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.

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!