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Harold Jones video interview on experiences in World War II (transcript)

View at Kansas Memory

Creator: Jones, Harold R.

Date: March 29, 2006

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 218565

Biographical sketch: Harold Jones grew up at Oxford, Kansas, a town about 40 miles south of Wichita. In 1944 he and his twin brother graduated from high school and enlisted in the Navy. They were sent to boot camp at Camp Wallace in Texas where Harold said the temperature was 102 degrees in the shade. After boot camp they were separated and Harold was sent to Bainbridge, Maryland, for training in the Signal Corps. He was sent to the Pacific and his twin brother was sent to the Atlantic. (When five Sullivan brothers died on the USS Juneau after it was sunk by a Japanese submarine, the Navy strictly enforced its prohibition of siblings serving together.) Most of his time was spent on the bridge taking and sending messages by semaphore and by light. At one time he went through the Panama Canal, then to San Francisco, and to Shanghai and Hong Kong, China and Sasebo, Japan. They were allowed to go ashore in groups, but never alone, and he said it was a strange feeling knowing you were the conqueror and they were the victims. In Sasebo they picked up a liberty ship and towed it all the way back to San Francisco, with Harold in contact with their signalman all the way. At night you would use the lights but in close proximity you signaled by hand using flags. His impression of the Pacific was, "It was BIG!" He also said that he got seasick like most landlubbers did. When he was discharged in 1946 he rode the train back to Winfield, where his father picked him up. "One of the nicest days of my life was coming home," he said. The food was good in the Navy but the first thing he wanted to eat was fried chicken. In the fall he and his brother enrolled at Oklahoma A & M, and both wanted to play basketball for Henry Iba but there were so many veterans that they didn't take on any new ball players. However, Harold took coaching classes and sometimes Mr. Iba came in and did some teaching. He was able to get his education through the G.I. Bill and became an industrial arts teacher, coach, and eventually, school principal. As the war was over during his time in the service, he enjoyed being in the Navy and commented that he got to see places that he never would have been able to go to otherwise.

Summary: Harold Jones enlisted in the Navy in 1944 and served until 1946 on the SS Palawan and Sombrero Key (a tugboat). He did his basic training at Camp Wallace, Texas and he was trained as a singalman in Bainbridge, Maryland. Interviewed by Pattie Johnston on Mar 29, 2006, Jones talked about military experiences in the Second World War. Jones and his twin brother were born of June 14, 1926 in Oxford, Kansas. He graduated from Oxford High School in 1944. He and his brother both enlisted in the Navy but were only together through boot camp. After his service, he used the G. I. Bill to attend Oklahoma A & M (now Oklahoma State) to become a teacher. He had teaching and coaching jobs in several Kansas towns: Dexter, Hoisington, and Hutchinson. He married his wife Lela in December 1949. 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.

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Title (Main title): Harold Jones video interview on experiences in World War II (transcript)

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019-14-05-03  Mini DV Tape 

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