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, December 27, 2013

Thinking About Ascension

The engineers were hot and thirsty. They had only the water they brought with them and were limited to a quart a day per man, as they worked 24-hours a day in 12-hour shifts. In this photo they look almost punchy. Young and fit: they got the job done. By the 90-day deadline. Naturally!

For those of you with fathers who served in the 38th Engineers, I wanted to write a short post today to let you know that I am presently working on a proposal for a book about the last year of World War II, in which my father served. But my project after that will be about the 38th Engineers on Ascension.

The last year of the war was full of all kinds of drama. But the building of Wideawake Field had its own unique and remarkable story. The two stories are fascinating, each in his own way.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"New" Historic Photo of Wideawake's Construction

The engineers on Ascension Island, not long after they landed and began their work. My father is in the back row, sixth from photo right, wearing his envelope cap and laughing. Looks like he needs a shave.

Thanks to Michael Murray, the son of another World War II veteran whose father served with mine on Ascension, we have a new "Wideawake" photo for the record.

It was taken not long after the engineers landed and had begun to grapple with their task of building an impossible airfield in the middle of nowhere.