In the early morning of 6 June 1942, 500 Japanese soldiers landed on Kiska, one of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. They took the only inhabitants of the island, a ten man (and six dog) US Navy Weather Detachment by complete surprise and quickly took control of American soil. Today, the island is one of the USA’s National Historic Landmarks: the aftermath of the Japanese invasion can still be seen on the rolling hillsides of Kiska.
Lucasfilm’s upcoming WW2 drama Red Tails has released a new trailer that finally marries the film’s flag-beating, grandstanding dialogue to some genuinely hair-raising action sequences.
Anthony Hemingway’s film charts the story of the Tuskagee training programme, in which untested African-American pilots were shipped out to Europe to help with the war effort. Held back by sceptical superior officers, Red Tails will document the Tuskagee pilots’ struggle with adversity for the right to defend their country…
A beach in Scotland may have to be closed to the public following the discovery of radioactive material.
According to a report by The Herald newspaper, “significant” sources of radiation were recently found on Dalgety Bay in Fife, a site where about 200 radioactive particles have been discovered previously. It’s believed the potentially dangerous material has come from decomposing aircraft from the Second World War, which were dismantled in the area.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) said yesterday that a specialist team is being brought in to remove a source of significant radioactive content which is buried at depth.
The Herald reported that the source is believed to be radium-coated instrument panels which were used during the war to allow pilots to view their aircraft’s dials at night. If the material was exposed naturally then it would pose a risk to local residents, SEPA said in a statement.
If parts of the beach were to be designated radioactive contaminated land, in order to protect the public, it would be the first time such action has been taken in the UK. SEPA has said this would be a last resort.
Anyone visiting the beach at Dalgety Bay is advised not to remove any material and to wash their hands following their visit.
7 brothers all in World War II, and they fought against each other! In World War II Japanese Americans were often sent home, and some were sent home before war broke out just so they could grow up Japanese. In a large family, this happened. In the case of the Oka family, the kids joined the armed forces. Some of the US and some for the Japan Imperialist Army. Here’s their story….
An Australian Navy minehunter has found the lost wreck of a suspected Japanese World War Two submarine off the South Pacific outpost of Rabaul, Australian defence officials said on Friday.
The wreck is 55 metres below the surface in Simpson Harbour in Rabaul in Papua New Guinea.
“The wreck is partially buried in the harbour floor but remains upright,” the Defence Department said.
“The Royal Australian Navy RAN.L will now work with Japanese authorities to assist in determining the wreck’s identity.”
The wreck was found by the Australian navy minehunter HMAS Gascoyne, which was helping to find and neutralise unexploded ammunition from World War Two in the South Pacific nation.
Rabaul, on the northern tip of the island of New Britain, was the site of fierce fighting during World War Two, and became Japan’s key naval base for the southwestern Pacific from 1942.
Rabaul’s harbour, surrounded by active volcanoes, is popular with divers due to the easy access to war wrecks…
The wreckage of a Royal Australian Air Force Spitfire and the skeletal remains of the pilot have been unearthed by amateur aviation historians.
The plane was shot down in action during World War Two, near the French village of Hardifort in May, 1942.
The fighter pilot has been indentified by his tags as WJ Smith of the RAAF, service number 400942.
The former mayor of Hardifort, Jean Bogaert, helped the researchers find the wreckage. He recalled seeing the plane crash when he was 20-years-old, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The wreckage will eventually be moved to a former rocket base turned war museum called La Coupole.
Nazi-occupied Paris was a terrible place to be in the waning days of World War Two, with Jews, Resistance fighters and ordinary citizens all hoping to escape. Disappearances became so common they often weren’t followed up.
And one man used the lawlessness for his own terrible purposes, killing perhaps as many as 150 people.
Yet it wasn’t until thick black smoke seeped into buildings in a fashionable part of the city that firefighters and police were called to an elegant townhouse where they found body parts scattered around — setting off a manhunt that led them, eventually, to Marcel Petiot.
The crime was very much of its time, said David King, who chronicled the hunt for Petiot in “Death in the City of Light.”
“Paris was not a good place to be. A lot of people were trying to leave Paris, a lot of people just disappearing. He had it plotted out, a very devious plan,” said King, in a telephone interview.
“Respect for the law was tarnished under the Nazis. Even if you suspected something, a lot of people were very, very reluctant to go forward, especially if they were Jewish.”
Petiot, as it turned out, was a respected physician who turned serial killer by night, preying largely on Jews desperate to leave Paris by luring them in with promises of escape. He was accused of murduring “only” some 27, but authorities suspected his real toll was far higher…
IT may have been more than 70 years since Bill Smith was first called up during World War Two, but he remembers his service days with amazing clarity.
That’s helped in part by the fascinating photos the great-grandfather has painstakingly looked after.
Last week we told how a photo of Bill appeared in the Sunday Sun in 1942, when he and his friends were snapped reading the paper in the Libyan desert.
Now, the 92-year-old has opened his scrapbook to reveal the scores of other photos taken during his six-year tour for his country, as a Leading Aircraftman (LAC) with 221 RAF Squadron, each numberswiki.com
revealing how – amidst the horror of war – there was much of the world for a young man from Washington to discover.
Photos of King George VI’s and Winston Churchill’s visit to the African desert, the Egyptian pyramids and groups of smiling, suntanned RAF servicemen are countered by scenes of devastation in Malta, crashed fighter planes and bombing raids.
“I took my camera everywhere and kept it wrapped in a blanket to keep the sand out,” said Bill.
Bill was just 21 years old when he was called up, his skills as an engineer needed by his country…
A World War II-era plane has today crashed and burst into flames on a runway at a West Virginia air show, killing the pilot.
The T-28 aircraft plummeted to ground shortly after it performed a routine belly-to-belly with another plane. Officials reported no injuries among spectators at the Martinsburg airfield.
The crash comes a day after a stunt pilot in Nevada crashed at an air show there, killing nine.
West Virginia Air National Guard spokesman Lieutenant Nathan Mueller said the T-28 aircraft crashed while it performed during a routine at the Thunder over the Blue Ridge Open House and Air Show in Martinsburg. The crash occurred at 2.32pm at the 167th Airlift Wing during a stunt where two T-28s were flying belly-to-belly, the Journal of Martinsburg reported.
After the aircraft split, the plane that was heading west out of the manoeuvre wobbled and went straight into the ground, disintegrating into a ball of fire upon impact, the paper reported…
The P-51 Mustang Galloping Ghost flown by 74-year-old Jimmy Leeward crashed violently near the grandstands, possibly in the box seat area, at the Reno Air Races in Nevada, Friday, possibly resulting in multiple casualties. The aircraft appears to have come down in a near vertical angle at high speed. Early reports state that “an official” at the event described the crash as a “mass casualty situation.” Reports late Friday suggest at least three people died and more than 50 were taken to hospital, some with critical injuries. The crash took place at about 4:15 p.m. during an Unlimited Gold heat. Leeward, an Ocala, Fla., real estate developer, was a longtime EAA director and experienced racing pilot.
Display pilot’s incredible escape from World War Two fighter as he bails out after mid-air collision at airshow
A pilot had a miracle escape yesterday when he bailed out of his Second World War plane after a mid-air collision at an airshow.
Thousands of people watched as the P-51 Mustang plane clipped wings at the annual display show and plummeted to the ground south-west of the former World War Two RAF Duxford base in Cambridgeshire, yesterday.
Pilot Rob Davies parachuted to safety following the mid-air accident at the Flying Legends show which happened after three planes had formed a triangle in the sky.
Until 1943, when the United States Air Force stepped up its air campaign against the Nazis from bases in England, filling the atmosphere with contrails, the local skies had remained largely free of civilian or military airplanes. For a couple of latter-day researchers, that unique moment in history also offered something of a test lab to examine the impact those huge bombing runs had on the local climate.
In a study published today in the International Journal of Climatology, Prof Rob MacKenzie from the University of Birmingham and Prof Roger Timmis of England’s Environment Agency, examined how contrails, or vast aircraft condensation trails, kept down local morning temperatures. They linked that change to the sharp increase in the number of planes based in East Anglia, the Midlands and the West Country regions of England.
“Witnesses to the huge bombing formations recall that the sky was turned white by aircraft contrails,” said MacKenzie, now at the University of Birmingham. “It was apparent to us that the Allied bombing of WW2 represented an inadvertent environmental experiment on the ability of aircraft contrails to affect the energy coming into and out of the Earth at that location.”
Imagine last summer’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill happening in slow motion, millions of gallons of oil fouling beaches and fishing grounds over decades instead of months.
That’s the kind of long-term disaster federal environmental officials say could happen as thousands of World War II-era shipwrecks erode in coastal waters around the world.
After nearly 70 years under the sea, those ships have reached the point where their steel fuel tanks and cargo holds could soon give way, emptying their contents into the surrounding water.
One of the ships on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s watch list is the Joseph M. Cudahy, which rests in the Gulf of Mexico off southwest Florida.
Three days out of Houston, the oil tanker was bound for Pennsylvania with 77,444 barrels of fuel and lubricating oil.
Then the U-boat struck.
The German submarine torpedoed the unarmed merchant ship at 4:15 a.m. on May 5, 1942, off the coast of Naples. The Cudahy became one of three tankers torpedoed by U-507 within a few hours that morning…