Friday, July 16, 2021
Thursday, July 15, 2021
From the collection of the National Air and Space Museum Archives, HGC-1073
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Rosie the Riveter—the steely-eyed World War II heroine with her red bandanna, blue coveralls and flexed bicep—stands as one of America’s most indelible military images. Positioned under the maxim “We Can Do It,” the “Rosie” image has come to broadly represent the steadfast American working woman, and more specifically, the millions of female laborers who kept the factories and offices of the U.S. defense industries humming.
What the iconic Rosie image doesn’t convey is the diversity of that work force—specifically the more than half-million “Black Rosies” who worked alongside their white counterparts in the war effort. Coming from throughout the United States, these “Black Rosies” worked tirelessly—in shipyards and factories, along railroads, inside administrative offices and elsewhere—to fight both the foreign enemy of authoritarianism abroad and the familiar enemy of racism at home. For decades, they received little historical recognition or acknowledgement.
Like the Great War before it, World War II had required participating nations’ entire populations to contribute to the war effort. Once the U.S. entered the conflict in 1941 and millions of American men were enlisted into the military, the government had to rely on American women to fill domestic war-related roles. At the peak of the wartime industrial production, some 2 million women worked in war-related industries.
For African American women, becoming a Rosie was not only an opportunity to aid in the war effort, but also a chance for economic empowerment. Already on the move as part of the Great Migration, they sought to leave behind dead-end, often demeaning work as domestics and sharecroppers.
“Black people were leaving the south anyway and fanning out across the country,” says Gregory S. Cooke, director of Invisible Warriors, a documentary on the Black Rosies. “The war gave the women a more pointed motivation for leaving and an opportunity to make money in ways Black women had never dreamed before.”
At first, finding war-related work proved difficult for many prospective Black Rosies, as many employers—almost always white men—refused to hire Black women.
“The war represented this incredible opportunity, but Black women really had to rally and fight for the opportunity to even be considered,” says Dr. Maureen Honey, author of Bitter Fruit: African American Women in World War II and emeritus professor of women's and gender studies at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. “Many employers held out, attempting to only hire white women or white men, until they were forced to do otherwise.”
That coercion came in the summer of 1941 when activists Mary McLeod Bethune and A. Phillip Randolph brought the widespread hiring discrimination to President Franklin Roosevelt, prompting the Commander-in-Chief to sign Executive Order 8802 banning racial discrimination in the defense industry. The order boosted Black women's entry into the war effort; of the 1 million African Americans who entered paid service for the first time following 8802’s signing, 600,000 were women.
The roles Black Rosies played in the war effort ran the gamut. They worked in factories as sheet metal workers and munitions and explosive assemblers; in navy yards as shipbuilders and along assembly lines as electricians. They were administrators, welders, railroad conductors and more.
“It was work that you were proud of,” says Ruth Wilson, a 98-year-old Black Rosie living in Philadelphia.
During the war, Mrs. Wilson left her job as a domestic and became a sheet metal worker at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where she worked on the yard’s dry dock assembling ship bulkheads. “It made me feel good because my husband was over there in Europe fighting, and here I was doing my part,” Ms. Wilson said. Plus, she said, “I made more money!”
Industrial labor was just part of the wartime employment picture, says Dr. Honey: “All kinds of labor was highly valued and seen as ‘war jobs.’" Black Rosies worked in critical roles outside of the manual labor force, as computer scientists and clerk typists and in the fields as farmers, mining precious cotton needed for the bed linens and uniforms of American troops abroad.
Yet, despite their importance, Black Rosies still faced biting racism and sexism on the home front.
Both Black and white women were routinely paid 10 to 15 cents an hour lower than their male counterparts, despite equal pay regulations. Across the nation, Black workers received fewer benefits and were barred from controlling any union activities, with the shipbuilder’s union blocking Black people from membership altogether. And at Wagner Electric, a factory in St. Louis, despite a diverse workforce composed of 64 percent white women and 24 percent Black men, no Black women were hired.
“These struggles were a part of the Double V campaign,” says Dr. Honey, denoting the slogan used during World War II highlighting the struggle on two fronts that Black Americans found themselves fighting—for victory over freedom overseas and for victory over oppression at home.
Willie Mae Govan, another Rosie and one of three Black women who worked making gunpowder for the E.I. DuPont Corporation in Childersburg, Alabama, was nearly brought to tears when describing the sexual harassment she endured at the hands of male white bosses at her plant. This all while working a particularly dangerous job, which Ms. Govan believes contributed to frequent and intense migraine headaches for much of her life.
Bernice Bowman, who worked at the U.S. General Accounting Office as a clerk typist, says despite frequent promotions for her white coworkers, she was never offered a chance for advancement.
“The thing is, Black people, we were used to discrimination,” says Mrs. Wilson. “So we just did our best to ignore it and kept pushing on.”
In 1945, in a written report compiled at the end of the war, Kathryn Blood, a researcher or the Department of Labor studying the wartime contributions of Black women, wrote the following about the Black Rosies:
“The contribution [of Black women] is one which this nation would be unwise to forget or evaluate falsely.”
But for decades, the efforts of Black Rosies went largely unrecognized—until African American historians, playwrights and filmmakers like Mr. Cooke began, in the 21st century, shedding light on their contributions.
“These women, I truly believe, are some of the most significant women of the 20th century,” says Mr. Cooke.
“At the time, we didn’t really think about it as wanting recognition,” says Mrs. Wilson. “But now it does feel nice to know that the work we did is being remembered.”
From the collection of Library of Congress 1a35371u
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Saturday, July 3, 2021
Erich Bey (23 March 1898 – 26 December 1943) joined the Kaiserliche Marine on 13 June 1916 and served in its destroyer arm. Following the end of World War I, he stayed in the navy and continued his career with the rise of the Nazi Party in power in Germany. By the start of World War II was a Fregattenkapitän (frigate captain).
Bey led the 4th Destroyer Flotilla, consisting of the destroyers Z11 Bernd von Arnim, Z12 Erich Giese and Z13 Erich Koellner, as part of Kommodore Friedrich Bonte's force that carried General Eduard Dietl's mountain troops for the occupation of Narvik during the German invasion of Norway on 9 April 1940. In the following Battles of Narvik on 10 April and 13 April, Bey distinguished himself by leading a small group of destroyers in a brave though doomed action against a superior Royal Navy force that included the battleship HMS Warspite.
Bey was awarded with the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 9 May 1940. The next day he was promoted to Captain and appointed commander of the German destroyer force (Führer der Zerstörer), succeeding Commodore Bonte, who had been killed on 10 April in the first Battle of Narvik. Bey then commanded the destroyer screen protecting the ships of the Brest Group (Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Prinz Eugen) during Operation Cerberus (the “Channel Dash”) in February 1942. Of the three, Scharnhorst suffered extensive damage, having struck a naval mine laid off the Dover Straits.
Promoted to Konteradmiral (Rear Admiral), on Christmas Day, 25 December 1943, Bey led a task force consisting of the battleship Scharnhorst and the destroyers Z29, Z30, Z33, Z34 and Z38 out of Alta Fjord in Operation Ostfront. The first and only surface sortie ordered by Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz, Bey's objective was to intercept the Allied Convoy JW 55B en route to Murmansk.
Bey's initial force of Scharnhorst and five destroyers was superior to the convoy's escorting British cruisers and destroyers in terms of firepower. However, Bey's flagship was outmatched by Admiral Bruce Fraser's battleship HMS Duke of York which led another Royal Navy fleet shadowing the convoy. Scharnhorst was expected to use her speed to avoid an engagement with Duke of York.
Poor weather, heavy seas and inadequate Luftwaffe reconnaissance prevented Bey from initially locating the convoy, so he detached his destroyers to fan out and assist in the search. However, the storm meant that Bey's destroyers ending up playing no part in the battle. Bey guessed correctly and Scharnhorst then managed to locate the convoy by herself. In the first engagement of the ensuing Battle of North Cape, while trading fire with the British convoy's screening cruisers, Scharnhorst's radar was destroyed, rendering her blind. Scharnhorst was then caught by the more powerful HMS Duke of York and suffered critical damage before being sunk after several torpedo hits from British cruisers. Of Scharnhorst's crew of 1,968, Royal Navy vessels fished 36 men alive from the icy sea, not one of them an officer.
Decorations & Awards:
- Ritterkreuz (7): am 09.05.1940 als Kapitän zur See und Chef 4. Zerstörerflottille
- 1914 EK II
- Hamburgisches Hanseatenkreuz
- Kgl. Preuss. Rettungsmedaille am Bande
- Ehrenkreuz für Frontkämpfer
- Wehrmacht-Dienstauszeichnung IV. bis II. Klasse
- Medaille zur Erinnerung an den 1. Oktober 1938
- Medaille zur Erinnerung an die Heimkehr des Memellandes
- 1939 EK I: 20.11.1939
- Spange zum EK II: 16.10.1939
- Zerstörer-Kriegsabzeichen: 00.10.1940
- Narvikschild: 1940
- im Wehrmachtbericht genannt: 27.12.1943
Thursday, July 1, 2021
Wednesday, June 30, 2021
In the summer of 1942, Karl Schmitt – head of the Wehrmacht mining division in Liège, Belgium – went to Berlin on vacation with his wife. On the way, he visited the Zeithain prisoner of war camp in Saxony. The Soviet POWs were ordered to present themselves for inspection with the aim of deploying them to Belgian mines under German control. They were accordingly checked for physical fitness. Karl Schmitt decided who was to be transported to Belgium and who was not.
Soviet prisoners of war were frequently put to work in mines. The Reich Security Main Office had ruled that they could be employed only in work gangs kept separate from German workers. The authorities considered the mines particularly suitable in that respect.
In September 1942, the prisoner of war camp was closed, and the remaining prisoners of war (by that time more than ten thousand) were transferred to the Leuven camp in Belgium, from where they were sent to the mines of Belgium and Northern France for forced labor – to extract coal. The photo is disinfected before transport to Belgium.
Saturday, June 19, 2021
Hermann Hogeback, the son of a tax inspector, was born on 25 August 1914 in Idar-Oberstein at the time in the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg, a state of the German Empire. Growing up in Münster from 1921 on he graduated with his Abitur (diploma) in 1934. After his graduation, Hogeback joined the military service as an officer cadet in the 9th Company of Infantry Regiment 15, 5th Division of the Reichswehr in Kassel. Following his officers training he transferred to the Luftwaffe a year later where he received his pilot training at Neuruppin, Ludwigslust and at the R.B.-Strecke of the Deutsche Luft Hansa. During this training period he was promoted to Leutnant (second lieutenant) on 1 June 1936. After he completed his bomber pilot training he transferred to the III./Lehrgeschwader Greifswald (3rd group of Demonstration Wing Greifswald), which was formed on 1 April 1937 and later became the III./Lehrgeschwader 1 (LG 1—1st Demonstration Wing). Hogeback then transferred to the II./Kampfgeschwader 355 (2nd group of the 355th Bomber Wing) on 1 May 1938 and to Kampfgeschwader 253 (243rd Bomber Wing) on 1 September 1938.
Following his promotion to Oberleutnant (first lieutenant) Hogeback volunteered for combat service with the Condor Legion (Legion Condor) where he flew more than 100 missions in the Spanish Civil War. The Condor Legion was a unit composed of volunteers from the Luftwaffe and from the German Army (Heer) which served in the Spanish Civil War in support of the Nationalists. His Heinkel He 111 was shot down by republican anti-aircraft artillery on his first mission with 1. Kampfgruppe 88 in Spain. The mission was to attack positions at Móra d'Ebre and Ebro. Hogeback's starboard engine was hit and caught fire. Attempting to return to Zaragoza-Sanjurjo, he had to give the order to abandon the aircraft. The combat observer, Poppenhagen, and the flight engineer, Hermann, managed to bail out but the radio operator Unteroffizier Gerhard Pacht, was wounded and failed to escape. Hogeback bailed out as well but sustained skull and lung injuries when he struck the antenna and vertical stabilizer and came down in no man's land where he was recovered the following night. For his services in Spain he was awarded the Spanish Cross in Gold with Swords in June 1939.
At the outbreak of World War II on 1 September 1939, Hogeback was back with III./LG 1 where he flew the He 111 in combat missions in the Invasion of Poland. His Gruppe (group) converted to the then new Junkers Ju 88 at the beginning of 1940. He flew further combat missions in the Battle of France. In summer of 1940 he flew missions against England in what would become the Battle of Britain, including 28 missions over London.
Hogeback and III./LG 1 was relocated to Sicily for operations in the siege of Malta and on 20 January 1941 he was appointed Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of the 8./LG 1. On one of his first missions in the Mediterranean theatre he was credited with the sinking of a 10,000 gross register tons (GRT) freighter. His Ju 88 came under attack from 12 British fighters during an aerial reconnaissance flight over the Mediterranean Sea in July 1941. The British fighters broke off the attack following aerial combat, during the course of which Hogeback's radio operator Feldwebel (Sergeant) Willy Lehnert managed to shoot down two of the attackers.
On 8 September 1941, after 163 combat missions, Oberleutnant Hogeback received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) from the hands of Fliegerführer Afrika Generalmajor (Major General) Stefan Fröhlich at Derna in North Africa. On 20 February 1943, for his leadership of III.(Kampf)/LG 1, Hogeback was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub), the 192nd German soldier so honoured. The award was presented at the Wolf's Lair, or Wolfsschanze (Führer Headquarters, at Rastenburg, East Prussia) in early March 1943. Hogeback together with Hauptmann Erwin Fischer, an aerial reconnaissance pilot with Fernaufklärungs-Gruppe 121 (Long–range Reconnaissance Group 121), received the award directly from Adolf Hitler. At this presentation Hitler commented that eligibility for high awards was most difficult to achieve for reconnaissance pilots, next were the bomber pilots, and last and most easy for the "fine gentlemen" from the fighter force. Hitler then said that this procedure would be changed before inviting them to tea along with Luftwaffe adjutant Oberst Nicolaus von Below.
On 12 August 1943 Hogeback was appointed to succeed Oberst Walter Storp as Geschwaderkommodore (Wing Commander) of Kampfgeschwader 6 (KG 6—6th Bomber Wing) and was promoted to Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel) with effect from 1 May 1944. On 18 October 1944 KG 6, along with Kampfgeschwader 27 (KG 27—27th Bomber Wing), Kampfgeschwader 30 (KG 30—30th Bomber Wing) and Kampfgeschwader 55 (KG 55—55th Bomber Wing) were subordinated to the newly formed IX. (J) Fliegerkorps. KG 6 received the suffix "J" to its name—J stands for Jagd (fighter aircraft)—and was now known as Kampfgeschwader (J) 6, denoting its fighter aircraft character. Hogeback ordered all the remaining Junkers Ju 88 and Junkers Ju 188 units transferred to other units. KG(J) 6 then transferred to Prague for conversion to the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter.
Between 1943 and 1945 every member of Hogeback's Junkers Ju 88 crew was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, making it the most highly and only so decorated crew in the Luftwaffe. Air gunner Oberfeldwebel Günter Glasner—crew member since early 1940—received the Knight's Cross on 31 December 1943, radio operator Oberfeldwebel Willy Lehnert—crew member since March 1941—on 5 April 1944, and observer Fahnenjunker-Oberfeldwebel Wilhelm Dipberger—crew member since 1940—on 9 January 1945.
Following the German capitulation in May 1945, Hogeback was taken prisoner of war by United States Army forces. He was held captive in London, England, and at Sainte-Mère-Église, France, before being released in September 1945.
After the war Hermann Hogeback studied law and worked in the automobile industry. He died on 15 February 2004 in Dötlingen, Lower Saxony, and was buried with full military honors.
Awards and Decorations :
Medalla de la Campaña (4 May 1939)
Spanish Medalla Militar
Spanienkreuz in Gold mit Schwertern (6 June 1939)
Frontflugspange der Luftwaffe in Gold with Pennant "500"
Flugzeugführer- und Beobachterabzeichen
Italian aviator badge
Verwundetenabzeichen in Schwarz
Eisernes Kreuz II.Klasse (20 May 1940)
Eisernes Kreuz I.Klasse (26 September 1940)
Deutsches Kreuz in Gold on 24 September 1942 as Hauptmann in the III./LG 1
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 8 September 1941 as Oberleutnant and Staffelkapitän of the 9.(K)/LG 1
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub #192 on 19 February 1943 as Hauptmann and Gruppenkommandeur of the III./LG 1
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern #125 on 26 January 1945 as Oberstleutnant and Geschwaderkommodore of KG 6
Thursday, June 17, 2021
Reinhard Gehlen (3 April 1902 – 8 June 1979) was a German lieutenant-general and intelligence officer. He was chief of the Wehrmacht Foreign Armies East military intelligence service on the eastern front during World War II, spymaster of the CIA-affiliated anti-Communist Gehlen Organisation (1946–56) and the founding president of the Federal Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst, BND) of West Germany (1956–68) during the Cold War.
Gehlen became a professional soldier in 1920 during the Weimar Republic. In 1942, he became chief of FHO, the German Army's military intelligence unit on the Eastern Front (1941–45). He achieved the rank of major general before being fired by Adolf Hitler in April 1945 because of the FHO’s "defeatism", the pessimistic intelligence reports about Red Army superiority.
In late 1945, at the start of the Cold War, the U.S. military (G-2 Intelligence) recruited him to establish the Gehlen Organisation, an espionage network against the Soviet Union, which employed former military officers of the Wehrmacht and former intelligence officers of the Schutzstaffel (SS) and the Sicherheitsdienst (SD). As head of the Gehlen Organization Gehlen sought cooperation with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) which was formed in 1947, and the Gehlen Organization eventually became a close affiliate of the CIA.
Gehlen was instrumental in the negotiations to establish an official West German intelligence service on the basis of Gehlen Organization from the early 1950s. In 1956, the Gehlen Organization was transferred to the West German government and formed the core of the Federal Intelligence Service, the Federal Republic of Germany's official foreign intelligence service, and Gehlen served as its first president until his retirement in 1968. While this was a civilian office, he was also a lieutenant-general in the Reserve forces of the Bundeswehr, the highest-ranking reserve-officer in the military of West Germany. He received the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1968.
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Sunday, June 6, 2021
Saturday, May 29, 2021
In Germany, the rough equivalent of Memorial Day and Armistice Day is known as Volkstrauertag. This word does not translate well into English. One rough literal translation would be People's Mourning Day. In 1935 after the Nazi takeover of power, they renamed Volkstrauertag as Heldengedenktag, which is roughly translated into English as Memory of Heroes Day. Heldengedenktag became a significant propaganda event in Nazi Germany. After 1945, the use of the term Heldengedenktag was abandoned because of its close association with the Nazi government.
Monday, May 24, 2021
German 212. Infanterie-Division stationed in France, 1941. This impressive bridge is Viaduc de Dinan in Brittany. Dinan is without doubt one of the most attractive and best preserved small towns in Brittany. With its 1.8 mile (3km)-long ramparts, half-timbered houses, attractive port and cobbled streets filled with art galleries and craft shops. Wherever you are, you won’t miss the 131ft (40m)-high viaduct. From the estate of Eugen Kastner.
Akira Takiguchi photo collection
Akira Takiguchi photo collection
Sunday, May 23, 2021
Air Vice Marshal Donald Clifford Tyndall Bennett, CB, CBE, DSO (14 September 1910 - 15 September 1986) was an Australian aviation pioneer and bomber pilot who rose to be the youngest air vice marshal in the Royal Air Force. He led the "Pathfinder Force" (No. 8 Group RAF) from 1942 to the end of the Second World War in 1945. He has been described as "one of the most brilliant technical airmen of his generation: an outstanding pilot, a superb navigator who was also capable of stripping a wireless set or overhauling an engine".
During 1940 Bennett's long-distance expertise was set to work setting up the Atlantic Ferry Organization tasked with the wartime delivery of thousands of aircraft manufactured in the United States and Canada to the United Kingdom. At that time, a transatlantic flight was a significant event, but the Atlantic Ferry project proved remarkably successful and demonstrated that with suitable training even inexperienced pilots could safely deliver new aircraft across the North Atlantic.
Bennett was recommissioned in 1941 in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve as a squadron leader. His first task was to oversee the formation of the Elementary Air Navigation School, Eastbourne, for the initial training of observers (later navigators). However he was promoted to wing commander, and appointed to the command of No. 77 Squadron, based at RAF Leeming and flying Whitleys in 4 Group, Bomber Command, on 7 December 1941.
In April 1942, No. 77 Squadron was transferred to Coastal Command and Bennett was given command of No. 10 Squadron (Handley Page Halifax) and shortly afterwards led a raid on the German battleship Tirpitz. Shot down during that raid, he evaded capture and escaped to Sweden, from where he was able to return to Britain; he and his copilot were awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) on 16 June 1942.
In July 1942, Bennett was appointed to command the new Pathfinder Force, an elite unit tasked with improving RAF Bomber Command's navigation. At this stage of the war, Bomber Command had begun to make night-time raids deep into Germany, but had not yet been able to cause significant damage, largely because only about a quarter of the bomb loads were delivered "on target"—and this at a time when "on target" was defined as within three miles of the aim point.
Pathfinder Force was set up to lead the bomber stream to the target areas and drop markers for the remainder of the force to aim at. Later in the war, the Pathfinder Force would be equipped with a range of newly developed and often highly effective electronic aids, but the initial object was to simply take experienced crews with standard equipment and hone their navigation skills.
Having already demonstrated that he could pass on his meticulous navigational ability to others, Bennett was an obvious choice for the role, yet nevertheless a surprising one. The Air Ministry's Directorate of Bomber Operations had for some time been pushing to establish an elite precision bombing force, but Bomber Command AOC-in-C Air Chief Marshal Arthur Harris was implacably opposed to the idea on the grounds that it would "lower the morale" of the other squadrons.
When Harris learned that Vice-Chief of the Air Staff Sir Wilfrid Freeman planned to order the change, and that the strong-willed Basil Embry would probably be given command of the new force, Harris bowed to the inevitable, but was given a "more or less free hand" in selection of the force commander. He chose to appoint Bennett without considering other candidates. Harris described Bennett as "the most efficient airman I have ever met". Bennett was called to Bomber Command HQ when he was on the point of leaving with his squadron for the Middle East. There he was informed by Harris that he was to lead a special force to make use of the new bombing and navigational aids then available and the more sophisticated ones that would follow. With effect of the 5 July he was promoted to group captain.
In 1943 Bennett was promoted with the upgrading of PFF to group status to air commodore, and then in December to acting air vice-marshal — the youngest ever to hold that rank – giving him a rank similar to those of the other commanders of groups. He remained in command of the Pathfinder Force until the end of the war, overseeing its growth to an eventual 19 squadrons, a training flight and a meteorological flight, working relentlessly to improve its standards, and tirelessly campaigning for better equipment, in particular for more Mosquitos and Lancasters to replace the diverse assortment of often obsolete aircraft with which the force started.
Bennett was not a popular leader: a personally difficult and naturally aloof man, he earned a great deal of respect from his crews but little affection. As Harris wrote, "he could not suffer fools gladly, and by his own high standards there were many fools". Nor did Bennett get on well with the other RAF group commanders: not only was he 20 years younger, he was an Australian. Indeed, Bennett saw his own appointment in those terms: it was, he believed, a victory for the "players" over the "gentlemen". There was antagonism between Bennett and Air Vice-Marshal Ralph Cochrane of No. 5 Group. In 5 Group's 617 Squadron, Cochrane had his own specialist squadron pursuing high levels of accuracy.
Despite the unquestioned achievements of No. 8 Group, at the end of the war Bennett was the only bomber group commander not to be knighted. He resigned his commission in the RAF, and returned to private life to pursue a variety of activities. He became a director of British South American Airways, and designed and built both cars (Fairthorpes) and light aircraft.
One of his darkest hours after the war came on 12 March 1950, when an aircraft operated on charter by his airline Fairflight crashed at Llandow in Wales.
Bennett became one of the shortest-serving Members of Parliament (MPs) of the 20th century when he was elected at a by-election in 1945 as Liberal MP for Middlesbrough West. He was defeated soon afterwards in the 1945 general election — his parliamentary career having lasted all of 73 days. He had previously attempted to be selected as a Conservative candidate for Macclesfield in February 1944. One of his fellow candidates was Guy Gibson; Gibson was selected instead.
Attempts to return to the House of Commons for Croydon North at a by-election in 1948 and in Norwich North at the 1950 general election were unsuccessful. A later attempt at the 1967 Nuneaton by-election, standing for the obscure National Party, resulted in his losing his deposit. He continued his support for far-right fringe parties during the 1970s as a patron of the National Independence Party. At the February 1974 general election, he stood against the incumbent Conservative prime minister Ted Heath in Sidcup, under the banner "Anti-EEC" (in opposition to Britain's membership of the European Economic Community). He came last, winning just 1.5% of the vote.
In 1958, an autobiography entitled Pathfinder, detailing his experiences throughout the war, was published by Frederick Muller Ltd.
After the closure of Blackbushe Airport in 1960 by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Bennett purchased three-quarters of the Aerodrome from the Calthorpe Estate and set about reopening the airport as a general aviation facility. He was successful and Blackbushe reopened on 6 October 1962. Bennett fought a planning battle with local councils to develop Blackbushe with new hangar facilities. At the time he faced a lot of opposition from local residents, councils, and the ministry. Ultimately many of the efforts to establish modern facilities at Blackbushe were unsuccessful, and he subsequently sold the airport to Doug Arnold.
Bennett died at the age of 76 on Battle of Britain Day, 15 September 1986.
General Sir Nevil Charles Dowell Brownjohn, GBE, KCB, CMG, MC (25 July 1897 - 21 April 1973) was a senior British Army officer who served as Quartermaster-General to the Forces from 1956 until his retirement in 1958.
Brownjohn was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1915. He served in the First World War, where he was awarded the Military Cross. In 1927 he was sent, as a captain, to China to protect the international settlement in Shanghai; he used his skills as a Russian speaker to raise a company of White Russians.
Attending the Staff College, Camberley from 1931 to 1932, he also served in the Second World War, rising to be major general in charge of supplies to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, in 1943. He then became Deputy Chief of Staff at General Eisenhower's Headquarters in 1944 before being appointed Deputy Quartermaster-General in the Middle East later that year.
After the war he took charge of Administration for the British Army of the Rhine and then joined the Control Commission (British Sector) for Germany in 1947. He became Vice Quartermaster General at the War Office in 1949 and Vice Chief of Imperial General Staff in 1950. He was Chief Staff Officer at the Ministry of Defence from 1952 to 1955 when he became Quartermaster-General to the Forces; he retired in 1958.
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Lieutenant-General Ronald Morce Weeks, 1st Baron Weeks KCB, CBE, DSO, MC & Bar, TD (13 November 1890 - 19 August 1960) was a British Army general during the Second World War.
Weeks was commissioned into the South Lancashire Regiment of the Territorial Army in 1913. He served in the Rifle Brigade during the First World War and then retired from military service in 1919.
He was re-employed during the Second World War, initially as Chief of Staff for the Territorial Division and then as a brigadier on the General Staff of Home Forces in 1940. He was promoted to acting major-general on 17 March 1941 and was appointed Director General of Army Equipment in 1941 and Deputy Chief of the Imperial General Staff in 1942. He then became Deputy Military Governor and Chief of Staff of the British Zone for the Allied Control Council in Germany in 1945; in that capacity he was involved in negotiations to avoid the Berlin Blockade. He retired from the British Army later that year.
He was awarded the Military Cross in 1917, and a Bar to the Military Cross in 1918. He was appointed to the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in 1918, made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1939 and a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in 1943.
After the war, Weeks became Chairman of Vickers. In 1956 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Weeks, of Ryton in the County Palatine of Durham.
George Burchett (born August 23, 1872 in Brighton as George Burchett Davis, † April 3, 1953) was one of the most famous tattoo artists of the turn of the century; he was also referred to as the King of the Tattooists.
Burchett was born George Burchett-Davis on 23 August 1872 in the English seaside town of Brighton, East Sussex. He was expelled from school at age 12 for tattooing his classmates and joined the Royal Navy at age 13. (Boys as young as that age could enlist in those days.) He developed his tattooing skills while travelling overseas as a deckhand on HMS Vincent. After absconding from the Navy, he returned to England.
With studios on Mile End Road and at 72 Waterloo Road, London, Burchett became the first star tattooist and a favourite among the wealthy upper class and European royalty. Among his customers were King Alfonso XIII of Spain, King Frederick IX of Denmark, and performer Horace "The Great Omi" Ridler. Though it was reputed that he tattooed the "Sailor King" George V of the United Kingdom, there is no reliable evidence to attest to this actually being the case.
He constantly designed new tattoos from his worldwide travel, incorporating African, Japanese and Southeast Asian motifs into his work. In the 1930s, he developed cosmetic tattooing with such techniques as permanently darkening eyebrows.
He continued tattooing until his sudden death on Good Friday in 1953 at the age of 80. A purported autobiography, Memoirs of a Tattooist, edited by Peter Leighton (a pseudonym of writer Edward Spiro, also known as EH Cookridge), was published in 1958 by Oldbourne Book Company, five years after Burchett's death. This work included photographs illustrating some of Burchett's tattoo designs. Recent research has revealed that, despite the claims made in the foreword, the text was not actually compiled and edited from Burchett's own notes, but cribbed quickly from newspaper articles made shortly after Burchett's death.
Sir Wilfrid Gordon Lindsell, GBE, KCB, DSO, MC (born September 29, 1884 in Portsmouth; † May 2, 1973) was a British Lieutenant General in the British Army, who was last among other things Colonel Commandant of the Royal Artillery between 1945 and 1950.
He was promoted to major-general in command of Administration for Southern Command, 1938-1939 and was appointed the quartermaster-general on mobilisation of the British Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium, 1939-1940, until the evacuation from Dunkirk. After Dunkirk he became quartermaster-general of Home Forces and set about re-building the army from Kneller Hall in Twickenham. After a year he became senior military advisor to the Ministry of Supply under Sir Andrew Duncan and Lord Beaverbrook. In less than a year the army had thirteen fully equipped and trained divisions to repel a German invasion. In 1942 he became one of General Montgomery's team to revitalise the Eighth Army as lieutenant-general in charge of administration in GHQ Middle East. In a broadcast concerning the capture of Tripoli the British Secretary for War, Sir P.J. Grigg, said that much of the credit for the Eighth Army's phenomenal advance was due to the quartermaster-general's staff under Lt General Sir Wilfrid Lindsell. During the Second World War he was mentioned in dispatches on three more occasions.
At the end of 1943 he moved east to become principal administrative officer in GHQ India prepared General Slim's Fourteenth Army to attack the Japanese in Burma. Here he played the most significant role in mobilising Indian resources, establishing production capabilities and building the foundations for the Indian defence industry. After returning from India he was attached to the Board of Trade to co-ordinate the clearing of factories for peacetime production.
He retired from the army in December 1945. He was awarded the Legion of Merit honour by the American government with Degree of Commander on 17 October 1946.
He became governor and commandant of the Church Lads' Brigade (1948-1954) and was a Church Commissioner (1948-1959). From 1946 to 1955 he was chairman of the board of Ely Breweries. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Aberdeen University.
He married Marjorie Ellis (died 1957) (OBE 1946). They had two daughters and a son who died in infancy. In 1958 he married Evelyn Nairn (died 1982). He died in London on 2 May 1973.
General Hastings Lionel "Pug" Ismay, 1st Baron Ismay KG, GCB, CH, DSO, PC, DL (21 June 1887 - 17 December 1965), was a British Indian Army officer and diplomat, remembered primarily for his role as Winston Churchill's chief military assistant during the Second World War and his service as the first Secretary General of NATO from 1952 to 1957.
Ismay was born in Nainital, India, in 1887, and educated in the United Kingdom at the Charterhouse School and Royal Military College, Sandhurst. After Sandhurst, he joined the Indian Army as an officer of the 21st Prince Albert Victor's Own Cavalry. During the First World War, he served with the Camel Corps in British Somaliland, where he joined in the British fight against the "Mad Mullah", Mohammed Abdullah Hassan. In 1925, Ismay became an Assistant Secretary of the Committee of Imperial Defence (CID). After being promoted to the rank of colonel, he served as the military secretary for Lord Willingdon, the Viceroy of India, then returned to the CID as Deputy Secretary in 1936.
On 1 August 1938, shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, Ismay became the Committee's Secretary and began planning for the impending war. In May 1940, when Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, he selected Ismay as his chief military assistant and staff officer. In that capacity, Ismay served as the principal link between Churchill and the Chiefs of Staff Committee. Ismay also accompanied Churchill to many of the Allied war conferences. For Ismay's advice and aid, "Churchill owed more, and admitted that he owed more" to him "than to anybody else, military or civilian, in the whole of the war."
After the end of the war, Ismay remained in the army for another year, and helped to reorganise the Ministry of Defence. He then retired from the military and served as Lord Mountbatten of Burma's Chief of Staff in India, helping to oversee its partition. From 1948 to 1951, he served as chairman of the council of the Festival of Britain, helping to organise and promote the event. Then, in 1951, when Churchill again became Prime Minister, he appointed Ismay Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. Ismay accepted the position, but resigned after only six months to become the first Secretary General of NATO in 1952. He served in this role until 1957, and helped establish and define the position. After retiring from NATO, Ismay wrote his memoirs, The Memoirs of General Lord Ismay, served on a variety of corporate boards, and co-chaired the Ismay–Jacob Committee, which reorganised the Ministry of Defence once again. He died on 17 December 1965, at his home, Wormington Grange, Gloucestershire.
James Maurice Gavin (March 22, 1907 - February 23, 1990), sometimes called "Jumpin' Jim" and "The Jumping General", was a senior United States Army officer, with the rank of lieutenant general, who was the third Commanding General (CG) of the 82nd Airborne Division during World War II. During the war, he was often referred to as "The Jumping General" because of his practice of taking part in combat jumps with the paratroopers under his command; he was the only American general officer to make four combat jumps in the war.
Gavin was the youngest major general to command an American division in World War II, being only 37 upon promotion, and the youngest lieutenant general after the war, in March 1955. He was awarded two Distinguished Service Crosses and several other decorations for his service in the war. During combat, he was known for his habit of carrying an M1 rifle, typically carried by enlisted U.S. infantry soldiers, instead of the M1 carbine, which officers customarily carried.
Gavin also worked against segregation in the U.S. Army, which gained him some notoriety. After the war, Gavin served asUnited States Ambassador to France from 1961 to 1962.
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From the collection of the National Air and Space Museum Archives, XRA-1205
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
National Archives and Records Administration 127-GW-137979
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
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US AIR FORCE photo collection
US AIR FORCE photo collection