July 5, 2015

The 1937 Third Reich Militaria Mystery

Tinnie 01 May 1937

Speaking of Privacy

In all the years I visited my grandparents in Olympia, I never thought to, nor was I ever asked to, go through anything on my Grandma Josie’s dressing table.  In fact, it was many long years from the 1950’s to 1984 when my Grandpa died that I finally felt comfortable going through any of their things. Grandma had died in 1981, and even then Grandpa retained his room when my parents moved in with him in about 1982-3.

Having said all that, it wasn’t that I was never in my grandparent’s bedroom when they were alive, but I didn’t ‘touch’ anything.  Grandma wasn’t mean or anything, it was just a matter of respect for her things that I never tried.  But I remember the tableau on her dresser as if it was yesterday.

Grandma’s Dressing Table

The dressing table itself was what they call “waterfall” and that’s about all I know of it, other than it was part of a set with a dresser for Grandpa and I think they had a matching headboard for their bed.  On the dressing table were crocheted dresser scarves and two dresser jars with ‘do dads’ in them.  The above picture is a set of jars like Grandma’s that I bought on eBay some years ago.  They were very close to what Grandma’s look like, and I have the her originals.

Nazi Memorabilia

Getting to the point, inside one of the glass jars were two items that seem quite odd for Grandma to have in her possession.  One is what they call a tinnie and is dated 01 Mai 1937.   I scanned the pin thinking it might pick up the details better, but the results are a little dark.

1937 May Day Celebrations Tinnie

A tinnie for the 1937 May Day. As a socialist regiem, it was traditional to hold a worker’s celebration day annually on May 1st. Motif was of Child holding a oakleaf sprig (symbolizing strength) giving the fascist salute, supported by a “benevolent” party. Measures approximately 1.25″ in diameter.

The other piece of memorabilia in the jar was a very small iron cross that looks almost like some sort of charm.  I would doubt it had anything to do with Nazism because it’s a symbol older than that, but with them being together in Grandma’s things and the pin having a swastika on it, it makes me wonder.

Grandma had a son named Andrew Scribner, from her first marriage to Lee Scribner, who was in the military during the time of World War II, but I don’t know if he went to Europe or not.  It may have been something he found if he was over there.  I can’t imagine anyone else giving it to Grandma.

Neither the pin or the charm are that rare or worth much money, so the value in them for our family is the mystery of how Grandma came to have them. No, ours are not for sale.

Do you have memorabilia from Germany, or World War II?


COG -77th Edition – Disasters

Cape Esperance, US Navy WWII era

COG -77th Edition – Disasters

My father-in-law, Loren Wilkerson, was in the Navy during World War II and near the end of the war he was on the CVE (carrier vessel escort) Cape Esperance as they made their way to Leyte Gulf for the battle that would eventually take place there.

On their way to the eventual battle, the Cape Esperance encountered one of the worst typhoons in naval history.  Named typhoon Cobra, it wreaked havoc and caused many deaths for the US Naval vessels caught in its path. If you are interested in reading more about this storm, I recommend the book Typhoon, The Other Enemy by Robert Calhoun. My husband read the book and sent it to his dad. (I didn’t get to read it before that happened, so I just ordered a copy of the book for our library today.) Even though Robert Calhoun was onboard a different ship, his experiences were essentially the same as Loren’s.

Admiral Nimitiz letter to the Pacific Fleet dated 13 Feb 1945 gives an accounting of the ships involved and the damages they suffered. Not only were ships lost, but the Aircraft Losses from Typhoon Cobra 1944 were extensive. The total of the lives lost was at least 800. At one point, Loren said the ship’s captain wanted to abandon the Cape Esperance, but the men didn’t want to do that, and they fought to save the ship instead.

It’s my goal to document Loren’s history, either in the Navy, or as a civilian, so that his descendants will know stories of his life. On July 24th of 2008 the city of Low Moor, Iowa honored their WWII veterans and my article Low Moor, Iowa Honors WWII Vets is a more extensive recounting of his experience during typhoon Cobra.

CASU7 detachment at Quillayute NAS 1944

CASU7 detachment

Originally uploaded by webduckie

Today I was able to pinpoint the location of where this photo was taken using my dad’s Service Memories book. My mom must be commended too for adding all the documentation to the book.

Dad’s book says that he was transferred from Sand Point NAS to Quillayute NAS 06 March 1944. Since this picture was taken in September of 1944, it is likely they were in Quillayute.

As a side note, 26 January 1944 Dad was home on leave (from service in the South Pacific on New Caledonia) to get married 05 February 1944 at his in-law’s home in Seattle.

Kitsap Veterans Remember Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor attack

Pearl Harbor attack

They Remember

Kitsap County has a large military presence, with many veterans who settled here after their time in service.  Two months ago our local paper, the Kitsap Sun put out a request to the community for Pearl Harbor survivor’s to share their stories.

There was an excellent article in the paper today with some of the veteran’s stories, but their web page has actual interviews of twelve who are still living to enable them to tell their stories. I know watching interviews can be time consuming, but maybe you can watch one or two at a time and come back to watch more.

Thank you to all of our military who have served, or are presently serving.

Personally, I am so grateful to the Kitsap Sun for compiling these stories and sharing them with all of us. As the saying goes, “If we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it”.  Click on an interview and learn something today. :)  I did!