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Interview on experiences in World War II

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Creator: Hayden, Ellis

Date: June 21, 2007

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 218564

Biographical sketch: As a young boy, Ellis Hayden would go to work with his Dad and stay all night at the bakery he owned in Ottawa, Kansas. He never contemplated any other profession when he grew up. In 1941 when Pearl Harbor was attacked he was returning home to Lawrence from Topeka and heard about it on the car radio. That was when he decided that he wanted to enlist in the Navy and he says, "I don't regret one day in the Navy." After signing up in Kansas City he went to Farragut, Idaho for basic training, three days before his daughter was born. Ellis talked about playing poker when he wasn't laying cable on the ship. His wife said that there was hardly a letter she received that didn't have a twenty dollar bill in it. The best place he went to was Hawaii and the most interesting place was Brisbane, Australia. For some reason he needed a pair of shoes and he bought a pair at a dry goods store in Brisbane. When he was in Seattle, Washington the Shore Patrol picked him up for being out of uniform, because he didn't have the right kind of shoes on. Ellis said, "Harry Truman was one of my favorite presidents. He knew how to win a war. There's just no question about it." Mail was censored, but he managed to let his family know that he was in New Guinea by telling them that they had one in their chicken house. In late November, 1945, a few weeks after his son was born, Ellis was discharged at Norman, Oklahoma. His time in the Navy was enjoyable and he feels like it doesn't hurt anybody to spend a little time in the service. On his crew there were forty men and he said that they represented about every state. Mary Hayden talked about the rationing of gasoline, sugar, and hose during the war and said that she always walked to the store. During Ellis' time in the Navy, Mary saved a thousand dollars and when he got home, he bought a car, when she said you could have bought a good house for $750. They lived in veteran housing in "barrack houses" until they finally built one of their own. Ellis says that he has "no regrets. You don't remember the bad part."

Summary: Ellis Hayden enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and served until 1945. Interviewed by Pattie Johnston on Jun 21, 2007, Hayden talked about military experiences in the Second World War. He was born February 4, 1924 in Ottawa, Kansas. He attended school in Ottawa through the 7th grade. His father was a baker and he worked with him after he left school. He was married to Mary on June 5, 1942. He enlisted in the Navy in 1943. He took machinist training but on his aircraft carrier, the USS Kailua, he became a baker. After the war, he returned to Lawrence, Kansas, and worked as a baker most of his working life. The 2005 Kansas Legislature passed a bill funding the WWII Veterans Oral History grant program. This transcript is from one of the community institutions receiving grants. The transcript of the interview is presented here; the original video copy of the interview is available through the Watkins Community Museum of History (Lawrence) and through the Kansas State Historical Society.

Space Required/Quantity: Video

Title (Main title): Interview on experiences in World War II

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019-14-05-03  Mini DV Tape 

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