Recruiting poster for pilots for the US Marine Corps, WWII
80 Years Ago—Aug. 8, 1940: Luftwaffe intensifies bombing of British ports; 450 aircraft attack British convoy CW-9 off Sussex, the largest attack so far.
Romania signs an economic treaty with Germany, ceding most of its oil and grain production to Germany.
75 Years Ago—Aug. 8, 1945: Soviet Union declares war on Japan.
President Truman threatens further atomic destruction if Japan doesn’t surrender.
A US Marine Corps F6F Hellcat downs a Japanese fighter near Okinawa, the last of 2439 victories by USMC pilots in WWII.
Nakajima J9Y Kikka preparing for its first flight, Kisarazu Air Field, Japan, 7 Aug 1945 (public domain via Wikipedia)
80 Years Ago—Aug. 7, 1940: Germany annexes Alsace and Lorraine in France.
75 Years Ago—Aug. 7, 1945: Japanese first fly Nakajima J9Y Kikka jet fighter, essentially a copy of the German Messerschmitt Me 262.
Marshal Tito bans return of King Peter to Yugoslavia.
US poster, WWII
80 Years Ago—Aug. 6, 1940: First meeting of US National Inventors Council, to screen ideas from scientists and amateur inventors that might have military use—200,000 ideas screened during the war; 560 were deemed to have value.
In Luxembourg, Germans ban speaking French.
Col. Paul Tibbets and the crew of B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay, 5 Aug 1945 (US Army photo)
75 Years Ago—Aug. 6, 1945: Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima by US B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay, flown by Col. Paul Tibbets Jr.; about 78,000 killed.
Maj. Richard Bong, leading US fighter pilot ace (40 victories) and a Medal of Honor recipient, is killed testing a Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star jet fighter in Burbank, CA.
Off Bali, Japanese aircraft sink sub USS Bullhead, the last US warship lost in the war.
June 6, 1944. Paratrooper Callum McElway jumps into Normandy on D-day but ends up tangled in a tree. A young French girl cuts Cal down, tends his wounds, and brings him into the castle where the villagers are hiding in case the Germans return. All Cal wants is to complete his mission and return to his wife and the baby daughter he’s never met. But then the Germans return…
In modern times, Ceelie Donovan has finally finished her chemo for breast cancer and is looking forward to getting back to normal life with her husband, Nate. Then Nate leaves her. And cancer returns for her best friend, the delightfully eccentric Darlene Egerton. All her life Darlene has borne the burden of anger seething beneath her perky façade – anger at the father who returned from World War II and immediately abandoned Darlene and her mother. Ceelie sets out to solve the mystery in the hopes of finding peace for Darlene and even for herself.
Fragments of Light by Michèle Phoenix is a story of pain, abandonment, and guilt – but also of hope and light. The historical research is well done, the modern-day exploration of Normandy highlights the D-day tourist sites, and Cal’s dilemmas echo the stories of far too many veterans. With beauty and depth, the writing brings Ceelie’s emotions to life and shows the importance of making the difficult decision to choose forgiveness over resentment. A lovely story that will stay with you. Highly recommended.
Focke-Wulf Fw 200 C Condor (German Federal Archive, Bild: Bild 146-1978-043-02)
80 Years Ago—Aug. 5, 1940: German Fw 200 Condor long-range bombers begin patrols over convoy routes around Britain.
Germany requires citizens to carry Ahnenpass, proving “racial purity” back to 1800.
Art “Donny” Donahue becomes the first American pilot to engage enemy aircraft in WWII (flying with the RAF in a Spitfire).
75 Years Ago—Aug. 5, 1945: Missing items from Holy Roman Empire Imperial regalia are found buried in Nürnberg, Germany.
Varian Fry (Library of Congress via Yad Vashem)
80 Years Ago—Aug. 4, 1940: US journalist Varian Fry of the Emergency Rescue Committee arrives in Lisbon; in Marseille, France, he will work with US vice-consul Hiram Bingham Jr. to help 2000 anti-Nazi German refugees and Jews escape from southern France.
75 Years Ago—Aug. 4, 1945: Near Pegu Yoma, British destroy remnants of Japanese 28th Army resisting in Burma.
German POW Kurt Rossmeisl escapes from Camp Butner, NC; he surrenders in 1959.
WWII amputee Bert Shepard, a former P-38 fighter pilot, pitches in a baseball game for the Washington Senators, the first man with an artificial leg to pitch in a major league baseball game.
Map of East Africa, mid-1930s (Library of Congress)
80 Years Ago—Aug. 3, 1940: Italian troops under Gen. Guglielmo Nasi invade British Somaliland from Italian Ethiopia.
New song in the Top Ten: “When the Swallows Return to Capistrano.”
75 Years Ago—Aug. 3, 1945: Czechoslovakia denies citizenship to ethnic Germans and Hungarians.
Hospital ship Tranquility arriving at Guam with survivors from sunken heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis, 8 Aug 1945 (US National Archives: 80-G-K-5986)
80 Years Ago—Aug. 2, 1940: British Royal Navy Swordfish aircraft bomb Italian naval base at Cagliari, Sardinia.
Vichy French military court sentences Gen. Charles de Gaulle to death in absentia for organizing Free French in Britain.
In Germany, Jews are banned from owning telephones and are only allowed to shop from 4-5 pm.
75 Years Ago—Aug. 2, 1945: Japanese suffocate 387 Allied POWs in a mine on Sado off Honshu, Japan.
First survivors of USS Indianapolis (sunk July 30) are found in the ocean; 316 will ultimately be found.
Duke of Windsor, Washington, DC, 14 Aug 1945 (US National Archives: 199164)
80 Years Ago—Aug. 1, 1940: Duke of Windsor (former King Edward VIII) sails from Portugal to Bahamas, foiling a German kidnapping attempt.
Fires raging in Toyama, Japan during an American air raid, 1 Aug 1945 (US Air Force photo)
75 Years Ago—Aug. 1, 1945: Biggest air raid ever over Japan—836 US B-29 Superfortresses are dispatched at night.
In US, penicillin is made available by prescription to civilians as tablets, ointment, and eye drops.
A Wing and a Prayer by Julie Lessman
Orphan Gabriella (don’t dare call her that!) “Gabe” O’Connor has grown up with the loving, boisterous O’Connor family, but at her heart she’s still a streetwise, heartbroken little girl. When the US enters World War II, Gabe decides to put her piloting skills to use in the WASPs. But her trouble-making tendencies get in her way.
Flight instructor Lt. Alex Kincaid sees Gabe’s potential – and the danger her freewheeling ways present. An extreme attraction grows between Alex and Gabe, forbidden not only by regulations but by Alex’s own common sense. When Gabe pulls one too many stunts, Alex is faced with a decision that endangers their relationship and Gabe’s dreams.
A Wing and a Prayer by Julie Lessman is a fun and wild ride. Gabe’s outrageous behavior is nicely balanced by Alex’s steadiness. The story explores the WASP training program, air evacuation, and the life of war correspondents. Gabe’s road to redemption is long and frustrating, but her story is ultimately uplifting. Enjoy the ride!
Note: this is only a review, not a giveaway.