Saturday, May 2, 2015

Postblogging Technology, March 1945, II: This Post Brought To You by Kleenex, Beauty Secret of the Stars!

Captain (E) J_. C_., R.N., D.S.O. (Bar), D.S.C., M.M.
HMAS Kuttabul,
New South Wales, Australia.

My Darling:

. . . After writing that first page, tears in my eyes, I put my brush down long enough to brew a pot of the tea my sister sent me. Now I have recovered myself enough to turn the page and put down something that you will not blush to show your father, and your uncle. Oh, do please do write me if you see Uncle George on his leave, short as it is! I worry about the stubborn old fool. He is far too old to be at war, even if all the young men have gone away, and soon he must go to that place of which I know nothing, since I do not own a map.

Your father will want to know that your little brother has his final orders for Michigan, where he will do carrier flight training on an aircraft carrier assigned to the Great Lakes. (Canada beware!) After that, he will go to the Pacific in July, to fly an anti-submarine modified Avenger, which is actually intended to be used as a radar "picket." We've no real word of Tommy Wong, although he writes his wife regularly. It's just that he hasn't very much to say except that Alaska is very cold in the winter and that he has read many books, about which I will not go on, having already had one breakdown on the page over a A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I know from speaking to him that Captain True really has asked for Tommy, so it looks as though the transfer hasn't gone through, and that Tommy will be with the Navy, and in Alaska, for another year. As hard as it is for Queenie, better that he miss the first year of his baby's life than one that the baby will remember! It will be a melancholy parting from Berkeley for Queenie as it is, as when she moves back to San Jose she will be in close reach of her mother-in-law. (Brr.)

Speaking of loves separated, Miss v. Q. understandably receives no letters from her beau. You may give your father a cold glare from all of us on that score, even if the decision to send him to Nagasaki was made by my Father (who is on his way to Manila to interview some former detainees) and the Earl. She has her contract to provide "translation services" to the FBI during the Conference in hand, a nice supplement to her income, and has even suggested that she might intervene for her cousin, who is being held by the OSS in Rome. This seems a bit bold --even given their developing obsession with Communism, I would prefer that the FBI think of her as East Indies Dutch for a little while longer. On the other hand, if anyone is likely to land on his feet in the midst of the fall of Nazi Germany, it is Herr S. v. B. , and Berlin will not go away for wishing it. . . 

You will be glad to hear that our Mexican friends are now confident that they can save Arcadia's roof, and that we can go ahead with putting not only the main hall back in operation, but the ball room as well. What would a Peace Conference be without dancing, after all? Or, perhaps, my enthusiasm for playing the hostess gets away with me. Do secret Reds and anthropologists even dance, in the first place? Surely they do!

Wong Lee has returned from the south, as it seems that Rose of Allandale is overdue in the South Pacific, either because it has been lost with all hands, or has been detained picking up deck cargo. I cannot believe that, between them, Du and the Soongs cannot find a way to remove their assassins from a merchant ship, anyway.

Speaking of odious men on the one hand, and of Wong Lee on the other, the Engineer's son has made it definitive, holding a lunch meeting between Wong Lee and a fellow who was introduced only as "Cy," but who turns out to be one Clarence Kelley, an expert on this kind of work. I might have been a little cross with the young man (you know that I dislike him, and I will not apologise for it, even if I am the only person on Earth who does) in my discussion of the matter later, but the point is that the Bureau is working with the Navy in this, which means keeping the Navy happy, and the OSS out (something that both can agree on), and so wants everything kept at arm's length. Uncle George's friend says that this is hardly the first time that the Bureau will have turned to "criminal elements" for this kind of assistance. 

On the matter of the business on the water, I asked Bill and David for a more candid account than you could get through Tony and Gene via official channels. They confirm what you suspected: the drift recurs in all installations, and is accompanied by overheating, but no-one will hear of replacing the amplidynes with British equipment, even if they could get magslips, which they can't, anyway. The device is going to the Pacific as is, though they are going to rework the amplidynes, which will put introduction back until at least the invasion of "Target K," as they put it. (No-one except someone who owns a map.... I just hope Fat Chow is out of there by that time!) It's the same drift as we're getting as the recordings run on, and no doubt for the same reason. As Bill and David say, there is no point in going elegant when the problem is overheating. You just have to accept that you're going to have to take the heat out, and if a powered fan is good enough for BMW, it is good enough for us.

So cold, so technical a way to end a letter that began so passionately. Now I am reliving that obnoxious young stage-Irishman calling me, once again, "more slide rule than woman." I told you that he has a vicious streak!  And now I have a most unwomanly desire to destroy him. Please, please come back to me soon, and remind me of my better nature, 

"Half-Pearl and Half Rose," 

"Ryukyu seems far away" (Andrew Evans)

Flight, 19 March 1945

Cover art: “Lifting the Veil of Secrecy!” At last, Fischer Bearings Company of Wolverhampton can reveal details of the special roller bearing they produce for the Rolls-Royce Merlin. You can’t have one, but their regular roller bearings are quite nice, too. (David Brown keeps its announcement of special hobs to inside the cover.)


“Monopoly Cube;” “No Yardstick,;” “The Other Side” Let’s talk about talking about civil aviation!

War in the Air

Bomber Command blew up the Bielefeld Viaduct again, this time with the new ten ton bombs

The real issue is an airframe that can withstand the sudden loadings and unloadings involved in taking off with a bomb this big, but that involves structural engineering, which is boring. 

One Lancaster pilot reported that his plane jumped 500ft when the bomb was released. Also, more: boys, toys. (I don’t know how exciting this is, though. Exciting boy toys shoot stuff out of front or back… Never mind, I’ll go write for Time now.) The Germans are counterattacking around Lake Balaton. The German air force is very feeble, and its attacks on the Remagen bridge have been ineffective. Fortunately, the paper adds, “as of this writing,” so that it doesn’t look completely fatuous. Looking to top this, the paper adds that many Berliners must long to be conquered by the Russians, so that they will be spared the relentless attacks by Mosquitoes dropping 4000lb bombs. Although when the paper adds that living in a bomb shelter for months at a time must be a “very sordid experience,” I think I hear memories of 1940, and am very grateful to have lived through it here in sunny California instead. Speaking of blitzes, German bombers attacked the north of England with fragmentation bombs; and of sunshine, Jean Neville entertained the troops, starting right after she sent the accordion away.

Here and There

The King is pleased to grant the title “Royal” to the Indian Air Force. Next up, the (R)USAAF! A minor change to the Avenger is noted (now definitely the plane your little brother will be flying, much to his concealed disappointment), and news of the Arado Ar 234 jetbomber. The paper reports North American rumours of a version of the Tempest powered by the Bristol Centaurus engine. Mr. Charles Sorensen says that Willys-Overland is now mass producing flying bombs, and there is a new stock issue whose price can only go up! The Society of Model Aeronautical Engineers is holding a dinner, dance and prizegiving at Lysbeth Hall in Soho. Dance? Doesn't that require dates, of the feminine persuasion? 

Lieutenant PeterCadbury of the Fleet Air Arm, currently test-flying jet aircraft for Gloster, will stand as Liberal candidate for Stroud. He is the son of Air Commodore E.Cadbury, and, by the most remarkable of coincidences, etc, etc. 

In other news, China is corrupt because people there are advanced to positions on the basis of their relations.  The largest aircraft carrier in the world, USS Midway, was launched this week. General Olds announces that the C-54 will tow gliders into action soon. Rolls Royce says that it has been interested in jets since 1938 and has been working on them since 1939. That is, they haven’t just stolen Whittle’s work. Westinghouse will have a jet engine of their own out soon, while GE’s plant at Syracuse devotes 600,000 square feet of floor space to jet engines. As the paper points out, British and American jet engine production has gone forward a great ways since Britain sent America plans and models back in 1940. No need to thank the British taxpayer, though! Taylorcraft has announced a line of postwar private planes.

Charles B. Bovill, “the Marconator: A Semi-Automatic Wireless Direction-Finding Device for Use in Aircraft” This is the nontechnical summary of the article in the paper’s stablemate, Wireless World. Unfortunately, without the boring technical details, this boring discussion of what makes this device so special is a little adrift. Says the critic, who never goes adrift from her main point(!)

“Lifeboat’s Moulded Plywood Skin” The question presumably all the boatbuilders were asking was, “How do you drop a lightweight plywood boat 500ft into the water and have it come out intact?” The answer is plasticised moulded plywood produced by Merron, Ltd, pioneers of this manufacturing technique. Uncle George likes to bring these bits to your Father’s attention because of the plywood connection, though I am sure that Reggie doesn’t need the needling hints, and the only question is whether these techniques will sell in the Pacific slope market.

Civil Aviation News

May Heaven strike the paper down, and let a good paper tree flourish in its place.

"G√∂tterbaum (Ailanthus altissima)". Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5. A tree that grows in Brooklyn. 

 Also, a Scottish Member says that the latest civil aviation plan is the kind of thing our boys are fighting this war to prevent, and there is talk of the new Short Shetland passenger flying boat, which is to be a joint effort of Short and Saunders Roe. (Can we call in the Committee of Inquiry to Study Methods of Providing for Children Deprived of a Normal Home Life now, or do we have to wait for the parent companies to fail to provide the necessities of life, first? I see why social work is so hard.)  

“BOAC Wartime Services” BOAC flew civilian services during the war. Including, and you may not have heard this, across the Atlantic! A picture shows the traditional vigilance at Customs screenings of passengers. So amusing in its earnestness. A picture of Gander Airport, Newfoundland, shows snow on the runways. The UK-Lisbon service was a vital link, and a Stockholm service carried “high priority mail” or a single passenger in the bomb bay of Mosquitoes which had to “run the gauntlet” of German fighters for the last 300 miles.

“Indicator Discusses Topics of the Day: False Security” A false sense of security stands in the way of safe air travel.

“The Civil Aviation Charter” Strike. It. Down. With lightning from on high, oh Lord of Heaven. (Three pages.) An ad for Hiduminium’s R.R.77 showing its stress versus strain chart is more interesting than this three page eye roller.

“They Voted for Speed: Comfort Takes a Back Seat at R.Ae.S Debate” If you must talk about talking about civil aviation, it is a kindness to the reader to put a summary in the title.

Time, 19 March 1945


“Good Will in the Americas” Latin Americans like being pushed around by Edward Stettinus!

“Yalta at Work” Russia runs eastern Europe now. America and Britain pretend that it doesn’t, or that it shouldn’t. Polish-American voters are important, though not as important as during an election year, which 1945 isn’t. Russia is moving gradually, because 1946 is. Poland is not yet dead, etc. I’m on campus enough that I am getting a little tired of the Polish national anthem. Are there any other good ones?  

“Austria’s Fate” Pray for us, Saint Engelbert, holy martyr, in our hour of need.

“Les Miserables” Lauchlin Currie and Dingle Foot (attn.: Committee of Inquiry Into Means of Care for Children Deprived of a Normal Home Life) were in Geneva signing a new trade agreement with Switzerland, which agrees to swear it never liked Nazis, no how. In unrelated news, various former members of the Mussolini government are living in country hotels in western Switzerland with no apparent means of support and no plans to move on, notwithstanding pending court cases for war crimes and such in countries such as France. (Guiseppe Volpi, Edda Mussolini Ciano, Dino Alfieri. France is to be a guest at Dumbarton Oaks, not a sponsor. Russia agrees that everyone should push France around while she is down.

“$7 Billion Comrade?” The fourth Lend-Lease agreement with Russia has almost been fulfilled. The current tranche of deliveries, which are capital goods such as locomotives and machine tools, are not to be “lent,” but sold on a 30 year lease scheme at 2 3/8%, as in the French Lend-Lease agreement. The five Republican members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee do not like the agreement with France. Meanwhile, Russia proposes a $7 billion credit for further capital goods purchases. Various businessmen think that Russia’s expected postwar exports cannot satisfy the interest on a $7 billion debt. Various businessmen think that grinding poverty in Russia and a trading depression in America is a good idea! Or two good ideas. I look forward to their plans for China, which will probably involve giving the Soongs 90% of the money they give them, if you know what I mean.

Yugoslavs are not excitable. They do what Marshal Tito tells them. Latin Americans, Italians, Chinese Communists  and Czechoslovaks, on the other hand. . .

“Undies to Overalls”

Hot-tempered, silver-haired Commander Oliver Stillingfleet Locker-Lampson, Britain's handsomest Parliamentary capriphile, has been quiet since the failure of his "the-goat-is-the-poor-man's-cow" campaign last year. But last week the barrel-chested Tory M.P. was knee deep in a new crusade: overalls for ecdysiasts.
The Commander's wrath had been stirred by his discovery that there is a shortage of women factory workers and a surplus of strip-teasers. Commander Locker-Lampson heatedly bared the facts on the floor of the House of Commons. Cried he: young women should be wearing overalls to work instead of stripping undies to tease. No British stripper, said "Locker," who is 64, should be under 50.

“Tomorrow Saigon!” While the French are recruiting for the “French Expeditionary Forces of the Extreme Orient,” Japan has dissolved the Vichy colonial government in Annam and proclaimed its independence, less the Hanoi and Saigon provinces. How generous of the Wa barbarians!

Vietnamese People's Army

“Plan” There are signs of a plan for Indian post-independence. What happens if something happens that isn’t planned? Probably an awful lot of communal riots. . . Gandhi, the silly old man, thinks that the problem is Britain, which is absurd, as it is not as though Britain has been running India for over a century now.

“The Bridge,” “Ten Minutes to the Good,” “Crossings Ahead” The capture of the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen has led to a secure bridgehead on the right bank. The Germans report that there are also four pontoon bridges, while Americans claim that their bridgehead has deepened to five miles, which is more impressive when you realise that the bridge is on a rail tunnel that punches through a 3000ft cliff to teach the Rhine. This means that the war in Europe might have been shortened by six to eight weeks. In other words, that it is almost over.  For real, this time, not like last summer, although possibly not, if the Germans recover again. Meanwhile, pictures of the ruins of Cologne made the “overly sentimental” “shed tears.” Postwar might bring “grave problems.” Also, the Pacific War apparently isn’t over. In related news, Goebbels says something, Colonel General Guderian says something else, Himmler says nothing, and Adolf Hitler releases an order of the day. The crossing is partly to General Eisenhower’s credit, because he told the troops to look out for intact bridges, and must depress the Germans, since they like to sing about the “Wacht am Rhein,” and point out that the Rhine is only crossed by invading armies, which only invade if they can cross. The British Second Army is laying on an elaborate show of making an assault crossing of the Rhine in the north, where it is so wide that it will be a “naval operation.” In the cover story on General Miles Dempsey, the paper contrives to imply that Second Army has been resting since the fall. General Dempsey is boring.

“Red Spring” The Allies are preparing to attack in Italy, so there might be blood in a country where the Communists are restive! (It's a subtle play on the fact that blood is red, and red is also the colour of Communism. I'd explain more, but it would ruin the joke. I hope the young men getting ready to fight for another mountain in Italy find it as funny.)

“The Life and Death of Manila John” Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone, who won the Medal of Honour on Guadalcanal, was killed a month ago in the Iwo Jima fighting. The paper notices, because he will receive the Navy Cross for his courage there. The nickname is because he used to tell stories about his Manila days with the army before the war. The death is because the Marine Corps generals are incompetent butchers.

“The General Takes a Swim” In January, General Patton led his men personally in an assault swim across the icy Sauer River, capturing the bridgehead town of Bettendorf. Call me a poisonous cynic, but I suspect that this did not actually happen. General Patton’s press office also wants us to know that there have been dashing, encircling armoured drives all over his front. With prisoners! And speed! And dashing exploits!

“New Tank” The War Department today revealed a new tank, the General Pershing (T-26.) The thought is that it would have been nice to have six months ago.

M-26 on a mountain road in Korea.

“The Captain’s Son” In a horrible irony of war, the captain of a US Navy hospital ship off Okinawa has to sign the death certificate of his son, Charles Carter Anderson, a Marine Corps Sergeant. I suppose that it would be snobbish of me to ask how a captain who has a son who is a sergeant deals with a ship full of surgeons.

 “Touch of Paris” The first hints of spring in Paris are accompanied by US servicemen buying everything even vaguely Parisian to send home.

“Cost Accounting” The Army engineer detachments (65% Coloured) who built the Ledo Road can be proud. So can taxpayers, who spent a million dollars a mile.

“Train Buster” Lieutenant Edward Syszmanski of the 365th “Hell Hawk” Group, is the “Mad Polack of Brooklyn,” because he excels at low altitude strafing attacks on locomotives. 

“Firebirds’ Flight” Last week, U.S. Army aviators finally had their dream come true as they were allowed a chance to “loose avalanches of fire bombs on Tokyo and Nagoya.” Three hundred B-29s, each carrying seven to eight tons of 500lb clusters of the new Mg9 incendiary bombs loaded with a  jelly-gasoline compound, bombed both cities, setting off massive fires. Only two B-29s were lost in the raid, and “several” B-29s were able to make emergency landings on Iwo Jima, so that the “Marines who had given their lives to win Iwo had not died in vain.” I think that will require “several” B-29s. Unless we're valuing Marine lives as highly as the Corps!

“Rodent Exterminators” The paper covers the final days of the Japanese garrison of Iwo Jima with a touching humanity and grace.

“Berlin and Beyond” I do not know if you were aware of this, my darling, but the Russians are attacking on the Eastern Front. Their leaders tend to be bluff, blunt Red Marshals with names like “Zhukov.”  The paper is taken by the fact that the Russians have surrounded Dresden, home town of Alfred Schopenhauer. Because he was a very pessimistic German.

“Another Island” The paper covers the American landing at Zamboanga. “In Zamboanga, both the squalor and the picturesqueness of the Orient are present in unusual degree.” Don’t worry, the Moros are glad to see you Franks, too.

(Not "The Monkeys Have No Tails in Zamboanga." Some bits of popular culture is more ephemeral than other bits. Zamboangans seem to want to be known for something more than an old soldier's song.)

“Burma Turnabout” The paper vaguely notices that the British have taken Meiktila, leaving the isolated Japanese to defend Mandalay “as though it were a Shinto shrine.” Because knowing about Japanese religion would require reading a whole encylopedia article, and that would be hard.) Rangoon is next, but the paper is pleased to notice that “Lieutenant General Daniel I. Sultan’s American-trained Chinese troops” have taken Lashio.


“Full Week” The President has been working hard all week since returning from Hyde Park. Among his tasks were greeting a dozen of the U.S. Army Rangers who took Corregidor virtually without losses, and pinning “yet another Gold Star, in lieu of a third D.S.M.” on the Admiral. He’s not getting that third Distinguished Service while there are still some Marines unaccountably left alive. He also talked about the 1946 New York gubernatorial election with New York Democrats. 1946 is an election year! Whee!

“Five-Layer Birthday Cake” Various correspondents who were at Yalta told stories. The headline joke here is that the President actually had a four-layer cake, with layers labelled “First Term,” “Second Term,” etc. 1948 is an election year! Whee! Other amusing things were the multi-course banquets with lots of vodka and the poor state of the Livadia Palace’s plumbing. No souvenir towels were available.

“Gifts from Near and Far” Eleanor Roosevelt accepted a new kind of super mink fur coat from the Quebec Fur Breeders Association to publicise their new product. (Can I arrange to publicise them without publicising myself? Not that my husband needs to be told that I want a mink coat, too. Yes, San Francisco is cold enough for a fur coat, and, no, buying one for one's self is not the same thing.) Recently, she has also accepted a silk-embroidered harem gown from King Ibn Saud, a gold bracelet from Emperor Haile Selassie, a jewelled crown from someone or another. Then she went on a trip to Baltimore see a new play by Rachel Crothers. Corruption or not? You decide.

“To Hold the Line” William Hammatt Davis, after three years as War Labour Board chairman, has moved on to be U. S. Economic Stabiliser in succession to Fred Vinson. The 65 year-old Manhattan patent lawyer is in charge of “holding the line” on wages. He will have trouble, with the issue of “fringe awards” for things such as night-shift differentials on his desk.

“An Historic Step” The State of New York has passed a bill banning employment discrimination because of race, creed, colour or national origin. Backed by the AFL, CIO, and churchmen, it was opposed by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen, which has an anti-Negro clause in its constitution and by the State Chamber of Commerce and the State Bar Association. Some employers have predicted that industry will move out and leave New York a “ghost state.” Though to where is another question, given that Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticutt, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and California are all proposing similar legislation. It’s Georgia’s chance!

“Piety in Hell’s Kitchen” The Community Mission in Manhattan’s “dreary, beery Hell’s Kitchen” never had much of a constituency amongst the city’s bums. It turns out to have been  a charity fraud with a fixed bingo, run by some con men.


“I Think We Are Cowards” Senator Millard Tydings (Colonel, AEF), denounced Congress for not passing national labour registration, betraying the frontline serviceman, etc.

“Majority Pared” The appointment of Milton Young to serve out the late John Morse’s term brings the Democratic majority in the Senate down to 55 out of 96 seats.

“Legion of Despair” The Congressional committee on whether we are coddling German prisoners of war has reported. The 350,000 German P.W.s are not being coddled. In fact, enlisted men are leased out to work at 80 cents/day, the balance of wages going to the War Department, and the older men, at least, report being very tired, and ask only for “bread, work and family.”


“When V-E Day Comes” Reconversion might result from a 35% reduction in war production in the first year after Germany quits. Others have suggested only a 10% cut. The WPB says that largescale production after reconversion will not come until six months or so after VE Day. Assorted persons such as General Lucius Clay want virtually no reconversion at all.

“By Bomb and Shell” U.S. citizens  own $13.3 billion in assets in 112 foreign countries. Last week, the National Foreign Trade Council assessed $4 billion in assets in Axis countries, which I am to infer is a considerable reduction by bomb and shell. Although the paper does not give the numbers, GM has written down $46.9 million, and Ford, Chrysler, ITT and others have taken hits. It is thought that, however, foreign investors in American properties have done quite well, and that the postwar settling might send “the gold hoard in Fort Knox . . . [on] . . . its world travels again.”

“The Roof Leaks” The board of Atlas Tack Corp. tried to persuade its stockholders to accept conversion to bonds priced at $20 and paying 5% on the grounds that the factory is falling down and the company is making no money due to price caps and rising expenses. Stockholders were not impressed.

“Retreat” Stocks are down, supposedly on news of Remagen. Good war news is bad stock news, say Wall Street dopesters. Others think that it is a response to Federal Reserve Board Chairman Marriner S. Eccles’ intimation that a 90% capital gains tax would be a good way to curb rising security prices.

“Jobs not Money” No sooner had I expressed my worries that Uncle Henry was getting too depressed for his usual antics then he was off to Washington to  tell Congress that it should set the prices for disposing of war factories with the “primary aim of creating jobs.” He wants a lease-guarantee arrangement to prevent large companies from buying out potential competitors and shutting them down. That is, if the government gives him Fontana (and Willow Run?), he promises to operate them.

“The Luck of Bellingham” The US synthetic rubber industry, held back by a shortage of industrial alcohol once it had taken 90% of domestic sugar, grain and molasses, has now turned to the Puget Sound Pulp and Timber Corporation for a hoped-for annual  1.7 million gallons of alcohol fromwood waste.

Science, Medicine, Education Etc.

“Barnacles Baffled” A new, top secret, plastic anti-barnacle paint has been developed by the Navy.

Microwave Miracles” Microwaves, or (radio at frequencies above 80 mHz), will revolutionise postwar living. FCC hearings on postwar broadcasting and microwave plans, heard a proposal by Raytheon Manufacturing to create a coast-to-coast chain of microwave relay-transmitting towers to distribute weather and air traffic information to pilots and airfield control towers, distribute television and facsimile service coast to coast more cheaply than with current coaxial cable distribution and speed up telegraphy. “U.S. citizens in their homes will soon be able to see news events wherever they happen.” That may be  a bit far-fetched, but the East Coast system is already being set up.


“Axis Armour” Germans have worked out numerous methods to get around the shortage of strategic materials such as copper, nickel, molybdenum (remember molybdenum from 1943?), vanadium, chromium and manganese. Good news for high-duty machining tools after the war. The Japanese have not, and the paper insists on adding that a considerable amount of Japanese war material is made of scrap that the U.S. sold to Japan before the war. Is the moral of the story that we should never sell anyone anything again, or that the Japanese are a horrid race who should not exist any more? Because if the latter, I can see the Pacific War going on for quite some time.

“On Iwo Jima” Robert Sherrod, of the paper, veteran of the Aeutians and Tarawa, visited the field hospitals of Iwo Jima. It was beyond horrible. Dr. John A. Harper and Commander Richard Silvis were very proud of their operating rooms, though.

“Generosity in Brooklyn” Brooklyn College has expelled five basketball players for taking bribes to throw a game. Also, the American Library Association is setting up the American Book Centre, which will make up the ravages of war by replacing all war-lost books with American castoffs and then going on to supply the world’s libraries with recent US publications. Thousands of dollars have been donated, which might be a little short of the objective.

Press, Entertainment, Literature, etc.

True Confessions” Used to be a typical Fawcett paper (“smokehouse smut,” [Captain Billy’s Whiz-Bang] true detective stories, movie gossip), but is now “as straight-laced as a temperance speaker’s corset.” 

So hot. Minnesota Historical Society

“Stripteaser’s Exit” Look ran a “postage stamp-size view of a Miami Beach stripper in the advanced throes of her art,” got into trouble with Edward M. Curran, U. S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, has promised not to do another press run after this one sold out. Meanwhile, the paper pinch has cut French newspapers to a single page and British dailies to 4 to 10. Some papers are responding by going tabloid sized.

“Last Victory” New York License Commissioner Paul Moss is congratulating himself for his victory in the “arbitrary closing of the Lesbian play TRIO,” but the furor has resulted in Mayor LaGuardia agreeing to support legislation preventing it from happening again.

The paper covers an art show in Cincinnati where conservative critics pick conservative paintings, and liberal ones pick modernist paintings. Ralph Smith, of Duane Jones Co., defended radio commercials also week in a radio commercial, which the paper thinks is funny. The New York Times’ Edward Alden Jewell liked William Thon’s “Under the Brooklyn Bridge,” while “shrill, scratch-penned Eleanor Jewett of Chicago’s America-First Tribune liked Charles Kilgorer’s “The Day Ends”! I hope the paper doesn’t talk to its mother with that mouth.

“The New Pictures” In Betrayal from the East, Lee Tracy double-crosses evil Japanese spies, while in Thunderhead, Son of Flicka, horses horse around. In one plotline, Thunderhead kills an evil Albino stallion and becomes king of the herd. Oh, America. Didn’t Dr. Freud say that aometimes, an evil albino stallion moving in on the mares is just a cigar?

“Grave Youth” Claude Bowers, now Ambassador to Chile, has written a biography of Thomas Jefferson which focusses on his chaste relationships with all the women heknew.

“Through Kansas Eyes” William L. White, the do-nothing son of the real William White, went to Russia. With Eric Johnston. Then he wrote a book about it. He didn’t like Russia very much. Just an idle observation. 

Miscellany, Milestones

A lady in Detroit serves her husband with divorce papers after discovering a ticket for “one-armed driving” in his pants. 

Technical Sergeant Charles E. “Commando”Kelly married “plump brunette” May Frances Boish. Private Red Skelton gets married. Chester flew from Hawaii to Washington for Cathy and Tom’s marriage, makes the paper, understandably. Dorothea Wieck was killed in the Dresden bombing. 

Dorothea Weick. Not actually dead. Neither is Nijinsky, when we get there.
Greer Garson is upset at the Hollywood stocking manufacturer who claimed that she was bowlegged. Earl Browder contributed a $5000 check to the Freedom House campaign for the Wendell L. Willkie Memorial Building. Freedom House’s directors promptly returned the cheque, because he is a communist, and his money has Red germs. Errol Flynn is in trouble again. General MacArthur’s wife arrived in Manila to join him this week. (Attention, potential Presidential campaign backers. The General may be a divorcee, but he remarried!) “The ElephantBoy” wins a DFC as a tail gunner in Burma.

Time, 26 March 1945


“Faces in the Wallow” “One thing is already clear: Germany after World War II is going to be much the same sort of psychopathic wallow which produced Naziism and Adolf Hitler after World War I.”

“Conspiracy is Not Enough” Russia runs eastern Europe now, Part A Million.

“Scorched Earth” Food Crisis ’46 is or Bust! A five-month drought in the Southern Hemisphere has cut into Argentina and Australia’s grain crops, while New Zealand got all the rain, which washed out its crops. Dust storms in Australia, perennial creeks stop running, wells getting deeper and deeper. Mutton supplies are down 10%.

“One Europe” Fifteen leading European very smart people say that there should be only one Europe, or else the Atlantic Ocean will fill up quite quickly, and where would the water go? Miami is humid enough as it is. Also something about nationalism, common interests, personal rights.

“Win with Winnie” There is to be a general election in Britain right after VE Day! We knew that already, but Winston Churchill will lead the Conservatives, which we knew, and he will make speeches, which we knew. Here’s a speech he made at the Tory Conference. It was very colourful. The Liberals were scornful. Labour, which opinion polls show will win, says less. Because why would they? The paper, because who cares about opinion polls and the history of how long governments normally last in England, and suchlike tedious piffle, points out that “In the election Churchill would have the odds in his favour.” 

“Plan for Britain” Frederick James Marquis, first Baron Woolton, was at the Tory Conference! He’s so dreamy! In a Young-Conservative-turned-Old-Conservative way, I mean. Which is to say, not dreamy at all. But he does have a Plan for Britain. An actual plan, you know, with planning.Remember when you told me about Woolton Pie? I'm as enthusiastic as I was then. And if you're even thinking something negative about Governor Warren now, you are in so much hot water, buster.

“Great is the Sultan!” The Sultan of Morocco cuts General Franco, pointing out that France can whip him with one hand tied behind its back now, and never mind in a year or two. General Franco answers that while this might be so, at least he is one hunded percent not-Fascist. The Sultan, impressed, offers him a trade deal. No, so sorry, I'm mistaken. That was us. The Sultan has more sense. Meanwhile, in France, a Vichy man is prosecuted by the man who convicted Mata Hari, General de Gaulle has a fight with the Consultative Assembly, And the Duke of Windsor is probably expected on the Riviera, now that his long exile in the Bahamas is over.

“No Stopping” Secretary of the Navy Forrestal has released a reply to a letter from “an American mother” pleading for an end to battles like Iwo Jima. The Secretary says that Iwo Jima was regrettably necessary because there is a war on, and because an emergency airfield was needed, and because it might have supported Japanese fighters. Which seems like an odd argument, given the many other islands in the archipelago, even after your younger brother explained to me why interceptors at Iwo Jima would be a special threat to the B-29 streams.  Will Peel Island be next? The reply letter is timed to coincide with the butcher’s bill from the battle, 4,189 dead, 441 missing, 15,308 wounded, as high as Tarawa and Saipan combined, higher than any battle of the Civil War apart from Gettysburg. In conclusion, Pearl Harbour happened, so you can't criticise the Marine Corps.

“Bringing Cologne to Life” Military Government has been imposed on the 100,000 residents remaining in bombed-out Cologne.

“The City of Sudden Death” Antwerp was taken almost intact, but now almost half of the city’s buildings have “vanished into rubble and dust” under V-1 and V-2 bombardment. Back from a trip to Belgium, the paper’s correspondent, EdwardLockett, brought a fuller story to the office. And, I hope, a good explanation for the sordid stories he has been filing. The Germans are bombing the town because of its importance as a port. Belgian stevedores receive 130 francs a day, plus one meal, plus 30 francs “shiver money” for working under fire. Tractors haul loaded 10 ton trailers to “surge pools,” where they are organised into caravans. Twelve-hundred trailers are operating on the “ABC route” between Antwerp, Louvain and Liege.

“Report on a Hero” Lieutenant Charles Thomas, Coloured company commander of the Coloured 614th Tank Destroyer Battalion, is the first living Negro to receive the DSC in this war. 

“Bugaboo” Are the Germans still holding out because they intend to protect a “bastion “ in the Alps, “from Lombardy to Salzburg?” According to stories reaching neutral capitals, the mountains around Nazi strongpoints bristle with defence works, repair shops and munition depots. Ancient slat mines are filling up with subterranean hangars and air-dromes, factories making guns, planes  and synthetic gasoline. And Gestapo records, just in case. Some Allied commentators think that this is unlikely, and that may be true, but the Nazis lose nothing by holding it up as a “bugaboo,” which is rather like peekaboo, except that instead of pretending that you cannot see your children, as delightful as that is. Instead, you carry them off to a hideaway in the mountains while Mommy and Fanny take a girl's night out at the movies.

“German Traitors’ Downfall” The Ludendorff Bridge finally collapsed this week under repeated dive bomber attack (and perhaps the shock of all the AA firing at them). “Americans died in the dozens” as a result, and a few hours later, so did three majors and a lieutenant charged by the Germans with failing to hold or destroy it.

“Pressure From the Top”  The Allied air umbrellas are merging from west and east.

“Ten-Day Wonder” “The B-29 bosses got hold of something new and good: large-scale night fire-bombing of Japan’s cities.” “New,” the paper said. "Good." Eventually, it gets around to pointing out that this isn’t area bombing, like in Europe. It is precision area bombing, because they aim at specific areas! The non-ridiculous, non-awful part of this article about the fire attacks on Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, and twice at Nagoya, is the very high rate of B-29 serviceability. Given that the B-29 is not a very serviceable aircaft, this implies that the men on the ground in Saipan and Tinian have been working very hard. .

“The Marshal Waits” After a week of fighting, the German position in the East hasn’t collapsed. Towns no-one has ever heard of are fallilng very slowly. So, instead, let’s imagine Marshal Zhukov’s stoic and Tatar-like gaze staring inscrutably over rivers and snow and battlements towards Berlin.

“Isolation of What?” Mitscher’s carriers are striking at Japanese airfields, as they did before Iwo, to “isolate” the battlefield. So the question is, what is to be the next battlefield? The Ryukyus, Formosa, or the China coast? Meanwhile, the Army continues to make slow progress through the hills of the Philippines, and Robert Sherrod helpfully warns us that there are many “Iwos” to come. The Marines can take it! (Except for the actual Marines, who die quickly and are replaced. American mothers, sisters and daughters really need to get over the death of every man who has ever served at Camp Pendelton.

“Apples and Octopusses” The ‘bomb-scorched’ Japanese are heartened by the news that scientists have increased the alcohol content of apple cider to the point where it can be used as airplane fuel, and developed a fatigue remedy from octopus extract


“Republican’s Critique John Foster Dulles, Tom Dewey’s designated San Francisco wet blanket, thinks that the Dumbarton Oaks plan must be improved by the injection of the highest moral rectitude and etc. Also, the charter must be liberalised so that none of the Big Five can veto the admission of new members. This will certainly not lead to the United Nations being packed with Latin American countries voting in lockstep with Washington because that would be immoral and highest rectitude, etc.

U.S. Calls the Turn” Congress, it turns out, has opinions about Bretton Woods. Specifically, it thinks that if people get the idea that it doesn’t understand Bretton Woods, people will think that they’re dumb. Ralph E. Flanders and Beardsley Ruml make soothing noises.

 “Stroke of Midnight” After three weeks, the midnight curfew is clearly stupid. In most of the country, the nightlife is shutting down at midnight anyway, and the only people hurt are the swing shifters. In New York, everyone just heads out on the streets. The curfew seems to be dying away as quickly as one of Uncle Henry’s enthusiasms.

Who Gets the Food?” It’s March, so it is time to worry that “there is simply not enough food to go around.”  That is why “able, boot-tough Lieut. General Brehon Burke Somervell, with ever more and more men to feed” wants more and more food, having recently added 300,000 Philippine Scouts to the chow line. Meanwhile, Marvin Jones, War Food Administrator, doesn’t need to point out that civilians are getting less meat, butter and eggs, because they already know. Meanwhile the second, the State Department wants to send food to starving Belgium, and France, where America is in trouble for only sending 10” of the “food or other supplies furnished by the Germans.” Apparently, democracy is threatened in the liberated democracies, which will all soon go Nazi or Communist, one or the other, if we don’t send more food. A Committee has been struck, and the President has spoken up for more food aid.

“Town Meeting in New Hampshire” The meetings voted to buy record amounts of highway maintenance gear (boring), and to support Dumbarton Oaks (exciting).

“The Cost of Compromise” Somehow, the National Labour Board has ended up paying for, as well as organising, the coal miners’ strike vote.

“Report on the Negro Soldier” Truman K. Gibson, Coloured civilian aide to War Secretary Stimson, reports the previously-censored truth that 92d Infantry Division’s performance in Italy has been poor, and points to the poor education of the men as an explanation. (17% illiterate, 75% semi-literate, compared with 4% and 16% for White units.) This does not include their all-White officers, of course.

“Nine More Stars” With the new five-star rank, it seems appropriate to raise promote more four-star generals to join Stilwell and Malin Craig. They are, besides the expected (Bradley, Krueger, Smoervell, Spaatz, Clark, Devers), Joseph T. McNarney, George C. Kenny and Thomas T. Handy. Handy’s promotion ahead of Patton, Hodges and Simpson is for the benefit of the General Staff and home front. “Career air men in the Navy, not so fortunate, are still represented in the upper strata” only by Ernest King and Halsey, neither of whom, the paper suggests, are real airmen. “Top naval airmen” are still too young, that is, under 60. An injustice which I just know that someone has pointed out to the paper. I know that I sound a little distraught when I jump from this to Admiral Towers, but I just find the man so appalling.  (Plus, Stilwell leads the story, to set the tone.)

“Any Old Helmets” Canada’s War Acquisitions Committee was having trouble flogging off 45,000 surplus helmets until it had the idea of selling them in department store toy sections, along with wooden drill rifles. “We could have sold twice as many.” Wong Lee sent me some nice dollhouse furniture that he picked up in El Segundo the other day. Never mind electrical engineering. Perhaps we could drop some money on toymakers’ stocks?

“Three for the Future” Let’s talk about talking about civil aviation!

“The Winner” Judge Learned Hand finds a qualified victory in the Justice Department’s trustbusting suit against Alcoa. Just because it makes all the aluminum and is owned by the same people (the Mellon family and Alfred Davis) as its main competitor doesn’t mean that it’s some kind of monopoly, except for when it actually acted like a monopoly, for which the Judge gives its wrist a thorough spanking.

“Cut in Gold” A bill to cut the minimum gold backing of Federal Reserve notes from 40% to 25% passes the Senate Banking Committee because the nation’s gold hoard is down from an historic $22 billion at Pearl Harbour (and more as fast as we could ship it into the country!) to a mere $20 billion, and will sink lower, due to massive American foreign purchases in cash which have been redeemed in gold. The vast increase in circulating currency in the United States is not the cause, has only led to a reduction in the backing from 91% to 49%.

“Stage Money” The paper floors its irony pedal as it reports that oilman Frank Phillips of Oklahoma has cut his salary to $1 a year, as due to taxes he was only keeping $309.60 of his $50,000 income. Of course, his 4000 acre ranch with its herd of bison, artificial waterfall and 300 man dining hall is a little hard to reconcile with his reported income, but there’s no Al Capone situation here. He just earns most of his income through non-salary line items.

“Problem in Logistics” All the empty boxcars rattling into the Midwest from the East are because of a billion bushels of last year’s crop still lying unshipped. Millions of bushels of grain are not even in elevators, just mounded up in the open and rotting in the spring rains. And by late May, the next crop of winter wheat will add to the storage woes. With all available rail cars keeping war freight moving, there is just not the hauling capacity. Some Western railroads are shipping wheat in coal cars, and flour mills are preparing to ration flour. Part of the reason, ironically, is the Army’s need for 900,000 tons of flour for overseas. This contract is taking up the railcars that might move grain from the farms. 

Hmm. No, I think the "running out of food" story is much more interesting than the "running out of railcars" story. We'll go with "running out of food."

“A Wonderful Thing” The Rio Farms, Inc. “little Soviet,” which arranged to buy 26,000 acres of neglected Rio delta land and hand it out on an “altruistic, non-profit basis” to tenant farmers, sharecroppers and farm labourers, has proven to be a stunning success, against the predictions of substantial Valley farmers and businessmen, who presumably thought it would just lead to marauding Reds.

“No Obligation, But…”The Treasury has stated that it has no obligation to redeem occupation lire, francs, etc. (The “etc” is all the invasion marks now being spent in conquered Germany.) Therefore, everyone should stop taking them? This seems self-defeating, and, as the paper points out, it is not what it has done in France and Belgium, or, to an extent, in Italy. (Invasion lire have not been matched with dollar grants for expenditures for services and supplies. Because the fall of Italian governments is always fun. So entertaining, those Italian fascist dictators.)

“Test in Aachen” Aachen schools will receive 100% Nazi-free textbooks soon, taught by 100% non-Nazi teachers. Only 26 of the prewar 325 teachers have passed the Army test, but no-one should worry on that score, because somethingn will come up.

“Who Gets It?” Henry Sever, owner and publisher of textbook house Riverside Press, died a childless widower in 1941, and directed in his will that $1.6 million of his fortune should go to establish a technological school in his home state of Missouri. Much unseemly wrangling between universities followed, and the eventual winner was the Sever Institute-To-Be for Geophysics at St. Louis’s Washington University, a Jesuit school (and, yes, the issues have been explained to me at length!), but now there is a new legal action.   


“Better Televisbility” Current television sets use the end of a giant vacuum tube as the viewing screen, limiting its size. Last week in Manhattan, RCA-Victor demonstrated a “projected” screen, in which the image on a high voltage tube five inches in diameter is projected on a screen 16 by 21 ½”.

Brought to you by RCA!

“Quick Connections” The Army Technical Service and Bell Telephone Laboratories have developed an air-delivered telephone cable, reeling 16 miles of continuous wire out of a C-47 at 250 feet per second. After testing, it was turned over to the Forestry Service, and kept working for fourteen days. 

“Industrial Microbes” Canada’s National Research Council has developed an industrial-scale process for making glycerin with bacteria. This sort of thing isn’t unheard of (beer, cheese), but, to this point, no-one has cared because it is a dark and disgusting art. Science brings light (but only so much, because light hurts microbes.)

“More Women Drunks” A chart in the Journal of the American Medical Association produced by Dr. David Benjamin Rotman shows the number of women drunks climbing from 1 for every 5 men in 1930 to 1 for every 2 men in 1943. Dr. Rotman's work might be revolutionised if he actually talked to some women candidly.

“Auto-Allergy” Curious cases of women who are allergic to their own hormones are turning up. The doctors report high cure rates through “hair of the dog” treatments.

“Cadaver Crisis” There is a serious shortage of human bodies for medical instruction. Wartime prosperity leads to a decline in the number of unclaimed pauper bodies, and Social Security is likely to reduce it further. This is akin to the "decline in the number of suicides" story that Uncle George had so much trouble with. A strange and unexpected consequence of wartime prosperity.

Press, Literature, Arts, Etc.

“Story of a Picture” The picture of the flag raising on Iwo Jima is going to be the model for more war memorials than the “Angel of Mons.”

“Mauldin v. G. Patton” General Patton summons Bill Mauldin to his headquarters to chew him out for drawing “well-plugged uglies.”

“Never Be Afraid” This week’s cover story is Joe Pulitzer, Junior, who, this week, gave out the annual Pulitzer prizes in St. Louis, home of his newspaper and its 1152 employees, all of whom worship the Pulitzers’ for their fearless opposition to tyranny, corruption, and inherited wealth, except for that last one. (Call me naive, but I had no idea that a big city newspaper could have over a thousand employees!) European Modernists had an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art last week. The paper liked it, I think. On the other hand, it thought that the National Academy of design’s show was “staid.” (Harrison Cady won!) The paper has no opinion of Hotel Berlin, but says nice things about the nine-minute newsreel To the Shores of Iwo Jima is worthy of the standard set by With the Marines at Tarawa, and then accidentally compares the island to Captain Ahab’s whale. "Accidentally." It has mixed opinions of Dark of the Moon and doesn’t like Foolish Notion. It also didn’t like “two footsore comedies” that “tried for laughter on the subject of bastards. . .” The paper might like modern paintings and "Lesbian plays," but it has its limits.

“G.I.” The Army distributes books to G.I.s they are chosen by an editorial committee headed by Philip Van Doren Stern (because books are educational!), and the most popular book is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I finally read it last week, all in two days, and went through a whole box of Kleenex. (I think I frightened the twins.) I'm over it now, and will tell you all about it when I come to write my covering letter. Here I'll just say that it is a very Chinese book. The title even refers to a chouchun tree, but that is not what I meant. (Do you remember when I pointed them out that night in Hongkong during our honeymoon, or were you too distracted?) What I mean is that it is very focussed on education, and it was all I could do not to send a tuition down payment for the twins to Berkeley when I set the book down. Though I might have had trouble finding an open post office at four in the morning.

Anyway, I will send you a copy by surface mail, perhaps with some Kleenex, if they don’t have it in Australia.

In radio news, there is more trouble over sponsored messages on the radio, especially in news broadcasts, the thought being that the mid-broadcast "spot" seems to be "part" of the news, lending the broadcast an uncomfortably commercial air. ("The firebombing of Dresden is brought to you by Kleenex," etc.) Uncle George’s friend won an Oscar last week, a new contract with Decca and is now the most-listened to person in radio history. All because our (great-) grandparents were business partners, which is practically like being related!

Speaking of family connections that dare not speak their name, from the paper:

Married. Emily ("Paddy")Vanderbilt, 19, handsome descendant of Cornelius Vanderbilt, daughter of Captain William H. Vanderbilt, U.S.N.R. (ex-Governor of Rhode Island); andJeptha Homer Wade III, 20, fellow senior at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, descendant and namesake of a founder of Western Union; in Portsmouth, R.I.
Married. Rose Bingham Fiske, 32, slender, pretty widow of Pilot Officer William Mead Lindley Fiske, champion Olympic bobsledder and first American to die flying for the R.A.F. in World War II (1940); and Lieut. Colonel John Charles Arthur Digby Lawson, 32, elder son of Sir Digby Lawson, second baronet; he for the first time, she (once the Countess of Warwick) for the third; in London.

In for a penny, so the rest of it:

Reported Dead. Vaslav Nijinsky, 55, prodigious ballet dancer of 30 years ago, who was pronounced incurably insane in 1919 and confined in a Swiss asylum, released, in 1940 as being well on the way to recovery but refused entry to the U.S. for further treatment; under a Nazi policy of liquidating the insane (according to Swedish report); in Budapest.
Died. Technical Sergeant Torger Tokle, 25, towheaded, Norwegian-born ski-jump champion of the Western Hemisphere (289 feet), ex-Brooklyn carpenter; from German shell-fragment wounds; near Monte Torraccio, Italy, as his loth Mountain Infantry Division made a four-mile advance.
Died. Alexander Granach, 54, Polish-born stage & screen actor (A Bell for Adano, The Seventh Cross), pre-Hitler German star; following an emergency appendectomy.
Died. Louis ("Uncle Louis")Esselen, 65, tall, soft-spoken confidant and lifelong friend of the Union of South Africa's Prime Minister Jan Christian Smuts, longtime secretary of Smuts's United Political Party.
Died. The Rev. Dr. Burris AtkinsJenkins, 75, liberal theological maverick who ran a nondenominational Kansas City (Mo.) Community Church; onetime editor and publisher of the Kansas City Post; after long illness; in El Centre, Calif. He once advised Boy Scouts to play pool (good recreation), dance (eliminates dangerous sex manifestations), sock the other fellow (boxing is a manly art), stop expecting Dad to be a pal (he is too old to be more than a friend).


First, commenting on an exchange of letters on the advisability on immediate war (er,  confrontation) with Communism. The paper agrees with the “late, great Wendell Willkie” that there shouldn’t be war, just vigorous competition between communism and capitalism. Several writers are upset with “little Caesar” Petrillo, just like the paper. “Al Mansur,” of West Medford, Massachusetts, reminds us that an English poetdidn’t like Cologne, so it’s just fine to bomb it! A number of letter writers are appalled by corruption (especially prostitution) in Peoria, while American airmen write in thanks for the paper carrying their appeal for permission to put pictures of American women on their bombers, as they had 300 “feverish” replies.

Flight, 29 March 1945

Last week, we lost the Correspondence page in order to talk about talking about civil aviation. I hope there’s more to come! Railways that have airlines! Monopolies, national and otherwise! Airfields for Scotland! Oh, the thrills, the excitement!


“On the Other Side of the Hill” Airplanes collect reconnaissance information. German jet bombers are very fast, so they can collect it even though we have air superiority.

“Eggs and Omelettes” The Air Ministry should ease up on dangerous flying by student pilots, as it makes them better pilots in the end. Yes, a few of your sons will become omelettes this way, but there will be better eggs in the end? This analogy needs work.

“Private Flying” Was mot mentioned in the government White Paper on British Air Transport. Persons are upset. The Royal Aero Club is upset.

War in the Air

The paper notices that Mandalay has been liberated, and that aircraft were involved, as well as the Indian 19th Division, performing in the supporting role of “actually capturing Mandalay.” The launching of a 45,000 ton aircraft carrier is bad news for the Japanese, who might actually conceivably have cities left when it reaches the western Pacific. The Americans sent a fast task force into the Inland Sea of Japan, we are told. “What would the British-trained Admiral Togo, the victor of Tsushima, have thought?” Oh Good Heavens, paper. The Germans are being routed, and aircraft are involved. Pictures of the Bielefeld Viaduct show that it was very bombed. Mosquitoes raided Berlin, TAAF light bombers bombed Germany. Remember Goering’s promise that Berlin wouldn’t be bombed? He was wrong! Marshal Rundstedt has been sacked again. Aircraft were involved. The Allies will assault the Rhine soon. The Russians are attacking in the east, and the RAF blew up the Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen.

Here and There

France will produce 2000 aircraft this year. Air Marshal Breadner retires. The LockheedP-80 is said by the New York Herald Tribune to top 700mph, and has a new, knife-edge wing profile and “otheraerodynamic innovations that master the problems encountered when the speed of sound is approached or surpassed.” It also has the first pressurised cabin on a production-model fighter. 

Shh! It's still secret, in case we find a use for it.

Since Pearl Harbour, the US air forces are said to have written off 20,000 Japanese aircraft. Refrigerated aircraft fly 300 tons of chilled meat to the front from the newly completed storage depot in Calcutta. Similar depots in Madras and Bombay, soon to be completed, will provide the same luxury to the rest of the British garrison in India. This seems remarkably pointless . . . . RAF men serving in South Africa, on the other hand, are welcome to stay after the war, says the Union Government. Sir John Slessor is to join the Air Council as Member for Personnel, replacing the retiring Air Marshal Sir Bertine Sutton. Seems like a strange posting for a high-flyer, but then there were the rumours about the early retirement to be a professor. I have decided, on no evidence whatsoever, that he is Tedder's deadly enemy, and am on the edge of my seat waiting to see how he manoeuvres out of this thorny predicament! 

Several Japanese aircraft factories have gone underground, it is reported. “the news of our 10 tonners should add weight to this. . .” General Arnold promises that combat wireless reports of aerial dog-fights will soon be available on American commercial radio, “bringing home to the listening public the sound and flavour of the airways. . .” He cannot mean what he seems to be saying here. Honestly: “American mothers: listen to your sons die! With commercials from . . .Kleenex.” I’ll say ‘Kleenex.' 

The Society of Model Aeronautical Engineers is building a clubhouse with a library and research section, subject to the success of its national appeal for £25,000 to pay for it. The arrival of P-61 Black Widows on Saipan is welcome relief for Americans stationed there, subject to Japanese night raiding. MPs Captain Robert Bernays and Mr. J. Dermot, missing since January 23rd on a flight from Rome to Brindisi, are feared dead. The air commander-in-chief in Italy has intimated that heads may roll.

“Sperry Attitude Gyro: Unrestricted Aritificial Horizon and Pitch Meridian: An Instrument which Indicates Attitude at All Times” Another wonder of powered-gyro design.

“Body Snatching” The idea of harness pickup of men on the ground by ropes dangling from aircraft has been . . heard, presumably ahead of actual experiments by the US Air Technical Service. Now there have been actual trials, and volunteer subject Lieutenant Alex Doster, lived to reports that while it was difficult and unpleasant, but that he is not dead, so, good news on that front. The bad news is that the Stinson Reliant has a recommended cruising speed of "brisk walk." I would imagine that too much play in the rope would lead to the pickup subject bouncing along the ground for a bit. 

 “Sir Stafford Statistics” Sir Stafford Cripps had a nice lunch with Sir Frederick Handley-Page, and then said nice things about the Halifax Group, now being wound up. At its peak, the combined LondonAircraft Production group (L.P.T.B., Chrysler, Duple Bodies, Express Motor and Body Works and Park Royal Coachworks) produced one aircraft an hour. (Which, since it means 9000 aircraft/year, means something other than 24 aircraft a day.) The Halifax, we are told, was designed in 1938-9, had first prototype flight in October 1939, and production began early in 1941. That’s fast? “One aircraft an hour” means 254,000 airframe parts an hour by the main firms plus 600 sub-contractors and  51,000 employees. Two-thirds of an acre of light alloy sheet went into each plane, three miles of rolled or drawn sections, 6 to 700,000 rivets closed an hour, three to four miles of electric cable, 1045 pipes. Peak production was 1200 Halifaxes in six months in 1944. Mr. Handley-Page thanked Sir George Nelson of English Electric, Lord Ashfield of LPTB, Sir William Rootes and his brother Reggie and Major Maurice Wright and Mr. Chichester-Smith of Fairey.

Captain K. J. G. Bartlett, “Air-Age Education: The Need for Realism in Short- and Long-term Planning” Captain Bartlett thinks that it is too much to teach air-geography and air-science and air-grammar and spelling in the schools. Wait till college.

They can learn about "research!"

“BOAC Wartime Services” Existed, Part II.

“Post-War Air Survey” The Air Minister has commissioned a review of the way that air survey will be done in Britain and the Colonies after the war. The RAF might have the equipment and expertise, but that doesn’t put the money in the hands of private contractors! Oh, just make them join the Volunteer Reserve and blur the distinction between private and public, like your Father did.

“British Air Transport” If anyone is going to talk about talking about civil aviation, it should be the Commons.

“the Capetown Conference” If you can’t get to London to talk about talking about civil aviation, there’s also Capetown. Story exclusive to this paper! (Forty-five hours London-Capetown, twice a week, with stops in Johannesburg, Kasamo, Nairobi, Khartoum, Cairo, Malta and London, later Salisbury, Rhodesia in place of Kasamo.

Civil Aviation News

New York Port Authority urges recognition of New York as a starting point for services to the Far East! There are signs of civil aviation in Costa Rica! Railwayair! Rage against Pan-Am’s monopoly! I almost feel dizzy when I get to the bottom of the column and read of proposed plans for an “air car ferry” to the Isle of Wight and a budget for airport development in Ireland (£2500 for Dublin Airport, for example), because those qualify as real news stories.


Claude Aldbury thinks that pilots should have Mach speed indicators.  Hilery Fitz-Halberd writes, in connection with the bending of metal airscrews versus the disintegration of wooden ones on striking things, that this is the reason metal airscrews are impractical in counter-rotating uses. The metal ones bend, then interfere with the next blade inside, causing a momentary check to the engine, causing an internal reaction which tears the engine right out of the plane. “Realist” writes that he is very upset about BBC’s “Brains Trust” mentioning air accidents. 

Mentioning air accidents will just lead people to believe that they happen. (Which they do, and that makes it even more important that no-one mention them!)

I hope that you do not miss Aero Digest this month, because my time has run short again for very good reasons which do not at all involve staying up till four in the morning to finish A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

1 comment:

  1. Fun fact: Trio had, as male leg of the trio, a certain Kirk Douglas- just invalided out of the Navy, just before he went west to start making movies.