August 13, 1944

Sunday

Little to report for this day. Washed a mountain of dirty clothes. My back is tired tonight.

Am lonesome and blue for Bonnie but am taking into consideration what we’re fighting for. It must be worth fighting for and worth the loneliness and sorrow or all our boys wouldn’t be out here. Guess we have to be philosophical about these subjects or all this sort of life would be hard to take.

Buffington traded a pipe for a native bow and several arrows of different types. One for birds which had four different prongs for a head. One for wild boars, with a long steel point hammered out of an old shovel, possibly. Another with a jagged bamboo tips, narrower and shorter than the rest for man hunting.

Arrow heads

Arrowheads for birds, boar and man.

The tips, as are every part of the bows and arrows, are made with bamboo, blackened and hardened. The arrows prongs are barely a quarter of an inch in width and up to five to 8 inches in length. The bow string is a thin piece of bamboo, as are all of the bindings and etc. The arrows all carry simple designs cut into the wood.

The natives here are quite small and cannibalistic. For instance Buff saw two natives run into the woods, heard the “Yipe, Yipe” of a dog. Soon the natives came back out with their faces covered with blood.1 Ugh!

These natives love to trade. Anything goes and they’re hard traders. Think of the white men as Gods if they’re shaven. One requisite of warfare in this section is a cleanly shaven face, for psychological effect on them.

Drove down to Cyclops strip today and watched A-20s come in. Also saw a Jap Oscar and took some pictures of it. Had my picture taken with Carl Snyder, Ken Buffington and George Hansen, I believe, in front of a captured Jap 75 millimeter cannon that lies in the 42nd group’s back yard, so to speak but just off of my front porch. Drove up a very steep grade in the jeep. Took low, low gear but we made it. The view was magnificent, both landing strips visible. They are placed in a bowl. The strips are the bowls bottoms and the mountains their rims. Panoramic views are excellent here.

So that’s all for tonight! Oh Yes, the Yanks are fighting in the outskirts of Paris. Russians launch new two army drive to outflank Warsaw and East Prussia. Florence Italy has fallen.

Halhmahera Island2 bombed by mediums and B-24s, 51 Jap planes shot down, 7 ships damaged as well as 26 barges.

Good night, angel face. Wynne

Notes & Commentary

1 A Pomeranian puppy purchased in Australia by a Navy crew was captured and eaten by New Guinea natives in August 1944

Lt. Cmdr. Morris D. Coppersmith and Galia Berry, ed. When Victory is Ours: Letters Home from the South Pacific 1943-1945, December 26, 1943. (http://www.topshot.com/dh/Victory.html : accessed 15 September 2014).

2 Located west of New Guinea, Halmahera is the largest of the Molucca Islands. Morotai Island lies to the northeast. Halmahera covers over 7,000 sq. miles. The Japanese constructed nine airfields on Halmahera from which to control the surrounding seas and islands. Halmahera was occupied by some 30,000 Japanese troops including those of the 32nd Division.

Gordon L. Rottman. World War II Pacific Island Guide, a Geo-Military Study. Westport Press, CT: Greewood Press, 2002. p 252 et seq.

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9 Responses to August 13, 1944

  1. kocart says:

    There is a lot more information here than censors would ever allow in a letter home. This is a treasure.

    Like

    • a gray says:

      I have been impressed with regard to how well informed the troops are with regard to the progress of the war. They had various radio services which provided news as well as Yank, The Army Weekly and Stars and Stripes. There also were unit newspapers that circulated. The information he provided in the post “Ocean Death” and that of the preceding day has some unique aspects to it that don’t show up in the “official” record. I don’t know if you have read all the posts as some have, but there is a progression of tone and information that might interest you.

      Thanks for following Wayne’s Journal. I hope you will share it with your friends.

      Liked by 1 person

      • kocart says:

        I am just starting to read your blog. I followed another blog, which transcribed letters home during WWII, and the letters were very censored and personal–there was no way to follow the progress of the war through them. They were interesting in their own way, since they conveyed what the family knew of the war, other than what was in the papers.

        Your post caught my eye because the journal didn’t seem to have been censored at all. I will read up on it, and will look for the sense of the war you mentioned. I will start with “Ocean Death” as you suggested.

        I was in the military and I know how the official record and the actual events were at variance at times, and why that was sometimes necessary. Seeing some of the raw eye witness reports in print will be very revealing.

        Thanks for putting this important information out there. It is fascinating.

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      • a gray says:

        Some blogs consist of posts of letters and when those letters came from troops overseas, they were often heavily censored. Occasionally, the blogs are posts from of diaries that were kept. Those that post them are well intentioned, but too the posts are done without context. As I note in the page “Wayne”, https://waynes-journal.com/about/, most all of the posts in Wayne’s Journal have a Notes & Commentary section in which I try to supply context. When there are combat missions, I try to supply contemporary information on the missions — planes involved, target, bombs dropped, weather conditions, etc. For a little better understanding of what I am doing with Wayne’s Journal, you might want to read the page “Wayne” before you read anything else.

        Wayne also dreamed of being a writer and, I think, used his journal to record what going on around him, what they ate, what life was like, etc. He had a good idea for detail and sometimes we receive the benefit of it.

        Wayne had three younger brothers who also served during World War II. When information pops up relevant to the experiences, it will be interwoven with what Wayne is writing.

        I hope you will enjoy Wayne’s Journal. If you do, please tell others about it.

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      • kocart says:

        I will pass the word. Your extra effort in documentation makes all the difference in the world, and makes this more than a personal memoir, since it is placed in historical context. It is appreciated.

        My great-great grandfather served the Union in the Civil War. He kept a photo album, and one of the fellows he served with, who was pictured in it, a drummer boy named Delivan Miller of Company H, 2nd New York Heavy Artillery, wrote a memoir of his experiences, later in life. It was such an immediate and intimate portrait of going to war from an enlisted man’s perspective that it remains in print to this day. It is called “Drum Taps in Dixie.” Check it out if you get the chance.

        Thanks for your guide to your blog. I will be a regular reader. Thanks.

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      • a gray says:

        Thanks for the book suggestion. I ordered it from Amazon.com a few moments ago. My great-great grandfather served as a private with Company E of the 12th Illinois Cavalry.

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      • kocart says:

        I have scanned all of the photos from William Osborn’s war album. Here is the link. https://www.flickr.com/photos/32891141@N04/sets/72157610457926320/ You can see a picture of the author of your book, Delivan Miller, and that of his young brother. What is wonderful about it is that my GGGrandfather William Osborn, wrote the names of his friends in his own hand, so we know who they are. It makes the set of photos priceless, just like Wayne’s journal.

        You can be proud of your Civil War ancestor. We have three, and each bore the impact of his service. My son selected one of them and did a presentation on his service for his 6th grade heritage project. The veteran, William Jones, never completely recovered and suffered from Bright’s disease for the rest of his life. Such a background gives a young man like my son a sense of his own history and worth.

        I will look up the unit of your ancestor. What was his name?

        Thanks for your blog. I will show it to my son–I think he will enjoy it too, since he loves learning about WWII.

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  2. JF says:

    It’s precious! “Am lonesome and blue for Bonnie but am taking into consideration what we’re fighting for.” This is what necessary for every military man to know at every moment. Missions must be clear and worth sacrifice!

    Like

  3. Mustang.Koji says:

    My neighbor, Old Man Jack, talked of the natives a couple of times… I’ll leave it at that. 🙂

    War news did travel… and quickly in those days of only scuttlebutt, radio and Stars and Stripes. I am currently (trying) to read “The Patton Papers, 1940-1945” and in it are letters to and from. They contained quite a bit of news from a multitude of sources: from the actual front lines, radio, field HQs and from unfortunately, the wounded and dying.

    Like

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