' as a term of salutation.

The expression "Ding Hao" is also been shown to be a Chinese military expression similar to the Seals' “HOOYA!”, or the Marines' “OOHRA!” showing pride and Espirit de Corps.

Steven Hunter used it in Chapter 17, page 167, of his latest book "I Sniper".


A “Kamikaze” Doll gets donated to Pensacola Naval Aviation Museum

Created by Japanese citizens and given to the pilots before a mission, this one survived even though the pilot died when he crashed his plane onto a ship, one of the ship’s crew picked it off of the dead pilot.

July 19, 1870 – Franco-Prussian War is started

It set the stage for both World War I and World War II.

Finding a St Petersburg Newspaper Clipping -- on dead Japanese Soldier

After a firefight on Bougainville a US Marine was going through the pockets of the dead Japanese soldiers and found a clipping of a woman competing in a St Petersburg beauty pageant – his home town.


Fighting the War by Radar

William Davies was drafted right after starting to work at IBM in record keeping – but ended up as a 2nd Lt working with RADAR equipment.


WW II Bombardier Lt Col Donald Sebastian – 306th BG

Stationed at Thurleigh in the 369 Bomb Squadron of the 306th Bombardment Group (Heavy) during WW II he died at the age of 88 on July 20th.

World War I Fighter Plane now on Display

A recreated Morane Saulnier G WWI Russian fighter plane is now on display at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre.

150 Years of History – The Royal Westminster Regiment

A new pictorial book about the 150 years that this unit has existed will be published by the Vialogue Publishing Canada Ltd.;  http://www.vivalogue.ca   The unit is stationed in British Columbia, Canada. The book is expected to be published by November, 2012.

Rise of the Railway Gun

In the US Civil war guns were placed on railway cars and were used but the guns were relatively small since the recoil limited their ability to be used when fired directly to the side of the cars. Other nations also tested out the idea including from reading about their use in the USA, including this trial in England in 1894.

Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders Rifles – Not made in the USA

The only reason Roosevelt got to Cuba was that he got the unit Norwegian Rifles – the 30-40 Krag rifle. Roosevelt himself took along a Winchester Model 95.

A Reporter in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War

Being an embedded journalist is nothing new – this was common during the 1898 Spanish American War and conflicts thereafter. Francis D. Millet when to the Philippines during the war and was there June to September 1898. He wrote a book in 1899 called “The Expedition to the Philippines.” It is digitized within the Library of Congress.
July 4 in the Philippines is known as Filipino-American Friendship day.
Millet and his friend, Maj. Archibald Butt, a military aide to President Howard Taft, when down with the RMS Titanic in April of 1912.

A Colt 38 Saved from Destruction

In New York all confiscated guns are destroyed unless they have an “historical” value. An Assistant District attorney, who happens to be allowed to own firearms, saw the Colt New Army and Navy Revolver, in .38 caliber, on a table of weapons slated for destruction and was allowed to fill out the paperwork to get it, then he donated it to the NYS Military Museum. It was originally presented to Capt. William L. Flanagan, in 1898 by members of the 2nd Battery New York and was engraved with that info.

New British Army will have less troops than Wellington had at Waterloo

The British Government will be cutting troop levels down to a level below the number of troops that Duke of Wellington had at Waterloo.

A French Eagle at Essex Regiment Museum

Captured at the Battle of Salamanca from the French 62nd Regiment, this item is on display at the museum since its capture July 22, 1812.

Re-Creating the Ride from the Battle of Borodino

Don Cossacks will ride across Europe again in the re-creation of the route they took 200 years ago after their forefathers fought against Napoleon at the Battle of Borodino – around 70 miles west of Moscow. The Russian Calvary fought in many other engagements around Europe including the battle at Leipzig.

MIA Pilot Lt Warren G Moxley Accounted For

On May 22, 2012 the status of Fighter Pilot Lt Moxley was changed from MIA to KIA and recovered from the crash site in Germany.


Artifacts Going Moldy

Running a museum requires that the artifacts remain interesting – and just remain intact. Housing them in unheated, in non-environmental controlled area results in items being destroyed over time by humidity, heat, or insects. The Military Museum at Kensington, Prince Edward Island, Canada is experiencing this.

Toolbox to the Museum

Ellie Roberts still has the toolbox that she used to build both B-26 Marauders – and the first full production B-29. But it is willed to be given to the Strategic Air and Space Museum when she dies.
“They picked certain people to be on the crew that worked 12 hours a day on the first B-29 built in Omaha, and they picked me to do that. So that's what made me feel kind of special. It was an experience."


Spain, France, New Orleans Louisiana  and a Shipwreck

Spain wanted to limit their losses in the new world, France needed money, the USA wanted land – and a shipwreck made all that possible.

Last Big Battle in the War of 1812 – was around Mobile Bay

Fought a few days after the Battle of New Orleans – the US Garrison surrendered since they were outnumbered 7 to 1, surrounded, and cut off from any help.


Navy Divers to Search Catalina Flying Boat Discovered in the Gulf of St Lawrence

The seaplane sunk during heavy seas in the gulf on November 2, 1942. Four crewmen escaped but the other 5 went down with the ship. A 50 person Navy dive team will try and search the aircraft. It was discovered by accident during a routine underwater mapping survey.


"Splendor In The Skies" – Stories from the men of the 8th 12th and 15th Air Forces Bomber Crews.

Don Hays has been publishing stories in the B17 Association Newsletter since 1990 – now he has a coffee table sized book locally published in Walla Walla Washington called “Splendor in the Skies”; 250 pages with an 8 page photo section in the middle.

It is $40 (plus $3.50 sales tax if you live in Washington State) and you can get it by sending your money to: Don Hayes; PO Box 3398; Walla Walla, Washington 99362.
Web site for the B17 Association is: www.airwarb17.net and his email is b17assndhayes@bmi.net if you have any questions. Not sure what the shipping costs are.

A Pen-Pal to a Soldier

Neville Higgison was organizing his mother's possessions when he discovered a batch of letters and photographs that she had. As a 14 year old girl she was a pen pal to Warrant Officer Charles Edwin Grainger of the New Zealand Divisional Cavalry Regiment who was fighting in North Africa against the Afrika Korps when she started writing him.


100 Year Anniversary of the War of 1812

At the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. is a year long show about the war in which Washington Was burned by the British; British naval ships were beaten by the US Navy; and a decisive win over the British Regulars at New Orleans occurred after the war was already over.

Spanish American War veteran Joseph Rose Flag Honor

Joseph Rose enlisted to fight in the Spanish-American war of 1898 and then made a career of the military due to his multi-language ability of Porteguese, Spanish, French and English. He served in the 22nd Infantry, 21st Infantry and 2nd U.S. Cavalry. A flag was flown in his memory above some unknown town along "the south coast" (the newspaper has no info on what city / state / nation where it is located at on it's web site!)


A Short History of the Spanish-American War

No one has conclusively answered how the USS Maine blew up -- still. Not unitl 2006 was the 3% long distance surtax on telephone calls, enacted in 1898 to finance the war (to pay back $200 million borrowed money from what is now CitiBank), was recinded. The tax is loosely estimated to have collected around $260 billion dollars over the 108 years it was in force.


Exploring the HMS Hood

Paul Allens x yacht, Octopus, was given to the British Navy and will be used to research the HMS Hood in the North Atlantic. It was sunk by the German battleship Bismark. One goal of the trip is to retrive the ship's bell which was located, by accident, in 2001.


HMS Victory to get a Refit

After 200 years the British Navy is getting around to fully refurbishing the HMS Victory. Its undergone cotiniuous routine maintenance since it was built in 1778. It was last overhauled after the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

110th Anniversary of the end of the Boer War

Another little known war occurred in Africa over a three year period when Dutch settlers, Boers,  decided to fight the British Empire. A daughter, now 90,  of Australian Light Horse Sergeant Ralph McCracken, was at the monument.


Maintaining Graves of War Heros

This is a problem found in all nations - the graves of local heros which are buried in private cemeteries are often never maintained - unless a trust fund has been set up to maintain them. The graves of three Victoria Cross holders have this problem in Burngreave, Wardsend, and   All Saint’s Church Cemetery in the UK.


Shooting "The Bull" and a Rifle at a Pub

Unlike in centuries past people rarely see or use (and thus understand) a firearm unless they have gone through the military. Training new recruits in the military on how to fire takes a lot longer than it used to since "on the farm" knowledge and common knowledge on firearms has mostly been wiped out in the general public. Gun clubs in high schools in the USA are gone, and the British Olympic Team is not even allowed to train in the UK due to gun laws, but there are a few places where you can still learn this skill - in a few select pubs in the UK.


Need a U-Boat?

This one is non-functioning and only sails around English canals - and is more of a prop but it is called U-8047 and was built out of a canal boat. The inside is fitted out like from by using the movie prop experts who worked on Star Wars and James Bond movies.


A U-Boat to War on Your Wrist

To track your torpedo runs you can buy a luxury wristwatch brand called U-Boat from InfinityTimeGroup.com which makes the watches in Italy. Its depth rating is 330 feet (which was the depth rating of most US boats during the war.U-Boats were routinely rated to 600 feet.)


3D Hologram of the Royal Oak

As it exists now on the seabed after it was sunk in Scapa Flow by the U-47 under Captain Prien.


Chandler Mason Brown – 376th Heavy Bombardment Group in San Pancrazio, Italy

After graduating high school he flew for the U.S. Air Force, completing 50 missions while serving in the 15th Air Force, 376th Heavy Bombardment Group in San Pancrazio, Italy, during World War II. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak clusters and an ETO ribbon, six Bronze Stars and the American Defense Ribbon. He worked for American Airlines for 33 years. He became a full-time rancher when he bought a ranch in 1957 near Lake Whitney and was a breeder of Santa Gertrudis cattle.

He was buried with military honors.


Offered a free ride in a B-24 x-Waist Gunner Declines

 “I flew enough,” he said. “We had a lot of problems.”

Demichei remembers crashing from about 50 feet above the ground during training, hitting a high tension wire during a night flight, and getting stuck in a high-speed dive after a daredevil pilot tested how high the plane could go.

“I shoulda got killed five times,” he said.

On a B-24, ditching was particularly hazardous because the plane had to go in tail-first and would break as it entered the water, causing a high casualty rate.

Demichei said his last flight of the war was Feb. 19, 1945, when his squadron, the 38th Bomb Squadron, dropped bombs on the beach of Iwo Jima at the start of the famous battle there.

Life as an Internee in Switzerland donated to Library

Clare Hubbard served in the 713th Squadron, 448th Bombardment Group (H) based at Seething that flew missions in the 8th AF from 1943 to the war's end.

Hubbard and his crew took off from an air base at Seething on July 13, 1944, to bomb railroad yards at Saarbrucken in southwest Germany. The crew had joined the 713th Squadron just four days earlier, but it was already the crew's third mission aboard the B-24, named "Our Honey."

The plane was hit over the target, lost two engines, and fell out of formation. Pilot Dale Grubb and co-pilot Edwin Carnahan determined they could not make it back to England and, rather than bail out over Germany, diverted south to Switzerland.

Some 25 miles over the border, the crew had to bail out and the plane crashed near Baetterkinden, north of Berne. Hubbard broke his leg and spent a month in the hospital.

All 10 crew members survived and were placed in an internment camp at Wengen. The Swiss government had turned 14 hotels in the ski resort village into housing for American internees. It was one of seven such camps in Switzerland.

Some 1,500 American fliers crashed or landed battle-damaged planes in Switzerland during the war - including an ex 10th Mountain Division “muler” who went onto to pilot a B-17-- Lt Dick Pressy. He ditched in Switzerland in 1944 and plowed up a beet field in when he landed gear up in his B-17 after battle damage over Germany. He later escaped and went back to his unit. After the end of the war he was sent a bill for crop damage from Switzerland – the Army paid it for him.

MOH Winner B-24 pilot Lt. Col. Leon R. “Bob” Vance into Oklahoma Aviation Hall of Fame

The B-24s were hit by anti-aircraft artillery. The plane Vance was in was hit by flak, which damaged the engines and wounded members of the crew, including Vance.

Vance’s foot was caught behind the co-pilot’s seat.

He and the co-pilot guided the aircraft toward England. He ordered the crew to bail out while continuing to fly the plane, thinking there was one other wounded man aboard who could not be moved.

Vance flew the B-24 from the floor of the cockpit. He ditched it in the ocean but was pinned by the upper turret and by his foot, which still was caught behind the co-pilot’s seat. When the plane hit the ocean, an explosion blew him out of the aircraft. He could not find the other wounded man. Vance then swam toward the coast and was picked up by an air-sea rescue plane. Following surgery in England, he was put on a plane for evacuation to the United States. The plane disappeared between Iceland and Newfoundland and was never found.

Adam Cousins - led the Dive Bombing squadron off Lexington in Coral Sea Battle


Tail Gunner gets Congressional Proclamation


Weyland Bale was able to get a Congressional proclamation for his service to the nation by getting the help from U.S. Rep. Steve Austria


1st Lt. Alden Hershiser returned to US after 64 Years

Flying a B-24 Liberator bomber nicknamed "Trouble N Mind," and flying 10,000 feet over Havelberg, Germany his plane is set on fire by a Me-262. Bailing out his parachute also catches fire and he falls to his death and was hastily buried where he fell.

Of the crew navigator Charles Smith still has his piece of German flak and

Head in the Clouds due to a Zeppelin

Howard Claflin, 88, of Silver Lake in Summit County, went to visit the b-17 in townm, but he had already been one before  -- flying B-17s with the 8th Air Force on 16 missions before being shot down on a flight over Hamm, Germany, and spending 53 weeks as a POW.


When WW II ended - VJ Day - what some servicemen experienced


WW I Group Photograph – Identifying Those Pictured

A framing shop, restoring the family owned photograph, sought out help through an email list to try and ID all the people in the unit photograph they were restoring of Battery D 309th Field Artillery Regiment taken at Fort Dix, NJ in 1917.

Mine laying U-Boats – In World War I

Tankers were the main target of U-Boats also in World War I. U-Boats laid mines in the shipping lanes off the East Coast and the tanker Herbert L. Pratt was one such victim.


Operation Jubilee - The Dieppe Raid

The main effort, and losses, were led by the Canadians under British planning. 50 US soldiers were part of the ground operation. The 50 were the newly formed US Rangers who were attached to the raid and were to take out guns on the southern side of the town.
August 19th the the 70th anniversary of the day long battle in Northern France.
Delegates from Michigan attended the ceremeony in France.
The battle convinced the planners that at direct attack against any fortified port would not succeed.


The Dieppe Raid of August 19, 1942

Planned by the British, lead by a Canadian Division, it was a test of tactics – bad tactics as it turned out – but set the state for later successful amphibious assaults.

A short summary of the Dieppe battle including the politics behind “Operation Jubilee”.
“If Jubilee was intended to silence the voices clamouring for the opening of a second front, it was indeed a great success. The Dieppe disaster silenced the popular demand for a second front, and allowed Churchill and Roosevelt to continue to sit on the fence as the Nazis and the Soviets slaughtered each other in the East.”

German question to POWs of Dieppe: “This is too big for a raid, but too small for an invasion — what on earth were you trying to do?”

Franscis Stanley Parker was an American who joined in Canada and was captured during the Dieppe Raid.


Joan of Arc – 600 Years to Sainthood

Statues of her are scattered throughout France – and there is even a gleaming gold version of her in Portland Oregon. He was named a saint in 1940.

Feeding his Nation during World War II – as a Schoolboy

The UK went to a total war footing quickly – and everyone worked in whatever capacity available.  No matter how young you were  if you could do some work, you did. This also was true of women.

200th Anniversary of the Battle of Borodino

A panorama painting of the battle was created in 1912 and it survived both the First and Second World war and has been in  its own building on  Tverskaya  street since 1961.

Financing a War – The Indian Perspective on WW II Debt on India

An interesting perspective, from a communist view, of what caused a famine in Bengal in 1943-1944 was the monetary policies of Britain and not lack of food.  (By monetizing debt, which we are doing in the USA currently in 2012, without regard to future problems that causes.)
In 1944/1945 there was ALSO a famine in Vietnam – which was under control of the Japanese, who shipped food out of Vietnam to Japan – while other food rotted on wharfs due to bad planning / transportation decisions.
Book: Riders of the Apocalypse: German Cavalry and Modern Warfare
A new book published by the Naval Institute Press explores the history of Germany Calvary and their impact on armored warfare based on what the Germans through the main purpose of calvary units ought to be from 1870s onwards; including divisional level units on the Eastern Front.

Seabees in Oregon

The three of them met during WW II while on Saipan and Tinian and now meet in Oregon every year.

Last of the 29 Navajo Code Talkers in the 382nd Platoon

Chester Nez from Jones Ranch, New Mexico, is the last man left standing out of the original 29 Code Talkers of the 382nd Platoon. He was the Grand Marshall at the 66th Annual Navajo Nation Fair this year.

Pilot of P-40 Kittyhawk discovered in 2012 Found

The American made P-40 Kittyhawk found by oil workers in the spring of 2012 without the pilot Flt Sgt Copping  on board has a new ending – Italian military historians have stated they found the pilot.
“The Italians searched the area around the crash fighter plane -- and came across human remains just five miles from the Curtiss.”

Pair of WW II Bombs Discovered

One bomb was discovered at Shiphol Airport in The Netherlands and the other in the Schwabing district in Munich, Germany. They blew up the one in Munich (lots of broken windows there) but the one at Schiphol they, of course, also blew up!
Actually so far they are up to number 138 found this year in Germany.

Medal of Freedom Awarded to a Marine in Hawaii

Sgt. William S. Harris Jr. was not able to attend the ceremony in Washington DC in June 20012, so they gave him his medal in his own ceremony at the Marine Corps Base in Hawaii. Sgt Harris fought in World War II in the Pacific and was born and raised on Molakai.

DFC Awarded – 70 Years Later

Second Lt. Samuel Smith, who flew in the 360th Bombardment Squadron out of RAF Molesworth, England duringn WW II, was awarded his DFC that he earned on March 1, 1945 in a ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio-Rapdolph in Texas.
"We flew 24 combat missions together and I was fortunate in that I was able to bring the same crew back home after the war ended in Europe. I honor them also, because us pilots without the support of your crew and ground personnel you can't do all the things that you do."

William “Bill” Laughlin – “Tidal Wave” Participant and Later a POW

Shot down in 1944 over Romania, Lt Laughlin, a bombardier in a Consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bomber, he spent 6 months as a POW before being rescued.  He went to visit the B-24 Memorial at Balboa Park’s Veterans Museum this past Memorial Day.

A Desert Rat Turn 100

Jimmy Sinclair turned 100 over the August 18th weekend – he spent 3 years as part of the Australian 7th Division which got the nicknamed “Desert Rats” including the siege of Tobruk. There is a movie made in the 1950s about them.


Maj. Gen. Marion E. Carl Memorial

The city of Hubbard honored one of its favorite sons Saturday, May 19, when it unveiled the memorial.


Navy veteran Donald E. Hughes

'Hughes served on the USS Maddox, reputedly the "most shot at" U.S. ship, surviving Japanese kamikaze attacks in WWII and more than 700 rounds from land-based gun batteries during the Korean War. "


Corporal Lyle S. Tate

Killed in one of opening battles at Keh Keshn

French WW I Soldier Artists in Underground Quarries


Last Known Polish Veteran of the Battle of Westerplatte dead at 97

Often cited as the very first combat of WW II, when the German ship in the harbor on a goodwill visit opened fire at the fort at Westerplatte and Maj. Ignacy Skowron was in the fort at the time. It held out for seven days before being captured. He became a POW till the middle of 1940 then was paroled by the Germans then worked on the Polish railways.

“A Splendid Little War”

History items from the Spanish-American war of 1898 at the Rosenberg Library.


Battle Ground (Washington) Memorial – still seeks funding

Conceived in 2008 they are still trying to get funding to create the memorial. It will honor those from the US Civil War of 1861 through current (and future) conflicts.


August 7, 1942 – August 7, 2012 -- Guadalcanal

“On Guadalcanal the American War Memorial, built by American World War II veterans and maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission is located on a hill overlooking Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands. Its stark granite slabs are etched with descriptions of the major battles that took place during the campaign. This August 7th, the United States Embassy and the Solomon Island Government will hold a somber anniversary marking 70 years since our diverse cultures converged on the shores of Guadalcanal. American, Australian, New Zealand, Japanese, and Solomon Island dignitaries, military representatives, veterans, and ordinary citizens will assemble at this meticulously kept memorial overlooking Iron Bottom Sound in order to pay tribute to those who served and those who never came home.”


A Marine on Guadalcanal

Al "Duke" Dellaera waded ashore just three months after basic training at Camp LeJune as part of the 1st Marine Division.

“During one nighttime patrol along the Ilu River, Dellaera saw a “shadow up ahead” in the grass, just shy of where heavy vegetation began.
“It turned out to be a Japanese soldier … so there we were, face-to-face more or less, about 25 to 30 yards apart. He stopped and I stopped, and we just stayed there quietly. And he was probably thinking, ‘Did I see something there or was it my imagination?’ And I was thinking the same thing.’  Eventually, the soldier crawled away without incident “


Maiden Flight for a WW II Mossie

After a seven year rebuild – a WW II Mosquito will be taking to the air in September.

A Nurse in the Boer War

Miss Laura Russell Woollcombe gained her medical certificate in 1892 and went to #2 Hospital train in Pretoria with the first group of nurses to leave England in 1899 for South Africa.

“Soon after this Magersfontein was fought, so away we went once more, and this time to the Moder River Station, the nearest we could get, just as the Last Post was sounding. It was a dreadful time for the troops as their beloved General Wauchop had been killed, and 50 Gordon Highlanders had just been buried in a huge trench near the station.”

A new book about this will be published in 2015 and this, and other stories, will be in it.


Colditz Escapee Medals Bought for for War Memorial

Bill Fowler’s medals were bought at auction so that they could be preserved for others to see in the Australian War Memorial. He was only one of a handful of POWs who were able to escape Colditz Castle during WW II.

WW II Japanese Soldiers Remains in North Korea

All of Korea was owned by Japan before the war, and when the war ended there were hundreds of thousands of troops still in Korea / China and many died during the winter due to the effective submarine warfare employed the USA and Britain. The USSR took administrative control of the area north of the 38th Parallel and so none of the remains were ever returned. Around 34,000 remains are still thought to be within North Korea where they died during the war.

1st and 2nd Filipino Regiments of WW II

Basically unknown but to themselves, these two US Amy regiments fought at New Guinea, Hollandia, and the Philippine Islands.  A WW II regiment has around 1,200 front line infantry soldiers plus “rear area” and other support troops.


In a related note a bill to recognize that after being drafted into the US Armed forces and fighting in WW II by order of President Roosevelt; but in 1946 Congress passed a law saying they cannot be considered US Veterans (since the Philippines was to be granted independence and thus it was responsible for them); a group turned in their US Medals and uniforms in protest of H.R. 210 which was not given a hearing which would grant them full veteran status.


At 90 Selwyn Lurie starts to write his WW II Memoirs

Selwyn was both a Hurricane fighter pilot in North Africa and a P-47 Thunderbolt pilot in Burma – he lived through all five emergency landings that he was forced into making in friendly territory. He spent most of his time doing ground support strafing.

He still has his flying helmet, goggles, oxygen mask, and uniform.


George Hickman – Ground Crewman for Tuskegee Group

Trained as a pilot but grounded and eliminated from pilot school when he complained to white officers about the treatment of a fellow black soldier, he was retrained as a ground mechanic. He died at the age of 88 on August 20th, 2012.


Training for 20,000 feet bombing at 5,000 over Japan

D. Michael Cunningham had eyesight too poor for being a pilot – so they made him a Navigator on a B-29. He was in the 3rd or 4th B-29 to make a landing on Iwo Jima while the battle was raging.

DOD Puts up a database of Service Medals Awarded

However it only covers awards since September 11, 2001 and only the top three medals that have been awarded: Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross (for the Air Force), Navy Cross, and Silver Stars.

No plans to make a database of awards of prior conflicts.

Got a Spare $81 Million?

The USS Yorktown, docked in Charleston since 1975, needs a bit of repair work.

Gold Diggers Clause

What did young women want to do in 1908? Marry an aging Boer War Veteran to get a pension of course! Section 31 in Canada is the “Gold Digger’s Clause” which states that if anyone marries a veteran who is older than 60 they are never entitled to any veteran pension benefits.


A “Milk Run” to Greece and Shot Down

Homer Jones was a radio operator on a B-24 when they were assigned to bomb Salonkia in Greece – told it was an easy mission a “milk run” - but the Germans had mobile AA guns on railroad cars and their plane was hit forcing them to bail out.

He ended up being captured, then escaping from the POW camp and walking from Austria to Bulgaria where he was again “captured” by the Russians before being allowed to leave and sent back to Italy then home.


No National WW I Memorial in Washington DC – Yet

There is a “National” memorial in Kansas – but people just don’t visit it much. Since the USA did not join the war till 1917, there is still time to get one built before then.

Battle of the Memorial Plaque

Memorial plaques placed years ago, and then moved when an organization/company goes away, create problems as to who “owns” the plaque and where it will reside.  This is the problem in Bittersville, Pa. (Portland Oregon has this problem with the Memorial Coliseum where the memorial  is located on a lower level, which no one can easily find, get to, or see.  Is the COLISEUM there to honor veterans and the memorial attached to it, or is the memorial there and the coliseum attached to the memorial? The distinction makes a difference if you want to tear down the coliseum. )

A Motorcycle MP in WW II – Guarding Eisenhower, POWs, and USO Tours

Gene Stephens was in the military before the war – and rode a motorcycle with duties including London m, North Africa to Rome during WW II. He is the guest of honor at Fort Leonard Wood in September.

Fort Devens Musuem

Camp, later Fort Devens, main function was training soldiers during WW I. Since then it had other assignments, including housing POWs during WW II, till it was closed in 1996.
INFO: 978-772-1286; www.fortdevensmuseum.org

WW II Soviet Era Veterans Living in the Ukraine Get Benefits

A bill to change their status, so that they qualify for Social Benefits, takes effect on January 1, 2013.

National Archives releases documents about Katyn Forrest Massacre

After the Soviet Union joined with NAZI Germany in dividing Poland between the two of them Stalin had a lot of the captured Polish leaders and most of the Polish officers they had captured killed. The Germans discovered this in 1943 and advertised it to the world – which the US and Soviet Governments stated was pure propaganda – but it wasn’t. Over 22,000 Polish were killed by the Soviets in 1940.

Landmines of WW II still abound in Egypt

When the mobile battles in the desert stopped – each side planted thousands of mines in front of their own units to augment their defensive positions – and they are still being found.  The problem in the desert is of course that landmarks are few and even though the minefields were well documented – sand can cover and obscure everything. Since the end of the war in the El Alamein area over 2.9 MILLION mines and unexploded ordnance items have been removed.

Railroading through North Africa, Italy and France

Pfc George Rodak wanted to be in the Army Air Corps – but his pre-war locomotive talents sent him to the Army Railroad units in Europe instead.

Last Pilot Standing – Captain Ken Cochran

He thinks he is the last pilot alive from his B-24 group from the south Pacific. He flew 30 combat missions.

A B-24 – Surviving Europe - Destroyed in Reading

There were over 12,000 flying accidents in the USA during the War – including this one when a B-24 was being ferried to storage at Reading Airport.

Three Stories: Driving Trucks, Driving Wire, and Digging up Mines

A person who was in the South Pacific; the  44th Division, and the 28th Division.

With the 81st “Wildcat” Division in the Pacific

Cpl. Charles Sidener was with an anti-tank unit, and the Japanese did not field many tanks on the islands, and spent most of his time doing direct support fire support into pillboxes, hills and other front line combat needs. A WW II Army movie, “Action At Angaur”, documents the battle of the 81st Division in the Peleliu Campaign. (Oregon’s EAA Chapter  105 has an original 16mm version of the movie  which I have digitized.)

New Book about a Murder during WWI

Set in a hospital during 1918 of World War I, “An Unmarked Grave” ,   has Nurse Bess Crawford investigating a murder while in the front lines of World War I. Written by  Charles Todd, & William Morrow,  262 pages, $24.99.


Book: Battleground Prussia

When the summer of 1944 ended Soviet Armies were at the German Border – and for the next 9 months the Eastern Front saw some of the heaviest fighting of the war – on par with Stalingrad and Karkov , but this time within Germany itself.

The PBJ-1 of Esspriuto-Santo (now called Vanuatu)

In 1944 the bomber was reported lost at sea – but actually crashed into a mountain on Esprito Santo and was discovered via by a SN being seen on a PBJ-1 being restored. By Ned Wernick, who flew 20 missions in PBJ-1s in the South Pacific in the 423 Bomb Squadron – and the SN was from a plane reported lost. (This is a follow-up of a previous reported Milk Run article).

70 Years ago the Yanks Arrived in Australia

John Wells, 18th Recon Squadron / 408th Bomb Squadron and part of the 22 Bomb Group goes to Australia as the representative of that unit of  their arrival in Australia during WW II. He has a brand new replica uniform of what he wore back then for the event. He flew B-26 Martin Marauders.
An illustrated World War II history of the 22nd Bombardment Group "Revenge of the Red Raiders" is available in the Pasadena Public Library system.

Lunch with Spitfire Pilots

August 1940 thru August 1942 was a tough time to be a Spitfire Pilot – but this August it was a lot easier for these WW II pilots who gathered at Goodwood for lunch. The ceremony coincided with the launch of a new book, To War in a Spitfire, about Lt Col Strawn.

Spitfire Special Air Delivery

This could be one reason why Spitfire pilots always loved their airplane. A Spit IX carrying beer kegs to the pilots in Normandy.

You had to fly at 15,000 for at least 15 minutes to cool the beer – and you better make a smooth landing.

In his book "Dancing in the Skies", Tony Jonsson, the only Icelander pilot in the RAF, recalled beer runs while he was flying with 65 Squadron. Every week a pilot was sent back to the UK to fill some cleaned-up drop tanks with beer and return to the squadron. Jonsson hated the beer runs as every man on the squadron would be watching you upon arrival. Anyone who made a rough landing and dropped the tanks would be the most hated man on the squadron for an entire week. 

The Malta Invasion of 1942 – That never Occurred

The defense of Malta from 1940 onwards affected the outcome of the North Africa Campaign. Germany and Italy had prepared plans to invade – but the invasion never occurred to due a variety of operational and personality quirks of the Fascist leaders.

The Tunnels of Ramsgate

Almost forgotten, the tunnels were used as shelters – and by a few hundred people living quarters – during 1940/1941 during the Luftwaffe attacks.

The “Oregon Boys” 2nd Volunteer infantry in the Philippines

I found this stereo view in an antique shop in Aurora a few weeks ago.

Pvt. Marcus William Robertson won the Congressional Medal of Honor while serving in the Philippines in 1899.


Flying with the 371st Fighter Squadron

Terrance Popravak Jr has set up a Wordpress blog to talk about the history of the 371st Fighter Group – which was renumbered in 1946 and became the 142 Fighter Wing which is based at Portland, Oregon.






Oregon Chapter News, Archive Loan / Donation, and Contact Information

Oregon Chapter 2012 Meeting dates: February 11; May 12; August 11; November 3

Next Oregon Chapter Meeting November 3, 2012

The August Speaker

P-51 Ace Clayton Kelly Groce was the speaker at the August meeting. Clayton started flying out of Portland Air Base flying in 1942 in Bell P-39 Aircobras and was the first pilot to land at Aurora airport. He wrote an autobiography of his adventures in WW II called “Live Bait”.
 Amazon link:  Live Bait

Using a WW II Theme for Modern Uses

This website uses WW II video and phrases to show what they can do in creating websites for businesses and organizations. Hover over the top menu for a pretty cool cursor.

Some people do appreciate history.


A Victoria Cross for John Simpson Kirkpatrick (aka John Simpson)?

A petition has been started to grant a VC to this ANZAC stretcher bearer who, during a 25 day period in the Gallipoli campaign before being killed, rescued some 300 soldiers from the front line. He originally was from South Shields in England.


Annual POW Ceremony at Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital

Four former POWs at the hospital recounted their experiences at this annual event.


Germany Artillery Discovered in the Mountains of Russia

Moved to the tops of a mountain in 1942, before the Soviet Stalingrad counteroffensive, they had to be abandoned when the Wehrmacht forces withdrew to avoid being captured in the winter of 1942/1943.

They were at the Donguz-Orun pass at an elevation of 9,184 feet.


Oldest WW II era Soviet Marshall Dead at 101

Marshal Sergey Sokolov, who fought at Lake Hasan during WW II, died in Moscow at 101.


Book Reviews: “When Hitler Took Austria” and “Road to Valor”

One is the story of Kurt Von Schuschnigg, the son of the Austrian chancellor when it was incorporated into the Reich in 1938, and the Italian cyclist Gino Bartali.


An interview with British historian Antony Beevor

Antony Beevor is the author of the book “Stalingrad”.

“Beevor: The point about the Battle of Stalingrad was that it was the psychological turning point of the war. It became quite clear both to the Red Army and also to the German Army that from now on there would now be a movement toward the West and eventually Berlin would suffer the same fate as Stalingrad.

I think that it’s highly significant that even today on the Reichstag you can see the graffiti of Russian soldiers with the words "Stalingrad-Berlin." The two cities were very much linked in their mind.”


“The Big Red One”

Samuel Fuller made the movie made in 1980 was actually in the 1st Infantry Division throughout the war. This article gives some background information on why he made it. Be sure to watch/get the full 162 minute version.


New “Wake Island” flag raised over Boise

At the start of WW II in the Pacific Wake Island held out against the Japanese for 15 days before being taken – they even sunk two destroyers and other smaller ships.

250 Idahoans were on the island when it was attacked – and 98 civilians were later executed by the Japanese.
(Originally the Japanese Admiral in charge was going to execute everyone on Wake Island after it was captured but a Japanese Army General talked him out of it.)


Korean Government purchases – again – building that was the Korean Embassy in 1891

Sold off by Japan in 1910 after Korea was annexed into the Japanese Empire, the building was recently purchased by the Korean Government to once again may become an official residence.


China Officially Launches their first Aircraft Carrier

Rebuild from a hull purchased from the Ukraine, it is mainly a training carrier before the Chinese custom built carrier is launched in a few years.


Gallup out of the History Books for the War of 1812

If you can ride, and want to participate in a 1812 style calvary charge – get to Maidstone Conservation Area at 1213 Sideroad in the town of Lakeshore in Ontario and become part of the US Forces sacking towns and villages in Ontario – and be filmed for it.


The Naval War in 1812-1814

The US Army, asides from a few minor battles, pretty much lost every engagement. The Navy, on the other hand, won outright or came to a draw – which against the British was a victory – during the war.

Malta Re-Enactment Groups

Re-enactors exist around the world – one group in Malta has the main focus of the Medieval period in Central Europe, from the arrival of Count Roger to the end of the Feudal Era on the island. They also have WW II era re-enactors.

Sgt James Firth, VC, needs a new Headstone

During the Boer War he won the VC rescuing wounded men, even though he himself was wounded through the nose and eye. His headstone, due to weathering effects on the marble, has lost lots of the wording on the stone.

Don Smith of the Doolittle Raiders inducted into the S.D. Aviation Hall of Fame

Pilot of B-25 #15 he crashed into the South China Sea, evaded the Japanese, and was back home in the states by July 4, 1942.
He then went to the ETO and died in a plane accident outside of London in November of 1942.


Korean War Vet gets his Bronze Star

Puerto Rico based 65th Infantry Regiment fought during the Korean war – and Luis Ramos, along with a few others from his regiment, were able to attend when he Col. David J Clark pinned the medal onto him on September 7, 2012 in Florida where he now lives.

Lt. Col Woodrow W Crockett, Tuskegee Airman, dead at 93

He died August 16 at Knollwood retirement community in Washington State. They were based out of Ramitelli Italy during the war. He lead the group by the end of the war.

A B-25 Accident during the War

Over 7,100 US aircraft were destroyed during WW II in training, transportation or other causes. This B-25 crashed during bad weather – into a town.


Woman Marine Gets Hospital Visit by Two Generals

90 Year old Corporal Nell Martin Campbell, who served in WW II, was in the hospital with 7 broken ribs and punctured lung after falling down was visited by her grandson - Lt. Col. James R. Martin, but other Generals also came to visit her. Over 18,000 women joined the Marines during WWII (WW II did not OFICIALLY end till December 31, 1946 for computing service era awards).

During the WWII era, Army women soldiers had a nickname of “WACS”, the Navy had “WAVES,” which are both acronyms for women in the Army and Navy respectively.

 But, when asked what women Marines would be nicknamed, Gen. Thomas Holcomb said in the March 27, 1944, issue of Life magazine: “They are Marines. They don’t have a nickname and they don’t need one. They got their basic training in a Marine atmosphere at a Marine post. They inherit the traditions of Marines. They are Marines.”


Silver Star Awarded to Senior Airman Bradley R. Smith

Killed in action on January 3, 2010, the award was formally presented to his widow in September.

The Silver Star is one level below the Congressional Medal of Honor.


Me-323 Wreck Found off Sardinia

Damaged by a British Beaufighter, it was able to dock before it sunk but only a few of the people on board were able to get out. Around 200 Me-323 “Giants” were produced during the war – and none survived.

German Dig at a Lancaster Crash Site of aircraft ED 427

The Lancaster bomber crashed in April of 1943 – blowing up as it the ground. They started the dig and quickly found bone fragments.

The British military will bury the remains found during the excavation together, and that they’ll mark the grave with the names of all seven airmen who were aboard: Alexander Bone, Norman Foster, Cyril Yelland, Raymond White, Raymond Rooney, Ronald Cope and Bruce Watt, who was a Canadian.


A Foot locker Returned – 10 years after being left behind in a Move

WW II fighter pilot Bruce Latter had all his WW II fighter items in his foot locker, including helmet, gun camera film and other flying gear, but when he moved the locker in the attic was forgotten about – and it shows up on his door 10 years later.


Flying and Fighting in Two Wars

Brig. Gen. Victor Herbert Strahm flew in WW I and during WW II he also participated as part of the 9th Air Force – when “Tidal Wave” - the Ploesti raid – occurred. He was interviewed during the Army Hour radio program.


Last member of the 79th Reconnaissance Troop

Visiting his old base for the first time since the summer of 1942, Leon Tarter visited Camp Atterbury Indiana and talked with current soldiers there. He volunteered to drive trucks and on his 2nd day in the Army they gave him a wheelbarrow to pick up trash on the base.


Visiting the Air Force Museum's B-24

Rick Liblong went to Dayton and brought back memories of his father telling him about the B-24 that crashed on a test flight in Altmond in 1944.


Breaking a 70 Year old Pigeon Code

Found during a renovation of a chimney, pigeon parts rained down which included a leg with a red capsule on it carrying a secret encoded message. Some 100,000 pigeons flew missions in World War I, and 250,000 in World War II.


November 7, 1941 Red Square Parade Remembered

Partially recreating the Parade that was held on November 7, 1941, during the Battle of Moscow, T-34s and men in 1941 era uniforms will again be in Red Square.


The Stalingrad Protocols

Hidden in archives during and for decades afte the war, by USSR officials, detailed first hand unvarnished accounts of the Battle of Stalingrad are slowly being revealed.

Vasily Zaytsev had documented claims to have shot dead 242 Germans during the battle, was the army's top sniper. "You often have to remember and memory has a powerful impact." he recalls one year afterwards in an interview, "Now I have unsteady nerves and I'm constantly shaking." PTSD before it was known as that. He was wounded during the battle multiple times but was taken out of combat due to a bad injury in November of 1942.

 NOTES OF A RUSSIAN SNIPER is the current book in print that was translated from the book he wrote in 1956 (Amazon Link)

 SNIPER ON THE EASTERN FRONT  to see how a German sniper fought from 1943 till the end of the war. (Amazon link)
What is remarkable is that both of the fell into the sniper role by accident.

Last Pilot of the Normandie-Niemen Unit Dies

Count Roland de la Poype, who recently died at the age of 92, was one of the first to join the Unit that was formed from French pilots who fought against the Germans - in the USSR - flying Yak fighters. He completed over 200 missions during WW II.


Telling a Joke in the Third Reich

In the Third Reich telling a joke was dangerous - not only did you have to have your timing down but whom you told it to - or overheard you - could get you killed.


Documenting the Holocaust in the USSR one town at Time

When NAZI Germany invaded the USSR on June 21, 1941, there were independent units assigned whose job was to find and kills the Jews that lived in the USSR - not to ship them anywhere. The Rev. Patrick Desbois, based out of Paris, travels in the former USSR and now independent countries, talking to the oldest people he can find who live in towns where Jewish people used to live to chronicle what happened to them due to the Eisenstaedt Groups that the NAZIs deployed.


The Burma Spitfires Tale Continues - Online WW II Game owner funded the Quest

Victor Kislyi, who lives in Belarus, started the WW II online game "World of Tanks" and is the one who funded the quest to find the Spitfires that were buried in Burma near the end of WW II. World of Tanks, which was created in 2010, has 40 million registered players, fighting Second World War-style tank battles against each other online. A new game, World of Warplanes, is due to be released within the first few month of 2013.


El Alamein Battle Remembered - 70 Years on

General Montgomery, later Field Marshall Montgomery, was appointed to lead the British 8th Army after being driven into Egypt in mid-1942. And he promptly refused to fight any offensive battles till he had an overwhelming number of men, and supplies so that he would not lose. The defensive battle at El Alamein which the British won in November of 1942, was followed up by the, offensive battle that eventually pushed the Afrika Corps out of Afrika by May of 1943.


New German film explores the Relationship between Rommel and Hitler

This new German TV film alters the current established portrayal of Field Marshall Rommel in a revisionist way to show he exploited his tactical battlefield ability to become a General and was not at all involved in the July 20, 1944 plot to kill Hitler.


10 Little Known Facts about Benito Mussolini

90 Years ago Mussolini, through multiple methods, he able to legitimately gain charge of Italy.


National WW II Museum Opens a section on Kriegies

When allied soldiers were captured by the Germans they were sent to POW camps and the name "Kriegie" short for the German word Kriegsgefangener - they applied to themselves.
Now through July 7, 2013 the display will be up in the New Orleans museum before being moved to a permanent pavilion.


The Boer War – A mostly Forgotten War

In the USA the Korean War is the most “forgotten war” but each nation has their own. For Australians it is usually the Boer War of 1899 thru 1902.

A Patch of Land in Douglas County and the Spanish American War

Some land has been used for military training for thousands of years – some stay for a few months and go away, some for a few years and then go away. Douglas County Georgia has a road corner relating to the Spanish American War of 1898. The state of Georgia had more camps than any other state with twenty-five different training facilities.

Pin Up Nose Art - A Very American thing in WW II England

When the 8th Air Force moved to England with the B-17E Flying Fortress heavy bomber most of them carried risqué nose art - and it flourished.

"As a rule the ground crew worked on a plane 10 hours to every one flown. Ground crews were naturally very possessive of the machines in their care. Some units had the pilot's art on the left side and the ground crew's on the right."

Planes that were thought to have minds of their own were called names like "Shedonnawanna".

A movie about this is called "Nose Art and Pin-Ups” on SDVD. They are on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nose-Art-Films/

Nose Art and Pin Ups  (Amazon link)


British Combat Veterans run "Op Nightingale Archaeological Project"

This project was started to help veterans both physically and mentally after combat - and now they have uncovered a B-24, British code AL595 B-24, that crashed in November of 1942.


Honoring Veterans from all Wars in Texas

Each nation honors their veterans in many ways. A new method created by Rep. Johnson of Texas, is the Congressional Veteran Commendation (CVC) created in 2010.

One of those honored was Lt. General Richard E. Carey who related a story from Korea:
"I spent two tours in Korea," he recalled. "On the first tour, I was a grunt [infantryman] in G Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines with [legendary general] Chesty Puller. I was on our advance team in strike force to take over Seoul. We were riding on tanks when Douglas MacArthur came walking up the road amidst all the bullets striking everywhere. We were in an ambush and I pulled him into our cover, and he fell down. He was in all his regalia so he was kind of ticked off, you know. He said, 'Lieutenant, what do you think you are doing?' I said, 'I'm trying to keep you from being killed.' And he said, 'Lieutenant, the bullet isn't made that can kill me!' And he was right. He never got killed."


Wall of Hero’s in Gloucester New Jersey

The Wall of Heroes honors the Gloucester County men and women who were killed in action or missing in action while serving in the U.S. military protecting our freedoms and rights.


Brothers in a B-24

One was assigned to an Infantry unit, the other as a gunner on a B-24 in Italy. But their mother wrote to the head of the Army and got the infantry man assigned to his brothers unit!


To War with a Typewriter

Not everyone puts bullets at the enemy in war. In fact, during WW II about 7 US soldiers were behind every man in the front line (For the US there were usually 16,000 in an Infantry division, around 4,200 were infantry/artillery men, rest support), some countries had 4 to 1 the Germans averaged around 6 to 1 in the rear areas. Claude R. "Red" Canup went to war in 1944 and since he was a reporter/writer before the war, that is what he did during the war. All his notes were almost destroyed by a leaky refrigerator.

He kept copies of all his dispatches and they are now in a book.
"War Is Not Just for Heroes: World War II Dispatches and Letters of U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondent Claude R. 'Red' Canup" was published by University of South Carolina Press.

The book holds the only publicly available complete collection of dispatches from the era.
  War is Not Just for Heroes  (Amazon link)

Note to all: don’t store papers in a basement; store paper above the ground floor or higher!!


8 British Airmen buried in Malaysia

Their cargo aircraft crashed in 1945, discovered in 1991, and finally excavated in 2009. Geoffrey Dovey, 83, the brother of one crewman was on hand to pay his respects.


Recovered from an Glacier in the Alps

After the war not all servicemen went home. The 8th AF started a mapping program to completely photograph all of Europe (outside of Russian control) and people still died in accidents. Army Tech. Sgt. William S. Cassell was killed in 1947 while in a B-17 and only after the glacier had moved down, and then melted, was his remains identified and returned this year.


Sendai Airport closed due to a UXB

Construction workers repairing a runway area found a 500 lb. WW II bomb which forced a closure of the airport. During WW II Sendai Army Flight School was based there.


War Photography on Display at Museum of Fine Arts in Houston

Since the first photographs were taken on a battlefield during The Crimea War, the ability to bring to the masses the recent or actual scenes of combat was steadily escalated. However picking what images to actually display has never been easy.

"After Hitler invaded Russia, Leicas weren’t readily available, so many Soviet photographers relied on the FED, the Soviet equivalent. Yet Zelma always used Leicas. How he obtained them isn’t precisely clear, but “the way many photographers got Leicas,” Ms. Tucker said, “was taking them off a dead German.”


RAR Soldier is awarded the Victoria Cross

Corporal Daniel Keighran, 6th Battalion RAR, was awarded due to his actions in August 24, of 2010. He was the 99th Australian soldier to be awarded the VC since its inception.
VC awarded to Australian servicemen:
Boer War 6
World War I 64
North Russia 2 [1]
World War II 20
Vietnam 4
Afghanistan 3 [2]
1.Often counted in First World War figures
2.As of November 1 2012

From 1918 till 1920 various nations fought in North Russia during the Russian Revolution – including many US soldiers.


Tracking VC Graves with an Tablet Computer

George Taylor, a 12 year old with a penchant for history, found that local VC recipient graves were becoming derelict – so he has become part of The Victoria Cross Trust Charity to track down the derelict graves of VC holders – and donate money every month to them to have the graves restored.


The Drummer Boy of Ft McHenry

During the Battle of Ft McHenry during the War of 1812 Henry Lightner, a drummer, sounded the alarm of approaching British troops on Sept. 11, 1814. He died in 1883 and was buried in Baltimore; he finally gets a headstone to mark his grave.


1st Air Commando Combat Medic in the CBI

Karl Schmidt was drafted into the Army Air Corps in 1942 and was stationed in Florida as part of warning information centers when he volunteered for an assignment in a “hot, humid, climate” – and ended up in Burma in “Project 9”.

“The head doctor of our medical unit actually wrote a book called 'Air Commando Doc' about what we were doing in the CBI.”

Amazon does have it:Air commando doc,


Capt Walter “Wally” Groce – 56th Fighter Group

Wally was a local member of the 8th AFHS of Oregon; he died on November 17, 2012. Capt Groce flew his first combat mission on 14 August 1944 attacking rail and ground targets in Eastern France in a Republic P-47 as part of “Zemke’s Wolfpack”. The only fighter group that kept the P-47 (except for a short three week period) during their combat in the 8th Air Force. One of his gun clips appeared in an 8th AF movie #3 in 1945.

Wally was shot down a Me-262 but was only given ½ credit because a P-51 Mustang pilot also claimed it – he shot at it after Wally had already caused it to go down. He made a head-on pass at it and shot off the starboard wingtip – you can see it in his gun camera film. He also shot down Heinkel He-111, Messerschmitt Bf-109, and a Focke-Wulf Fw-190.

The film leader on his gun camera film (he had all his original film) from the Me-262 engagement.

The bullet strike on the wingtip of the Me-262 from his Wally’s P47 .50 caliber guns.
The German pilot bailed out – but was killed in another Me-262 three days later.

His service is set for 5 January 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at Young's Funeral Home (http://www.youngsfuneralhome.org/dm20/en_US/locations/73/7398/index.page ) on Hwy 99 in Tigard, two blocks west of Hwy 217.

Allen J. Chapin – 1st Schweinfurt Mission – Kriegie

Lt Col Chapin died at the age of 90 on October 1, 2012. He is buried at Willamette National Cemetery in Oregon. He was flying a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress in the 381 Bombardment Group (Heavy), 535 Squadron, when he was shot down on 17 August 1943 on the way to bomb the Schweinfurt ball bearing factory. He spent the rest of the war as a POW. His view of the mission is well documented in a few books as well as in our local chapter archives.

Capt. William Riegler – 39 Missions in a B-17

Flying in the 613 Bomb Squadron of the 401 Bombardment Group (Heavy) in Boeing B-17 ‘Flying Fortress’ the plane he flew over to join the 8th Air Force was called “Pistol Packin’ Momma”.

Once, he looked into an enemy pilot’s eyes.

"I couldn’t tell you if they were blue or brown, but I could see them", recalled Riegler, who remembered seeing the flashes of the enemy aircraft’s guns and tracer fire. "It was my fifth mission. I thought, ‘This is it.’ "


Len Heller – P-47 Mechanic

He arrived in England in 1943 and supported the Thunderbolts there – but on June 9, 1944 he was in Normandy setting up the first air base on the continent where his unit’s P-47s were to operate out of.


The Higgins Boat

The Higgins Boat was a revolutionary landing craft, made of mahogany with steel armor plating, designed and built by Andrew Jackson Higgins on the Mississippi River and tested on Lake Pontchartrain, just above New Orleans.


The Corregidor Tunnel Photograph

Finance Department and Signal Corps, Lateral #12, Malinta Tunnel, Fort Mills, Corregidor, Philippine Islands, April 24, 1942. Photo by Major Paul R. Wing, 228th Signal Operations Company.

Dwight E. Gard, seated fourth from the left grew up in Bend, Oregon.


Last Reunion of the 12th Bombardment Group at Joint Base McCord-Lewis

The last, reunion of the 12th Bombardment Group (Medium) was held in October in Washington State at McCord air base. The unit consisted of the 81st, 82nd, 83rd and 434th squadrons. The reunion welcomed back a few original members of the group, like 91-year-old retired Lt. Col. Jim Miller, a number of widows, friends and well-wishers. They flew B-25 “Mitchell” bombers.


Napoleonic Era Soldiers Re-buried

Remains of soldiers killed in Russia were re-buried outside Minsk on November 2, 2012. They were killed in November of 1812 as they retreated out of Russia.

Meanwhile in Belgium, their Archeological Service found the remains of a soldier buried at Waterloo in June – with the grapeshot ball that killed him.


Seen in a PowerPoint Slide

“There is no Bullet List like Stalin’s Bullet list.”

Sci-Fi and Naval Warfare

Q: Has sci-fi affected the way that our navies conduct warfare?

A: This is a question that I occasionally think about. Many people point to the development of the shipboard Combat Information Center in World War II as being inspired by E.E. Doc Smith's Lensman novels from the 1940s. Smith realized that with hundreds of ships over huge expanses, the mere act of coordinating them was problematic. I think there is a synergistic effect. I also know a number of naval officers who have admitted to me that the reason they joined the Navy was because Starfleet Command wasn't hiring.


The Flight Surgeon for the 306th Bombardment Group

Thurman Shuller of McAlester joined the Army in July of 1941 expecting to be in only a year, but Pearl Harbor and the 8th Air Force changed that. Initially assigned to Las Vegas air base, he was advised to go into aviation medicine and ended up as the 369th Squadron flight surgeon of 306th BG stationed at Thurleigh, England.

He wrote a report, citing and quoting Major General Ira Eaker, stating that crew should fly no more than 20 missions as their tour. Three weeks later it was official – 25 missions were the number of missions a crew must fly to complete their combat tour.

At the time the average life expectancy of a crew was 15 missions. During one 9 month period the overall causality rate of the 306th BG was 100%.


Parachuting off of Formosa

Not all planes were lost due to combat – friendly planes colliding in formation were actually “routine” in combat zones. The British expected to lose at least two planes a mission due to planes colliding at night.  Robert Withee was a P-51 pilot who had to bail out when he turned his P-51 Mustang – and his wingman did not and both became members of the Caterpillar Club. Robert flew over 200 combat missions in the Pacific.


Sinking Fast – Last vets of WW II Subs meet Regularly in Texas

One of most exclusive clubs of Veterans are the WW II submariners. At the Golden Corral in Fort Worth Texas some of those that are left still meet.
“The Pargo had just blasted a Japanese tanker in half with torpedoes when it endured the most frightening barrage of depth charges from a Japanese frigate that Hewett had ever experienced. The Pargo usually evaded at 300 feet of water but was caught in only about 180 feet.

The submarine survived at least 24 depth charges, he said.

"We were really rocked around," Hewett said. "I can tell you, I gave up. I thought we were gone for sure. My prayers were for my folks."

But the boat survived. Hewett and his shipmates waited for another string of depth charges, sure to be fatal, but it never happened.

"I have surmised that they ran out," Hewett said. "They just didn't have any more, and we managed to get away."


Ralph Burbridge - aboard the "All American" on February 1, 1943

Assigned as a bombardier to a B-17 in the 97 Bombardment Group (Heavy) 414th Squadron; they flew in a B-17 they had named “The All American”. While on a mission to Tunis docks they also flew into one of the most famous photos of the war of a B-17.

"… about halfway through his roll either my fire or fire from the lead ship must have killed the pilot or disabled the plane. He never completed his intended roll and rapid pass under our ship."
 "For one horrible instant he was right there – inches in front and above us. He passed over us with a distinctly audible swoosh," over the roar of the B-17’s Wright Cyclone engines, "followed by a tremendous jar and a ‘whoomp.’"


Bailing out of a “Mickey” B-17

Bill Shelton was 17 when he joined the Army with goal of being a pilot – but like many goals he ended up as a tail-gunner of a Boeing B-17 as a replacement crew in 1943 in the 96 BG (H) at Snetterton, England.

"At Wichita Falls they came in and asked for guys to volunteer to be gunners. It was a five-week course and you made buck sergeant after five weeks. There was no other way you could earn three stripes in five weeks."

He was shot down on May 8, 1944.


Speaking Code and Making Cyphers in the 83 Group Control

Joining the RAF on his 18th birthday in 1942, Bernard Morgan, was part of the “rear area” people supporting the RAF – until he landed on Gold Beach on June 6, 1944.


P-38D pieces found at an old crash site

After taking off from Selfridge Field, where the 94th Pursuit Squadron was based, 2nd Lt. Albert Voss bailed out of the P-38 Lightening but was killed due to the low altitude of his bailout, and the plane crashed into a field. Now Jim Clary is finding pieces of that crash.


John Demlein -- Operation Aphrodite Pilot

Drone aircraft are not new – they were made and used by both the Allied and Axis powers. Navy flying John Demlein was assigned to the Navy’s version of the Aphrodite project to fly war weary B-24s into heavily fortified German naval bases to destroy them by remote control. This is the project in which Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., was killed when the B-24 he was flying blew up to due faulty wiring of the on-board explosives.


WW II Era Busses Soldier on – in Myanmar (Burma)

A Canada-built Chevy C-15 – built and used during the Burma campaign during WW II, still carries passengers in 2012 – 73 years after it was built and shipped off to move troops and supplies during WW II in the CBI Theatre of war. But their time may send them to the scrap heap – or a museum.


In the Front Line with Anti-Aircraft Artillery

Assigned to Battery C of the 457th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion he landed on D-Day “Plus one” at Omaha beach – and then fought across Europe ending up being wounded in Germany – but was reported as being killed in action. The unit was credited with shooting down 43 enemy aircraft.


Lt. Col. Herbert Eugene Carter -- dead at 95

One of the original members of the Tuskegee Airmen, he flew 77 combat missions and only had to land without using his wheels of his aircraft once. He was one of the advisiors to George Lucas on the movie “Red Tails”.

He died on November 8 East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika.

Clayton Melvin Hays – P-51 Mustang Pilot

Flying out of Italy with the 15th Air Force, a fellow pilot dropped his drop tanks – into Hay’s aircraft and almost shot him down. He aborted and flew back to the Island of Vis.

"They told me I’d tear up the metal runway. They said I should bail out into the ocean. They’d pick me up. I looked around. I didn’t see any boats out there. Also, I couldn’t swim. I went in to land, with my wheels down, at 165 miles per hour."

He went back to Vis this year – as a tourist.


Leutnant Gottfried Dulias JG-53 "Ace of Spades" ME-109G Fighter Pilot

After the war not all Luftwaffe pilots stayed in Germany – some came to the USA. During a “Battle of the Bulge” re-enactment in 2009 a re-enactor met a Luftwaffe pilot at the re-enactment. Lt. Dulias also wrote a book about his life during the NAZI era and his time as a pilot – before he was shot down and captured.
Another Bowl of Kapusta: The True Life Story Of A World War II Luftwaffe Fighter Pilot and P.O.W. in Russia

52 Missions in a B-25

Assigned to the 12th Bomb Group (Medium) he was sent to be part of the 9th Air Force in North Africa in 1942. For the next year he flew missions in a B-25 Mitchell bomber they named “Desert Warrior” supporting the British 8th Army. The US army was 800 miles away in Tunisia.


Bailing out at night over Indo-China from a B-24

Assigned to the 375 Bomb Squadron with the 14th Air Force – Flying Tigers -- they were originally assigned to go on mission 116 to the Philippines but instead were assigned to bomb a Japanese convoy. Flying in a B-24 named “Hilo Hattie”. Several were shot down by heavy anti-aircraft fire from the ships during the attack.

Low on fuel on the return trip flying back to base at night "I knew two things: We were flying over enemy territory and we were in mountains 18,000 feet high." They bailed out.


Escaping from Occupied France – Code Name Burgundy

Shot down on the way to Frankfurt in March of 1944, he is captured, then freed from captivity by the French Underground – and with broken ankles, ribs, makes it across France into Spain – over the Pyrenees.


Flying in “Canvas Coffins”

Glider Infantry pilots have the training as pilots – but once they landed they became infantry officers and fought on the ground – and had the dangers on both ends of the scale.

"They said you had to be half crazy to get on one of those and I said: 'Well, I meet the qualifications.'"

Clinton Riddle was one of those pilots in the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division landing on D-Day as well as Market Garden and the Rhine Crossing.

Field Marshall’s Montgomery letter to the Troops

Just like General Eisenhower’s letter, the British General, who was actually the Ground Commander of All Forces on D-Day and for the weeks immediately afterwards, sent his own letter to the British and Canadian troops on D-Day, June 6, 1944. In an antique store he bought a book – and out of the book fell a hand-signed D-Day letter by the General himself – signed on 5 June 1944.


A 22 Mile “Sniper” shot

Sniping enemy soldiers has been going on eons – using specialized troops and weapons to kill enemies has been around for over 2500 years. Archery experts were used till the invention of gunpowder and then the art was passed onto them. During the US Revolutionary War, and then again during the US Civil War, gifted riflemen were recruited into snipers. Scopes mounted on rifles were used during the Civil War.

In Afghanistan they have started to use GPS guided artillery as a “sniping” weapon – and achieved a 22 mile single round hit against an enemy group with a 155 mm howitzer.


Making War Movies – The Early Years

The invention of movie film – 35mm sized – allowed movie cameras to become mobile – though at 15 to 20 pounds they were still not very moved and were hand cranked. However, that did not stop people from making movies about war – either on the field as it often happened or on a movie set.


Marine Corps Activates the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 with F-35B aircraft

The newly activated unit is based out of Yuma Arizona. The F-35 replaces the F-18 and the AV8B “Harrier” that the Marines currently use.


A Staff Officer in the Afrika Corps

Gerhard Hennes was a signals officer and fought in WW II in Poland, France and in North Africa – where he was captured. He now lives in Fredericksburg, Va. He has written two books about his wartime experience.