The Battle of the Bulge is a familiar tale: The massive German offensive bursting out of the frozen Ardennes forest. December 16, 1944. The desperate drive to capture the Belgian port of Antwerp, vital to German re-supply efforts. The terrain was considered unsuitable for such an attack. The tactical surprise was complete, British and American […]December 22, 1944 Forgotten Angel — Today in History
Research by Clarence Simonsen
In 1867, the United States purchased Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million, Sitka became the first seat of government in this new possession and first sight for a military base. In the late 1800s, many forts were constructed to provide law and order, and these Army units were also busy conducting geographic expeditions, communications, and a limited zig-zag rail and road network. Control of Alaska remained with the U.S. Army until 1877, then the U.S. Treasury Department assumed control and the U.S. Navy took over in 1884. During the Klondike Gold Rush, the U.S. Army returned for a short time and by 1912, [Alaska became a U.S. Territory] they were mostly gone and would not return for twenty-eight more years. In 1922, several nations signed the Washington Conference Treaty which limited the production of armaments by these countries, including Japan. In 1934, Japan suddenly renounced the treaty and this created no political reaction from the United States Government or more surprisingly no American military response. The following year, General William [Billy] Mitchell, an outspoken critic of military preparedness, spoke to an American Congressional hearing, and told them Alaska was the keystone to American peace and that Alaska was the most central place in the world for American aircraft.
“Japan is our dangerous enemy in the Pacific” but the American Congress was in no mood to listen or appropriate funds for military construction in Alaska. Five years later, Congress allotted 48 million to start construction of the first new airfields in Alaska, and that marked the beginning of U.S. Yakutat Army Air Base, [Landing Field] Alaska.
Click on the link below to be directed to the PDF.
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The Squadron of Angels
Thomas Oscar Meteyer was part of 358th Fighter Squadron. This photo was found on Pinterest and it had a caption. LT Thomas O Meteyer P-51B 42-106736 YF-Jwith ground crew”Joyce” His son Michael had a similar one. Michael Meteyer had also this one. I have colorized it for his father’s birthday which is today. […]Remembering Thomas Oscar Meteyer — 358th Fighter Squadron
Chris Charland is on WordPress.
It’s worth the detour!
Before remembering Philip Ensor who was killed on a sortie on September 8, 1941, I have to tell you how I had created another blog in 2010 with the mission of remembering RAF 23 Squadron.
It was about remembering a RAF Squadron I knew nothing about. First it was about remembering a French-Canadian Mosquito pilot.
I had never heard about Eugène Gagnon before 2010. I was not alone in 2010. People here in Quebec don’t remember the Fallen that much. Eugène Gagnon did not die in the war. He died on October 21, 1947 in a plane crash.
The story of the crash is on the blog RAF 23 Squadron.
Eugène Gagnon was a night bandit as they were called back then. He would fly his Mosquito near German airfields just waiting for German night fighters to come back after shooting down RAF and RCAF bombers.
Eugène Gagnon flew 33 sorties but he never shot down a German plane. He was not an ace. But does it really matter?
Writing that blog led me to write about more and more about pilots and navigators who flew with 23 Squadron. I will spare you the list.
One of them was Alistair (Alec) Lawson. This is when I got this comment in August 2011 from someone I did not know… His name was Gilles Collaveri.
Good evening from France,
I am interested in 23 squadron for 2 reasons:
1) I met last year Alexander Lawson who flew Mosquitos with 23 Sq. and shot down a JU88 over Toulouse on 6 jan 1944; I found the remains of this JU88.
2) I shall look next week for the remains of Philip ENSOR’s Havoc I that crashed on 8 sept 1941 near Morlaix, Brittany.
If you wish to know more, let me know.
To know more about Alistair Lawson, click here.
To know more about Philip Ensor, click here.
I have known Gilles Collaveri virtually since at least 2011. He wrote a comment on one of my blogs. I would have to do a little research to find his first comment. In the meantime, I’m putting a link to his site.
It’s worth the little detour.
History continues to be written on Lest We Forget…
David Greenlees was my uncle. Born in Glasgow in 1921, he volunteered for the RAF in 1940 and was posted to 203 Squadron at Borg El Arab airfield in Egypt. Borg El Arab was a desert airfield west of Alexandria and approximately eight miles from the coast. He served as part of the support staff for the squadron.
Conditions at the base were rudimentary. There were no buildings or hangars, only tents. Aircraft were serviced where they stood, while the runway was a strip of concrete covered in sand. David was issued with a .303 rifle, an entrenching tool, two blankets and 15 empty four gallon petrol cans. These were to be filled with sand and covered with a great coat to serve as a bed. He had to share a tent with three other Scots.
The desert conditions were the enemy. There was no water at the base, it was brought up by water bowser. Sea water was used to cook food and to make tea, when the fresh water ran out! The wind blew incessantly, covering everything from food to toilet paper with sand. Sandstorms were a regular occurrence. The smaller ones were called “Gibblies”, but even they could lift up a tent and deposit it elsewhere. At times, David had to sleep in his gas mask to get protection against sand blowing into the tent.
About the 40th Anniversary commemorative escorted tour of the Athabaskan Association in 1984
These PDFs files are part of Alfred Kühn’s collection of memorabilia. His son Manfred has been sharing most of all he has about his father who was a sailor aboard the T24.