Thursday, July 9, 2015

Postblogging Technology, May 1945, II: There's a War On, For Your Information

Group Captain R_. C_., RCAFVR, DSO, DFC (Bar),
RAAF Richmond,

Dearest Father:

I hope this letter finds you well, as I am fishing for a way to introduce the fact that I am sick as a dog. Do not worry about my condition, though, as it is only an unseasonal cold. I may be stuffed up, hacking and headachey, but the more important matters proceed normally.

Speaking of, fortified by as much codeine as my doctor would allow, I attended a dinner given for Wellington Koo by the Benevolent Associations last week, in the hopes of smoothing over our recent difficulties. Unfortunately, as we cannot trust all the ethnic press, I could not attend in the company of Wong Lee, and instead went as the guest of Professor K., while Wong Lee brought his daughter in law and Miss v. Q, which unfortunately did not save me from a most unpleasant conversation with Madame Y., in which she took quite malicious pleasure in insulting me to my face in Mandarin in the presence of the China Times correspondent. It did not help that I am sure that I saw Miss v. Q. being forced to suppress a giggle.

Although if I can look past my humiliation, Madame Y. was witty as well as obnoxious. Ah, well. I shall have my revenge some day, and I am impressed at how quickly Miss v. Q. picks up the language --as well as how quickly Mrs. Wong grows round, especially as our dates are only weeks apart.

But you have no time to hear about my social struggles. I sent Wong Lee away after the banquet, and met with the revered elders privately aftewards, and, I hope, made good by lavish promises of postwar travel assistance. I am afraid that I gave away far more seats than the Peru route will take, so, that if we meet my promises, we must move people on the liners again, unless someone comes up with a better idea than your youngest's suggestion of flying them in. I beg your indulgence in this, as though I had the family's permission in advance, I went, perhaps, too far, and must ask you to explain my actions to the Earl and Uncle George.

As for other fronts of barely-concealed domestic hostility, I had a visit from the Engineer's son and Lieutenant A., who pulled up at the house in a roadster even before the party had ended. It's perplexing. They were on the road far too early to have any expectatatin of arriving comfortably "too late," and they assure me that our phone lines are tapped, and that this was the only way that they could reach me with a warning about a scheme of which they had only heard the previous day.

I am less than convinced, and the man looked distinctly down-at-mouth when pressed as to whether his father was also ignorant of the attempt until too late. It could be acting --he is an actor, although of course not a very good one, it is said. I remain torn. I don't like him, but he is just so easily likable, and I do feel for anyone who has to bear with being the illegitimate offspring of a man like the Engineer.

The young lieutenant had a little more grace. He was the one who sought Wong Lee's help in the "black bag" job in the first place, and apparently Wong Lee's team delivered. While I am at a loss as to what some pre-encryption blanks of "book-to-book" cables are going to profit the FBI, or the Army, or the Navy, or whoever was behind this in the end, they think that it is important. so the knowledge that someone used Wong Lee's distraction to attempt to assassinate Great Uncle might touch the consciences of such as are involved who might have one. At least, I am very tempted to complain to Chester. I just do not know how much he has guessed about our family connections, and it might do more harm than good.

On the bright side, your boy is at last safely away in Michigan, even managing to find a minute to phone us at the house for a minute to let us know that he had arrived safely. I shall have to call the phone company about that, though, as the reversed charges for some reason show that he spent thirty minutes on the line to California that night, and that's an enormous amount of money to write off as a clerical error.


Flight, 17 May 1945


“Reflections” It turns out that we’re still at war! With Japan, as it turns out. We should do something about that. And prepare for next time.

“A Harbinger” The paper is enormously pleased with the Shetland flying boat, as it is very enormous, and will lead to enormous civil flying boats. It should visit all the Empire countries where white people live, to show them that “the old country is not asleep,” dreaming of past glories, etc.
You've seen this picture before because Flight has been waiting to talk about the Shetland for years.

“Rockets and Guns” The Prime Minister’s radio broadcast of the other night mentioned that the Germans were building long range guns on the coast of France and Belgium with the range to bombard London. This occasions reflections. Considering that the muzzle velocity of a gun cannot be higher than the propagation velocity of its charge detonation, they’re presumably on the complete uselessness of such things as weapons of war. Although I suppose you could shoot rockets out of guns, which would turn the problem into one of designing rockets that could withstand the enormous acceleration forces. Hmm.

War in the Air

Had you heard? The war is over! The air force is very large. The ground crews worked very hard. Oh, actually, the war isn’t over. We’re still fighting Japan, it turns out. Australia is now safe from invasion, and aircraft were involved. They have even invaded Borneo, which will teach those Borneans what for. Burma is almost all invaded. (The paper says “free.”) The Australians have also captured Wewak, in New Guinea, causing the Japanese government to fall. (Only not really.) The Air Council sent round a nice note of congratulations to everybody. Air Chief Marshal Portal offered congratulations, or received them. So did everyone else, really, from the armed forces of the Soviet Union to the Princess Mary’s Royal AirForce Nursing Service.
Wewak town centre isn't exotic at all!

Here and There

Wing Commander J. B. Nicolson, V.C., is reported missing in the Far East. Flt. Lt. P. E. Barnes, a navigator of 2nd TAF Mosquito squadron, who made the first operational flight to Germany with No. 21 Squadron on 27 September 1939, was on the last flight of the squadron, on 24 April 1945. Altogether, he made 75 operational flights, and was leading navigator for the pin-point attack on Amiens prison. And with no promotions in six years, his jacket must be a sight to behold!  

Eric Nicolson, and not the colourful Flight Lieutenant Barnes.
Major General Stratemeyer, of USAAF Eastern Air Command, congratulates air power and the RAF for Burma. General Doolittle says that the war in Europe does not prove that strategic air power can win wars alone. That would be on account of armies being involved, I think. He also says that it is not likely to be proven in Japan. Between yourself, Uncle George, young Reggie, and Fat Chow on the receiving end, I cannot think of something facetious to say. Prove it soon, air power, I say! Peter Masefield is to be the British Civil Air Attache in Washington. Air Commodore Lord Brandon has been promoted. The Czech Spitfire Squadron is going home. Piper is coming out with a new four-seat “Skysedan” with a 165hp Franklin engine. Not a lot of power to get your family out of a sticky situation near the ground. . . The Morris group wants us to know that Morris distributors produced 10,000 aircraft wings, thousands of airfoil sections, and 70,000 other aircraft parts, besides repairing more than 600 Mosquitoes and Ansons. Plus millions of shells and machined parts, hundreds of thousands of gun components, and thousands of Bailey Bridge components, to say nothing of hundreds of complete 6 pounder guns.

Major F. A. de V. Robertson, V. D. “Lessons of the Air War: Part I- Securing the Base.” I’ve probably directed quite enough bile at Major Robertson over the years. He is probably not some hopeless old drunk who dashes off a slight assemblage of old memories and press cuttings to earn the price of a drink. He is probably a secure old family man with a well-paying situation, who does it to help ut his friend, the editor. The article’s still rot, though.

Air Marshal Sir Roderic Hill is relinquishing his post to become Air Member for Training in place of Sir P.Drummond. Air Marshal Sir James Robb will replace him.

“Sort Shetland: Review of Britain’s Largest Aircraft: A Machine Eminently Suitable for Showing the Flag: Long Endurance with Great Carrying Capacity” This is the military version of the “G” boat of 1939, albeit slightly upgraded to the Centaurus vice Civil Hercules. (With a cooling fan, so regard BMW’s invention well stolen.) What is there to say about a plane which, even in its military version, has room for a ladie’s dressing room? Something like this:

Private Suites
There are eight of these compartments forward of amidships, and aft of the rear pair are four toilets, two each side. It should be pointed out that in all probability the starboard rear lavatory here may instead be employed as a servery for passengers desiring food served at their seats rather than ascending to the dining saloon on the upper deck ; in this event a light service lift can be installed to link the servery with the galley immediately above. • Continuing our progress rearward through the lower deck, we next enter the rear passenger cabins which, owing to the narrowing of the hull, are arranged to accommodate only two passengers each, and, as there are two cabins port and starboard, eight people are accommodated here either during the day or at night. In order to cater for the person who is willing to pay for such things, each of the foremost of these cabins can be made into private suites complete with private toilet, the latter being the two aftermost of the four toilets previously mentioned; in the event, however, of the starboard toilet being deleted in favour of a servery, only the port front cabin can be arranged as a private suite. Rearward of the after-cabins we come to the rear-entry vestibule with access doorway to port and, to starboard, a toilet. Aft of the toilet is the purser's office, which is neatly arranged beneath the passengers' staircase leading up to the top deck. To port opposite the staircase is a commodious ward-, robe with sliding doors and, aft of the vestibule, the gentlemen's dressing room; this compartment, similarly to the ladies' version forward, is equipped with lavatory basins, mirrors, dressing table and built-in seat. In the extreme tail of the lower part of the hull aft of the dressing room, and with access from it, is a good-sized storage space for passengers' hand baggage.”

Huddling against harbour cold or panting out summer heat in a glorified tin can will be easier in a private suite, but I stick with my position that getting off, out and into your own car as quickly as possible is better! Taking that into account, the cruising speed is typically low, because all that power is needed to push this barn door through the air.

Indicator Discusses “Paying the Piper: And Calling a Better Tune? Insurance Costs as a Future Guide to Airline and Other Civil Developments: Paving the Way for a Self-ruled Air Transport System” If insurers could just see the future, they would make a lot of money. And show us how to run civil aviation in the perfect way in which it will be run in the future.

“SAAF Association” Now that the war is over (it is time for one lonely voice to remind us that we are still at war with Japan), it is time for the old comrades of the SAAF to get together and reminisce about days long gone by.

The paper notices the Nakajima“Myrt,” or “Saiun” (“Painted Cloud”) a new torpedo bomber for the Japanese carrier fleet which doesn’t exist anymore. 

"No Grummans can catch us!"

“The U.S. Eighth Air Force: Lt. Gen. Doolittle Reviews Its Contribution to the Defeat of Germany: Timely Advent of the Long-range Fighter Escort” General Doolittle shares a mind-numbing list of very large numbers. For example, Eighth Air Force dropped 4,377,984 bombs of various kinds and 27,556,978 incendiary devices, representing 701,300 (U.S.) tons of bombs, burning 1,044,202,950 U.S. gallons of gasoline. (The imperial conversion to gallons, but not tons, is provided.)

“A.T.C. Victory Parade” Went on as scheduled, with Hill, Portal, and the Reverend A. J. Jagoe, Chaplain-in-Chief, RAF, in attendance. All out of town cadets were accommodated in a “camp” in the ARP deep shelter at Camden Town. In other news, the paper notices the Budd RB-1 Conestoga. Again.

Civil Aviation News
A Time survey finds that 310,000 Americans might want to fly to visit Britain, postwar. Parks Air College does a survey which suggests that 78,000 Americans might buy $1500 private aircraft. More than a third of the total weight carried by Hawaiian Airlines last year was produce. Landing rights at way stations on potential trans-Pacific routes are at issue in American regulatory talks, including Tokyo. Qantas Airlines reports that it gets a very good life out of its Pegasus XC engines. Perseus engines are also reliable, and will be used in the new Bristol Freighter. It's like taking your family heirlooms off on some kind of antiques road show! An application by the American industry to build 300 commercial airliners in 1946 has been rejected by the War Production Board. Hughes Aircraft is continuing with its feeder airliner project. Following on the Hawaiian Airlines story, and similar ones from the Caribbean, we end with a brief talk about “vegetable freight,” which might or might not involve airplanes in the future. Probably will, says Dr. Spencer A.Larsen, of Wayne University, Detroit. Air-transported tomatoes have more Vitamin C than land-transported ones!

A "deep shelter" sounds romantic, and it is. The thing is, though, it's under ground and you can't see it.

Mr. Miles writes to tell us that the Miles M. 48 is splendid. Hugh Oswald Short reminds us that the pressure cabin was first demonstrated in 1904. And by “demonstrated,” he means that he and his brothers projected lantern slide drawings to the Royal Aeronautical Society, back in the day when half the presentations consisted of penciled pseudo-stop-motion studies of birds in flight. “A Service Pilot” writes to suggest that flying regulations can be both strict and red-tapeless. “Indicator” replies that regulations are, indeed, necessary. N. C. Skinner (Flt. Sgt.), RAF, writes to ask what happens if an airscrew flies off.

Time, 21 May 1945

Emperor Hirohito gets the cover in this number.


Hazel Wiggers of Chicago is appalled at the German concentration camps and wants an international Day of Remembrance. Albert Goldberg wants large numbers of Germans and Japanese shot for this, while Miss H. C. Wordeman wants all Germans taken on tours of the camps. Nat Schmulowitz is upset at a leaflet called Brain Splitters for Suckers Only which trivialises the camps. Raymond F. Blosser, someone’s director of information, writes to reveal the carefully concealed route of the Presidential trains to Hyde Park, presumably to satisfy those delayed over the years. Mary Merle is upset that Argentina is at San Francisco, on the grounds that they are a member of the Axis, in every way except declaring war on anybody. Or allying, or, really, doing anything much for Germany or Japan at all. John Harden, of Duke, writes to describe a nice thing that Ernie Pyle did before he was famous. Several naval officers write to express their outrage at Gertrude Stein.


Now that it is a one-front war, there will be reconversion and partial demobilisation. The first veterans are back. Now it will take about six months to get troops from the ETO to the Philippines, giving air power its chance to end the war before the invasion.

“Peace” The paper notes how in the first week of Allied victory, the “London Economist” “publicly examined the alternatives to a break with the Soviet Union.” I really should read these things more carefully, but in my defence the story was probably in grey print on a grey page and had a title like "Interim Committe Considers Issuing Revised Recommendations." Ely Cuthbertson, who "considers bridge his profession and international psychology his hobby," disagreed that it was a good idea, and the “wiser diplomats” at San Francisco agree with the bridge expert, and not the Economist

So that’s the pape’s position, I suppose. Less anti-communist than the The Economist. It’s about spheres of influence in Germany, also known as “the wasteland,” and the rest of the world, also known as the “not-Wasteland.”Also spheres in Latin America, where America doesn’t have spheres, because good neighbours, Monroe Doctrine, etc. Those Latins disagree, but the paper says that's because they are “turbulent.”Harold Stassen, although as one-world as any American, told them to simmer down." So did John Foster Dulles, and even Stettinus.

“The Occupation” Germany has surrendered, is occupied, is a wasteland, but you’ve got to keep an eye on them. They’re cunning. I thought it was methodical? Fanatical? An American administration has been appointed under Plan Eclipse, and the occupation force will number 400,000. Goering has surrendered. It turns out that he had nothing to do with that whole “Nazi” thing. Martin Bormann’s body has been found. Several Nazis have committed suicide, others have attempted it, and Spain may soon extradite Laval.

“No. 1 Priority” Is Japan.

“Cigars and Bombs” General CurtisLeMay likes blowing up Japanese and smoking cigars. We are also mining Japanese waters, and have suffered 23,188 casualties in Okinawa so far. 25 ships, mostly light units, have been sunk. The Chinese offensive in Hunan is successful, so far.

“Berlin Makes it Official” More on the German surrender. Some Germans surrendered arrogantly, others easily. The U-boats are surrendering.

“The God-Emperor” The Japanese are not like you and me. They think that their Emperor is a god. But maybe they will stop thinking this soon. Maybe some already have! The actual emperor, a fellow named Hirohito, has lived a life. Perhaps he must surrender and destroy the divine myth and “Shinto totalitarianism” before Japan can rejoin the family of nations.

“The Wavell Plan” Wavell’s new plan for administering India is a modified Cripps plan. It involves vicerfegal control of finances, perhaps because Britain is a net debtor to India to the tune of £1 billion. It also has plans for industrialisation, although an Indian delegation is in America to study how we do it, instead.

“Homecoming” Jean Borotra and General Maxime Weygand have returned to Paris, where they were promptly arrested. King Leopold’s escape from the Nazis elicted mass ennui in Brussels. Leopold’s health keeps him from his beloved country. The Kings of Denmark and Norway, on the other hand, returned without trouble.

"Health Problems"

Winston Churchill gave a victory speech in the Commons, and Hitler’s stenographer gives an account of the last days in the bunker.

Hot Time in Halifax” The Royal Canadian Navy celebrated VE Day with a two-day riot, including looting.

“Merry, Merry Quite Contrary” Although an American heiress, Merry Fahrney Pickering Van Eizener Berlingeri Cassini Holm Ojeda is the paper's idea of a typical upper-class Mexican. Which is to say, she is a pistol-packing desperada with a half-million in her handbag, five ex-husbands, and a bullet in her shoulder from her latest escapade. 

“Talk and Action” The new president is a family man with an open-door policy. He is also bringing Jimmy Byrnes back, while Don Nelson is going, with Edwin Locke taking over for him in China.

“All Men are Human” President Robert Maynard Hutchinson of the University of Chicago says that we should be merciful to German war criminals, because people are only human; and not try them, because that would be illegal, and two wrongs don’t make a right. He seems doubtful about “the wildest atrocity stories.”

“Things to Come” Apparently, we’re still at war with Japan. Someone should have said! Judge Vinson says that this means that food rationing must continue, since supplies are expected to be down 5—10% from last year, and demand up 5—10%. Homebuilding will continue to be restricted, with only 250,000 units permitted in the next twelve months, although essential repairs are now allowed. The first new cars will be available in six to nine months, but full satisfaction of pent-up demand is not expected for another three years, and tyres and batteries will continue in short supply. Daily gas supplies will be up 8—16%, some home appliances and clothes, but not stockings, will be made available before final victory. Peace wages will be set by collective bargaining.

“Profit’s Prophet” “Glib, handsome Arthur Lowler Osborn” of California used to run a cult called “Mankind United,” but when he announced that American planes in Japanese colours had bombed Pearl Harbour, he was convicted of sedition and jailed for five years, but by spending his congregation’s donations on tax-exempt businesses and employing them, he has accumulated quite a fortune, and people are upset at him.

“Virtue’s Reward” Jersey City had its first election with voting machines last month, courtesy of Republican Governor Walter Edge. Many (and above all Edge) hoped that without the graveyard vote, Mayor Frank Hague would be defeated. Instead, he won in a landslide.

“For Enlisted Men Only” Private First Class Vincent Rizzitello, a six-campaign veteran of Africa, Sicily, Italy and France, was stateside on furlough to marry this spring. Reporting at Fort Dix for reassignment on VE-Day + 4, he was told that he scored 128 points towards demobilisation, more than enough for an honourable discharge with handshake, new suit, and a return ticket to his new wife and new life in “the chicken business.” One of 2500 so discharged, he was one of the easy cases. The preliminary threshold, for enlisted men only, is 85 points, to be hit an Army discharge target of 1.3 million men over six weeks. Although the article notes that the Navy is going to comb out 25,000 fitness cases compared with the Army’s 700,000, it does not go into any detail on the Navy point scheme, which does not apply to your youngest, or to Tommy Wong for that matter, due to their commissions, but will (with the Marine scheme) matter a lot around here.

“New Man with a Doctrine” Chester’s press agent is made a rear admiral and put in charge of blowing smoke up the press’s.  When Chester said this to me over a Manhattan, he paused at that line for a long moment, then said “nose.” I do not believe that the actual expression is “nose.” 

USS Macon with "parasite" Curtiss F9Cs. Source.

“Account to Date” America has spent $276,762,000,000 on World War II so far. In dollar bills stretched end to end, the paper explains, this would reach from Earth to Venus, but not for very long, because the dollars would all be orbiting at different speeds, and would very rapidly form a group of global masses, of which would sweep their orbits. Unless they were glued together, which would be more practical, but would result in tidal forces tangling them up. . . What was the point of this comparison again?


“To the Pacific” The railways are getting ready to handle “the greatest long-distance transportation job in their history –the overland haul of tens of thousands of U.S. troops, and equipment, on their way from Europe to the Pacific . . . In a 72 hour period during V-E Week, the Army Transportation Crops stopped 6,500 freight cars rolling to East Coast ports with war materials” and reversed them to West Coast ports. By August, trains will be moving 350,000 men a month from disembarkation ports to regrouping centres, and on to the West Coast after furloughs. Monthly traffic through the passes will rise from 148,000 cars to 173,000, and all seven railways will be filled to capacity. Any blockage will require reroutings back through Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans. William Franklin Kirk, of the Missouri Pacific, will be in charge. Famous for diverting 272,000 cars of freight to sort out the mess after Pearl Harbour, he will have to move the troops as well as the largest wheat harvest on record against a flow of relief shipments of food bound for Europe. And if shipping is not available, West Coast ports may not be able to unload freight as fast as the railroads can deliver.

“The Start Down” Now that VE Day is long past us, it is time, says Senator Walter F. George of Georgia, to substantially reduce taxes. The scheme drafted by his committee starts with the backbreaking tax on corporations. Even without reducing rates, moving credits forward could put $5.7 billion in their hands. This would, however, effectively cut the excess profits tax to 85%. Raising the exemption would help small business.

“Workers’ View” The CIO and the Chamber of Commerce united to press for an extension of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, holding that free trade helps business and labour.  American workers, the CIO says, do not have to worry about foreign competition depressing wages, because wages derive from productivity, and productivity is higher in free trade economies, and high in America anyway.

“Seller’s Market for the Swede” VE Day led to the Swedes shipping 100,000 tons of pulp already loaded onto docked ships. 700,000 tons held in warehouses will follow. The Swedish price is above the OPA ceiling, but the Swedes argue that it is the lowest they can go, and the British are rumoured to be offering $10 a ton more.

“Letter from Zamboanga” A Goodyear manager records how he got his rubber plantation operating again in December of 1943 –but no worries about the obvious conclusion, it was a partisan rubber plantation, and all the cured rubber was being held for the Americans. Now here it is, all 60 tons of it. Please send money.

“Facts, Figures” Since January 1, 16,000 of 120,000 shipyard and war workers in Portland, Oregon have gone home. Real estate prices have dropped sharply. Cuba’s sugar crop is down to 4 million tons from 5.7 this year. A shortage is likely to last through 1947. Marine insurance rates are still high due to mines. The United States Line has three new liners building to meet the postwar demand for transatlantic crossings. Humble Oil and Refining reports drilling a 500—1500 barrel a day well in Florida’s Everglades. Commercial banks may raise interest rates on deposits due to embarrassingly high profits. The Foreign Economic Administration has bought Argentina’s entire 1 million ton linseed crop to make up the  projected 50% cutback in paint production in the United States this summer.

“Golden Flood” Earnings have been very, very good this year, notably in aeronautics, but General Foods had a good year, too. Packard’s drop in earnings from 1 million to $650,000 is a good indicator of the likely effect of contract cancellations on other munitions-related industries.

“Reconversion Notes” Ford Germany is in production again in Cologne. A Moscow army truck plant is retooling to make limousines, which are desperately needed in the Worker’s Paradise.

Science, Medicine, Education

“Cholera in Calcutta” Is blamed on food markets set up near to open drains and latrines. Eighty cases daily are reported, 15 British soldiers have taken ill (rising to 29 two sentences later, it really is an epidemic!) , and a “U.S. Negro orchestra leader” has died. No. U.S. serviceman has come down with it yet, due to the Army’s compulsory vaccination programme.

“Vitamins and Vigour” Covering the story from Fortune, the paper reports that doctors are divided over whether healthy people need vitamins.

Reclaimed Teeth” A dentist in Detroit wired a boy’s two knocked-out front teeth back into their socket, where they took root. National news!

“Take Up Thy Bed” More than a thousand U.S. soldiers have suffered severed spinal cord injuries since D-Day. Now most are still alive, and some are walking, thanks to the wonders of penicillin and the sulfa drugs, which have eliminated the single greatest threat to their healthy, infections of the bladder and kidneys. 43 “walking patients” are walking with the aid of crutches, canes, or braces.
Brooklyn’s Public School Number 12 is troubled by a “phantom schoolboy” out of the pages of Superman and Captain Midnight.

B-U-Y O-V-A-L-T-I-N-E. Source

“Brave New World” The paper paints a picture of “Peter,” a student who will graduate with an MA in economics in 1980. The key aspects of Peter’s educational future that differ from those today is that there will be rotating “long vacations” (Peter will have his in the winter, and envy his friends who get them in the summer); vocational testing which will earmark Peter for postgraduate education in economics at the age of twelve; Great Books courses; language instruction in Russian and Chinese (with voice-recording instructional aids); a field trip to Shanghai; and a federal grant to support his master’s research.  

Press, Literature

“Who Fouled Up the Peace News?” The AP’s Edward Kennedy, that’s who. He’s upset that Drew Pearson spilled the Patton slap incident after he sat on it. The Army has responded by randomly cracking down on other correspondents.

“Far and Fast” The latest, Buck Rogerish thing is the four-page, ad-less wirephoto version of the New York Times, which crosses the continent at the rate of 20 minutes for half a page, plus the time required to motorcycle courier it to the printer, and run it off. It costs the Times  $1000/day to distribute complimentary copies to every delegate in San Francisco, but the paper thinks that it is worth it for the publicity.

“Out of the Underground” It was revealed this week that the underground Radio Atlantic service was actually Allied-run.

“The Mystery of the Vanishing Virgin” Lillian de la Torre takes up the Eighteenth Century case of Elizabeth Canning, either a runaway or an innocent abducted by gypsy bawdy house proprietress Mary Squire. (Then later, deported for perjury, the mother of a great American family. Sounds about right!) 

“Pilgrim’s Progress”  The paper is unimpressed with R. C. Hutchinson’s Interim, in which a British artillery sergeant on a training exercise takes refuge in a country house in a storm and process to put right the various problems of the various inhabitants, notably that of the hero, Bernard, a former China missionary who is translating a Christian devotional book called Pilgrim’s Progress into Chinese, partially, it seems out of guilt over leaving “when the Japanese marched in.” The writer uses too many uncommon words which I am certainly not going to render here! 


Tallulah Bankhead sometimes like being misquoted. Senator W. Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel, the Texan professional southerner, has enraged the capital by buying a four-story, fourteen apartment building as his personal residence, evicting all tenants. Texans need their space, he explained. Because Texas is so big! James Hilton is divorcing his second wife, Galina Kopineck. Chester lost his dog on Guam, scared off by AA fire. Rene Fonck is said to have joined a monastery, or the Resistance, probably the latter. It is now said that Woodrow Wilson came to believe on his death bed that America ought not to have joined the League of Nations. So, relax, Americans, your jilt did not cause President Wilson to die of a broken heart. Commander Jack Dempsey is back from a three month publicity tour of the fleet. Robert Moses, boss of New York’s famed parkway system, thinks that WPA-commissioned public art was atrocious, and should be done away with.

Kid Blackie's done pretty well for himself for Jack Mormon railroad trash. 

The New Pictures

The paper finds producer Val Lewton’s The Body Snatcher, with Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, to be more literary than lively, and that it “neglects its crass possibilities as a melodrama.” On the other hand, the end is shocking and there are some grisly scenes. The paper liked the War Department’s San Pietro documentary. It also liked United Artist’s The Southerner. Poor southern farmers have it tough, but are good people, except for the awful ones.

Flight, 24 May 1945


“Military Transport” Apparently, aircraft were used to fly supplies into Burma. We should have a new military transport to replace the DC-3, which is nicer. And which should be the Bristol Freighter.

“Bombing Airfields” In Norway and in the Battle of Britain, this did not work very well. Hopefully, with the new fragmentation bombs, it will work better in Japan.

“Efficiency” The new Vickers Viking, described in this number, has a disposable load of 52.6% of its own weight, fully equipped. That’s quite good!

War in the Air

Rangoon has fallen! Soon we will invade Malaya, which might not have fallen, if we had only had enough Hurricanes there at the time.

We are bombing airfields in the Ryukyus, and B-29s have attacked Nagoya again. The paper notices that this feature will have very little more to say about the war in Europe(!) So it ends by saying something nice about the Royal Air Force Regiment, which practically led the liberation of Denmark.

“The Mosquito” The Mosquito is now a movie star.

“R.A.F. Polar Flights” The Lancaster“Aries” of the Air Navigation School of the RAF Flying Training Command will conduct a series of polar navigational flights to test a variety of new navigational instruments and radar gear. Engine handling and performance will be investigated, and meteorological data gathered. “Aries” will carry a flight surgeon, and food, cooking and clothing to support the crew for four weeks, plus a personal Arctic survival kit for each member of the 11 man crew.

Here and There

The Air Ministry releases a list of 20 senior officers killed in air crashes in the late war. Charles Pierrepont Hunter, governing director of Messrs. James Hunter, Seedsmen, Chester, has died. The turf specialist who advised the government on airfields in the World War, and became known for the “hunterised” airfield afterwards, was the Ministry of Aircraft Production grounds specialist in the current war, and was responsible for the construction of over 40 bomber runways and dispersal sites. In other MAP news, the Ministry boasts that it has been responsible for the construction of more factories north of the Scottish border than all the other Ministries put together. Sir Archibald Sinclair says that the RAF will be using 10,250,000 gallons of aviation fuel a day for the occupation of Germany for the next twelve months. The “Chinese Minister of Information” claims from Chungking that Chinese troops now have air superiority in their war with the Reds Japan. Air Commodore E. L. Howard-Williams, air correspondent of the Daily Telegraph, is to be Independent Candidate for Cambridge University in the next general election. Group Captain Horniman, six years overseer at Hawker, and previously member of the Directorate of Research and Development at the Air Ministry, and before that a test pilot, is retiring and joining Graviner. Major-General William E. Kepner has been appointed commanding general of Eighth Air Force in succession to General Doolittle, who is returning to Washington to receive a new assignment. Australian-built Lancasters will be coming off the production line by the end of the year. The Fleet Air Arm is continuing to open stations in Australia. Mr. John Storey, directof the Beaufort Division of the Australian department of Aircraft Production, is impressed at how many people want to emigrate to Australia and work in the industry that doesn’t really exist there yet. RCAF casualties in all categories from September 1939 to VE-Day were 21,423, including 6,318 killed and 3,031 wounded. Sir Frank Tribe is now Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Aircraft Production in succession to Sir Harold Scott. Flight engineers aboard B-29s have been raised to the same station as pilots and navigator by being given an equally long training course.

Charles Gardner, “Combat Cargo Task Force” The air support of 14th Army in Burma carried as much as 2200 tons and 1600 troops every day.

“The Havana Meeting” It’s been weeks since we’ve had a chance to talk about talking about civil aviation, so why not have it somewhere with a Latin flare?

C. B. Bailey-Watson, “Vickers Viking: Review of the Latest Post-War Civil Aircraft: Excellent Pay-load and Performance for Low Operating Costs” A wholly conventional aircraft, apparently. This means that geodetic construction and fabric-covered wings are now “conventional.” While the tone of the article would suggest that the design is nothing much, the same can’t be said for the blitz of advertising in this number. Though I suppose I have to bear in mind that English Electric Steel, for example, is part of the Vickers-Armstrong group.

“Hercules 10m” Speaking of features related to the Viking. . . Six years of war experience can be seen in the new, trouble-free ignition harness and big-end bearing. The crankshaft is of a three-section built-up type, and fuel economy is very good. The new Lodge 954 sparking plug is worth a mention (and a full page ad, elsewhere.)

Also in the news is the first Swiss commercial aircraft to leave the country in five years (to Lisbon, not suspiciously at all). Restrictions on civil flying, first imposed in 1939,  will remain in force for the present for military reasons, so that civil aircraft will continue to need writtenpermission from the Secretary of State for Air.  Four BOAC transatlantic services a week are proposed for the next winter, Poole to Baltimore, 30 hours, in addition to the daily Prestwick-Montreal service. Flying boat services. In winter.


E. W. Brice-Hill thinks that designers should fly, so they’ll know what kind of “punk machines” they’re “dreaming up.” V. L. Dickinson wants fewer regulations on private flyers. John Grierson writes that mooring a flying boat is hard, and explains how he did it in his Arctic route flight across the Atlantic in 1933, because who doesn’t want to know where the buoy and boathook were stored on his seaplane-ised Gipsy Moth? It might be them being wrecked by over-enthusiastic Eskimo dockhands! H. W. Jones writes about the roles of wing loading and acceleration in causing slipping stalls in turning.

Major F. A. de V. Robertson, V.D., “Lessons of the Air War, Part II: Air Power in the Attack” Something about aircraft being involved? Starts with a picture of a Hawker Hart, ends with a picture of an Avro Lancaster. Progress!

A decade separated, more or less. Remember 2005? Blackberry was still cool!

Service Aviation

A picture of a flight of RAF R4B Sikorsky Helicopters. So I guess they’re real, after all.

Flight, 31 May 1945

“Air Transport” The paper loves it, and it also loves the Handley Page Hermes cargo transport variant. RAF Transport Command will be moving 10,000 personnel a month to and from India from now on, and 50 American air transports are in the air at any time in the Pacific theatre.

“Man-Power and Civil Aviation” Two weeks into demobilisation and a shortage of manpower is the question of the week.

“The New Broom” The cabinet has been pruned of Liberal and Labour ministers going into the election. This means that Archie Sinclair is out, replaced by Harold MacMillan. The paper finds something nice to say about MacMillan, who, as resident minister in the Middle East, was near Cairo, “Which, as Shakespeare said, is the ‘Clapham Junction of the air.’” Only it wasn’t Shakespeare, but some other famous British person. Probably more aviation related. And just as boring.

War in the Air

The Admiralty is better than the Japanese, because it waited to confirm that “a Japanese cruiser of the Nati class” was sunk in the Straits of Malacca. Aircraft were involved. It is reported that when the Japanese threatened Chunking, two divisions of the Chinese army in Burma were sent to protect the capital by air. “How Air Transport saved Chungking” is the title. Because that’s what saved Chungking: air power. The Japanese are envious of the V-2, which is why they are sending incendiary balloons across the Pacific to attack America. “One was shot down by a Canadian airman at a great height.” The Prime Minister congratulated 2nd TAF. The paper is pleased. Americans firebombed Tokyo again. The British Pacific Fleet bombed Formosa again. A German scientist said that German submarines with jet fighters and engines were sent to Japan. The paper does not think that we need to fear Japanese jet fighters in this war.

“Lancaster’s Polar Flights” The return of Aries to Shropshire has completed this unique mission. On the  homeward flight from White Horse, Yukon, “a 4,170 mile ‘hop’ covered in 18 hr, 27 minutes,” Aries found the Magnetic North Pole, which the Astronomer Royal had mislaid.

Here and There

Major F. B. Halford has been elected chairman of the de Havilland Engine Group in place of Mr. W. E. Nixon. Mr. A. S. Butler has joined the Board. “Victane,” a fuel with up to 25% more available power than any previous aviation fuel, has been in production at ICI’s Birmingham plant since 1944, reports Lord McGowan. Various official French guests of Sir Roy Dobson discussed the production of British aircraft and engines in France. Wing Commander Ronald Adams says that the Germans could easily have outwitted Radar and won the Battle of Britain, had they only given it a good, solid think. United Aircraft Corporation is thinking about sending Colonel Lindbergh to Europe, as they sent him to the Pacific, last year. This time, hopefully, he will stay until after the election. And if he takes the Engineer and Senator Taft with him, the GOP might even win!

“’Southern Cross’ Flies Again “ Columbia Pictures of Australia is making a film about Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith, and a replica of ‘Southern Cross’ is flying over Australian cities as a result. The RCAF will retain squadrons in Britain for the foreseeable future. Hall L. Hibbard claims in an interview in American Aviation that American jet progress is far ahead of that of other nations, because he knows that our James is at sea, and can't write him a cross note. Air Vice-Marshal J. O. Andrews has retired. Patricia, younger daughter of Sir Alliot and Lady Verdon-Roe is engaged to Sq. Ldr. Maurice W. Hartford, DFC. Some 75 B-17s and B-24s interned n Sweden will be returned to America. The Red Air Force flew 17,500 sorties in the first day of the Berlin offensive. A total of 3 million wartime sorties were flown. German Air Force Major General UlrichKessler came ashore in American in the surrendering U 234 and was taken away to be “subjected to rigorous questioning,” because implied violations of the Geneva Conventions are amusing. Everyone congratulates everyone and decorates everyone else, because the war is over. (Except that I hear that we are still fighting Japan, where General Kessler was air attache.)

Civil Aviation

“Handley Page Civil Programme” Intended four page article balloons to six due to poor word control, then crashes and burns due to problems with lateral argument stability.

Z. Ciolkosz, “The ICAN Conference: Revival of Activities: Progress of Preliminary Work” The lonely “z” in the paper’s typeface gets some work talking about talking about civil aviation. Although in fairness, at some point ICAN will discuss “G boxes,” and that will be interesting. Just not today. Tata Airlines is opening a Karachi-Colombo service, the Scottish isles are getting improved service, Stockholm is getting a direct BOAC service. Ceylon needs a civil aviation expert, but not so much that it will actually hire one. Another transatlantic (Botwood-Foynes three times a week) is announced.

“Coastal Command at Gibraltar” The paper is now permitted to show pretty pictures of Coastal Command aircraft at Gilbraltar.

“World Weather: Transport Command’s Vast Meteorological Service” Particularly noteworthy are the special provisions to provide weather forecasts for VIP flights, which almost always worked.

“Looking Ahead: Variety of Products at Miles Exhibition” Various gadgets and models are shown.

“The Sabre in Kingsway” The great interest in the Napier Sabre shown by the public is gratified by a demonstration model of a part-sectioned Napier. Of particular interest is the ignition tester, which detects and discloses any irregularities of running and suggests their probable source. We are told that that the Sabre has been in service since the Dieppe raid, but came to prominence in the V-1 raids. (Though “prominence” is a relative term, since if you only read Flight, this would be pretty much the first you’d heard of it.) In other news, De Havilland now has reversible-pitch airscrews ready for production.

Major F. A. de V. Robertson, V.D., “Lessons of the Air War, Part III: Air Power and Sea Power.” I'll be so embarrassed if it turns out that he talks about breaking with Russia halfway through this article, and Time picks up on it.

“Halton’s Jubilee: Inspection by Lord Trenchard” Lord Trenchard established RAF Halton to train aircraft fitter and rigger apprentices because “Nothing but the best is any good for the Air Force.”  It is a striking contrast that we get another Robertson bit of hot air telling us what we already knew about aircraft in the last war, with scarcely a mention of boring things like aircraft maintenance, and right after it a boring story about a parade at a school. Which, do you suppose, will people remember? Robertson’s picturesque but unreliable reminisces, or that RAF Halton graduated the world’s best air mechanics by the tens of thousands?

Air Chief Marshal Sir Sholto Douglas has been appointed Commander-in-Chief of British Forces in Germany in succession to Air Vice-Marshal Sir Leonard Slater, while Slater goes on to take over Coastal Command. A cynical girl would say something cynical about the respective likely private rewards of being a commander-in-chief (what happened to Air Officer-in-Chief?) in Germany versus commanding Coastal Command.

Christ, what an asshole.

Charles Gardner, “Combat Cargo Task Force: The Second Phase: Over the Chindwin to Central Burma: Two Hundred Landing Strips Made.” Two hundred were a lot in this war.

To help prevent starvation in the Netherlands, a protein preparation called amigen (yum!) is being flown from the United States. Hall L. Hibbard says that jet aircraft have reached such a peak of perfection that they make future war too  horrible to contemplate.


R. C. McLeod writes with recollections and pedantic corrections from days gone by.  S. H. W. Prince writes to respond to Mr. A. Stone’s criticisms of his previous letter about the fuel efficiency of jet engines being low. C. A. Rea has different recollections of days gone by, and thinks that test pilots of his day had it far harder than the young ones today. “Garuda” thinks that Americans should spell their “tons” and “gallons” “tuns” and “galluns.” It is funny because Americans misspell words!

Time, 28 May 1945

For the last few weeks, I have had the time to use my subscription copy of the paper, which is much more lively than the editorial proof copy expressed to Uncle Henry. Alas, today, I am back with those plain, left-justified pages. As you may guess from seeing the way this entry is organised.


“What’s All This?” The whole world has (Russian) Reds under its bed. The paper is particularly upset about Russian activities in the Baltic and the Dardanelles, “Turkey’s outlet from Russia’s Black Sea.” Which would be an odd way to put it even were it not for the fact that there are two straits and an inland sea between the Black and the Mediterranean. But I suppose that that would be too confusing to point out. Are you confused, sir?

The Sea of Marmara welcomes you with beautiful scenery, Mediterranean weather, great food and --Oh, I give up. You know what the world needs right now? A lot more tourists.

“Danger in Trieste” Italy and Yugoslavia both want Trieste. Eighth Army occupation forces are sticking up for Italian claims, tension results. See also “Reds, Beds.”

“As Long as I Live” Russian detectives have concluded that if Hitler died, he did not die in the Reich Chancellery. They seem to think that Braun and Hitler escape together through a secret passage leading to an underground trolley line on VE Day +2, and have found a note from Braun to her parents telling them not to worry if they did not hear from her for a long time. In a speech to his faithful, Hitler apparently said that as long as he was alive, the Alliance would survive, that as soon as he was dead, it would break down in nationalist rivalries, and thatthat would be the time for him to return from the dead to lead a united Germany to its revenge.

“Dutchman on the Dyke” The reporters in San Francisco came for Very Serious International Intrigue, but were unfortunately invited to the wrong parties. So the paper’s correspondent was reduced to talking to the Netherlands foreign minister, Eelco van Kleffens. He has ideas about the way that the United Nations Council should be organised. And clear, blue eyes.
Time seems to have sent someone to San Francisco who could really appreciate the city. Hint hint.
Source:  Dutch National Archives, The Hague, Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989 bekijk toegang Bestanddeelnummer 900-9038. 

“Cast of Characters” More on the San Francisco conference. The paper loves “internationalist” Harold Stassen, believes that “ailing” Charles Aubrey Eaton was the strongest anti-Communist, and that Dean Gildersleeve “brought the best of intentions,” and that “Representative Sol Bloom was also present.” John Foster Dulles worked “well and loyally for Stettinus,” while Hamilton Fish Armstrong’s vast knowledge of international affairs was immensely useful. Leo Pasvolsky knew more about Dumbarton Oaks than anyone else, Archibald MacLeish sheparded the restless horde of consultants, and Nelson Rockefeller was an “able scout master for the Latin Americans,” giving the Europeans an unpleasant impression of a party whip. Anthony Eden is competent, Lord Halifax is tall. T. V. Soong has “departed,” Alger Hiss is bright and handsome. And at least the Vice-Premier isn’t embarrassed by his departure, as all the other foreign ministers have left, as well.

“Admiral’s HQ” As of the end of the week, Grand Admiral Doenitz “remained, in the eyes of defeated Germans, and to the alarm of Russia, the acknowledged governor of Germany.” No problem there, apart from his arrest on war crimes charges. Several high-profile Germans said offensive things when they were arrested, while Leni Riefenstahl seemed self-involved.

“Straws in the Wind” An American fleet massing, British planning for an amphibious invasion underway, Red Army starting intensive summer training in Lvov and Caucasus, First US Army being redeployed to Far East. In a related story, Radio Moscow does a feature on Japanese abuse of Russian workers on Sakhalin island. Aircraft carrier USS Franklin arrives in New York. 832 dead, 270 wounded, 704 able-bodied still with her. And it was not even a kamikaze attack: one bomber, dropping two 500lb bombs, did this. James called the unarmoured American flight decks “criminal negligence” after the fire aboard Intrepid. This is probably what he had in mind in his last letter when he said that homicide charges should be reinstated.

“The Vortex” Okinawa’s 921 squaremiles, only 325 miles from Japan, renders it absolutely essential to American plans, which is why US casualties have now reached 30,000 taking it.

“Faster and Faster” Japan is under attack from the air by B-29 fire raids, carrier raids (causing the loss of “10 planes and one major fleet unit damaged”). Meanwhile, the campaign in northern Luzon continues, and the paper continues to be impressed by the Koumintang’s ability to retake undefended towns, when given sufficient American air support. General Wang Yao-wu gets good press, so is probably due a demotion.

“Gangster’s End” U-234 surrenders some more. The paper does its best to make its Tokyo-bound-for-Berlin cargo sound mysterious and interesting. Also, one US airman survives a ditching by using his canteen as a flotation aid, while Technical Sergeant Stanley C.Farr, of North Hoosick, N.Y., lands stateside with 267(!) demobilisation points. Six campaigns, 160 combat missions, 32 awards, seven battle stars.

“What Might Have Been” In the paper’s version of the Prime Minister’s speech, the V-3, a rocket shell able to rain down at 10 a minute on London from an installation near Calais, had been just around the corner. Of seven other elaborate installations on the French coast, at least one was dedicated to yet another, still secret, weapon. At least there was an actual speech, as the paper follows up with a non-story about the non-election call. July, they say. July.

Czechoslovakia and Russia, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. (Rumania is jealous.) A Yiddish radio broadcast in Warsaw calls for a German ghetto in the centre of the city, while the firing squads of the Bulgarian People’s Court are standing down after conducting 1,986 executions.

“Revolt in Algeria” In an unlikely development, it turns out that Kabyle tribesmen have been terrorising European planters due to the near-famine, in which native Algerians have a ration of 500 calories a day compared with 1500 for Frenchmen. The French have responded by banning a pro-Algerian political party. That should work! They are also taking “steps” to alleviate the food shortage. In other imperialism news, the Irish prime minister refuses to apologise for not getting involved in World War II, while Burma has been offered “full self-government within the British Commonwealth” in three stages, with national elections to be held in December of 1948. Nationalist leaders suggest that this would be waiting much too late. Burma’s governor-elect, Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith, is on record in October 1943 suggesting that Britain’s problem in Burma is that no-one trusts its word, that it gives “political formual until they become sick at the very sight and sound of formula. . . “. The Burmese National Army, Japanese-trained, which switched sides two months ago, gently intimates that its officers are used to giving orders, so could.

“Palpitations of the Heartland” There is a civil war raging in Chinese Turkestan, which is the heartland of Eurasia in the sense that it is in the middle, as opposed to being equally far away from everywhere. Various events are deemed to indicate an increased Russian interest there.

“T.V. Cracks Down” T.V. explains from San Francisco (before his abrupt departure): The Chinese government has been using U.S. gold to buy Chinese paper money and sterilise inflation. On March 28th, the Chinese government gave secret instructions to the banks to increase the price at which it sold gold on March 30th. On examination, there was a a rush into gold on the 29th. After an investigation, two junior officials were arrested. Serves them right for being the sole culprits.

Brazil’s inflation is so severe that small change has vanished. Bolivian peasants are excitable.

A Big Three conference is in the offing, and the Allied press will not be censored in Germany, after all.


“TVA’s Triumph” The long-expected confrontation between Senator Kenneth McKellar of Tennessee and TVA Administrator David Lilienthal has fizzled. Ed Crump’s Memphis machine refused to back McKellar’s call for confirmation hearings on Lilienthal’s reappointment. It is because the Authority was such a success. The river, which once ran brown with runoff topsoil, is now “clear as in Indian days,” and all the dams are making aluminum. I thought that the reason that the Mississippi Valley was so fertile was that it was an alluvial plain? Doesn't that mean that there was runoff in Indian days, too?

“You Can’t Eat Headlines” 1750 West Virginia and Kentucky coal miners refused to work this week because  they are ill-fed due to the meat shortage. New York restaurants are closed, and Mayor LaGuardia is the source of our headline. “You can’t feed headlines to children.” Meanwhile, record-sized herds, etc. The price paid to producers has been raised under a subsidy scheme, which should help.

The paper notices 120 year old James Walter Wilson, born a slave in Georgia in 1825, who retired from field work at 100 and preached as a Baptist minister for 17 7ears after that. We should all be so lucky, but I doubt we will be. . .

“It’s Nice Getting Back” General Eisenhower is quite the hit in London, and hopes of parades for him on his return are mooted in the Republican press.

This week’s cover story is about Admiral Leahy and the Seventh War Bond Drive. Because there is still a war going on, against Japan. You might not have heard, and you probably haven’t heard of Admiral Leahy, either, unless you have been paying very close attention, as he is only the Chief of the Joint Staff, and not a blunt-speaking carrier admiral who can’t get out of the way of typhoons. There is also a multi-page story about an assortment of famous American divisions, with illustrations of their shoulder patches.


“Historic Decision” The ICC has equalised freight rates in all American territories except the Mountain-Pacific. Southern and Western routes will be reduce 10%, Northeastern ones raise by the same.

“Europe’s Recovery” The re-opening of Ford Cologne is one sign of a recovery, also on show at Philips Eindhoven and ITT Paris (electrical engineering!), but one likely to be held back by a shortage of coal and raw materials.

Unlike all the English firms I follow up on, Philips has not been merged into something with an obsucre name and had all its manufacturing offshored. The Dutch have no idea what they're doing.

“Hill Ahead” Reconversion may turn out to be a hill to be climbed, rather than a cliff to be crashed into.

“Detroit’s Timetable” 200,000 cars this year, 400,000 in the first quarter of 1946. This is based on the 2.5 million tons of steel to be released to industry by munitions cutbacks. Autos will get 300,000t, the balance to manufacturers of railroad cars, farm machinery, refrigerators, washing machines, etc. But a sudden boost in military demand could still knock the schedule galley-west. Or, cuts in military needs could raise it! On the other hand, this would mean clearing out Government machine tools and the delivery of $40 million of new ones, and a flow of subcontracted parts, with all those industries facing their own bottlenecks. Packard expects to be first into the showrooms, but with the market as large as it is, being first no longer seems to count for as much.

“Featherweights” The paper notices the British prefabricated house programme in its new, 50,000 unit reduced form. It’s too bad that I’m reading the proofs, or I would probably nave a nice picture to look at.

“The British Are Coming” The paper notices BOAC’s transatlantic schedule. It might even have two Shetlands before the end of the year. “Slightly smaller but faster than Martin ‘Mars,’ they would be the “most de luxe planes ever to cross the Atlanitc,” complete with a cocktail lounge in which passengers can idle away the 18 hour flight across the Atlantic, and the 24 hour tootle across Baltimore harbour.

“Bad Risk, Good Record” The Equitable Life Assurance Society’s war-zone insurance for U.S. Government employees, set up at $15-thousand, has sold some $50,000,000 in insurance and paid out 24 claims, half the peacetime record for a group plan of 7000 members. It has paid so much money that for the second year in a row, it has had to refund 30% to the WPEA. The WDC, a no-charge insurance against war property loss, is in part balanced in its huge losses ($237,00 in Hawaii, the Aleutians, etc, will pay out perhaps 4-5 million for Guam and has received claims worth $115 million in the Philippines) by the $1 per $1000 premium war loss insurance premiums issued by the War Damage Corporation from mid-1942, also in the black, with $220,000,000 in so-far untouched profits.

“Facts and Figures” The Army is releasing one-third of its cigarette order, releasing 200 million packs/month to civilians use. US warehouses are bulging with 11 million bales of cotton, an increase of 705,000 in  a year, while mills are seeing slumping production. On the other hand, the supply of woolens and worsteds may be one quarter of the normal supply. U.S. manufacturers shipped a record $14.2 billion in product in March, up 5% from a year ago. The Rural Electrification Administration will build $100 million in new power lines as soon as materials are available.  

“Dry Spell Coming?” The too-low price offered Cuba for sugar has led to light planting, thus the shortage, and so a shortage of soft drinks. Summarising: Too much: cotton, live animals, 1944 wheat and corn; Too little: sugar, wool, butchered meat, linseed, tobacco. Next year? 

Science, Medicine and Education

“Tunnels for Speed” The completion of three new wind tunnels, designed to study speeds near that of sound, was announced this week: at the Army Ballistics Research Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, and Curtiss-Wright, Buffalo. Now if they can only find a way of dealing with unsolvable partial differential equations, they'll be set.

Betty Holberton and unidentified male. Wikipedia, as always when unsourced. Also.

“666” The British Ministry of Agriculture announced a new insecticide which may be as good as DDT: “666.” Well, this should give door-to-door Bible salesmen something to talk about!

“Good Reading” A recent Doubleday anthology, The Autobiography of Science, is intended to be “good reading” about good science.

How Polio Spreads” By personal contact, it is found, and more often by children with unresolved caries.

“Virility Prolonged “As he neared 50, large and lusty Writer Paul de Kruif felt his considerable powers waning.” Fortunately, “Youthful-looking Herman Bundesen, 63, unorthodox president of Chicago’s board of health,” had an answer. Hormone supplements! This was enough to send De Kruif, “often criticised for his own expansive scientific optimism” plunging into the research to emege with his new Harcourt Brace book, The Male Hormone. It is testosterone, and De Kruif has now been taking 20 to 30 milligram doses daily for more than a year, with amazing results.  After all, he’s hardly ever been successfully sued for libel.

“Change of Blood” British doctors completely changed the blood in a newborn baby by transfusion to prevent Erythroblastosis fetalis.

“Doctor’s Exchange” A doctor in rural Kentucky is given permission to take over the local telephone exchange so that he can install enough lines that his patients can get through to him.
“Stink in Chicago” The Chicago public school system is corrupt. It’s the Democrats’ fault. It’s all due to James B. McCahey, a coal dealer appointed by Mayor Ed Kelly. 

“Fascism at U.S.C.” Fraternity Theta Nu Epsilon is Tammany Hall combined with Ku Klux Klan, said President Rufus von Kleinsmid as he cancelled the recent student government elections, dismissed the Senate, removed the student council and president because of suspected secret TNE membership.

Press, Music, Literature

“The Good Old Bad Days” the New York Daily News is feuding with Mayor LaGuardia again. It endorses Jimmy Walker, who declines to run, as he “is on a good payroll now.” And then there’s the whole “corruption” bit.

“Underground Church” Norwegian BishopEivind Berggrav has been running the national church for the five years of the occupation while ostensibly interned near Oslo, with the connivance of his guards. IN other clerical news, Henry Sloane Coffin has retired from Manhattan’s Union Theological Seminary and been replaced by Dr. Henry Pitney Van Dusen.

“Purely Symbolic” Broadway loved Martha Graham’s Appalachian Spring this week. Aaron Copland’s score was comprehensible to everyone this time around. For reasons I shan’t explain to my father-in-law.

“Twenty-Fifth Birthday” The twenty-fifth birthday of commercial radio provoked the usual critics to complain that it was all vulgar, unenlightening, unedifying, etc.

“More by Corwin” And then there are Norman Corwin’s scripts, which are absolutely brilliant works for the ages, and this week’s Note of Triumph was no exception.

“For the Defence” Richard E. Lauterbach’s These are the Russiansis an answer to William L. White’s Report on the Russians. He tells the story of truck drive Ivan Boiko and his wife, Alexandra, who saved enough money to buy a tank, joined the Army together, and destroyed five Nazi tanks, two field pieces and so on. So: Russians are strange, but good fighters and tough. Also, the Communist Party ran things well.

“Napoleon’s Nemesis” C. S. Forester’s Commodore Hornblower is out. It’s nice to see the man making it in this world, this time off in the Baltic Sea, where he has exotic adventures. It’s a little far-tetched, but “those who find it far-fetched have no business reading historic romances.”  

The New Pictures

The paper has seen A Medal for Benny,  a treatment of the Steinbeck story about California paisanos and has a frankly mysterious opinion about it. I think that would be the old American tiptoeing around miscegenation, but I would then actually have to go see the flick, and my social calendar is filled by my cold and an obligatory appearance at The Great John L, which sounds like a bit of a waste of time. With all due respect to Uncle’s friend, a little stage Irishness goes a long way.


Kathryn Jordan Goodman has given Fibber McGee and Molly their first grandchild, a daughter, in Hollywood. Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall!!! Leland Stanford(!) McPhail, N. Y. Yankees boss (55!), has married Jean Bennett Wanamaker (35!), his pretty secretary, both for the second time. (Grace is beside herself, half-swooning, half rolling up her sleeves to slap someone so hard.)

JosephBarthelemy has died ahead of his treason trials, of cancer. Heber Jedediah Grant, 88, seventh President and Prophet of the Mormons, has also died, but of seniority, it seems. He seems to have been quite shrewd, as he was a very successful insurance man and banker in Salt Lake City. Those don’t actually seem to me the kinds of profession where one would have to be shrewd to capitalise on one’s status as “president and prophet,” but what do I know about Salt Lake City? Arleen Whelan has been awarded the title of “the most perfect all-over beauty of all time” by a committee of 65 illustrators, who should know. President Roosevelt will be on the new dime. “Britain’s pert delegate, Ellen Wilkinson, Labour,” has proclaimed Molotov top glamour boy of San Francisco, although ehind Stettinus and Eden in looks. Robert E. Hannegan jokes to 200 Democratic Congressmen that “Republicans are entitled to all the good things in life –except jobs in public office.” Jascha Herfetz and Mickey Rooney came off second best in an entertainment thrown by General Bradley for a group of visiting Soviet generals to a group of “three unidentified G.I.s and three WACs” doing a “groovey jitterbug routine.”


Several correspondents are upset about Edward Kennedy leaking word of the Armistice, or at the paper’s coverage. A. J. Ritchie of Seattle is angry at the paper’s negative coverage of his Japanese Exclusion League. Other correspondents are upset at Ritchie, which I think is in the news due to an overblown episode in Seattle last week. Several correspondents of the 473rd Regiment, a white formation attached to the 92nd (Negro) Division write to clarify that they are, in fact, white. Ruth Chase writes to say that, due to having to take care of five children under twelve, Time is the only thing she reads.

Aero Digest,  1 May 1945

It’s the special “manufacturing” number.

Major C. F. Farrington, “America’s Last Frontier” Is Alaska. Major Farrington build airfields there. It was hard, but full of promise. They are to-morrow’s airfields.

Sigmund Janas,  President, Colonial Airlines, “Fair and Equal Opportunity. . .” Give us money. It’s only fair.

Manfred Burleigh, Aviation Committee National Association of Motor Bus Operators, “Proposed Air Bus-Motor Bus Service for America’s Small Towns” No, give us money.

Russ Brinkley, “Current Trends in the Surplus Aircraft Disposal System” Primary trainers are for sale at what is, based on original purchase contract, a giveaway price. They’re not exactly flying out the door, however. Despite that, the NATA is upset.

“Introducing the ‘DeGinks,’” There are so many DFC holders that they have a nickname!

  Washington In-Formation

Richard E. Saunders says that runaway conversion is not something Washington wants to go in for, but this does not mean that “the European war is not written off.” You don’t say! But, he points out, we still have a full-fledged war in the Pacific. Therefore, conversion must be orderly, puppies must be cuddly, apple pies must be sweet. . . I liked it better when he was complaining about Roosevelt. At least then I didn’t read the same thing in all the other papers. (Much though Aviation’s editorial staff was probably privately muttering along the same lines.) Ah, well, repetition in the face of no news by deadline is the pad that fills the pages, I suppose.


Buy war bonds. “State’s Rights Versus Federal Regulations.” States want aeronautical authorities so that they can do ..aeronautical things. Something about airports in Michigan? And Governer Dewey grandstanding? State regulatory rights shouldn’t extend to making laws that get in the way of the aviation business. Stands to reason.

Aviation Engineering

Roy A. Liming, Head of Engineering-Lofting Mathematics, and Carter M. Hartley, Chief Loftsman, Norrth American Aviation, “Lofting Problems of Streamline Bodies: Body Part Development, Part 22” I vaguely remember earlier parts of this series, but twenty-two of them? More descriptive geometry as applied to smoothing designs on the lofting room floor, or some such.

Alexander Klemin, “Principles of Rotary Wing Aircraft, Part 2”

“Civilian Aspects of the Helicopter” This unsigned article might be by a CAA official? No, it’s the paper. It reports on what civilian uses of helicopters might be (inspecting power lines!), and what air traffic regulations might look like, according to speakers at a recent conference.

“Helicopter Rescue in a Snowstorm: Coast Cuard ‘Copter Rescue Technique” It seems as though there have only been helicopters for a week, and already they have been used in an aerial rescue during a snowstorm near the Bell Helicopter plant in Buffalo, New York. The page over  might be a separate article which I’ve elided, but the picture showing a helicopter lowering a dinghy probably captures the spirit of the thing, although you wouldn't think that a dinghy would be the thing for a snowstorm. Perhaps a sled? But how would you lower the dogs?

Portfolio of Design Features

This week featuring the Lightning, part 1. A diagram of the “sniffle valve,” which regulates the level of vacuum in the coolant system, is shown. Just how I feel right now, except that my sniffle isn’t relieving a vacuum. To the contrary.

William T. Taylor, “Measurement of Spur Gear Teeth” “The over or between-pin measurement of the involute spur and helical gears is employed to determine the circular thickness of the gear teeth. This differs from the screw thread over-wire measurement. . .” So now you know. I'll confess to a soft spot for gear chatter, as had it not been for his commission to travel around the world looking for loud ships, James would have had to cancel our wedding, and such honeymoon as we got. Did I just write that? We were a lot luckier than most couples in this war to get a honeymoon at all. I shall leave it unscratched out as a testimony to the befuddling, self-pitying effects of my cold.

An Aero-Digest ad claims that it is the most authentic journal in American aviation, as measured by the number of articles precised by the “prestigious Royal Aeronautical Society.” Circulation numbers must be desperate if they’re appealing to British authority!

...And printing the first outright cheesecake ads I've seen in the serious aviation press since the Haliwell girls of 1939. World War II was a strange time for gender equity. Are the times a-changing? 

Aldo Vieira da Rosa, Captain, Brazilian Air Force, “Analysis of V-2 Performance” It is much longer than a letter to Flight, but the main result is that da Rosa can show his math. He puts together a nice differential equation showing air resistance as velocity increases and the increase in acceleration due to specific impulse as the fuel mass falls, but it’s far too elaborate to be anything but a show piece. He also notes, more interestingly, that due to the placement of the combustion chamber, the V-2 is inherently unstable, and requires its fins to keep course.  A redesign would be needed before it could be used for extra-atmospheric work, and makes the interesting thermodynamic point that thrust could be a bit higher in a vacuum as the rate of exhaust expansion would increase, allowing higher combustion temperatures without risk of losing energy to ionisation. Not that this is important, but I wonder these things are true? The increased efficiency of a rocket in vacuum was I thought more directly due to the reduced pressure.

“Medium Bombers Standardised in the A-26 Invader” The Army won’t produce any more of its obsolescent medium bombers, as they are obsolescent.

“PB2Y-5H Rescue Plane” a modification of the Coronado is being used as a rescue and hospital plane. There is room aboard for 25 stretchers, and a Coronado can reach San Francisco from Honolulu in twelve hours. Perhaps in future wars, they won’t have to send my doctor away, but rather can fly Marines to him. Though the Marine Corps will need a lot of planes. Or a new officer corps.

Dr. Max M. Munk, “Calculation of Span Lift Distribution, Part 4”

Lawrence LeKashman, “Air Position Indicator Simplifies Navigation” Yet another explanation of the API at least credits “early attempts by British scientists.” Bendix-Pioneer seems to have done a fine job of engineering the American production version, though. It has a very attractive case (I’m not sure why. There’s something about its rounded corners.) If I were to buy an Air Position Indicator, I would definitely buy Bendix.

E. S. Gallagher, “Elements of Modern Aircraft Generating Systems” Generators, relays, voltage regulators, these are elements of a modern aircraft generating system. Let me tell you about GE’s most recent offerings.

Franklin M. Reck, “Tools and General Stores Handling System at Willow Run Plant” Just because it’s a white elephant doesn’t mean that it didn’t do some things right. For example, there were two Kardex card for each of the 24,000 tools, one for “order,” the other for “stock.”

Database 1945
Mr. Ford went into Willow Run with very little idea of how to run such a complicated organisation. B-24s are not cars, etc, etc. Uncle Henry thought that he was going to inherit the methods evolved there, but a plane factory is not a car factory, which means that it will be all his would-be competitors who inherit them, instead, from Willow Run veterans.

“Wood Aircraft Design and Production, Part 1” An article describing the manufacture of Mosquitoes in Great Britain. US Forest Products Laboratories studied British techniques and have now involved themselves. They will be ready if people want to buy more wooden aircraft. I’m more taken with the testing rigs used to establish the strength of stressed wooden parts. How much room is there in the construction trades for this kind of thing? I get the impression that general contractors prefer to work with standardised pieces and well-established load tolerances. But perhaps if they start designing ambitious timber structures…

“Laying Telephone Wire by Aeroplane” If you are wondering why all the articles on this experiment, we are told here that the army has had a team on its since 1942, and they have to justify their war years somehow!

“Jet Engine Production –For Robobombs” If we find a way to launch “robobombs” at Japan, there will be a lot of them. Ford and Wily-Overland are still the ones making them.

Digest of the News

“Turner Backs Up Small Operators at CAB Hearings” small charters might get less onerous regulation. “Molotoff” heightens world interest in civil aviation by talking about it at San Francisco. Municipalities are warned to buy land for airports now, as prices will go up after the war. The P-47N exists more. The paper offers no mitigating factors for the schedule-beating March aircraft production total. It is noted that there were 525 major changes in the F4U production model this year. Lawrence Aeronautical is giving all its war workers nice certificates, out of the proceeds of a $7 million dollar contract, I assume. Several Curtiss-Wright men receive various awards. TACA Airways, Braniff have routes! Rhode Island is to have high school aviation programmes. United, Glenn Martin, Douglas, American, Harvester had good 1944s. Among others. The list, actually, goes on and on.

Aero Digest, 15 May 1945

Lt. General Barton K. Yount, “Overlooking No Safety Precautions” As your youngest begins his flight deck  training, you can rest assured that Army air training overlooks no safety precautions.

Richard S. Boutelle, Vice-President and Manager, Fairchild Aviation Division “Pounds Yesterday: Tomorrow Tons” Air express cargoes weigh pounds right now, but, someday, will weigh tons. BuyFairchild.

“Sixth Anniversary of All-American Pick-up Service” Speaking of having to justify their war years, the Post Office’s hook-snatching, low-flying service gets another bit of story. All American Aviation made a full $600 on this service this year! They even have a graph showing this. (Admittedly in the context of showing how quickly revenues have increased over six years, and the graph is impressively curved. But $600 is still $600.)

Victor Vernon, Personnel Division, “Programming Personal Welfare” How we hire, how we fire.

“The Airline Stewardess –Then and Now” Same story in Aviation, same pictures. The 1920s style “flapper” uniform hats are so ugly.

Washington In-Formation

“As V-E Day approaches,” Richard Saunders writes. . . Orderly reconversion, free international trade in aviation goods, etc.


“Common Sense” You missed Roosevelt-bashing? He's dead, but we can still say nasty things about his appointees. Soon, business will flourish because of less regulations and confidence that it will not be oppressed by New Dealers in the future.

Aviation Engineering

H. K. Gidden, Asst. Superintendent of Airways, CAA “Airports –From the Ground Up” How to build an airport, beginning here with the concrete foundations.

“Stout Revives Controllable Wing” All the papers have to talk about George Spratt’s Skycar, because they owe his Dad for putting them up that time in Cincinnati. This is the paper’s that paper.

Ben C. Kenny, “Finding the Navigational Stars, Part 5” Celestial navigation from aircraft is a lot harder than it looks. Here’s how to make it easier some more.

W. W. Buckley, Service Engineer, General Electric “Redesign Simplifies Magneto Upkeep” The new magneto in the P-47N, A-26, and P-61 is better than the old one.

I omit five articles on airline shop practice, one on fighting fires at airfields, and one by a Northwestern executive giving calculations for the value of a structural pound against pound mile different from others.

“Bell’s Weatherometer” Bell’s weatherometer is a device to “duplicate any desired weather condition” to test components.

Portfolio of Design Features “Lockheed P-38L Lightning, Part 2” I include one diagram to illustrate the work, once again, it incorporates a pressure relief valve. I need a pressure relief valve. For my sinusses.

Digest of the News

Talks for talking about civil aviation called for at conference about talking about talking about civilaviation at Havana; aircraft production totals cut 15% through end of 1945. The Navy wants 19,140 planes, Admiral Ramsay tells Congress. Boeing builds its final Fortress. 6981 were built in Seattle, 6802 since Pearl Harbour. In other words, less than 200 Fortresses had been built in the entire history of the plane’s existence before 7 December 1941, and then one factory in one city made 6,800 of them in well under 2000 days. You or I may gaze in stupefied wonder at the size of the Federal debt, but at least we don’t have to wonder what it was spent on!

The airmail rate to Latin America has been cut 50%; U.S. Plywood has been named American sales agent for “Pliobond” synthetic adhesive cement by Goodyear. Californian fresh fruits and vegetables are being flown into New York three times a week by American Airlines on an experimental basis. International express cargo deliveries are up 50%.


  1. “Britain’s pert delegate, Ellen Wilkinson, Labour,” has proclaimed Molotov top glamour boy of San Francisco, although behind Stettinus and Eden in looks

    Ellen Wilkinson? This Ellen Wilkinson:

    "I happen to represent in this House one of the heaviest iron and steel producing areas in the world—I know I do not look like it, but I do"

    1. She's also a casualty of the Winter of '47. Emphysema exacerbated by years of smoking, over work, and public speaking; insomnia; and pneumonia contracted after appearing at the 5 January 1947 open-air celebration of the opening of the Old Vic Theatre School led to an accidental overdose of barbiturates. Found in a coma in her flat on 3 February 1947, she passed away on 6 February at St. Mary's, Paddington.

      Having done my best to achieve the same last Sunday, I can sympathise. Pro tip: do not try to cycle 50 minutes home from a long day's work on a smog advisory warning day, no matter how good too many Contact C "day times" leave you feeling.

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