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Charleston, WWII, and memories of the following years
Tiger Boards - Clemson Football
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Charleston, WWII, and memories of the following years

emoji_events [18]
Oct 6, 2022, 11:21 PM
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I was born three weeks before Pearl Harbor. My memories date from about age three or four, so much of what I heard about that era was related to me by my mother as I grew up. I'm sure that Mom and Dad were frightened about the families future, but my siblings and me were oblivious to the happenings of wartime.

My 35 year old dad went to the recruitment office on Dec. 8 but was turned away due to his age. He was assigned to a watch tower where he spent several hours every night with binoculars looking for German subs. Supposedly there were Germans submariners who landed ashore some evenings for reconnaissance work. I suspect they were actually looking for young ladies.

I do remember the half light on autos. The top half of the headlights were blocked out to minimize nighttime street light. The street lamps were turned off and families covered windows so as not to provide lights for bombers. I never heard that there were German bombers, but it made for a good story to urge everyone to follow the edicts.

There was a German Society in Charleston, but I never heard stories about their reaction to wartime activities. I was told by a good friend who worked in a Meeting St. business that when floors in one room was sanded and refinished in the 1980's, a swastika was found in each corner. Maybe?

After the war my mom drove the family across the Cooper River Bridge a few summer weekends for a sunny day on Sullivan's Island. There was a P.O.W camp that we passed. Probably German soldiers. On the beach side were three large earthen bunkers that my buddies and me visited in our teenage years. Later, I understand that they were purchased and turned into underground homes.

If you have visited Charleston in recent years you may see it as a prosperous upscale city. When I was growing up, Charleston was a blue collar city. The navy yard, the Westvaco paper mill and the school system were the major employers. Many people "entered" the navy yard as young apprentices and left 45 years later with all the aches and pains of decades of back-breaking labor. Including my father-in-law.

Please feel free to fill in the blanks.

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I like these stories...To my knowledge they only happen on

[3]
Oct 6, 2022, 11:23 PM
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Tigernet....And in books.

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Re: Charleston, WWII, and memories of the following years

emoji_events [8]
Oct 6, 2022, 11:43 PM
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My father was born in ‘38. He told us stories of seeing ships torpedoed by U boats, burning off the beach at night. He also said that they would go look at the German POWs on Sunday afternoons, he remembered them coming in by train. His father worked at the Navy yard for over 30 years as a rigger.

My mother’s father worked at the Customs House and told stories of bath tubs full of samurai swords and other souvenirs coming back at the end of the war. He was also Coast Guard reserve. His father was Sheriff of Charleston through both wars.

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My Dad was born in Charleston in 1920. He could remember

[2]
Oct 7, 2022, 9:30 AM
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catching the trolley that took him to the ferry over to Mount Pleasant then catching a ride across the Pitt Street bridge to Sullivans Island. He was nine when they built the first bridge. I remember driving it as a youngster back and forth to IOP. Hard to believe it was 2 way traffic with the big cars built in the 50s. Mirrors would snap off as cars passed each other.

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Re: My Dad was born in Charleston in 1920. He could remember


Oct 7, 2022, 9:43 AM
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That bridge was the subject of nightmares for me as a child in the 80’s

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Joe Kennedy had JFK transferred to Chas Naval Base,

[2]
Oct 7, 2022, 9:54 AM
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attempting to break up his affair with the wife of a Scandinavian diplomat. She was believed by many to be a German spy. The move didn’t work and the FBI has audio recordings of one weekend tryst JFK and his paramour enjoyed at the Fort Sumter hotel.
As an aside, that story was told at a Charleston Library Society Lecture and I sat next to Gen William Westmoreland and his wife. Gen Westmoreland was a gentleman and was willing to have a convo with me about Vietnam and the “Fog of War”’ Robert Macnamara’s book. I have trouble remembering exact quotes, but I was quite humbled that the General was so willing to engage. Westmoreland was very active and it was common to see him out and about.

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Re: Charleston, WWII, and memories of the following years

[1]
Oct 7, 2022, 10:15 AM
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So, I was at Remley's Point the other day and an old local guy tells me a WW II story about a U-boat that docked at the pier in Charleston one night and three of the crew went to the market looking for food. They were recognized as Germans and hightailed back to das boot and left the harbor. I told him I had never heard that one.

Did have a guy on my hall in Johnstone from the Bluffton area that said a U-boat came up the May River and was spotted. Don't remember the details since that was fifty years ago. U-boats were very active on the whole east coast, gulf and Bahamas.

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