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.

Everyone who speaks of Ascension and Wideawake has wonderful stories. One thing I will need to do is to create a file of the names of those of you who have family members and fathers who remember or did remember. Please send me a note, if you have photos or quotes for this project. It will be a few years away. But years go by quickly.

It is a sweet, funny, interesting story. And some of us have fathers whose lives may have been saved because they worked in this distant place, on this important project, and yet were not being shot at while it was underway. That was a blessing. My father lost many friends later in the war as the engineers drew closer to Japan.

Happy New Year to all. And keep your eye on this blog. I hope to use lots of its material in a book!

All my best,

Robin Chapman
daughter of
Col. W. Ashley Chapman (then Lt. Ashley Chapman)

1 comment:

  1. He was laughing because he was making bunny ears to the guy beside him( two fingers behind head) lol