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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Military Roll Call: Pictures from the South Pacific.

In a 2013 review of JD’s stash of photos and pictures supplied by JL, Rex and Mary Catherine were some military pictures. I had never seen some of these before, and they will all go into the book really well. I also received a picture of Raymond Savat in Korea from Sandra. After considerable research of the pictures from the South Pacific, we have found both where some of the pictures were taken, who some of the sailors were, and found other pictures.

2020 UPDATE: I discovered a comment dated March 31, 2018, at 9:27 PM, which was not appended to this post but to another, which led to it being overlooked the last 2 years. This comment eliminates any speculation about the bakery's location. As you can see, it eliminates Romblon Island as being relevant to the question of these pictures. Their location is obviously Manila. Unfortunately, the author of the comment (the son of the bakery's owners) left the comment anonymously and has not commented further.

The comment: 

"Anonymous-March 31, 2018 at 9:27 PM. Hi GlennDL - i saw your reply to my post about the Wong's Bakery in Romblon Island, Philippines 6 year ago. I somehow revisited the blog today after 8 yrs and saw your post. I think my grandparents established The Wongs Bakery in Romblon in the 1950s, so i dont think the photo was taken in Romblon. However, before the war and immediately after they owned the same Bakery in Magdalena St, Binondo, Manila, which is not far away from Taft Avenue, so there is a possibility that is the place where the photo was taken. It is also a place where there are Calesas(horse drawn carriage exist to this day). I will research if it is indeed their bakery in Binondo. Magdalena St is now Masangkay St. and pre-war was the site of St Lukes Hospital (established by American Jesuit Nuns). Many thanks for posting the photo with the Wongs Bakery in it, I will research more and post you another update if any."


The picture in front of Wong’s Bakery:

Don’t know who the three in front are, but that’s JD standing in the carriage. The only clues to where this might be in the South Pacific:

  • are the dress of JD and his ‘CB’  (SeaBee) buddies,
  • Wong’s Bakery,
  • a stained un-readable note on the back
  • and the bottle in one sailor's hand.

Wong’s bakery would probably take some serious research, and I can’t imagine Wong's bakery would be significant enough outside of its location unless it had actually survived 66 years. I tried to focus and enhance the photo to identify the bottle, but the image was in too low of a resolution. The only thing that the sailors' dress might tell us is that they probably were in the vicinity of their duty station instead of on shore leave in New Zealand, Australia, or somewhere similar. (I don’t even know if that was an option for sailors in WWII). 
Note 1         
What was a CB?

JD’s CB unit was in New Caledonia and the Fiji Islands; Tetere Beach, Guadalcanal, Emirau, New Guinea and then to Manus, New Guinea, then Manila, Philippines.

Hello! On a whim, after writing the above, I started to do a little research and discovered Wong’s Bakery in Romblon, Philippines, which is an island about 200+ miles from Manila. Wong is probably a popular name, but this was the only reference found in New Guinea, Guadalcanal, and the Philippines. This is a long shot, but the bakery was still in existence in the 60s and 70s. I’m sending an email to the blog that had this reference:
The only thing readable on the back of the picture was JD’s name and “Taff Ave.”
courtesyJohnJLLittrll (8) sharpened

Unfortunately, we have never gotten a response to the e-mail.

Hopefully, we might get JL to bring the picture to next year's reunion, and we can get a better scan.

The 1944 War film The Fighting Seabees, staring John Wayne, tells a heavily fictionalized story of the formation of the Seabees and their first taste of combat.

What follows is what we now know. 

Where was it taken:   We had speculated that JD might have been on the Romblin Island as part of the duties of a SeaBee. We have since discovered the following:

  • JD was a Ship’s Cook 3rd class (“Hq” Company, 4th Platoon). His duties would not likely take him 200 miles away to the island of Romblon. It was not taken on Romblon Island.
    • The scribbled back of the picture was mostly unreadable. The only thing for sure was the identification of JD in the carriage and the words “Taff Ave.”

We had known there was a main thoroughfare in Manila named “Taft Ave,” but we were trying to exhaust the Romblin connection first.

  • I pulled out dad’s pictures and discovered that some pictures in my already scanned box were missing from my computer—victim of one of many crashes over the years.
  • In reviewing several pictures, I discovered the following:
6-9-2013 8;17;40 PM1

Picture #1Pasay Manilla

So there is little doubt now that the picture was taken in the Manila Suburb of Pasay City on Taft Ave. The other 3 pictures were taken in the same suburb or Manila proper.

  1. A picture of JD with two buddies in what appears to be a picture gallery.
  2. Another picture, on a different day, in the same location with JD and 3 other buddies.
  3. Another picture, in a bar, of JD and two buddies. On the back was written: “Talega Posay Manila P.I.” Originally, I thought Talega was a place name. It still might be, but it isn’t in my notes, so I will have to Google it. I also thought that Posay and Talega might be the misspelled names of the two buddies with JD, but an extensive search of the 63rd CB roster and unit book turn up no similarities.
  4. When in the Philippines, the 63rd CB’s were camped in Pasay (Pasay) city, a suburb of Manila. As it turns out, Posay was a misspelling of the place name Pasay.
  5. And right there, running right through Posay City, is Taft Ave.

When was it taken: Picture #1 above says 1944 on the back. Picture #2  below is dated June 25, 1945, on the back. Picture #3 below is dated 1943 on the back. All pictures indicate the Philippines; only picture #2 appears to be in the original handwriting. We have to rule out the dates for the other two pictures as being added later through a foggy memory because the 63rd CB's didn’t arrive in the Philippines until April of 1945 and departed July 24, 1945, for the USA.

So the original picture from JL that started this conversation, as well as the other three, were all taken between April and July of 1945.

Who’s in the picture(s) with JD? The picture in the carriage with JD standing:

  • The sailor setting in front of JD is also in pictures #1 and #3.
  • The sailor standing next to the carriage is also in pictures #2 and #3. 
The sailor in front of JD is Dave English of St. Louis. He was in Company “D” 5th Platoon. He was a lifelong friend of Dad’s after the war. He visited, and we met him in the 60s and 70s, but I was too young to remember what he looks like; Dad had written his name on the back of picture #1. 6-9-2013 8;17;40 PM3
Picture #3 middle JD; right Dave English

I have not been able to Identify the sailor standing next to the carriage; we will call him Kilroy for now. On the back of picture #2, are four names listed, in hard to read, faded script. I will have to enhance the photo, but for now, this is what I make out:

6-9-2013 8;17;40 PM2

Picture #2

  • Curley                   Oklahoma
  • ????                       Missouri    
         (This would be our ‘Kilroy’)
  • Deal                        Alabama
  • J.D.                         Missouri

    Searching all pictures and the unit book, I could not find any Curley or any name similar to Oklahoma. Obviously a nickname, this is a total loss for now.

    We found a Deal in the company roster, Deal, D.L. of Northport, Alabama in Company C, 4th Platoon, 63rd CB's, and then found a picture that matches.

  • On the back of picture #1 with JD and Dave English, it says, “Ralph Uptgraff, St. Louis, MO..” Checked all Ralphs from Missouri, checked for Uptgraff with no success. I also looked at all the pictures in the unit book, and there were too many guys who could be this guy; none of their names were close. He could be a fellow Missourian that JD and Dave ran into from another unit? Possible Marine?

    The above information is from Military Roll Call: The Littrell Family of Mississippi County, Missouri, The Littrell Family Journals Volume IV. (click here)
    Littrell Family Veterans Video

    reposted from 2015:  40 / 113


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