May 19, 1944

Friday

Not much happened this week. Have received letters from all the family and am up-to-date on the answers. Wrote a little more in my book, saw several shows this week. Washed my clothes, hung them up. Big rain came along breaking down the clothesline. Washed my clothes all over again, darn it.

Heard that Jimmy Robinson, pal of Columbia days, from Trenton, New Jersey, is in Calcutta, India. Met a boy from Cayce, South Carolina at Green Island. Talked it all over. Seemed a vindictive cuss. No wonder. Has been out here for 18 months. Will go nuts if I stay that long.

Went on two missions this week to Buka on Wednesday and Adler Bay Plantation on 19th1. Forced down at Green, engine trouble. Spent the whole day there.

Have had many rainstorms this week. One is raging at this very moment.

Passed inspection two days ago. Bare fronts and behinds examined free of charge. Ha!

Gee, but I miss Bonnie with all my heart. More so each day I find myself in love with her. If all wives were like Bonnie, divorce would be an unknown condition in this world. Also if all countries had the same religion the world would be at peace. If there were a world federation likewise would be true. Apparently this seems impossible. People must compete to remain virile and strong. God forbid a world of weaklings and also forbid the massing of strength by one nation. This has always led to bloodshed and always will.

Finally found and bought a new watchband. About time, too, also. Believe it or not, obtained a Hershey bar at Green Island as well a carton of Luckies2 and Camels3. Like them equally as well. My hat, however, is off to the workers of Chelsea4 and 20 grand5, who kept the boys out here supplied when the big boys argued price.6

Well, it’s bedtime. Have to boresight turret guns tomorrow and write Bonnie, dad and mom. They’ve been good with their mail. Bonnie, I love my precious wife with all my heart and soul. Good night dearest.

Notes & Commentary

1 The missions reported by Wayne in his journal entry for May 19 have not been verified. The 42nd Bombardment Group (M monthly summary report for the period covered by Wayne’s journal entry lists the following mission activity:

May 16 – For the first time since February 21st no mission was assigned the 42nd Group, The day was devoted to airplane and armament maintenance.

May 17 – A highly successful precision bombing mission was acoomplished by twenty five Mitchells dispatched to knock out Tobera runway a portion of which had been put in a serviceable condition. At least 55 quarter tonners fused 1/10 second delay from the 150 dropped were direct hits on the strip proper. The balance of the load was distributed along the northwest edge of the runway where several fires billowing smoke to 500 feet were kindled. Photos taken after the strike showed 25 of the craters were on that portion of the strip which had been conditioned. This attack was at midmorning from medium altitude.

May 18 – The assigned strike was cancelled because of zero zero weather throughout the area.

May 19 – Sixteen Mitchells dropped 192 centuries instantaneous on the Talili Bay Supply area. Sixty percent of the load in the assigned area started several large fires covering the area with a blanket of smoke. Bombs were away at midmorning from medium altitude.

Periodic Activities Summary, 1 May 1944 – 31 May 1944, Headquarters 42nd Bombardment Group (M), 1 June 1944, microfilm B0131, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frames 1619 – 1620.

2 Lucky Strike cigarettes were produced by the American Tobacco Company. The brand name, Lucky Strike, was first used for chewing tobacco. The slogan “It’s Toasted” was used by American Tobacco to claim that their drying process produced a better taste. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucky_Strike.

3 Camel cigarettes were produced by R. J. Reynolds Tobacco. Advertising that they were a blend of Turkish and American tobacco, they were marketed for the first time in 1913. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camel_(cigarette).

4 Chelsea cigarettes were produced by Larus & Brother Co. of Richmond, Virginia. Larus & Brother shipped over two million vacuum-packed tins of cigarettes to the Pacific during World War II. The tins, which contained 75 cigarettes each, kept the cigarettes from becoming soggy in the high humidity of the Solomon Islands and New Guinea. See http://www.jimsburntofferings.com/tinschelsea.html.

5 Twenty Grand cigarettes were produced by the Axton-Fisher Tobacco Company of Louisville, Kentucky. They were sold for 10¢ a pack in retail stores. See http://www.stocklobster.com/3886.html.

6 Aside from being included in every ration package distributed to troops, the War Department provided cigarettes free to the troops overseas. In military stores in the United States cigarettes were sold for as little as 5¢ a pack. Their contracts to supply cigarettes to the U.S. Government were tremendously profitable for the tobacco companies and ensured a generation or more of addicted consumers. In the United States, “Cigarette smoking jumped 75 percent . . . from 1940 to 1945”. In the winter of 1944, there was a severe shortage of cigarettes. This spurred Congressional investigations and hearings. In early December 1944, the Armed Forces Journal reported:

“. . . the House Agricultural Committee started inquiring into the shortage this week it developed that there is an 18-month supply of cigarette tobacco in the United States. A spokesman for the Senate War Investigating Committee said that a preliminary report on the shortage would probably be made within the next few days.

The War Department has stated during the past six months cigarettes supplied from depots in this country for use in the European theater were roughly equivalent to the amount which would supply one and one-half packs of cigarettes per man per day.

It has been reported that German prisoners in the European theater are still getting a plentiful supply of cigarettes, in line with the carrying out of promises extended to them in leaflets promising treatment comparable to that of American troops in the event of their surrender.”

Zebrowski, Carl. “Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em”, America in WW II, 310 Publishing, LLC (http://www.americainwwii.com/articles/smoke-em-if-you-got-em/ : accessed 15 May 2014) and “1944: Smoke ‘em if you . . . never mind.” Today in AFJ History, Armed Forces Journal. Gannett Government Media Corporation. (http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/1944-smoke-em-if-you-never-mind/ : accessed 15 May 2014)

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to May 19, 1944

  1. Mustang.Koji says:

    “Old Man Jack” was stationed at Green Island. It is interesting you mention the cigarettes. He told me once a supply ship was hit offshore and being short on supplies, they ALL got into the water and swam out to retrieve as much as they could of what floated. He laughed as he said of all the things he hauled to shore was a crate of now… soaked cigarettes. He also said when the supply ship was sunk, they had to go over to the “Aussies” and had no choice but to eat their canned rations – which was primarily lamb and “stunk to high heaven”.

    I found and gave Old Man Jack a well-summarized diary of Green Island although I believe it starts a month after you uncle had to make an emergency landing: http://www.seabees93.net/GI%20Green%20Island%206th%20ED.htm
    There is a LOT of detailed information in there – including a B-25 squadron.

    Like

    • a gray says:

      The former C.B. that I once worked for used to talk about Australian canned mutton. He also complained that it smelled.

      In the Notes & Commentary section of the posting for June 11, 1944, there is a description of a bombing mission on Rabaul that included USMC PBJs from VMB-423. Shortly thereafter, they were transitioned from Stirling Island and eventually replaced by another USMC unit operating PBJs, the Navy version of the B-25. There have been no comments from him, but I am told that there is a gentlemen from New Zealand who reads Wayne’s Journal. I understand that he was stationed on Green Island with a Royal New Zealand Air Force unit.

      Like

    • Pierre Lagacé says:

      Hi Koji,

      Is this your first visit here?
      I have just catched up with all Allen’s posts.
      I did not come across any of your comments if you made any.

      When you read the little mechanical plane problems that happened I could related to Old Man Jack’s recollection about that pilot he had serviced the Corsair and who did not return.

      Wayne’s day to day life should have been I believe quite similar to Jack’s.

      Like

      • a gray says:

        It sounds like Old Man Jack was a ground crew member of a Marine air unit stationed on Green Island which is also known as Nissan Island. According to information at PacificWrecks.com (http://www.pacificwrecks.com/provinces/bougainville_nissan.html) the island had two airfields and a seaplane base. Its facilities were probably far more advanced than those on Stirling Island, a forward airfield used by the 42nd Bomb Group’s squadrons. According to PacificWrecks.com (http://www.pacificwrecks.com/airfields/png/nissan/lagoon.html):

        From May 22 – June 10, 1944, Charles Lindbergh flew 13 combat mission, escorting TBF Avengers over Rabaul with a Marine F4U squadron and strafing assigned ground targets while flying from Green (Nissan) and Emirau. Bob Hope preformed on the island on August 1-2, and Jack Benny on August 15, 1944.

        The US Navy also experimented with drones at Green Island and flew at least four drone missions against the Rabaul area.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pierre Lagacé says:

        Thanks for the info.
        Koji will like this info also I am sure.

        Like

Please leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s