Letters, page 3. . .

Letters to the Editor. Talk back to the editors. What do YOU think?

KilroyWasHere welcomes letters to the editor. We reserve the right to edit for length and clarity. Send email to Editor@KilroyWasHere.org. We cannot post your email address but will forward any response to you.

US Postal Service Needs Help!

Dear Editor,
Can you help the Post Office?

Ranger Andy, Rangers Lead The Way;
but somewhere on the patrol,
I got lost...



Any Ideas how we can help? Click here

A bombing before WWII that we have forgotten!

Dear Editor,

In regards to your article here:

This was actually not the first time the American mainland was bombed from the air. On June 1st 1921, the town known as: "Black Wall Street" near Tulsa Oklahoma was bombed from the air using WWI vintage airplanes by white supremacists.


The number of people killed has been estimated to be anywhere from 1500 to 3000. Over 1500 homes were burned down.


WOW, Jacques! I had no idea but it is easily confirmable on the Internet - which I did.See:
While it isn't within the scope of Kilroy Was Here (WWII and Korea) I will add your letter as a letter to the Editor during the next update.

A correction from one who knows!

Dear Editor,

A minor correction under the photo the YMS in Tacoma November 12, l945. It should be l944. I was an officer aboard the YMS 431 in Okinawa l945 also Japan, Guam, Bikini and Pearl Harbor. I was the last Captain of the ship and decommissioned her at Pearl Harbor. I am still active at Hallsten Corporation, Sacramento, and have fond memories of Arthur Whittington a fellow officer aboard the YMS 431 and a great guy.

John Hallsten


Thank you very much, John!

Hi! I Thanks for putting together a great site!
I found your site while researching stories about World War 2.

I am concerned about an inaccurate recollection documented on your site from Bill Hoover in your response to the quiz on Tokyo Rose. He claims that a Japanese American welder caused the accident that claimed many lives in Pearl Harbor in 1944 in his recollection here:

Tokyo Rose, The Truth

He may have heard Tokyo Rose's message, but his recollection of what happened is not accurate, where he places the blame on deliberate sabotage. Based on some of these other articles, one of which references a declassified US Navy report from 1964, the actual cause was cigarette smoking near ammunition. Indeed there was a rumor that this was a Japanese suicide attack, but that was apparently untrue.



Would you be able to add an addendum to the recollection to point people to this other information?



Bill's response was based on his memory and chances are, they reported what he remembered as, at least a rumor. As Churchhill said "In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies."

That is not to say, I will let it stand. I will attach a side bar to Bill's comment leading to your "Letter to the Editor" which I will put in Volume 7.

Thank you for going to the trouble to correct us..

More about the fabulous Pearl Harbor Troop Train!

Passengers in 1940s fashions and uniforms are always encouraged.
For information, schedules, and reservations, please call:
(714) 871-6353

A Bill Lewis Production, Fullerton, CA 92833


The Troop train has hit a new milestone. We have suddenly grown! For the past eleven years, we used one car for the program and the second car for extra passengers. When we got to San Diego, we'd switch the passengers to the opposite car so the others could enjoy the same program going back to LA.

Since we have grown the passenger list this year, we've now added a third vintage passenger car. That means a major change in the entertainment program. Instead of remaining in the same car all day, doing the same program 4 times (Two round trips with passenger change-out in San D.) it will be the MC and Talent who will go car to car. As the director and audio dude, I'll be right there with them. Since the passengers will have already heard the script going down, I need to double the program script so the return program will be fresh and different on the return trip. Hopefully, it will all work out.

Again, Mike Reagan had to turn down my invitation. It's their anniversary. Very disappointing. I do enjoy our conversations though.

As a big Salute to the on board veterans, I have a proposal in at USMC Camp Pendleton, to "Salute" the veteran passengers with a chopper escort as the train cuts through the base property. I also suggested they display a large American Flag in the side door for all to see. I know it's going through channels right now. And, I also know Government works slowly but, I'd sure be less anxious if they'd call to update me. I will do that if I don't hear anything by early next week. If it all goes down as planned, it will be a big surprise to everyone aboard. I haven't even told the car owners about it. This will be the most exciting improvement to the Troop Train program I've ever come up with! And so far I'm the only one who knows about it. Reminds me of the Wartime song-- "Shhh, it's a military secret!"

My wife & I attended the retirement ceremony and reception in San Diego yesterday. He's my last active duty military connection. We served together for 8 years in Combat Camera. He's now on his last few days after serving 43 years in the Navy. Very proud of my buddy, Bill Gowdy. Bill was one of my first Troop train passengers way back when. He was a first class Petty officer back then, ten years ago. I've invited him to ride again this years. In uniform, of course.

Since Chief Gowdy started his career at NTC San Diego, he chose the base for his retirement ceremony. The base has since closed and reverted back to the city. They have preserved practically every building that was there since WWII. The building now house everything from Ace Hardware to corp. offices to recreation and event use. The large chapel and gymnasium are still used for what they were intended. As a member of the "Blue Jacket's Choir," I sang in that church every Sunday morning while going through training there. Where our huge black-top "Grinder" was, it's all beautiful lawn and trees now. Our old wood barracks and laundry areas are also gone and planted with lush green lawns and landscaping. The huge 3" & 5" ship's mounts are still in place where the grandstands once stood, were proud family members sat to watch their recruit pass-in-review during his graduation ceremony. I remember it well, I spent my 3 months there in 1965. They have done a wonderful job of beautifying the old base. It looks more like a lush, pristine park with its beautiful trees & plants everywhere. There are hundreds of black granite and bronze historic markers throughout the old base identifying that particular building or location. Next time I'm down there, I plan to read at least half of them.

Even the old training ship, "USS Recruit" still remains landlocked and is well taken care of from the looks of her. When I was very young, Dad was stationed in San Diego. I remember the family driving by that marvelous old ship and hearing Dad refer to her as the "USS Never-sail". Don't know where that name originated. I just grew up calling her the same. It wasn't till 18 years, or so, later, when I went to boot camp there that I realized that wasn't the ship's name, at all. Even today, when I see that small ship, I can't help but think of my Nav-lifer Dad.

Since the main gate and most all of the original plaster buildings are still standing, as are many of the memorable sites around the base, it still holds a lot of memories for anyone who went through boot camp there.

That's it for now.



This is about the amazing plan to invade Japan in 1945!


Click the star to read the original story of OPERATION DOWNFALL

General Clements is to be roundly commended for shining light on Operation Downfall and providing honest, well researched insights that give the lie to revisionists who decry the atomic bombings of Japan and to uninformed apologists at the very highest levels of the U.S. government who suggest that these bombings were morally reprehensible. As the only member of family of six who did not go through the actual experience of being interred in Santo Tomas Prison Camp in Manila, I can assure you that none of us felt a scintilla of doubt that the bombings were eminently justified for the number of lives saved on both sides. And as friends of GIs who were on their way from the European theater to invade Japan, I have heard them say to a man that they cheered when they heard of the bombings.

Best regards, William Boni


Absolutely! William! I have never met or talked to a survivor of WWII that didn't say, Thank God for the A-bomb! I would be dead if it were not for it.

More on
Operation Market Garden

Operation Market Garden,(17-25 September 1944) was not an attempt to liberate 'The Netherlands' from the Germans, (see below). It was an unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany in the Second World War and included the largest airborne parachute troop operation up to that time.

Field Marshal Montgomery's goal was to force an early entry into Germany and cross the Rhine, hoping for an early end to WW 2. He wanted to circumvent the northern end of the Siegfried Line and this required the operation to seize the bridges across the Maas (Meuse River) and two arms of the Rhine (the Waal and the Lower Rhine) as well as several smaller canals and tributaries. Crossing the Lower Rhine would allow the Allies to encircle Germany's industrial heartland in the Ruhr from the north. It made large-scale use of airborne forces, whose tactical objectives were to secure the bridges and allow a rapid advance by armoured units into Northern Germany.

Initially, the operation was marginally successful, and several bridges between Eindhoven and Nijmegen were captured. However, Gen. Horrocks' XXX Corps ground force's advance was delayed by the demolition of a bridge over the Wilhelmina Canal, as well as an extremely overstretched supply line, at Son, delaying the capture of the main road bridge over the Meuse until 20 September. At Arnhem, the British 1st Airborne Division encountered far stronger resistance than anticipated. In the ensuing battle, only a small force managed to hold one end of the Arnhem road bridge and after the ground forces failed to relieve them, they were overrun on 21 September.

The rest of the division, trapped in a small pocket west of the bridge, had to be evacuated on 25 September. The Allies had failed to cross the Rhine in sufficient force and the river remained a barrier to their advance until the offensives at Remagen, Oppenheim, Rees and Wesel in March 1945. The failure of Market Garden ended Allied expectations of finishing the war by Christmas 1944.

John Healey, Kent, UK

Keeping the record straight about Admiral Yamamoto!

From Jeff Dougherty, Through LinkedIN, Military History and Strategy

Here are the details. I had to track down "The Reluctant Admiral". Page 291, quoting a letter to Sasakawa Ryoichi:

"However, if there should be a war between Japan and America, then our aim, of course, ought not to be Guam or the Philippines, nor Hawaii nor Hong Kong. [To win] We must march into Washington and dictate peace at the White House. I wonder whether the politicians of the day really have the willingness to make sacrifies and the confidence this would entail."

Gordon Prange has a different rendering which makes Yamamoto's sarcasm a bit clearer in "At Dawn We Slept":

"Should hostilities break out between Japan and the United States, it would not be enough that we take Guam and the Philippines, nor even Hawaii and San Francisco. To make victory certain, we would have to march into Washington

Isoroku Yamamoto was a Japanese Marshal Admiral and the commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet during World War II, a graduate of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy.
April 4, 1884-April 18, 1943
Image courtesy Wikipedia

and dictate the terms of peace in the White House. I wonder if our politicians, among whom armchair arguments about war are being glibly bandied about in the name of state politics, have confidence as to the final outcome and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices."

Yamamoto wasn't boasting, he was complaining about leaders in and out of uniform who were advocating war without a realistic plan for victory. Of course, once Allied propaganda got wind of it they milked it for all it was worth, that being their job at the time. :) But it does annoy me to see the misconception linger 70-odd years on.


This is in response the KilroyWasHere.org Quote of the Week: "When war comes between Japan and the United States, I shall not be content to merely occupying Guam, the Philippines, Hawaii, and San Francisco. I look forward to dictating the peace of United States in the White House at Washington."

-- Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander in Chief of the Japanese Navy

True, he was against the war from the 30s when he was living in the USA. He has been treated well by history and is the subject of many weekly quotes on KilroyWasHere.org. I will use your explanation if it comes up again

Thank you, Jeff, for keeping the record clear! !

USMC in Korea Before 1945!

Dear Pat,

the 1945 incident wasn't the first Marine operation in Korea. In 1871, Marines conducted a punitive raid against "Corean" fortifications that fired on Navy vessels. The raid was some 12 miles south of Inchon, and the Marines were plagued by the same mud flats that hampered the Inchon landing...Google USMC Korea 1871 for details

Mose (Gerald Moses)


It is, Mose! Thank you!

More on Flying Wings !

There is no doubt that Mr Northrop was ahead of his time. He certainly ventured into the field of "flying wings" with gusto...the huge YB-35 not being his first. Why the letter Y preceding the model designation? The Y signifies that this all-wing type was still "experimental".

In an effort to raise the performance numbers, Northrop disposed of all the usual airplane drag and weight producing appendages such as the fuselage, rear stabilizer and vertical tail. If only there had been the digital technology available in those days that we have in these modern times.

The modern high performance jet powered aircraft is far from inherantly stable. It has little to NO self righting capability so . . . while the pilot has all the means to point it in the desired directions, it is the on-board computers that do much to keep the beast reigned-in and obedient.

As a result, the YB-35 accidents, that resulted in their destruction, were due to their lack of self-righting ability — one being lost when it was put through a stall series that led to an unrecoverable spin.

The YB-35 was far from the first all wing type. Britain had a series of "flying wings" in the 1940s...the Armstrong Whitworth 52 being the most prominent and which first flew in November of 1947.

I first saw this beautiful craft at the RAE Farnborough SBAC Manufacturer's air show, in the early 1950s. It was a miserable day and the all-white, scythe shaped aircraft made almost silent, very low level, sweeping banked turns around the airfield... that thrilled one and sent chills down the spine at the same time.

Armstrong Whitworth 52
Click image for a larger view
Image Courtesy warbirds online

The AW 52 was a pure research vehicle, with a surface finish of plus or minus "3 thou" to investigate laminar airflow. Once again . . . "if only" . . . the last one being lost from divergent pitch oscillations, causing the pilot to complete his trip underneath some volumous nylon, having made the first Martin Baker seat evacuation of his "ride".

The Germans had all-wing types during and well before World War Two....courtesy of the Fatherland's Horten brothers. Had it not been for the intrusion of the US and its allies into Europe... and had their latest all-wing type had been successful, New York might have seen Horten designed enemy aircraft over the Statue of Liberty.

As it was, neither the Horten design....nor the British Avro Vulcan (my old "ride", at times) were really "stealth". Had both realized that it was quite necessary to hide the flat front faces of the engine impeller fans, the RADAR signature would have been reasonably minimal. Take a look at the F-117 and B-2 intakes.

Per Ardua Ad Astra.

Jim Newman

PS I forgot to add....ONE of the YB-35s was lost when an accompanying jet fighter "chase 'plane" collided with one of the YB-35's fins. Both aircraft crashed.


Per Ardua Ad Astra. ("Through adversity to the stars" or "Through struggle to the stars" is the motto of the Royal Air Force and other Commonwealth air forces.

A Correction!

Dear Sir,

The name of the Rear Admiral is not Donald, but Don Pardee Moon. See for instance his obit on the Arlington cemetery site.

Hope this is useful to you.

Kind regards,

Pieter Graf


It is, Pieter! Thank you! I don't have contact with the author but I have corrected it.

A Prescient Book Review!

Pat, the book, "Eisenhower's Party"that you published my review on, has been picked up by a regular publisher. Apparently it gained some popularity, partly thanks to you.

It has been re-issued under the title, "Battle for Snow Mountain" by Don Young. Pocol Press is the publisher. It's also on Amazon, of course.


— Wallace Wood

It's our 10th Anniversary salute to the WWII Generation.

I have interviewed and selected the best of the vets and their stories. Great expectations for this year. We're booking seats quickly. It's going to be an early sell-out as the word has gotten out.

As an example of how few Americans we have left from the war era, I went to the Jimmy Doolittle Raiders' web site and found that of all the personnel who made that one way flight over Tokyo, only five are still alive. That was a wake-up call for me. I knew we were now down to less than 16% still with us however, percentages don't visually reflect the loss like actual numbers do. And, many of those war era Americans are no longer able to get out, so we no longer see them.

Someone recently asked how long I'd continue to produce the Troop Train Salute to the WWII Gen.? After a moment of thought, I replied, "As long as we have a veteran who can still board the train. Even if it's just one!" I have since gone back over the past ten years list of veterans who have been our on board special guests. With the exception of a handful, most are now gone. We lost two in just the last two weeks.

Sadly, we're witnessing the close of one of America's most spectacular periods in our nation's history. After meeting all those who have joined us on our annual Troop Train excursion over the past ten years, I can't help but love the WWII generation. They are one of a kind. They suffered through the great depression and dust bowl era. Then went to war to defend their country and foreign lands around the world, at a cost of over 400,000 of their fellow countrymen. A fight to "WIN," at any cost. They came home to start anew, and ended up fighting again in Korea. They came home again to continue to raise the boomer generation, while enriching their own lives by creating some of the most amazing advances in science, farming, industry, technology, and efficiency of production, any nation had ever seen.

If I were to fault them for anything, it would be that too many of the WWII Generation failed to nurture their love of God and Country in their own children.

As far as I'm concerned, the WWII generation has been this nation's political balance over the past six decades. As they continue to die off, so do our God given Liberties. Coincidence? I don't think so! Unfortunately, with their passing, goes that can do spirit that made our country the greatest nation in the world. America will never see their kind again.

Bill LEWIS- USN Ret.
Producer- The Pearl Harbor Day Troop Train- overlandtrail.com

A Kilroy Was Here Funny Memory

I was born in 1943 so when I was old enough to remember such things. We had some fun with the phrase. One time when I was about seven we were traveling on a weekend seeing one of many relatives. In my mother's family there were 18 kids. She was the first girl born into this family so as would be expected she was spoiled.

It was a hot summer's day and there few were cars with air conditioning. After visiting one of our relatives, on our way home we stopped by another one of my mother's brother's home. It turned out that they were not home and as we waited for them we made ourselves at home as we often did. That was just the way it was in our families — no one was offended.

In the process someone got the ice cream out of the refrigerator and as it was almost all gone it didn't last long. We also made ourselves at home by eating the left over fried chicken. When we got through with the chicken, we put the chicken bones into the empty ice cream container and left a note saying "Kilroy was here."

When they got home, they were hot from their trip and as they neared home one of them said they were going to get a bowl of ice cream to cool off. As they talked about that they began to have fun with it and each one said they were going to get to the ice cream first, knowing there was not much left in the box. When they got home they were surrounding the ice box each one with a spoon in their hand waiting for the lid to be opened. When it was opened and the spoons were about to come down they saw the empty box and the chicken bones. They took the paper out of the box and read the words "Kilroy was here" and simultaneously said the "Higgins' were here!"

We used to laugh a lot about that time as the two families had reunions. It was a fun time we had but it is not that way anymore. All of them have past on except one aunt who was born a "blue baby" and was not expected to live and yet she outlasted them all.

Elaine Higgins

A Memory of Kilroy

I am a retired truck driver from Indiana originally. I now live in California. Back in 1957, almost every place a truck driver stopped, on the restroom wall, was "Kilroy Was Here." I stopped in a truck stop close to St Louis, Mo. and ate, had coffee and then used the men's room. On the men's room wall was this sign . . . "Jump for glee and jump for joy. I got here before kilroy." I have told a lot of people over the years about this.

Ty, John Heare

Response The Rest of the Story!

Below, in a different hand,

"Sorry to spoil your little joke;
I was here, but my pencil broke.

See Sighting at

A New Marine!

I am a recently made Marine by the name of Smith, Austin. I go by Smithy and I am going to be deployed for Afghanistan later October 2011, I found your site and I would like to thank you for everything you are doing and would like to ask for your luck in the battle field. As I said before, I would like to thank you for everything you have done, people like you are what this country is worth serving for.


~ So was Smithy

First, congratulations and thank you for the kind words! You will be proud of making it through that grueling Marine boot camp the rest of your life.

You sure as hell do have my wish for your good luck but I have something better! You won't need as much luck if you really listened to your DIs. They did their level best to teach you how to survive while completing your mission, You have a Gunny now that has been there — done that. Listen to him! Pump him! Listen to ALL his stories. From this moment on, determine to be the best damn Jarhead you can be! I don't mean the bravest. I don't mean coming home with medals, I mean LEARN YOUR CRAFT. I am a former Marine from long before you were even a twinkle in your father's eye. I was only a fighter pilot not a rifleman but maybe that will make the point. Would I have been better as a screw off or one who knew everything about tactics and my FJ-3 and could make it do what I wanted when I wanted? Well, it's the same as with your M-16, mortar or machine gun. Know it back and forth. Learn combat tactics from anyone who will teach you. Then set out to learn everyone else's job.

Good luck again but if you really listen to the above, you will need less of it. Keep us posted and send us back pictures especially of you, your buddy's, and Kilroy.

Semper fi!

A Day Brightener from Ireland

I live in Ireland and I am Irish and it is great to see that there is a real, living human being behind Kilroy.

God Bless America and all those people who fought and died for the World's freedoms..


A Way to help Publicize the Stamp Campaign

I would urge everyone that writes in,"Snailmail"'to draw a Kilroy Was Here image on the envelope, this will bring it to the attention of the people at the postal service and just might cause them to think on it. Hope it helps...

Tom Pennington


Right on, Tom! Let's push it! See Saturday 5/30/2010 update

Kilroy in Korea
About a Slightly bawdy Sighting but a Wonderful Addition Concerning Kilroy's "pull."
Click here to read Jack West's Original Story as told to Daniel Arnold

Stumbled across your site and was pleasantly surprised to find a contribution by my friend Jack West.

We were in the same squad and on the mission he told about with the indignant young lady, and I thought you might be interested in a bit of follow up.

A few days after our little outing, I found myself back at the hospital as a result of a bit of shrapnel. It may have been fun and games with Hawkeye, but the place I wound up was mostly a bunch of guys bored out of their skulls and waiting to either get sent back to their unit or further up the line for more complicated treatment. And what do G.I. do in their down time? Tell stories, of course. Needless to say, not all of them are true, and when I told the fellows about our labeled

lady I was met with a chorus of "Bull****."

But I had the last laugh, even if most of them weren't on hand to enjoy it. A few days later I was pronounced fit for duty and sent back to my unit.

On the way, we went through the little village where we'd had our adventure and there was my proof. In front of the very hooch where we'd had our confrontation with the lady was a sign reading "OFF LIMITS". Looked to me like Kilroy had enough pull with the big shots to see that his promise was kept.

Ed (Wahoo) Shaffer

Black Thursday
The Schweinfurt Mission
Click here to read Black Thursday

Those Schweinfurt stories were amazing. I appreciated the reference to the loss of fear. The author acknowledges his fear, gives it its due, but then pushes it aside as there was work to be done. Wow!

I have over 400 hundred W.W.II books. The top two are written by pilots. While not a book, I think Wally's descriptive writing ranks right up there with those other two guys.

Bob Cook

Australian CA-15 Kangaroo

Perhaps you would like to include an Aussie plane in your list, yes it was a prototype but it was fast and clearly underdeveloped, here is the link I hope you will add it in



This is referring to Wallace Wood's great story Top Props. See:

Here's his answer:

Australia certainly had an aircraft to be proud of in the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation's CAC-15 "Kangaroo."
Even though it was a prototype that didn't fly in the war, this fast (448 mph in level flight) Mustang look-alike deserves some mention.

It shows great minds run in the same channels, since chief designer Fred David did not strictly copy the great P-51 and intended to use a powerful rotary engine instead of the inline type used in the Mustang. The CAC-15 Kangaroo's dimensions and design goals were different. Both the Kangaroo and Mustang are beautiful and sleek-looking, however. It was said to be easy to fly.

Australia was an early target of Imperial Japan, and Aussies were among the first to lose their lives in South Pacific combat. The rush to find aircraft that could counter the fearsome forces left the "Kangaroo" languishing for lack of engines and development time.
Most combat aircraft had to be imported for use by the Royal Australian Air Force .

That Australia's aircraft company could design and produce the effective, tough and nimble ground-attack "Boomerang" and the armed trainer "Wirraway" by 1942 speaks for its capabilities.

-----Wallace Wood

A Better A/C Spotter

Did you notice that the 11th plane down from the top of page 4 of the A/C Recognition Slides is an F-100 . . . but incorrectly identified as a F-101?



Right on, Bob! You are better at A/C recognition than I! Thank you for the correction!

A Terrific video Clip

Saw your article (http://www.kilroywashere.org/009-Pages/Wallace/SouthernComfort.html) and thought you might be interested in seeing a piece of newsreel film showing Southern Comfort (probably late in February of 1943). You have to register on the Movietone site (www.movietone.com) to see it, but once you are in, search for story number 43422. Late in the sequence (4:37) you see a shot of a shot-up tail fin with 124617 on it.

Film Title: BIG BLOWS BY

Card Title: Flying Fortresses
Location: N/A
Date: 04/05/1943
Length: 320 secs
Story Number: 43422

I was trying to connect that number with a bomb squadron so I'd know which group the newsreel cameraman had been assigned to. Your web page provided the connection, for which I am grateful. Thought you would find it interesting too.

Jim Hamilton
Green Harbor Publications, www.greenharbor.com
To order Green Harbor Publications books please visit: www.lulu.com/ghp
To follow Green Harbor Publications on Twitter, try: http://twitter.com/FreeFallReport or
http://twitter.com/Writing69th or


Thanks to the sharp eyes of your readers. The MovieTone News clip was good.
The movie was short, and there was the Southern Comfort, tail number 124617, closely matching the B17F Flying Fortress, number 4124617,WF*J, of the 305th Bomb Group 364th Bomb Squadron in our story.
That tail was missing a big chunk of its rudder in the film-- confirming that Trevor and I told the truth of this much-battered aircraft.
War is hell, but flying at 20,000 feet along those towering mountains of cloud looked glorious.

Why was the "4" left off the tail number? Don't know.


Another Child's Sad Memory of the Blitz


Obviously I am some 4 to 5 years older than Margaret Hofman, but her story brought a huge lump to my
throat and a few quiet tears.

Her experiences parallel those of myself and my family, while my father was with the RAF in India and Burma.
The diving for the shelter . . . the ceiling falling on us in our classroom during a daylight attack . . . the rationing . . .
the intense darkness of the blackout . . . the near misses . . . the GIs . . . D-Day.

The next war, if it comes (God forbid) will be nothing like our experiences of the 1940s.

Warm good wishes to Margaret and to yourself.

Jim Newman
West Michigan.


Reference Woody Wood's great stories about top aircraft. See

Top Props, Outstanding Piston Planes
First Salute to the Jet Age

The Battle of Britain, The Planes, The Terror.
“Turbo”—the Jet Engine’s Grand-daddy

Subject: Mig 7 and 9

Good comparisons of fast aircraft. I was hoping to see something on the Mig 9, as it was the choice plane for the French underground pilots fighting the Germans during the invasion of Russia. I only know a little bit, others know more than me. I recently read about the Mig 9 and the French pilots that flew them in the worst conditions imagineable. The person writing the article was Wallace Wood, on "Outstanding Piston Planes". Sincerely yours,

John Winkler

Your reader, John Winkler, is right.

The Free French did fight for the Soviets, much like the American "Flying Tigers" flew for the Chinese Air Force. They were known as the "Normandie-Niemen" squadron, about 64 Frenchmen of which 13 were pilots and the rest support crew at the start. Eventually, 96 pilots flew with Normandie-Niemen. Of those, 46 did not come home.

After the fall of France to the Germans in 1940, French pilots had to find another ally to fly for. Some went to Britain; some to North Africa. Then a group of Free French banded together to fight on the Eastern Front. They flew "Yaks" (short for Yakolev manufacture), some of the prettiest as well as most capable Soviet aircraft. They look like baby P-51 Mustangs and more than

YAK-9 Image by Woody from WatsonvilleAAFly-In
Click the image fo a larger view
held their own in the air. Some of their pilots claimed they were better than Spitfires or Mustangs at lower altitudes, well-armed with cannon. The Yak 1-B was upgraded to Yak-3, Yak-7, and then Yak-9 during the war.

YAK-9 Image by Woody from WatsonvilleAAFly-In
Click the image fo a larger view

Normandie-Niemen became a famed squadron. It flew 5,240 missions during the war, with 273 victories and perhaps another 80 probables or heavily damaged enemy aircraft. Marcel Albert was France's top ace with 22 confirmed kills, followed by Roland de la Poype with 16. Albert shot down the famed German ace Hans Phillips, who had 216 aerial victories.

-----Wallace Wood

A young fan of Kilroy
Watch out! She sounds like she will be president some day . . . or ANYTHING she sets her mind to do.


Your site was enjoyable.

The little Kilroy above is my signature for texting. I got this idea from Pieces of Flair, which is an app on Facebook. I have never heard of Kilroy until earlier tonight, when my dad saw my signature and suggested I read up on the topic. I found myself at your website. Even though I am twelve, I like to learn more about my past and some of these amusing stories like Kilroy give a great way to kill time. I wouldn't be surprised if my teachers found Kilroy on my homework this upcoming school year! Thanks for helping me learn, and I hope Kilroy lives on with my generation and more to come.

Long live Kilroy,
Bonnie M. Ruten



HA! That's a new one, Bonnie. Thank you for a very nice letter. I will publish it in the Letters to the Editor (without your email address) if your father says it is OK.

By the way, your father is wise to have you research it yourself. That is another reason you are so smart.

You are not the only young lady who has been "stalked" by Kilroy . . . actually Kilroy ALWAYS got there first so YOU must be the "stalker" LOL! Look at her story at:


Response to the moving CHARLIE story
By Tony Leone

Click here to read the origial Charlie story

A good Michigan morning to you, Pat,

As I might previously have mentioned in earlier correspondence with you, at the 50th Anniversary of D day I wrote a piece for the Gary IN Post Tribune about a 9 year old's (me) interaction with GIs, massed in our Devonshire UK countryside and in our local parks. We had lived close to where the large memorial is now sited, on the Devon beach of Slapton Sands and lists the 700 plus men lost one night, in a practice landing for D day..

Having seen... and had been invited aboard an LST... along with my English "Bobby" uncle I read, with great feelings of horror, about the misfortune of LST 523 and about Charlie. I could not but help wondering if Charlie was one of those kindly young GIs who had tolerated the curiosity of we hordes little English kids and who had showed us - for the umpteenth time - how to strip and reassemble their weapons, little knowing that this UK military Brat could do it blindfold and diagram out a hand grenade....!!!!

In the late 1970's, while at a Toledo trade show I, by chance, met one of those GIs who recalled we kids in the park
of our little south coast Devonshire town. He had survived D day - just - and went all the way to Berlin. Our shared hobby interest kept us good friends for a few short years...until he eventually passed away from the injuries recieved on D day, of all things.

When fellow citizens recognize the RAF patch on my jacket and hat, they are quick to thank me for my service....and I feel dreadfully guilty when I think of the thousands of Charlies who faced shot and shell in '44 and in other places on this earth.

Yes! My peacetime RAF service was hazardous on a few days, but nothing like that of the GIs and the participating Allies in '44.

God bless...and save....our beloved USA.

Jim Newman

A Heartfelt Plea


Reference your information about British Compensation for British POWs of Japan

According to your story on this subject, dated 2000, these British vets were passing on at the rate of 10 per week. Compare that to the US count about the same time. Six-seven years ago the VA claimed 1,000 American WWII vets were dying per day. I'm sure that number has vastly increased since then. We are now down to less than 25% of our WWII Vets still alive. Most are shut-ins and are no longer visible to the younger generations of Americans. That being the case, in order to hear their stories we now need to search them out.

While my own 87 year old father was recently admitted to a rehab facility, to regain his strength after being hospitalized, I had a wonderful opportunity to visit a few of these elderly patriots. Dad, a Navy lifer himself, shared a room with a WWII Army Air Corps Vet who had been stationed in England during the war. As h freely shared his war time stories with me, he spoke fondly of Jimmy Stewart who was in his squadron.

Because I take the time to introduce myself when I meet one of these great Americans, I learn so much from them. I even stand a bit taller every time I hear a new story from an old vet. Makes me proud to have served during my Navy career because of the traditions and foundations these brave Americans established prior to my years of service.

I urge your subscribers to seek them out and start a conversation with them. They won't be sorry.

Bill Lewis, USN Ret. (WOF Productions)

On Compensation on all POWs of the Japanese

I have always had a huge problem with this program.

First: Why should the British tax payers foot the bill for what the enemy did to their troops?

Second: Why aren't the Japanese willing to pay this compensation? Could it have something to do with their Asian pride and shame? To pay would be to admit their relatives were butchers and barbarians toward their captives? Without that admission, they're conscience is clear (buried) over their ancestor's brutal behavior.

Third: When the American POWs, held by the "Japs," were liberated, they had to sign a document stating they would not seek compensation for their POW captivity by the enemy or the US Government. As a result of my POW/KIA Uncle's death during captivity in the P.I., my Grandmother (his Mother) signed similar papers.

So, just why is it the Brits were being forced to pay for this? On the other hand, isn't it odd how the British bureaucrats held off till most of their WWII Veterans were dead?

I guess this proves just one thing-- No matter what the nation, Big Governments are only good at one thing-- Screwing up the works! I have always considered the WWII generation this nation's political balance. Through their personal experiences and sacrifices they understood what it meant to fight to preserve our nation. No generation since then has faced the same test. As our WWII Veteran numbers dwindle, so do our nation's freedoms. Compare today's Democratic power base to that of the Roosevelt Administration's. Since our WWII generation is no longer there to balance the political playing field, we are rapidly sliding to the left. The Federal Bureaucracy in now speeding along at a non-stop record speed, with no signs of stopping. The bigger the government grows, the more freedoms we're losing. The WWII Generation certainly understood that more that today's voters.

Bill Lewis, USN Ret. (WOF Productions)

Editor's note: Bill, you might have noticed my reference to the Japan Times in this weeks update. There is hope and movement on possible reparations from the Japanese to all. I am especially concerned for the Americans who, after surviving the Bataan Death March, spent the rest of their short lives in horrendous condition in mines. See The Japan Times for the full story.

More on Legend #1

I came across your web site by accident, I read about Kilroy in the Boston Globe in 1980... when I was working there for Xerox. It was written in op-ed page by his widow after his death I think. Not sure if James was his name, but he was an inspector for Quincy Boat Yard. Apparently Kilroy was a fast inspector, he always finished his inspections before all the others.His boss called him to the office and yelled at him for maybe overlooking things... and Kilroy swore up and down he never missed a spot. So the next day, Kilroy started marking everywhere he inspected on a ship. When the troops started to see his name everywhere during transport to Europe, they started to mimic his drawings everywhere they went (remember, during WW II, they packed the troops in every space available in those ships).

Hope you get the stamp approved.

Ron Valiquette

Spitfire or Hurricane?

In your section about "The Battle of Britain" you report that the Hawker Hurricane was the "... most produced British fighter." Various sources report that there were more Spitfires (and Seafires) produced. Records of the production numbers don't always agree, but it appears certain that there were more Spitfires produced than Hurricanes.

My copy of "The Encyclopedia of the Worlds Combat Aircraft" lists total production of the Hurricane at 12,780 manufactured in Britain, with an additional 1,451 manufactured in Canada. The same source gives numbers of 20,334 for Spitfires, with an additional 2,556 Seafires. (Tailhook and folding wings.)

Ted Wilkinson


The author of responds.

You have some sharp-eyed readers, Pat.

Ted Wilkinson is right in finding evidence that the famed Supermarine Spitfire was produced in greater numbers than the Hawker Hurricane during all of the Second World War. They were--in total.

Figures do vary among expert sources, but some figures are even more lopsided than those Ted quoted from "The Encyclopedia of the Worlds Combat Aircraft". This one, http://www.taphilo.com/history/WWII/Production-Figures-WWII.shtml lists total Spitfires produced as 33,198 compared to 12,975 Hurricanes. I think the site left out the Canadian Hurricanes, which would make their total production just short of 14,000. Still far fewer than the Spits'.


A third source, http://www.aviationshoppe.com/Hawker_Hurricane.html gives the total Hurricanes produced in the war as 14,557.

Our subject, though, is the Battle of Britain. Here, the humble Hurricane was the bulwark in greater numbers until the aircraft industry caught up by producing as many Spitfires by late 1940 or early 1941. By then, the Battle of Britain was decided.
Where the rubber meets the road--or better to say, where the wing meets the air, The Royal Air Force had at that time 32 Hurricane squadrons, compared with 19 Spitfire squadrons during the Battle of Britain. At least two historical sites agree on this figure

This meant that about 620 Hurricane and Spitfires (plus 80 or so miscellaneous or outmoded aircraft like the biplane Gloster Gladiator) faced something like 3,500 German fighters and bombers. Yes, that's a disputed figure as well. But close enough.
Far more Hurricanes were actually fighting in the air than Spitfires during this critical series of air battles. The Hurricane pilots did well in comparison.

For those readers interested in the differences between the two aircraft, here are some evaluations from Aviation History.com http://www.aviation-history.com/hawker/hurrcane.html and Aviation Shoppe.com http://www.aviationshoppe.com/Hawker_Hurricane.html

The early history of the Hurricane is an interesting parallel in many ways with that of the Supermarine Spitfire in which it was to form an immortal partnership. While the Spitfire was an entirely new concept based on specialized experience, the Hurricane was the logical outcome of a long line of fighting aircraft. Although the two airplanes broadly met the same requirements, they represented entirely different approaches to the same problem. The two approaches were reflected to an interesting degree in their respective appearances; the Hurricane-- workmanlike, rugged and sturdy, the Spitfire --slender and ballerina-like. One was the studied application of experience, the other a stroke of genius.

---Aviation History

Aviation History says the prototype Hurricane flew on November 1, 1935, and impressed observers with a speed of 315 mph at 16,200 feet (5,000 meters). It was among the first fighters capable of over 300 mph. Production orders followed for a total of 3,759 Hurricanes before war broke out.

Its designer, Sydney Camm, had worked out this part-wood, part-metal aircraft as the logical outcome of aircraft development from wooden biplanes to metal monoplanes. While taking a step at a time, the Hurricane nevertheless was far enough ahead of its time to be invaluable. It was used throughout WWII as a "Hurribomber" and in other tank-busting and ground support roles after it was outmoded as a fighter. It was dependable, easy to maintain, and had only one serious fault: a tendency for its forward fuel tank to catch fire when hit by enemy bullets. Updates tried to eliminate this danger to its pilots.

As for the Spitfire, this lovely plane was a clean break from the biplane past:

Reginald J. Mitchell developed a racing seaplane, the Supermarine S6B, which won the Schneider Trophy on 13th September, 1931. During the contest the aircraft reached 340 mph (547 km/h). (The Schneider Trophy was a famous proving ground for seaplanes at the time--editor.) ...Mitchell, whose company was now part of Vickers Aviation, decided to adapt his Supermarine seaplane in an attempt to meet the requirements of the Royal Air Force.

The first Spitfire prototype appeared on 5th March, 1936 and flew at 350 mph (563 km/h) and could ascend at approximately 2,500 ft (762 m) per minute. With its slender aerodynamic lines and elliptical-plan wings, it was claimed at the time to be the smallest and cleanest aircraft that could be constructed around a man and an engine.

The Royal Air Force was impressed with its performance and in June, 1936, it ordered 310 aircraft. The Supermarine Spitfire Mk. I went into production in 1937 and was operational in June, 1938. Vickers Aviation could not keep up with demand....
---Aviation Shoppe.com


German aviation engineers like Willy Messerschmitt were working on serious warbirds like the Bf-109 in the 1930's and some called the Spitfire a "sport plane" and dismissed it. The Bf-109 (or Me-109) was indeed a serious fighter and remained competitive with its Spitfire rival during WWII as both were updated in turn time and time again.

Some more links for those who like to dig deeper:
detailed production figures-- Hurricane

general links-- Hurricane history

-------Wallace Wood

Editor's Note: As an aside to Woody's remarks about later uses of the Hurricane, it was actually fitted with a 40mm cannon as a tank destroyer in North Africa. I'm glad to see it getting the credit it deserves. I have always believed it won the Battle of Britain.

A thoughtful exchange on
war, vengence, and Terror

Dear Sirs;

Another great article and historic references that all of us should never forget. We must take advantage as much as we can to learn the lessons from those who are still with us that can recount those terrible trying moments of what is called World War Two.

I wish to ad just a few points of reference and perhaps cause for refection.

The de Havilland DH98 Mosquito was known as the "Mossie" and not "Mossy".

I can bet that no one laughed at a wooden plane, and especially not Goering. It was Goering who ordered the flying wings of the Horten brothers knowing full well these flying wings made from common plywood were able to fly just under the speed of sound.

What disturbs me the most from this great article are those words "terror" and "vengeance".

As we reflect on the technology of this terrible time in Human history let us not forget the lessons taught but perhaps overshadowed by the fascination of those technological innovations of the time.

This website site does us all a great service by collecting these recounts of those moving moments of exceptional actions of bravery and gallantry by common men and women, our relatives and ancestors, their personal experiences that otherwise may be lost to future generations.

Permit me a few words about "vengeance".

Why that word to describe those two horrific devises of mass destruction and indiscriminate murder? That Hitler was mad there is no doubt, nor was he alone to
earn that title "murderous". He did experience first hand and obviously remembered that other dark moment in Human history of madness and murder and death call the Great War, the War to End All Wars and later after the fact World War One.

I was fortunate enough to listen with shock and awe to first hand accounts of men standing in the trench for hours on end, hearing and feeling the incessant bombardment throughout the night, a whistle blowing, the bayonet charge, the twisted corpses from the poison gas attacks, the smells of burning, rotting, flesh, the screams, the utter madness that takes one over to the point that all they remember is the leaving and the arriving from trench to trench, not remembering how their coats and bayonets became covered in blood.

The end of that great war was a treaty not for a a lasting peace but a punitive treaty of revenge, to the victors went the spoils and the seeds of resentment were sewn.

What could those soldiers think of when their country is stripped of its industry, its livelihood, thrust into massive unemployment and unheard of levels of inflation, social upheaval and the threat of communism. How very easy to sell one's soul to the devil and go mad with the thirst of "vengeance".

IMHO: (In my humble opinion) After the failure of diplomacy where madness overcomes reason and humanity is plunged into war, the only priority, the only objective will be victory. After that victory, the priority and sole objective is a lasting peace of mutual respect and dignity where there is no possibility, no consideration, no desire for that concept of "vengeance".

"Terror" a word that as of late is being so over used as to have very little meaning these days. Almost anything is now is an act of "terror" and the excuse for subverting our Constitution and limiting the power and rights of the People
of the United States giving unprecedented powers to our public servants.

Bombing of a civilian population is an act of "terror". In all the horror of the Great War, there was a minimum of bombardment of civilian targets. Some time, somewhere during that madness of World War Two it was decided that the bombing of cities and civilian population centers was justified.

From the people that have experienced it first hand, I can assure you that enduring the Blitz in London was no less and nor more being in "Terror" than being under one of those 1,000 bomber raids on the continent, enduring that one night in Dresden, any one of those nights of firebombings Japan, any one of those Iraqi gas attacks on Iran and Kurdistan, one of those "cruise missile nights" of Baghdad, one of those vapor explosive bombing of Kuwait, nor the V-2 missile attacks on Antwerp and over Hiroshima and Nagasaki where in less than one second there was the sudden transformation of all known physical references of reality into burning rubble if in this case you were not one of the lucky ones to have died instantly.

Unfortunately, the V-1 was just the first step of many over generations to come in the mechanical perfection of the weapons of terror.

Let us pray that we do not fall into the trap of glorifying these words.

Of ALL the veterans I had the privilege and honor to meet and listen to their stories, from all sides of the conflicts, WW1, WW2, China, Israel, Korea, Cuba, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Viet Nam, Africa, Middle East, South America,
Not one soldier, Not one, wished that his child, nor anyone's child would ever join a military and engage in a war.


M. Lecce


Read how the author of Terror over London; Southern Comfort; The Sergeant Who Captured A Division; First Salute to the Jet Age;The Battle of Britain; Top Props; and “Turbo”—the Jet Engine’s Grand-daddy responds. For an equally thoughtful discussion read on!

The letter from Mario Lecce does go to the heart of some issues like "vengeance" and "terror" that have new meanings for us today.

He is right that "terror" and "terrorists" are terms that are probably over-used today. It seems to apply to any non-uniformed attackers killing innocents for political purposes to terrify people and frighten governments. "Terrorists" belong to no one nation. The "War on Terror" can never end by that definition.

Whole nations lived in terror during WWII, or at the very least lived in fear of attacks and invasion by uniformed men under government orders. That fear was well-justified by events. Millions upon millions died. Meaningless figures until you realize entire states would be empty
of people or entire countries would cease to exist if the same number of millions killed in WWII disappeared tomorrow.

"Revenge" is another question. Your readers will decide for themselves what "vengeance" is worth.
As written, The V-1 had the official name of Fieseler Fi.103. The "V" was from the German word for "Revenge".
The same word for vengeance applies to the later German V-2 rocket. It was the first ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile), if you can count Britain as a "continent" in a general way. The V-1 on the other hand was technically a pre-programmed cruise missile, not a ballistic one. It was an aircraft.

Exactly what vengeance-- or revenge--that Hitler was seeking is no longer clear to us. Perhaps it was vengeance for the Allied victory in WWI, or for the heavy conditions of the 1918 Armistice that helped crush the German economy and tried to stifle future military growth. Or simply vengeance for the Allied bombings.

Mario Lecce points out that civilian populations were seldom bombed in the First World War, especially when compared to the truly horrific attacks by both sides on civilians in WWII. There were Zeppelin bombing raids on Britain in WWI. But the "mistake" by a German bombing crew that jettisoned its bombs on civilian London early in WWII has been called into question by a few historians. Now it is suspected the bombing 'mistake' was no accident.

At any rate, Prime Minister Winston Churchill responded to that 'accidental' bombing with vengeful counter- bombings of Berlin in disregard of civilians (purely a political move to bolster British spirits, since Churchill's first bombings did minimal damage to anything military).

Hitler ordered the full-scale Blitz of London bombings on civilians in revenge again against Churchill. The escalating re-re-revenge dominoes of destruction on such German cities as Dresden shows how things progress brutally in war, and how "we" become more like our enemy in anger and in the pure desperation to win.

As Mr. Lecce says, "How very easy to sell one's soul to the devil and go mad with the thirst of 'vengeance'". War brings out the best and worst. War is the testing of personal character and national character in extremis.

Writers like Ernest Hemingway have suggested it is not only testing the power to face death and win but to behave humanely. It is one thing to be safely behind the battle lines and another thing to be shot at and shoot back. To bomb from a height never seeing the people below versus seeing your companions or family blown apart.

You will notice it takes about a generation between wars. The young men and women coming of age do not fully realize what the cost of war really is: mass killing and destruction and terror. They learn in shock and shame as well as pride in facing death and acting with honor. The older generation realizes that. Their taste for vengeance usually weakens considerably.

On the spelling of the 'wooden wonder" Mosquito's nickname as "Mossie", I will grant that to Mr. Lecce as well.

Wallace Wood

From a child that was evacuated from
war torn London

Done for the American reader.

I was one of those children evacuated from London...with my address tag in my collar and my cardboard gas mask box
around my neck.

Evacuation of children started well before the V-1s...in fact it was started to get us youngsters out of the 1940 and onwards
London blitzes.

The English Electric Canberra was not a fighter. It was a twin jet powered medium bomber. A later version, The b(I)8, more
generally referred to as the "mark 8" did have a gun pack fitted in the aft end of the bomb bay ...and this pack contained four
20 mm cannon for the ground attack (interdictor) role in enemy territory. In addition to the cannon, it could carry bombs or
rockets beneath the wings.

I was involved in the avionics trials on the first of these, serial number VX185, which, it its original mk B.5 form, held the
speed record for the Northern Ireland (Aldergrove) to Gander and return in 4 hours and 33 minutes.

Jim Newman
Kent City, MI, USA

Jim Newman says the Canberra was not a fighter, I will never quarrel with a man who worked on them and knows his stuff. Even if the Canberra was later equipped with 20 mm. guns and rockets as ground support machines.

So... the quote:
"...a Syrian Meteor managed to shoot down the British RAF's newer Canberra fighter on November 6, 1956"
is better off written as "newer Canberra bomber" or simply "newer Canberra aircraft".
The irony comes from one British-built aircraft shooting down another, later-built model anyway.

Wallace Wood


More on the Unknown Benefit

From Gerald Moses

There's an income limitation that will disqualify most of us from that VA improved pension benefit. I thought it was too good to be true, and sure enuf, it was for most of us. -- Mose

Veteran's Pensions Eligibility:
Family Income Limits (Effective Dec 1, 2008)
If you are a... Your yearly income must be less than... *
Veteran with no dependents $11,830**
Veteran with a spouse or a child $15,493***
Housebound veteran with no dependents $14,493
Housebound veteran with one dependent $18,120
Veteran who needs aid and attendance and you have no dependents $19,736
Veteran who needs aid and attendance (A/A) and you have one dependent $23,396
Two Vets Married to Each Other $15,493
Add for Early War Veteran (Mexican Border Period or WW1) to any category above $2,686
Add for Each Additional Child to any category above $2,020
* Some income is not counted toward the yearly limit (for example, welfare benefits, some wages earned by dependent children, and Supplemental Security Income. It's also important to note that your medical related expenses are considered when determining your yearly family income.
* To be deducted, medical expenses must exceed 5% of MAPR, or, $592
** To be deducted, medical expenses must exceed 5% of MAPR, or, $775

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