Guest Post – When Making A Car Was Illegal – GPCox

 

This is the latest Guest Post from gpcox all about the vehicles in service during World War II and a little about what the American Family had to sacrifice back home.

When Making a Car Was Illegal

After Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt ordered all car manufacturers to cease the production of private automobiles and convert the factories to produce military

Utility Truck

Utility Truck

vehicles, weaponry, airplane engines, parts, etc.  But, this would not put an end to man’s love affair with the automobile.  A car manual became priceless to a private owner and a truck manual was an absolute necessity for a farmer or businessman.  With the rationing of gasoline in the U.S., the “National Victory Speed” was 35 mph and driving clubs were encouraged. (Our modern day car-pools).

Automobiles were produced in massive quantities before the Great Depression and this brought the price down considerably.  Then, the stock market crashed and many people were unable to afford the fuel for the cars they already owned.  There were some that removed the engines from their vehicles and had a horse pull them.  These were nicknamed “Bennett Buggies” in some areas.

FDR gave a long-winded speech on 28 April 1942 called the “Call for Sacrifice,” where he stated, “…Not all of us have the privilege of fighting our enemies in distant parts of the world.  Not all of us can have the privilege of working in a munitions factory or a shipyard, or on the farms or in oil fields or mines…  There is one front where everyone is in action and that is right here at home and that is the privilege of denial.”  (Can any of us even imagine what would eventuate from a statement like that today?)  It was not until June that civilian truck production ceased, except some tightly government controlled heavy trucks produced during 1944 by GMC.

A quote from the Random Memories of Cedric Duryee Guion – “We had a 1927 Packard Touring car. I guess this was when Lad was working at Well’s Garage and he was making a little money there. He saw a 1929 Packard Touring car – it was a beauty – and he asked my Dad if he could trade in the old Packard and my Dad told him “OK”. We didn’t like that because then it was Lad’s car. I think that’s the Packard with the hidden compartment that Lad found while cleaning it out. We figured it must have belonged to some rum-runners”

Packard

Packard

Packard was known as a “company of premier luxury cars.”  In 1937, they introduced their first 6-cylinder engine since 1928 – right in time for the ’29 Depression, so they designed the “110” model in 1940-41 to serve as taxi cabs.  With the onset of war, air plane engines, such as the Merlin that powered the P-51 Mustang fighter were produced.  Many American and British PT boats were equipped with the Packard 1350-, 1400-, and 1500 horsepower V-12 marine engines.  During this era, the company also produced ambulances and other military vehicles.  All in all, 60,000 combined engines were built by Packard.

GMC had produced nearly 584,000 multi-drive vehicles for use in WWII, the first of which was the amphibious 6×6 “Ducks.”  These were sent to the Army for island landings

1943 "Duck"

1943 “Duck”

and river crossings.  Over 21,000 of these unique vehicles were produced.  GMC also built the first 2 ½ ton 6×6 trucks powered by a 270 cid engine which became the famous “workhorse” of the Army.

The Ford Corporation during 1942-45 built approximately 8,600 of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator bombers.  They also produced aircraft engines, M-4 tanks, spare parts

WWII Jeep Ambulance

WWII Jeep Ambulance

and the ever-famous Jeep.  In England, the Dagenham plant built the Ford military trucks, Bren-gun carriers and more than 30,000 super-charged V-12 engines for the Mosquito and Lancaster bombers.

The transportation department of the U.S. Army performed monumental feats during WWII.  They moved tons of food, weapons, equipment and men despite gasoline, oil and lubricants being in short supply.  If one delves deeper into this research, we find that Congress was not always willing to loosen the government’s purse strings.  As I have mentioned previously on my site, http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com, Europe received the majority of the supplies since their slogan at the time was, “Europe First.” (But, even the ETO had shortages.)  I have two specific reports stating that my father’s unit, the 11th Airborne Division while fighting in the Pacific, could not reach the city of Manila before the Sixth Army due to the lack of trucks.  (We once again see why the Technical Forces were so important to the Ground Forces.)( See Guest Post – gpcox –   Technical and Ground Force Coordination, published here Feb. 12, 2013)

Since the first automobile sputtered down the street and caught up to a horse, men have defined themselves by their vehicles, showing their cars off with pride and affection.  They wash them, wax them and individualize them.  It becomes an extension of himself – whereas a woman does the same routine for her home.

The ever-reliable car manual during the WWII era was a lifeline keeping farmers connected to markets, businessmen to their offices and factory workers to their jobs.  What you had, you were forced to maintain or learn to do without.  Just try to picture it – a world without rent-a-cars or gas stations at every intersection, no leasing contracts for new cars, no power windows or GPS or Blue Tooth… What do you see?

Judy and I enjoy these guest posts and want to hear how this situation affected your family or give us suggestions for future articles.

Research & Photo Resources:

Military History Online

Internet History Sourcebooks

Ford Corp./history

History of Packard

From the Great Depression to WWII

Wikipedia

Classic Car History

Fine Art America

Lopez Transport 1941

Surrey Vintage Vehicle Society

GMC Trucks

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think of these Guest Posts. Tomorrow, I’ll begin a week of letters from 1944. All five sons are in the service of Uncle Sam. Grandpa is holdong down the fort with Jean, Dick’s wife, and Aunt Betty, his mother’s sister.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 327 – Trumbull House – Then And Now – Beams in 1756 Portion of the House -1756 – 2018

 

When I use the title Then and Now, I am very literal for this post. These are pictures of the original beams in the portion of the house that was built in 1756. For much of that time, they were covered with a ceiling but are again exposed. Notice how they are put together – no nails were used and they are still solid. You can also see the marks left by the old hand tools used to shape them. 

 

Beams going into the kitchen area.

 

Beams in the Dining Room.

 

Beams going to front of the house and front door.

 

Tomorrow I’ll be posting another Guest Post from GPCox, pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com all about vehicle manufacturing during WWII.

Next week, it will be letters written in 1944 when all five boys were working for Uncle Sam, in vehicle maintenance, surveying, airplane maintenance, working with the locals in a foreign country or communication skills.

Judy Guion

 

Guest Post – Technical and Ground Force Coordination by GPCox

I’m pleased to present this Guest Post from gpcox addressing how the Technical and Ground Forces all worked together to create success in their endeavors, which ultimately won the war. Without cooperation between all seven departments, nothing could have been accomplished.

As readers of my blog, pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com are aware, my father, Everett “Smitty” Smith was a sharpshooter trained as a paratrooper and gliderman with the 11th Airborne Division in WWII, this put him in the Ground Force.  But, neither he nor the rest of the soldiers would have gotten very far without the Technical services as each department of the Army worked to support the other.  Should one fail in the chain, a devastating domino effect might hinder or stop the rest.

The Technical Services of the Army Service Force during WWII was comprised of seven departments: The Corps of Engineers, The Signal Corps, Ordnance Dept., Quartermaster Corps, Chemical Corps, Medical Corps and as of 1942 the Transportation Corps.  These operated either behind the scenes or in unison with the 91 divisions of Ground Forces that were designated as: infantry, armored mountain, cavalry and airborne.  In this article I hope to explain how the Guion brothers you have come to know on this site aided soldiers like my father.

Alfred (Lad) Guion in California

Alfred (Lad) Guion in California

Alfred (Lad) Guion was a sergeant, Chief of Section, with the Ordnance Department.  He was an instructor in California and Texas and then on assignment in France.  The technicians, both automotive mechanics and small arms experts worked diligently to solve the problems which had not been foreseen in Aberdeen or Flora.  Equipment was fiercely battered and the need for repairs was imperative; supply problems alone kept these men busy.  Ernie Pyle once wrote, “This is not a war of ammunition, tanks, guns and trucks alone.  It is a war of replenishing spare parts to keep them in combat…”  The smallest nut or bolt missing could keep a G.I. from accomplishing his task.  In the Third Army alone, maintenance crews put back into action more guns and vehicles than were lost by four entire armies in one month.  According to Lt. Gen. Levin Campbell, Jr., “Collectively they [Ordnance Crews] turned out a mechanical and technical superiority for American troops which no other Army in the history of the world has ever equaled.”  Therefore, as you can see, I have not exaggerated my praise of their contributions.

Army Map Service

Army Map Service

Daniel Beck Guion (Dan)

Daniel Beck Guion (Dan)

Daniel Guion was a Field Surveyor and as such would be required to record field data, prepare sketches, determine angles for targets and/or develop accurate maps.  Without these men, the soldiers would be unable to acquaint themselves with the terrain the enemy was in and ammunition would be wasted while attempting to target enemy fortifications.  Engineers used the surveyor’s knowledge to construct roads and airfields.  Although photogrammetry was being used for aerial maps, accuracy still required points on the ground and creating grids.

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

Richard (Dick) Guion was a linguist and acted as a liaison with Brazil.  Many are unaware of that country’s involvement, but Dick’s fluency in Portuguese and Spanish was very useful to the U.S. government.  Brazil originally dealt with both the Axis and Allied powers, but declared war against the Axis on 22 August 1942.  The United States built air bases to support aerial runs over North Africa as well as the China-Burma-India Theater.  The Brazilians also sent 25,000 men to fight fascism under the command of the Fifth Army and their air force flew American P-47 Thunderbolts.  One of the main reasons that Brazil entered the war was the diplomatic actions of the American liaisons.  The country was an important strategic point for the Allies and was considered “The Springboard for Victory” for the fighting troops in North Africa.  This was one more service working behind the scenes and whose efforts saved countless lives.

Dave Guion was in the Signal Corps and very adept in Morse Code, radar and trained as a radioman.  His primary mission would be to

Radioman - WWII

Radioman – WWII

provide communication for the scattered elements of an operation and headquarters.  To keep everyone coordinated as to the on-going events as they unfolded.  There would be equipment with a command company, field operations and headquarters.  Whether it was a stationary complex or mobile radio, each unit found contact essential.  The maintenance of this equipment was their responsibility.  When you read in my blog of smoke and wig-wag signals, it was these men indicating the proper target for a jump or bomb; whatever was needed.  By 1942, signal communications had expanded into large networks of telephone, teletype, radio and messenger services that produced results 24/7 wherever the battles raged or lines formed.  They dug holes, laid wire, planted poles and repaired damaged areas of wire.  It would not have fared well for the fighting units to be without these men.

Airplane Mechanic - WWII

Airplane Mechanic – WWII

Cedric (Ced) Duryee Guion

Cedric (Ced) Duryee Guion

Cedric Guion was an airplane mechanic in Alaska.  As a bush pilot, he was capable of locating downed planes and bringing them in for repairs.  As of 22 May 1942, Intelligence knew Japan was about to attack Midway and the Aleutian Islands.  Within ten days, Kiska and Attu were occupied by the enemy.  Ced’s position was crucial.  The air war increasingly grew well into 1943.  After consistent air and naval bombardment, the U.S. and Canadian troops finally found the Aleutians deserted by Japan.  Although he remained a civilian employee, he operated on a military airfield.  His technical expertise kept the American pilots in the air which was their essential mission.

There was also the Medical Corps, the 221st operated with the 11th Airborne Division and other positions of the technical branch, but perhaps we will discussed them at a future date.  For right now, I sincerely hope you enjoy both this blog  and mine.  Thank you for taking the time to read.

References and photos:

U.S. Army, “The Pacific War” by John Davison, National WWII Museum, HyperWar Federal Records, fold3.com and numerous Technical Service Associations

I am continually surprised by the detail and research that gpcox does before posting on pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com and guest posting on my blog. Please leave a comment and let us know what you think of this post and previous posts by gpcox.

Judy Guion

Guest Post – Introduction to American Family Life – GPCox

 

I’ve invited gpcox to share another post with us. This one concerns the life of an American Family during the 1940’s. I learned a few things myself.

Gpcox of pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com

Judy’s collection of letters from her grandfather is an excellent example of what the American family endured during the Second World War.

With the onset of war, patriotism certainly skyrocketed as well as marriages, job opportunities and salaries.  But here, fresh out of the depression, poverty, divorce and taxes soared.  Twenty million people bordered on starvation.  There was a shortage of shelters, hospitals and child care facilities.  Many youngsters quit their education to help support the family.

Ration Coupons

Ration Coupons

Food rationing began.  The Office of Price Administration (OPA) was constructed to handle the rationing regulations.  Since most

Save Oil

Save Oil

everything went to the military, Americans at home had to tighten their belts once again.  If the readers have seen my father’s first few letters home, you know that money was of great concern.  Dried, powered eggs were sent to men in combat and also on the market.  Liquid paraffin was often used as cooking oil. (If oil was available, it was saved and recycled.)  My mother often told me of the start of “margarine,” the make-believe butter was basically a white grease with a yellow capsule.  As you “kneaded” the bag, the pill broke and colored the grease to look like butter.

The government pushed to sell war bonds and war stamps.  Movie stars promoted them and small children often took the job of selling them.  The main problem was that only about one-third of the U.S. could afford to buy them.  The war wrapped itself around every aspect of their lives, from newsreels shown at the theatres to the music and news on the radio; even their job, whatever it may be, was somehow involved in the war effort.  Approximately 16.1 million were in the U.S. armed forces as opposed to approximately 1.6 today.

1940's 2-piece bathing suit

1940’s 2-piece bathing suit

On the brighter side of things – the two-piece bathing suit was developed out of the need to conserve cloth.  Nieman Marcus stores advertised the apparel as

“patriotic chic.”  Victory gardens sprouted up wherever edibles could be grown.  And – recycling, which many today consider a new and enlightened concept, went into full swing.  Americans saved everything and the government called them “salvage drives.”

The recently  posted memories of Aunt Biss are indicative of the times.  The children used their imaginations and ordinary objects to conjure up toys and games.  Children and adults alike generated their own amusements; it was not solely the military that required creativity, but those of each family.  This was a necessary characteristic for survival; something that is not a requirement today; TVs and videos produce entertainment without any effort on our parts.

What is so obvious in Alfred Guion’s letters is the unknowing.  To have his sons away from home while the entire world seemed

Price (stamp) cost

Price (stamp) cost

upside-down leaves a feeling of helplessness that borders on grief.  Whether in combat or not, the son’s return is not guaranteed.  The little boy you once said, “No, no,” to when he went near a hot stove is out of your protective control.  Mr. Guion dearly loved his sons and their letters were as close to them as he was going to be.  His love and concern is shown in his words and between the lines.

The military was not equipped to deal with military families.  WWII families lived with the war 24/7 and it was a full scale confrontation that touched everyone and whose consequences are still being felt today.  The stress could become unbearable.  All they were able to do was pray they did not receive the next telegram that began – “We regret to inform you …”

I am not attempting to downgrade what emotions today’s military families are going through, as I experienced those same feelings myself during the first Gulf War when my son joined the Marines; I am trying to clarify the extraordinary circumstances of the country for the WWII era.

Should any of you have additional examples of this time, please comment.  Judy and I enjoy hearing from all of you.

This is a pretty clear picture of what your parents and grandparents were living with on a day-to-day basis. Because the war was world-wide, families all over the world had to deal with shortages, deprivation and the added horror of bombing in their country, their cities, towns and villages. This was their life, for YEARS, something hard for some of us to imagine.

As always, your comments are greatly appreciated.

Take care.

Judy Guion

Guest Post – You Ain’t Got A Thing, If You Ain’t Got That Swing ! – The Big Band Era – GPCox

The Big Band Era

By: gpcox

http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com

“You ain’t got a thing, if you ain’t got that Swing!”

Swing was a verb that musicians used long before press agents turned it into a noun or adjective to describe both an attitude toward music and a special way of performing it.  “Swing” suggests rhythm and a regular propulsive oscillation, a form of jazz that is still influencing music today.  There are many instruments reinforcing the others, then other times, playing against each other and a solo instrument playing against a background.  The jazz form traveled north out of New Orleans in the 1890’s and slammed into the Chicago scene in the 1920’s.

Vincent Lopez

Vincent Lopez

The beginnings can be traced back to Fletcher Henderson in New York and Bernie Moten in Kansas City.  Fletcher and his brother Horace created the pattern for swing arrangements and was the first to train a big band to play jazz.  “Sweet” bands, like Guy Lombardo, Vincent Lopez and Wayne King had ample audiences. (Lombardo’s band was still playing under the direction of his son-in-law out on Long Island and I was priviledged to see twice.  My grandmother had dated Lopez years ago.  Smitty, my father, took me to the Hotel Taft in Manhattan and had me tell the conductor that I was her grandchild.  Lopez sat me on stage while the band played a song for me.)

In Denver 1935, things didn’t go so well.  Even Goodman’s band was not well received, despite featuring trumpeter Bunny

Gene Krupa

Gene Krupa

Beregan, drummer Gene Krupa and pianist Jess Stacy.  When the tour hit Los Angeles, the Palomar Ballroom did not respond until Goodman let the musicians go wild with the Henderson arrangements – the crowd exploded.  Jazz turned into swing and the press described it as a new form of music and Benny as the King of Swing.  Bands sprung up everywhere.  Bob Crosby’s “Bob-Cats” as well as Artie Shaw and Woody Herman wowed the crowds by 1939, including Igor Stravinsky.

In the late 1930’s, people tried to ease their depression by dancing and ballrooms became the rage, so for a large room – one needs a large band.  Ellington’s and Basie’s were two of the largest and Ella Fitzgerald’s voice resounded over the crowds with her upbeat skat singing.

A “big band” usually had 10 musicians or more.  Jazz, which was mostly for listening, developed slowly into the swing music for dancing.  Louis Armstrong started in the ’20s to help this transition along.  Count Basie’s band stressed improvisation and his “One O’Clock Jump” sold over a million copies; for the era – this was unheard of.

Benny Goodman

Benny Goodman

The best thing at the time for a teenager was to see a Big Band in person.  In New York, it was a status symbol to be present at the Paramount [opened in 1926] seeing the Benny Goodman band strike out with “Let’s Dance.”  Lines formed to get in and school rooms would be half empty for the priviledge.  N.Y. and Chicago weren’t the only places to go.  Lakeside Park in Dayton, Ohio saw Herbie Kaye, featuring Dorothy Lamour and Phil Harris had his singer, Leah Ray.  Jimmy Dorsey brought Helen O’Connell and Alvino Rey had his electric guitar; the first amplified instrument for many.

Playing in a dance band was one way a student in college during the ’30s could help finance their education; MI0001955447some continued afterwards.  The Blue Devils of Duke U. had Les Brown, an undergraduate to lead them. (Better known to many as Dean Martin’s house band on TV.)  The Univ. of North Carolina produced Hal Kemp and later on, Kay Keyer’s student band.  The music of Alton Glen Miller, out of Clarinda, Iowa, is still considered today as the anthem of this musical age, had put himself through two years at Columbia Univ. by playing in a student band.  Though he never took a musical course, he later studied with Prof. Joseph Schillinger and “Moonlight Serenade” was born out of an arrangement exercise.  When Ben Pollack hired him in 1925, the shy star and the ‘Miller Sound’ were born.

Whether listening to the radio broadcast from the Grand Terrace Cafe in Chicago, the “society” bands at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto or Mark Hopkins in San Fransico, the swing fad became more popular than rock is today.  Saturday nights supplied listeners with “Your Hit Parade” reviewing the top ten smashes of the week, such as: “String of Pearls,” “Begin the Bequin,” and “Green Eyes.”  Spike Jones had the kids moving to the beat and “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” shook the rafters.  The music and the bands entered the movie business and the jukebox became the best sound system when concerts weren’t available.

Jimmy Dorsey

Jimmy Dorsey

The Big Band Era basically ran from 1935 to 1946 (according to historians) and is a major part of cultural history in many countries.  But, Shep Fields and his ‘Rippling Rhythm’ played the famous Roseland Ballroom in 1931 and Grosssinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel in ’33.  By 1941, he removed the brass section, making it an all-reed group as ‘Fields and His New Music’, featuring Ken Curtis.  Curtis was better known as one of the ‘Sons of the Pioneers,’ replacing Sinatra in the Dorsey band and for playing Festus Hagen on TV’s “Gunsmoke.”

Coming out of the ’30’s, the name Harry Haag James can not be avoided.  Even as Warner Bros. made the movie “Young Man With a Horn,” based on the life of Bex Beiderbecke, James played the trumpet solos while Kirk Douglas mimed on the screen.  The hot trumpeter became the most imaginative and sought after musician in

Artie Shaw

Artie Shaw

modern history, but Lawrence Welk thought he was too loud for his band when James tried-out.  By writing a novelty number called “Peckin’” he started a new dance craze.  With WWII, his sentimental phase started and “You Made Me Love You” became his first hit record.  The ever-famous closing song for so many bands, “Goodnight Sweetheart” was written by the British bandleader Ray Noble, and ironically, so was the tune “Cherokee” recorded by Count Basie and Charlie Barnett.

Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday

The female vocalists with the bands were called “canaries”, but unknown to many, there quite a few all-girl bands during this era as well.  A prime example was ‘The International Sweethearts of Rhythm.’  They emerged out of the south with such popularity that they toured Europe after completing the U.S. route.  Bandleader Peggy Gilbert continued playing into 1995 at the age of 90.  Prairie View College in Texas started all-girl bands to make up for the shortage of men during the war years.  The military, with the USO, featured female swing band tours to entertain the troops.  The ‘Sharon Rogers All-Girl Band’ went to the Philippines, Korea and Japan.

In 1941, Stan Kenton came along, but so did WWII and a strike called in 1942 by the American Federation of Musicians.  Les Brown suddenly became more popular with his creamy but lively style.  Ballads emerged with lyrics and solo singers; music as a whole was moving on.  In 1946, within just a few weeks, eight of the greatest swing bands broke up; Goodman and Dorsey included.  A progressive hard-edged version of jazz took over with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker in the lead.

No one truly ever recorded the greatest arrangements of the age because the old microphones could not transmit sound with the complete amplitude and fidelity.  Modern engineers have been able to rediscover some of the sounds that went into the mikes and transmitted on the master discs, but not onto the vinyl records for distribution.

Who were your favorites or your family’s record collection hidden back in the closet?

Resources: “An Introduction to the Swing Era” and “The Swing Era” by Time-Life Records; All that Jazz.history; “When Swing Was King” by John R. Tumpak; “Swing Shift” by Sherrie Tucker; Wikipedia.

In a letter from Lad to Grandpa, dated June 14, 1943, he writes:    “Last night, Art, Marian and a girl friend of Art’s and myself went to Hollywood and spent all evening dancing to Woody Herman at the Palladium. Woody is one of the Swing Band leaders that I don’t like particularly, but he does have a good orchestra and plays some sweet music now and then. Marian is not a jitterbugger and neither am I, but she is a very good dancer and we get along very well dancing to almost any type of music, so we had a perfect time.”

Guest Post – The World in 1940 by GP Cox

 

On November 16, 2012, I received an email from WordPress.com telling me that gpcox had liked several of my posts and suggested that I check out their Blog, pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com, which I did. I read about the 11th Airborne Division and their war in the Pacific. I also enjoyed reading, with humor, a letter from Smitty to his Mom describing a recipe for “Jungle Juice”. The similarities between our posts was not lost on me and I sent a comment to gpcox. Since we had both started Blogging in September of that year, I thought we might be able to connect and give each other encouragement and advice.

As we emailed back and forth I learned that there were more similarities than I had imagined. Our fathers were born in the same year and drafted within months of each other. There were also sharp contrasts between our Blogs. Mine was focused on an ordinary family, trying to live an ordinary life, during an extraordinary time in our history.  gpcox’s Blog focused on the accurate, factual experiences of the 11th Airborne Division and Smitty’s “take” on the whole thing.

I emailed gpcox with a request to write a Guest Post for my Blog, and gpcox eventually wrote almost a dozen Guest Posts for me and I will be re-posting them each Sunday for the next 3 months. 

By reading both blogs, the world as it was then comes into sharper focus.

Enjoy.

The World in 1940 by gpcox

Judy contacted me to do a guest post when she discovered the similarities in our father’s lives.  Both men were born in 1914 and were presented with their “Greetings” cards from the draft board only months apart.  Now Judy and I are very close in age and are posting our father’s letters simultaneously.

In my blog, pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com, I briefly describe my father, Everett Smith’s life on Broad Channel, NY and then his service in the 11th Airborne Division in the Pacific War.  His letters home show just how he believed every day was a learning experience.  He used his wit and dry humor to describe the events around him, but not the striking brutality of combat.

Rather than go into detail about my blog, I would prefer to co-ordinate with Judy, who at this point in her blog is, 1940.  In this way, we can better visualize the era.

We are looking back to an age when an average house cost $3,900, an average wage was $1,725 and a gallon of gas was 11 cents.  A time when America was finally easing its way out of the Great Depression, people were enjoying the new motion picture, “Gone With The Wind,” and listening to the jazz tunes of Benny Goodman and Count Basie on the radio.

As far as the conflicts in Europe were concerned, the U.S. was divided in thought.  While half believed in remaining isolationist and curing this country’s ills, the remainder followed FDR’s thoughts of entering the war and assisting England.  My father believed in the former train of thought, but the latter ideal won out and the first peacetime draft was installed in September of that year. (It was called: The Selective Training and Service Act.)

In Broad Channel, Everett, also known as Smitty, had a boat dock named (what else?) Smitty’s, (which still exists today) and tended bar at a friend’s restaurant, “Grassy Point,” at night.  On this small island, when the Broad Channel Red Cross Auxiliary ordered a house-to-house collection for the War Relief Fund, the Sand Bar Restaurant opened its doors and the Bathing Park hosted a professional tennis match between Don Budge and John Nogrady.  Judy’s father was in an area where the people were seeing the life style of countries and they wanted a higher standard of living and a stronger voice in government.  Industrialism became their priority.

But, other parts of the world were not as peaceful.  Japan went through four Prime Ministers in 1940, while Australian P.M., Robert Menzies, kept a sharp eye on that island nation to his north as Chungking, China was bombed by the Japanese.  Neville Chamberlain held the P.M. post for the United Kingdom until May, when Winston Churchill took his place.  German Chancellor Adolph Hitler, agreed to form an alliance with Italy and proceeded to invade Denmark, Norway, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands and the Battle of Britain began.  Russia’s Joseph Stalin looked on from the Baltics as 1940 exploded around the world.

Throughout all the turmoil and hardships, the greatest generation persevered.

Stay connected to both these blogs and see how these two families succeeded.

A little about gpcox.

I was born Gail Smith on the island of Broad Channel, NY to my loving parents, Everett and Lillian.  I grew up in East Meadow, out in Nassau County, NY and although an only child, I had two foster brothers and a neighborhood of friends I continue to stay in touch with today.

Even as a child, I was interested and curious about the scrapbook my grandmother kept for my father while he was engaged in the Pacific War.  I used to ask my father why he didn’t try to have his letters published.  His reply: “Who would want to read about me?”  Later, here I am after years of research and countless e-mails with historians still trying to put the details into some semblance of order.  A condensed version of all that research is currently being posted at: pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com.  I am happy to say that a month and a half, three posts have been re-blogged and the blog has 60 followers.

I am honored that Judy has requested I be a guest on her blog.  She feels, as I do, that family and history are important, not only for us, but for future generations.  Hopefully our stories will contribute to that ideal.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin posting letters written in 1942. Both Lad and Dan are in the Army and going through their basic training. Ced is working in Alaska as an airplane mechanic and Bush Pilot. Dick and Dave are living in Trumbull with their Dad, known to me as Grandpa.

Judy Guion 

Guest Post – You Ain’t Got A Thing, If You Ain’t Got That Swing ! – GPCox

The Big Band Era

By: gpcox

http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com

“You ain’t got a thing, if you ain’t got that Swing!”

Swing was a verb that musicians used long before press agents turned it into a noun or adjective to describe both an attitude toward music and a special way of performing it.  “Swing” suggests rhythm and a regular propulsive oscillation, a form of jazz that is still influencing music today.  There are many instruments reinforcing the others, then other times, playing against each other and a solo instrument playing against a background.  The jazz form traveled north out of New Orleans in the 1890’s and slammed into the Chicago scene in the 1920’s.

Vincent Lopez

Vincent Lopez

The beginnings can be traced back to Fletcher Henderson in New York and Bernie Moten in Kansas City.  Fletcher and his brother Horace created the pattern for swing arrangements and was the first to train a big band to play jazz.  “Sweet” bands, like Guy Lombardo, Vincent Lopez and Wayne King had ample audiences. (Lombardo’s band was still playing under the direction of his son-in-law out on Long Island and I was priviledged to see twice.  My grandmother had dated Lopez years ago.  Smitty, my father, took me to the Hotel Taft in Manhattan and had me tell the conductor that I was her grandchild.  Lopez sat me on stage while the band played a song for me.)

In Denver 1935, things didn’t go so well.  Even Goodman’s band was not well received, despite featuring trumpeter Bunny

Gene Krupa

Gene Krupa

Beregan, drummer Gene Krupa and pianist Jess Stacy.  When the tour hit Los Angeles, the Palomar Ballroom did not respond until Goodman let the musicians go wild with the Henderson arrangements – the crowd exploded.  Jazz turned into swing and the press described it as a new form of music and Benny as the King of Swing.  Bands sprung up everywhere.  Bob Crosby’s “Bob-Cats” as well as Artie Shaw and Woody Herman wowed the crowds by 1939, including Igor Stravinsky.

In the late 1930’s, people tried to ease their depression by dancing and ballrooms became the rage, so for a large room – one needs a large band.  Ellington’s and Basie’s were two of the largest and Ella Fitzgerald’s voice resounded over the crowds with her upbeat skat singing.

A “big band” usually had 10 musicians or more.  Jazz, which was mostly for listening, developed slowly into the swing music for dancing.  Louis Armstrong started in the ’20s to help this transition along.  Count Basie’s band stressed improvisation and his “One O’Clock Jump” sold over a million copies; for the era – this was unheard of.

Benny Goodman

Benny Goodman

The best thing at the time for a teenager was to see a Big Band in person.  In New York, it was a status symbol to be present at the Paramount [opened in 1926] seeing the Benny Goodman band strike out with “Let’s Dance.”  Lines formed to get in and school rooms would be half empty for the priviledge.  N.Y. and Chicago weren’t the only places to go.  Lakeside Park in Dayton, Ohio saw Herbie Kaye, featuring Dorothy Lamour and Phil Harris had his singer, Leah Ray.  Jimmy Dorsey brought Helen O’Connell and Alvino Rey had his electric guitar; the first amplified instrument for many.

Playing in a dance band was one way a student in college during the ’30s could help finance their education; MI0001955447some continued afterwards.  The Blue Devils of Duke U. had Les Brown, an undergraduate to lead them. (Better known to many as Dean Martin’s house band on TV.)  The Univ. of North Carolina produced Hal Kemp and later on, Kay Keyer’s student band.  The music of Alton Glen Miller, out of Clarinda, Iowa, is still considered today as the anthem of this musical age, had put himself through two years at Columbia Univ. by playing in a student band.  Though he never took a musical course, he later studied with Prof. Joseph Schillinger and “Moonlight Serenade” was born out of an arrangement exercise.  When Ben Pollack hired him in 1925, the shy star and the ‘Miller Sound’ were born.

Whether listening to the radio broadcast from the Grand Terrace Cafe in Chicago, the “society” bands at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto or Mark Hopkins in San Fransico, the swing fad became more popular than rock is today.  Saturday nights supplied listeners with “Your Hit Parade” reviewing the top ten smashes of the week, such as: “String of Pearls,” “Begin the Bequin,” and “Green Eyes.”  Spike Jones had the kids moving to the beat and “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” shook the rafters.  The music and the bands entered the movie business and the jukebox became the best sound system when concerts weren’t available.

Jimmy Dorsey

Jimmy Dorsey

The Big Band Era basically ran from 1935 to 1946 (according to historians) and is a major part of cultural history in many countries.  But, Shep Fields and his ‘Rippling Rhythm’ played the famous Roseland Ballroom in 1931 and Grosssinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel in ’33.  By 1941, he removed the brass section, making it an all-reed group as ‘Fields and His New Music’, featuring Ken Curtis.  Curtis was better known as one of the ‘Sons of the Pioneers,’ replacing Sinatra in the Dorsey band and for playing Festus Hagen on TV’s “Gunsmoke.”

Coming out of the ’30’s, the name Harry Haag James can not be avoided.  Even as Warner Bros. made the movie “Young Man With a Horn,” based on the life of Bex Beiderbecke, James played the trumpet solos while Kirk Douglas mimed on the screen.  The hot trumpeter became the most imaginative and sought after musician in

Artie Shaw

Artie Shaw

modern history, but Lawrence Welk thought he was too loud for his band when James tried-out.  By writing a novelty number called “Peckin'” he started a new dance craze.  With WWII, his sentimental phase started and “You Made Me Love You” became his first hit record.  The ever-famous closing song for so many bands, “Goodnight Sweetheart” was written by the British bandleader Ray Noble, and ironically, so was the tune “Cherokee” recorded by Count Basie and Charlie Barnett.

Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday

The female vocalists with the bands were called “canaries”, but unknown to many, there quite a few all-girl bands during this era as well.  A prime example was ‘The International Sweethearts of Rhythm.’  They emerged out of the south with such popularity that they toured Europe after completing the U.S. route.  Bandleader Peggy Gilbert continued playing into 1995 at the age of 90.  Prairie View College in Texas started all-girl bands to make up for the shortage of men during the war years.  The military, with the USO, featured female swing band tours to entertain the troops.  The ‘Sharon Rogers All-Girl Band’ went to the Philippines, Korea and Japan.

In 1941, Stan Kenton came along, but so did WWII and a strike called in 1942 by the American Federation of Musicians.  Les Brown suddenly became more popular with his creamy but lively style.  Ballads emerged with lyrics and solo singers; music as a whole was moving on.  In 1946, within just a few weeks, eight of the greatest swing bands broke up; Goodman and Dorsey included.  A progressive hard-edged version of jazz took over with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker in the lead.

No one truly ever recorded the greatest arrangements of the age because the old microphones could not transmit sound with the complete amplitude and fidelity.  Modern engineers have been able to rediscover some of the sounds that went into the mikes and transmitted on the master discs, but not onto the vinyl records for distribution.

Who were your favorites or your family’s record collection hidden back in the closet?

Resources: “An Introduction to the Swing Era” and “The Swing Era” by Time-Life Records; All that Jazz.history; “When Swing Was King” by John R. Tumpak; “Swing Shift” by Sherrie Tucker; Wikipedia.

In a letter from Lad to Grandpa, dated June 14, 1943, he writes:    “Last night, Art, Marian and a girl friend of Art’s and myself went to Hollywood and spent all evening dancing to Woody Herman at the Palladium. Woody is one of the Swing Band leaders that I don’t like particularly, but he does have a good orchestra and plays some sweet music now and then. Marian is not a jitterbugger and neither am I, but she is a very good dancer and we get along very well dancing to almost any type of music, so we had a perfect time.”

For the rest of this week, I’ll be posting letters surrounding Christmas, 1943. Lad was sent to Texarkana on December 21st, so he and Marian had an early Christmas ans she’s not feeling the Christmas spirit very much. They have been married for a little over a month and had only found a place to live 12 days earlier, after bunking in the car or at friend’s homes. Not much to be thrilled about, although she tries to keep her spirits up.

Judy Guion

Guest Post – You Ain’t Got A Thing, If You Ain’t Got That Swing ! – GPCox

The Big Band Era

By: gpcox

http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com

“You ain’t got a thing, if you ain’t got that Swing!”

Swing was a verb that musicians used long before press agents turned it into a noun or adjective to describe both an attitude toward music and a special way of performing it.  “Swing” suggests rhythm and a regular propulsive oscillation, a form of jazz that is still influencing music today.  There are many instruments reinforcing the others, then other times, playing against each other and a solo instrument playing against a background.  The jazz form traveled north out of New Orleans in the 1890’s and slammed into the Chicago scene in the 1920’s.

Vincent Lopez
Vincent Lopez

The beginnings can be traced back to Fletcher Henderson in New York and Bernie Moten in Kansas City.  Fletcher and his brother Horace created the pattern for swing arrangements and was the first to train a big band to play jazz.  “Sweet” bands, like Guy Lombardo, Vincent Lopez and Wayne King had ample audiences. (Lombardo’s band was still playing under the direction of his son-in-law out on Long Island and I was priviledged to see twice.  My grandmother had dated Lopez years ago.  Smitty, my father, took me to the Hotel Taft in Manhattan and had me tell the conductor that I was her grandchild.  Lopez sat me on stage while the band played a song for me.)

In Denver 1935, things didn’t go so well.  Even Goodman’s band was not well received, despite featuring trumpeter Bunny

Gene Krupa
Gene Krupa

Beregan, drummer Gene Krupa and pianist Jess Stacy.  When the tour hit Los Angeles, the Palomar Ballroom did not respond until Goodman let the musicians go wild with the Henderson arrangements – the crowd exploded.  Jazz turned into swing and the press described it as a new form of music and Benny as the King of Swing.  Bands sprung up everywhere.  Bob Crosby’s “Bob-Cats” as well as Artie Shaw and Woody Herman wowed the crowds by 1939, including Igor Stravinsky.

In the late 1930’s, people tried to ease their depression by dancing and ballrooms became the rage, so for a large room – one needs a large band.  Ellington’s and Basie’s were two of the largest and Ella Fitzgerald’s voice resounded over the crowds with her upbeat skat singing.

A “big band” usually had 10 musicians or more.  Jazz, which was mostly for listening, developed slowly into the swing music for dancing.  Louis Armstrong started in the ’20s to help this transition along.  Count Basie’s band stressed improvisation and his “One O’Clock Jump” sold over a million copies; for the era – this was unheard of.

Benny Goodman
Benny Goodman

The best thing at the time for a teenager was to see a Big Band in person.  In New York, it was a status symbol to be present at the Paramount [opened in 1926] seeing the Benny Goodman band strike out with “Let’s Dance.”  Lines formed to get in and school rooms would be half empty for the priviledge.  N.Y. and Chicago weren’t the only places to go.  Lakeside Park in Dayton, Ohio saw Herbie Kaye, featuring Dorothy Lamour and Phil Harris had his singer, Leah Ray.  Jimmy Dorsey brought Helen O’Connell and Alvino Rey had his electric guitar; the first amplified instrument for many.

Playing in a dance band was one way a student in college during the ’30s could help finance their education; MI0001955447some continued afterwards.  The Blue Devils of Duke U. had Les Brown, an undergraduate to lead them. (Better known to many as Dean Martin’s house band on TV.)  The Univ. of North Carolina produced Hal Kemp and later on, Kay Keyer’s student band.  The music of Alton Glen Miller, out of Clarinda, Iowa, is still considered today as the anthem of this musical age, had put himself through two years at Columbia Univ. by playing in a student band.  Though he never took a musical course, he later studied with Prof. Joseph Schillinger and “Moonlight Serenade” was born out of an arrangement exercise.  When Ben Pollack hired him in 1925, the shy star and the ‘Miller Sound’ were born.

Whether listening to the radio broadcast from the Grand Terrace Cafe in Chicago, the “society” bands at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto or Mark Hopkins in San Fransico, the swing fad became more popular than rock is today.  Saturday nights supplied listeners with “Your Hit Parade” reviewing the top ten smashes of the week, such as: “String of Pearls,” “Begin the Bequin,” and “Green Eyes.”  Spike Jones had the kids moving to the beat and “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” shook the rafters.  The music and the bands entered the movie business and the jukebox became the best sound system when concerts weren’t available.

Jimmy Dorsey
Jimmy Dorsey

The Big Band Era basically ran from 1935 to 1946 (according to historians) and is a major part of cultural history in many countries.  But, Shep Fields and his ‘Rippling Rhythm’ played the famous Roseland Ballroom in 1931 and Grosssinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel in ’33.  By 1941, he removed the brass section, making it an all-reed group as ‘Fields and His New Music’, featuring Ken Curtis.  Curtis was better known as one of the ‘Sons of the Pioneers,’ replacing Sinatra in the Dorsey band and for playing Festus Hagen on TV’s “Gunsmoke.”

Coming out of the ’30’s, the name Harry Haag James can not be avoided.  Even as Warner Bros. made the movie “Young Man With a Horn,” based on the life of Bex Beiderbecke, James played the trumpet solos while Kirk Douglas mimed on the screen.  The hot trumpeter became the most imaginative and sought after musician in

Artie Shaw
Artie Shaw

modern history, but Lawrence Welk thought he was too loud for his band when James tried-out.  By writing a novelty number called “Peckin'” he started a new dance craze.  With WWII, his sentimental phase started and “You Made Me Love You” became his first hit record.  The ever-famous closing song for so many bands, “Goodnight Sweetheart” was written by the British bandleader Ray Noble, and ironically, so was the tune “Cherokee” recorded by Count Basie and Charlie Barnett.

Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday

The female vocalists with the bands were called “canaries”, but unknown to many, there quite a few all-girl bands during this era as well.  A prime example was ‘The International Sweethearts of Rhythm.’  They emerged out of the south with such popularity that they toured Europe after completing the U.S. route.  Bandleader Peggy Gilbert continued playing into 1995 at the age of 90.  Prairie View College in Texas started all-girl bands to make up for the shortage of men during the war years.  The military, with the USO, featured female swing band tours to entertain the troops.  The ‘Sharon Rogers All-Girl Band’ went to the Philippines, Korea and Japan.

In 1941, Stan Kenton came along, but so did WWII and a strike called in 1942 by the American Federation of Musicians.  Les Brown suddenly became more popular with his creamy but lively style.  Ballads emerged with lyrics and solo singers; music as a whole was moving on.  In 1946, within just a few weeks, eight of the greatest swing bands broke up; Goodman and Dorsey included.  A progressive hard-edged version of jazz took over with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker in the lead.

No one truly ever recorded the greatest arrangements of the age because the old microphones could not transmit sound with the complete amplitude and fidelity.  Modern engineers have been able to rediscover some of the sounds that went into the mikes and transmitted on the master discs, but not onto the vinyl records for distribution.

Who were your favorites or your family’s record collection hidden back in the closet?

Resources: “An Introduction to the Swing Era” and “The Swing Era” by Time-Life Records; All that Jazz.history; “When Swing Was King” by John R. Tumpak; “Swing Shift” by Sherrie Tucker; Wikipedia.

In a letter from Lad to Grandpa, dated June 14, 1943, he writes:    “Last night, Art, Marian and a girl friend of Art’s and myself went to Hollywood and spent all evening dancing to Woody Herman at the Palladium. Woody is one of the Swing Band leaders that I don’t like particularly, but he does have a good orchestra and plays some sweet music now and then. Marian is not a jitterbugger and neither am I, but she is a very good dancer and we get along very well dancing to almost any type of music, so we had a perfect time.”

For the rest of this week, I’ll be posting letters surrounding Christmas, 1943. Lad was sent to Texarkana on December 21st, so he and Marian had an early Christmas ans she’s not feeling the Christmas spirit very much. They have been married for a little over a month and had only found a place to live 12 days earlier, after bunking in the car or at friend’s homes. Not much to be thrilled about, although she tries to keep her spirits up.

Judy Guion

Women of World War II by gpcox

Women of WWII

By: gpcox http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com

I want to apologize to gpcox because there are five pictures in this post and for some reason, they will not transfer when I post the article. I’ve tried it several ways and they just won’t come through.

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

For the WASPs, 1,830 female pilots volunteered for Avenger Field outside Sweetwater, Texas alone and it was the only co-ed air base in the U.S.  These women would ferry aircraft coming off the assembly lines from the factories to the base.  They acted as test pilots; assessing the performance of the planes.  The WASPs were flight instructors and would shuttle officers around to the posts where they were needed.  For artillery practice, they would tow the target.  During their service, 38 of these brave women died.

  A wonderful story was given to me by my longtime friend, Carol Schlaepfer, about Pearl Brummett Judd, a WASP pilot she met in California.  Pearl was a test pilot flying the Stearman, PT-17; North American AT-6; Vultee BT-13; Cessna UC-78 and AT-17.  In an interview, she said, “The B-29 was a little touchy.  The engines caught on fire.”  Pearl Judd and her fellow WASP sisters (or their survivors) finally received a Congressional Gold Medal for their services in March 2010.  25,000 women in all applied for the WASPs; in Pearl’s class of 114 women, only 49 graduated.  The symbol for the WASPS, shown below, uses the image of Pearl Judd.  They did not receive veteran status until 1977 and did not have the right to have a flag on their coffin until 2000.

WACs, (Women’s Army Corps), the nurses were on active duty around the world.  But, the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service of the Navy); the SPARS (U.S. Coast Guard Women’s Reserve) and Women’s Marines were prohibited by law from serving outside the U. S.  At Cherry Point Marine Air Station in North Carolina, 80% of the control tower operations were done by the female Marines.  Nearly all the SPARS and WAVES officers were college graduates and worked in finance, chemical warfare or aerological engineering.  Some were assigned to install radar on the warships.

WWII enabled women to be involved in top-secret operations for the first time.  These women dealt with LORAN stations, night-fighter training and watched the screens for unusual “blips.”  They took in messages from the British “Enigma” intelligence about German activity.  The OSS hired women as agents, as we discussed on my post at:                                                                   http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/allied-spies-saboteurs/

The first WACS to arrive in the Pacific were sent to Australia, 2 ½ years after Pearl Harbor, in May 1944.  In Port Moresby, New Guinea they served within barbed wire compounds (any dates with the men had be pre-approved)  As the forces moved from island to island, the WACS followed after the area was secured from the enemy.  Yet, despite these precautions, 68 service women were captured as POWs in the Philippines and 565 WACS in the Pacific Theater alone won combat decorations for bravery under fire and meritous service.  Nurses were in Normandy on D-Day+4.  In the Army Nurse Corps, 16 were killed as a result of enemy fire.  A Red Cross woman was also killed during an attack on the 95th Evacuation Hospital.  Also in the ETO, when their plane was forced to crash land behind enemy lines, Lt. Agnes Mangerich and 13 other nurses, male technicians and the pilot marched for 62 days before reaching safety.

A fascinating story of WAVE, Margaret Hain, can be found at fellow blogger, Don Moore’s site:

http://donmooreswartails.com/2013/08/23/margaret-hain/

 

American women did more than join the military…..

Alice Newcomer graduated George Washington University in 1943 and immediately began working in the Lend-Lease Program.  The 400-500 people employed there easily dealt with billions of dollars in war materiel, but when it came to how much should be shipped in civilian supplies, she said no one quite knew where to draw the line.  Hilda O’Brien, fresh out of Columbia Univ. Graduate School, started her career in the Justice Dept.  Kay Halle, a radio broadcaster, worked for the OSS in Morale Operations and became known as Mata Halle.  (Many of these operations still remain secret.)  Sally Knox was an editor for what was a part of the Army Air Force.  She was in Detroit and then Wright Field near Dayton, Ohio. (Which later became Patterson Air Force Base)  She helped to prepare military publications.

Coralee Redmond of Tacoma, Washington had a husband, 9 children and several brothers who worked for the war effort or served in the military.  She and one daughter worked in the shipyards while her other daughter went to work for Boeing in Seattle.  [No one could doubt her contributions.]  On 29 April 1943, the National Labor Board issued a report to give equal pay for women working in war industries.  To see the actual report, a fellow blogger has posted it:

http://todayinlaborhistory.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/april-29-1943-2/

  In Canada, besides having their own Canadian Women’s Army Corps, the women showed their national pride, not only by entering the masculine sphere of work to release the men to serve in the military, but by using their domestic talents in volunteer work.  The War Services Fund was supported in this way.  Their civic and community pride provided various forms of aid to the war effort.

In New Zealand, the women of WWII were also doing their part.  The Women’s War Service Auxiliary worked in the Transport Division, firefighting, canteen work, camouflage netting, ambulance work and even had an orchard and gardening section.  Their WAAF (Women’s Aux Air Force) had cipher officers, pilots, mechanics and meteorologists.  Noeline and Daphne Petrie, after joining the WAAF, were stationed at Woodbourne and Fiji.  And, we cannot forget the nurses.  Our fellow blogger, Gallivanta at: http://silkandthreads.wordpress.com gave me the link for this information and for books that are available: http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/heritage/warandconflicts/worldwar2/servicewomen/

 Australian women as early as 1939 were trained in jobs to free the men to enlist.  The Women’s Emergency Signaling Corps were based in Sydney.  The Woman’s Flying Club were not pilots, but trained to be mechanics and the Women’s Transport Corps passed rigorous driving tests for truck driving and ambulances.

In Britain there was a definite industrial segregation of men and women in industry, but as the war continued to rage, the barriers lessened out of necessity.  They began transporting coal on the inland waterways, joining the Fire Service and Auxiliary Police Corps.  They began to be “drafted” into the Women’s Royal Naval Service (“WRENS”), Auxiliary Air Force and Air Transport.  The women of Britain played a vital role in all phases of the war including the French underground, Special Operations and anti-aircraft units.

Finland had the organization, Lotta Svard, where the women voluntarily took part in auxiliary work of the armed forces to help the men fighting on the front.  At home, they were nurses and air raid signalers.  The Lotta Svard was one of the largest voluntary groups of WWII; although they never fired guns which was a rule of their group.

The Soviet Union utilized women pretty much from the start of the war and they were NOT auxiliary.  Approximately 800,000 served in front line units.  They were part of the antiaircraft units as well, firing the guns and acting as snipers.  Klavdiya Kalugina was their youngest female sniper starting her military service at age 17.

An interesting story about Irena Sendler in war-torn Warsaw, go to fellow blogger’s page at:

http://abigaleblood.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/a-triumph-and-tragedy-for-womens-history/

Judy and I would appreciate hearing any and all stories you have.  Let’s hear from every country out there!!

Resources: University of Fraser Valley; ww2 database; “Greatest Generation” by Tom Brokaw; “Americans Remember the Home Front” by Roy Hoopes; ctch.binghampton.edu; Wikipedia; publicworks.qld.go; Australia.gov

Guest Post – Rationing Gone Wild by gpcox

Rationing Gone Wild

 

By: GPCox

  http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com

Blog - Rationing - Shate my car - 8.114.2013

The Second World War was fought on two fronts and as we’ve seen in previous posts, the home front rarely received the credit it deserved for its efforts.  The generation that endured the Great Depression, worked long, hard hours and were often forced to use the barter system to survive now, for the war effort, had shortages for most everything.  If you can name it – there was probably a ration book for it and a black market to get it; if you dared.  The children also pitched in by giving, what money they could earn, back into the family.

Rationing started just weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor and sugar was the first product to be rationed when sales ended 27 April 1942 and commercial manufacturers received a ration of about 70% of their normal consumption and ice cream producers switched to making sherbet.  Then coffee was put on ration allotments 29 November 1942, with nine other items being added to the list by the end of the year.  Almost one year later, about 21 others were on the list, such as: firewood, coal, stoves, bicycles, footwear, nylons and processed foods like canned milk.  As a toothpaste tube was made of metal back then, people had to hand in the old one in order to receive the replacement.  There were 5,500 local ration boards to issue the books and stamps and these were doled out according to the size of a household, and whether or not they owned a restaurant or were a merchant.

Victory Gardens became popular and were encouraged by the government.  From windowsills and small backyards to acreage were developed to supplement the rationed food.  Freezers were new and expensive; refrigerators were scarce and required a two-page application for their purchase.  Therefore, women learned how to can what extra they grew, set up roadside stands and used dry ice; whenever it was available to protect the surplus supply.

The first non-food item rationed was rubber since the Japanese had captured the Dutch East Indies’ plantations where the U.S. had received 90% of its product.  FDR called the nation to recycle old tires, raincoats, garden hoses, bathing caps, etc.  The OPA started the “Idle Tire Purchase Plan” that could refuse mileage rations to anyone owning passenger tires that were not in use.  The government had tried a voluntary gas rationing, but this was unsuccessful, so you had to prove to a local board that you owned no more than five tires.

As a result of the gasoline rationing, the Indy 500 was cancelled as well as sightseeing tours.  In some areas, violations were prevalent; therefore night courts began to spring up to handle the amount of offenders.  The first session was opened on the evening of 26 May 1943 at the Pittsburgh Fulton Building.

The maximum “Victory Speed” was 35 mph for the nation and carpools were encouraged.  Even Daffy Duck cartoons urged drivers to “Keep it under 40!”  By the end of ’42, half of the U.S. automobiles were issued “A” stickers as non-essential vehicles and only allotted 4 gallons per week.  The green “B” stickers were those deemed essential to the war effort in some way and could receive up to 8 gallons a week.  The red “C” was for doctors, ministers, postal employees and railroad workers.  The “T”, obviously for truckers, had an unlimited supply of gasoline and the rare “X” sticker went to members of Congress and other chosen VIPs.  These were affixed to the windshield so that the reverse side could be seen by the occupants.

Windshield gasoline ration stickers

Windshield gasoline ration stickers

A woman who had worked for one of the rationing boards in New York kept a scrapbook and in it was a list – the “11 Commandments of Rationing”:

1-      Don’t try to buy rationed goods with loose stamps.

2-      Don’t lend your ration book to a friend.

3-      Don’t swap ration coupons.

4-      Don’t give your unused stamps to your dealer.

5-      Don’t try to buy rationed goods without coupons.

6-      Don’t try to use ration stamps after they expire.

7-      Don’t try to use a ration book that doesn’t belong to you or that should have been returned to the board.

8-      Don’t use a ration book that is a duplicate of one you already own in your own name.

9-      Don’t pay over top legal prices.

10-  Don’t let any dealer make you buy something you don’t want to get or do not need.

11-  Don’t use your gasoline rations for anything except the purpose for which they were intended.

I believe this helps to explain what strict regulations were imposed and why the black markets begin to emerge.

After reading countless first-hand accounts of the WWII era, I found one underlying current in most every story – a sense of personal responsibility.  A character trait such as this does not show up in the statistics for a country.  The stamina, perseverance and self-discipline of that generation have nearly all been lost.  Personal independence and patriotism were normal and honesty was the rule – not the exception.  A hand shake could close a major business deal.  Logic and common sense were aspired for every choice they made – survival of country and family depended upon it.  Ordinary people became heroes in their own right with pride and dedication.

I did not acquire enough information on the rationing that transpired in countries outside the U.S., but a fellow blogger has data on the state of affairs in England at – http://jackiedinnis.wordpress.com  Judy and I would enjoy hearing from everyone out there, whether you have a story on rationing or not; we’re a community here and it only gets better when you join in.

Blog - Rationing - canned goods - 8.14.2013

Resources:  The US Home Front during WWII.com; The Greatest Generation, by Tom Brokaw; Wikipedia; Library of Congress; Let the Good Times Roll, by Paul D. Casolorph; Americans Remember the Home Front, by Roy Hoopes

I’d always known about rationing but I never realized that so many products were on the list and the regulations were so strict. Did you? gpcox, again, has done a great job researching the subject and I know I learned quite a bit. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

I think that the next to last paragraph says it all – the home front and civilians around the world made incredible sacrifices for this “War to end all wars”.

To get a larger perspective on life in the US during the 40’s, please check out other Guest Posts from gpcox. You can find them by clicking on the category – Guest Posts and Re-Blogs. Definitely entertaining and informational……

Tomorrow, we’ll continue with letters flying back and forth between California and Trumbull as the BIG day approaches.

Judy Guion