page 3. . .
Letters to the Editor. Talk back
to the editors. What do YOU think?
welcomes letters to the editor. We reserve the right to edit for
length and clarity. Send email to Editor@KilroyWasHere.org.
We cannot post your email address but will forward any response
from one who knows!
A minor correction under the photo
the YMS in Tacoma November 12, l945. It should be l944. I
was an officer aboard the YMS 431 in Okinawa l945 also Japan,
Guam, Bikini and Pearl Harbor. I was the last Captain of the
ship and decommissioned her at Pearl Harbor. I am still active
at Hallsten Corporation, Sacramento, and have fond memories
of Arthur Whittington a fellow officer aboard the YMS 431
and a great guy.
Thank you very much, John!
Hi! I Thanks for putting together
a great site!
I found your site while researching stories about World War
I am concerned about an inaccurate recollection documented
on your site from Bill Hoover in your response to the quiz
on Tokyo Rose. He claims that a Japanese American welder caused
the accident that claimed many lives in Pearl Harbor in 1944
in his recollection here:
Rose, The Truth
He may have heard Tokyo Rose's message, but his recollection
of what happened is not accurate, where he places the blame
on deliberate sabotage. Based on some of these other articles,
one of which references a declassified US Navy report from
1964, the actual cause was cigarette smoking near ammunition.
Indeed there was a rumor that this was a Japanese suicide
attack, but that was apparently untrue.
Would you be able to add an addendum to the recollection to
point people to this other information?
Bill's response was based on his memory
and chances are, they reported what he remembered as, at least
a rumor. As Churchhill said "In wartime, truth is so
precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard
That is not to say, I will let
it stand. I will attach a side bar to Bill's comment leading
to your "Letter to the Editor" which I will put
in Volume 7.
Thank you for going to the trouble
to correct us..
about the fabulous Pearl Harbor Troop Train!
Passengers in 1940s
fashions and uniforms are always encouraged.
schedules, and reservations, please call:
A Bill Lewis Production, Fullerton, CA 92833
The Troop train has hit a new milestone.
We have suddenly grown! For the past eleven years, we used
one car for the program and the second car for extra passengers.
When we got to San Diego, we'd switch the passengers to the
opposite car so the others could enjoy the same program going
back to LA.
Since we have grown the passenger
list this year, we've now added a third vintage passenger
car. That means a major change in the entertainment program.
Instead of remaining in the same car all day, doing the same
program 4 times (Two round trips with passenger change-out
in San D.) it will be the MC and Talent who will go car to
car. As the director and audio dude, I'll be right there with
them. Since the passengers will have already heard the script
going down, I need to double the program script so the return
program will be fresh and different on the return trip. Hopefully,
it will all work out.
Again, Mike Reagan had to turn down
my invitation. It's their anniversary. Very disappointing.
I do enjoy our conversations though.
As a big Salute to the on board veterans,
I have a proposal in at USMC Camp Pendleton, to "Salute"
the veteran passengers with a chopper escort as the train
cuts through the base property. I also suggested they display
a large American Flag in the side door for all to see. I know
it's going through channels right now. And, I also know Government
works slowly but, I'd sure be less anxious if they'd call
to update me. I will do that if I don't hear anything by early
next week. If it all goes down as planned, it will be a big
surprise to everyone aboard. I haven't even told the car owners
about it. This will be the most exciting improvement to the
Troop Train program I've ever come up with! And so far I'm
the only one who knows about it. Reminds me of the Wartime
song-- "Shhh, it's a military secret!"
My wife & I attended the retirement
ceremony and reception in San Diego yesterday. He's my last
active duty military connection. We served together for 8
years in Combat Camera. He's now on his last few days after
serving 43 years in the Navy. Very proud of my buddy, Bill
Gowdy. Bill was one of my first Troop train passengers way
back when. He was a first class Petty officer back then, ten
years ago. I've invited him to ride again this years. In uniform,
Since Chief Gowdy started his career
at NTC San Diego, he chose the base for his retirement ceremony.
The base has since closed and reverted back to the city. They
have preserved practically every building that was there since
WWII. The building now house everything from Ace Hardware
to corp. offices to recreation and event use. The large chapel
and gymnasium are still used for what they were intended.
As a member of the "Blue Jacket's Choir," I sang
in that church every Sunday morning while going through training
there. Where our huge black-top "Grinder" was, it's
all beautiful lawn and trees now. Our old wood barracks and
laundry areas are also gone and planted with lush green lawns
and landscaping. The huge 3" & 5" ship's mounts
are still in place where the grandstands once stood, were
proud family members sat to watch their recruit pass-in-review
during his graduation ceremony. I remember it well, I spent
my 3 months there in 1965. They have done a wonderful job
of beautifying the old base. It looks more like a lush, pristine
park with its beautiful trees & plants everywhere. There
are hundreds of black granite and bronze historic markers
throughout the old base identifying that particular building
or location. Next time I'm down there, I plan to read at least
half of them.
Even the old training ship, "USS
Recruit" still remains landlocked and is well taken care
of from the looks of her. When I was very young, Dad was stationed
in San Diego. I remember the family driving by that marvelous
old ship and hearing Dad refer to her as the "USS Never-sail".
Don't know where that name originated. I just grew up calling
her the same. It wasn't till 18 years, or so, later, when
I went to boot camp there that I realized that wasn't the
ship's name, at all. Even today, when I see that small ship,
I can't help but think of my Nav-lifer Dad.
Since the main gate and most all of
the original plaster buildings are still standing, as are
many of the memorable sites around the base, it still holds
a lot of memories for anyone who went through boot camp there.
That's it for now.
This is about the amazing plan to invade Japan in 1945!
Click the star to
read the original story of OPERATION DOWNFALL
Clements is to be roundly commended for shining light on Operation
Downfall and providing honest, well researched insights that
give the lie to revisionists who decry the atomic bombings
of Japan and to uninformed apologists at the very highest
levels of the U.S. government who suggest that these bombings
were morally reprehensible. As the only member of family of
six who did not go through the actual experience of being
interred in Santo Tomas Prison Camp in Manila, I can assure
you that none of us felt a scintilla of doubt that the bombings
were eminently justified for the number of lives saved on
both sides. And as friends of GIs who were on their way from
the European theater to invade Japan, I have heard them say
to a man that they cheered when they heard of the bombings.
Best regards, William Boni
Absolutely! William! I have
never met or talked to a survivor of WWII that didn't say,
Thank God for the A-bomb! I would be dead if it were not for
Operation Market Garden
Market Garden,(17-25 September 1944) was not an attempt to
liberate 'The Netherlands' from the Germans, (see below).
It was an unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in
the Netherlands and Germany in the Second World War and included
the largest airborne parachute troop operation up to that
Field Marshal Montgomery's goal was to force an early entry
into Germany and cross the Rhine, hoping for an early end
to WW 2. He wanted to circumvent the northern end of the Siegfried
Line and this required the operation to seize the bridges
across the Maas (Meuse River) and two arms of the Rhine (the
Waal and the Lower Rhine) as well as several smaller canals
and tributaries. Crossing the Lower Rhine would allow the
Allies to encircle Germany's industrial heartland in the Ruhr
from the north. It made large-scale use of airborne forces,
whose tactical objectives were to secure the bridges and allow
a rapid advance by armoured units into Northern Germany.
Initially, the operation was marginally successful, and several
bridges between Eindhoven and Nijmegen were captured. However,
Gen. Horrocks' XXX Corps ground force's advance was delayed
by the demolition of a bridge over the Wilhelmina Canal, as
well as an extremely overstretched supply line, at Son, delaying
the capture of the main road bridge over the Meuse until 20
September. At Arnhem, the British 1st Airborne Division encountered
far stronger resistance than anticipated. In the ensuing battle,
only a small force managed to hold one end of the Arnhem road
bridge and after the ground forces failed to relieve them,
they were overrun on 21 September.
The rest of the division, trapped in a small pocket west of
the bridge, had to be evacuated on 25 September. The Allies
had failed to cross the Rhine in sufficient force and the
river remained a barrier to their advance until the offensives
at Remagen, Oppenheim, Rees and Wesel in March 1945. The failure
of Market Garden ended Allied expectations of finishing the
war by Christmas 1944.
John Healey, Kent, UK
and dictate the terms of peace
in the White House. I wonder if our politicians,
among whom armchair arguments about war are being glibly bandied
about in the name of state politics, have confidence as to the
final outcome and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices."
the record straight about Admiral Yamamoto!
From Jeff Dougherty,
Military History and Strategy
Here are the details.
I had to track down "The Reluctant Admiral".
Page 291, quoting a letter to Sasakawa Ryoichi:
"However, if there should
be a war between Japan and America, then our aim, of
course, ought not to be Guam or the Philippines, nor
Hawaii nor Hong Kong. [To win] We must march into Washington
and dictate peace at the White House. I wonder whether
the politicians of the day really have the willingness
to make sacrifies and the confidence this would entail."
Gordon Prange has a different
rendering which makes Yamamoto's sarcasm a bit clearer
in "At Dawn We Slept":
"Should hostilities break
out between Japan and the United States, it would not
be enough that we take Guam and the Philippines, nor
even Hawaii and San Francisco. To make victory certain,
we would have to march into Washington
Isoroku Yamamoto was a Japanese Marshal Admiral
and the commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet during
World War II, a graduate of the Imperial Japanese
April 4, 1884-April 18, 1943
Image courtesy Wikipedia
Yamamoto wasn't boasting, he was complaining
about leaders in and out of uniform who were advocating war
without a realistic plan for victory. Of course, once Allied
propaganda got wind of it they milked it for all it was worth,
that being their job at the time. :) But it does annoy me
to see the misconception linger 70-odd years on.
is in response the KilroyWasHere.org Quote of the Week: "When
war comes between Japan and the United States, I shall not
be content to merely occupying Guam, the Philippines, Hawaii,
and San Francisco. I look forward to dictating the peace of
United States in the White House at Washington."
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander in Chief of the Japanese
he was against the war from the 30s when he was living in
the USA. He has been treated well by history and is the subject
of many weekly quotes on KilroyWasHere.org. I will use your
explanation if it comes up again
Thank you, Jeff,
for keeping the record clear! !
USMC in Korea
the 1945 incident wasn't the first
Marine operation in Korea. In 1871, Marines conducted a punitive
raid against "Corean" fortifications that fired
on Navy vessels. The raid was some 12 miles south of Inchon,
and the Marines were plagued by the same mud flats that hampered
the Inchon landing...Google USMC
Korea 1871 for details
Mose (Gerald Moses)
It is, Mose! Thank you!
More on Flying
is no doubt that Mr Northrop was ahead of his time. He certainly
ventured into the field of "flying wings" with gusto...the
huge YB-35 not being his first. Why the letter Y preceding
the model designation? The Y signifies that this all-wing
type was still "experimental".
In an effort to raise the performance numbers, Northrop disposed
of all the usual airplane drag and weight producing appendages
such as the fuselage, rear stabilizer and vertical tail. If
only there had been the digital technology available in those
days that we have in these modern times.
The modern high performance jet powered aircraft is far from
inherantly stable. It has little to NO self righting capability
so . . . while the pilot has all the means to point it in
the desired directions, it is the on-board computers that
do much to keep the beast reigned-in and obedient.
As a result, the YB-35
accidents, that resulted in their destruction, were
due to their lack of self-righting ability one
being lost when it was put through a stall series that
led to an unrecoverable spin.
The YB-35 was far from
the first all wing type. Britain had a series of "flying
wings" in the 1940s...the Armstrong Whitworth 52
being the most prominent and which first flew in November
I first saw this beautiful craft at the RAE Farnborough
SBAC Manufacturer's air show, in the early 1950s. It
was a miserable day and the all-white, scythe shaped
aircraft made almost silent, very low level, sweeping
banked turns around the airfield... that thrilled one
and sent chills down the spine at the same time.
Click image for a larger view
Courtesy warbirds online
AW 52 was a pure research vehicle, with a surface finish of
plus or minus "3 thou" to investigate laminar airflow.
Once again . . . "if only" . . . the last one being
lost from divergent pitch oscillations, causing the pilot
to complete his trip underneath some volumous nylon, having
made the first Martin Baker seat evacuation of his "ride".
The Germans had all-wing types during and well before World
War Two....courtesy of the Fatherland's Horten brothers. Had
it not been for the intrusion of the US and its allies into
Europe... and had their latest all-wing type had been successful,
New York might have seen Horten designed enemy aircraft over
the Statue of Liberty.
As it was, neither the Horten design....nor the British Avro
Vulcan (my old "ride", at times) were really "stealth".
Had both realized that it was quite necessary to hide the
flat front faces of the engine impeller fans, the RADAR signature
would have been reasonably minimal. Take a look at the F-117
and B-2 intakes.
Per Ardua Ad Astra.
PS I forgot to add....ONE
of the YB-35s was lost when an accompanying jet fighter "chase
'plane" collided with one of the YB-35's fins. Both aircraft
Ardua Ad Astra. ("Through adversity to the stars"
or "Through struggle to the stars" is the motto
of the Royal Air Force and other Commonwealth air forces.
The name of the Rear Admiral is
not Donald, but Don Pardee Moon. See for instance his obit
on the Arlington cemetery site.
Hope this is useful to you.
It is, Pieter! Thank you! I
don't have contact with the author but I have corrected it.
Pat, the book, "Eisenhower's
Party"that you published my review on, has been
picked up by a regular publisher. Apparently it gained some
popularity, partly thanks to you.
It has been re-issued under the title, "Battle for Snow
Mountain" by Don Young. Pocol Press is the publisher.
It's also on Amazon, of course.
It's our 10th Anniversary
salute to the WWII Generation.
I have interviewed and
selected the best of the vets and their stories. Great expectations
for this year. We're booking seats quickly. It's going to
be an early sell-out as the word has gotten out.
As an example of how few Americans we have left from the war
era, I went to the Jimmy Doolittle Raiders' web site and found
that of all the personnel who made that one way flight over
Tokyo, only five are still alive. That was a wake-up call
for me. I knew we were now down to less than 16% still with
us however, percentages don't visually reflect the loss like
actual numbers do. And, many of those war era Americans are
no longer able to get out, so we no longer see them.
Someone recently asked how long I'd
continue to produce the Troop Train Salute to the WWII Gen.?
After a moment of thought, I replied, "As long as we
have a veteran who can still board the train. Even if it's
just one!" I have since gone back over the past ten years
list of veterans who have been our on board special guests.
With the exception of a handful, most are now gone. We lost
two in just the last two weeks.
Sadly, we're witnessing the close
of one of America's most spectacular periods in our nation's
history. After meeting all those who have joined us on our
annual Troop Train excursion over the past ten years, I can't
help but love the WWII generation. They are one of a kind.
They suffered through the great depression and dust bowl era.
Then went to war to defend their country and foreign lands
around the world, at a cost of over 400,000 of their fellow
countrymen. A fight to "WIN," at any cost. They
came home to start anew, and ended up fighting again in Korea.
They came home again to continue to raise the boomer generation,
while enriching their own lives by creating some of the most
amazing advances in science, farming, industry, technology,
and efficiency of production, any nation had ever seen.
If I were to fault them for anything,
it would be that too many of the WWII Generation failed to
nurture their love of God and Country in their own children.
As far as I'm concerned, the WWII generation has been this
nation's political balance over the past six decades. As they
continue to die off, so do our God given Liberties. Coincidence?
I don't think so! Unfortunately, with their passing, goes
that can do spirit that made our country the greatest nation
in the world. America will never see their kind again.
Bill LEWIS- USN
Producer- The Pearl Harbor Day Troop Train- overlandtrail.com
A Kilroy Was Here Funny
I was born in 1943 so when
I was old enough to remember such things. We had some fun
with the phrase. One time when I was about seven we were traveling
on a weekend seeing one of many relatives. In my mother's
family there were 18 kids. She was the first girl born into
this family so as would be expected she was spoiled.
It was a hot summer's day and there
few were cars with air conditioning. After visiting one of
our relatives, on our way home we stopped by another one of
my mother's brother's home. It turned out that they were not
home and as we waited for them we made ourselves at home as
we often did. That was just the way it was in our families
no one was offended.
In the process someone got the ice
cream out of the refrigerator and as it was almost all gone
it didn't last long. We also made ourselves at home by eating
the left over fried chicken. When we got through with the
chicken, we put the chicken bones into the empty ice cream
container and left a note saying "Kilroy was here."
When they got home, they were hot
from their trip and as they neared home one of them said they
were going to get a bowl of ice cream to cool off. As they
talked about that they began to have fun with it and each
one said they were going to get to the ice cream first, knowing
there was not much left in the box. When they got home they
were surrounding the ice box each one with a spoon in their
hand waiting for the lid to be opened. When it was opened
and the spoons were about to come down they saw the empty
box and the chicken bones. They took the paper out of the
box and read the words "Kilroy was here" and simultaneously
said the "Higgins' were here!"
We used to laugh a lot about that
time as the two families had reunions. It was a fun time we
had but it is not that way anymore. All of them have past
on except one aunt who was born a "blue baby" and
was not expected to live and yet she outlasted them all.
A Memory of Kilroy
am a retired truck driver from Indiana originally. I now live
in California. Back in 1957, almost every place a truck driver
stopped, on the restroom wall, was "Kilroy Was Here."
I stopped in a truck stop close to St Louis, Mo. and ate,
had coffee and then used the men's room. On the men's room
wall was this sign . . . "Jump for glee and jump for
joy. I got here before kilroy." I have told a lot of
people over the years about this.
Ty, John Heare
Response The Rest of the Story!
Below, in a different hand,
"Sorry to spoil your little joke;
I was here, but my pencil broke.
See Sighting at
A New Marine!
I am a recently made Marine by the name of Smith, Austin.
I go by Smithy and I am going to be deployed for Afghanistan
later October 2011, I found your site and I would like to
thank you for everything you are doing and would like to ask
for your luck in the battle field. As I said before, I would
like to thank you for everything you have done, people like
you are what this country is worth serving for.
KILROY WAS HERE
~ So was Smithy
First, congratulations and
thank you for the kind words! You will be proud of making
it through that grueling Marine boot camp the rest of your
You sure as hell do have my wish for your good luck
but I have something better! You won't need as much luck if
you really listened to your DIs. They did their level best
to teach you how to survive while completing your mission,
You have a Gunny now that has been there done that.
Listen to him! Pump him! Listen to ALL his stories. From this
moment on, determine to be the best damn Jarhead you can be!
I don't mean the bravest. I don't mean coming home with medals,
I mean LEARN YOUR CRAFT. I am a former Marine from long before
you were even a twinkle in your father's eye. I was only a
fighter pilot not a rifleman but maybe that will make the
point. Would I have been better as a screw off or one who
knew everything about tactics and my FJ-3 and could make it
do what I wanted when I wanted? Well, it's the same as with
your M-16, mortar or machine gun. Know it back and forth.
Learn combat tactics from anyone who will teach you. Then
set out to learn everyone else's job.
Good luck again but if you really listen
to the above, you will need less of it. Keep us posted and
send us back pictures especially of you, your buddy's, and
A Day Brightener from
live in Ireland and I am Irish and it is great to see that
there is a real, living human being behind Kilroy.
God Bless America and all those
people who fought and died for the World's freedoms..
A Way to help Publicize
the Stamp Campaign
I would urge everyone that writes in,"Snailmail"'to
draw a Kilroy Was Here image on the envelope, this will bring
it to the attention of the people at the postal service and
just might cause them to think on it. Hope it helps...
Right on, Tom! Let's push it! See Saturday 5/30/2010 update
Kilroy in Korea
About a Slightly bawdy Sighting but
a Wonderful Addition Concerning Kilroy's "pull."
here to read Jack West's Original Story as told to Daniel
Stumbled across your site and was pleasantly surprised to
find a contribution by my friend Jack
We were in the same squad and on the mission he told about
with the indignant young lady, and I thought you might be
interested in a bit of follow up.
A few days after our little outing, I found myself back at
the hospital as a result of a bit of shrapnel. It may have
been fun and games with Hawkeye, but the place I wound up
was mostly a bunch of guys bored out of their skulls and waiting
to either get sent back to their unit or further up the line
for more complicated treatment. And what do G.I. do in their
down time? Tell stories, of course. Needless to say, not all
of them are true, and when I told the fellows about our labeled
lady I was met with a chorus of "Bull****."
But I had the last laugh, even if most of them weren't on
hand to enjoy it. A few days later I was pronounced fit for
duty and sent back to my unit.
On the way, we went through the little village where we'd
had our adventure and there was my proof. In front of the
very hooch where we'd had our confrontation with the lady
was a sign reading "OFF LIMITS". Looked to me like
Kilroy had enough pull with the big shots to see that his
promise was kept.
Ed (Wahoo) Shaffer
The Schweinfurt Mission
here to read Black Thursday
Those Schweinfurt stories were amazing. I appreciated the
reference to the loss of fear. The author acknowledges his
fear, gives it its due, but then pushes it aside as there
was work to be done. Wow!
I have over 400 hundred W.W.II books. The top two are written
by pilots. While not a book, I think Wally's descriptive writing
ranks right up there with those other two guys.
Australian CA-15 Kangaroo
Perhaps you would like to include
an Aussie plane in your list, yes it was a prototype but it
was fast and clearly underdeveloped, here is the link I hope
you will add it in
This is referring to Wallace Wood's
great story Top Props. See:
Here's his answer:
Australia certainly had an aircraft to be proud of in the
Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation's CAC-15 "Kangaroo."
Even though it was a prototype that didn't fly in the war,
this fast (448 mph in level flight) Mustang look-alike deserves
It shows great minds run in the same channels, since chief
designer Fred David did not strictly copy the great P-51 and
intended to use a powerful rotary engine instead of the inline
type used in the Mustang. The CAC-15 Kangaroo's dimensions
and design goals were different. Both the Kangaroo and Mustang
are beautiful and sleek-looking, however. It was said to be
easy to fly.
Australia was an early target of Imperial Japan, and Aussies
were among the first to lose their lives in South Pacific
combat. The rush to find aircraft that could counter the fearsome
forces left the "Kangaroo" languishing for lack
of engines and development time.
Most combat aircraft had to be imported for use by the Royal
Australian Air Force .
That Australia's aircraft company could design and produce
the effective, tough and nimble ground-attack "Boomerang"
and the armed trainer "Wirraway" by 1942 speaks
for its capabilities.
A Better A/C Spotter
Did you notice that the 11th plane down from the top of
page 4 of the A/C Recognition Slides is an F-100
. . . but incorrectly identified as a F-101?
Right on, Bob! You are better at A/C recognition than I!
Thank you for the correction!
A Terrific video Clip
Saw your article (http://www.kilroywashere.org/009-Pages/Wallace/SouthernComfort.html)
and thought you might be interested in seeing a piece of newsreel
film showing Southern Comfort (probably late in February
of 1943). You have to register on the Movietone site (www.movietone.com)
to see it, but once you are in, search for story number 43422.
Late in the sequence (4:37) you see a shot of a shot-up tail
fin with 124617 on it.
Film Title: BIG BLOWS BY
Card Title: Flying Fortresses
Length: 320 secs
Story Number: 43422
I was trying to connect that number with a bomb squadron so
I'd know which group the newsreel cameraman had been assigned
to. Your web page provided the connection, for which I am
grateful. Thought you would find it interesting too.
Green Harbor Publications, www.greenharbor.com
To order Green Harbor Publications books please visit: www.lulu.com/ghp
To follow Green Harbor Publications on Twitter, try:
Thanks to the sharp eyes of your
readers. The MovieTone News clip was good.
The movie was short, and there was the Southern Comfort, tail
number 124617, closely matching the B17F Flying Fortress,
number 4124617,WF*J, of the 305th Bomb Group 364th Bomb Squadron
in our story.
That tail was missing a big chunk of its rudder in the film--
confirming that Trevor and I told the truth of this much-battered
War is hell, but flying at 20,000 feet along those towering
mountains of cloud looked glorious.
Why was the "4" left off the tail number? Don't
Another Child's Sad Memory
of the Blitz
Obviously I am some 4 to 5 years older than Margaret
Hofman, but her story brought a huge lump to my
throat and a few quiet tears.
Her experiences parallel those of myself and my family, while
my father was with the RAF in India and Burma.
The diving for the shelter . . . the ceiling falling on us
in our classroom during a daylight attack . . . the rationing
. . .
the intense darkness of the blackout . . . the near misses
. . . the GIs . . . D-Day.
The next war, if it comes (God forbid) will be nothing like
our experiences of the 1940s.
Warm good wishes to Margaret and to yourself.
Reference Woody Wood's great
stories about top aircraft. See
Subject: Mig 7 and 9
Good comparisons of fast aircraft. I was hoping to see something
on the Mig 9, as it was the choice plane for the French underground
pilots fighting the Germans during the invasion of Russia.
I only know a little bit, others know more than me. I recently
read about the Mig 9 and the French pilots that flew them
in the worst conditions imagineable. The person writing the
article was Wallace Wood, on "Outstanding Piston Planes".
Your reader, John Winkler, is right.
held their own in the air. Some of their pilots claimed they
were better than Spitfires or Mustangs at lower altitudes, well-armed
with cannon. The Yak 1-B was upgraded to Yak-3, Yak-7, and then
Yak-9 during the war.
The Free French did fight for the Soviets, much like
the American "Flying Tigers" flew for the
Chinese Air Force. They were known as the "Normandie-Niemen"
squadron, about 64 Frenchmen of which 13 were pilots
and the rest support crew at the start. Eventually,
96 pilots flew with Normandie-Niemen. Of those, 46 did
not come home.
After the fall of France to the Germans in 1940, French
pilots had to find another ally to fly for. Some went
to Britain; some to North Africa. Then a group of Free
French banded together to fight on the Eastern Front.
They flew "Yaks" (short for Yakolev manufacture),
some of the prettiest as well as most capable Soviet
aircraft. They look like baby P-51 Mustangs and more
YAK-9 Image by Woody from
the image fo a larger view
Normandie-Niemen became a famed squadron. It flew 5,240
missions during the war, with 273 victories and perhaps
another 80 probables or heavily damaged enemy aircraft.
Marcel Albert was France's top ace with 22 confirmed kills,
followed by Roland de la Poype with 16. Albert shot down
the famed German ace Hans Phillips, who had 216 aerial
young fan of Kilroy
Watch out! She sounds like she will be president some day
. . . or ANYTHING she sets her mind to do.
Your site was enjoyable.
The little Kilroy above is my signature for texting. I got
this idea from Pieces of Flair, which is an app on Facebook.
I have never heard of Kilroy until earlier tonight, when my
dad saw my signature and suggested I read up on the topic.
I found myself at your website. Even though I am twelve, I
like to learn more about my past and some of these amusing
stories like Kilroy give a great way to kill time. I wouldn't
be surprised if my teachers found Kilroy on my homework this
upcoming school year! Thanks for helping me learn, and I hope
Kilroy lives on with my generation and more to come.
Long live Kilroy,
Bonnie M. Ruten
Ps: KILROY WAS STALKING ME
HA! That's a new one, Bonnie. Thank you for a very nice letter.
I will publish it in the Letters to the Editor (without your
email address) if your father says it is OK.
By the way, your father is wise to have you research it yourself.
That is another reason you are so smart.
You are not the only young lady who has been "stalked"
by Kilroy . . . actually Kilroy ALWAYS got there first so YOU
must be the "stalker" LOL! Look at her story at:
to the moving CHARLIE story
By Tony Leone
here to read the origial Charlie story
A good Michigan morning to
As I might previously have mentioned in earlier correspondence
with you, at the 50th Anniversary of D day I wrote a piece
for the Gary IN Post Tribune about a 9 year old's (me) interaction
with GIs, massed in our Devonshire UK countryside and in our
local parks. We had lived close to where the large memorial
is now sited, on the Devon beach of Slapton Sands and lists
the 700 plus men lost one night, in a practice landing for
Having seen... and had been invited aboard an LST... along
with my English "Bobby" uncle I read, with great
feelings of horror, about the misfortune of LST 523 and about
Charlie. I could not but help wondering if Charlie was one
of those kindly young GIs who had tolerated the curiosity
of we hordes little English kids and who had showed us - for
the umpteenth time - how to strip and reassemble their weapons,
little knowing that this UK military Brat could do it blindfold
and diagram out a hand grenade....!!!!
In the late 1970's, while at a Toledo trade show I, by chance,
met one of those GIs who recalled we kids in the park
of our little south coast Devonshire town. He had survived
D day - just - and went all the way to Berlin. Our shared
hobby interest kept us good friends for a few short years...until
he eventually passed away from the injuries recieved on D
day, of all things.
When fellow citizens recognize the RAF patch on my jacket
and hat, they are quick to thank me for my service....and
I feel dreadfully guilty when I think of the thousands of
Charlies who faced shot and shell in '44 and in other places
on this earth.
Yes! My peacetime RAF service was hazardous on a few days,
but nothing like that of the GIs and the participating Allies
God bless...and save....our beloved USA.
A Heartfelt Plea
Reference your information about British
Compensation for British POWs of Japan
According to your story on this subject, dated 2000, these
British vets were passing on at the rate of 10 per week. Compare
that to the US count about the same time. Six-seven years
ago the VA claimed 1,000 American WWII vets were dying per
day. I'm sure that number has vastly increased since then.
We are now down to less than 25% of our WWII Vets still alive.
Most are shut-ins and are no longer visible to the younger
generations of Americans. That being the case, in order to
hear their stories we now need to search them out.
While my own 87 year old father was recently admitted to
a rehab facility, to regain his strength after being hospitalized,
I had a wonderful opportunity to visit a few of these elderly
patriots. Dad, a Navy lifer himself, shared a room with a
WWII Army Air Corps Vet who had been stationed in England
during the war. As h freely shared his war time stories with
me, he spoke fondly of Jimmy Stewart who was in his squadron.
Because I take the time to introduce myself when I meet one
of these great Americans, I learn so much from them. I even
stand a bit taller every time I hear a new story from an old
vet. Makes me proud to have served during my Navy career because
of the traditions and foundations these brave Americans established
prior to my years of service.
I urge your subscribers to seek them
out and start a conversation with them. They won't be sorry.
Bill Lewis, USN Ret. (WOF Productions)
On Compensation on all
POWs of the Japanese
I have always had a huge problem with this program.
First: Why should the British tax payers foot the bill for
what the enemy did to their troops?
Second: Why aren't the Japanese willing to pay this compensation?
Could it have something to do with their Asian pride and shame?
To pay would be to admit their relatives were butchers and
barbarians toward their captives? Without that admission,
they're conscience is clear (buried) over their ancestor's
Third: When the American POWs, held by the "Japs,"
were liberated, they had to sign a document stating they would
not seek compensation for their POW captivity by the enemy
or the US Government. As a result of my POW/KIA Uncle's death
during captivity in the P.I., my Grandmother (his Mother)
signed similar papers.
So, just why is it the Brits were being forced to pay for
this? On the other hand, isn't it odd how the British bureaucrats
held off till most of their WWII Veterans were dead?
I guess this proves just one thing-- No matter what the nation,
Big Governments are only good at one thing-- Screwing up the
works! I have always considered the WWII generation this nation's
political balance. Through their personal experiences and
sacrifices they understood what it meant to fight to preserve
our nation. No generation since then has faced the same test.
As our WWII Veteran numbers dwindle, so do our nation's freedoms.
Compare today's Democratic power base to that of the Roosevelt
Administration's. Since our WWII generation is no longer there
to balance the political playing field, we are rapidly sliding
to the left. The Federal Bureaucracy in now speeding along
at a non-stop record speed, with no signs of stopping. The
bigger the government grows, the more freedoms we're losing.
The WWII Generation certainly understood that more that today's
Bill Lewis, USN Ret. (WOF Productions)
Editor's note: Bill, you might have
noticed my reference to the Japan Times in this weeks update.
There is hope and movement on possible reparations from the
Japanese to all. I am especially concerned for the Americans
who, after surviving the Bataan Death March, spent the rest
of their short lives in horrendous condition in mines. See
The Japan Times for the full story.
More on Legend #1
I came across your web site by accident,
I read about Kilroy in the Boston Globe in 1980... when I
was working there for Xerox. It was written in op-ed page
by his widow after his death I think. Not sure if James was
his name, but he was an inspector for Quincy Boat Yard. Apparently
Kilroy was a fast inspector, he always finished his inspections
before all the others.His boss called him to the office and
yelled at him for maybe overlooking things... and Kilroy swore
up and down he never missed a spot. So the next day, Kilroy
started marking everywhere he inspected on a ship. When the
troops started to see his name everywhere during transport
to Europe, they started to mimic his drawings everywhere they
went (remember, during WW II, they packed the troops in every
space available in those ships).
Hope you get the stamp approved.
In your section about "The Battle of Britain" you
report that the Hawker Hurricane was the "... most produced
British fighter." Various sources report that there were
more Spitfires (and Seafires) produced. Records of the production
numbers don't always agree, but it appears certain that there
were more Spitfires produced than Hurricanes.
My copy of "The Encyclopedia of the Worlds Combat Aircraft"
lists total production of the Hurricane at 12,780 manufactured
in Britain, with an additional 1,451 manufactured in Canada.
The same source gives numbers of 20,334 for Spitfires, with
an additional 2,556 Seafires. (Tailhook and folding wings.)
The author of responds.
You have some sharp-eyed readers, Pat.
Ted Wilkinson is right in finding evidence that the famed
Supermarine Spitfire was produced in greater numbers than
the Hawker Hurricane during all of the Second World War. They
Figures do vary among expert sources, but some figures are
even more lopsided than those Ted quoted from "The Encyclopedia
of the Worlds Combat Aircraft". This one, http://www.taphilo.com/history/WWII/Production-Figures-WWII.shtml
lists total Spitfires produced as 33,198 compared to 12,975
Hurricanes. I think the site left out the Canadian Hurricanes,
which would make their total production just short of 14,000.
Still far fewer than the Spits'.
The early history of the Hurricane
is an interesting parallel in many ways with that of the Supermarine
Spitfire in which it was to form an immortal partnership. While
the Spitfire was an entirely new concept based on specialized
experience, the Hurricane was the logical outcome of a long
line of fighting aircraft. Although the two airplanes broadly
met the same requirements, they represented entirely different
approaches to the same problem. The two approaches were reflected
to an interesting degree in their respective appearances; the
Hurricane-- workmanlike, rugged and sturdy, the Spitfire --slender
and ballerina-like. One was the studied application of experience,
the other a stroke of genius.
A third source, http://www.aviationshoppe.com/Hawker_Hurricane.html
gives the total Hurricanes produced in the war as 14,557.
Our subject, though, is the Battle of Britain. Here,
the humble Hurricane was the bulwark in greater numbers
until the aircraft industry caught up by producing as
many Spitfires by late 1940 or early 1941. By then,
the Battle of Britain was decided.
Where the rubber meets the road--or better to say, where
the wing meets the air, The Royal Air Force had at that
time 32 Hurricane squadrons, compared with 19 Spitfire
squadrons during the Battle of Britain. At least two
historical sites agree on this figure
This meant that about 620
Hurricane and Spitfires (plus 80 or so miscellaneous
or outmoded aircraft like the biplane Gloster Gladiator)
faced something like 3,500 German fighters and bombers.
Yes, that's a disputed figure as well. But close enough.
Far more Hurricanes were actually fighting in the air
than Spitfires during this critical series of air battles.
The Hurricane pilots did well in comparison.
For those readers interested in the differences between
the two aircraft, here are some evaluations from Aviation
and Aviation Shoppe.com http://www.aviationshoppe.com/Hawker_Hurricane.html
Aviation History says the prototype Hurricane flew on November
1, 1935, and impressed observers with a speed of 315 mph at
16,200 feet (5,000 meters). It was among the first fighters
capable of over 300 mph. Production orders followed for a total
of 3,759 Hurricanes before war broke out.
Its designer, Sydney Camm, had worked out this part-wood, part-metal
aircraft as the logical outcome of aircraft development from
wooden biplanes to metal monoplanes. While taking a step at
a time, the Hurricane nevertheless was far enough ahead of its
time to be invaluable. It was used throughout WWII as a "Hurribomber"
and in other tank-busting and ground support roles after it
was outmoded as a fighter. It was dependable, easy to maintain,
and had only one serious fault: a tendency for its forward fuel
tank to catch fire when hit by enemy bullets. Updates tried
to eliminate this danger to its pilots.
As for the Spitfire, this
lovely plane was a clean break from the biplane past:
Reginald J. Mitchell developed
a racing seaplane, the Supermarine S6B, which won the
Schneider Trophy on 13th September, 1931. During the
contest the aircraft reached 340 mph (547 km/h). (The
Schneider Trophy was a famous proving ground for seaplanes
at the time--editor.) ...Mitchell, whose company was
now part of Vickers Aviation, decided to adapt his Supermarine
seaplane in an attempt to meet the requirements of the
Royal Air Force.
The first Spitfire prototype
appeared on 5th March, 1936 and flew at 350 mph (563
km/h) and could ascend at approximately 2,500 ft (762
m) per minute. With its slender aerodynamic lines and
elliptical-plan wings, it was claimed at the time to
be the smallest and cleanest aircraft that could be
constructed around a man and an engine.
The Royal Air Force was impressed
with its performance and in June, 1936, it ordered 310
aircraft. The Supermarine Spitfire Mk. I went into production
in 1937 and was operational in June, 1938. Vickers Aviation
could not keep up with demand....
German aviation engineers like Willy Messerschmitt were working
on serious warbirds like the Bf-109 in the 1930's and some called
the Spitfire a "sport plane" and dismissed it. The
Bf-109 (or Me-109) was indeed a serious fighter and remained
competitive with its Spitfire rival during WWII as both were
updated in turn time and time again.
Some more links for those who like to dig deeper:
detailed production figures-- Hurricane
general links-- Hurricane history
Note: As an aside to Woody's remarks about later uses of the
Hurricane, it was actually fitted with a 40mm cannon as a
tank destroyer in North Africa. I'm glad to see it getting
the credit it deserves. I have always believed it won the
Battle of Britain.
A thoughtful exchange on
war, vengence, and Terror
article and historic references that all of us should never
forget. We must take advantage as much as we can to learn
the lessons from those who are still with us that can recount
those terrible trying moments of what is called World War
I wish to ad just a few points of reference and perhaps cause
The de Havilland
DH98 Mosquito was known as the "Mossie" and not
I can bet that
no one laughed at a wooden plane, and especially not Goering.
It was Goering who ordered the flying wings of the Horten
brothers knowing full well these flying wings made from common
plywood were able to fly just under the speed of sound.
me the most from this great article are those words "terror"
As we reflect
on the technology of this terrible time in Human history let
us not forget the lessons taught but perhaps overshadowed
by the fascination of those technological innovations of the
This website site does us all a great service by collecting
these recounts of those moving moments of exceptional actions
of bravery and gallantry by common men and women, our relatives
and ancestors, their personal experiences that otherwise may
be lost to future generations.
earn that title "murderous".
He did experience first hand and obviously remembered that other
dark moment in Human history of madness and murder and death
call the Great War, the War to End All Wars and later after
the fact World War One.
a few words about "vengeance".
Why that word to describe those two horrific devises of
mass destruction and indiscriminate murder? That Hitler
was mad there is no doubt, nor was he alone to
I was fortunate enough to listen with shock and awe to first
hand accounts of men standing in the trench for hours on end,
hearing and feeling the incessant bombardment throughout the
night, a whistle blowing, the bayonet charge, the twisted corpses
from the poison gas attacks, the smells of burning, rotting,
flesh, the screams, the utter madness that takes one over to
the point that all they remember is the leaving and the arriving
from trench to trench, not remembering how their coats and bayonets
became covered in blood.
The end of that great war was a treaty not for a a lasting peace
but a punitive treaty of revenge, to the victors went the spoils
and the seeds of resentment were sewn.
What could those soldiers think of when their country is stripped
of its industry, its livelihood, thrust into massive unemployment
and unheard of levels of inflation, social upheaval and the
threat of communism. How very easy to sell one's soul to the
devil and go mad with the thirst of "vengeance".
IMHO: (In my
humble opinion) After the failure of diplomacy where madness
overcomes reason and humanity is plunged into war, the only
priority, the only objective will be victory. After that victory,
the priority and sole objective is a lasting peace of mutual
respect and dignity where there is no possibility, no consideration,
no desire for that concept of "vengeance".
of the United States giving unprecedented
powers to our public servants.
word that as of late is being so over used as to have
very little meaning these days. Almost anything is now
is an act of "terror" and the excuse for subverting
our Constitution and limiting the power and rights of
Bombing of a civilian population is an
act of "terror". In all the horror of the Great
War, there was a minimum of bombardment of civilian targets.
Some time, somewhere during that madness of World War Two
it was decided that the bombing of cities and civilian population
centers was justified.
From the people that have experienced
it first hand, I can assure you that enduring the Blitz in
London was no less and nor more being in "Terror"
than being under one of those 1,000 bomber raids on the continent,
enduring that one night in Dresden, any one of those nights
of firebombings Japan, any one of those Iraqi gas attacks
on Iran and Kurdistan, one of those "cruise missile nights"
of Baghdad, one of those vapor explosive bombing of Kuwait,
nor the V-2 missile attacks on Antwerp and over Hiroshima
and Nagasaki where in less than one second there was the sudden
transformation of all known physical references of reality
into burning rubble if in this case you were not one of the
lucky ones to have died instantly.
Unfortunately, the V-1 was just the first
step of many over generations to come in the mechanical perfection
of the weapons of terror.
Let us pray that we do not fall into the
trap of glorifying these words.
Of ALL the veterans I had the privilege
and honor to meet and listen to their stories, from all sides
of the conflicts, WW1, WW2, China, Israel, Korea, Cuba, Hungary,
Czechoslovakia, Viet Nam, Africa, Middle East, South America,
Not one soldier, Not one, wished that his child, nor anyone's
child would ever join a military and engage in a war.
Read how the author
over London; Southern
Sergeant Who Captured A Division; First
Salute to the Jet Age;The
Battle of Britain; Top
Props; and Turbothe
Jet Engines Grand-daddy responds. For an equally
thoughtful discussion read on!
The letter from Mario Lecce does go to the
heart of some issues like "vengeance" and "terror"
that have new meanings for us today.
He is right that "terror" and "terrorists"
are terms that are probably over-used today. It seems to apply
to any non-uniformed attackers killing innocents for political
purposes to terrify people and frighten governments. "Terrorists"
belong to no one nation. The "War on Terror" can
never end by that definition.
of people or entire countries would cease
to exist if the same number of millions killed in WWII disappeared
|Whole nations lived in
terror during WWII, or at the very least lived in fear
of attacks and invasion by uniformed men under government
orders. That fear was well-justified by events. Millions
upon millions died. Meaningless figures until you realize
entire states would be empty
"Revenge" is another question. Your readers will decide
for themselves what "vengeance" is worth.
As written, The V-1 had the official name of Fieseler Fi.103.
The "V" was from the German word for "Revenge".
The same word for vengeance applies to the later German V-2
rocket. It was the first ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile),
if you can count Britain as a "continent" in a general
way. The V-1 on the other hand was technically a pre-programmed
cruise missile, not a ballistic one. It was an aircraft.
Exactly what vengeance-- or revenge--that Hitler was seeking
is no longer clear to us. Perhaps it was vengeance for the Allied
victory in WWI, or for the heavy conditions of the 1918 Armistice
that helped crush the German economy and tried to stifle future
military growth. Or simply vengeance for the Allied bombings.
Mario Lecce points out that civilian populations were seldom
bombed in the First World War, especially when compared to the
truly horrific attacks by both sides on civilians in WWII. There
were Zeppelin bombing raids on Britain in WWI. But the "mistake"
by a German bombing crew that jettisoned its bombs on civilian
London early in WWII has been called into question by a few
historians. Now it is suspected the bombing 'mistake' was no
At any rate, Prime Minister Winston Churchill responded to that
'accidental' bombing with vengeful counter- bombings of Berlin
in disregard of civilians (purely a political move to bolster
British spirits, since Churchill's first bombings did minimal
damage to anything military).
Hitler ordered the full-scale Blitz of London bombings on civilians
in revenge again against Churchill. The escalating re-re-revenge
dominoes of destruction on such German cities as Dresden shows
how things progress brutally in war, and how "we"
become more like our enemy in anger and in the pure desperation
|As Mr. Lecce says,
"How very easy to sell one's soul to the devil and
go mad with the thirst of 'vengeance'". War brings
out the best and worst. War is the testing of personal
character and national character in extremis.
Writers like Ernest Hemingway have suggested it is not only
testing the power to face death and win but to behave humanely.
It is one thing to be safely behind the battle lines and another
thing to be shot at and shoot back. To bomb from a height never
seeing the people below versus seeing your companions or family
You will notice it takes about a generation between wars. The
young men and women coming of age do not fully realize what
the cost of war really is: mass killing and destruction and
terror. They learn in shock and shame as well as pride in facing
death and acting with honor. The older generation realizes that.
Their taste for vengeance usually weakens considerably.
On the spelling of the 'wooden wonder" Mosquito's nickname
as "Mossie", I will grant that to Mr. Lecce as well.
From a child that was evacuated
war torn London
Done for the American reader.
I was one of those children evacuated from London...with my
address tag in my collar and my cardboard gas mask box
around my neck.
Evacuation of children started well before the V-1s...in fact
it was started to get us youngsters out of the 1940 and onwards
The English Electric Canberra was not a fighter. It was a
twin jet powered medium bomber. A later version, The b(I)8,
generally referred to as the "mark 8" did have a
gun pack fitted in the aft end of the bomb bay ...and this
pack contained four
20 mm cannon for the ground attack (interdictor) role in enemy
territory. In addition to the cannon, it could carry bombs
rockets beneath the wings.
I was involved in the avionics trials on the first of these,
serial number VX185, which, it its original mk B.5 form, held
speed record for the Northern Ireland (Aldergrove) to Gander
and return in 4 hours and 33 minutes.
Kent City, MI, USA
Jim Newman says the Canberra was not
a fighter, I will never quarrel with a man who worked on them
and knows his stuff. Even if the Canberra was later equipped
with 20 mm. guns and rockets as ground support machines.
So... the quote:
"...a Syrian Meteor managed to shoot down the British
RAF's newer Canberra fighter on November 6, 1956"
is better off written as "newer Canberra bomber"
or simply "newer Canberra aircraft".
The irony comes from one British-built aircraft shooting down
another, later-built model anyway.
More on the Unknown Benefit
From Gerald Moses
There's an income limitation that will disqualify most of
us from that VA improved pension benefit. I thought it was
too good to be true, and sure enuf, it was for most of us.
Veteran's Pensions Eligibility:
|Family Income Limits
(Effective Dec 1, 2008)
|If you are a...
||Your yearly income must
be less than... *
|Veteran with no dependents
|Veteran with a spouse or a child
|Housebound veteran with no dependents
|Housebound veteran with one dependent
|Veteran who needs aid and attendance and
you have no dependents
|Veteran who needs aid and attendance (A/A)
and you have one dependent
|Two Vets Married to Each Other
|Add for Early War Veteran (Mexican
Border Period or WW1) to any category above
|Add for Each Additional Child to
any category above
|* Some income is not counted toward the
yearly limit (for example, welfare benefits, some wages
earned by dependent children, and Supplemental Security
Income. It's also important to note that your medical
related expenses are considered when determining your
yearly family income.
* To be deducted, medical expenses must exceed 5% of MAPR,
** To be deducted, medical expenses must exceed 5% of
MAPR, or, $775
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