Friday, November 28, 2014

Postblogging Technology, October 1944, II: Forth From the Land of Mystery


I'm scratching this out in the Admiral's wardroom right now, waiting to hear what's to come of me. Mr. Tay, I guess I should say, Commander C_, is going to make sure this gets to you. You've got to make sure it gets to Queenie. You choose what to tell Mom and Dad about Queenie and me... I know that's an awful lot to ask of you, but . . .there's a bun in the oven. I can't believe I went and wrote that. To my Little Sis, too! But we was going to make it honest in Sydney next month, anyway, before she starts to show, and it's not like everyone wouldn't figure what's what from that! Now I have to worry that it won't happen if ....

If I go up on charges, I mean. I don't think I will, Honest Injun. Just call it night effect, and let it go. It's just this waiting's got me down. Stumpy's a good man, but you could say I near got his whole squadron sunk, and if you buy that, maybe I had something to do with the awful pounding Taffy 3 took. It's --I should explain. Here's the Japs, pagoda masts and all, steaming over the horizon, and not one of our battlewagons in sight. I thought  I could maybe scare them off by broadcasting my recording of New Jersey's Talk Between Ships chatter. That's high frequency stuff, so short-ranged, so if the Japs had their ears on, I thought, they'd figure Third Fleet was just over the horizon and hightail it. So much for that idea! They started to chase Taffy 3, instead. Well, I...There was a whole amphibious fleet in the anchorage, and I had to think about them, too. That's what wearing this uniform means, Suzie. We're just a bunch of tin cans and freighters with flight decks built over them. Every Jap shell we took, the G.I.s wouldn't. Turned out okay --I Anyway, if I'm in the stockade over this, I want Mom and Dad to take care of Queenie and the baby. If I'm not, I guess this is the official announcement? Congrats, Suzie. You're going to be an aunt.

Your brother, Tommy.

Wing Commander R_. C_. RCAFVR, DFC (Bar)
L_. House,
Isle of Axholme,
Dear Sir:
I attach a fair copy of a most interesting letter which I have received through private channels in Honolulu. I suspect, given the trouble you took to arrange Miss Leung's posting ("indispensable language skills," indeed!), that you are not going to be surprised that there were consequences. Please allow me to assist in any way I can when you field her parents'  complaints. Whatever their other concerns (am I being a bad daughter-in-law, imagining you smirking and raising a glass?), they will certainly not be able to travel to Australia for the wedding! 
Nor is this at all the final word on excitements resulting from the recent fighting in the Philippines. You will recall that we travelled to Honolulu with the ill-formed intention of confronting Lieutenant A_., and, I don't know, knocking him over the head or some such, and then making off with the briefcase in which he was reportedly carrying the Hudson Bay Company indenture book which the Engineer has promised to Uncle George's friend's employer, they of the ridiculous "morals" clause.
And, yes, I did have a somewhat more concrete plan, but one which did not survive contact with --not the enemy, but the wayward heart of a teenage girl. Here I had an assurance from "Miss V.C." that she would wield her feminine charms in our service. Lieutenant A. could see her again --if he gave up the book. I mean, look at the photos you have of the young lady! How far could the bonds of old family loyalties stand up to such strains? 
Then, the night before the embargo was lifted, I got a flat refusal! She was conflicted. Things were "complicated." Complications my matronly d-r-e, pardon my French. So, a day or two not much to be lost, as much as I longed to be back with my darlings, I cut "Miss V.C." out from the crowd to take a moment to commune with ancestors via some horrible old air inter-island service. Or, alleged ancestors, given that, one, Paao never existed, two, if he existed, he came out of Kahiki in the distant past, not 1745, and, three, that even if one stipulates the first two, oh, never mind, I am digressing again. Still, alleged ancestors are alleged ancestors, and the great whale temple is real enough, picturesque in its bloody way, and perfect to pump out the girl's real concern. Which, not surprisingly in a nineteen year-old, is that she is romantically torn and doesn't want to make promises to the Lieutenant that would hurt this oh-so mysterious other swain.

So there we were, in a lounge in Chester's headquarters, with no better plan in mind than taking Lieutenant A_. by the ear and boxing some sense into him. Fortunately, he fairly dripped anxiety (rancid anxiety in the Hawaiian heat, because he is a twenty-one year old), and who should come to the rescue by our housekeeper, who cozens the cause out of him --a message just sent to the Admiral.
A glance at the message (la, we are in violating security --someone tell Congress!) shows that Lieutenant A. had abused his position to slant the message as a very public insult to the Admiral. Shamefacedly, he admitted to doing it at the Engineer's behest. 

Now, if this were a pulp novel of the kind that Mr. Rohmer loves to write, it would all come together. Of course, it is not a novel. (If anything, it is one of those overly prolix newspaper comic strips that go on and on.) The Engineer, I do not doubt, thought that he was procuring a nasty little setback to the Fleet that would redound on the President's re-election chances. Had the Admiral not already arranged that on his own, the Engineer's plotting might even have had that effect. Not likely, though, as he is not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. (You can say that to the Earl!). Instead, we soon discovered, the Japanese were even more inept than the Admiral, so that all is well. As for our matters, a single arched eyebrow served for a threat of discovery, and the briefcase, precious old indenture book and all, were handed over. No more evidence that Uncle George's friend has contracted a marriage across race lines, no more fear of a counter-action when he breaks his contract. Not that he would have proceeded, anyway, had he been threatened with such publicity. 


Time, 16 October 1944


“The Sacrifice” The paper is most displeased by the lack of assistance given the Polish uprising in Warsaw. On the other hand, it is inclined to apologise for Marshal Tito in his recent tiff with the UNRRA.

“Die Feme” Apparently, in the medieval old days Germany had “Feme” courts which executed a rough, Robin Hood style justice of execution by hanging under ancient oaks in the forest. It sounds somewhat like Thuggee, although the paper compares it with the Maffia, Ku Klux Klan, or “vigilantes.” Medieval history is fascinating. In any case, terrorists used the cloak of the old “Feme” courts in the 1920s to punish collaboration with the Allies, and now it is supposed that this might happen again, in lieu of actual news.

“Liberation and Desperation” The Greeks are starved, malarial or missing after five years of German terror, abetted by a “Greek terror” of partisan civil war. The bad ones are the Communists. The good one is Premier Papandreou, but he won’t last.

Latins are excitable.

“Black Lace and Woolen Undies” The French, being incorrigible, are holding fashion shows. The war means that the couture was not what it could have been. There was a severe lack of fur, with rabbit, cat, rat and mole “tinted and tortured into sealskin and beaver.” On the other hand, designs were said to be too liberal with material for Anglo-American rations. which shows a touching faith in their efficacy in California! Helen Kirkpatrick joked that it is so cold in Paris that if a designer could have got enough wool, the most popular collection would have shown nothing but woolen underwear.

“Well Begun” The new international order will be called the United Nations, and will have an international air force.

“Armistice?” Bulgaria is surrendering more.

“Pan-Arab League” King Farouk of Egypt has dismissed his pan-Arabist premier Nahas Pasha and replaced him with pro-British Achmed Maher Pasha.

“Looming Events” China is to have a War Production Board, a coalition government including the Communists, and a national assembly, constitutional government, and full democracy. According to rumours coming out of Chungking. Father is not passing on the good rumours!

“Last Chance before Winter” German resistance is spotty and outnumbered by Eisenhower’s forces at least threefold on the Western Front. General Marshall and Secretary Byrnes, passengers on that first direct New York-Paris C-54 flight, are in town to goose Eisenhower. When the sun came out last week, the Allies responded by dropping 30,000 tons of bombs on German factories and communication centres while the tactical air forces went into operation in support of the ground troops. If October continues fair, perhaps the Allies will push through. Even the Allied supply problems have been made worse by the bad weather of the fall. The paper thinks that “nobody will hand [Germany] a gilt-edged certificate positively guaranteeing that she can fight on into 1945.”

“Precise Puncher” This week’s cover story goes to General Courtney Hodges, commanding U.S. First Army around Aachen. Hodges is a Virginia aristocrat, though himself a Georgian. He flunked geometry and had to leave the Academy, then enlisted as a private soldier, rose rapidly through the ranks, gained a commission a year after his West Point classmates. He is a hunting-and-shooting man and is deemed to be a highly professional “soldier’s soldier.”

I. . . I am sorry. He failed geometry. A high school course! Unless West Point teaches descriptive geometry –which it should if it claims to produce military engineers, but which I cannot imagine Brereton or Patton passing. There are plenty of men of his generation who wanted an army commission and who could have easily shown the brain power or at least determination to pass geometry at West Point.

“Durable Driant” General Patton’s Third Army is bogged down in front of Fort Driant. It turns out that audacity, drive and speed are no match for good military engineering.

“Strange Truce” Canadians and Germans agreed on a temporary truce at Dunkirk so that civilians could be evacuated across the causeway through the marshes that provides the only dry-shod access to the city. Dunkirk is well fortified by good military engineers.

“Return” Colonel The Earl Jellicoe led a small force of British troops into Athens, where Greeks were found to be excitable. Other Balkanites are also excitable.

“On the March” Percy Knauth, the paper’s correspondent with the Red Army, reports seeing a Russian division on the march, a column winding endless miles through the bare Bulgarian hills, on foot or on horse or in ox-drawn carts, men sleeping where they lay on the carts, girl telegraphists, telephonists and mechanics, about one to every 15 men, moving with the army. Uniforms are faded and  patched, faces dirty and stubbled, trucks and Jeeps American.

“Thunder and Silence” The glorious recent Russian offensive captured whole square miles of East Prussia, but has been greeted with silence by the German press. Meanwhile, the Polish partisans who fought in Warsaw have been granted prisoner of war status by the Germans, and are celebrated (a little ambiguously) by the world press. Just like the defenders of the Ghetto! 
I think Uncle George is rubbing off on me.

“The Sightless Giant” The Japanese made a riverine advance up the Min and captured Wenchow in Chekiang Province, thereby putting out China’s northern eye, in this gloriously inappropriate metaphor. 

Kweilin, and its airfields, have also fallen. Not fallen is Pelelieu, latest and most awful Marine purgatory. Is it the islands, or the Corps? Meanwhile, General MacArthur’s bombers attacked Balikpapan’s refineries from airfields captured at a fraction of the cost of Pelelieu.

“Compassionate Leave” 5000 leaves have been applied for by British soldiers in the Middle East  under a new policy that extends the grounds for granting compassionate leave to attempts to have children with their wives “before the old woman gets too old,” as the paper’s editor (puts it or quotes it.  Galahad or Percival? You decide. The paper at least implies that 35 is taken as the cut-off for granting leave. However, due to transportation problems, only  2—300 men in total can return to the United Kingdom each month, making the policy moot. Perhaps the C-54 needs to be renamed the “Skyfather.” The Secretary of State for War apologises to the House for making this policy public in the first place, as no good can come of airing it. A little late now, Mr. Grigg. Responding in Parliament, top-secret Labour supporter Nancy Astor secures Conservative defeat in the forthcoming election by denouncing the complainants. "It is true that our birthrate is low, but we make up for quantity in quality." 


“Clean-Up Man” The occupation of France proved to be quite easy once it was realised that the French were competent to see to their own affairs.


“Hannigan’s Enthusiasm” An announcement of a speaking engagement by the President has led to rumours of a Roosevelt campaign, but this was squelched by a “ruling” from the White House communicated by Robert Hannigan. But why? One explanation is that he is imitating President Lincoln in the 1864 election. The other is the state of his health. While “his physician is satisfied with his general condition,” the President no longer takes exercise frequently, and has virtually abandoned the braces that allowed him to walk and stand.

“Change of Pace” Instead of campaigning, the President is giving radio talks, attacking the GOP for Red-baiting and restricting the soldier's vote.

“Time for a Change” Or so Governor Dewey thinks. His platform focusses on the uncertain climate the New Deal has created for business, and its excessive regulation and incoherent tax policy. Also, there might be a shakeup in the North Dakota senatorial race. Everyone in America is hoping that Gerald Nye is defeated, apparently, and a Republican challenger just might win.

“With All My Heart” The paper gives the first of several eulogies for Wendell Willkie. Uncle George, admittedly in his cups, and probably slandering all and sundry in regards to amphetamine abuse, would point out that there is a lesson here apart from anything we might take away from Mr. Willlkie’s politics. Americans are working far too hard. If the postwar era gives the nation a chance to draw back, to their homes and their children and relax awhile, it would be a blessing.

Also dead this week, and eulogised, is “the Happy Warrior,” Al Smith.

“Orders from Moscow” Two weeks ago, Reader’s Digest published Alexander Barmine saying that American communists were all out for the Fourth Term on orders from Moscow. Now Mr. Barmine has been dismissed from his translator’s position with the OSS on grounds of continuing absences. He alleges political influences were actually responsible for his dismissal.

In Canada, rural populist and all-around lunatic, Mitch Hepburn, is trying to regain the office of premier of Ontario by attacking the man in office, who is seeking popularity himself by attacking the “enormously popular” new “baby bonus.” Unlike most of the paper’s mandated Canadian coverage, this is actually interesting from the point of view of revealing that this “baby bonus” exists and is popular. Apparently, the premier of Ontario has put his foot wrong by denouncing it as a sop to Quebec. (Because Catholics have more babies!)

“Inevitable Wastage of War” The AAF has lost 11,000 airmen in the United States in this war, most before they ever saw a battlefront. This was achieved, the USAAF points out, while flying almost 77 million hours and training 226,346 pilots and aircrew. The accident rate has fallen to half what it was in December of 1941. Meanwhile, it has flown 1.35 million sorties against the enemy, almost a million of them in the first nine months of 1944. A million AAF personnel overseas keep 48,000 combat and transport planes in action. So in light of these numbers, 11,000 is quite a small total, the paper assures the mothers, fathers, and, yes, sisters-in-law of America.

“Enough” The Borgstrom family of Tremonten, Utah, has had the youngest of their five sons, Elden, released from the Marines with an honourable discharge after the older four were reported killed or missing in action one after the other. In other news of vast humanity, the Army still can’t decide on what to do with Coloured troops on leave. Accept race mixing, or force nice hotels to accept an hostilities-only all-Coloured clientale? Decisions, decisions. In the meantime, Coloured troops on leave are to be held in a concentration camp in North Carolina, as is only fair.

“Back to School” After V-E Day, since it will be impossible to repatriate all American troops immediately, it is suggested that they might be put into schools and colleges run by the Army.

“One Man’s Meat” The Army tropical uniform, now that the green-and-brown camouflaged “Zoot” suit has been abandoned, is the two-piece green herringbone twill jungle uniform, which is thick enough to keep out mosquitoes and leeches, and impregnated to make it gas proof. Sounds as practical and comfortable as it is fashionable! Quartermasters are field testing a light poplin uniform in Burma. The jungle boot and green canvas leggings are also not liked, and the 15 day K-ration is deemed ridiculously heavy compared with the Japanese 15-day rice ration. “That the problem of jungle equipment is still far from solved is nobody’s fault in particular.” If only millions of men had fought centuries worth of wars in jungled lands, and extensively tested alternate uniforms!


“All Wrong But Brookings” Plans for the postwar economy depend on the size of the postwar national income. What will it be? Vice-President Henry Wallace says $170 billion. “Businessman-Planner Beardsley Ruml” says $140 billion, the Federal Reserve Board says $142 billion, the CIO’s United Auto Workers says $200 billion. Now, the Brookings Institute says $123 billion, and says that other estimates come from “dizzards, noodles, lackwits and dunderheads.” In the paper’s words, not the Institute, for it is far too serious to call anyone a noodle.

“The war cannot be regarded as a force which will have raised the level of real income. In the absence of war, we might have had a greater advance in productivity. . . The widespread erroneous impression that the war has placed the American people upon a new plateau of national income is due to a failure to take account of the abnormal current increase in wages, prices and employment.” The report was by Joseph Mayer, and edited by Harold G. Moulton.

One businessman responded by saying that the paper “suggests the defeatism of believers in the mature economy thesis.”

This, I have to admit, piqued my attention. Uncle George talked about this a few times in his newsletters from 1939, which I still read often, perhaps because to my then-19-year-old mind, it all somehow seemed to devolve on the babies, something that continued on my mind in the two-and-a-half years that the war separated us. Looking back now as a housewife and a landlady, I see the story I missed in the excitement of the times. The British economy soared, while the American persistently failed to break free of its slump. Why? The idea was that the American economy had become “mature,” mainly in the sense that its population had ceased to increase, and this maturity was holding the economy back, especially with regards to employment. Yet Britain, at least as "mature," hit full employment in late 1937 and again in the spring of 1939. From the thin summary in the paper, it would seem that Mayer and Moulton are where The Economist was, back in the spring and summer of 1939. It was all an artificial boom brought on by armaments expenditure, and all would end in tears.

But here is the thing. As much as I mock The Economist on the subject of "full technical efficiency,"
Uncle George began writing this newsletter because he detected a change in the wind --probably because he was having lunch weekly with James, who is not always as discrete as he should be. The "mature economy" idea relies on the notion that technology had ceased to develop, but by the spring of 1939, it was clear that this was incorrect. Rather, it was pressing ahead at an apparently accelerating rate, and we can now see what Moulton could not, that things like television and refrigeration will change our lives as much as the telephone and electric lighting did in their time. But, again, the question is, "Why?" Why then? If I were a man, I should now stroke my luxuriant beard pensively now. Which beard I would grow, if I were a man, and dash the women who find them off-putting. But suppose that if I were a man I should care very much more about what the ladies thought of me.. Well, perhaps I have gone as far down this digression as I ought.

Piqued, as I say, but also with a few days to soak up the sun on the beach, I obtained a copy of Moulton’s 1935 book, and got a more complicated view of things. He is arguing here, not about population or technology, but about a surfeit of savings/ The idea that he was arguing against was that more savings meant more investment, and more investment meant the return of good times. So much to the good then: the cause of economic growth, he argues there, is consumer demand. Increased consumption of consumer goods is what is to be looked for in a growing economy. Leaving aside the jolly curate's fixed notion that increasing population must mean increasing misery, one can see at once that a rising population must mean more consumer goods being bought. Increased demand, in other words. And, ontrariwise, let population growth come to a halt and reverse, and we then have the “mature economy.” What, then, of the rise in productivity due to technological progress, upon which The Economist now puts so much weight?

At this point I would gratefully abandon the podium, unused, lady that I try to be, to public speaking, except that James and I, have put forward the idea of a "birth storm." I sympathise with the Earl when he suggests that we are generalising from our own experience. Yes, we have babies, and yes, our friends do, too. But we are young!  In our defence, though, we have numbers, and not just stories. The wartime “baby boom” has been discounted as transient, and is, indeed, subsiding. It is just not subsiding at a rate that will take it down to the level of the 1930s for a few years. I understand that "momentum" is a thing for physics, not human affairs, but it is still possible that the spring of this collective change in behaviour is not yet exhausted. To be clear, here, I think that the "spring" is the wartime boost in household savings, and so I now have my own bone to pick with Mr. Moulton. For if savings gluts are bad, we are in for a heap of trouble here in America, as bank holdings hit a “record-breaking” 139.5 billion on 30 June 1944, a twelve-month gain of $22.3 billion. (Earnings were $207.7 million in the first six months of 1944, dividends at an annual rate of 3.3%.)

“Harry Hopkins, Convert” But enough of all that deep thought about the future. The paper takes a speech by Harry Hopkins as evidence that the Administration has been converted to low taxes, free enterprise, reduced government spending. The paper approves, and minimises the sting in the tail, a press to raise the wage-and-hour floor under wages from 40 cents an hour to 50 and then 60 cents an hour. This, he suggests, will increase consumption, although the paper is skeptical given that so few people, and mainly in the textiles industry (apparently beneath notice) actually earn this little.

“Rush to Redeem” The announcement of measures to make redeeming war bonds as easy as cashing Government checks led to a rush to redeem in the first days of the new regulations. Assorted people at the bank reliably said outrageous things to the paper about needing the money to play the horses or Christmas shop, but by the end of the week the redemption rate had fallen to normal. So the story here is that there was not actually a rush to redeem, after all. Meanwhile, “Frank Greene Dickinson, 45,” economics professor at the University of Illinois, urged everyone to burn their bonds in a great national party next July 4th to retire the two hundred billion dollar war debt in a grand, combined summer picnic and End of Civilisation.

Science, Medicine, etc.

France has science! And scientific collaborators such as Alexis Carrel. On the other hand, Frederic Joliot, atomic chemist and husband of Irene Curie, daughter of Marie, is a hero.

“Maple Seed Wing” Wright Field’s new“skyhook,” further described as being modelled on a maple seed wing.

“Noise Blocker” Bell Aircraft’s new B-29 plant near Marietta, Georgia, is painfully loud. So science has developed a vinylite plastic earplug which has greatly reduced nerve strain and fatigue due to noise.

 “Shameless, Sinful” the War Advertising Council has withdrawn its support from Surgeon General Thomas Parran’s campaign against an unspeakable matter because it should go unspoken. Also in medical coverate, the New York State Journal of Medicine, the paper, and Dr. Otho C. Hudson are full of humbug. Marshall Islanders, who previously suffered heavily from yaws, have been cured by a U.S. Navy campaign using arsenic compounds and sulfa drugs.

Education, Literature, etc.

“Rural Relations” Using the example of one Miss Addie Sullivan, who lives on her father’s Ozark Mountain farm, does chores, walks a quarter mile to her school every morning, and teaches all eight grades in a building with no electrics or running water, and earns $360 for a six month school year, after 15 years on the job, the paper suggests that a bill before the Legislature to appropriate an additional $2 million for school budgets might be worth passing. More importantly, the recent White House Conference on Rural Education has established that rural teachers have an average income of $967/year, about half the average for urban teachers ($1935) and well under half that of the average for a civilian federal employee ($2235), or industrial worker ($2353). About 13 million U.S. citizens have not completed fourth grade, the Army’s literacy minimum, and this number is concentrated in the rural South. About half the nation’s 842,000 teachers have come on since Pearl Harbor, mainly because older teachers cannot be retained. Teacher delegates from the South responded by asking to see Fala.

Not surprisingly, given that it’s October, there are no good movies out, although the paper likes a new Broadway musical starring “thin-voiced but pleasant Celeste Holm.”

On the other hand, there is a book, to be reviewed, Erwin Lesser’s Phantom Victory, a story about the future, in which Germany after World War II will be just like Germany after World War I. In other words, it will be off conquering the world again by 1960. The paper thinks that while readers may find this silly, it is actually a chilling prophecy of the future. (Readers write with their own predictions, involving mass robobomb attacks levelling America's cities in 1964.)


The Washington Social List is snubbing Drew Pearson this year. Ida Lupino has sprained her back in a fall in the bath. Friends are calling Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt, “The Queen of Sheba.”  Congressman-turned-Navy-Commander Edward Van Zandt has been granted the Legion of Merit by his commander, General MacArthur, which is at least no more inappropriate than the General having Harold Stassen on his staff. Irvin S. Cobbs’ funeral was belatedly held in his hometown of Paducah, Kentucky this last week. Cary Grant and Barbara Mutton have reunited. Madame Chiang is recovering in New York from her “undisclosed illness,” and from her devastation at the death of Wendell Willkie. Lillian Hellman likes Russia so much that she is going there. Victor Mature is praised by cancer-stricken young fan whom he visited in hospital as a “great big hunk of junk.”

Flight, 19 October 1944


“Civil Aviation” At least the paper’s compulsion to issue a column-an-a-half alerting us to the fact that Lord  Beaverbrook disagrees with Lord Swinton is more defensible than The Economist doing the same.

“Unfortunate Comparison” British motor cars have been unexportable hitherto because their engines are too small because of policy. We need a policy to make our planes irresistible, which would be easy, and Lord Beaverbrook just does not see this.

“From A.E.A.F. to S.E.A.C.” No-one can stand Leigh-Mallory or Mountbatten, so, like a ten-year-old girl mashing her dolls together with a “kiss-kiss . . . “

The Hawker Tempest has “just been released from the censor’s ban.”

War in the Air

Aachen has been bombed and shelled from the air. Follows instruction in medieval history, because this is the month for that. “How many people, we wonder, remember that Aachen was the capital of Karl the Great, King of the Franks and founder of the Holy Roman Empire, whom the French call Charlemagne!” The exclamation mark really “sells” this to me. You will not believe this, but Typhoons shot rockets at it! It has been disclosed that Bomber Command is using two different types of 12,000lb bombs. One is a blast bomb, the other is armour-piercing.
Amazingly foresighted British designers created the Tetrarch light tank as long ago as 1940 so that it could be carried in a glider. The fight to clear the Scheldt estuary, of which we heard little, is now conceded to have “gone on for a very long time.” The Tempest is noticed further, and pictures of an Me 163 taking off and of Me 262s ranged on a runway are shown. We have bombed Duisberg and Cologne, and 12,000lb bombs were dropped on the Sorpe dam, the third Ruhr water barrage south-east of Dortmund. Our troops have arrived in Greece to save the country from internal discord by giving them a foreigner to rally against.

Here and There

The paper notes a specifically Navalvariant of the Consolidated Liberator. As Uncle George points out, this development bodes well for your son’s promotion opportunities. It might even be good for the Navy!

The Congo air route is to be re-opened, as also the Northern Route via Stockholm to Helsinki, and applications for new municipal airfields in Britain are to be accepted. Eire wants to talk about talking about civil aviation. The USAAF is redeploying its resources so that “within a few months” the effort now being expended against Germany can be expended against Japan instead. The RCAF has dropped 100,000 out of 609,808 tons of bombs dropped on Germany by Bomber Command. People living in mountainous regions of Great Britain should report aircraft crashes promptly, and not wait until after tea, like people in the rest of the country, the point being that the RAF Mountain Rescue Service is now said to exist, and will make the extra effort worthwhile. A UAAF Liberator squadron has been congratulated for flying 82 missions without a casualty. Wright Field has announced a “Skyhook,” which uses ingenious design to land almost directly below the point where it is dropped, unlike a conventional parachute-attached air supply package. Point Cook, Victoria, Australia, recently saw its lass passing-out parade, a sad and historical moment, as apparently the station is quite famous Australia. 
Presumably, word is carried from station to station by jolly swagmen on walkabout.

Westland Aircraft, Ltd, is setting up a subsidiary, Western Engineers, which will manufacture the product line of Richards Wilcox Canadian Co., Ltd, which “comprises all forms of commercial doors and fittings, and also specialised types of light cranes and conveyors.”

Indicator discusses “To-morrow’s Light Aircraft –1” They will probably look much like the ones available today, because anything else will add cost at dubious benefit.

“Hawker Tempest: First Release of Our Latest Orthodox Fighter” Is that to suggest that we have a more recent, unorthodox fighter?  Pictures, but no treatment of the structure of the new plane, so we must hold our excitement and bide our time. Perhaps there will be trusses and girders!

“Research: Sir Henry Tizard Wants yet Another Department Taken Away from the Air Ministry” Tizard wants research taken away from the Air Ministry and vested under an Aeronautical Research Council. Which, it will be admitted, already exists, but under the Air Ministry, whereas the new one will be under the President of the Council, a vast improvement. The point here is not that Tizard was passed over for Director of Science Research by an atom scientist, but that the Lord President already oversees councils for medical, agricultural, scientific and industrial research. So we shall have the "efficiency" part of full technical efficiency at a modest cost of a few additional millions. Sir Henry’s visionary acumen is placed on the line by  a prediction that the country will not want more than 20 of the new Bristol-type airliners, plus 80 or so of the “DC-3” type to take up the approximately 2.5% of rail traffic that has been diverted to civil aviation in the United States.

“Handley Page Hermes: Passenger and Freight Versions of the New British Civil Air Transport: Pay Load up to 16,000lb, Range up to 2000 Miles” It does not actually exist, but when it does, it will be about as good as a Skymaster, but with pressurisation.

Behind the Lines

Deutscher Allgemeine Zeitung says that Germany’s victory plan consists of new weapons, new divisions, and more fighter planes. Another German paper shows “Jet Propelled Confidence.” German night fighter ace Helmut Lent has been killed in a flying accident. The paper finds this “mysterious.” Reichsmarschall Goering has not been arrested, contrary to rumours. Six to eight Estonians have flown the Estonian Air Force to Sweden. Rumours about secret weapons such as jet fighters are reported from Finnish and Hungarian sources.

 L. G. Fairhurst (Chief Engineer of Rotol, Ltd.), “Contra-Rotating Airscrews: A Brief Review of the Present Position and Future Outlook”  As I am sure an old engineer can better explain to the Earl than myself, the arrangement here is two propellers in the same shaft, with one propeller spun in the opposite direction to the other either by a counter-rotating shaft in a shaft, or a reversing oilgear in the hub, or perhaps something even more ingenious.
My husband is impressed by the ingenious arrangement, while Uncle George calls it impractical. This being said, there is no other immediately obvious way of providing the blade area needed to absorb engine power up to 6000hp(!), and the counter-rotating mechanism virtually eliminates torque swing. Although Rotol’s current double three-blade airscrew will have to be upgraded to a double five-blade(!) to take 6000hp. Two-speed reduction gears are anticipated, and airscrews with reduced and even negative thrust, which will be very useful for the Navy. They will be very mechanically demanding, though, requiring at the very least the separation of the airscrew hydraulics from the main hydraulic system, and perhaps a self-contained mechanical system. I am not sure I understand why we are working on 6000hp piston engines. Surely they are just as far away as jets!

“Aviation in Parliament” Lord Swinton was introduced to the Lords as the new Minister of Civil Aviation with a rousing bit of the old third degree.

Studies in Aircraft Recognition

Explains how to tell the Sea Otter from the Walrus. A second sentence would double everything ever said in the press about the Supermarine Walrus because nobody cares!


S. A. Mathews writes to gently chide Mr. Shackleton for the lack of whimsical humour in his recent article about the flying bomb, and to ask for the definition of an “atmosphere.” R. S. Hall writes to answer the article’s contention that the flying bomb was not an effective use of military resources. C. Charles writes to make fun of the Bell P-59A Airacomet. L. Shelford Bidwell writes about gas fluid dynamics continuing his argument about… gas fluid dynamics with other writers.

Time, 23 October 1944

“Momentous Meeting” Winston Churchill visited Marshal Stalin in Moscow. It was momentous, because of some reason. In a related story, Pravda does not like Governor Dewey.

“Dossier of Suffering” Chungking has been thoroughly defeated by the Japanese fall offensive, although Kweilin has not fallen yet. (So serious is the matter that Chiang has let Pai off the leash.)

Still, it celebrates the 33rd anniversary of the Revolution, anyway, because things are about to turn the corner! At least, given another 3 billion dollars or so of UNRRA money, they will. Meanwhile, on ground once trod by the Duke of Zhou, communists actually fight the Japanese, and Uncle George slyly flies the dragon flag I gave him, and toasts the Cup of Gold.

Oblivious, “China’s real friends,” such as United China Relief President James L. McConaughy and Bishop William T.Manning “were beginning to talk back to China’s detractors.” 

“Noblesse Oblige” The paper rounds up the news of British peers killed in action. This is all old news if you follow the gossip, but I do wish to register that one was killed dismantling a bomb, another drowned while serving as an ordinary seaman aboard HMS Tenedos, another was a third inhis immediate family killed in two world wars. It is all quite useless without statistics, but the impression is supposed to be that old money is more willing to get itself killed fighting the country’s battles than new. I suppose it makes up for old money being foolish and borderline treasonous.

Rumanians are excitable.

“Halsey, Emperor of the Pacific” Having run out Marines to throw at island fortresses, the Navy’s Cranky-Old-Man-in-Chief is instead dropping bombs about the East Sea to show willing for MacArthur’s invasion of the Philippines. I suppose the question is whether the Administration will be brave enough to make him take orders from MacArthur. Excuse the coconut oil here. I was trying to write something sarcastic in retrospect, but it got blotched.

“Tide of Destruction” Aachen has been drenched with bombs and artillery shells, the rest of Germany, bombing apart, not so much. The paper thinks that the German army cannot possibly go on much longer. Fortunately, G.I.s do their best to spare civilian casualties, as American soldiers do. In other news, some troops loaded a derelict street car at Aachen with a ton of explosives, then sent it rolling down the street into the heart of Aachen.

“To the Dikes” The paper notices that Antwerp is the greatest freight port in Europe (I thought that was Rotterdam?) and was captured intact six weeks ago. So it might be nice if the Allies could use it.  Unfortunately, the Germans sit on its water approaches, and must be bombed, shot, and bayonetted off, mainly by Canadians fighting in difficult conditions.

“Prefabricated Ports” Details of the prefabricated ports used at Normandy are disclosed. Lieutenant General Somervell was involved, probably not the only comparison with the Alaska-Canada Highway or Pentagon possible.

“Something Bigger” Riga has fallen to General Bagramian, and something bigger is expected on the Polish front. Meanwhile, Germans are using automated, electronically controlled flamethrowers in Italy. That sounds likely!

Hungary and Bulgaria are surrendering more, Balkanites are excitable.

“Epilogue” It turns out that one in ten flying bomb was equipped with a radio beacon, allowing the Germans to aim them with rough accuracy. This will not be possible with the new offensive of air-launched weapons, the “epilogue,” if you will. The V2 is still awaited.


The President this week almost recognised the De Gaulle government, congratulated China on the anniversary, celebrated Columbus Day with Americans in general and Italian Americans specifically, said nice things about Poland, met with a Catholic Archbishop and a rabbi, failed in an attempted intervention on the recording strike.

“Perfectly O.K.” Wendell Willkie died, so it is okay to talk about who might succeed either Roosevelt or Dewey if they were to die in office. In other words, it is time to talk about the President’s health and get a good start on Senator Truman. The President’s doctor claims that while he is dangerously underweight and cannot breathe, these are details, and he will start to exercise again very soon. One might suspect that Dr. McIntyre is playing politics, but surely he learned better from his mentor, President Wilson’s personal physician.
“Double Talk” Talk of revising the Little Steel formula to give workers in the main industrial sectors a pay raise (right before the election), is seen by the paper as to be too raw a bit of politicking at the expense of citizens who “honestly fear inflation.” Is "honesty" really going to be the standard by which we measure peoples' political concerns? Plenty of people honestly believe things which are not true.

“The Challenger” “Candidate Dewey,” the man set, according to the polls, to lose the upcoming election, is this week’s cover story. The polls could be wrong! It’s an exciting, nail-biting finish to an exciting election! What are you doing over there, falling asleep? Buy our paper! After all, Dewey is so orderly and fastidious that he usually fastens both buttons of his single-breasted suits! That's good! Or bad. The paper is not taking sides. (It's good.) In a related story, “multimillionaire GOP oilman Joe Pew, political promoter,” promised the greatest Republican sweep in history. Babe Ruth is for Dewey, the Harlem Age for Roosevelt, Christian Century for Dewey, etc. And the vice-presidential candidates are on the road in the west. Hello, Tacoma! It turns out that turnout will not be low, after all based on registering voters, but this does not mean that the President will win, after all, because their “silence” might be “ominous.”

“Navy  Future” In a poll published this week, the vast majority of peacetime Navy reserve officers said that they wished to remain with the Navy, prefiguring a future in which non-Academy graduates would outnumber Academy. In an anonymous follow up poll, virtually no reserve officers expressed any intention of remaining with the Navy. Anonymous interviewees said that they had no intention of giving honest opinions on the record for fear of reprisals, and competition with Academy men was cited as a major reason for leaving the service.

The difficulty I see here for the family is obvious. The bright spot is that I doubt that it will be hard for your son to compete with Academy “engineers." Does the thought that your son will never have a fleet appointment bother you, sir? Because an Academy appointment probably could be secured. I just worry about too-close scrutiny paid to his "midnight birth--" not so much is background as the details of his origins.

In air news, previously celebrated Fighter Two squadron is returning home for demobilisation, while Captain Bong has escaped relegation to pacific activities and has returned to action, gaining another two kills (to 30) in the Pacific.

“Short Circuit” The men of the CBI are upset that USO entertainers won’t go in country to them. Paulette Goddard, Joel McCrea, Joe E. Brown and Ann Sheridan are called out. Sheridan asks whether “your wife, sweetheart or sister has bucket-seated her way 60,000 miles . . . at better than a thousand miles a day, playing even two bad shows, eating C- or K-rations more often than hot groceries, much of it standing up and then when it’s littler girl’s-room time, go down to the men’s toilet and wait till it’s cleared so that the girl troupers may use it.”

“Flattops for Leathernecks” The Marine Corps wants its squadrons to fly from aircraft carriers. The Navy has finally given its permission, and in the tradition of Navy-Marine relations, will let them to fly Corsairs, previously thought too dangerous for shipborne operations.

“Fare Fight” Civilians are barely even flying the North Atlantic right now, but, if they were, TWA would charge $263.80 to fly in the Stratoliners it will soon have, leading Pan Am to drop the future fare if will charge on its not-yet-existing 128 passenger airplanes to $148.  Word to the wise to the CAB as it divvies up American rights on the North Atlantic route. Another story covers the return of another 28 transports to the airlines from the Army, bringing them only 24 short of the 324 they had in service two winters ago.

“The U.S. Pays Up” The Allies issued $250 million in invasion scrip in Italy, valued at 100 lira to the dollar, without making arrangements to redeem the money, presumably because Italy was to be stuck with it. It is now noticed that the Italian government budget is 100 billion lire, revenue is 20 billion, national debt is 650 billion, bank notes in circulation are 260 billion. In short, a complete disaster was in the making, so the United States is redeeming the notes in credits for American exports.

“Mission to Iran” “Young, globe-trotting Herbert Hoover, Jr.,” is in Teheran trying to wedge an American concession into the existing British one. Well, it gives him something to do besides drinking and complaining that his father favours his bastard. No, Charles, he favours the boy who hasn't yet disappointed him --choice of careers apart, and that was made before Charles decided to trade on his father's name.

“Time for Teamwork” France is in the market for 700 locomotives and 74,300 freight cars. Indian State Railways proposes to spend a billion dollars on postwar repairs and replacements. Russia has just ordered 9 gigantic hydroelectric turbines for the Dnieprostroy. The paper modestly volunteers billions of dollars from somewhere to pay for China’s rehabilitation and industrialisation. Financing all of this will be hard, and is in the hands of the Foreign Economic Admnistration.

Also in the news, the co-operative movement has a national convention, railways respond to a century of nagging from the government to pay down their debts by proposing a plan under which the United States will pay down 1% of its national debt each year, temporary warehouses will be erected over “surplus junk” produced for the war effort, rather than moving it all to places where there are warehouses for it. Western politicians up for re-election find ways to see Eastern favouritism in reconversion. I am especially pleased by the two-step over emigration. Right now, Western businesses are being hurt by a 25,000/month flow of labour East, but if they reverse it, perhaps they will be hit by heavy relief burdens in a postwar slump.

Science, Medicine, etc.

“How the Robobomb Works” Not quite what the title suggests, since the author is more interested in the pulsejet propulsion than the cheap-but-reliable-enough autopilot. (Three gyros, magnetic compass, windmill range counter,  no suggestion on how, if at all, the gyros are rate-controlled, if at all.)

“War of Nerves” Navy doctor Lieutenant Commander Harvey Ellsworth Billig, Jr., and physiologist Anthonie Van Harreveld of the California Institute of Technology have discovered that sometimes nerves grow and spread like a pollarded willow after pruning. So they have cured a boy with infant paralysis by crushing a nerve above a weak, wasted lower leg, causing it to proliferate into the limb and restore it to  health. So now they are using an air-driven rivet gun to repeat the miracle, using the air pressure of the gun to “knead the nerves right through the flesh.” Although kneading is a pretty gentle word for firing a rivet gun into a joint. Commander Billig is apparently especially enthusiastic for the prospects of treating Marine victims of nervous paralysis.

“Male and Female” The “feminist generation between Worlds War I and II emphasized the similarities between men and women. Anthropologists are now swinging to the view that these similarities were somewhat exaggerated.” Using science, Amram Scheinfeld proves that women belong in the home.

Press, Education, Literature, etc.

“Jesting Admiral” Admiral Nimitz authorises press release reporting great Allied victory over Japanese invasion fleet off Korea which is rushed to press before the admiral can clarify that the dateline is 1592. So just a bit more out of date than the regular coverage.

“Tye’s Find” Sioux County, Iowa’s offer to find husbands for any woman who offered to take up teacjing in Sioux County has filled his ten vacant positions and left him with a file of additional letters from husband-hungry would-be Iowa public school teachers. Apparently, School Superintendent Charles H. Tye has his finger on the pulse. Or a highly selective hand with his correspondence, one or the other.

The paper is of a mind, which is perhaps why it is taken with Humphrey Bogart, this time playing against ingĂ©nue Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not, and why it is appalled by every single one of Forever Amber’s 947 pages, and less than impressed by Christina Stead’s latest.

Flight, 26 October 1944


“With Air Help and Without” The phone records of German generals calling Marshal Rommel’s headquarters on D-Day and later are available. They prove that German generals wanted air support, and did not get it, whereas our generals did. Thus, it is safe to say that during the D-Day battle, aeroplanes were involved! An article is promised in which Air Chief Marshal Leigh-Mallory lays this out this involvement in more detail. I predict Typhoons shooting rockets.

“British Air Policy” We are not talking about talking about civil aviation enough.

“the College of Aeronautics” The paper is pleased that Sir Stafford Cripps has announced the government’s agreement in principle to the establishment of a College of Aeronautics along the lines suggested by the Fedden Committee. It is hoped that it will be verylarge and grand.

War in the Air

“Sea-air Operations in the Pacific: Death of Rommel –and Others: Effects of Air Power in the West: Carriers in the Aegean”

Inasmuch as landings in the Philippines will be announced by the time this paper reaches the reader, this would be the time for a full page summary of operations prior to the landing, so that the reader can patiently learn of air raids in Formosa and Luzon while waiting for a newspaper that actually tells him what is going on now. It is noted that 128 German generals have been killed in the war, the latest being Marshal Rommel. Aeroplanes were involved.  German resistance in the West is said to be becoming more feeble, and this is due in part to aeroplanes. Canadians are having a hard time near Antwerp, which  I suppose means that the banks of the Scheldt have not been cleared. Allied troops had entered German territory near Aachen even before the Russians entered German territory in East Prussia. So tiny portions of the German homeland has been invaded on both fronts. The Aegean is being “cleared up.” Midway through the number, the Philippine invasion catches up with the paper. Americans, we are told, have landed on Leyte.

Here and There

The Italian Air Force is now using Allied planes in combat. Air Commodore Sir Robert Clark-Hall is to command “No. 1 Islands Group” of the New Zealand Air force. in place of Air Commodore M. W. Buckley.  Stafford Cripps says that “the production of jet-propelled aircraft in this country is making good progress,” and that it would be “contrary to the public interest” “to make any more detailed statement.” An urgent flight of 4795 miles, London to Accra, was recently accomplished by a Transport Command Mosquito in 31 hours, 14 minutes, with two stops to refuel. The Finns hope to have air mail via Russia soon. The jet units supplied to the Gloster jet monoplane were not provided by Power Jets, LTD, but rather by British Thomson-Houston’s Rugby factory, under contract to Power Jets. Reuters says that Pan-American is to have a new plane for trans-Atlantic service, which will carry 128 passengers by day, or 119 at night, with 30 in berths. It will have a gross weight of 184,000, generate 14,000hp for takeoffs, and cruise at 288mph using 64% of its horsepower flying at 25,000ft, with a cargo capacity of just over 2000 cubic feet. The paper adds that “[t]his evidently refers to the Lockheed Constellation.” That's supposed to be amusing, on the grounds that the Constellation falls well short of its press.

In the first week of the direct New York—Paris C-54 service, Air Transport Command aircraft carried 50,000lbs of cargo including mail and passengers. Priority war cargo included map-making equipment, medical supplies, and engine parts destined for the front line. The Air Defence of Great Britain is to revert to its former “Fighter Command” name. Lieutenant-General Brownrigg says that the failure at Arnhem means that it is unlikely that the war will end this year, or that we will beat the Russians to Berlin. The General emphasises that he is merely sharing his personal opinion, and hopes that he is wrong. Canadian Aviation is not very well produced, the paper suggests.

“Thirty Years On: No. 201 Squadron Holds a Birthday Celebration” It was rather embarrassing, as Air Chief Marshal Longmore, got tipsy on sherry, asked, very loudly, why the squadron was not married yet.   It seems that the squadron’s best days are behind it, as the entire article closes out with a single sentence about events in 1940. Wasn't there a war on?
Not pictured: No. 201 Squadron's long time companion, No. 1 Squadron, cringing in embarrassment.

London-Liverpool, London-Madrid, and now a London-Paris service on which civilians may fly are announced. Further to the last, the “Railway Scheme” for internal feeder air services is announced, and their proposed Baltic services, too.

“Air Power in the Battle of France: Farewell Summary by Air Chief Marshal Sir. T. Leigh-Mallory” Fighter bombers were highly effective in limiting German manoeuvre; medium bombers and long range fighters of U.S. 9th Air Force were very useful; heavy bombers were important in breaking German rearward communications; air reconnaissance was vital, and the Germans suffered heavy from its lack; and air supply and evacuation was also important. At this point Sir Trafford paused to pull the dagger between his shoulder blades out, return it to Tedder, and pick up his valise for his flight into exile. I mean, Ceylon.

Behind the Lines

The German blackout is to be tightened and day fighter ace Lt. Otto Foenkold has been killed in action. Japanese army AA organisation is clarified. A battalion has 12 guns, a regiment 24, with an additional attachment of 20mm AA machine guns. Now we know! There might be a flying bomb base in Norway. The joke about the best German secret weapon being a white flag on a stick strikes the paper as being so funny that it is repeated. German tank formations have been issued a new type of reconnaissance vehicle, because of aircraft. Many German air aces have shot down many planes. A new weapon on the Eastern Front is the “electric machine gun,” which has been christened the “Death Scythe.” German industry is now relying on subcontractors due to dispersal, and “labour direction engineers” increase the efficiency of German labour.

Many more pictures of the Hawker Tempest are shown.

“White Paper in Civil Aviation” The Government policy on civil aviation going forward is dropped. It turns out that the Government was talking about talking about civil aviation, after all. I predict that it will turn out that it has done it wrong.

Studies in Aircraft Recognition

Today, the Vultee Valiant trainer (BT-13.)

“Indicator,” “To-morrow’s Light Aircraft, II” Good view and good accommodation essential; grouping of controls [good]; entry and exit [must be possible]; necessary instruments [are necessary]; the end of airscrew swinging [is about time]. The windshield should not be too curved. A two-seater with lots of comfort and room for luggage is preferable to a cramped aircraft that nominally seats more.


F. Ashby replies to his critics on the score of aircraft apprenticeships. His point, if it were missed, is that more training is better, a five year apprenticeship being sufficient, a two year inadequate. “Hands Across the Ocean” predicts dire and awful doom for British civil aviation in the upcoming Chicago conference on civil aviation, because we haven't talked about talking about civil aviation right. J. M. Downton thinks that post-war owner pilots will still need a car, and that there should therefore be a national aeroplane hire system so that you can drive your car to the airfield and there secure a plane. I Something about a cart and a horse? R. Hudson feels vindicated in arguing that we needed to leave some bridges intact during the pre-invasion bombing for our later use.

Time, 30 October 1944


De Gaulle government recognised by British, Canadians. Paper notices Russia’s German collaborators. Churchill and Stalin talk about the Balkans. Sicilian separatists riot, are “tommy-gunned” by Italian soldiers, who apparently exist, at least for the purpose of massacring Sicilian protestors. Apparently, it was all fomented by the big landowners. Simple Sicilians are eager to be good Italians. French Communists are making trouble, while the Resistance disappointingly declines to do the same. The paper remains afraid that a French revolution is incipient.  And by "afraid" I mean "afraid" in the sense of the movie audience that cheers when the Wolfman appears. Franco’s regime in Spain is in trouble, as see above. Sir William Beveridge wins a  byelection as a Liberal. Professor R. H. Angold of Britain’s Gypsy Lore Society demands that Britain’s 45,000 Gypsies straighten up, dress soberly, get good jobs, and stop oppressing their women folk while lounging about drinking. Professor Angold broadly implies that concentration camps would be good for them. The Russians want oil concessions from Iran, since America controls 57% of the world’s oil, Britain 27%, Russia only 11%. How odd that Britain should “control” so much oil when there are  hardly any oil wells in Britain. Now, there are oil wells in Burma, but as Great-Uncle’s dacoits used to so forcefully stress, there was a strong argument that Burmese ought to control those. Eric Johnston still exists (and is friends with William L. White, who we are reminded, is the son of the "Sage of Emporia"!) Latest polling shows that the Conservatives haven’t a hope of winning the next British General Election.

Filipinos tell Americans that they are pleased that the Americans are back, that their innocent brown hearts were lifted in song by the sight of the American invasion armada. In other news, the American invasion bypassed Mindanao for some reason,
and the Hawaii greenback is to be phased out as fast as possible. Which raises interesting questions at the gate of Nagasaki’s Chinatown that we here in Santa Clara are probably best situated to pursue.

“Hell of a Bang” The Germans in the west are stretched, and a real breakthrough might tear the front hopelessly open, and General Eisenhower is not settling for a winter war of attrition. Although the longer that one is actually being fought, the longer Hitler has to scrape up and train his ersatz divisions.

“Taut Miracle” The paper notices that the Allies are suffering from logistical problems on the lines of communications, and points out that until Antwerp is taken, locomotives and freight cars cannot be sent in to make haulage practical. Aside from my impression that this was the use to which Cherbourg was put, it seems plausible and points to the problems the Allies must be having.

“Cautious Return” German submarines are returning to the north Atlantic, and First Lord Albert W. Alexander points out that they “may have fresh tactics and technical equipment aimed to offset the deadly Allied location devices and methods which ruined the U-boats in 1942—3,” but that the submarine commanders are more shy, nervous and cautious. James points out that the main “new technique” is presumably an air intake mast, which has a decidedly unimpressive history. There is nothing like the valves shutting to prevent water intake into oil engines going at a few thousand rpm to remind a submariner to draw his "hard-lying pay." But perhaps the Germans have done better with the idea.  

“Into East Prussia” Are the Russians going. You heard it here . . . second, third, fourth? Do earlier numbers of the paper count?

“Baby Patrol” An American reconnaissance patrol takes on the unlikely job of moving 81 preschool orphans stranded in No Man’s Land back across Allied lines, soldiers carrying shoeless toddlers through half-frozen marshes. So sweet.

“No India for Japs” The Japanese Burma offensive is now super-officially over, as casualty returns for the first six months of 1944 (40,000 battle, 237,000 illness) underline the hardships of the jungle campaign.

“Rehearsal for Obliteration” Army and Navy sources believe that Japanese military fanatics are building up for a “super-Wagnerian climax” of “incomprehensible devotion to self-destruction” leading, “if carried to its mad extreme, in the virtual annihilation –self-inflicted or imposed—of one of the nations of mankind.”  As evidence of this, the paper points to a bypassed island fortification still shooting at planes, and an incident in which “Eugene Sanford, ex-policeman from Evanston,Illinois,” is forced to tommy gun some Japanese survivors who swam out to his plane clutching at their waistbands as though they meant to draw a pistol “blew a hole in his plane.”

“Paper Airfields” Perforated steel mats, used for improvising frontline runways, have proven serviceable but at terrific cost. A 5000x160” runway required 1150 C-47 loads of steel, 6000 man hours of labour. Fortunately, last week Air Force engineers announced a more economical replacement, Prefabricated Bituminous Surface, consisting of a layer of cloth between two layers of paper, which takes up one tenth of the space and can be laid by machine almost twice as fast as steel strip. We are told that itwas developed by Royal Canadian engineers and improved by U. S. engineers.


“Willkie Testimony” In Connecticut last week, the New Deal candidate argued that  Governor Raymond E. Baldwin had “deserted Willkie” to become a “Hoover Republican.” Interesting, in a tasteless way, although I admit that my attention is mainly drawn by seeing the Engineer’s name. No doubt, if I can ever bring myself to lunch with him again, I will hear, again, about how his memory lives on in the Grand Old Party.

Joe Ball endorses Roosevelt, Harry Truman evasively endorses former KKKer Hal Styles, William Henry Chamberlin evasively endorses Dewey, Representative Melvin J. Maas of Minnesota blames the Administration for Pearl Harbor and insists that the facts were covered up. Uncle Henry gave me a blow-by-blow of a row he had with Mr. Ford on this subject in the summer, and it does not sound any more convincing coming from a junior representative from Minnesota. Although Uncle George’s colourful provost friend at the university once amused me by pretending to confuse the Pearl Harbor plot with the Prett plot to betray the Medway to the Dutch.

The Tanks Go Up” In 1940, the East Ohio Gas Company built three giant tanks for storing 24 million cubic feet of natural gas under compression, hence refrigeration. “One afternoon last week,” which is to say, 20 October, they exploded. “Men working in the open company yard crisped and died like moths.” A plume of fire reached 2800 feet in the air, and “vast sheets of fire were flung for blocks.” “Block after block of houses smoked, caught fire, and burned wildly, the flames slanting in a searing wind.” East Cleveland burned for days, and, from the papers but not from the paper, and the current estimate is 12 dead, 104 missing, “hundreds” homeless. But it was only East Cleveland, so General MacArthur is the cover story this week.

“Negro Waves” The Navy will now admit Negro women into the WAVEs. Five or ten administrative officers will be trained at Smith College, and then enlisted women will be taken depending on the needs of the service, but probably not in large numbers. The Coast Guard will follow suit, the Marines, astonishingly, will not.

“Historic Hour” Elderly Colonel Gerhard Wilck has surrendered Aachen “unconditionally” as required diplomatically but, I gather, at some cost to the tradition of siege warfare, to the Americans. The paper amuses itself by noticing that Colonel Wilck sports that most German of fashions, polished boots, and that one of his subordinates is a Heidelberg graduate with a dueling scar.


1.64 million homes on the eastern seaboard will heat themselves with oil this winter, and nearly 200,00 homes patriotically converted to coal will be allowed to convert back, because the coal shortage turned out to be worse than the oil shortage, and they will not be able to keep warm unless the winter is mild. Coal production is up 6% this year, but scarcity has increased demand and there is not the labour to increase production further. “Old men are working the mines; when they quit or die, almost no younger men are available.” Wood is not short, except in western Washington, where wood provides half of heating needs, but the Government is offering a $2.50 bounty per cord of wood cut to “anyone who will work in the forests.” Householders who lost trees in the hurricane last month are being exploited by “greedy racketeers” who dare to charge them for the labour of bucking up their trees and for the resulting firewood. Because free enterprise is all very well, but the paper had a tree blown down in its lot, and is now being expected to pay some hustler to have it bucked up.

“A New Flivver” Ford has announced a new model which will sell for 25% less than the one that it will build when it is finished reconverting at a cost of $15 million. This is less Delphic when I read on and discover that there will be no major model changes initially, so there is a benchmark to compare this news with –the models from 1940. Does this mean that the new “flivver” will cost $500? Probably not, due to rises in the price level.

“New Paper for Old” Corporate bonds worth $2 billion have been floated and sold, mostly for refinancing, in the months between the Fifth and Sixth War Loan drives.

“Why Not Stay Home” In Chicago on vital national business, Colonel Monroe “Steamboat” Johnson of the Office of Defence Transportation, was appalled to see hordes of badged convention goers. There were 85 conventions scheduled in Chicago this October. Johnson had travelled the 770 miles to Chicago by rail to attend a two-day meeting of U.S. railroad men who were discussing how to handle the increased load on the railroads.

“Bench Warmer” The consumer credit association is disappointed to hear that they will be late to the “reconversion” table. This does not mean that they have a hitherto unsuspected demand for machine tools for peacetime operations, but rather that they will not be authorised to advance credit for hire-purchase on easy installments until the factories are ready to produce the things that need to be purchased. They find this unreasonable, and believe that their activities can be a vital lubricant in the train of economic demand.

“Storm over Sunshine D” The antitrust division of the Justice Department is contemplating action abainst Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation for its efforts to control the Vitamin D (the “sunshine vitamin”) market. They also, apparently, limit the potency of Vitamin D added to enrich foods to preserve the vitamin market. Ironically, Dr.Harry Steenbock, the chemist who first synthesised Vitamin D, started the Foundation precisely to prevent such things. At least, so the paper says. I had the impression that Miss Marguerite Davies had something to do with it, but my memory may be mistaken.

“Streamlined Hijackers” Small Akron shops are getting around the War Manpower Commission by taking on machinists as contractors rather than as employees. So Goodyear, hurt by the loss of 60 skilled men, fought back.

“Lily Boom” Due to the Japanese supply being cut off, America had not lily bulbs. An industry, based in California and Louisiana, but now also Tony Cefalu, farming at Greys Harbor, has sprung up to supply the 20—25 million needed each year. And., yes, I have written a note to the obvious parties.

“Consumers Can’t Win” The much ballyhooed notion that U.S. shoppers have been on  a four-year buying spree turns out to be a myth. The Department of Commerce says that while retail sales this year are up 15% on 1939, they are down 5% from 1944 by “quantity,” however this is measured. By price, they are up 60% over 1939, 20% over 1941.   

Medicine, as There is No Science This Week

“Hope for the Disabled” Betsy Barton, a 26-year-old who broke her back horseback riding ten years ago, has written a book explaining how the children of particularly rich fathers can go on from lower body paralysis to become famous writers. More helpfully for most victims of a broken back, she points out the need for more occupational and physical therapists. Also, Doctor Freud has mothered. I mean, been smothered. I mean, died.

Press, Literature, Education, etc.

Ring Lardner’s youngest son has been killed near Aachen while serving as a war correspondent, the second out of four sons lost this way.

“Dictactorial” The Trades Union Congress has announced that its convention is closed to non-union journalists. The paper considers this tyranny in the making, and quotes The Economist denouncing papers which comply as “pusillanimous.” In other news, Frank Knight has bought the Chicago Daily News, bringing the country’s fourth largest newspaper chain to the vigorous Chicago market. He is aiming to “go down the middle” between the Tribune and the “Moscow-scared Herald-Tribune.

“Victorian Headmaster” Endicott Peabody, headmaster at Groton to both Franklin Roosevelt and Colonel McCormick, retired in 1940 at the age of 87. He has this year received his “first” full-length biography. Headmaster Peabody, born to a fabulously wealthy family and briefly an Episcopalian clergyman (in Tombstone, no less), built his school on the usual principles –cold baths, sports, moral cant—and took charge of educating all the boys best suited to govern America’s future by virtue of their skill in choosing their parents. Though I am sure that that is not the virtue the biography will focus on.
Have I ever mentioned how grateful I am at the care the family took to make sure that my education was overseen by the Poor Claires, and not the Jesuit Fathers?

The paper gives Mrs. Parkington one of those “I enjoyed it more than it deserves” reviews, and makes Laura sound positively gruesome while at the same time crediting one actor for comic timing. It is also taken by I Remember Mama, the follow-on to Oklahoma.

“Brick Top” Nelson Eddy joins the rush into radio variety shows. I hope he finds it less grueling than our friend.

“A New Beginning” Russell W.Davenport, son of a vice-president of Bethlehem Steel, former assistant editor of Fortune and close associate of Wendell Willkie, has written a 62 page poem published in book form as My Country. Simon & Schuster has given him a $1000 advance (a third the advance for Forever Amber, I noted), and printed a first edition of 10,00 copies, expecting it to be the “John Brown’s Body of 1944.” Or, just possibly, that New York publishers like to be on the right side of sons of vice-presidents of Bethlehem Steel. Though, who knows? Maybe the country is ready for a 62 page poem.

Major Astor, son of Lady Astor (she of the quantity, not quality birthrate) has married Anna Inez “Chiquita”Carcano. Captain Patch, son of Lieutenant General Alexander Patch, has been killed in action in France, as has David, Lord Davies, “reputedly richest man in the British Army,” while Nell Brinkley, creator of the “Brinkley girl” has died more peacefully. 

Cyril Joad precipitated a riot when he was invited to speak at Cambridge last week on grounds of his earlier participation in the infamous 1933 Oxford Union debate. Ernest Albert Hooton, Harvard’s “publicity-wise anthropologist,” who has long reported that “men are reverting to apes,” suggested that a woman should be elected President because they are less ape-y. This, dear Father-in-law, is what men would like to believe, but, from the other side of the distaff, I can assure that we are only more discrete apes.
"We Three"
Sirs: We three "unimaginatively dressed" British women take great exception to the account from your correspondent in Paris (TIME, Sept. 11). After five years of war it is a little tedious, to say the least, to pick up one's newspaper every day and to read of and see pictures of "elegant" Parisiennes, who have not apparently been limited to 48 clothing coupons a year, as we have.
It may interest your readers to know that the average British woman's life during the war has consisted of working sometimes for twelve hours a day six days a week scrambling for busses and trains, getting meals, housework, laundry, mending, shopping.
. . . Perhaps even your correspondent and the "elegant" Parisiennes would not feel imaginative after a night in an Anderson shelter, emerging the next morning probably to find that they have not even any "unimaginative" clothes left.
We would like your correspondent to give us her suggestions on how to be elegant and imaginative on 48 clothing coupons a year and the amount of time we have available to glamorize ourselves. We would like to point out personally, apart from having to put up with the above, that husbands of two of us have been killed during this war and the husband of the third is serving with the British Forces in Italy.

At this point I am supposed to move on to the monthlies, but this would have required me to pack my advanced proofs of Aero Digest along to Honolulu (well, technically, at the moment, to Hawaii itself, where “Miss V.C.” and I have scheduled some girl’s time communing with the ancestors at the Whale Temple).
I briefly dallied with the idea of giving you Popular Mechanics instead. On the one hand, this would be dreadfully jejune. I am also a bit alarmed about our prospects for achieving full technical efficiency, as Elmer Gantry has clearly been reborn as the chancellor of a correspondence school. Pages of ads at the head of Popular Mechanics promise careers in television repair, cartooning, machining or refrigeration. It is hard to imagine the audience for articles on home-dying textiles and making your own hydraulic press are very much interested in these, and the end advertisements are, indeed, much more practical. Though, at the same time, this “practical” section lacks the insight into new science and technology. That may not be much of a loss given a bit about how the Germans have a “magnetic ray projector”  for detecting aircraft, because radio is secret this week.
And, yet, on the other hand, there is this:

And this:

Amazing, isn’t it? Even as a schoolgirl I remember the fuss over the Okie "trailer camps" in the Valley, but here is Great Britain tying itself in knots over “prefab” housing. Given the offerings so far put forward, one might imagine that even the travel trailer would get another look. Yet here comes a design that gets rid of the landlord, and, I hope, the community's main complaint. They can't move, because the wheels are removed! One gets little sense of who might be building them, or why, although I assume that there is a city of them somewhere associated with a radar works or a turbine engine factory. Given the land, and perhaps a bit of site preparation, instant house! I have initiated some discrete inquiries, as it is pretty clear now that the Spokane lease is not going to be renewed, and I doubt anyone else is going to be interested in running sheep on it.

And so, between an American election that requires pages of news that will be instantly obsolete as soon on the first Wednesday in November and yours truly leaving her drafts of Aero Digest convenient for packing on a table in the nursery of the carriage house (grr), I am done, at no great length.
Now to count the days until the Golden Gate looms before me (in a boat, this time, thank Heavens), and my darlings are once again in my arms.
Was the construction finished the last time you were in Los Angeles? I can't remember. In any event, I need a backing for the mobile home pictures.

*On the assumption that this is the "Song of the Yue Boatman" from the Classic of Odes, let's enjoy some wuxia action.

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