The $10.00 United States Savings Bond was known as the “Soldier’s Bond”. It was issued from 1943-50. It could only be purchased by active duty members of the United States Army. An army private earned $21.00 per month in pay during WWII. The Army and the Treasury Department determined that more soldiers would buy bonds if the purchase price were lowered. It took $18.75 to purchase a $25.00 bond and even at the allotment amount of one-third per month for three months it was difficult for enlisted soldiers to participate. The $10.00 bond only required a monthly allotment of $2.50.
The bond pictured above was issued to Sgt. Jorge L. Vazquez of Aibonito, Puerto Rico during WWII. Sgt. Vazquez was attached to the 65th Infantry Regiment. The 65th Regiment was made up of Puerto Ricans and served in Panama, North Africa, Italy and France.
Sgt. Vazquez remained in the army after WWII. The 65th Regiment took part in an amphibious exercise in Puerto Rico in 1950 as the opposing force. They performed their task so well that the Regiment was assigned to the Third Infantry Division when it went to Korea later that year.
On February 6, 1952, SFC Vazquez was leading a night-time patrol that included Pvt. Euripides A Colon, Cpl. Maximino Molina-Gerera, Pvt. Ramon Ortiz-Duran, Pfc. Reinaldo Ramirez-Ramos, Sgt. Ramon Santiago-Rosario, and Pfc. Miguel A Zayas. The patrol did not return and their remains have yet to be found.
Short snorters were popular souvenirs in WWII. A short snorter is a banknote that was signed by a group of people usually to mark an event. They started before the war as souvenirs for passengers on trans-oceanic flights. Air crews continued the practice dung the war and it was picked up by the other branches.As service members traveled from country to country their short snorters would grow by taping notes from the different countries together. The short snorter is a remembrance of those a service member came in contact with and of those who would not return.
This particular short snorter consists of five notes and has 150 different signatures. Interestingly, there is tape on both of the end notes indicating it was originally larger. Using military records on http://www.fold3.com, 126 of the names on the notes are positively identified. They are all members of Army Air Force flight crews and one Navy pilot that flew in the Pacific. Of these identified signatures, 49 are those of men who did not survive the war.
On June 10, 1944, Lt. Irvin G Booth of the 371st Bomb Squadron and his crew took off in their B-24 from Mokerang airfield in the Admiralty Islands. Their primary target was Truk Atoll. Seeing no shipping in the area of Truk, Lt. Booth headed for the secondary target, the Japanese naval base at Doblon. There they encountered light anti-aircraft fire and dropped their entire payload without serious incident.
An hour out of Mokerang on the return flight the number 1 engine sputtered and died. Then the number 4 engine quit. The aircraft was running out of fuel. Lt. Booth directed that all non-essential equipment be removed to lighten the aircraft. Rapidly losing altitude, the crew prepared for a water landing. Fifteen minutes after numbers 1 and 4 quit, engines 2 and 3 stopped also and the plane hit the water. Three crewmen survived the landing but the other seven perished.
The dead included: Pilot Lt. Irvin G Booth, Co-Pilot Lt. Bernard T. Kelly, Navigator Lt. Ernest D. Brink, Bombardier Lt. George E. Muhs, Assistant Engineer SSgt. Andres S. Barela, Radar Operator SSgt. Leslie R. Mossman, Radio Operator TSgt Perry R. Thorington. The survivors were Engineer SSgt. Colvin H Palmer, Gunner Sgt. Robert E. Black and Gunner SSgt. Max Solomon. The signatures of all of these men except Kelly and Parmer appear on the short snorter.
1LT Don A. Anthony also of the 371st Bomb Squadron and his crew departed Mokerang on August 10, 1944 headed for Yap Island. Shortly after reaching the target Lt. Anthony radioed that everything was OK. It was the last that he and the crew would be heard from. When the aircraft did not return as search was undertaken of the last reported location but to no avail.
The crew consisted of: Pilot Lt. Don A. Anthony, Co-Pilot Lt. Robert D. Baker, Navigator Lt. William C. Galton, Bombardier Lt. James H. Cuddy, Engineer TSgt. Donald E. Carlson, Assistant Engineer SSgt. Ernest R. Mayo, Radar Operator TSgt. Richard J. O’Brien, Assistant Radar Operator SSgt. Norman C. Echols, Gunner SSgt Reynold B. Mooney, Gunner SSgt. Henry J. Hartman and Photographer Sgt. Hilary Gilbert Jr.
A post-war review of Japanese records indicate SSgt. Mooney and Sgt. Gilbert were taken prisoner by the Japanese after the plane landed upside down near Yap. The Japanese records indicate they were put on a ship bound for Manila but there is no record that they arrived there.
The signatures of Lt. Baker, Lt. Galton, Lt. Cuddy, TSgt. Carlson, TSgt. O’Brien and SSgt. Hartman are on the back of the US $1.00 note.
Lt. Donald W. Dyer and his crew were assigned to the 868th Bomb Squadron. The 868th did not belong to a Bomb Group but worked independently for the 13th Air Force. The 868th specialized in low-level anti-ship operations.
On June 11, 1944, Lt. Dyer and his crew took off with the squadron for Truk Atoll. An eyewitness account of the mission indicated that just prior to reaching the target his aircraft caught fire and quickly lost altitude. It went into a spin, flattened out and then broke apart as it struck land. The aircraft was still burning when the squadron made their return flight to Mokerang.
None of the crew survived. The crew on this final flight consisted of: Pilot Lt. Donald W. Dyer, Co-Pilot Lt. George M. Jones, Navigator Lt. John E. Malley, Bombardier Lt. Charles L. Frank, Engineer SSgt. William M. Grenz, Assistant Engineer Bernard A. Malinowski, Radio Operator SSgt. Walter Martin, Radar Operator Seymour J. Stoller, Gunner SSgt. William Mikesell, and Gunner SSgtMelvin Ott.
The signatures of all of Lt. Dyer’s final crew appear on the short snorter.
Lt. Alexis C. Bachand was the Co-Pilot and SSgt. Harold J. Olson was the Assistant Engineer on a B-24 flown by Lt. Arthur J. Belair of the 31st Bomb Squadron. On May 21, 1944 the crew took off from Momote Airfield in the Admiralty Islands for Truk Atoll. Shortly after releasing its bombs the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire forcing it out of formation. Three Japanese fighters descended upon it going in for the kill. Three chutes were observed coming out of the aircraft. Despite an extensive search, neither the wreck nor the crew were found.
Lt. Orlo J. Hoyt of the 72nd Bomb Squadron had the misfortune of being in two separate crashes. The first was on May 12, 1944 over Biak Island. The aircraft was hit by ground fire. Fuel was leaking from the bomb bay and three of the engines quit. All crew members parachuted out before the plane exploded upon impact with the water. The Bombardier, Lt. Ted C. Shaw, did not survive but all the other crew did. Their signatures along with Gunner Sgt. Milton C. Bye appear on the short snorter.
On August 9, 1944, Lt Hoyt was on board a B-24 that attacked Yap Island. While approaching the airfield at Los Negros on the return, number 1 and 2 engines cut out due to lack of fuel. The pilot ordered the crew to crash positions but the aircraft hit the water before they were in place. Lt. Hoyt was killed along with eight of the crew.
On April 28, 1944, 2Lt. Edmund J. Donai piloted his B-24 during an attack on Woleai Island. During the attack number 3 engine ceased operating and number 4 engine suffered a loss of oil pressure. Number 4 eventually failed and since it could not be feathered the aircraft began losing altitude quickly. A water landing was made and the aircraft remained intact. Five of the eleven crew members perished including Lt. Donai, Co-Pilot Lt. Richard J. Hollinger, Bombardier Lt. Lonnie D. Johnston, Radio Operator TSgt William D. Gand, and Photo gunner Robert T. Atsatt. Hollinger and Johnsron are on the short snorter along with survivors Navigator Lt. Kenneth F. Hayes, Engineer SSgt. Bernard A. Swartz, and Assistant Radio Operator Sgt. Howard J. Shaw.
On October 3, 1944, the 370th and 371st Bomb Squadrons attacked Balikpapan on the Island of Borneo. As the formation was peeling away from the target a B-24 piloted by 1Lt. Harold W. Wright lost its number 2 engine and began to lose altitude at a rate of about a 1000 feet per minute. The aircraft veered from the formation and was last seen heading toward Borneo. Neither the aircraft nor crew were ever seen again.
The crew consisted of: Pilot Lt. Wright, Co-Pilot Lt. Arthur B. Nielsen, Navigator Lt. Warham H. Franklin, Bombardier Lt. Joseph F. Stevenson, Engineer TSgt. Harvey H. Carter, Assistant Engineer SSgt. Bascome E. Long, Radio Operator TSgt. John F. Morris, Assistant Radio Operator SSgt. Chester H. Wuertley, Gunner SSgt. Joseph E. Charles, Gunner SSgt. Hugh D. Fox and Photo Gunner Sgt. William R. Stapleton. All but Wuertley, Fox and Stapleton appear on the short snorter.
On November 16, 1944, six B-24s took off from Morotai Island headed for Brunei Bay on Borneo to attack Japanese naval vessels and merchant ships that were known to be in the harbor. The lead plane was piloted by Maj. James A. Saalfield. Withering anti-aircraft fire was encountered from the Japanese fleet. Maj. Saalfield’s aircraft was struck before the formation was on the target. The shell burst just below the nose and the shrapnel damaged number 2 and number 3 engines. Maj. Saalfield took the plane out of the formation and was never seen again.
Interviews with natives on Borneo after the war indicated that an American bomber crash landed on this same date. The natives in the region of the crash, the Muruts, were the last tribe on Borneo to renounce the practice of collecting the heads of their enemies. Three of the crew probably died in the crash as the Japanese discovered three severed heads with the aircraft. Five crew members were taken in by locals but eventually betrayed and ambushed on a bridge killing three of the Americans who were subsequently beheaded. The other two fled into the jungle. The only remains located were the three skulls at the crash site and the three that were ambushed on the bridge.
The crew consisted of: Pilot Maj. James A. Saalfield, Co-Pilot Lt. Richard M. Van Galder, Navigator Lt. Robert W. Wickhorst, Bombardier Lt. John D. Scoggin, Engineer TSgt. Everett E. Moore, Assistant Engineer TSgt. Russell E. Cross, Radio Operator TSgt. David E. Beck, Radar Operator Charlie H. Deaver, Gunner SSgt. Elvin L. Barkhuff, Gunner SSgt. Ahti J. Wuori , and Aircraft Observer Lt. WIlliam F. Mc Clelland.
The signatures of Van Galder, Wickhorst, Beck and Barkhuff are on the short snorter.
One final recognition for a signer of this short snorter. Ludwig A. Havlak of San Angelo, TX served with the 868th Bomb Squadron. As of today he is 97 years old.
Edward Hale Perry was born in Boston on January 23, 1887. He graduated from Harvard with a degree in mining engineering in 1913. He was attracted to the geological aspects of mining and spent most of his time in the western part of the country. He was working in Arizona in 1917 when the United States entered WWI. He completed the job he was on and went back east to enlist in the Army.
He applied to the officer’s training school in Plattsburg, NY. He transferred to the Corps of Engineers and was made a First Lieutenant. He was posted to the 6th Engineer Regiment and was in charge of a mining, sapper and demolition platoon within Company D. He was offered the opportunity to remain stateside as an instructor but he declined and set sail for Europe on December 5, 1917 from Hoboken on the SS Huron with the rest of Company D.
Prior to departing the United States, 1LT Perry got his financial affairs in order and took out the above letter of credit for £300. This amount was the equivalent of $1,500.00 in 1917. Letters of credit were a precursor to travelers’ cheques that allowed the holder to draw funds from an in-country financial institution which was reimbursed by the issuing bank. Amounts paid out are entered on the back.
In January 1918, Company B and Company D of the 6th Engineers were detached for service with the British 5th Army. The American Engineer Companies were assigned to construct steel bridges over the Somme. On March 21, 1918 the German Army launched their Spring Offensive, Operation Michael, against the British and French positions.
As the Germans advanced and the British 3rd and 5th Armies retreated, the American Engineer Companies remained at the Somme bridges to destroy them after the Allied withdrawal was complete. Having done their duty on the bridges, the American Engineers were thrown into a gap that had developed in the British lines between Hamel and Villers-Bretonneux as part of Carey’s Force, a hastily composed task force made up of whatever units could be found nearby.
The German Offensive eventually petered out but not before LT Perry would perish. His last actions are described by Captain Harris Jones, his Company Commander:
It was Saturday, March 30. We underwent a good preliminary bombardment followed by the infantry attacks supported by heavy barrages. Our trenches were pretty poor, as we had to get underground at the same time that we were keeping the Fritz out of the way, and the artillery smashed a good deal of our defenses. A shell had demolished a traverse in Perry’s section of trench, killing four men. He was working in the gap preparing the damage with his own hands, when a bullet, probably from a machine gun in an enemy aeroplane which was raking the trenches, penetrated his skull.
Transactions of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers, Volume LXI (1920)
Despite the eyewitness account of 1LT Perry’s death, his remains were not identified and the American Battlefield Monuments Commission lists him as missing in action. Curiously, the letter of credit was found somewhere in the French countryside and returned first to Brown, Shipley & Co. and then to his family.
Iron Bottom Bay or Iron Bottom Sound lies between Florida Island, Savo Island and Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Prior to the war it was known as Savo Sound. The new name was adopted by Allied sailors as the bottom of the sound became littered with the hulks of sunken Japanese and Allied warships.
Between August 1942 and April 1943 five separate naval engagements took place within the sound as the ground campaign on Guadalcanal dragged on. Sixteen Allied and eight Japanese ships were sunk during those battles. Seventeen Allied and nine Japanese ships went to the bottom in other action in the sound before the end of the war.
After the Japanese withdrawal from Guadalcanal in February 1943, the Allies turned the islands around Iron Bottom Sound into a major port and logistics facility. Recreational facilities were among the improvements made. On Florida Island the 1008 Seabee Detachment constructed the Iron Bottom Bay Club as the primary officer’s club to serve the area.
Most of the military clubs operated on a chit or coupon system. Club chits were sold in booklets usually by deducting the amount directly from pay.
Using chits instead of regular money allowed for greater currency control and accountability. It also kept money out of the local economy helping to keep down inflation. There was also an added benefit to the club when a member left without redeeming all their coupons.
The booklet pictured above was issued by the Iron Bottom Bay Club on Florida Island. The booklet originally held $3.00 in chits but this example was surcharged down to $1.00. It had 5 x $.10 and 10 x $.05 chits.
This week I highlight the various forms of scrip issued during the Great Depression in Wisconsin. If you would like to read more about it, please see my new website: www.wisconsinscrip.com.
As the Great Depression wore on into the early 1930s various schemes were developed to try to move the economy forward. High unemployment, failing banks and the stock market collapse ground the economy to a halt and money had become scarce. Commerce virtually ceased nationwide when President Roosevelt ordered all banks closed on March 6, 1933.
Various forms of scrip were circulated at the local level to try to re-start the economy. The types of scrip can be divided into several different categories.
State Scrip. Only one statewide issue of scrip was issued and that was in Wisconsin. The State Banking Department had scrip printed and made it available to 172 Wisconsin state chartered banks. Over $3,000,000.00 in state scrip was issued and $4,710.00 remained unredeemed in September 1934.
Municipal Scrip. Local governments were squeezed by two factors. First, cash was tied up in closed banks. Second, tax collections dropped off as it became impossible for people and businesses to pay them. There were several types of municipal scrip including tax anticipation notes, certificates of indebtedness, payment orders and relief orders. Low denomination municipal bonds also were circulated.
Clearing House Certificates. Clearing houses had been established in most communities in the late 1800s to aid in the clearing of checks among banks. During the panics of 1893 and 1907 clearing houses operated in a manner similar to the Federal Reserve by issuing circulating certificates backed by deposits held by the clearing house or the banks. Similar scrip was issued in many communities in 1933 as a result of the Bank Holiday.
Stamp Scrip. Silvio Gesell, a Swiss economist, developed the concept of a circulating medium that would lose it value as time went on. The goal was to keep it moving from hand to hand in an economic version of the kids game “hot potato”. The full value could be restored by buying a stamp and affixing it to the certificate either at fixed intervals or when used. This type of scrip was self-liquidating in that the scrip would be retired once the equivalent of its face value had been purchased in stamps.
Barter and Exchange Scrip. Barter exchanges were established in many cities as a means for the unemployed to trade labor and time for necessities. Members traded services for labor or goods, or goods for services or other goods. The exchanges kept schedules of the value of goods and services so there was no dispute as to the value of items.
Payroll and Business Scrip. Many businesses were caught off guard by the Bank Holiday and did not have sufficient cash on hand to make payroll or pay bills. If they had sufficient economic muscle they were able to issue scrip, often in the form of small denomination checks, that was accepted in the local community.
Private Scrip. There are a few instances of individuals issuing scrip. Some of these were opportunists, some were altruistic dreamers and others were local business leaders.
The success of the various types of scrip varied from place to place. It was most successful in areas where there were existing economic drivers that only needed assistance.
A few months ago I wrote about transportation numismatics of Door County. Somehow I managed to forget to include one of the largest pieces in the collection.
The document shown above is a specimen of a $1,000.00 bond issued by the Sturgeon Bay and Lake Michigan Ship Canal and Harbor Company. The bonds were issued to finance the construction of the canal connecting these two bodies of water across the Door County peninsula in 1873. The original piece is too large to fit on a standard scanner. The lower half not shown in the scan consists of interest coupons. This is either an unissued remainder or a printer’s specimen.
I obtained the bond from Chet Krause in about 2012. Chet thought enough of it to picture it in his book on Wisconsin Obsolete Paper Money and Scrip even though it is neither. Chet knew I lived in Door County (he referred to me affectionately as that damn lawyer in Sturgeon Bay) and offered it to me when he was dispossessing himself of his collection in the years before he died. I am proud to be its current caretaker.
Construction on the canal began in 1872 across a 1.3 mile strip of land that separated Sturgeon Bay and Lake Michigan. It was completed in 1881. The canal shortened the trip between Green Bay and the Lake Michigan ports by 150 miles. It also eliminated crossing Death’s Door, the treacherous channel between the northern end of the Door peninsula and Washington Island.
The canal had a tremendous effect on the development of Sturgeon Bay and Door County in the late 19th Century. The ships passing through provided a vital link between the county and the rest of the world as the roads to the county were primitive and there was no rail connection yet. It resulted in Sturgeon Bay becoming a center of shipbuilding.
Great Lakes shipping continues to pass through the canal but it has a greater significance for smaller boats than the lake freighters. The canal makes Sturgeon Bay the center of a large and varied sport fishing industry allowing for salmon fishing on the big lake, smallmouth bass on Sturgeon Bay and perch and walleye on Green Bay all from a central location.
It is Easter weekend and the only notes that I could find related to this Christian holiday are notgeld from the German town of Oberammergau highlighting the decennial Passion Play performed there.
The Oberammergau Passion Play has its origins in an outbreak of bubonic plague in 1633. The villagers promised God that they would perform a play depicting the life, death and resurrection of Christ every 10 years if the community was spared. Over the next year deaths in the village declined dramatically. The villagers kept their promise and performed the play for the first time in 1634. It has been performed ever since in years ending in zero (except for 1940 when WWII got in the way).
The play includes dramatic renditions of Old and New Testament stories. It is performed for five months from May through October. The production lasts several hours. The performers are all residents of the village.
The central vignette on this 50 pfennig notgeld from Oberammergau depicts a scene from the 1634 production of the Passion. Two of the authors of the original Passion, Othmar Weiss and J. A. Daisenberger flank the image. The back is a depiction of Oberammergau in 1634.