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William Joslin video interview on experiences in World War II (transcript)

View at Kansas Memory

Creator: Joslin, William Edward

Date: April 14, 2007

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 218603

Biographical sketch: When he was sixteen years old, William (Bill) Joslin tried to enlist in the Navy by forging his mother's signature. It didn't work, he got caught. He had already quit school to enlist so he worked on the family farm until he finally did get into the Navy at the age of 17. He had a brother in the Navy and 3 brothers in the Army, so his mother had five sons in the military service at the same time. When the boat headed out and the Golden Gate Bridge got smaller and smaller, he thought, "What have I done?" For basic training he went to Farragut, Idaho and when that was completed he was assigned to the USS Magoffin as a helmsman. There were a half dozen helmsman aboard so they worked in two hour shifts. When they weren't steering the ship they would work at scraping and repainting, etc. The first few days he was very seasick but he got over it and was alright after that. The food on board ship was very good and plenty of it, he said. At Los Angeles they loaded up troops, tanks, and equipment and headed for the Okinawa invasion. Smaller boats were used to take the troops and equipment ashore, and he piloted one of those. They were constantly being fired upon by the Japanese; this went on for eight days but he escaped unharmed. Once everything had been unloaded from the ship, it was converted to a hospital ship and each time he took troops over he would bring back wounded ones. They returned to Pearl Harbor with the wounded and then headed to Wake Island for a "mop up operation." When the war ended they started hauling troops and wounded back home and he made 12 trips in all. The ship had big walk-in coolers which they used to bring back soldiers' bodies. They were 600 miles out of Honolulu when the bombs were dropped on Japan. Many times they were in and out of Pearl Harbor and saw where the ships had been sunk, which he said "was kind of nerve wracking." In 1947 he was discharged at Mare Island, San Francisco and went to work as a metalsmith, a trade he learned in the Navy. He used the GI Bill to purchase a house and stayed in California for fourteen years before moving back to Brown County. Joslin is a member of the American Legion and the VFW.

Summary: William Joslin enlisted in the Navy in 1944 and served until 1947 on the USS Magoffin. He served on the USS Magoffin. It was an "attack transport" taking tanks across the Pacific. After the ship was unloaded and the fighting stafted, it bacame a hospital ship. Joslin was a helmsman. He was born on a Brown County farm on April 8, 1927. He quit Hiawatha High School to enlist. He was interviewed by Suzette McCord-Rogers on Apr 14, 2007. 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 Doniphan County Historical Society (Troy) and through the Kansas State Historical Society.

Space Required/Quantity: Video

Title (Main title): William Joslin video interview on experiences in World War II (transcript)

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019-14-03-05  DVD 
019-14-04-07  Cassette Audio Tape 

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