V-J Day

V-J Day Memories

V-J Day Memories: Where were you when?

Gazette Article by: Jane Lord
Appeared in the Gazette: Summer 1995

As the 50th anniversary of V-J Day approaches, some Winnetka residents recall their wartime experiences and where they were on August 14, 1945.

Bob Woolson was stationed on Guam as a 1st lieutenant in the Army Air Corps. He was actually piloting a B-29 Superfortress on his 23rd mission when he received the call to abort and return to base. He remembers, “The Japanese agreed to call it quits, and the shooting was over!”

Mrs. David Bridewell was a Red Cross worker assigned to the 27th Station Hospital on Okinawa. She remembers the concern about an imminent typhoon and that the hospital was especially busy treating newly released prisoners of war who had arrived from the Philippines.

Stewart Carlson, a Marine Corps captain based on Saipan, was to lead his company in a September landing on an island off the coast of Japan. He had recently returned from the Okinawa operation, which was a 90-day struggle. “Our response to the surprise announcement that the Japanese had sued for peace was immediate,” he recalled. “It was like winning the big game 40 to 0. Our possible death sentence had been commuted and we were to be set free.”

Philip H. Schaff, a captain in the Army Air Corps, flew a Lockheed P-38 Lightning on photo reconnaissance missions from a remote base located more than 600 miles inside China. He contrasts today’s sophisticated communications to those of 1945. Then news trickled in via a single source, Air Force Radio, so word of the Japanese surrender did not reach his base immediately.

Winnetka architect Herman Lackner was a carpenter’s mate, first class in the Seabees stationed at Samar in the Philippines. He remembers that the movie shown on base that memorable August day was interrupted three times—first by an air raid alert, then a typhoon warning, and finally by news of Japan’s capitulation.

Everett "Tuck" Weaver in uniform. Courtesy of Helen and Paul Weaver.

Everett “Tuck” Weaver in uniform. Courtesy of Helen and Paul Weaver.

At the time of V-J Day, Everett P. “Tuck” Weaver was a lieutenant on the submarine Macabi lying off Truk, a Japanese island base in the South pacific. His fleet rescued aviators shot down during bombing raids, one of whom was George Bush, Sr. After the news of the Japanese surrender, the sub was ordered back to Pearl Harbor immediately. Even though it was against orders, some officers had smuggled whiskey aboard; so they had what Weaver calls “two-thirds of a party.” One third of the crew were at their stations, and the other two shifts enjoyed a “happy hour.”

US Women's Army Corps Lieutenant Mary Lawlor stands on a street corner in Berlin, Germany with a fellow officer.

US Women’s Army Corps Lieutenant Mary Lawlor stands on a street corner in Berlin, Germany with a fellow officer. WHS Photograph 1991.3110

Mrs. John Lawlor (Mary Lawlor), a lieutenant of the Women’s Army Corps (WACS) stationed in Berlin, remembers the general feeling of joy when the news was received because many service personnel were dreading transfer to the Pacific after fighting the war in the European theater.

Everett Allen, a captain with U.S. Special Forces, saw much action in Europe, parachuting behind enemy lines with the Jedburghs, an international special forces team. By the summer of 1945 Allen was in the Chinese theater of operations. On V-J Day he was on leave in Calcutta, where an unusual incident made an indelible impression of the celebration. Ecstatic about the war’s end, an intoxicated officer of the British Cold Stream Guards  entered Allen’s restaurant on horseback. He rode up a long flight of more than 60 carpeted stairs, and swept through the entire room—knocking the glasses off every table in his path—to the laughter and cheers of everyone present!

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4 Responses to “V-J Day Memories”

  1. January 14, 2017 at 4:32 AM #

    i grew up in Winnetka, on Elder Lane, the youngest of 4 to go through the whole academic experience with my siblings. I graduated from NTE in 1971 and moved out west to California to continue my nursing career at UCSF Medical Center. I have attended all of my high school reunions.I appreciate seeing Philip Schaff listed as I have know their family for many, many years.
    A tribute to all

    • January 16, 2017 at 6:22 PM #

      thank you Jeanne for your comments! I too grew up here, graduating from NT in 76.

      Patti (Newton) Van Cleave
      Executive Director

    • November 2, 2018 at 9:00 AM #

      Hi Jeanne,

      Don’t know why I went on this site tonight. Never had seen this article before. Great that you commented! Hope you are doing well! Still have a ponytail?


  2. Kaylin deadbolt May 24, 2017 at 12:07 PM #

    Really inspiring.

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