World War II era British War Propaganda Posters

Source: Robert Lee Ghormley Papers East Carolina Manuscript Collection #1153

Don't Help the Enemy Poster Series

Don't Help the Enemy Poster Series

Don't Help the Enemy Poster Series

Don't Help the Enemy Poster Series

Staff Person: Dale Sauter

Description:

Today’s staff pick features two of the many World War II era British war propaganda posters that are held in the Robert Lee Ghormley Papers. Vice Admiral Robert Lee Ghormley, a member of the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1906, served as Director of the War Plans Division in the Office of Chief of Naval Operations from 1939-1940. His World War II career also included service as President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Special Naval Observer in Europe (August 1940-April 1942), Commander, South Pacific Area & South Pacific Force (April-October 1942), Commander of the Fourteenth Naval District & the Hawaiian Sea Frontier (1943-1944) and Commander of United States Naval Forces in Europe (1944-1945).

A detailed preliminary inventory can be found at the following link.

http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/special/ead/findingaids/1153/

For more information on this collection or any other collections we hold, please contact us for further details.

WWII Prisoner of War Camp, Williamston, N.C., 1943-1945

Source: Francis M. Manning Collection, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #488

Staff Person: Martha Elmore

Description:

By 1943, the U.S. government had thousands of Italian and German prisoners who were in need of housing in areas away from the war theatre for security purposes. It was decided to bring the prisoners to the United States and house them in POW camps, which solved the security problem and eased the economic problem of feeding and clothing the prisoners in overseas prisons.

Eventually there were one hundred camps set up throughout the nation which housed a total of 130,000 German and 50,000 Italian prisoners of war. North Carolina had fifteen branch camps and two base camps. The original inhabitants at this camp were Italians, but after assimilation problems they were replaced by German prisoners in the spring of 1944. The German prisoners participated in work release programs regulated according to the Geneva Convention rules and they were paid for their labor. Many of the prisoners worked as farm laborers and they proved to be hard workers.

Most accounts of the time indicate that the prisoners and the Martin County residents worked out a successful working relationship that also involved culture exchanges. The photograph below is one of several of the Williamston POW camp found in this collection and is believed to have been taken by Eugene Rice.

Sources for this description were an article written by Elizabeth Roberson titled “Our Friends the Enemy” that appeared in the August 1984 issue of The State magazine and an article by Iris N. Cooke titled “World War II Prisoner of War Camp” in the Martin County Heritage book. These publications can be found in the North Carolina Collection.

Aerial view of WWII POW Camp in Williamston, N.C.

Aerial view of WWII POW Camp in Williamston, N.C.

Francis M. Manning (1903-1982) was the longtime editor of the Williamston Enterprise and the Robersonville Weekly Herald. For more information concerning the Francis M. Manning Collection, go to http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/special/ead/findingaids/0488/.

V-Mail Easter Greeting

Source: Preliminary Inventory of the Saunders Family Collection, 1941-1945, East Carolina Manuscript Collection, #964

Easter V-Mail

Easter V-Mail

Staff Person: Nanette Hardison

Description:

The image that is shown is a V-mail Easter greeting dated April 7, 1943 from Staff Sgt. Jack Mitchell to his wife in Bedford, Virginia. Sgt. Mitchell sent the card while stationed in England. The item is from the Saunders Family Collection (#964.1.b.i).

V-mail or Victory Mail was used during World War II to deliver mail between those at home in the U.S. and troops serving abroad. Mail was reduced to thumb-nail size on reels of microfilm, which weighed much less than the original letters. The film reels were shipped by priority air freight (when possible) to the U.S., sent to prescribed destinations for enlarging at receiving stations near the recipients, and printed onto lightweight photo paper. Facsimiles of these letter-sheets were then reproduced at about one-quarter the original size, and the miniature mail was delivered to the addressee. This saved considerable weight and bulk during a time when both would have been problematic. It also eliminated the threat of spies using microdots or invisible ink to send reports, since any microdot would not be photographed with enough resolution to be read. A disadvantage, of course, was the size of the correspondence.

Japanese Surrender Photograph, 2 September 1945

 

Japanese Surrender, U.S.S. Missouri, Tokyo Bay 2 September 1945

Japanese Surrender, U.S.S. Missouri, Tokyo Bay 2 September 1945

Source: Frank A. Armstrong, Jr. Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #35

Staff Person: Jonathan Dembo

Description:

The photograph below is one of the most famous in any of our collections. It shows Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz (1885-1966) signing the Instrument of Surrender on board the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) during the formal ceremony ending World War II. Standing behind him are representatives of the victorious Allied Powers including General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, who had already signed the Instrument of Surrender as Supreme Allied Commander. Standing to MacArthur’s immediate left are Admirals William F. Halsey, Commander, Third Fleet, and Forrest Sherman, Deputy Chief of Staff to Admiral Nimitz. What makes this print special is that Admiral Chester W. Nimitz autographed it for his Air Force friend and comrade, Frank A. Armstrong, Jr. He then added in the bottom margin the following sentiment:

    “To Brigadier General Frank A. Armstrong, Jr., USAF – with best wishes and great appreciation for your contribution to the war effort that made possible this above scene. C. W. Nimitz – Fleet Admiral.”

Admiral Nimitz is perhaps the most illustrious naval commander in American history. He had taken command of all American naval forces in the Pacific in December 1941 just after Pearl Harbor when the United States was at its lowest point. As Commander-in-Chief U. S. Pacific Fleet (CINCPAC) he led the Navy in many desperate battles with the Japanese Navy, achieving success after success until final victory was won. In recognition of his accomplishment, President Franklin D. Roosevelt promoted Nimitz to Fleet Admiral in December 1944 the day after Congress created the rank.

Brigadier General Frank A. Armstrong, Jr. (1902-1969) had commanded the 315th Bomb Wing, based in Guam, from April to August 1945. Previously, he had helped organize and lead the first successful American bombing campaign against Germany from 1941 to 1943. His experiences there became the basis of Sy Bartlett Beirne Lay Jr.’s novel, film, and TV series Twelve O’clock High. He is credited with having commanded and flown on both the first and the last American bombing missions of World War II. The photograph is from his papers housed in Joyner Library’s Special Collections Department.

Following the war Nimitz served a term as Chief of Naval Operations until retiring from active service in 1947. At the time of his death, he was the nation’s last surviving fleet admiral.Armstrong remained in the Air Force and rose to become a Lieutenant General and commander of the Alaskan Air Command. He retired in 1962. His son, Frank A. Armstrong, III, also became an Air Force officer and was killed in action during the Vietnam War.Source: Japanese Surrender Photograph (2 September 1945) Tokyo, Japan. Frank A. Armstrong, Jr. Papers #35.17.gYou may access the finding aid to the Frank A. Armstrong, Jr. Papers at http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/special/ead/findingaids/0035/

Click on the image itself to see an enlarged version.

WW II Japanese Souvenir Flag

Source: U.S. Navy Memorial Collection, Jim Will Spry Papers, undated, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #677.082

Staff Person: Dale Sauter

Description:

Japanese Flag

Japanese Flag

This item is believed to be a souvenir flag obtained by an American soldier from a Japanese soldier. At the request of Lynette Lundin (preservation and conservation specialist in Special Collections), the flag was recently interpreted by Dr. Nobuaki Takahashi, an assistant professor at ECU. The results were quite interesting. The flag was presented to a drafted Japanese soldier, Nakamura (surname), Tomezoo (given name), upon his leaving for military duty. Along with the obvious footprints of a young child are several wishes by friends and family members. These include: “Do Your Best and Wait for Answer From a Supernatural Power,” (an old proverb from the soldier’s father) “Take Care, my Brother,” (from the soldier’s brother) “Congratulations for Your Draft,” “Keep Fighting and Keep Winning,” “Take Good Care of This Country,” “God is on Our Side,” “Sacrifice Your Body to the Country,” “Rapid Stream,” “Win, Triumph, Loyalty,” “Don’t Stop Shooting” and “I Wish You the Best for Your Military Success.”

The flag can be found in the U.S. Navy Memorial Collection, Jim Will Spry Papers, #677.082. The Spry Papers also include photographs, ephemera, correspondence and printed materials. Spry was born in Bayville, Tennessee, and attended the U. S. Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, Illinois. He served as Radarman, Third Class, USNR, aboard the USS CATES (DE 763). He began his service in November 1944 and was honorably discharged in April 1946. There are only a few items of a personal nature present, so we do not learn much more about Spry from his papers. Interestingly enough, there is no mention of the flag in any other part of the collection. As a clue, the collection does contain a certificate giving permission for the American soldier to retain as property “one Japanese bolt-action and one (1) bayonette, both souvenirs of World War II”. Given these facts, we can assume the Japanese soldier’s ultimate fate.

For information on the Spry Papers or any other collections we hold, please contact us for further details.

To view an enlarged version of this image, click on the image itself.

Buzz Bomb Attack 1944

Source: Wilbur Kenneth Bragg Collection, East Carolina Manuscript Collection, #1100

Buzz Bomb Attack 1944

Buzz Bomb Attack 1944

Staff Person: Jonathan Dembo

Description:
Buzz Bomb Attack 1944 The attached images are from a private scrapbook compiled by Sgt. Wilbur Kenneth Bragg during World War II. During the war, Bragg served as a photographer in the 942nd Engineer Aviation Topographic Battalion, which was stationed near London during 1944-1945, and was part of the U. S. 8th Air Force. Normally, Bragg and his fellow airmen photographed bombing targets in Germany; but the five images on this page show that on at least one occasion he was, instead, the target of a German air attack. The top two photographs reveal how unexpectedly quiet and placid wartime London could be. The center photograph shows a German V-1 rocket suddenly hurtling to earth nearby. Rather than seeking shelter, Bragg continued filming and caught the rocket in mid air as it fell between two buildings. Called “Buzz Bombs” for the put-put noise its motors made, the V-1s did a great deal of damage and killed thousands in London and other European cities. They were very fast and quite small so shots like these are quite rare. Unharmed by the blast, Bragg recorded the effects of the bombs on residential neighborhoods in the final shots on the page. The collection was given to the East Carolina Manuscript Collection, by Mrs. Jane Bragg, 4/5/2007. Source: Wilbur Kenneth Bragg Collection #1100.1.c.12 Manuscript Collection 1100

Click on the image to see an enlarged version.

World War II Diary

Source: Frank A. Armstrong Jr., Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #35

Frank Armstrong diary entry.

Frank Armstrong diary entry.

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin

Description:


Frank A. Armstrong Jr. Papers Collection # 35 has 18 boxes which are composed of correspondence, memoirs, autobiographical information, military records, and many photograph albums. A novel and film, “Twelve O’clock High,” were composed of his wartime experiences. He was awarded Distinguished Service Medal, and from the Department of the Interior an award for conservation. “Wake the Sleeping Giant” is the autobiography of Lieutenant General Frank A. Armstrong, Jr., USAF as told to William E. Hickinbotham. This is from a diary kept while in England as a military observer. This gives us a glimpse into life in England in November of 1940. The reference to Fluffy, I believe is a nick name for his wife. I truly love how people let us see the world through their eyes. The finding aid for this collection is Manuscript Collection 35.

Click on the image to see an enlarged version.

Howard Zacher in his plane “Margie”

Source: Hugh Elroy Best, Jr. Family Collection, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #894

Staff Person: Dale Sauter

Description:
This week’s pick comes from a collection that contains photographic prints and photocopied documents relating to military service of three generations of a Tarboro, NC family. The family members include Hugh E. Best, Sr., Hugh E. Best, Jr., Glanor Gay Best, Gaston Gay and Hugh E. Best III.

All we know about Hugh E. Best, Sr. is that he served in the U.S. Navy. Hugh E. Best, Jr. served from 1942 until 1946 in both the U.S. Army Air Forces and the U.S. Air Corps. Glanor Gay Best, Hugh E. Best, Jr.’s wife, served during World War II in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC), beginning in 1942. Gaston Gay was a relative of Glanor Gay Best and was a Merchant Marine serving on the U.S.S. Mariana when it was lost at sea on March 3, 1942. He received the Mariner’s Medal posthumously. Hugh Elroy Best, III, son of Hugh E. Best, Jr. and Glanor Gay Best, served as an Army Lieutenant during the Vietnam War. He was killed in action in South Vietnam in January of 1969. He had been awarded the Silver Star for Valor just prior to his death.

The image below is apparently of a pilot who served with Best, Jr. in the U.S. Air Corps. The inscription on the back reads “Howard L. Zacher, Pilot, Airstrip 72 — France, Ship: B-26- No. 462 ‘Margie’, July 4, 1945.”

Howard L. Zacher in his plane Margie.

Howard L. Zacher in his plane Margie.