Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Buddies

Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (p. 143) defines a "buddy" as "companion, partner", or "fellow".  It gives that the word evolved probably from baby talk as a alternative to "brother".  The following pictured dated January 14, 1946 shows a group of "buddies".


It would have been roughly half a year since WWII had ended.  These fellows were in post war Germany, and most all seem to have a smile across their face.  My Dad must have been taking the picture since his smiling face does not appear. 

A "buddy system" is an arrangement in which two individuals are paired as for mutual safety in a hazardous situation.  I would guess that blowing up planes after the war would be considered hazardous since TNT was used most of the time.  My Dad tells a few stories about this activity.  These few buddies were included.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Hats and Hands



Taken around the early 1950s, this picture shows a group of cars and a group of men.  It must have been one of those auctions that seem to attract all those folks who are looking for that special deal.  There is a house, shed, large barn, two gas pumps, and a lot of different models of cars.  [How many models can you identify?]

There is also a large number of men standing around the area where all the autos are parked.  What struck me from this photo was the number of hats being worn.  Lots, and lots of hats ride on the heads of men during this period of time.  I do not remember men routinely wearing hats after the 1960s, but here in the early 1950s it seems to be the majority.  [Indiana Jones had something to say about this a little later in time.]

Hands in the pockets struck me also.  It would seem that most had their hands in their pockets.  For me, during this time, pockets were used to place "pocket knives", marbles, special rocks, rabbit's feet, and other special stuff that might come in handy during a routine day.  Maybe these folks were thinking about spending their money on one these automobiles, and they wanted to keep their money from jumping out.   Hats and hands it is.  Today men still use their pockets for hands, but not their head for hats.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

5th Avenue

It was 1946, and being in occupied Germany just after the War would produce all kinds of  emotions.  Something from "home" was always welcomed.  One of those reminders that made being away seem more acceptable to the recipient.   A letter, a postcard, a package, a gift, or any one of the items that reminded you that home indeed did still exist.   The following picture shows such an event.


 5th Avenue candy bar...that Hershey made bit of home that this fellow seems to be enjoying.  The picture was taken by my Dad in Occupied Germany 1946.  This candy bar was first made in 1936, and "contributed to war effort" according to Hersey's own account. [see web site under 5th Avenue]  Well, here is proof that the contribution delivered this affect.  Home, sweet home...way to go 5th Avenue.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

An Easter Sunday

Sundays were pretty much the same at 25 Vine Street.  Dress-up was expected, and Church was how the mornings were spent.  Easter was an exception.  On this Sunday morning you had a chance to enjoy one of those chocolate Easter Bunnies.  Of course it came with those Easter Baskets full of all those goodies.  Now, how a rabbit could lay an egg was not an issue.  The following picture shows one of those Sunday mornings.


Here we stand.  Just out the back door of our old Kentucky home.  Mom had her white gloves, Henry [my older brother] had his bow tie neatly in place, and I...well I had my Easter Bunny held close to the chest.  I guess Henry felt he was too old to participate in such excitement, but hey...it was Sunday, and I wanted to take my bunny to Church.  It was light blue, had long pointy ears, with a chest of pure white.  Soft and cuddly it was.  Only a ride to Church it got, since it had to wait in the car until Church was over.  Well, anyway, all those goodies still awaited, and I was going to feast after Church with my brand new bunny.  An Easter Sunday it was.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

From The Air

Prior to the close of WWII, the American industrial complex had produced the war machine.  Tanks, trucks, ships, arms, planes, and all kinds of war materials were made at remarkable speed.  What happened at the end of WWII to all this stuff.   The planes remaining in Germany were blown up all in a row. 

My Dad participated in these activities as part of the Army of Occupation, Germany.  He states that Germany POW's [prisoner of war ] were driven to the air field each day.  They were given TNT in square blocks (about the size of a shoe) that were placed on the wings of a plane.  This was after each plane was stripped of any usable parts. [Platinum from the engines were the major item.]  The following picture shows such a plane as it was ready to blow.


Not much is left to see.  Dad was responsible for setting off the charges some 100 yards from the explosion.

To get a scope of the extent of this process, the following picture was taken from the air.  It shows the field as it stood in 1946.


Planes, planes, and more planes, all lined up in a row, waiting for their final destination.  What a picture from the air it is.  To have survived the war and be blown apart at the end.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Two Days Away

Post cards from friends are a delight.  Here a friend of my Dad mails this in 1945:


The battleship "U.S.S. West Virginia" is shown.  It was mailed from the "Great Lakes Naval Training Center" to "Pvt. Henry E. Jones, 15364821, 3704th A.A.F. Bu, Sqdn. V Class 236, Kesler Field, Miss."  What an address it is.  A name, and a number of numbers, could be difficult to keep straight.

The message on the back is shown:

A "Forgetful buddy" my Dad was.  "Look what you're missing not being in the Navy" it reads.  Check the post mark as it is stamped..."May 6, 10:30 AM, 1945".  Two friends, one in the Navy, and one in the Army Air Force, both just completing their training...two days before Victory in Europe was declared. [May 8th, 1945]  What would it have been like during WWII just two days away from victory in Europe.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Spitfire

Perhaps no other aircraft in the history of air war is as recognizable as the British Spitfire.  Its graceful  lines, near perfect handling, and eight-gun punch made its mark during the summer of 1940.  Its engine [1 x 1,150 hp Rolls-Royce Merlin], its speed [357 mph], and its range [500 miles] made it one of the most remarkable aircraft of WWII.  The Spitfire remains the symbol of the Battle of Britain.


It was 1946, and here my Dad sits in a Spitfire.  He was among the crews who were responsible for the destruction of many of the aircraft no longer needed for the war effort.  It was post war Germany, and here is a Spitfire sitting on German soil.  What a symbol it is.

Information is taken from: Great Campaigns of World War II, by Longmeadow Press, 1988. [Co-ordinating editor: J.B. Davies]  The picture is taken from a family shoe box full of memories!