The Journey Continues: The World War II Home Front
Forward By Hugh Morton
by Wilbur D. Jones, Jr.
The Journey Continues extends the human interest story started in the acclaimed A Sentimental Journey: Memoirs of a Wartime Boomtown, including more cultural anecdotes, love stories, and the social scene, and numerous detailed accounts of area men in combat and those killed in action. For numerous reasons, America’s unique World War II wartime boomtown was Wilmington, the population, economic, social, and cultural hub of southeastern North Carolina. The area, officially called “The Defense Capital of the State,” contributed mightily to the national war effort.
This area of North Carolina accommodated each military service, a shipyard mass-producing 243 cargo vessels, the state port, defense industries operating at capacity, and German prisoner of war camps. Two hundred Wilmington high school graduates received the Medal of Honor. Thousands of citizens fought on every global battlefield; 191 New Hanover County boys died. Strategically located, the area endured constant civilian defense alerts and restrictions, U-boats marauding offshore, and until 1944, the threat of German attack.
The county’s pre-war population of 43,000 swelled to around 100,000 with the influx of servicemen and war workers. Even as the casualty lists grew, entertainment and night life sometimes proceeded as usual. Romance ruled. Prostitution flourished. For many young men and women, the war was the most exciting time of their lives. The area’s diverse activities, complete absorption, and rise and fall likely were unequaled by any American city. How Wilmington managed the social, civic, jurisdictional, business, racial, and governmental complexities during its economic heyday is portrayed through hundreds of firsthand accounts and the daily newspaper.
Paperback: 270 pages
Publisher: White Mane Pub (April 2005)
From the Publisher
The Journey Continues focuses extensively on the citizens’ experiences in the armed forces and at home in their support. Continues offers detailed accountings of America’s unique World War II boomtown’s contribution to the war effort.
About the Author
Wilmington native Wilbur Jones serves as volunteer chairman of the World War II Wilmington Home Front Heritage Coalition, devoted to identifying, preserving, and interpreting WWII history in southeastern North Carolina: “America’s World War II City.” He was awarded the North Carolina Society of Historians 2003 Willie Parker Peace Book Award for A Sentimental Journey: Memoirs of a Wartime Boomtown.
A retired navy captain, Mr. Jones lectures extensively and has written 15 books and numerous articles on military history and national defense, focusing on World War II, the American Civil War, and weapons acquisition. He served as an assistant and advance representative to President Gerald R. Ford and as an assistant to two cabinet secretaries in the Nixon administration. Before retiring after nearly 41 years of service to the Department of Defense, Jones served as a professor at the Defense Systems Management College, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, from 1984 to 1996.
Table of Contents
Ch. 1 The senses of nostalgia 1
Ch. 2 The bottoms, Brooklyn, and dry pond 16
Ch. 3 “Tired of buying war bonds” 24
Ch. 4 “Robbers row” and the downtown economy 36
Ch. 5 “Serving with Uncle Sam” 45
Ch. 6 “If war took a summer vacation” 61
Ch. 7 Going overseas single 66
Ch. 8 Surrounded (and protected) by the military 79
Ch. 9 “18, gung-ho, and ready to roll” 91
Ch. 10 “Like pieces of steel” 97
Ch. 11 “Smokey Joe” and upholding law and order 113
Ch. 12 “Those incredible doctors” and other combat experiences 123
Ch. 13 The worthiest of intentions 140
Ch. 14 “Khaki uniforms” and “sweeping evening dresses” 153
Ch. 15 “Directing their children’s footsteps” 163
Ch. 16 Hardships, sacrifices, and inconveniences 174
Ch. 17 What if they had all come home? 181
App. A Wilmington, 1944-45 195
App. B In memoriam compilation 199