, two-time recipient of the Distinguished Cross, died on October 18th in a car accident. Another WWII veteran gone, and as with many, an interesting tale
exists in his past. Credited with injuring Rommel
(although he didn't know it at the time
and it was denied by Germany), it's often thought that the loss of Rommel from Hitler's strategy team helped sway the war for the Allies (though it's wondered if has Rommel lived the July 20 plot
against Hitler might have succeeded). After the war, Charley was an advocate for veterans and trained many. He died wearing his uniform
posted by Kickstart70
on Nov 11, 2008 -
This is my rifle.
There are many like it, but this one is mine. My rifle is my best friend. It is my life.
I must master it as I master my life. My rifle, without me, is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless.
I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than any enemy who is trying to kill me.
I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will... My rifle and myself know that what counts in this war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit.
.. My rifle
is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weakness, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel
. I will keep my rifle clean
and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will.... Before God I swear this creed. My rifle and myself are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life. So be it, until victory is America's and there is no enemy, but Peace
. [more inside]
posted by mattbucher
on Nov 11, 2008 -
I first heard of a 'Paraset'
when I saw a message on the QRP-L
reflector announcing an upcoming 'June 6th Paraset D-Day
' activity. A search for more information soon revealed that the Paraset was a small vacuum-tube transmitter-receiver unit built during WWII in the UK at the Whaddon Hall
headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service Communications Unit. Known officially as the 'Whaddon Mark VII
', the units were either air-dropped by parachute or carried, by the jumpers themselves, into many of the occupied countries of western Europe. . .
posted by jackspace
on Nov 5, 2008 -
"When you’re on your own in that pit with the bomb in the middle of a city, it’s strange how everything suddenly goes totally quiet..." Interview
with one of Germany's most experienced bomb disposal experts as he retires. Photogallery
posted by fearfulsymmetry
on Oct 17, 2008 -
Baseball behind barbed wire.
Japanese-Americans brought baseball with them when they emigrated to America. The game had been introduced to Japan, so the story goes
, by American Professor Horace Wilson in the 1870s. When Japanese nationals and Japanese-Americans were relocated to internment camps during World War II, playing baseball was one of the few freedoms allowed them by camp directors. [more inside]
posted by nanojath
on Aug 19, 2008 -
JARDA: Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives
is a collection of photographs, diaries, letters, camp newsletters, personal histories and a wealth of other material relating to the relocation and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The site is divided into four categories: People
, the men, women, and children who were incarcerated. Places
, prewar neighborhoods and wartime camps. Daily Life
, eating, sleeping, working, playing, and going to school. Personal Experiences
, letters, diaries, art and other writing by internees. Among the photographers hired by the War Relocation Authority was famed dust bowl photographer Dorothea Lange. 855 of her photos
are on the site. Even though she was working as a propagandist many of her images captures a starker reality, for instance this picture of a glum little girl
posted by Kattullus
on Aug 3, 2008 -
In November 1943, the village of Tyneham
in Dorset, England, received an unexpected letter
from the War Department, informing residents that the area would soon be "cleared of all civilians" to make way for Army weapons training. A month later, the displaced villagers left a note on their church door: Please treat the church and houses with care; we have given up our homes where many of us lived for generations to help win the war to keep men free. We shall return one day and thank you for treating the village kindly.
Residents were told they would be allowed to reclaim their homes after the war, but that didn't happen, and Tyneham became a ghost village
. Though most of the cottages have been damaged or fallen into disrepair, the church and school have been preserved and restored. Photo galleries 1
. Panoramic tour [Java required]
. Video: Death of a Village [YouTube, 9 mins.]
posted by amyms
on Jul 10, 2008 -
‘Even to this day the diary has a slight aroma of cocoa,’ says Steve Dickinson about a diary kept by his uncle Robert Dickinson
while a prisoner at Servigliano
, an Italian war camp, in the 1940s. The diary has a cover made of old cocoa tins (hence the smell) with a broadcast aerial design incorporating the title 'Servigliano Calling.' It begins with his capture by the Germans in November 1941, and finishes, about six months before his death, in September 1944. Via The Diary Junction
posted by amyms
on Jul 2, 2008 -
"'Uncle Adolf' referred to William Patrick as 'my loathsome nephew'."
Willy Hitler, the son of Adolf Hitler's half-brother Alois Hitler, Jr.,
is one member of Hitler's extended family
, although he wasn't easy to track down.
After WWII, he changed his name and tried to live a private, secret life in the United States. Now, his three sons, relatives of Hitler living normal, regular American lives, have decided to never marry and let their family line die with them. [more inside]
posted by Ms. Saint
on Jun 6, 2008 -
Just the other day I was thinking about World War 2-era propaganda songs, so of course I gave a listen to Smoke On the Water
. Say what? You didn't know it was about kickin' Hitler's ass? Or Hirohito's? Guess you weren't listening well enough when ol' Red Foley
sang: "...there'll be nothing left but vultures to inhabit all that land, when our modern ships and bombers make a graveyard of Japan..."
I tell you, they just don't write songs like that anymore, friends. Anyway, by 1951 Red was looking forward to Peace in the Valley
. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite
on Apr 9, 2008 -
I shot his plane down.
First his fighter plane was just lost under unknown circumstances during WWII. People speculated on a possible suicide of the writer. Then his golden armband was found by a fisherman in the sea. Then
the plane of well known french writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
was found in the mediteranean.
Now 88 year old journalist Horst Rippert, who was a fighter pilot during WWII, admits
that he shot down Saint-Exupéry and that he regretted this his whole life.
posted by jouke
on Mar 17, 2008 -
"You want to do WHAT?" said the British Army – or as their oh-so-polite upper crust officers probably put it: "Sorry, ol’ chap, but we don’t seem to have an urgent need for magicians right at this very moment."
But Jasper Maskelyne
proved to be very useful. Tales of his service are a mixture of fact and legend
. First link via.
posted by amyms
on Mar 1, 2008 -
"Dear Miss Breed..."
the letters begin. Clara Estelle Breed
was the children's librarian at the San Diego Public Library from 1929 to 1945. When her young Japanese American patrons and their families were forced into relocation camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1942, Miss Breed became their penpal and their lifeline, sending them books and supplies, assisting with various requests, and "serving as a reminder of the possibility for decency and justice in a troubled world." [more inside]
posted by amyms
on Dec 1, 2007 -
. Of all the wrecks on Papua New Guinea (PNG), none is as fabled as the "Swamp Ghost," a B-17E Flying Fortress that ran out of fuel on an ill-fated bombing mission in early 1942 and was ditched in the Agaiambo Swamp about eight miles inland on the northern coast. There the plane rested, intact and more or less unmolested, in soggy splendor for 64 years—that is, until May 2006, when an American salvager took it apart and removed it. This caused such a controversy that the plane was stopped from leaving the country.
The story of the Swamp Ghost illustrates the international debate over ownership of salvaged wrecks and war surplus, told from a personal perspective by a journalist whose war-correspondent father died in PNG during WWII.
posted by amyms
on Oct 7, 2007 -
Ellsworth Kelley, Bill Blass, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and a host of lesser known but equally talented painters
, designers, sound engineers
and actors served together during World War II in the Ghost Army
– the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, a unit whose existence remained an official secret
until 1996. German soldiers referred to them as the "Phantom Army," because one moment they were in one place, and the next, they were attacking their flanks or from the rear.
Together, they made rubber tanks and fake Jeeps; their changing unit insignia
were designed to fool spies and allied units alike. They recorded the sounds of Allied units building bridges or moving troops and broadcast them from special sound trucks
, leading the Germans to conclude that the U.S. Army had more troops in more places than it did. "Guys drew, or painted, all the time
," documenting their lives, the lives of their fellow soldiers, and that of the local populations in wartime Europe.
posted by rtha
on Oct 5, 2007 -