24 January 1942

24 January 1942

24 January 1942

January 1942

1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031
>February

Far East

Battle of Macassar Strait: Japanese bombers force a combined ABDA fleet to retreat

Australian troops evacuated from Lae and Salamaua



44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

A medical truck and ground personnel of the 44th Bomb Group on standby as a B-24 Liberator (V, serial number 41-23813) nicknamed "Victory Ship" returns from a mission. Image via Colonel William R Cameron.

Personnel of the 44th Bomb Group prepare for a mission. Image via Colonel William R Cameron. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'Slap done.' [?]

A crashed B-24 Liberator of the 44th Bomb Group, November 1943. Official caption writen on image: '(WA-11/43 302-505)' Image stamped on reverse: 'Official Photograph U.S. Army Air Force, AAF505' Handwritten caption on reverse: '44, 11/43, 129108.'

First Lieutenant Robert C. Peterson, a navigator of the 44th Bomb Group, sits inside the B-24 Liberator he serves on with the aircraft's dog mascot: Pilot Officer "Rusty". Image stamped with Ministry of Information press censor, 25 October 1943. Printed caption on reverse: 'Pilot Officer "Rusty" - dog of many missions. Pilot Officer "Rusty" - mascot of a liberator operating from this country, was flown to England from the U.S. He has "taken part" in numerous bombing raids including that made on the oilfields at Ploesti. Associated Press Photo Shows: "Rusty" with his owner, 1st Lt. Robert C Peterson, of Ogden, Utah., Navigator of the Liberator. TET 261673/4/5 251043Y.' NB: the phrase 'including that made on the oilfields at Ploesti' has been crossed out by censor.

A bombardier of the 44th Bomb Group mans the nose gun of a B-24 Liberator. Image via John Archer.

Personnel of the 44th Bomb Group unload bags from the back of a crew truck. Image via Colonel William R Cameron. The crew man in foreground carrying bags is Staff Sergeant LeRoy R. Winter.

The crew of a B-24 Liberator (serial number 41-23778) nicknamed "Jenny", of the 44th Bomb Group, return to Shipdham following a raid on Germany, 27 January 1943 The insignia attached to the breast of several crew members jackets has been censored. Image stamped on reverse: 'Barratt's Photo Press.' [stamp], 'Passed for publication 29 Jan 1943.' [stamp]. Printed caption on reverse: 'First American raid on Germany. Flying Fortresses and Liberators of the U.S. Army Air Corps Carried out their first raid on Germany on Wednesday last. O.PS., the crew of the Liberator "Jenny" leaving after the U.S. raid on Germany. (Barratt's. 29/1/43).'

Airmen of the 44th Bomb Group take a break and enjoy coffee, served up by women of the American Red Cross from their Clubmobile refreshment bus. Image via Colonel William R Cameron.

Personnel of the 44th Bomb Group sit in a jeep overlooking the airfield. Image via Colonel William R Cameron.

The 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 15-January-1942 at McDill Field, Florida and equipped with B-24Cs. The Group moved to Barksdale Field, Louisiana and acted as a training unit for the 90th 93rd and 98th Bomb Groups and flew anti-submarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico the Group claimed 1 U-Boat destroyed. On 26-July-1942 the Group moved to Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma to prepare for overseas deployment. The Ground echelon sailed for the UK on the Queen Mary on 4-September-1942. The air echelon moved to Grenier Field, New Hampshire and in late September was re-deployed to the UK.

Assigned to 8th Air Force at Cheddington from 11-Sep-1942 to 28-Jun-1943. The Group was known as the 'Flying Eight-Balls' and each B-24 Liberator it flew was decorated with a winged bomb cartoon of an 8-Ball (pool ball) over which were superimposed eyes and the nose of a bomb in the squadron colour. The Group received a Distinguished Unit Citation for an extremely hazardous mission against naval installations at Kiel on 14 May 1943. This mission involved drop incendiaries on the target from an unprotected position behind B-17 formations that had dropped high explosives. The Group lost five of its seventeen Liberators in the target area.

The group was transferred TDY to the 9th Air Force at Benina Main, Libya from 28-Jun-43 to 25-Aug-43. They provided support for Operation HUSKY, the invasion of Sicily, during July 1943. They also participated in the famous 1-Aug-43 raid on the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania dubbed operation TIDAL WAVE. The unit was awarded another Distinguished Unit Citation for this action in which 11 of the 37 B-24s it despatched were MIA. Col Leon Johnson, Group Commanding Officer was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his leadership in this action. Afterwards the 44th returned to Shipdham for a very short respite from 25-Aug-43 to 17-Sep-43 at which time the Group was again sent TDY to North Africa at Oudna, Tunisia where the they shared the base with a B-17 Bomb Group, the 99th to support the invasion of Italy. On 1-Oct-1943 the 44th participated in a mission to bomb the Messerschmidt plant a Weiner-Neustadt, Austria where they met intense anti-aircraft fire and hordes of German fighters. The Group lost 8 B-24s of the 25 they sent to the target. On 4-Oct-1943 the Group was sent back to Shipdham for the remainder of the war.

Between October 1943 and June 1945, the Group flew strategic bombing missions over occupied Europe. These were daylight raids that put the bomber crews in great danger from enemy aircraft and anti-aircraft fire. In all the 44th flew 343 missions in 8,009 sorties and dropped 18,980 tones of bombs. The Group lost 153 aircraft MIA.

CLAIMS TO FAME
First 8th Air Force Bomb Groups to be equipped with B-24 Liberators
Operated from England for a longer period than any other B-24 Group
Sustained highest losses of aircraft of any B-24 Group in 8th Air Force
Claimed more enemy aircraft than any other 8th AF B-24 Group 153.
First Bomb Group to be awarded a DUC for 14-May-43 Kiel
CO Col Leon W. Johnson awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor 1-Aug-43 Ploesti.

Browse 44th Bomb Group photographs and other documents in the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library digital archive here: www.2ndair.org.uk/digitalarchive/Dashboard/Index/42

US Air Force Combat Units of World War II Description

Constituted as 4th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 20 Nov 1940. Activated on 15 Jan 1941. Trained with B-24’s. Became an operational training unit in Feb 1942. Also served on antisubmarine duty. In Jul 1942 began intensive preparations for combat. Moved to England, Aug-Oct 1942, for service with Eighth AF. Operations consisted primarily of assaults against strategic targets in France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy Rumania, Austria, Poland, and Sicily. Pounded submarine installations, industrial establishments, airfields, harbors, shipyards, and other objectives in France and Germany, Nov 1942-Jun 1943. Received a DUC for an extremely hazardous mission against naval installations at Kiel on 14 May 1943: with its B-24’s carrying incendiaries to be dropped after three B-17 groups had released high explosive bombs, the 44th flew in the wake of the main formation thus the B-24’s were particularly vulnerable because they had no protection from fire power of the main force, and this vulnerability increased when the group had to open its own formation for the attack but the 44th blanketed the target with incendiaries in spite of the concentrated flak and continuous interceptor attacks it encountered. Late in Jun 1943 a large detachment moved to North Africa to help facilitate the invasion of Sicily by bombing airfields and marshalling yards in Italy. The detachment also participated in the famous low-level raid on the Ploesti oil fields on 1 Aug 1943. The group was awarded a DUC for its part in this raid and its commander, Col Leon Johnson, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his daring and initiative in leading his men into smoke, flame, and alerted fighter and antiaircraft opposition over the target, which already had been bombed in error by another group. Before returning to England at the end of Aug, the detachment bombed an aircraft factory in Austria and supported ground forces in Sicily. In Sep the group struck airfields in Holland and France and convoys in the North Sea. Also in Sep, a detachment was sent to North Africa to support the Salerno operations. The detachment returned to England in Oct and from Nov 1943 to Apr 1945, the entire group carried out operations against targets in western Europe, concentrating on airfields, oil installations, and marshalling yards. Took part in the intensive campaign of heavy bombers against the German aircraft industry during Big Week, 20-25 Feb 1944. Sometimes flew support and interdictory missions. Struck airfields, railroads, and V-weapon sites in preparation for the Normandy invasion supported the invasion in Jun 1944 by attacking strong points in the beachhead area and transportation targets behind the front lines. Aided the Caen offensive and the St Lo breakthrough in Jul. Dropped, food, ammunition, and other supplies to troops engaged in the airborne attack on Holland in Sep. Helped to check the enemy offensive during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945, by striking bridges, tunnels, choke points, rail and road junctions, and communications in the battle area. Attacked airfields and transportation in support of the advance into Germany, and flew a resupply mission during the airborne assault across the Rhine in Mar 1945. Flew last combat mission on 25 Apr 1945. Returned to the US in Jun 1945.

Eugene Snavely

Military | Colonel | Commanding Officer | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
8th Air Force, G-3 Staff, September 1942 .


DECEMBER 24, 2014 (JANUARY 2015): 1942 FORD JEEP – HISTORY ON FOUR WHEELS

Asad Salaria is connected to his 1942 Ford Jeep for many reasons but one the strongest links is the one most car guys would recognize: “I learned to drive on one in India and you can hear a Jeep”.

Asad wanted to reconnect with a Jeep in a big way but he did have some conditions for the sale: “I didn’t want one that was restored or restored wrong because I wanted something to do in the winter”.

He wanted a Jeep that required some sweat equity because that’s how you learn and his search was relatively easy: “My brother in law found it-it was in a barn in Modesto, California and it was there for years”.

Asad’s Jeep had a World War II military history and that makes it a survivor in many ways: “It’s got an original name plate from August 1942 and it saw action in Italy. It was an airborne unit so it was dropped into battle. They replaced the Ford engine two years after this was built and put a new one in”.

This Jeep has a few military cues that are still left after over 70 years: “It had a gun mount and the headlights flip up plus it’s got hand swipe wipers- there are lots of clubs that will help you find information about these Jeeps”.

Asad is a hands-on guy and he’s very willing to learn so he’s acquired some experience under the hood of his Jeep: “Changing oil with these filters is a bit messy and I had to change the rad core. It’s still on 6-volt but I run an 8-volt battery. All the lights work except for the flashers because it’s very hard to find an 8-volt flasher”.

Military Jeeps are a history lesson on four wheels because they served through World War II, Korea and Viet Nam. They built a reputation for reliability and versatility that was unsurpassed in situation where those characteristics were often the difference between life and death.

Asad has a different game plan in mind for his Jeep but the process is similar because he wants to map out journeys and prepare it for those family trips. He’s well aware of the Jeep’s tendencies on the road: “I’ve hit 60 miles per hour believe it or not and it’s actually pretty smooth but I wouldn’t recommend it. It actually surprised me”.

Asad likes to travel with his family because this Jeep gets so many waves and smiles so he’s planning for the future: “I’m going to put some seatbelts in it because I want to take it to shows like Radium”. Family bonding has never looked so cool.

There is always a game plan with every old ride and Assad has this Jeep’s future mapped out well: “My son is 8 years old and he’s already handing me wrenches”.

Assad’s final thoughts are the biggest clue:

“I’m going to get him behind the wheel”.

CLICK HERE to Like us on Facebook

CLICK HERE to Follow us on Twitter

CLICK HERE to Follow us on Pinterest

Please re-post this if you like this article.


Second Largest Group of Nazi Victims

The brutal treatment of Soviet POWs by the Germans violated every standard of warfare. Existing sources suggest that some 5.7 million Soviet army personnel fell into German hands during World War II. As of January 1945, the German army reported that only about 930,000 Soviet POWs remained in German custody. The German army released about one million Soviet POWs as auxiliaries of the German army and the SS. About half a million Soviet POWs had escaped German custody or had been liberated by the Soviet army as it advanced westward through eastern Europe into Germany. The remaining 3.3 million, or about 57 percent of those taken prisoner, were dead by the end of the war. Second only to the Jews, Soviet prisoners of war were the largest group of victims of Nazi racial policy.


Forced Labor and Subcamps

The Germans used Stutthof prisoners as forced laborers. Some prisoners worked in SS-owned businesses such as the German Equipment Works (DAW), located near the camp. Others labored in local brickyards, in private industrial enterprises, in agriculture, or in the camp's own workshops. In 1944, as forced labor by concentration camp prisoners became increasingly important in armaments production, a Focke-Wulff airplane factory was constructed at Stutthof. Eventually, the Stutthof camp system became a vast network of forced-labor camps 105 Stutthof subcamps were established throughout northern and central German-occupied Poland. The major subcamps were Thorn and Elbing.


24 January 1942 - History

Message to Mission Staff, 31 January, 1942 [Radio Broadcast]

Bishop Philip Strong, Bishop of New Guinea

From The New Guinea Diaries of Philip Strong, 1936-1945, edited by David Wetherell, Appendix B, pages 222-223.

Reproduced with the permission of the Editor and the Archbishop of Papua New Guinea.

Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown
Bishop of Malaita, Church of Melanesia, 2006

Now I would like a heart-to-heart talk with you. As far as I know, you are all at your posts and I am very glad and thankful about this. I have from the first felt that we must endeavour to carry on our work in all circumstances no matter what the cost may ultimately be to any of us individually. God expects this of us. The Church at home, which sent us out, will surely expect it of us. The Universal Church expects it. The tradition and history of missions requires it of us. Missionaries who have been faithful to the uttermost and are now at rest are surely expecting it of us. The people whom we serve expect it of us. We could never hold up our faces again, if, for our own safety, we all forsook Him and fled when the shadows of the Passion began to gather around Him in His Spiritual Body, the Church in Papua. Our life in the future would be burdened with shame and we could not come back here and face our people again and we would be conscious always of rejected opportunities. The history of the Church tells us that missionaries do not think of themselves in the hour of danger and crisis, but of the Master who called them to give their all, and of the people they have been trusted to serve and love to the uttermost. His watchword is none the less true today, as it was when he gave it to the first disciples--"Whosoever will save his life will lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for My sake and the Gospel's shall find it."

No one requires us to leave. No one has required us to leave. The reports some of you have heard of orders to this effect did not emanate from official or authoritative sources. But even if anyone had required us to leave, we should then have had to obey God rather then men. We could not leave unless God, who called us, required it of us, and our spiritual instinct tells us He would never require such a thing at such an hour.

Our people need us now more than ever before in the whole history of the mission. To give but two examples:

1. Our Native Ministry. We have accepted a big responsibility in the eyes of all Christendom in founding a native ministry. We have given birth to it. We are responsible before God and the Church for its growth and development on sound Catholic lines. It is still but in its infancy. We cannot leave it to sink back into heathenism. We must stand by that to which we have given birth.

[223] 2. Our Papuan Women. Our influence is just beginning to tell with them. How would they fare if all our women missionaries left. It would take years to recover what the locusts had eaten. Our Papuan women need the influence of women missionaries today more than ever.

No, my bothers and sisters, fellow workers in Christ, whatever others my do, we cannot leave. We shall not leave. We shall stand by our trust. We shall stand by our vocation.

We do not know what it may mean to us. Many think us fools and mad. What does that matter? If we are fools, "we are fools for Christ's sake". I cannot foretell the future. I cannot guarantee that all will be well--that we shall all come through unscathed. One thing only I can guarantee is that if we do not forsake Christ here in Papua in His Body, the Church, He will not forsake us. He will uphold us He will strengthen us and He will guide us and keep us though the days that lie ahead. If we all left, it would take years for the Church to recover from our betrayal of our trust. If we remain--and even if the worst came to the worst and we were all to perish in remaining--the Church would not perish, for there would have been no breach of trust in its walls, but its foundations and structure would have received added strength for the future building by our faithfulness unto death.

This, I believe, is the resolution of you all. Indeed, I have been deeply moved and cheered more than I can say by letters I have received from many of our staff this week who have been in a position to communicate with me, and I have reason to believe that others who have not had that opportunity think and feel the same way. Our staff, I believe, stands as a solid phalanx in this time of uncertainty. Their influence has already had a stabilizing effect on the community, and though harm has already been done, counsels of sanity are beginning to prevail again in the territory before the damage has become irretrievable. However, let us not judge others, but let us only follow duty as we see it. If we are a solid phalanx, let us see to it in the days to come that it is a phalanx of Divine Grace, for only so can it remain unshaken.

I know there are special circumstances which may make it imperative for one or two to go (if arrangements can be made for them to do so). For the rest of us, we have made our resolution to stay. Let us not shrink form it. Let us not go back on it. Let us trust and not be afraid.

To you all I send my blessing. The Lord be with you.


West Virginia History Timeline

Offers a chronological timeline of important dates, events, and milestones in West Virginia history.

The Mound Builders were the earliest known inhabitants. When the first Europeans arrived, however, the region was for the most part unpopulated, serving as a common hunting ground (and therefore a battleground) for the settlers and Native Americans.

When the state of Virginia voted to secede from the United States during the Civil War (1861-65), the people of the rugged and mountainous western region of the state opposed the decision and organized to form their own state, West Virginia, in support of the Union. Congress granted statehood to West Virginia on June 20, 1863.

17th Century West Virginia History Timeline

1607 - Virginia Colony established by England

  • John Lederer employed by colonial governor, William Berkeley, become the first European to view West Virginia.
  • Robert Cavelier and Sieur de La Salle explored the Ohio River and made landings at several sites in West Virginia

1670's - Exploration of West Virginia begins

1671 - Thomas Batts and Robert Fallam discover waters flowing westward into the Ohio River and help establish English claims to the Ohio Valley

18th Century West Virginia History Timeline

1712 - Baron Christopher de Graffenreid enters the Eastern Panhandle

1716 - Lt.-Gov. Alexander Spotswood enters western Virginia to the banks of the Shenandoah River.

1719 - Presbyterians founded the first church in West Virginia, Potomoke Church at Shepherdstown.

  • Virginia government encouraging settler allows families to live rent-free on land owned by the state for ten years
  • Iroquois surrender claims to land south of the Ohio River in addition to counties in the eastern panhandle.
  • Western Appalachians explored by fur traders.
  • Northern part of western Virginia explored by trader John Van Nehne

1727 - Settlement at New Mecklenburg (Shepherdstown) founded by Pennsylvania Germans.

  • Virginia began to encourage settlement in the western valley of Virginia
  • Land grants in West Virginia are made to Isaac and John Van Meter.

1731 - Morgan Morgan establishes first settlement in present West Virginia near Bunker Hill in Berkeley County.

  • Scotch-Irish, Welsh, and German pioneers settle the western portions of Virginia.
  • Harper's Ferry settled.
  • Coal discovered by John Howard and John Peter Salley (Salling) on Coal River near Racine.
  • First iron furnace west of the Blue Ridge at Bloomery on the Shenandoah River constructed by Thomas Mayberry .

1744 - Territory between the Allegheny Mountains and the Ohio River ceded to the English by Indians of the Six Nations.

  • George Washington surveys land in western Virginia for Lord Fairfax.
  • "The Harpers Ferry" begin carries passengers across the Shenandoah River.
  • First recorded settlement west of the Alleghenies made in Marlinton by Jacob Marlin and Stephen Sewell
  • Ohio Company receives a grant of 500,000 acres
  • French claims by Celeron de Bienville affirmed by lead plates buried along the Ohio River
  • Fort Ohio, built at Ridgeley, now Mineral County.
  • Greenbrier Valley and Kentucky through the Cumberland Gap explored by Thomas Walker of the Loyal Company.

1754 - 1763 - French and Indian War

1754 - December 13 - Hampshire county, created from Augusta, Frederick county also formed .

  • General Braddock defeated at Pittsburgh by the French and Indians after traveling through the eastern panhandle
  • Fort Ashby constructed in current Mineral County.
  • July 3 - Shawnee Indians attack settlement at Draper's Meadows, New River, nearly all are killed or captured.

1757 - Hampshire county organized.

1758 - Morgantown settled.

1762 - December 23 - Romney and Mecklenburg (later Shepherdstown) established when the Governor of Virginia signs bills of incorporation.

  • Harper's Ferry incorporated.
  • British government forbids occupation of lands west of the Alleghenies.

1764 - General Horatio Gates settles in Jefferson County.

1765 - Clarksburg settled.

  • Survey of Mason-Dixon Line reaches western boundary between Maryland and western Virginia.
  • Delaware and Mingo Indians destroyed community of Morgantown founded by Zackquill Morgan (son of Morgan Morgan) in 1766-1767.

1767 - Ice's Ferry, Monongalia County, settled by Frederick Ice. Adam Ice, son of Frederick was the first white child born in the Monongahela Valley..

  • Iroquois cede lands north of the Little Kanawha River to the British in the Treaty of Fort Stanwix.
  • First recorded flood of the Ohio River.
  • Williamstown founded by Isaac Williams

1770 - "Harewood," the home of Colonel Samuel Washington was built in Jefferson County near Charles Town.

1771 - Natural gas discovers in the Kanawha Valley by John Floyd.

  • Ohio and Kanawha Rivers explored by George R. Clark.
  • February - Berkeley county created from Frederick county.
  • Simon Kenton and party spent winter on the Elk River near Charleston.
  • First permanent English settler in Kanawha county, Cedar Grove at the mouth of Kelly's Creek is William Morris, Sr.
  • Fort Fincastle (renamed Henry, 1776) constructed at Wheeling.
  • Pricket's Fort constructed near Fairmont.
  • October 10 - Battle of Point Pleasant (Lord Dunmore's War) between Virginia settlers and militia and a confederacy of Shawnee, Delaware, Wyandot, Cayuga, and other Indian tribes led by Cornstalk.

1775 - Gas discovered near Charleston.

  • Western Virginia petition the Continental Congress for a separate government
  • October - Town of Bath (Berkeley Springs) established by the Virginia General Assembly.
  • October - Ohio and Monongalia counties are formed from the district of West Augusta.
  • Indian warfare begins
  • September - Indians unsuccessfully besiege Fort Henry.
  • November 10 - Chief Cornstalk, his son, and Chief Red Hawk murdered by whites at Fort Randolph.
  • October - Greenbrier county created from Botetourt, Montgomery county.
  • Martinsburg laid out by Adam Stephen,
  • Revolutionary War battle fought at Wheeling
  • Fort Henry attacked by British and Indians .
  • September 10 - Siege of Fort Henry (second).

1783 - Settlers west of the Allegheny Mountains attempt to create "Westsylvania," a new state

  • James Rumsey exhibits his "mechanical boat" at Bath, West Virginia
  • Mason and Dixon's line agreed to as the Virginia-Pennsylvania border.
  • July - Harrison county created from Monongalia county.
  • First Protestant church west of Alleghenies, Rehoboth Church built near Union in Monroe County.
  • First authorized ferry in western Virginia started by Andrew Ice.
  • December 10 - Hardy county created from Hampshire county.
  • October - Charles Town chartered by the Virginia General Assembly.
  • October - Randolph county created from Harrison county.
  • First publication printed in state at Shepherdstown, a pamphlet by James Rumsey, A Short Treatise on the Application of Steam.
  • Federal Constitution ratifies by Virginia
  • November 14 - Kanawha county created from Greenbrier and Montgomery county
  • Pendleton county created from Augusta, Hardy, and Rockingham county.
  • First permanent settlement built at Charleston.
  • Daniel Boone commissioned lieutenant colonel of the Kanawha Militia.
  • Road from Winchester reaches Clarksburg.
  • First newspaper, published in Shepherdstown," The Potomak Guardian and Berkeley Advertiser," by Nathaniel Willis.
  • US census population: 55,873.

1791 - Daniel Boone elected as a delegate to the Virginia Assembly.

1792 - June 30 - First post office established at Martinsburg.

  • First iron furnace west of the Alleghenies at King's Creek constructed by Peter Tarr.
  • "Mad Anthony" Wayne's victory at Fallen Timbers (Ohio) halts Indian attacks.
  • December 19 - Charlestown (Charleston) established by the Virginia General Assembly.

1795 - Daniel Boone leave Kanawha Valley.

1796 - November 30 - Brooke county created from Ohio county

  • Second West Virginia newspaper, the Impartial Observer, established at Shepherdstown.
  • First book printed in West Virginia , The Christian Panoply printed by the Impartial Observer
  • Harman Blennerhassett purchases an island in the Ohio River, Parkersburg.
  • December 21 - Wood county created from Harrison county.
  • Mecklenburg renamed Shepherdstown by the Virginia Assembly.

1799 - January 14 - Monroe county created from Greenbrier county.

  • 78,000 people in West Virginia , with 35,000 west of the Alleghenies. Existed 13 counties, 8 post offices, and 19 incorporated towns.

19th Century West Virginia History Timeline

1801 - January 8 - Jefferson county created from Berkeley county.

1803 - First newspaper west of the Alleghenies is the Monongalia Gazette and Morgantown Advertiser.

1804 - January 2 - Mason county created from Kanawha county.

1805 - Harman Blennerhassett and Aaron Burr plotted to conquer territory of the US south of the Ohio River on Blennerhasset Island.

1806 - First salt well drilled in Great Kanawha Valley

1807 - Wheeling's first newspaper, the Repository, published.

1808 - Lewisburg Academy (later the Greenbrier Military School) opens its doors to boys

1809 - January 2 - Cabell county created from Kanawha county.

  • Western Virginia protests unequal representation in Virginia legislature.
  • Oil discovered.
  • Parkersburg adopted new name, known previously as Newport and Stokeleyville.
  • Clarksburg's first newspaper, the Bye-Stander, published.
  • December 16 - Tyler county created from Ohio county.
  • Linsly Institute established at Wheeling.
  • Monongalia Academy established at Morgantown.

1815 - Natural gas discovered by James Wilson in Charleston.

1816 - December 18 - Lewis county created from Harrison county.

  • Kanawha Salt Company, first trust in United States, organized.
  • First bank, the Northwestern Bank of Virginia, opens.
  • Cumberland Road (or National Road) completed from Cumberland, Maryland, to Wheeling.
  • January 19 - Preston county created from Monongalia county.
  • January 30 - Nicholas county created from Greenbrier, Kanawha, Randolph county
  • Charles Town renamed Charleston.
  • First commercial coal mine at Fairmont opens.
  • March - Morgan county created from Berkeley, Hampshire county.
  • Charleston's first newspaper, the Kenawha Spectator, published.

1821 - December 21 - Pocahontas county created from Bath, Pendleton, Randolph county.

1823 - First religious newspaper, "The Christian Baptist," begins publication.

1824 - January 12 - Logan county created from Cabell, Giles, Kanawha, and Tazewell county.

1825 - Marquis de Lafayette arrive in Wheeling

1829 - Virginia counties west of the Allegheny Mountains protest constitution that favors the slave-holding counties.

1830 - Separation of western Virginia from eastern Virginia proposed by The Wheeling Gazette

  • Virginia's political division is enhanced by slavery debates
  • Fayette county created from Greenbrier, Kanawha, Logan and Nicholas county
  • March 1 - Jackson county created from Kanawha, Mason, and Wood county.

1833 - Cholera epidemic in the Wheeling district, killing 23 in one day.

1834 - First commercial coal company in the Kanawha Valley, Ohio Mining Company

  • March 12 - Marshall county created from Ohio county.
  • October 14 - Wheeling, John Templeton, John Moore, Stanley Cuthbert, and Ellen Ritchie are charged with illegally teaching blacks to read.
  • First railroad reached state at Harpers Ferry.
  • Wheeling incorporated.
  • January 15 - Braxton county created from Kanawha, Lewis, and Nicholas county.
  • March 17 - Mercer county created from Giles, Tazewell county.
  • Marshall Academy ( Marshall University) established in Guyandotte (Huntington).

1838 - April 4 - Town of Beckley created by Virginia Assembly.

1840 - Bethany College, West Virginia 's oldest degree-granting college, founded by Alexander Campbell.

1841 - Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike completed

1842 - January 18 - Wayne county created from Cabell county Marion county created from Harrison and Monongalia county.

  • March 3 - Barbour county created from Harrison, Lewis, and Randolph county
  • February 18 - Ritchie county created from Harrison, Lewis, and Wood county.
  • Fairmont so named.

1844 - January 19 - Taylor county created from Barbour, Harrison, and Marion county.

1845 - February 4 - Doddridge county created from Harrison, Lewis, Ritchie, and Tyler county Gilmer county created from Kanawha and Lewis county.

1846 - January 10 - Wetzel county created from Tyler county.

  • March 11 - Boone county created from Cabell, Kanawha, and Logan county.
  • First telegraph line reaches West Virginia at Wheeling.
  • January 15 - Hancock county created from Brooke county
  • March 11 - Putnam county created from Cabell, Kanawha, and Mason county
  • January 19 - Wirt county created from Jackson and Wood county.

1849 - October 30 - Wheeling Bridge completed. (1849- 1851, longest bridge in the world) destroyed in 1854.

  • Reform Convention is held at Richmond
  • January 23 - Raleigh county created from Fayette county
  • January 26 - Wyoming county created from Logan county.
  • Joseph Johnson, Bridgeport becomes the only governor of Virginia to chosen by popular vote and to come from the western part of the state.
  • New constitution grants concessions to the western Virginia.
  • March 26 - Upshur county created from Barbour, Lewis, and Randolph county
  • Pleasants county created from Ritchie, Tyler, and Wood county.
  • Oldest daily newspaper established in Wheeling, The Intelligencer
  • December 24 - B&O Railroad completed to Wheeling.

1854 - Wheeling Bridge destroyed by high winds.

  • March 5 - Calhoun county created from Gilmer county.
  • March 7 - Tucker county created from Randolph county.
  • March 11 - Roane county created from Gilmer, Jackson, and Kanawha county.

1857 - B&O Railroad reaches Parkersburg.

  • February 28 - McDowell county created from Tazewell county.
  • March 29 - Clay county created from Braxton and Nicholas county.
  • Woodburn Female Seminary located at Morgantown.
  • Rathbone Well, the first successful oil well drilled on Burning Springs Run in Wirt County.
  • Martinsburg incorporated.
  • October 16 - John Brown and twenty-two followers attack the United States Federal Arsenal at Harpers Ferry in an effort to incite a slave insurrection and to put an end to slavery.
  • December 2 - John Brown hanged in Charles Town.
  • US Census population of Charleston: 1,520.
  • Commercial oil well drilled at Burning Springs.
  • Webster county created from Braxton, Nicholas, and Randolph county.
  • Civil War: West Virginia contributes about 32,000 soldiers to the Union Army and about 10,000 to the Confederate.
  • Battle of Philippi mark first land battle of the Civil War.
  • Union victories forces Confederate out of the Monongahela and Kanawha valleys.
  • April 17 - Virginia state convention votes to secede contingent on approval by popular vote.
  • May 13-15 - Delegates from 25 counties meet at the First Wheeling Convention, repudiating the secession from the Union.
  • May 23 - Virginia's ordinance for secession ratified, but a majority in the western counties voice opposition.
  • June 11-25 - Second Wheeling convention: counties of western Virginia refused to secede with Virginia and created the Restored Government of Virginia in Wheeling.
  • August 6 - Second Wheeling convention reconvenes.
  • August 20 - Second Wheeling convention adopts a dismemberment ordinance that provides for the formation of a new state to be called Kanawha.
  • September 10 - Battle of Carnifex Ferry
  • September 11-13 - Battle of Cheat Mountain
  • October 24 - Public referendum, voters support creation of a new state, to be called Kanawha.
  • November 1-3 - General John B. Floyd troops attack Rosecrans yankees at Gauley Bridge
  • November 6 - Battle of Droop Mountain
  • November 11 - Guyandotte, Cabell County, burnt by Union troops in retaliation for a raid by the Confederate cavalry.
  • November 26 - Second Wheeling convention reconvenes, changes name of new state to West Virginia, begins to draft a constitution, and extends the boundaries .
  • October 1 - 3rd West Virginia Cavalry Company A - Recruited primarily from Morgantown, mustered in at Wheeling
  • December 21 - 3rd West Virginia Cavalry Company A - mustered in at Brandonville
  • January - Colored School Board of Parkersburg, West Virginia, formed by seven men and organize a day school for black children First public school for blacks.
  • April - Voters approve the new Constitution for West Virginia.
  • May 13 - (Restored) Virginia Legislature gave formal consent to the formation of a new State.
  • May 23 - Union troops defeat Confederates at Lewisburg.
  • May 29 - William T. Willey, United States Senator, presented a memorial to the United States Senate asking for the formation of a new State and requesting its admission to the Union.
  • July 14 - Senate pass the West Virginia Statehood bill, changing the slavery provision of the West Virginia Constitution to allow for the gradual emancipation of slavery.
  • September 13 - Battle of Charleston, city occupied by Union troops.
  • December 31 - President Lincoln approves the act of admission to the Union, to take effect upon the insertion into the State constitution of a clause that would provide for the gradual emancipation of slaves.
  • Parkersburg incorporated.
  • April 20 - President Lincoln issued the Proclamation
  • April 27 - Confederate General William Jones attempts to burn the suspension bridge over the Monongahela River.
  • April 29 - Union troops at Fairmont defeated by Jones
  • June 20 - West Virginia admitted to the Union as 35th state with Arthur I. Boreman of Parkersburg as the first governor.
  • July 15 - Act giving blacks the same rights to criminal trial as whites, but denying them the right to serve on a jury was approved.
  • August 7 - Battle of Moorefield
  • September 26 - State Seal
  • September 26 - Military Crest
  • September 26 - Coat of Arms
  • First free public school opens in Charleston.
  • February 3 - Governor approves an act abolishing slavery and provides for emancipation of all slaves.
  • April 9 - Civil War ends.
  • June 23 - 3rd West Virginia Cavalry mustered out of services
  • State constitution deny citizenship and suffrage to all persons who had supported the Confederacy.
  • State penitentiary to be located at Moundsville.
  • Mineral county created from Hampshire county Grant county created from Hardy county.
  • Hospital for the insane completed at Weston
  • May 24 - Voters ratify constitutional amendment denying citizenship to all who aided the Confederacy.
  • Agricultural College of West Virginia in Morgantown.
  • Lincoln county created from Boone, Cabell, Kanawha, Putnam county.
  • Fairmont State College established.
  • Storer College, one of the country's first Black colleges, opened at Harpers Ferry, Jefferson County.
  • January 16 - Legislature ratifies the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution.
  • Only national cemetery in the state was established at Grafton, Taylor County.
  • The Agricultural College of West Virginia renamed West Virginia University.
  • February 10 - Charleston named the seat of government
  • March - Preston County Courthouse burns
  • March 23 - West Virginia State Senate ratifies the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
  • Charleston incorporated.
  • 1870 census population: 442,014.
  • School for the Deaf and Blind established at Romney.
  • Huntington founded as the western terminus of the C&O Railroad
  • West Liberty State College established.
  • April 1 - State capitol moved from Wheeling to Charleston.
  • Flick Amendment to the state constitution adopted, granting suffrage to all male citizens regardless of race.
  • Summers county created from Fayette, Greenbrier, Mercer, and Monroe county.
  • April 27 - Citizenship restored to all persons stripped of their voting privileges in 1866.
  • C&O Railway completes its line across the state
  • Kanawha Chronicle (now the Charleston Gazette) established.
  • Joseph Harvey Long purchases the Huntington Herald and installed and operated the first stereotype and linotype.
  • March 12 - Governor approves acts that only white males over the age of 21 could serve on juries.
  • June 11 - Charleston Mayor Snyder and city council appoint Ernest Porterfield as a police officer, the first black to receive a public job in Kanawha County

1875 - State capital moved to Wheeling.

1876 - Broaddus College moves from Winchester, Virginia, to Clarksburg.

  • July - Governor Mathews sends the state militia to Martinsburg, where B&O Railroad workers are interfering with train movements to no avail. Federal troops dispatched to break the first national labor strike that also included Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and New York.
  • August 7 - Public referendum on permanent site of the capital Charleston, Clarksburg, or Martinsburg
  • First oil pipeline completed, running from Volcano to Parkersburg
  • Manufacture of Mail Pouch tobacco at Wheeling by Bloch brothers.
  • Telephone line installed in Wheeling between the two Behrens grocery stores
  • October - Taylor Strauder decision, US Supreme Court found the West Virginia law forbidding blacks from serving on juries to be unconstitutional
  • First major coal strike results in Governor Mathews sending militia to Hawks Nest
  • 1880 census population: 618,457.
  • Telephone exchange installed in Wheeling
  • June 22 - Beckley's first newspaper, the Raleigh County Index (later the Raleigh Register), begins publishing.

1881 - February 3 - Governor approves a bill allowing all eligible voting citizens, including blacks, to be jurors.

  • Wheeling electric light plant begins operation.
  • Telephone exchange installed in Parkersburg.
  • Twenty-year-long Hatfield-McCoy feud erupts.
  • N&W Railroad brings railway service to counties in southern West Virginia .
  • First long distance line in the state constructed, to connect Wheeling to Pittsburgh.
  • Telephone exchange installed in Charleston.
  • Ohio River floods Huntington.
  • Telephone exchanges are installed in Huntington and Moundsville.
  • Charleston becomes the permanent state capital.
  • The National Gas Company of West Virginia established
  • Mountain Brook mine disaster at Newburg claims 39 lives.
  • November 12 - Huntington get electric streetlights.

1887 - Huntington replaces Barboursville as the Cabell county seat.

  • Aretas Brooks Fleming, who appears to have lost the election for Governor by 130 votes to Nathan Goff Jr., contests the election.
  • Barboursville Seminary established at Barboursville.
  • Salem Academy (later Salem College) established at Salem.
  • Faculty of West Virginia University votes to allow admission of women.
  • Drilling operations near Mannington initiate an oil boom
  • Huntington Advertiser begins publication.
  • United Mine Workers of America formed.
  • West Virginia Wesleyan College established at Buckhannon.
  • Office of the Inspector of Mines for the coal industry created.
  • Joseph Harvey Long starts the Wheeling News.
  • 1890 census population: 762,704. Largest cities are Wheeling, 34,522 Huntington, 10,108 Parkersburg, 8408 Martinsburg, 7226 and Charleston, 6742.
  • March 4 - State Legislature passed an act establishing the West Virginia Colored Institute at Institute (later West Virginia State College). Approved by the Governor on March 17.
  • November 28 - First intercollegiate football game at West Virginia U played, against Washington & Jefferson College.

1893 - The Huntington Herald, later the Herald-Dispatch, begins publication.

  • Mingo county created from Logan county.
  • February 21 - Legislature passes an act establishing the Bluefield Colored Institute (Bluefield State College).
  • George W. Atkinson elected Governor, first Republican governor since Reconstruction period.
  • Voters elected the first African-American to the legislature, Christopher Payne of Fayette County
  • October - 6. Rural free mail delivery begins in Charles Town, first in United States.
  • Mary Harris "Mother" Jones sent into West Virginia to organize miners
  • August 3 - "The Great Lewisburg Fire" causes significant damage.
  • December 16 - Public hanging at Ripley takes place, prompting the legislature to turn over the responsibility for executions to the state government. John Morgan was the last public hanging in West Virginia .
  • Spanish American War: West Virginia furnishes two regiments of volunteer infantry.
  • November 16 - Trial of Williams v. Board of Education of Tucker County began.
  • Fairmont incorporated.
  • October 10 - First state-sponsored execution in West Virginia takes place, at the state penitentiary in Moundsville.

20th Century West Virginia History Timeline

1900 - June 8 - The Raleigh Herald (later the Beckley Post-Herald) begins publishing.

  • Governor George W. Atkinson requests the Legislature to name a state flower.
  • Fayette County citizen Morris Harvey makes large gifts to Barboursville College, which changes its name to Morris Harvey College.

1902 - Mother Jones campaigns to unionize 7,000 miners in Kanawha Valley.

1903 - January 29 - Big Laurel (Rhodedendron Maximum) adopted as state flower.

1904 - Davis and Elkins College established at Elkins.

1905 - Morgantown incorporated.

  • January 4 - 22 are killed at Coaldale mine in Mercer County.
  • January 18 - 18 are killed at Detroit mine in Kanawha County.
  • February 8 - 23 are killed at Parral mine in Fayette County.
  • March 22 - 23 are killed at Century mine in Barbour County.
  • January 29 - 84 are killed at Stuart in Fayette County.
  • February 4 - 25 are killed at Thomas mine in Tucker county.
  • December 6 -362 are killed at Monongah in the worst mine disaster in US history.
  • White Sulphur Springs incorporated.
  • Beckley newspaper, The Messenger, established.
  • January 12 - 67 killed at Switchback mine.
  • April 2 - Earthquake in Charles Town - Martinsburg area

1912-1921 - Conflicts between miners and mine owners over labor unions

  • Paint Creek-Cabin Creek miners strike to gain recognition of the United Mine Workers of America. On three separate occasions, Governor Glasscock declares martial law and sends in troops.
  • State prohibition becomes effective.
  • March 26 - 83 killed in mine disaster at Jed.
  • April 13 - Beckley fire.
  • September 21 - Mary Harris "Mother" Jones leads a march of miners' children through Charleston.
  • First units of the Greenbrier resort are built.
  • February 12 - Mary Harris "Mother" Jones leads a protest of conditions in the West Virginia mines and arrested.
  • March 27-30 - Thousands homeless in Huntington and Parkersburg after flooding by the Ohio River.
  • May 8 - Newly-elected Governor Hatfield released Mary Harris "Mother" Jones from jail.
  • April 28 - 192 killed in mine disaster at Eccles.
  • October 14 - A glass manufacturing plant, later part of the Owens-Illinois Company, begins operations in Huntington.
  • Supreme Court rules West Virginia owes Virginia more than $12.3 million as part of the state debt at the time of separation.
  • March 2 - 112 killed in mine disaster at Layland.

1916 - November - Amendment allowing suffrage for women rejected by voters.

  • US enters World War I. West Virginia Selective Service registrants number nearly 325,000. Over 45,000 see active service and 624 are killed in action.
  • May 26 - Department of Special Deputy Police, a wartime internal security force serving in the absence of the federalized West Virginia National Guard

1918 - Fire destroys the Charleston Gazette building at 909 Virginia St. , Charleston

  • Governor Cornwell discourages an armed miners' march by promising to address the miners' grievances.
  • March 31 - Governor Cornwell signs bill creating the Department of Public Safety (West Virginia State Police). The West Virginia State Police is the fourth oldest state police agency in the United States.
  • September - Miners march on Logan county to unseat Sheriff Don Chafin whose deputies assaulted and evicted union organizers who entered the county. The march was ended after federal military forces were activated at the request of Governor John J. Cornwell.
  • November - Nationwide coal strike.

1920:1921 - Coal wars in an effort to unionize West Virginia coal miners.

  • UMWA membership booms in Mingo County following the "Matewan Massacre."
  • John L. Lewis becomes President of the UMW
  • January - UMW moves its unionization campaign from Logan to Mingo County. Mother Jones delivers a speech of support.
  • April 12 - Hull of the second West Virginia (Battleship No. 48 to the Navy and Hull 211 to the builders) was laid down
  • May 19 - Matewan Chief of Police Sid Hatfield attempts to arrest detectives hired by coal operators to evict families of fired union miners from company housing. Ten people died including Matewan Mayor Cable C. Testerman. "Matewan Massacre" makes Sid Hatfield a folk hero to miners throughout the state and a national celebrity.
  • August 28 - Governor Cornwell requests federal troops to guard the mines of southern West Virginia .
  • September - Rioting in Williamson follows attempts to import strikebreakers into the area.
  • November 27 - Governor Cornwell proclaims martial law in Mingo County.
  • West Virginia miners fight with mine guards, police, and federal troops in a dispute over organizing unions.
  • KDKA, Pittsburgh broadcast first football game ever on radio. West Virginia University vs the University of Pittsburgh.
  • January 3 - State capitol at Charleston destroyed by fire.
  • May 12 - "Three Day's Battle" begins along both shores of the Tug River, with sniping by strikers at state police, deputies and coal company officials.
  • May 18 - Mingo County sheriff authorizes State Police Captain Brockus to assume responsibility for law enforcement in the county. "Volunteer state police" organized.
  • May 19 - Governor Morgan proclaims martial law in Mingo County. Major Thomas B. Davis, acting Adjutant General, named executive agent to administer the proclamation.
  • June 14 - Davis and Brockus lead state police and vigilantes in a raid on the Lick Creek tent colony, in retaliation for further sniping incidents. 47 strikers arrested.
  • July 1 - West Virginia becomes the first state to have a sales tax.
  • July 14 - US Senate Committee on Education and Labor begins a three-month investigation of the crises in West Virginia 's coal mining industry.
  • August 1 - Matewan Chief of Police Sid Hatfield shot and killed on the steps of the McDowell County Courthouse.
  • August 7 - One thousand miners present Governor Morgan with a resolution calling for an end to martial law in Mingo County.
  • August 21 - First unit of West Virginia National Guard -Company I, 150th Infantry - reactivated at Williamson.
  • August 23 - John H. Charnock appointed Adjutant General, replacing Major Davis.
  • August 25 - Governor Morgan asks President Harding for federal troops and military aircraft.
  • September 3 - Battle of Blair Mountain ends in cease fire.
  • September 4 - 10th US Infantry march up Hewitt Creek in Logan County and efforts to unionize the southern West Virginia coal fields ended.
  • Radio station WHD licensed to West Virginia University, became West Virginia's first radio station.
  • May - International Nickel Company plant begins operation in Huntington.
  • May - "Treason Trial" at Charles Town, Jefferson County, of union members accused of participating in the march on Logan and Battle of Blair Mountain.
  • September 22 - Martial law rescinded in Mingo County.

1923 - WSAZ - begins broadcasting at Pomeroy, Ohio. It later moved to Huntington.

  • April 28 -119 killed in mine disaster at Benwood9.
  • February 12 - Beckley's first daily newspaper, the Evening Post, begins publication.
  • April 1 - Strike begins against the coal operators in the north and lasted for three years.
  • Governor Morgan and his wife become the first residents of the present Governor's Mansion
  • Late March - Black leaders protest and prohibited the showing of D. W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation, scheduled to open at the Rialto Theatre in Charleston on April 1, on the grounds it violated a 1919 state law prohibiting any entertainment which demeaned another race
  • West wing of the present state capitol completed.
  • Sixth Street Bridge, opens in Huntington.
  • December 6 - Wheeling radio station WWVA signs on the air.
  • June 20 declared West Virginia Day
  • Fire destroys the temporary "pasteboard capitol," built after the old capitol burned in 1921.
  • April 30 - 97 killed in mine disaster at Everettville7.
  • October 12 - Charleston radio station WOBU (later WCHS) signs on the air.
  • January 10 - Minnie Buckingham Harper was appointed to the House of Delegates, becoming the first African-American woman to serve in a legislative body in the United States.
  • May - The Keith-Albee Theater opens in Huntington.

1929 - March 7 - State flag adopted.

1930 - March 30 - New-Kanawha Power Company breaks ground on the Hawks Nest Tunnel and Dam, part of the New River power project

1931 - December 10 - Two blacks accused of killing two white constables in Greenbrier County are lynched.

  • Democratic candidate for Governor, Herman G. Kump is elected.
  • Present state capitol dedicated.
  • March 18 - Mass murderer Harry Powers hanged.
  • Fall - Voters approve an amendment to the state Constitution to limit property taxes.
  • June 20 - New state capitol dedicated.
  • July 1 - Legislature abolishes the magisterial and independent school districts, merging them into 55 county school boards.
  • State prohibition law repealed.
  • First of more than 150 New Deal homestead communities established in Arthurdale, Preston County, by the Roosevelt Administration.
  • Morris Harvey College moves from Barboursville to Charleston.
  • State Constitution amended to allow home rule for cities with populations over 2,000.

1937 - January 26-27 - Huntington's worst flood paralyzes the entire city and leaves 6000 homeless. Parkersburg also flooded.

  • Tygart Dam on the Tygart River completed.
  • Mingo Oak, largest and oldest white oak tree in the US, declared dead and felled with ceremony.

1939 - West Virginia makes the final payment of its debt to Virginia.

  • January 10 - 91 killed in mine explosion at Bartley in McDowell County.
  • December 17 - 9 killed in a mine disaster in Raleigh.
  • US enters World War II.
  • First synthetic rubber plant in the US opens near Charleston.
  • December 19 - First German and Hungarian diplomats arrive at The Greenbrier.
  • During the war, 1700 persons from foreign countries were imprisoned at The Greenbrier.

1942 - February 6 - Governor Neely orders activation of West Virginia State Guard, an internal security force serving in the absence of the federalized National Guard.

  • US Supreme Court rules that schools cannot require students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in West Virginia State Board of Education vs Barnett .
  • Salt deposits discovered in the northwestern West Virginia.

1944 - June 23 - North-central West Virginia battered by the Shinnston Tornado, killing 116.

  • Major chemical industries begin operating in the Ohio River valley.
  • August 15 - WCFC in Beckley, begins broadcasting.

1947 - State's coal production reaches 173.7 million tons, more than any previous year. More than 167,000 miners are employed.

  • March 7 - Sugar Maple (Acer saccarum) adopted as state tree
  • October 24 - WSAZ-TV in Huntington begin operations
  • Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) adopted as state bird.

1950 - Elizabeth Simpson Drewry of McDowell County serving until 1964 becomes the first black woman elected to the House of Delegates.

1951 - July 17 - Elizabeth Kee of Bluefield elected to complete the unexpired term of her husband, Rep. John Kee became the first woman in West Virginia history to serve in Congress.

  • Bluestone Dam on the New River completed.
  • Construction begins on the West Virginia Turnpike.
  • West Virginia Turnpike completed.
  • Law allowing blacks to attend state colleges and universities enacted.
  • Wheeling College founded.
  • August 15 - WCHS-TV at Charleston signs on the air.
  • Ravenswood aluminum plant opens.
  • November 6 - Voters approve jury service for women. Republican, Cecil H. Underwood elected Governor

1957 - George Howard Mitchell appointed the first black Assistant Attorney General.

1958 - December - James R. Jarrett named head basketball coach at Charleston High School, the first black in the state to be appointed head coach at a previously all-white public school

  • Operations begin at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Green Bank.
  • March 1 - 101st Special Forces Operational Detachment FC formed from existing units in the West Virginia Army National Guard.
  • John F. Kennedy defeats Hubert Humphrey in West Virginia
  • January 26 - Danny Heater, Burnsville High School scoring 135 points in a high school basketball game to earn him an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.
  • Public Employees Retirement System, the Department of Natural Resources, the Air Pollution Control Commission, the Human Rights Commission, the Industrial Development Authority, and the Department of Commerce created.
  • World's largest movable radio telescope begins regular operations at Green Bank
  • Funds to supply birth control information and aid to welfare recipients approved.
  • February 28 - "The West Virginia Hills" adopted as state song. "West Virginia, My Home Sweet Home" and "This is My West Virginia"
  • March 8 - Old Gold and Blue adopted as state colors
  • Issuance by counties or municipalities of tax-exempt industrial development bonds approved.

1966 - Summersville Dam on the Gauley River dedicated.

  • Laws to control air and water pollution and strip mining were pass.
  • December 15 - Silver Bridge at Point Pleasant collapses, 46 killed.
  • Mass dismissals of state highway workers follow a strike for union recognition, all were reinstated who would return to work.
  • November 20 - 78 killed in explosions and fire in Farmington coal mine.
  • Former Governor W. W. "Wally" Barron sentenced to a five-year prison term for jury tampering.
  • November 19 - Strongest, most widely felt earthquake in West Virginia's history
  • December 9 - Tony Boyle reelected President of the UMWA. Twenty-two days later, his challenger, Jock Yablonski and his wife and daughter were murdered
  • December 30 - Coal Mine Health and Safety Act signed by Nixon.

1970 - November 14 - Southern Airways plane crashes killing almost the entire Marshall University football team, coaches, and other athletic department personnel, All 75 aboard were killed.

1971 - November 12 - Governor Arch Moore negotiates the end of a 44-day national coal strike.

  • Arch A. Moore, Jr. first governor of West Virginia to succeed himself since 1872.
  • February 26 - Buffalo Creek coal waste dam collapses near Man. 125 people killed.
  • March 7 - Golden Delicious apple adopted as state fruit.
  • December 22 - Arnold Miller became the first native West Virginian to head the United Mine Workers (UMW) union. He appointed Levi Daniel president of District 29 in southern West Virginia, the first African-American district president in the history of the UMW.
  • Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) adopted as state fish
  • Black Bear (Ursus americanus) adopted as state animal.

1974 - September 12 - Kanawha County school board removes controversial textbooks and students at George Washington High School in Charleston walk out in protest.

1974-1975 - Coal miners staged a wildcat strike in support of the textbook critics crusading against what they considered to be unpatriotic and immoral textbooks.

1975 - Major resurgence in the state's coal industry.

  • Governor Arch Moore acquitted by a federal court of charges that he had accepted bribes.
  • Wildcat mine strike in Logan and spreads to eight other states.
  • Medical school established at Marshall University
  • October 22 - New River Gorge Bridge near Fayetteville opens.
  • December - Strike shuts down coal mines (until March 1978).
  • State records its second successive record-breaking winter of bad weather.
  • April 27 - Scaffolding at cooling tower under construction at Willow Island (St. Marys) collapses, killing 51 men.

1980 - Governor John D. Rockefeller defeats Arch A. Moore

1981 - June 8 - Miners return after a 72-day strike.

1983 - July - Governor John D. Rockefeller IV imposes major cutbacks in state spending.

  • Fairmont native Mary Lou Retton became the first woman to win a gold medal in gymnastics at the Los Angeles Olympics.
  • Arch Moore wins third term as governor John D. Rockefeller elected to the US Senate.
  • October 5 - Captain Jon A. McBride of Beckley in Raleigh County piloted the Challenger Space Shuttle on its first mission.
  • State lottery established
  • November 4-5 - Heavy flooding: Death toll - 47 (including 3 never found). Regionally, 71 were killed and damage was $1.2 billion.
  • Major oil spill on the Monongahela and Ohio rivers
  • July 15 - Portion of Interstate 64 opens in southern West Virginia.
  • November - Radio telescope at Green Bank collapsed.
  • November 19 - West Virginia University football team has first undefeated season.
  • March 10 - Lithostrotionella, Chalcedony adopted as state gemstone
  • Former Governor Arch Moore pleads guilty to federal charges of extortion, mail and tax fraud, and obstruction of justice and sentenced to prison.

1992 - December - Marshall University Thundering Herd win the NCAA I-AA National Championship at Marshall Stadium.

1993 - March 12-14 - Snow storm paralyzes West Virginia

1995 - March 1 - Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) adopted as state butterfly

  • Coal industry sets a record for production with 174 million tons.
  • May - First woman to be nominated by major party, Charlotte Pritt wins the Democratic primary election for Governor.

1997 - Monongahela Silt Loam adopted as state soil.

1998 - November 3 - Marie Redd, a professor at Marshall University elected to the state senate from Cabell County, first female African-American to serve in the senate.

  • Homer Hickam, who grew up in the mining town of Coalwood in McDowell County and retired from NASA as a Payload Training Manager for the International Space Station, became a best-selling author with his book" Rocket Boys," upon which the award-winning 1999 motion picture "October Sky" was based.
  • August - Agriculture Secretary Glickman declares West Virginia a farm emergency area because of a drought.
  • September 1 - First National Bank of Keystone closed by the US Comptroller of the Currency, with $515 million in assets unaccounted for.

21st Century West Virginia History Timeline

  • January - Peace talks between Israel and Syria held at Shepherdstown.
  • August 25 - Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope dedicated.
  • Charleston-born composer George Crumb won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Composition. His work "Star-Child" was recorded with West Virginia Symphony Maestro Thomas Conlin conducting.
  • July 8 - 1200 to 1500 persons are left homeless in McDowell county as a result floods. Gov. Bob Wise declared a state of emergency in Wyoming, Mercer, Raleigh, Boone, Fayette, McDowell, Doddridge, and Summers counties.
  • Charleston native and George Washington High School graduate Jennifer Garner was awarded a Golden Globe for her performances on ABC's hit television drama "Alias."
  • May 5 - President Bush declares McDowell, Mingo, Wyoming, and Mercer counties disaster area following severe flooding.
  • December 26 - Andrew "Jack" Whittaker, Jr., claims a $112 million lottery prize in the Powerball Lottery.

2006 - 13 miners trapped in mine, one survived

  • Explosion at Massey Energy Co. mine killed 29 miners Sen. Robert Byrd died (longest-serving senator and longest-serving member in history of U.S. Congress -
  • Sen. Robert Byrd died (longest-serving senator and longest-serving member in history of U.S. Congress

2011 - $209 million in restitution, civil and criminal penalites by mine owner agreed to for mine explosion - largest settlement in a government investigation of a mine disaster

Sources include:
Jeff Miller's West Virginia Page
Martinsburg-Berkeley County
West Virginia History Center -
African-American History
West Virginia Tourism Wild & Wonderful


Operation Sook Ching

Operation Sook Ching was a Japanese military operation aimed at purging or eliminating anti-Japanese elements from the Chinese community in Singapore. From 21 February to 4 March 1942, Chinese males between the ages of 18 and 50 were summoned to various mass screening centres and those suspected of being anti-Japanese were executed.

Reasons for the operation
Sook Ching is a Chinese term meaning "purge through cleansing". The Japanese term for the operation was Dai Kensho, meaning &ldquogreat inspection&rdquo. 1

There were several possible reasons why the Japanese military carried out the operation.

First, the Japanese military were suspicious of the Chinese in Singapore because of the long-standing tensions between Japan and China, and their own experiences fighting the Chinese in China since 1937. 2

Second, many of the Japanese commanders and soldiers were veterans of campaigns in other parts of Asia where violence and executions were regularly used as tools to keep the civilian population under control. 3

Third, the Japanese wanted to prevent anti-Japanese elements from interfering with their occupation of Singapore after experiencing resistance by Chinese volunteers and guerrillas during the Malayan Campaign (1941&ndash1942). 4

Directive
Shortly after the Japanese occupied Singapore, Lieutenant General Tomoyuki Yamashita issued a directive ordering the Chinese population to report to designated areas for screening.

The directive targeted five main categories of Chinese: 5
(1) members of the volunteer force
(2) Communists
(3) looters
(4) those possessing arms and
(5) those whose names appeared in lists of anti-Japanese suspects maintained by Japanese intelligence.

In line with the directive, instructions were issued to Japanese officers on how the operation was to be carried out. Japanese officers were instructed to screen all &ldquoanti-Japanese elements&rdquo, segregate them and dispose of them secretly. 6

How the operation was carried out
After the directive was issued, notices and posters were put up informing Chinese males between the ages of 18 and 50 to report to designated screening centres. Men also went round with loudspeakers to spread the news. 7 These screening centres were located all over the island, especially in areas such as Chinatown where large numbers of Chinese resided.

The screening was mainly carried out by the Kempeitai (the Japanese military police) in the urban areas and by the Imperial Guards Division in the other districts. 8 Initially, the plan was for the operation to be carried out from 21 to 23 February 1942. It was subsequently extended to 4 March.

The screening process was unsystematic and disorganised. Decisions as to who were anti-Japanese were based on the whims of the persons doing the screening. Oral history accounts from eyewitnesses describe different screening methods being used at the various centres. In some centres, victims were selected based on their occupations, their answers to questions, or whether they had tattoos. In other centres, hooded informers would point to men who were allegedly criminals or anti-Japanese elements. 9

The men who were fortunate enough to pass the screening process were allowed to leave the centres. They were provided with proof of their cleared status in the form of a piece of paper with a stamp that said "examined", or through similar stamps marked on their face, arm, shoulder or clothing. 10

Some people were spared from the screenings through the intervention of Japanese official Mamoru Shinozaki . Appointed as advisor to defence headquarters after the fall of Singapore, Shinozaki used his position to issue personal protection cards to thousands of Chinese. 11 In some instances, Shinozaki even personally went to the screening centres to ask for the release of men who had been detained. 12

Thousands of other men were not so fortunate. Suspected of being anti-Japanese elements, these men were loaded into lorries and transported to remote areas such as Changi , Punggol and Bedok for execution. At these sites, the suspects were machine-gunned to death and often their bodies were thrown into the sea. 13 In some instances, British prisoners of war (POWs) were tasked to bury the bodies. 14

Known massacre sites include beaches at Punggol, Changi, Katong, Tanah Merah and Blakang Mati (now Sentosa island). Massacres were said to have also occurred at Hougang, Thomson Road, Changi Road, Siglap, Bedok and East Coast. 15

Due to a lack of written records, the exact number of people killed in the operation is unknown. The official figure given by the Japanese is 5,000 although the actual number is believed to be much higher. Lieutenant Colonel Hishakari Takafumi, a newspaper correspondent at the time, claimed that the plan was to kill 50,000 Chinese and that half that number had been reached when the order was received to stop the operation. 16

Aftermath
Operation Sook Ching succeeded in instilling fear among the Chinese population. After the war, this fear turned into anger.

In 1947, seven Japanese officers were charged during a war crimes trial in Singapore for their participation in Operation Sook Ching. All seven officers were found guilty. Two officers, Lieutenant General Saburo Kawamura and Lieutenant Colonel Masayuki Oishi, were sentenced to death while the remaining five were given life sentences. 17

Many in the Chinese community were unhappy with the verdict. The Overseas Chinese Appeal Committee that represented the families of victims protested that the sentences were too lenient. They called for the execution of all seven Japanese soldiers and the arrest of all those who had participated in the operation. 18

The other matter that deeply concerned the Chinese community was the proper burial of those killed in the massacre. A joint memorial committee for Chinese massacre victims was set up to collect the remains of victims from various sites and rebury them in a dedicated memorial site. 19

The issue of reburying the remains of victims of the massacre resurfaced following the discovery of mass graves in the Siglap area in 1962. Five separate war graves were found in an area dubbed &ldquoValley of Tears&rdquo by the press. 20 Subsequently, more than 30 mass graves were exhumed and the remains found were placed in funeral urns for reburial.

Following the discovery of the mass graves in Siglap, the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce lobbied for the Singapore government to press their Japanese counterparts for compensation for the massacre. 21 On 25 August 1963, more than 100,000 people gathered at City Hall to demand that Japan pay compensation for the wartime atrocities inflicted on the people of Singapore. 22

Finally on 25 October 1966, the Japanese government agreed to pay S$50 million in compensation in the form of a S$25 million grant and a S$25 million loan. 23 However, it was not until 1993 that then Japanese prime minister Morihiro Hosokawa apologised for Japanese atrocities committed during the war.

Part of the compensation money was used to fund the building of the Civilian War Memorial on Beach Road . Officially unveiled by then prime minister Lee Kuan Yew on 15 February 1967, the memorial consists of four pillars representing the four main ethnic groups (Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians) in Singapore. 24 Although the initial idea was for a memorial dedicated to the victims of the massacre, the government decided in the end that the monument should be dedicated to victims from all communities who had died during the Japanese Occupation. More than 600 urns containing the remains of Sook Ching massacre victims are buried at the foot of the memorial. 25

Known massacre sites
26
Punggol Beach.
Changi Beach/Changi Spit Beach.
Changi Road 8-mile section (ms): Massacre site found at a plantation area (formerly Samba Ikat village).
Katong 7 ms: 20 trenches for burying the bodies of victims were dug here.
Beach opposite 27 Amber Road : The site later became a carpark.
Tanah Merah Beach/Tanah Merah Besar Beach: T he site later became part of the Changi airport runway .
Sime Road, off Thomson Road: Massacre sites found near a golf course and villages in the vicinity.
Katong, East Coast Road.
Siglap: Massacre site n ear Bedok South Avenue/Bedok South Road (previously known as Jalan Puay Poon).
Blakang Mati Beach (known as Sentosa today), off the Sentosa Golf Course.

References
1. Tan, S., et al. (2009). Syonan Years, 1942 &ndash 1945: Living beneath the rising sun . Singapore: National Archives of Singapore, p. 15. (Call no.: RSING 940.530745957 TAN-[WAR])
2. Tan, S., et al. (2009). Syonan Years, 1942 &ndash 1945: Living beneath the rising sun . Singapore: National Archives of Singapore, p. 14. (Call no.: RSING 940.530745957 TAN-[WAR]) Akashi, Y. (1970, September). Japanese Policy towards the Malayan Chinese, 1941&ndash1945. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies , 1(2), 61&ndash89, p. 63. (Call no.: RSING 959.005 JSA)
3. Blackburn, K. (2000). The Sook Ching Massacre. Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society , 73(2)(279), 71 &ndash90, p. 73. (Call. no.: RCLOS 959.5 JMBRAS)
4. Akashi, Y. (1970, September). Japanese Policy towards the Malayan Chinese, 1941 &ndash 1945. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies , 1(2), 61&ndash89, p. 67. (Call no.: RSING 959.005 JSA)
5. Tan, S., et al. (2009). Syonan Years, 1942&ndash1945: Living beneath the rising sun . Singapore: National Archives of Singapore, p. 15. (Call no.: RSING 940.530745957 TAN-[WAR])
6. Tan, S., et al. (2009). Syonan Years, 1942&ndash1945: Living beneath the rising sun . Singapore: National Archives of Singapore, p. 15. (Call no.: RSING 940.530745957 TAN-[WAR])
7. Lee, G. B. (2005). The Syonan Years: Singapore under Japanese rule 1942&ndash1945 . Singapore: National Archives of Singapore and Epigram Pte Ltd, p. 105. (Call no.: RSING q940.53957 LEE-[WAR])
8. Hayashi, H. (2008). Massacre of Chinese in Singapore and its coverage in postwar Japan. In A. Yoji & Y. Mako (Eds.), New perspectives on the Japanese Occupation in Malaya and Singapore (pp. 234&ndash249). Singapore: NUS Press, p. 235. (Call no.: RSING 940.5337 NEW-[WAR])
9. Lee, G. B. (2005). The Syonan Years: Singapore under Japanese rule 1942&ndash1945 . Singapore: National Archives of Singapore and Epigram Pte Ltd, p. 108. (Call no.: RSING q940.53957 LEE-[WAR]
10. Lee, G. B. (2005). The Syonan Years: Singapore under Japanese rule 1942&ndash1945 . Singapore: National Archives of Singapore and Epigram Pte Ltd, p. 109. (Call no.: RSING q940.53957 LEE-[WAR]
11. Lee, G. B. (2005). The Syonan Years: Singapore under Japanese rule 1942&ndash1945 . Singapore: National Archives of Singapore and Epigram Pte Ltd, p. 110. (Call no.: RSING q940.53957 LEE-[WAR])
12. Shinozaki, M. (2011). Syonan, my story . Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 46&ndash48. (Call no.: RSING 959.57023 SHI-[HIS])
13. Lee, G. B. (2005). The Syonan Years: Singapore under Japanese rule 1942&ndash1945 . Singapore: National Archives of Singapore and Epigram Pte Ltd, pp. 113&ndash115. (Call no.: RSING q940.53957 LEE-[WAR])
14. Lee, G. B. (2005). The Syonan Years: Singapore under Japanese rule 1942&ndash1945 . Singapore: National Archives of Singapore and Epigram Pte Ltd, pp. 112&ndash113. (Call no.: RSING q940.53957 LEE-[WAR])
15. Tan, B. L., & Quah, (1996). The Japanese Occupation 1942 &ndash1945: A pictorial record of Singapore during the war . Singapore: Times Editions, p. 68. (Call no.: RSING q940.5425 TAN-[WAR])
16. Blackburn, K. (2000). The Sook Ching Massacre. Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society , 73(2)(279), 71&ndash90, p. 75. (Call no.: RCLOS 959.5 JMBRAS)
17. Singapore massacre Japs guilty . (1947, April 3). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Chinese want death for seven Japs . (1947, April 5). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Plan to rebury Jap victims . (1955, February 4). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Mass war graves found in Siglap&rsquos &lsquovalley of death&rsquo . (1962, February 24). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. War massacre of civilians: Compensation &ndash demand . (1962, March 1). The Straits Times, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. Chandran, R. et als. The 'blood debt' rally . (1963, August 26). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG. Blackburn, K. (2000). The Sook Ching Massacre. Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society , 73(2)(279), 71&ndash90, p. 85. (Call no.: RCLOS 959.5 JMBRAS)
23. $25m Grant, $25m loans settle Singapore&rsquos blood debt . (1966, October 26). The Straits Times, p. 20. Retrieved from NewspaperSG
24. Blackburn, K. (2000). The Sook Ching Massacre. (pp.). Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society , 73(2)(279), 71&ndash90, p. 87. (Call. no.: RCLOS 959.5 JMBRAS)
25. Lim, B. T. (1966, November 2). Remains of massacre victims laid to rest . The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
26. Tan, B. L., & Quah, I. (1996). The Japanese Occupation 1942&ndash1945: A pictorial record of Singapore during the war . Singapore Times Editions, p. 68. (Call no.: RSING q940.5425 TAN-[WAR])


Further Resources

Chew, D., & Lim, I. (Eds.). (1992). Sook Ching . Singapore: Oral History Department.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57023 SOO -[HIS])

Lee, G. B. (1992). Syonan: Singapore under the Japanese 1942&ndash1945 . Singapore: Singapore Heritage Society.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 LEE -[HIS])

Perumbulavil, V., & Wong, H. (Eds.) (1992). From Singapore to Syonan-to 1941&ndash1945: A select bibliography . Singapore: Reference Services Division, National Library.
(Call no.: RSING 016.95957023 PER -[LIB])

Ward, I. (1992). The killer they called a god . Singapore: MediaMasters.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57023 WAR -[HIS])

The information in this article is valid as 17 June 2013 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the library for further reading materials on the topic.


History and Information about the Eighth Air Force in the ETO during WWII

8th AF Operations in the ETO

The 8th Air Force was activated in Savannah Georgia on 28 January 1942 at the Chatham Armory.

Next General Ira C. Eaker took the headquarters component to High Wycombe in the United Kingdom in February.

The first combat operation by members of the 8th Air Force Bomber Command (as it was then known) occurred on July 4, 1942 when 6 USA crews borrowed RAF A-20 Havocs from the British (the British called them Bostons,) painted USA markings on them, and flew a low level mission to German airfields in Holland (this story was published AF magazine, linked above). Six aircraft went out - three came back. A portent of things to come. The First Official Mission of the 8th Air Force, Mission Number 1, using their own planes, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses, did not occur until August 17, 1942 when they attacked Rouen / Sotteville marshalling yard in France with 12 aircraft. All returned safely.

"Consider yourself dead. Some of you won't come back from this. Some of you will, but you'll be the lucky ones."
Briefing officer, 97th BG, 15th AAF, Foggia Italy, to B-17 Navigator Lt. Mike Scorcio and crew before a mission to Germany.

The 97th was originally part of the 8th and was sent to North Africa as part of Operation Torch then later assigned to the 12th AAF. After a year it then moved to Italy and became part of the 15th AAF.

The Mighty Eighth
by Roger Freeman

To see a good list of various unit patches you can go to http://members.aol.com/brimiljeep/WebPages/SquadronPatchAAFPage.html (off site)

8th AF Bomber Assembly Areas is a graphic showing the beacons and flight patterns aircraft used to assemble before heading over to Festung Europe. By the summer of 1944 it could take up to two hours for all three bomber divisions arranged and in formation from the first aircraft takeoff to when the the lead aircraft starts leading the bomber stream toward enemy airspace.

Luftwaffe Flak Battery "Cross Eyed Charlie" in Holland is an account of a B-24 unit that routinely flew over when going into Germany in the Netherlands. Flak was always the first sure sign of being over German occupied territory. German fighters rarely intercepted bombers on the way in over the ocean, but they would pursue them over the ocean on their way home - unless there were escorts about.

USAAF ETO Casualty Summary GPO 1953 (PDF). This was produced in 1953 and is a single sheet showing high level information about the ETO combat casualties. Also includes worldwide totals for all of World War II.

A 1945 Wehrmacht joke:
When we see a silver plane, it's American. A black plane, it's British. When we see no plane, it's German."

The joke is based on the production ability of the US and British during the War. B-17Fs on the Seattle production line in September of 1942 and here are B-29 Superfortresses at the same Seattle plant in 1945. They even went to the effort to hide the Boeing plant from air attack.

8th Air Force Combat Losses in Europe was heavy. You had a higher percentage of being killed, wounded or captured while flying in the 8th AF than if you were in the infantry in the front line. Like all statistics, this fact is high when you compare the 8th AF losses against all personnel in the units that were considered "in combat." In actuality, it was even higher if you only count the front line regiment combat personnel and not the whole division. A US division was 16,000 or so personnel with only 3,600 being the front line infantry combat troops - all the others were support personnel.

A typical Medal of Honor Citation for B-17 pilot 1st Lt. Donald J Gott (Gott's co-pilot, 2d Lt William E Metzger Jr, was also awarded the MOH.)


Fighter Units and Pilots
of the Eighth Air Force September 1942 - May 1945
Volume 2 Aerial Victories - Ace Data
by Kent Miller

Any base had local pub nearby, but every US base had an Officer's Club and an Enlisted Club on the base.

This is the "Red Feather Club" at Horham which was the base of that the 95th Bomb Group (H) flew out of during World War Two.

Inside the building an enlisted man painted scenes out of medieval England on the walls as a backdrop instead of plain brick.

Every wall was painted in very bright colors to liven up the atmosphere after a mission.

There are many buildings with original artwork, and mission boards, on some of the 450+ bases that were used by the US during the Second World War.

All the buildings were run down and almost gone before a two year effort in restoring them occurred in 2003 and 2004. I took this picture of it in July of 2004.

Not everything was fun and games. You had to follow lots of SOPs - Standard Operating Procedures - when flying. Here is the SOP of the 398th BG (H) from 1944. I got this out of their newsletter.

After a raid you had to land and of course that was also highly choreographed. The landing procedures for bomber formations that was required to get them all back onto the ground quickly without running into other planes in the pattern was also an SOP. Planes with wounded aboard landed first, then all undamaged planes, and finally seriously damaged ones landed last so that if they crashed the runway would not be closed.

A pilot always taught the 2nd real phase of flight training to a co-pilot:
"Gear up, flaps up, shut up."

After any raid there was always an intelligence assessment. Here is an 8 megabyte PDF file of the combat report on the first US 8th AF Bomber mission to Berlin on 8 March 1944 from the 100th BG(H).


Memorial for the 384th BG (H) in
the form of stained glass
in the Parish Church of
St. James the Apostle
at Grafton Underwood,
Northants, England.

There are memorials at almost
every base the 8th was stationed at. There are also memorials in many of the churches near where American units were stationed.

A site dedicated to a specific air battle in Czech Republic called Museum Of Air Battle Over The Ore Mountains in regards to the 100th Bomb Group.


Fact File : Beveridge Report

Location: Britain
Players: Sir William Beveridge
Outcome: The Beveridge Report led to the establishment of a system of social security and the National Health Service after the end of the war.


Sir William Beveridge (1879-1963) addresses the audience at a Liberal meeting at the Caxton Hall in London, 1943©

It was a radical report. From the outset Beveridge insisted that war provided an opportunity to make good:

Beveridge argued for social progression which required a coherent government policy: 'Social insurance fully developed may provide income security it is an attack upon Want. But Want is one only of five giants on the road of reconstruction and in some ways the easiest to attack. The others are Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness.'

His argument was based on social surveys that had been carried out between the wars. These surveys covered topics of poverty as well as old age and low birth rates. The problem of a diminishing population, Beveridge argued, made it 'imperative to give first place in social expenditure to the care of childhood and to the safeguarding of maternity'. Other areas covered were unemployment, disability and retirement. A large section of the report describes the economic situation and his vision for provision rates of benefit and contribution and how they might be managed.

In 1945, Clement Attlee and the Labour Party defeated Winston Churchill's Conservative Party in the election. Attlee announced the introduction of the Welfare State as outlined in the Beveridge Report. This included the establishment of a National Health Service in 1948, with free medical treatment for all. A national system of benefits was also introduced to provide social security, so that the population would be protected 'from the cradle to the grave'.

Today, the ideas that were outlined in the Beveridge Report are still considered to provide the foundation of the modern Welfare State.

The fact files in this timeline were commissioned by the BBC in June 2003 and September 2005. Find out more about the authors who wrote them.