Thank you to those who served before me and those who served after me, may you never be forgotten.
My Grandfather at 21 (1943-44)
The fighting may have been over (for the most part) in Europe but it was still going full bore on the other side of the world…
The first landing attempt by the Japanese on 11DEC was driven off by the Marines manning the coastal batteries (6 – 5″/51 cal naval rifles removed from the USS Texas during a refit in the mid-1920s) and the F4F-3 Wildcats of VMF-211 and cost the IJN 2 destroyers.
The Hayate was hit in the magazine by 1 or 2 shells from Battery L on Peale Islet at a range of approximately 4,000 yds. She broke in two and sank within 2 minutes with only 1 survivor being picked up.
The Kisaragi was hit during the withdrawal by the Wildcats of VMF-211. She caught a bomb which took out most of the bridge and possibly set off the depth charges. She went down with all hands in about 5 minutes.
After what could be qualified as a disaster, the IJN was in no mood to play around on the second landing attempt. They detached Sōryū and Hiryū from the returning Pearl Harbor force and upped the number SNLF troops from 450 to almost 2,000.
The second landing attempt started around 0235 following a pre-landing bombardment with fighting continuing into the mid-afternoon before the garrison surrendered.
The US Marines lost 49 killed, two MIA, and 49 wounded during the entire 15-day siege, while three US Navy personnel and at least 70 US civilians were killed, including 10 Chamorros, and 12 civilians wounded. 433 US personnel were captured. USMC History estimates that 125 Japanese were killed in ground combat with another 125 wounded. It also estimates 92 killed and 195 wounded from damaged ships. At least 28 land-based and carrier aircraft were also either shot down or damaged. The Japanese captured all men remaining on the island, the majority of whom were civilian contractors employed by the Morrison-Knudsen Company.
Of those captured, 98 American civilian workers were kept on the island as forced labor. On 07OCT43 the Japanese garrison commander, fearing an attempt by the US to re-take the island, ordered them executed. 97 were executed by machine gun with 1 unknown worker escaping and carving “98 US PW 5-10-43” into a large coral rock near the mass grave of the executed. This unknown American was recaptured and personally executed by the garrison commander. After the war the garrison commander was tried and hanged for war crimes.
Wake Island was surrendered by the Japanese to a detachment of US Marines 04SEP45.
Happy Veteran’s Day to my fellow Vets and as @laststandonzombieisland says:
Remember, today is not about how much you can save on bedding
When I see Dad today, I’ll ask him if Valley Forge was as cold as the books claimed…
Missing but never forgotten
Missing while on air to sea firing practice.
Fl/Sgt. Joseph Pelletier was classed as ‘missing, believed killed’ along with his pilot on the 03rd September 1942. Defiant N1804 had been on an air to sea firing practice which failed to return. The Royal Observer Corps reported the aircraft crossing the coast at the south end of Druridge Bay, Northumberland (south of Amble) at 15:53 hrs. A search was instigated but apart from a patch of oil on the sea no wreckage trace of the crew were found. Fl/Sgt. Joseph Alphonse Jean Gerard Pelletier R/53763 RCAF – air gunner and Polish pilot, 32 year old, F/O. Stanisław Józef Sowiński P-0151 from Nowy Sacz, Poland missing – believed killed.
About the artist
Hi, I’m Harry and I’ve created this page to showcase my efforts in colouring old black/white photographs. Just for fun!
I’ve long been interested in history, especially that of WW2 aviation, so after coming across the likes of communities like Colourising History and a variety of very talented artists, I decided I’d like to try my hand at this.
I do this for fun: I get a sense of satisfaction when I finally complete an image, but what I really like is how a coloured image can make the history it shows somehow more real… or perhaps more ‘relevant’ would be a better term as I find it makes said history easier to connect with. A colourised photo can remind us that the portrayed person isn’t just some distant, long dead curiosity but was once a living, breathing human being just like you and I.
Collection Gérard Pelletier