Saturday, April 30, 2016

On Maneuvers

I had hoped that I could get a date range on the uniforms and old style campaign hats, but no luck.  The clothing is too generic, and in fact isn't all that different than that which is used today.  The truck, however, at least from what little I can see of it, looks like it's from the late thirties through mid forties.  In other words, it looks like the two Sargents  in these photos are training men for World War 2.  Even if the United States was still a year or two from the fighting when these photos were taken, it didn't take a lot of insight to know that we were going to get pulled in to the conflict.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Camp Blanding 4

I know it looks like I've got a duplicate from the last post, but not really.  The hospital area card is in the folder twice.  Was that supposed to make the folks back home feel good that there was a large hospital area, or was it a reminder that in war, people are going to get hurt?  This is the last of the Camp Blanding images, but there are still more from the military memorabilia envelope to come.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Camp Blanding 3

I know, I know.  The Greetings from Camp Blanding card probably should have gone first, but it's on the back side of the one with the address from the first post in this series, and I wanted to start with that one.  The white line that goes through the hospital area card is where the flap goes to close up the folder.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Camp Blanding 2

There's actually a bit on the history of Camp Blanding in the last post.  You might have to click on the section of written text to bring it up in a bigger window, but it's there.  Some things did get left out though, or to be more precise, had yet to happen when this postcard folder was published.

For instance, during the war, the War department leased 140,00 additional acres from local land owners.  At it's peak, Camp Blanding had 1,000 buildings, 125 miles of paved roads and was the fourth largest community in Florida.  The Camp was both an induction center, and an infantry replacement center.  I've always wondered how future replacements felt while they were being trained.  They must have known that they were being prepared to take the place of the wounded and the dead.  Camp Blanding was also a POW camp for German soldiers as well as an internment camp for 343 German, Japanese and Italian civilians who had been living in the United States at the beginning of the war.  While under the jurisdiction of the War Department, more than 800,000 trainees spent some time at Camp Blanding.  And finally, after the war, it was returned to Florida for use by that state's National Guard.  The original 30,000 acres from before the war.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Camp Blanding 1

Too many parts to this long strip of linen postcards to post all at once, so I'm breaking it up in to four sections.  It's clear that the majority of these images started out as photographs, but there are a few I'm not so sure of, and all but one are  in this first section.  The flag, I suspect is pure illustration, and the cover image too.  Still, I'm sure Emma S. Brown in Slatington, PA didn't care.  It was sent to her by "Pvt. Wilton E. Christman" and he wrote her that "Everything is fine here, in good health."  Not much of a message, but at least she heard from him.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

On The Bridge

On the surface, this seems like a rather ordinary image.  A man in a uniform, and there are a lot of those floating around, standing on a bridge, a stream, trees, and rock in the background.  While I don't know where this picture was taken, it reminds me of places like the Virgin River in Zion National Park or Yosemite Valley.  It's also a reminder that we could have lost the national park system in World War 2.

 I didn't take long, after Pearl Harbor, for members of Congress, the Pentagon, and big business to  argue that the parks should be opened for timbering and mining.  The military also lobbied to use parks for training and bombing ranges.   Thanks to push back from the Roosevelt administration, by and large, that didn't happen.

Of course, the parks were affected by the war.  The men of the CCC, the men who built so many of the trails, campgrounds , and roads that we're still using today, went off to war.  And some parks did get used for training.  The 10th Mountain Division trained on the slopes of Mt. Rainier, and tank troops rolled across parts of Joshua Tree National Monument, now a national park.  Go to some of the more remote parts of Joshua Tree, and tank tracks can still be seen on the desert floor.   And, with the general public unable to travel because of gas rationing, the parks were, more often than not, a rest area for returned troops.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


It says so, right on the sign.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Jimmie Allen, Air Cadet

This one's another photo from my recent purchase, an envelope of military memorabilia, although, technically, it's not military at all.

Jimmie Allen wasn't in the Army Air Force.  In fact, Jimmie Allen wasn't even real.  He was the title character in the radio serial, The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen.  The show ran from from 1933 to 1937, and poor Jimmie stayed sixteen years old for the entire four year run.  Two former pilots, air aces from the first world war, Bob Burtt and Bill Moore, both from Kansas City, had an idea for a radio show about a young man who becomes a pilot.  They wrote up a script, shopped it around, and a weekly 15 minute radio series was born.  In the pilot (About an aspiring pilot) young Jimmie was a telegraph operator at an airport in, you guessed it, Kansas City.  Asked to send a coded telegram, he figures out that it's about the hijacking of a plane carrying a million dollars.  He turns to his friend and mentor, Speed Robertson, a pilot,and together they thwart the hijacking and become heroes.   Speed gets made a secret G-Man, and Jimmie,with his friends help, becomes a flying cadet.  And yes, the show was aimed at children.

So, is this a picture of the actor who played young Jimmie?  Sadly, no.  After Burtt and Moore sold their script, professionals were brought in the make the actual show.  The director was a man in his mid forties, John Frank, who cast himself as the much younger Jimmie.  Well, it was radio, where if the voice was right, old could play young, young could play old, men could play women, and women could play men.

There was an attempt to resurrect The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen after World War 2, but it didn't work out.  Perhaps it was because they used many of the old scripts and substituted things like jet for plane.  

Written on the back, "STOP, LOOK IN HERE. Bring em back alive, Bobby."

Friday, April 15, 2016

She's a Bear

I don't know when this postcard was made, but I, at least, have a date range on when the photo was taken.  Construction began on the U.S.S. California in 1916, after the beginning of World War 1, but a year or so before  U.S. entry into the conflict.  She wasn't launched until 1919, so the California  didn't see any action in the war to end all wars.  After being commissioned, the California became the flagship of America's Pacific Fleet.  I wasn't able to find out when she lost that status, but I do know the California was one of the battleships sunk at Pearl Harbor.  She was raised and repaired enough that she was able to steam to  Bremerton, Washington, under her own power, for a complete refit.  There, her two funnels were combined in a single stack, and her superstructure was completely redesigned.  Since this photo shows a ship with twin funnels, clearly it was taken between 1919 and 1941. The California returned to active duty in 1944, missing most of the war in the Pacific.  She did see service during the American invasion of the Philippines, but was severely damaged by a kamikaze hit, which meant another return to the west coast for more repairs.  The California was back on duty for the invasion of Okinawa.  After the war ended, unable to fit through the Panama Canal, The California made a trip around the southern tip of Africa to the east coast of the United States, where she was transferred to the reserve list in 1946.  She was decommissioned in 1947 and sold for scrap in 1959.  One of the things learned in World War 2 was that the age of battleships was over.  Naval warfare would now be dominated by submarines, aircraft carriers and smaller ships.  Despite all the money and time spent to build, repair, and refit the California, she never played a truly significant part in any war.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Anchors Away

I just picked up an envelope of military photos and documents from the World War 2 era.  Some are of the same people, some not; the documents don't have matching names, so I'm guessing that some of the contents of the envelope are related, but not all, so I won't be adding a separate collection tag in labels.  I am, however, going to post the whole envelope, without interruption.  Some of the documents will end up on my Fair Use blog.   Most of the lot are from the army, so I've decided to start with the navy.  The portrait is embossed.  "BEN'S STUDIO, DELTA."  There are a lot of towns named Delta in the United States, though none on a seacoast.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Final Melvine Album Page, The Other Side

Take a look at the whole Melvine collection, and the question that comes to mind is this.  Why the emphasis on Melvine?   There are other children in these photos, Mom, Dad, and Nell, but Melvine dominates.  Was she the only child, the favored child, or the child that died?

Captions, from top to bottom, 1. "Joan-Melvine Bev." 2, 3 and 4. "Melvine."  5. "Mom & Melvine." 6. "Nell-Mel." 7, 8 and 9. "Mel." 10. "Melvine Mom." 11. No caption. 12. "Fran-Mel Mom Nell Blanch Hal." 13. "Mom-Melvine." 14. "Norma Nell & Mel Teen & Joan." 15. "Larry Dean Melvine  16. "Pete Twiller" 17. "Melvine Jerry Baggelo."

Click on Melvine in labels to see the rest.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Final Melvine Album Page

This is the third, and as of right now, the final Melvine album page.  Melvine was a little girl from Buffalo, Wyoming, at some point moved to a suburb of Seattle, and eventually ended up in the military.  Other than that, I don't know anything about the lady.  Click on Melvine in labels at the bottom of the post to see the other two pages.

Anyway, it's kind of hard to read the white grease pencil captions, so top to bottom of the individual photos. 1. On the side of the image, "New Years Day In Buffalo." and underneath, "Nell & Marie."  2. "Larry Fritz Bud Hal."  3. "Melvine Marie Nell." 4. "Dad Mom." 5. "Dad Mom Buffalo Wyo." 6. "Mom & Dad Buffalo." 7. "Melvine" 8. "Jerry Melvine Larry Bev." 9. No caption. 10. "Aunt Mae & Uncle Ray."