1942 - 1945 ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT DIARY HANDWRITTEN BY A LESS THAN ENCHANTED, CRITICAL ARMY AIR FORCE RADIOMAN FROM HONEYMOON IN QUEBEC TO THE PACIFIC THEATRE AND THE WAR AGAINST JAPAN

By: E.H. WITHINGTON

Price: $2,285.99

Quantity: 1 available


On offer is a fascinating, original 1942 - 1945 World War II manuscript diary handwritten by an American Army Air Force radioman Sergeant E.H. Withington who ultimately ends up in the Pacific theatre. Not a combat soldier the diary is a well-written, insightful, personal commentary on his call up all the more poignant as he begins on his honeymoon and then his adjustment to war. Historians and researchers of World War II will appreciate the very frank, sometimes very critical comments and observations that Sgt. Withington shares in his uncensored and sometimes provocative writings; the inducement phase fascinates as he shares his feelings and emotions of the imminent call up and the effects on his nuptials, honeymoon and initial weeks prior to service. The journal, [marked volume II on the cover but states end of Volume I at the end] begins with his honeymoon to eastern Canada in June of 1942, with Withington's imminent induction into the service hanging over all their time together. He was quite complimentary about the scenery, the people and their experiences in land and river travels to Manor Richelieu, Murray Bay, Quebec, Seymour, Pointe au Pic, Bagotville, the St. Lawrence River. Here are some snippets: "The overwhelmingly commercial taint of the R.C. church was in evidence everywhere. Salvation at a price." He wrote personal reflections as he and his fiancé were jolted back to reality: "...and we heard the sound of bands... we were in time to see a detachment of Canadian soldiers go swinging by. That was all. But we had managed to forget till then my own imminent departure and indeed the war itself. (We hadn't seen a newspaper since the wedding.) It hit us both between the eyes and we couldn't say anything for a while." [He reports for duty two months later.] He makes poignant and well-written observations: on the St. Lawrence River one night, he was "…watching the dark river shore as it glided by...and suddenly there was a pulsating noise which grew rapidly louder. Suddenly we were passing a brightly-lighted passenger boat going the opposite way. There was a chorus of cheers from the late stayer-uppers on the top decks of both ships, and then she was gone, leaving the river dark and silent again, silent except for the delicious and lulling sound of water rushing along the ship's side. In the same way, immediately after, we met an ocean-going freighter heading for a convoy, a romantic sight in the summer night. Her dull-painted sides faintly reflected our brightness. Perhaps she was one of the three merchantmen sunk shortly after in the Gulf of St. Lawrence by a submarine. I hope not." Later he admits: "The waiting [for induction] is beginning to get on my nerves a little. After you've accepted...a complete change in your life you become impatient to get on with it...." [Fort] Deven: "...an unhappy and unlovely place...." He was not told what branch of service he was headed for, but deduced it was the Air Corps because the officers on the troop train to Miami were Air Corps. He was picked for radio operator-mechanic because of high marks on code aptitude test. While waiting in a plush Miami hotel for first orders: "This Miami Beach is a fake paradise. It's just Broadway [NYC] and all, transported to the tropics with a dash of 1939 N.Y. World's Fair." Regarding his adjustment to his new military career: "I am rather proud of myself... at 30...getting used to this business of never being alone, and never being free of military supervision. What it amounts to... is a loss of my freedom....I may yet go nuts." Training: "They have spent more time warning us against venereal disease....than anything else it seems...I think even the smartest smart aleck...should hesitate now before lifting an unknown girl's skirt." "This basic training is a touch-and-go proposition, designed to hit only the high spots...there is a hopeless feeling of not assimilating anything, and we are not told to take notes." "Retreat [bugling at the end of day] ... .the most impressive moment of the military day....giving us raw beginners a deep sense of being part of something pretty big and worth being proud of." From Miami he was sent for training to Army Air Force Technical School at Sioux Falls, South Dakota then San Francisco for a 5-week course in secret equipment; then for about a year (1943-1944) a teacher at Truax Field, Sioux City; with a frank comment: "This field, and school, is the most inefficient I have yet to have seen... wilful mismanagement on the part of the incompetent school officers...The waste of time, money, equipment and manpower here is sickening... too many people interested in keeping soft jobs. The amazingly low level of ability and intelligence among non-combatant air force officers is painfully obvious every day. They have demonstrated repeatedly that they can't even conduct a retreat formation properly, and they therefore are jeered by the enlisted personnel....it is an indignity to have to salute them." On the frustration of living away from your new bride, and seeing her very sporadically: "We will at least have wonderful memories of the times we did manage to be together... the happiest moments of our lives. We learned to know each other much better and lived years of happy married existence in two months." Then March, 1945, transferred to US ARMY replacement center in Utah; then California. By April, 1945 he was aboard the S.S. Lurline out of San Francisco bound for the Pacific theater; "This ship is fast as it sails without convoy protection, relying on her guns and speed.") and "I fear that being cooped up with several thousand other men in this ship is getting on my nerves. Inevitably, one is shoved and jostled at every turn; solitude is impossible. I never before realized how precious the opportunity for solitude is." After 12 days in the Pacific, sighted their first island, Ulawa, of the Solomon Islands, the skyline of which he drew in pencil on the bottom of the page; then to Finschafen, New Guinea, via Guadalcanal; "The sight of the big star on our planes that buzzed us was something to bring a lump to the American throat." and "the smell of land was sweeter than anything I have experienced in a long time." Two (2) pencil sketches of the harbor as seen from the ship; one from the bow, the other from the stern. May, 1945, arrived in Manila several days later with smoke from ongoing fighting visible not more than 14 miles away; now a part of the 267th Replacement Co., with a 759 MOS and the first troops to arrive since the fighting moved out of downtown Manila; expects to be assigned to a Fighter Control Squadron; conditions in and around Manila were "atrocious" with dust, filth, partially visible dead enemy soldiers and devastating ruin; "The city itself is beyond belief and beyond imagination: destruction surpassing anything I ever saw in pictures of London or Coventry. There is something indecent about those ruins - to see the guts of a building spilling out... spewed out in the pitiless sunshine." In front of the Red Cross canteen "I never saw so many soldiers and sailors in one area. And every other sailor seemed drunk." They were not as far from the fighting as they originally thought, as snipers and Jap patrols regularly created havoc and delays in their everyday routines. Waiting for a permanent assignment, he spouts "Still in this goddamned hole. One pain-in-the-ass detail after another and no prospects for shipping out." and "...the filthiest detail of my career - picking up garbage and... worst part was decayed Christmas packages... of mouldered fruit cake…" Finally, he got orders to ship out to the 319th Fighter Control Squadron, APO#717; went aboard a C-46, The Cheyenne, en route to Zamboanga on Mindanao. This was his first airplane ride: "I am convinced that air travel is here to stay." This ends Volume I even though as mentioned cover shows "II"]; there is no other volume. Included is a 70+ page booklet for the Army Air Force Technical School at Sioux Falls, S.D., with the authors signature, "Class 12, 1/13/42" written on endpaper and his photograph included as graduate; 8 x 10.5", softcover; very clean. Overall G+

Title: 1942 - 1945 ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT DIARY HANDWRITTEN BY A LESS THAN ENCHANTED, CRITICAL ARMY AIR FORCE RADIOMAN FROM HONEYMOON IN QUEBEC TO THE PACIFIC THEATRE AND THE WAR AGAINST JAPAN

Author Name: E.H. WITHINGTON

Categories: Books and Manuscripts General Overview, 20th Century Manuscript, 20th Century Diary,

Publisher: PACIFIC THEATER SOUTH PACIFIC, 1942

Book Condition: Good+

Type: Manuscript

Size: 12mo - over 6¾" - 7¾" tall

Seller ID: 0002138

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