Pigeons, Balloons & Radio: The Signal Corps

Grandmother’s friend William “Bill” McPhee was originally from Scotland (hence his exceptional game on the green). He was in the Army Air Corps and attended officers’ training at Fort Monmouth for the Signal Corps.

Boots, Bunks & Boys: Inside the Barracks

Besides card playing, it seems that a good portion of down-time was filled with photography inside the barracks. I can’t tell what the reward is for the honor barracks (below). A bowl with a beard? Grandmother’s “Bill” is William McPhee of Scotland and then Chicago. Bill enlisted at the age of 29 and will have…

The 34th

Grandmother’s “boys” in the 34th weren’t just famous in her eyes. The 34th Infantry Division was the first to be deployed to WWII Europe and scores of publications, organizations, and websites dedicated to the 34th (then and now) exist today. Above are two photographs from Thanksgiving 1942 at a hotel “somewhere in Ireland,” as well…

“No ice cream or cookies for flat-footed rookies.”

“Bless ’em All” was a popular wartime song with several variations. It appears that this transcription by Grandmother and her friend Polly is an amalgam of various existing versions, offering a humorous reflection of life in the barracks for the young men. When you were enjoying your own private life in a civilian suit, and…

Private Matthews is a POW in Stalag 3B. Buy bonds!

Walt survived! (Please see previous post, “18,000 Hinnies have been wiped out.”) Private Matthews spent about 840 days as a POW in German Stalag 3B near Fuerstenberg, Prussia, and was eventually liberated.

“18,000 Hinnies have been wiped out.”

Grandmother wrote beneath this communique, “A day at the front.” The communique’s observation of behavior “unlike the German tradition” is intriguing, but more so is the London Office using critical time and space in a communique to inject wartime humor: “The Germans now realize the value of a scrap of paper.” On the same scrapbook page, Grandmother…

Grandmother engaged…but not to Granddad!

Let’s start our grandmother-granddaughter scrapbook bonding off with a bang. Grandmother was in love with a WWII aerial gunner! There are no postcards, photos, or newspaper clippings regarding Mr. Kirkpatrick in her scrapbook…just this general announcement and her excited notes seen here. A quick online search shows that Kirkpatrick was an actor born around 1920…