Monday, August 16, 2021

Hidden Treasure

 First a little background info to set the stage.  Little Juvat has successfully transferred to his new location and has entered self-quarantine in his apartment.  The good news is the grocery store is on the first floor of the apartment complex and delivers.  Evidently, they recognize the severity of the situation as they also deliver the essentials.  Beer, Wine and Whiskey.  So, the British Empire's influence is still there.

As most of the long time readers here know, their Dog, Tex, was with them in Kuwait.  Kuwait falls into the list of countries that has a history of Rabies.  If a dog transfers from those countries to HK, they must go into quarantine for 6 months. But if the dog transfers from a country not on that list, they go right in.  Therefore, DIL and Tex have been living in one of our guest houses for close to 6 months now.  But...the time to rejoin with Little Juvat is nearing.  So, she's been making the rounds saying hello/goodbye to family and friends throughout the state lately.  She just got back from one of those trips to visit family in Wichita Falls.  

When she got back, she came up for dinner.  (It's more fun when the three of us get together, so she does it regularly.)  While I'm cooking dinner, she's telling us about some railway journals her father had discovered a while back.  

Note the Dec 42 publication date

Her great-great uncle had been an engineer on the railroad prior to WWII.  I thought thumbing through those would be interesting, so when I got to one of those lulls in the cooking process, I wandered over and opened one up.  This was the page I opened it to.

Her great-great Aunt, had used the journals as photo/clipping albums while her husband was away in the South Pacific during the war.  That picture was kind of spooky as I was in the middle of reading Kevin Miller's "The Silver Waterfall", a novel about the Battle of Midway told from the point of view of the little guys, not the guys with stars. That afternoon, I had read the section of the novel that described  VMSB-241's attack from Midway on the Japanese fleet.  This was a picture of that squadron taken shortly before the battle.  If you read the picture's caption, it's obvious that it was taken from before the attack.

What startled me was that while I had known that the first attacks on the Japanese during the battle had been disastrous for the US, seeing this picture from a newspaper from that time period induced a "OMG, it REALLY happened." feeling. They were REAL people. Not just names and numbers. I pondered that through dinner and the next morning got up and went through the rest of the journals. Most were full as "Scrapbooks" not railroad journals, and it was interesting to see the depth and breadth of war subjects that the Wichita Falls Newspaper covered at the time.  The variety of subjects was undoubtedly helpful in understanding the magnitude of the war.  Although WWII in the Pacific has been an interest of mine since I was very young, I still learned a few things from this exercise.

 I liked this picture as I've visited several of the islands at the top, including two where not nice things happened, Wake and Camp O'Donnell in the PI. 

I've been here.  Eerie

Tucked a couple of pages into the journal/album was this envelope which was filled with snapshots.  Apparently Great-Great-Uncle Berry was a photo buff, as well as a SeaBee.  Cool!

I shook out the pics and this one was on top.

On the right, a hometown boy that had done well and has a phenomenal Museum named for him in town.  Not sure who the two other guys in the picture were and the only annotation on all the pictures was:

Other pictures in the envelope:

According to this site, the 16th Naval Construction Battalion (from the return address on the envelope) was involved in operations on Tarawa albeit after serious combat operations had stopped.  So these could have been taken there.  I don't know what the guys were looking at in the sky, nor do I have any idea what the explosion was from.  But...It's a pretty darn big one.

I liked both these photos,  Cover, but no shirt, and a bit of quiet Sunday celebration, in the midst.

I thought this picture was unique, actually fairly accurate on the places invasions came from.  (Yes, Beans, Churchill's Balkan's plan was scrapped very early on.)  But it does make an interesting graphic.

The paper seems to have done a fairly good job in trying to explain the how's, why's, when's, and where's of the war to the civilian populace.  I think these next few do a pretty good job of graphic explanation.
Lotta land to cover.

Roughly the same size as the Southwest Pacific Theater

This one really put's WWII in perspective. I know for a fact that the bottom line there from Hawaii to Japan will take 10.9 hours (and 15 refuelings) flying in an F-4. It's a LONG way!

There were also clippings of locals involved in the festivities.

I got a chuckle out of this picture (which also has a "not for distribution" censor stamp on the back.
Not how I remember Waikiki

Shortly after this picture was taken, USS Wasp (CV-7) was transferred to the Pacific Fleet to replace losses from the Battles of Coral Sea and Midway.  Unfortunately, on September 15, 1942, she and Japanese Submarine I-19 got into a duel.  She lost and had to be scuttled.

I found this picture to be illuminating.  War affects everybody involved.

Look at the name of the game!  I guess it helps them cope.  

Finally, got to the bottom of the stack and found the SeaBee Battalion's yearbook, and found Great-Great-Uncle Henry's photo.
Official Name but he went by Henry

Survived the war and married rejoined his bride, DIL's Great-Grandmother's sister.  They had no children and that's how the stash came into DIL's hands.  Unfortunately, I have to return it to her.  There's still an awful lot of "clues" I'd like to investigate therein.

On a lighter note, I texted the family a "Dad Joke" I stole from Powerline Saturday.  It went like this.
I got official groans from Mrs J, Little Juvat and DIL, and MBD and SIL.  For which I received this trophy.

Thank you, Thank you, you've been a great audience, be sure to tip the maître d'.  He traveled all last week and needs the gas money.  



  1. Plenty of great scanners around that would let you continue to investigate the "clues" at your leisure!

    1. Believe me Mike, I'm gonna be killin' electrons as fast as I can.

    2. I just spent ~$70 on a flat bed scanner to finish scanning all the photos I still have from the age before digital photos. Put a caption on the pictures so in the future someone will have some idea of who & when and give SD cards of the photos to interested family members. Or one of the genealogy sites...

    3. Seeing a photograph of my grandma when she was 16 really did something for my life.

    4. The SD card thing is a good idea Mark. The captions might be a bit difficult though, given the time past, but "do or do not, there is no try".

    5. Fortunately, I inherited several boxes of family photo's from my folks, most of which are annotated. One is of my Grandfather taken after his First Communion and a week or so before the San Francisco earthquake. I'm going to be digitizing things for a long time. (Hey, it keeps me off the streets at least.)

    6. My grandpa was in San Fran for the earthquake, when I was born he made me a framed case with five silver dollars glued on green felt (my mom said he couldn't find a $5 gold piece), so "I'd never be broke". After the quake the ferries were not taking paper money to take you away from San Fran, just gold or silver...

      I titled each photo with what/who/when after a scanned a bunch.

    7. I like that gift, and a $5 Gold piece if it had been found would be pretty close to ensuring you REALLY would never be broke, nowadays.

      My plan also to the best of my recollection.

  2. Outstanding juvat to share those parts of history. That Marine Squadron lost 23 out of 30 aircraft at Midway. Aye, that shirt is well deserved......:)

    1. Thanks Nylon. Yeah and they went through 3 Commanding Officers in 3 days. That's hard to put together in my mind. I know how hard it was to come to grips with losing one guy in my Flight. Losing essentially the entire Squadron....

  3. Incredible dive into history there Juvat. Thanks for sharing.

    As to your last...


    (Good one.)

    1. 6 for 6 Groans, a NEW juvat record!!!

      Yeah, just to have that picture pop into play not an hour after reading the story, just really struck home. Spirits helping?


  4. What a wonderful little insight into a piece of history. It is interesting to see how it was viewed by the people that did not write the history books but lived through it.

    Dad Joke: Approved!

    Glad to hear Little Juvat has safely arrived and is ensconced. Other than not being able to go out, Nighean Gheal said that it was not too terrible and she could get everything she needed. It helped that her classes had started and she had things to do.

    1. Yeah, just got off a video chat with him. He's doing ok and the consulate is sending him information packets to start bringing him up to speed, so not too bad. I'm sure the arrival of DIL and Tex will do wonders for all three's morale.

  5. Glad the progeny are doing OK. Hope it doesn't get too spicy in the HK/Taiwan area after all the strength and resolve we're showing in the Afghanistan debacle.
    I understand the odd joy it is to find little caches of clippings and photos from long ago. Just found some more from my dad's service, which have a coincidental link to Wichita Falls since that is where he grew up. Given the size of the town back in pre WWII days, I would not be surprised if he and his family knew people in your DIL's family. I've got pics of him as a lifeguard at one of the more popular swimming pools (I want to say Westmoreland but not completely sure).
    Dad jokes are great, aren't they?

    1. Believe me, I love spicy things, but....

      Wouldn't surprise me if they knew one another either.

      The jokes are okay. It's the recipient's reaction that's the reward. :-)

  6. Fascinating post! A glimpse of history as it was viewed by those who lived through it, not from a history book.
    Great Dad joke, and I love the shirt.
    I'm excited for your DIL and Tex to go join Little Juvat. I'm sure they will have good stories for all of us.

    1. Thanks Mary. As I said, I've done a lot of study of the war. You're right, it was an entirely different perspective to see it as the folks back home were informed about it.

  7. Thanks for the post, Juvat. I really do like seeing into history like that. Remember that little game we did as kids? "Ring around the rosey, pocket full of posie, ashes, ashes, we all fall down?" That was another game like "Recover the body...."

    15 REFUELINGS???? Were you guys in burner the whole way there? Wow.... 11/15 is about every 45 minutes.... Not much time to watch the inflight movie....

    1. The reason for that many refuelings was the lack of a divert base between HI and Okinawa. The only one available was Wake. So The first refueling was when we were getting close to max range to return to Hickam, the next several were basically a continuous cycle of each flight of four off their tanker, (5 Tankers & 20 F-4s) topping off each time until we got within divert range of Wake. Rendezvoused with new tankers from Kadena, flew outbound until just prior to max range to return to Wake, then back to the cycle routine until within range of Kadena. As I said, a VERY long way.

      Yeah, as I mentioned earlier, I've got to get the Scanner going.

  8. History for us, lived experiences for them. Sometimes surreal to be reading old newspaper clippings knowing now what they didn't know then. Brave people indeed.

    The joke did provide a chuckle!


  9. Dad was a SeaBee and was on Wake Island, along with a number of other islands in The Pacific Theatre. But, too, it seemed most every young man and some young women from our small home town in Central Kentucky served. I was fortunate that my generation was "raised" by that one. regards, Alemaster

    1. Greatest Generation was a well earned and deserved title. My Dad was 15 when the Bombs went off. Pretty sure, from a very personal point of view, that it was the right decision. I have no criticism of my parent's raising of me.

  10. It's amazing how places that people today have no idea where or what they were/are were once prominent places known to everyone.

    And how islands, once looking like the picture with all the blasted trees, now look like, well, pretty and tree-covered islands. Weird how nature can cover our sins so quickly (referring to all the tree-covered islands in the early 70's that were blasted scraps of coral sand in the mid 40's.)

    Different times, so different.

    And I'm glad you are scanning them. Maybe DIL, if she needs to send them somewhere, can contact that nice museum named after that guy. History is best shared, lest it be rewritten.

    1. We discussed at least showing them to the museum, but they're technically her father's and he made her promise to bring them back. So...

      Ascanning we will go, ascanning we will go, High-ho the dairy-o, ascanning we will go.

      As played by Grand Funk Railroad.

    2. Ah, GFR, what a great group.

      Wife has a ring made from a stainless steel nut (with the plant, date and last name of the machinist, one of her grandfathers) from the order that made one of the A-bombs that ended WWII. She has been asking what to do with it and I keep telling her to contact a museum but... So, well, one of these days I'll contact a museum for her.

    3. You might consider the Nimitz. It IS formally the National Museum of the Pacific War. Or take a picture of it, email that to me and I'll take there to see if there's interest.

  11. Pretty cool stuff, juvat! My Dad was all over the South Pacific with the SeaBees during WWII. Two of his brothers served in the Army in Europe. I keep bugging my sister to send me copies of Dad's service records, but she never does.

    1. If you know Your Dad's CB Battalion number, the site I linked to has links to I think all of them. It doesn't have a lot of information, but there are some dates/location info that might help you track down more info.

    2. I've asked her repeatedly for any info at all, like what unit he was with, or anything documenting his service, and nada.

      I'll check out the links, and maybe I can figure out a few things. There's a hand painted map in the wardroom of the Iowa, and the first time I saw it I was floored. There on the wall were the names of all the places I'd heard my parent's talk about, the "old names" of the countries, not their current names. I have a pretty good idea where he was, and about when, from hearing him talk about "Iron Bottom Sound", and how the Naval gunfire lit up the sky at night, and how the sound would come rolling in from the sea, like the thunder from a big storm.

    3. As I'm sure you're aware, Iron Bottom Sound is part of the Guadalcanal legend. But...I did a little digging and narrowed down (a very small bit) the SeaBee Bn's he could have been in.
      Her goes:
      If the 88th was the last one, I've reduced your search by 75%.

      Good Luck, But there's got to be some way to search by a person's name, the fact he was a SeaBee and at Guadalcanal.
      My personnel officer wife suggested

  12. I have some Time and Life mags from WWII collected by my aunt and uncle while their boy was over there. Interesting reading, to put it mildly... Glad things are going work out for all with the pup!

  13. I really enjoy seeing old pictures from world war ii. My mom had quite a few from her father in the South Pacific either sending them home or having them developed after the war. I like your dad joke shirt too, but I really like Dad jokes!


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