Handy Island

Handy Island
"The Air War Finds A Handy South Atlantic Island" was the caption on this Peter Hurd painting of Ascension Island, from Life Magazine, April 1945. It was the only place for pilots to refuel between Natal and West Africa.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Special Delivery Sand

From Long Beach, Ascension Island, South Atlantic Ocean.

Today, I got a surprise package from a woman I know--but whom I've never met. She and I have emailed one another quite a bit since my father died.

She was stationed on Ascension Island serving with the USAF when Dad died--and with me here and she on Ascension, she helped me arrange to donate my father's World War II Ascension Island papers to the Island Heritage Society.

Friday, August 24, 2012

When The Engineers Started Rockin' on Ascension Island

The "Wideawakes" of Ascension Island, photo from about 1943.

It has been seventy years ago this year that the 38th Engineers landed on Ascension Island, tasked with building a secret air base in just 90 days. They didn't have enough water. They weren't resupplied nor did they get mail for months. They worked around the clock in two twelve-hour shifts until some of them dropped from exhaustion.

And they made their deadline and helped the Allies win the war. My father talked about his assignment there a lot at the end of his life. But he never mentioned the dance band!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Stamp to Honor Wideawake Field's 70th Anniversary

My father, Colonel William Ashley Chapman, on Ascension Island in the 1980s.

II've just had the nicest email from a fellow called Tim Underwood, who works for the company that produces the stamps for the Ascension Island Post Office--famous among philatelists around the world. 

Mr. Underwood let me know that Ascension Island will be honoring the 70th Anniversary of Wideawake Field with a new stamp cover and is at present awaiting Her Majesty's approval of the design. Now that is a wonderful thing.