Friday, October 19, 2012

Sepia Saturday: Big Guns


Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.





This week’s Sepia Saturday photo prompt depicts some men inspecting a gun.

Check out this gun:

Hambone Davis
Orvin Owen Davis, Jr.
1925 - 1987

My mother’s brother Orvin Owen Davis, Jr. was in the Coast Guard during World War II, primarily in the Pacific.  He served on an invasion transport ship which delivered marines and amphibious vehicles to battle zones.  Two newspaper articles saved by my grandmother indicate Orvin Jr. contributed to the success of at least two significant battles. 

The first was the Second Battle of Guam (1944) in which the United States took back territory that had been captured by the Japanese in 1941. The article appeared just two days after the conclusion of the battle.

Orvin Jr. is second from the right.  He is listed as "Orrie O. Davis,"
a nickname I had never heard before.  Was it a play on "Oreo"
or merely an error on part of the reporter?


The reporter mistakenly gave
Orvin's name as "Alvin."
Click to enlarge
The second was the Battle of Peleliu in the Philippines.  The battle raged on for four months resulting in the highest casualty rate for U.S. military personnel during the Pacific campaign.  The following newspaper article was just a “small world” human interest story about my uncle being on the ship that transported one of his boyhood friends, then a marine, to Peleliu.




















The important role played by the Coast Guard is evident in this photo from Wikimedia Commons.  The photo was taken in Guam, but the sentiment could have been extended to any part of the Pacific theater.

Marines salute
Coast Guard
for their big part in
the invasion of
Guam
They put us here and
we intend to stay










With so many of our participants living in North America, Europe, and parts "down under," you may need an amphibious vehicle to make your way around Sepia Saturday.   



45 comments:

  1. Too bad they mispelled Orvin's name in the newspaper article.
    Orvin looks like a little kid in the first photo. How old do you think he was in that shot?
    When I first saw it, I thought it was a little boy playing war.
    Great post about your uncle. A nice tribute - and at least you spelled his name correctly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now that you mention it, Orvin was a kid. If that picture was from 1944, he was just 19.

      Delete
  2. You have some great family stories! Have you ever thought of using them to write historical fiction? So much inspiration... :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What? Are you practicing your stand-up routine?

      Delete
  3. It's so cool that you have those newspaper clippings; what great memorabilia of your uncle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is cool. I'm glad my grandmother saved them even though she didn't do much to keep them from getting wrinkled and torn.

      Delete
  4. Definitely a young looking 19-year-old. Brave man.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My "mother hormones" kick in whenever I hear the news of yet another 18/19/20-year old soldier being killed in action. They're just babies. We owe so much to all those babies who fight for us. Brave, indeed.

      Delete
  5. Ooh, Oreos! My research tells me they were invented in 1912, and did you know they had both a vanilla and LEMON filling? Yum!

    That battle in Guam was depicted in the film, "The Thin Red Line", I believe. Have you seen it? Marvelous movie, if you like a good war film.

    Kat

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not really big on war movies, but I'll add "The Thin Red Line" to my Netflix queue since I should be able to relate. Lemon Oreos? Never knew that. I guess that could be good. Mint sure is.

      Delete
    2. Why oh why did you mention the lemon filing! Wonder where on earth I might find one of those now. It must be time for lunch.

      Delete
    3. Liz, have you seen my food blog? I see "oreo" of any description, and I'm going to run with it!

      Delete
  6. Great cast in it - Nick Nolte, Sean Penn, Jim Caviezel,John Cusack, Adrien Brody, John Travolta, George Clooney ... the list goes on and on!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a cast! John Cusack - I'm there! (Yeah, yeah -- he's not handsome like George Clooney, but John Cusack is just so darn adorable.)

      Delete
    2. I'm with YOU; I'll take Cusack any day over Clooney!

      Delete
  7. It's hard to imagine 19 year olds having so much responsibility and
    accomplishing so much. Your Uncle was very brave and I hope the rest of his life was peaceful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yeah, he had a good life and good family. He was just the funniest guy.

      Delete
  8. When I see the newspaper clippings, the war doesn't seem so long ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And yet for kids today, WWII probably feels like ancient history.

      Delete
  9. A fine micro-bio story, Wendy. Orvin's typical sailor's tatoo seems too tame compared to the kaleidoscopic inked skin displayed by today's youth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't that the truth! He also had a pig on his leg which helps explain his nickname, "Hambone." In fact, that's the only name some people knew him by.

      Delete
  10. Nice little family story Wendy, he looks like a nice Uncle to have had too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank-you. He was a funny man who kept us on our toes with his teasing.

      Delete
  11. Wonderful that you have those newspaper clippings! Be sure to preserve them.

    We all a huge debt of thanks to all those branches of service.
    Colleen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right - I need to find some kind of archival sleeve for those newspaper clippings before they turn to dust.

      Delete
  12. Great post Dry Bones! I wonder if Bushel Butt has read this about her daddy?

    Love,
    Stinkie (yeah he was a riot)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for outing all of us! HA HA

      Delete
  13. What an expressive face and twinkling eyes. He does indeed look like someone younger joking around a gun and saying can you believe this. It really brings home how very young those brave men of WW2 were.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I wonder if fighting the enemy shirtless was allowed.

      Delete
  14. Wow, how interesting and what a treasure to have about your uncle. Big guns for sure! Great photos all of them. It's funny about the newspaper spelling it wrong, as a child I remember arguing with my mother that a word was right because they wouldn't spell it wrong in the newspaper! Ha! One of my first lessons, besides, yes my mother was always right! Ha! Ha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And the newspaper SHOULDN'T spell anything wrong! But yes, mothers are always right.

      Delete
  15. Never knew the Coast Guard operated so far from home. Or was the Guam coast also part of their territory?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good question, Peter. The Coast Guard's job is to protect the borders and if Guam was US territory, then their job extended there too. Now as for the Philippines, that's something else. I'm guessing that the CG was providing transportation for the Marines.

      Delete
  16. Really awesome post Wendy! Orvin was so young in that first photo! And what a story about Orvin and his pal reuniting on that ship! Great stuff! Do you know if his pal made it through the war okay?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really don't know, Jana. In fact, I never knew any of my uncle's wartime experience until I actually read these clippings in preparation for Sepia Saturday.

      Delete
  17. Wonderful tribute to your uncle - from the first photo of him behind the big gun (what a dangerous job!), to the old newspaper clippings and the tribute to the Coast Guard.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is great! I wonder if he ever ran into Cary's dad when in Guam (Troy was in the Navy SeeBees). The Guam folks might like a copy of that last picture, Wendy.

    Kathy M.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wouldn't that make us all sing "It's a small world after all"?

      Delete
  19. The heavy involvement of the Coast Guard was a surprise to me too. That first photograph of your Uncle seems to capture his essence. Great that you have not only the photographs but the story to go with them.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Everyone seems in agreement about the extreme youth of people like your uncle. It was ever thus. Wars were really fought by boys (and girls) not long out of school. This was brought home to me the first time I toured WW1 cemeteries. We owe them so much.

    ReplyDelete
  21. You've certainly pulled out the big guns here.
    Interesting angle on a difficult chapter of Mankind's History.
    Too many sacrifices...
    :/~
    HUGZ

    ReplyDelete