Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Postblogging Technology, April 1944, I: Ancestral Voices

My Dearest Reggie:

Grandfather has pneumonia again. The breath of life is slipping away, and as sad, even morbid as it is to say, I doubt that there is anything within that withered body that needs to see the banks of the Pearl again. As a burial in British Columbia might attract unwelcome attention, I am having grounds prepared at under Ch'i Wei Tao Wan.   

As one life prepares to journey on, two more come in. I have taken the liberty of enclosing some photographs of your grandchildren. I am not sure what an old rake such as yourself does with such unbearable sweetness, but, after a moment entertaining dark thoughts of your passing them to some comely barmaid as an icebreaker, I retreat to the obvious position. You will have them framed and proudly displayed on your desk. You will have to have them enlarged, but that, of all things, should present you with no difficulties! I regret the cropping, but, as you will see from my review of the last two weeks, this is not a time when we can risk attention. Better any stray load found on an aircraft in, say, Basra, not be traceable to us this month!

Your daughter-out-of-law is in good spirits. We have had her confinement in the ranch house, as the coach house is not ready, and we have seen much of each other in the last few weeks. Some friction --she is so much changed from the sweet girl of 1939, who even then had a not-always-very-feminine hard core to her. Your son arrived two days after the birth. "Lieutenant A." was kind enough to drive him straight down from Hunter's Point as soon as his ship was docked, delivering an exhausted, rumpled engineer to an exhausted, rumpled new mother. At least it made a change from the young man's service duties, which seem to consist of couriering notes around the Bay to the effect that the only American admiral to have ever won an air-sea battle ought to be replaced by the super-annuated rival who is the only American admiral ever to have lost two, on the grounds that he did not win his victory enough, whilst his rival was somehow not responsible for his subordinates' actions, except when they turned out well.

I grouse, but that is because I report the complaints of the newly-minted Admiral Stump, who attended the christening and had long, fruitful talks with your son and Bill and David, with "Mrs. G.C." sitting in as hostess, on subjects of which I know not what. Antennas need to be a certain distance from each other? Mutual interference? 

These electrical matters will be the death of me, especially with the lawyers bogging me down with doleful talk about our friend's contract renewal. Rather a matter of attention given that we intend to break it! The baleful instrument has been revised, although not in any serious way --just an expansion of the "morals clause," no doubt inspired by his young associate's public behaviour. 

I grouse, but that is because I report the complaints of the newly-minted Admiral Stump, who attended the christening and had long, fruitful talks with your son and Bill and David, with "Mrs. G.C." sitting in as hostess, on subjects of which I know not what. Antennas need to be a certain distance from each other? Mutual interference? 

These electrical matters will be the death of me, especially with the lawyers bogging me down with doleful talk about our friend's contract renewal. Rather a matter of attention given that we intend to break it! The baleful instrument has been revised, although not in any serious way --just an expansion of the "morals clause," which you can understand under the circumstances. 

I am grateful to the Earl for his allowance of time. Unfortunately, he is mistaken. Taxes are filed at the middle of April, here, not the end, and so we are in another tax year. I know that he will be angry, thinking me to be temporising, but let me put it another way. We are less than a month away from the invasion. The fifteenth of May is the low tide, and the Allies need to allow themselves a solid month and time to spare to win the war by Christmas, even if the campaign in France goes as quickly as the  "Hundred Days." After that, we shall be outfitting the invasion fleet against Japan, and only after that will it be time for the boys on the Bay to think about incorporation and the issuing of stocks. 

This will happen. And it will happen this tax year, unless the war drags on. We will probably not be able to put the greater part of our investments into a proper, legal form --Bill and David talk as though their incorporation is a decade away!-- But it will happen. 1955 will be the tail end of it. The world will be back in the doldrums of the 1930s, so I am told, but, in the meantime, we will have reaped the profits of the growth of a new American electrical engineering industry. Profits that are likely to be greater than real estate, much less clapped-out "traditional" businesses such as steel.

As a final note vaguely related to news of the Bay, Wong Lee's son graduated. I took photographs of him in his pressed now-official uniform for his father's sake. One cannot be too cautious where Hoover's lads are concerned, after all. We threw a party for the boy at the ranch house, and many were the tired old jokes about Chinese laundry when a sprit of Hoisin Sauce was detected on the nape of his bright new Naval whites. There is the usual note of sadness at the realisation that he is off to war, with  a stop somewhere in the deep Midwest to pick up his vessel, and a private warning that he ought to pack blues as well as whites. Parsing the time, I imagine there is to be a follow-up to the main cross-Channel assault.  

The Economist, 1 April 1944


“Permanent Defence Policy” Lord Chatfield wants the Lords to talk about postwar defence organisation. Oh, putanother inch of armour plate on it, and it’ll be fine, Milord. The paper offers its insights: the maximum likely professional force is that of summer 1939; 600,000 men. To that can be added the annual conscript class of around 300,000 after exemptions. With recruiting shortfalls, say 750,000 to 800,000 to be shared between three services. Since the armed forces are to be maintained for effect, and not for “social education or processional elegance,” they must be used as effectively as possible: planes, ships, and mechanised troops, providing that “they are not so mobile that they cannot move.” Weapons should be made and stored for war mobilisation, ships built and strategic supplies stored in national reserves, which would also serve to stabilise boom-and-bust commodity cycles. The paper namechecks Lord Keynes.

“Deadlock in Palestine?” I am absolutely confident that there will be peace between Jews and Arabs in Palestine  this spring. The Foreign Office is on the case!

“Civil Aviation” How will international civil aviation be organised? And how will this lead to us getting all the sales? Burning questions indeed.

“Notes for the Week”

“Eastern Sedan?” Events in the East this week might go down as an eastern Sedan, the paper posits. Or they might not. Let’s go with “not,” for the moment.

Rumania is not surrendering this week.

“Equal Pay” The Government was defeated in the Commons on an amendment to the Government bill on education calling for equal pay for male and female teachers, with strong support from the Liberals, Independent Labour, and the Tory Reform Committee. It seems unnatural to me pay fathers and spinsters on the same rate, but I had the misfortune of putting my opinion to your daughter-out-of-law, and my ears were soundly boxed, so I hold my peace. In any event, the paper sees a chance of this policy being carried through the civil service! It is hard to see how this could be afforded, were stenographers, never mind nurses, included.

“Another Coal Crisis”It appears that three coal districts out of five will reject the Government’s latest pay scheme, which the paper thinks is absolutely wonderful. Some coal miners will “break their bond” and strike illegally, although not as many as could.

“Ex-Service Industries” Demobilisation and conversion will be very hard.

“Plainly Speaking” Americans are horrid about Lend-Lease. Britain is being made a scapegoat in the American election campaign! Oh, Tom Dewey, can’t you understand how the paper loves you? (That is, Leader loves you. American Survey still longs for the touch of Wendell Wilkie's lips, for his sweet promise of happy ever after. )

“Salute the Soldier” The paper objects to savings bonds drives because they make the banks’ lives more difficult, when tightening rationing would have the same effect of reducing consumption without making bankers’ lives harder at  all!

“Germany’s Balkan Losses” As Roumania is going, going… It is time to take stock. Roumania produces 5.5 million tons of petroleum a year, about a third of that available to Germany from all continental sources; and not nearly as much food as it could, as its war harvests have been poor. Therefore, the loss of Roumania may mean less than is sometimes supposed. When it happens at some imminent date.

“Second Thoughts on Trade” Political and Economic Planning has, after much cogitation, finally produced the statistical appendices of the report it filed in 1937. The paper’s main takeaway point is that in 1937, the PEP supposed that the main barriers to international trade were regulations, including tariffs. Now it supposes that it is national employment. Tariffs are symptoms, not the disease.

“Rights of Asylum” 243 Bulgarian Jewish refugees have arrived in Istanbul on Milka, and have requested to be resettled in Palestine. The paper says, that this will not be difficult if they have permits, but since they do not, it is impossible as it stands, a horrible outcome for Jews escaping the death camps of Eastern Europe. Therefore, the paper proposes a compromise. Milka will proceed, and others, likely to be numerous with a new pogrom developing in Hungary, will follow. Just so long as the 30,000 vacant places in Palestine under the current plan have not been filled. Are there more than 30,000 Jews in Hungary? Oh, dear.

American Survey

“American Zionism” Not all American Jews are Zionists, although some are. non-Zionist American Jews hold that Zionists present Jews as an unassimilable foreign race from other Americans, causing anti-Semitismto rise in America. Sensible American Jews ask themselves whether America could offer asylum to more Jews without provoking more anti-Semitism. Of course not, say those sensible Jews. Only Palestine is left as a refuge from Nazi persecution, and so it follows that non-Zionist American Jews are also Zionist. However, as most American Jews are not Zionists, but only Zionists, a  sensible British compromise solution in Palestine will go over smoothly and without fuss in America.

“Front in the Orient”

Our Correspondent in Oregon says that they make and ship things in the Pacific Northwest, including things that will be used in the “Big Push” against Japan. They also make paper, like the paper wasted here.

“Destitute Greece” Rationing has not been effective, there is price inflation, with massive increases in the number of bills in circulation, and there are difficulties trading with Germany.

“Feeding Switzerland” Is hard, but the value of Swiss agricultural production has risen steadily, and the addition of potato flour to bread has stretched the strategic grain reserve.

Germany at War

Germany is a totalitarian dictatorship not just so far as basic liberties are concerned, but financially as well! Oh, the humanity!

The Business World

“Steel Shares”

If you have invested in steel shares, you have to be concerned about rises in wages and coal costs, as the dominant postwar question will be how to reduce the selling price of steel to help in the export drive.

Business Notes

The Prime Minister’s statement last week touched on housing. Will the initial stage of expansion be possible without a state policy and planning, as he said? It seems unlikely. Will there be factory made houses? Mr. R. Coppock, secretary of the National Federation of Building Trade Operatives, says that the PM has solved a problem with a word, “fabrication,” with no  bearing on reality. The half-million home target can be met by normal methods. The paper is not convinced.

“Gold Price Raised’ In India. That is, the Bank of India’s selling price was raised from R. 71 to R. 72. As this was still well below the market rate, for some curious reason, the Bank’s favoured buyers were able to reap a  tidy profit until the end of the week, when the price was further raised to the New York/London clearing rate, which makes more sense, anyway, given that the point of the gold sales  is to hold down price inflation and the growth in sterling debt to India.

“Persian Silver Sale” The price rise in silver in India is even more marked than that for gold, as it is the preferred peasant hoarding medium, but also because the Bank of India has not been selling silver. But now comes news that the Bank of Persia has sold the Bank of India 500 tons, and that it is on its way to Bombay, where it will be sold. Curiously, the paper finds no problem at all with the silver price in Bombay being 3 times greater than the London parity, because of inflation fighting. Certainly no-one would descend to something so ungentlemanly as currency smuggling, and no aircraft whatsoever will be flying from London or San Francisco to Bombay with a few hundredweight of bullion tucked under a burlap wrap.

“Vickers Limited” Appears to have had a good year, although it is difficult to parse its returns due to the number of subsidiaries reporting independently. Overall, the company’s future seems brighter than it did 25 years ago.

Shipbuilders Wages” Are going up, as the workers want to make hay while the sun shines.

“Whaling Agreement” An international agreement to hold the harvest at “16,000 blue whale units” has been signed. But given the shortage of ships, the total is not likely to be reached.

“U.S. National Income” The paper notices that the total income available for spending in the United States has risen from $67.7 billion in 1939 to 124.1 in 1943.

 It is a wonder, the paper says, that there has not been much more inflation in the United States than has yet become apparent. But soon! As for labour, this has increased by 2 million from the normal growth of population, and by 5 million from persons not normally employed. In spite of this, there are still about 3.5 million housewives under 45 without children who could be employed, and who would be, in Britain. 44.5% of the population is working in America, compared with 47% in Britain.

Flight, 6 April 1944


The paper is pleased by “Bomber Command’s surprise attack on Essen” on the night of the 26th. It is a compliment, in its way, to German resilience. German industry recovers rapidly when bombing relents. Will the invasion not require a massive diversion of bombing sorties?

“Imperial Defence” The dusky races of the Empire may have their freedom, as long as they listen to the Chiefs of the Imperial General Staff at all times about everything. Also, the peacetime air force should be incredibly  huge, so that it can be all things to all men.  Speaking of enormous efforts, the hundred-thousandth Rolls-Royce Merlin has just been made. Most are, I suppose, too clapped out already to ever be used for anything, but at least  every cottage beside a country lane now has its own personal bucket of spare washers. 

War in the Air

The medium bombers of 9th Air Force and TAAF have been joined by the 8th Air Force’s daylight bombers in attacks on targets in the Pas de Calais. Air fields and training stations seem to be particular targets in spite of long standing doubts about the efficacy of airfield attacks. Although German attacks on London have fallen off. The paper is now cold on the idea of an air attack on Casino Abbey. A little late, I think? On the other hand, the mountain-fighting New Zealanders and Gurkhas are now being resupplied from the air as they seize the commanding heights. Airplanes are involved! Likewise on the Japanese front, where matters are confused, mainly by the fact that no-one has any clear idea where exactly the fighting is going on.

"Imphal?" How did the Japanese get to Africa, precisely? The Russians are advancing! Aircraft, etc. The paper notices that it is official policy not to state the results of the Calais bombing, but the Germans have not yet fulfilled their promise to rain rocket shells of vengeance upon Britain. The two must be related. At least, this week. Next week, who knows? Rocket shells, like radio direction finding, might not exist again. I am sure that they would do this to jets, too, if the manly jaw of G. Geoffrey Smith were not set against it.

Here and There

“Jet Development” C. D. Howe, Canada’s Munitions Minister (pardon me for a moment, dear cousin, as I must go and turn over some salt pork rendering by the fire) is quoted as saying that jet development has been transferred from Britain to Canada. Or misquoted, the paper suggests. Which seems like a sound interpretation, so why does this bit lead the column?

“Help from de Havilland” de Havilland chairman Mr. A. S. Butler, has offered the Herts Education Committee a 90 acre site for the building of a proposed technical college. Rather nice of him, I think. We could offer the same to the Kent Education Committee. If by “offer” is understood a nice profit on so much bog land. The Earl must be cursing himself for holding most of his real estate in the remotest Midlands, where no-one would ever want to study aeronautical engineering. Perhaps he should build a college for training cotton engineers instead?

Mr. Wright was at Buckingham Palace to show off an American-made constitutional monarch. It is just  like a British one,but cheaply made, too expensive, unreliable, and far too thick.

“Blue Riband” (not the actual title, which is “Fine Performance”) An Avro York has made the flight from New Delhi to London in 42 hours and 30 minutes, actual flying time being 31 hours 54 minutes. With a fortnight’s leave in London, even the Guards might be tempted to do some trooping out East of Suez!

“Ford’s Glider Contract” Ford has a $17 million contract to make CG-13 Waco gliders. The work consists of welding steel tubes and assembling canvas, plywood and timber parts, rather closer to the firm’s trade than the Willow Run madness, and good practice for “conversion.”

“Compulsorily Amphibian” F/O G. O. Singleton, an RAAF pilot, has managed to land his Sunderland on an airfield after sustaining a 7ft hole in the hull in an ill-advised takeoff in rough waters. “Nice work, Aussie,” the paper condescends.

In fairness to the Diggers, it seems to be going around.

“Ironical Fate” Celebrated Aussie pilot, F/O L. G. Fuller, has met his death in Melbourne in a cycling accident. I suppose that the fact that he was still F/O rank tells the sad tale, but I note the story because of the callous header.

“His Journey Was Necessary” Mr. D. McVey, director of Australian civil aviation, has just arrived in London for a conference. Last year, he led Australian delegations to South Africa and Washington. The paper seems to be very upset at Australians this week. It seems surprising that Canada has got off so lightly, after trying to steal tall and smouldering G. Geoffrey Smith’s jet and jet-related thunder.

“U.S. Calls for Women Pilots.” More women pilots would release more male pilots for the war.

G. Geoffrey Smith, “Turbine-Compressor Unites: Problems of Small-Sized Units: Fuel Consumption Factors: Heat Exchangers” Those baby-blue eyes! That manly chest! The most eligible bachelor in all of engineeringdom explains Swedish and Swiss experiences with said problems, etc. It is nice of the neutrals to publish their work.

L. G. Fairhurst, “Jets versus Airscrews.” Someone who is not G. Geoffrey Smith (I have it on good authority that he is knock-kneed, hairless, and 5’3”) says that putting propellers on turbine engines could be a fine idea! Someone who is chief engineer at Rotol, to be precise.

Behind the Lines

The collaborationist government of Yugoslavia is training several new pilots. (160, to be precise.) The Germans are building three new airfields in Denmark, which are reported by the clandestine paper Frit Danmark to have dispersal areas for aircraft.  I suppose the news here is that Denmark’s premier freedom-fighting paper is named after a fried treat? It certainly cannot be worth the paper otherwise. A Helsinki paper accuses the Germans of building airfields sited to support German bombing raids on Sweden? Are these stories related? Even the paper finds the idea a little ridiculous. A new anti-knock fuel is distributed with warnings that its lead content makes it poisonous, and that it should not be allowed to contact skin. The paper finds this amusing; I say, if you are distributing wood alcohol, however dressed, as fuel, good luck in persuading alcoholics not to drink it by allowing that it is poisonous and irritating. News of a larger version of the He177, suitable for Atlantic missions, and of the new Arado Ar 240.

Studies in Aircraft Recognition 

The Fairchild Argus and Cornet, Bucker Bestmann, Percival Proctor IV. Sub-200hp trainers all look very similar, and someone, somewhere, might actually have cause to need to tell them apart, until the day that he learns about girls.

“Continental Air Transport” Happened before the war, will happen again after it.

“Siebel Si 204” A new Axis aircraft is a cheap, light transport/advanced trainer.

“Mr. Burden is Optimistic” The US Assistant Secretary of Commerce believes that the first postwar civil air transport generation, which will come into service in about 1954, will be up to 30% cheaper than Pullman railway service. That is optimistic, as it will basically capture all business and tourist traffic, I should think, leaving rail to the kind of daft old lady who insists on the store keeping a credit book for her, as she is unwilling to learn how to use a chequing account. (And, yes, I had to stand in line behind one of those earlier today. In the new America, we do our own errands. Frankly, I am a little pleased to recede into the background of Wong Lee’s life this month. He has every right to be proud of, and frightened for, his son.)

P. W. Nicholas, “Plywood and Plastics” The paper notices the use of high-frequency electrical heating on phenol-formaldehyde resin plywood panels. The much-delayed point of the article is that the “Gallay” process is much more economical of electrical power in achieving the desired effect, for various technical reasons. It seems like there is something to be said for it, and you should probably look at this number yourself. The real question, of course, is feasibility of production on a home-construction scale, and for that I am no guide.


Only one highly technical article under a serving officer’s pseudonym this week, and relatively little of the joyous boyishness of which “Mrs. J.C.” so approves. Perhaps the pace of work has picked up in the service? Why do I even speculate to you, Reggie, when you have the gen? Although the whole matter of British versus American planes carries on. More hair-raising, a letter over a proudly-signed name (“V. H. Izard,”) calling for Bomber Command to shift to day bombing. Although couched in terms of improving accuracy, this strikes me as a bit of a stalking horse. In clear weather, both kinds of bombers find their targets, do they not? So what is the real issue? This is where I fret. The alternative is that casualties are beginning to raise concerns.

Service Aviation

Men are promoted, decorated, die. Award citations take up more pages than the list of the dead. I notice also a striking picture of a Vought Corsair with folded wings on a Royal Navy carrier. It is nice that the plane finally reaches the place that it was designed to be. Is it too much to be hoped that the Marines will now get some Hellcats, so that the Grumman plan can catch up to the Vought in the aces derby?

The Economist, 8 April 1944


“The Prime Minister” The Commons was whipped, and the Prime Minister got his vote of confidence on the issue of equal pay for woman teachers. The paper is perplexed that Mr. Churchill felt the need to make the withdrawal of Mrs. Cazalet Keir’s amendment to the Education Bill a matter of confidence. The paper is beginning to have doubts that the Prime Minister will be able to win the next General Election.

“Russia in the Far East”

Will Russia enter the Far Eastern War after victory in Europe? Probably. It has already won a considerable victory by compelling the Japanese to withdraw from their oil and concessions on Northern Sakhalin in return for ludicrously small compensation and the promise of 50,000 tons of oil annually after the end of the Pacific War. As Japan was relying on Sakhalin for almost a quarter of its domestic oil supply, this is a sharp blow, administered diplomatically.

But what after that? TASS’s recent statement that the Chinese are driving the Kazakhs out of Sinkiang Province and aggressing into Outer Mongolia in the process is seen as evidence of friction. Chungking, communists, possible return of Russia to its Northeastern Concessions after it enters the land war and takes the necessarily predominant role in defeating the Japanese Army that this implies.

The Budget, accurately reported this year, is surprisingly good. Expenditures have been lower than expected, revenues higher, the increase in National Debt therefore, although high, within the range expected. The paper is pleasantly surprised.

Notes of the Week

“Warning to Strikers” Mr. Bevin says: strikers, no striking!

“Into Roumania” Russians invade, Roumania surrendering more. Latins are excitable.

“Best Foot Forward” The late Director-General of the BBC, Robert Foot, has gone to be President of the Mineowner’s Association, which is occasion for the paper to remember that it hates the coalowners as well as the coal miners.

“Thunder on the Right” The Tory Reform Committee has a plan for reorganising the coal industry, too!

“Feeding India” Now that the famine is over, it is over. And it might not happen next year, at least if the effects of the “small” Japanese advance into India are not excessive.

“Battle of Communications” The paper is disquieted by news of the evacuation of Tiddim and the use of RAF fitters and clerks as airfield defence detachments. With the death of Wingate possibly putting a check on the development of airborne operations, the Allies can no longer put pressure on the Japanese offensive, which seems to be developing in a worrying way. Just how worrying is unclear to readers of the paper thanks to one of the more impenetrable maps of the region that I have seen.

“On Air” Civil aviators are excitable, as are Argentines. And Caribbeanites. Not that anyone cares, although it is a little disgraceful that British subjects be at risk of starvation on their little islands. And the Welsh.

American Survey

“Bulwark of the Farm Bloc” The Farm Bureau (if somehow you have not heard of it, Reggie, it is a farmer’s lobby in the United States) is increasingly at odds with the Farm Security Administration over the Administration’s subsidy policy. American Survey dedicates almost two full pages to refuting the ludicrous idea that the Bureau lobbies for the interests of rich farmers over poor farmers, with the effect of endangering the New Deal –that is of depriving the Democrats of farm votes. Of course, that’s what the Bureau intends, it’s just that this is precisely what all the poor farmers want! The paper says so.

American Notes

“The Right to Vote” Is at issue with the continuing controversy over the soldier’s vote, and the Supreme Courts’ finding that the Sixteenth Amendment protects Americans’ right to participate in party primaries without respect to race. In other election news, the paper has a good feeling about Mr. Wilkie’s prospects in Wisconsin.

“Conscripting the Barrel” It is suggested that the 3.5 million 4-F men be conscripted anyway, and put into labour units. It seems very unlikely that this will happen. Meanwhile, the Army is calling up more men over 26, there is evidence of people drifting away from war work to positions in industries with more promise of peacetime permanence, leading to labour shortages in war work.

Latin (Americans) are excitable, and possibly Communist.

“Mineral Poverty in Eire” Our Dublin Correspondent takes aim at the ill-advised myth that there is plenty of mineral wealth to be extracted in Eire if only it could be put to work. Good to have that cleared up, I say.

Russia At War

“Plan for Farming” Last year’s harvest was poor; lack of tractors, drought, other reasons are indicated. This year’s harvest, thanks to the vigorous planning and directives of the Council of People’s Commissars will be better. Hopefully. Actually, the paper is not that hopeful.  The losses of war are not to be made up that easily, and schemes like last year’s plan to interplant rice with cotton in the fields of Turkestan do not encourage confidence in the competence of the Council. Perhaps more Mouziks will rise on the Kolkhozs.

Business Notes

The France rate needs to be set with an eye to the errors made in setting the lire rate; new building methods are to be embraced, not disparaged, and Sir Malcom Stewart, of the London Brick Company, has a much more progressive attitude than Mr. Coppock in regards to prefabrication. However, even his views may fall short of the innovativeness needed. What of alternatives to brick such as cement, plaster board, timber, and, possibly, metal and asbestos board? The future is bright with possibilities. Sorry, for a moment there I thought that I was reading Fortune rather than The Economist. What I meant to say is that the future is full of uncertainties.

“Coal Dust Abatement” The paper greets new schemes, then offers tempered skepticism about the value of putting even more sprinkled water into the collieries before moving on to the problem of “black lung” and the difficulty of finding employment for miners so afflicted.

“South Africa and Free Gold” and “Bombay Bullion Prices” both concern the recent rise in prices on the Bombay Exchange. South Africa is eager to have its share, even as the price of gold and silver began to fall there. Although they have risen at the end of the week. General Auchinleck’s soothing statements about Imphal do seem to have caused some abatement in the price rise, however. On the strategic metals front, China has announced that it has found additional reserves of tungsten and antimony to introduce into the world  market once they can be exported again. The paper applauds the prospect of a fall in the price of these useful metals, which would encourage greater use of them.

Flight, 13 April

How boring can high-speed, heavily-armed “hot ships” be? Very, when your front cover advertisement is for Cellon’s new Cerrux dope paint.


“Putting the Jet on the M.A.P.” The paper was disappointed when MAP took over Short Brothers, believing that less drastic measures might have sufficed. The paper hopes that the case is different with the now-announced MAP takeover of Power Jets, Ltd. The paper’s hopeful formulation is that the vast national effort required to bring the Jet Age on is now to be backed by the whole nation, rather than the limited resources of a private company, which could hardly bear the burden of such an enterprise, unless its name were Boulton & Watt, Parsons, Brown Boveri, Vickers-Armstrong, Rolls-Royce, Nuffield…. Actually, this sounds like exactly the same case as Short Brothers.

“The Satellite Capitals” Rumania is surrendering some more, and aircraft were involved! Specifically, 15th Air Force attacked the Bucharest railyards on 4 April as the Russians crossed the Pruth.

“The Barracuda’s Bow” The Fairey Barracuda now officially exists, thanks to publicity over the carrier-borne attack on Tirpitz. The paper intimates that special bombs were used, perhaps glider bombs. A striking picture shows the Barracuda with its enormous flaps extended for landing.

War in the Air

The loss of 94 bombers in the BomberCommand night attack on Nuremberg in clear air under a full moon shows that casualties in air raids can be heavy, the paper concludes. Actually, I suggest that you can conclude more than that. The Germans have pretty clearly won this round of the long night bombing war over Europe. In other unfortunate news,General Wingate has died in an air crash. The paper describes General Wingate as a soldier of an original cast of mind., and notes that he was “probably” unable to avail himself of current meterological reports that would have led him to postpone his trip. The “probably,” I think, says much. The paper has its sources.

“Mrs. J. C.’s” father was able to pull his familiar little game of feigning a lack of English. The general, I gather, was moon-touched. At this point, may I digress and suggest that if the social costs of opium were so great as to occasion its banning, that the same might be contemplated for Benzedrine. But not until after the war, of course. You lads need not fear being deprived just yet? (Or, conversely, that we just be frank about the dangers of both, and give over puritanical prohibition of both?)

In other Burma news, it is mentioned that the men of the RAF Regiment have been posted around the airfields at Imphal as a possible last-ditch defensive line. Which is, I think, the first that I have heard of the Regiment in this paper.

In the Pacific, carrier attacks on the Palau group at the western end of the Caroline Islands. Unless the Japanese fleet comes out, the hundred thousand men in their garrisons in the Pacific will be isolated and left to starve, the paper points out. What a senseless and predictable outcome, it says. Well, yes, but Britain’s loss in France in 1940 was not far short of a hundred thousand men “cut off” uselessly. Do we now say that this was a senseless undertaking and an easily predicted defeat? The railyard attacks at Bucharest are noted again. This must have cheered up the Russian troops, the paper speculates, then notes that they are already flushed by their own victories. Which seem rather more consequential, even if attacks on the railways make their jobs easier. The Tirpitz attack is summarised again. The paper notes here that the Barracuda has been in service for “about” a year, and that the number of squadrons equipped with it has “steadily increased.” Given how much the taxpayer has spent on planes in the last year, I should hope so! The week’s box score shows 145 bombers lost over Europe this week. The Nuremberg casualties are thus about two third of Combined Bombing Offensive losses and not that far short of half of all (232) Allied air losses in service flying this week.

Here and There

The total American aircraft supply to Russia now stands at 8800. General Oliver P. Echols of USAAF Materiel Command says that new long-range fighters are being developed to escort B-29s. Have we not heard this already? Major General J. F. Miller, AVM T. W. Williams, and AM Sir William Welch all have new jobs.  A Transport Lancaster has set a 12 hour 59 minute record for Scotland-Montreal, beating the old record by 17 minutes. It carried 3,611lb mail, 425lb freight, and four passengers. B-25 Mitchells are now being used as advanced trainers. Another warplane surplus to requirements? A new Mid-Air Safety Device is announced by the “Square D Co., of Detroit,” which sounds exactly like C. G. Grey’s old “Radioaura.” The important part is when someone pays everyone who has  patented this contraption so that they can actually use it. Very important people are going to Washington to talk about petroleum. A Navy school has been opened to train 300 Ceylonese as engine fitters, so that they can relieve 70% of Fleet Air Arm personnel on the island for carrier duties. Catalinas searching 200,000 square miles of the Indian Ocean from Ceylon take four days to find 42 survivors of a sunken ship and directing a tanker to them. 

Americans want free competition by private airlines on international routes, while other countries prefer “international control.”

“Flying the Typhoon” It’s remarkably nimble for such a large plane, and the engine, with its high rpm, gives a gentle hum. (While it is subtly shaking you to pieces.) The very thick wing gives good handling at the stall, and “lineal descendants” of the Typhoon and Sabre will be very impressive. Pictures of the Hawker Tornado, the failed Vulture-powered rival to the Typhoon, appear next page. The Vulture, it will be recalled, was not taken up, as it was so much more complicated than the Sabre.

Studies in Aircraft Recognition

Today we learn to tell gliders apart. There is the Hotspur, a dashing northerner, the Horsa, always trying to invade Britain, the Hadrian building a wall to keep the Horsa out, and the DFS 230, which ..also tries to invade England.

“Indicator” must be grounded, as his column this week is a “Literary Interlude.” He has read some novels about aviation, and is not impressed. Books that tell us what war flying was actually like will be written, and read, but not until some time after the war is over. Who wants to remember the frightening and uncomfortable parts now?

“Mobile School Unit” The US Air Transport Command has a group visiting schools with the M.T.U. 96, which is kind of a mockup/model/display of the C-54 Skymaster. It does not appear that it is a Link Trainer-type setup to give the students the feel of flying the plane, but then it is mainly for instructing ground crew.

“Interchange of Technical Information” The eligible heiresses of Old England will be devastated to hear that the dashing G. Geoffrey Smith of this paper (and Aircraft Production, as well) is off to America in connection with the sharing of technical press information.

“A Novel U.S. Suggestion” The Civil Aeronautics Administration has proposed installing a recorder in the pilot’s compartment to preserve every word spoken, so as to learn the cause of crashes in which both pilot and co-pilot are killed. (The actual device would be secreted in the tail and wrapped in an asbestos blanket.) I just wonder how much the pilots’ conversation would add to the chatter with ground control. Speak, oh ancestral voices...

Behind the Lines

“An Axis newspaper” reports that rumours circulated that Bratislava would be raided by British, or Russian, or, failing them, German bombers. The intent would be to force the inhabitants of the city to evacuate, at which point the Germans would move their entire governmental apparatus into the abandoned buildings. It is rumoured that certain war profiteers actually fled the city on that date, showing that they had conduits of information to Moscow or London, says the paper. They should be exposed, says the paper, and punished. It has been said that, thanks to Bismarck and the threat of Social Democracy, Germany has quite good provisions for the handicapped. Paranoid maniacs, for example, are employed in the provincial press.

All German able-bodied men of the classes of 1884—1893 have been asked to register for conscription.
“The Wild Sow” technique of directing single-engined fighters onto night raids is described, presumably indicating that it is now obsolete.


J. R. Gould (Major, late RAF), writes to say that he thinks the Sabre much too complicated and vulnerable, and that it is a pity that the company did not instead further develop its licensefor the two-crankshaft Jumo diesel aircraft engine. He goes on to explain the advantages of diesel powertrains for the tens of Flight readers who might be unaware of them. As usual with diesel enthusiasts, he is less forthcoming on the subject of compression stresses, vibrations, and exhaust work loss. Not that he’s necessarily wrong. In many applications, the future does belong to diesel cycle engines. The problem isthat the various complications inserted to deal with these difficulties ratherundermine the appeal to simplicity!

N. V. Brittain, on the other hand, is convinced that the Sabre’s sleeve valves score by saving work on regular maintenance, and imagines the chagrin of German engineers analysing the Sabre. As well they should. If the British have so much design talent to waste on that contraption, imagine what their service jet engines will be like!

G. W. Stanley takes issue with the “Projet’s” opinion that some jet engines are impractical. In fact, other jet or perhaps turbosupercharged engines are impractical. If I am reading him correctly, and I will allow that it is quite likely that I am, arrangements much more advanced than in any jet engine are used in oil injection turbines and for a combustion/steam turbine without a boiler. Whichsounds as though he is describing a ground installation? 

Michael Annand says that the proposed “Wyvern” would be too heavy, too lightly armed, and would ask too much of the lone pilot.  He proposes that the carrier arm might be pared down to a single fighter (/dive-bomber) and torpedo (heavy dive-) bomber, for example the Seafire and Avenger.

R. E. Gregory, thinking on similar lines, narrows the role of the fighter down to only fighting, and suggests a carrier torpedo-bomber large enough to carry the torpedo internally! Surely that would imply a twin-engined aircraft. Have such proposals not been vetoed before on the score of weight and size? I am beginning to doubt my rash speculation that the “Wyvern” has taken such concrete life on these correspondence pages because it is an actual aircraft under development. My logic is that there would also be a twin-engine torpedo bomber under development, and that would imply aircraft carriers to match. 

W. H. Hambrook, Assistant Chief Designer for Short & Harland, objects to another correspondent objecting to flying boats.

“Optimist” thinks that the only problem with the “drift” (that is, castering) undercarriages discussed in an article in an earlier  number of the paper is that they are not complicated enough. Throw in a gyro-controlled powered servo to keep the castered wheels turned in the right direction, and you would have a miracle machine. I shall propose the idea to your eldest when I see him next. It is always amusing to see him wince in pain and put his hand to his forehead.

D. A. Brice thinks that “Indicator” is wrong to say that the proposed 100 ton mammoth airliners might be a bit much for existing manpower. He also thinks that “Indicator” was insulting him personally as an airline pilot. And not only him but all air marshals, aviation pioneers, and, in general, everyone. Not to harp too much, but someone needs to cut back on the Benzedrine.

“Russian Ground Crews” Are much like ours, but wear those unflattering, shapeless, Russian-style forage caps. I hope that the engines aren’t offended.

R. D. Leakey, “Where Battles Are Won.” In the future, in anticipation of future wars, aircraft factories will have to be secret underground complexes where unidentified top scientists and engineers work on top secret new aircraft with all the advances made possible by top secret research and development. Also, the designers will have codenames, like “the Shadow,” “Dr. Syn” and “The Scarlet Pimpernel.”
I’ll bet you can’t tell what part of that I made up, Reggie.

The Economist, 15 April 1944


“The Governor” The paper is sad that Mr. Montagu Norman has withdrawn his name from the election for Governor of the Bank  of England after a quarter century in office. Oddly, the paper’s main complaint is about the Bank’s industrial policy of encouraging cartels under the guise of “industry self-government.”

“Freedom for France” Within a few weeks, we will be invading. Should we not sort out franc convertability, and the administration of the occupied zone? Maybe we shall get rid of that annoying De Gaulle fellow, too. The French will thank us for it when they come to their senses. And it will help the French try out this democracy arrangement. 

Sometimes I think it would do Britain good to lose a war once. It might help the paper gain some empathy for defeated.

“Article Seven” The paper hopes that Lend-Lease is not ended too quickly on account of difficulties over tariffs and such. This would undermine trade and employment. It is hard, the paper says, to feel happy about the prospects for full employment in the United States after the war, and only a rash man would prophesy with complete assurance that it will  be attained in Great Britain. With American production vastly above prewar levels, and no plan in prospect for organising and administering transition, there is a very real risk of a postwar American depression.
(Emphasis mine.)

Notes of the Week

“Odessa and the Carpathians” Roumania still being invaded, still surrendering.

Latins are excitable. Eden-Stettinus talks will continue, given that Mr. Eden is not resigning the Foreign Office after all. Miner’s delegation visits London and puts their case against the Portal Reward with some success. It turns out that “rippers, roadmen, machine minders and some classes of enginemen” do require higher wages! The paper lugubriously points out that the rate of strikes was even higher in 1919 than during the war years, so we may face even more work stoppages soon.

Finland is still surrendering; the Polish Resistance may cooperate with their Russian liberators, after all; after the contretemps over equal pay, it is now possible to again notice that education reforms are being held back by a shortage of teachers. I certainly hope that this, like the shortages of nurses and coal miners, does not turn out to have anything to do with wages, because then trying to hold teachers' wages down might prove to be a mistake!  

“Responsibility for Industrial Progress” The paper is pleased that it is now generally recognised that the improvement of British industrial prospects depends on improving productivity, and not mysterious magic and tricks. Yet many in industry suppose that Government support for research and development will be enough. It will not. Everyone must put on white lab coats and splash goggles and take long, insightful glances at test tubes held aloft. 

There must also be more technical education. In that area, Britain is apparently a backward country. Its old edge in industry led it to lazy ways of rules of thumb and practicality. Now there must be technical education. And, of course, there must be opportunity and status to the young people who “have been through this mill.” Unless they work in the Lancashire textile trades, in which case we shall wipe our feet of them and move on to wondering why no young people enroll for aeronautical engineering training.

“Defending Assam” The paper notices that if the Japanese take Kohima, they can advance on Dimapur, which is still the only rail nexus between Bengal and Assam, just as it was when we toured the area with Grandfather in ’27.

“Front Line Province” The Governor of Bengal promises that there will be  no recrudescence of famine this year. The wheat and millet crops were poor, but the rice was good enough to make up the lack. Providing that loss of confidence in the food supply does not lead to hoarding, mind. Meanwhile, the Statesman of Calcutta is now running a series that was suppressed during the famine on the utter ineptitude of the Government of Bengal’s response to the famine. The paper finds it disheartening, and suggests that continuing concealment of vital statistics can only raise doubts about whether these have been remedied.

“Absent Workers” It is not just miners who have absence problems. A look at industry in general shows a 5% absent rate in peacetime for men, 6-8% in wartime, 10-15% for women. These are for various reasons, but the reporting Industrial Health Board singles out fatigue as something that can be remedied by steps such as holding the work week to 60 hours for men and 55 for women.

“The City President” Herr Goebbels, who is, of course, already the President of Berlin Gau, is now made President of the city. The paper hopefully supposes that this is because of the extent of damage and chaos caused by the night area bombing offensive.

American Survey

“Wilkie’s Wake” Mr. Wilkie’s defeat in the Wisconsin Primaries, predicted only by everyone, has led him to withdraw from the race for the GOP nomination. The paper thinks that that was premature, and dreams of him going on to greater and grander things. Governor Dewey, who did not even contest the primaries, won over half the vote, suggesting that, as only predicted by everyone, he is the front-runner! But what of MacArthur, Stassen, Bricker, Warren, Taft, or the paper’s pet parakeet? Surely someone other than Dewey could win. It’s not over yet, surely? Governor Bricker? Commander Stassen? Anyone?

American Notes

“Holding the Line”

Incredibly, there has been no increase in the cost of living, or in wages, over the last year. Price controls have been very successful, which is why they might be doomed. They’re digging their own grave, you see. Successful prince controls will lead to runaway inflation. How many papers does Mr. Janeway write for, anyway?

Shorter Notes

Some Texans are appalled that Coloureds are now by Supreme Court decision allowed to vote in the Democratic Primaries. Or the Republican primaries, should such a thing happen, and the organisers choose to exclude Coloureds in the first place. Or new measures will be found to exclude them, just as, when the “grandfather clause” was found unconstitutional, literacy and poll tax tests were substituted.
The Census reports that the American population was 134.9 million on 1 July 1942, compared with 133.9 in 1941 and 132.8 in 1940. There are now more American women than men, ending the old American demographic exception.

The World Overseas

Latin Americans are excitable about communism, part 2. The British have stepped up their sisal buying in East Africa. It is thought that production of hard fibre will have risen during the war, and hoped that new uses have been found to absorb this production.

“The Discount Market” I am not going to adventure comment; the Earl is the expert.

Business Notes

Canadian Pacific has had a good year; there is talk about oil, or talk about talks about petroleum; South African bonds are doing well; the Government is criticised for whitholding statistics, and answers that it is not going to change its policy on the eve of the Second Front; it looks like revisions in GRT measuring methods might finally come this year.

And now.. the monthlies!

Aviation, April 1944

Down the Years in Aviation’s Log

25 years ago, New Zealand announced plans for air mail, a variable-pitch propeller was tested and declared “eminently practical,” and the Post Office bought twelve DH-4s for the proposed New York-Chicago route. Fifteen years ago, the Air Corps adopts ethylene glycol coolant, Keystone Patrician flies 10,200ft carrying 36, Guatemala buys six all-metal Crawford planes, Chicago grocery firm equips a Ford trimotor as a “flying store.” Ten years ago, Congress ended the Air Mail experiment, the first S-42 flies, Sodium lights are used at Schipphol, Army request for 4000 planes put off by Congress, United makes a $2 million buy, including 6 12-seat sleepers.

Line Editorial

Junior is on about the disposal of Government war plants and equipment. In the last four years, the Federal Government has spent 15 billion dollars on plant, two-and-a-half-times private spending. One third has gone to aircraft and shipyards. A third to ordnance, a third to chemical plants and miscellaneous. About a third are suitable for peacetime commercial use and will be disposed without difficulty, and, with ingenuity, this might rise to half or even more. But the rest present difficulties. Fortunately, there are encouraging signs (George Committee Report, Truman Committee Report, appointment of Baruch) that this will be handled in a way that promotes freedom of action towards a competitive society. But more argle bargle.. Planning, inventory, sober second thought! Wherever possible, plant should be auctioned off at the best price. That would be fair! Where not, it should be leased at attractive rates to put it into effective use. Plant needed abroad can be exported. Plant needed by legitimate government enterprises such as the services and the TVA should be kept. Anything that does not fall into these categories should be liquidated, lest it lead to government or private monopolies.

"Cousin H.C.", who dreams of a Lower Californian monopoly on steel, does not seem frightened by Junion, however.


Neville thinks we need a powerful postwar air force. Just like Flight! It is a grand coincidence.

Captain C. H. Schildhauer, USNR, “Global Air Transport and the Flying Boat’s Role.” Perhaps this is the fellow who is interchanging technical press secrets with that heartbreaker, G. Geoffrey Smith of Flight.

Flying boats will be large and comfortable, with smoking lounges and dance floors and indoor swimming pools, just like the trans-Atlantic dirigibles that now ply our skies.

E. H. Cargen, Sales Research Engineer, and L. J. Stosik, Market Analyst, Write Aeronautical Corp,” “A Three-Way ‘Fix’ On Aircraft Markets.” I) The Military market: scientific technical analysis shows that military spending fell after the War of 1812, Civil War, and WWI. Therefore, science says that the postwar military market will be small, about 5000-5500 aircraft/year. Four alternative levelling curves are shown, with the best forecast showing renewed international tensions requiring continued high armament spending, and the worst flowing from renewed isolationism, in which case it will be closer to 3500. Commercial demand is established as 298 a/c in Victory +5. (1949, based on defeating Germany by Christmas and Japan a year later.) This is scientific! Though even the authors have no way of estimating the private postwar market, though

Raymond Hoadley, “Hope for the Aircraft Investor,” is apparently not the prompt launching of the world onto the road leading to World War III at the stroke of 1957 (ie, not waiting until 1967), but rather the orderly readjustment of the industry, which will take aviation stocks out of the “orphan” status that has kept them at low valuations.

“Ernest G. Stout, “Experimental Determination of Hull Displacement.” Say you do not know precisely how much water the flying boat that you are designing will draw in practice. Good question! It’s hard to calculate, and it might be helpful to know before you sit down behind the controls for that first takeoff run! Well, here is an easy experimental method involving pressing your hull model underwater with gradually increasing weights. Words fail. But, on the other hand, one gets a sense of how the Mars and Lerwick got the way that they did.

David B. Thurston, “Key Considerations in Pressurized Cabin Design”

Uncredited, “Metal PLUS Plastic Makes New Aircraft Flooring.” This miracle flooring sells itself! And if it doesn’t, we can always buy space in Aviation.

Commander Harry J. Marx, “Production-Line Remedies For Hydraulic Headaches.” In summary, you can do everything with aircraft hydraulics except make them work. A very dirty mechanic demonstrates how to pack clean parts.

Articles on forming sheet aluminum and “near infrared” baking of engine parts at Jacobs follows, at which point we get to...

J. S. Nielson and C. B. Mitchell, “Stretch Bend Unit Simplifies Metal Work,” which is a feature length advertisement for the new Goodyear Roto-Stretcher, developed by the Experimental Tool and Machine Design Division of Goodyear Aircraft. The one built in house for Goodyear is doing excellent work, and these two Goodyear-associated engineers want you to know that a Roto-Stretcher is right for you!

“The A to Z of Servicing Cuno Filters” is helpful in case a Cuno filter has arrived in your shop and you have no idea how to get at the filter and service it. It turns out that “auto-clean” Cuno filters are very complicated.

It frankly astonishes me that all of this has been designed and put into service in the last five years or so.

“Field Maintenance of Bosch Magnetos” is helpful in case a Bosch magnetor has arrived…

“Two Metalwork Units Do Work of Twenty. The proud inventors, both tradesmen at Northrop’s metal-forming shop, are shown smiling. My snap impression is that I would enjoy working with RalphFroelich in particular. He is, however, only a tradesman who has made something workaday to improve metalworking, not some transcendent mystery machine like a real inventor, such as Nikolai Tesla!

“Bull’s-Eye Aim Makes Bombardiers” Bombardiers need training! Honest, Reggie, it is true. (Given your position, you might have noticed at one point.) The Norden Bombsight is the best thing ever, which would fall under the heading of things that your eldest tells me is not true, and the USAAF has established a vast apparatus  to train new bombardiers, which is true. More interesting is the fact that while even the USAAF can only give them 85 hours in the air, trainee bombardiers do 450 hours on the ground, learning theory and reading maps, but also practicing in a special Link trainer! The point here, I suppose, is that the Trainer sounds fairly simplistic compared to schemes that I have seen elsewhere, with a simple “ bug” projected on the floor, similar to a battleship seen from 10,000 feet. Where is the scrolling countryside lit by faked Flak? Perhaps someone could sell something like that to the air force? Involving “television?”

The paper reports on the “new” Albemarle, Sabre, and “Tony.”

Side Slips

We begin with an amusing anecdote about a silly girl riveter, young pilots who joke about how many hours it takes a freighter to cross the Atlantic, about pilots who lose their hearing after a few hundred hours in the air and turn it to their advantage by pretending that people are offering them a beer, and amusing doggerel about Goebbels and Goering. I mock heavily and without humour, because imitation….

Made-up people love Bonney Tools!

Aviation News

“Improved Planes at Lower Prices Seen Postwar,” says somebody. Why do fighters now go further? They have drop tanks, the latest brand new technology that has been around forever. Wright Field has two new wind tunnels ready to go. “Private flying is coming out of the superman class andn down to the common man via a drastic revision of air traffic rules…” The AAF is exploring the possibility of having a garden sale. Flyers posted on hitching posts is my suggestion. Telephone poles good too, if you’ve got them. Blaine Stubblefield thinks that everyone in Washington should be fired for being lazy and not doing anything. Other bits of news in his column include the fact that some in Washington want a postwar Air Force, and that others want there to be airports around the country and that despite rationing, you can still get a decent blended American whiskey in  this town. And that’s Stubblefield, signing off until next month!

America At War

…Reports nothing that I couldn’t get from …I was going to say Time, but that’s too kind. Honestly, the news in the Montgomery-Ward catalogue is fresher. 

Aviation Manufacturing

“February Production: Record 350 planes in one day for 8,760; Weight up 4%.” Four pages into the news insert comes the news that aircraft production is down 29 units over the January numbers. But the month was short, or we would have hit the 9000 a/c/month new minimum target required to hit the 100,000 vice 120,000 unit target for the year! Also, weight is up and we built a record number of aircraft on one particular day! No guilty consciences here, sir. 

Plant investment is projected at only $500 million this year as the effort winds down. The P-47 now has a four-blade Hydromatic propeller. Glenn L. Martin promises that the new model of “Mars” will be even better! B-24s made at San Diego are also now better, because they are a pleasing metallic silver rather than drab camouflage, adding an estimated 6 to 8mph top speed. At least Aero Digest is honest enough to admit that the lack of paint is labour saving.

Aviation Abroad

The Swedish air service is back in operation. The Tudor and Brabazon I are under construction. The “Boomerang” is in action. The paper picks up the Flight story about how German pilots are being kept away from flowers with distressing scents and adds its own unique touch: “A bouquet to the Japanazis!”

Aviation Finance

In brief, lots of aviation companies made lots of money during the war, but the stocks are not highly valued because the end of the war is likely to crimp demands for new warplanes.

Wellwood Beall, looking in photo like the son of one of our clients (by the way, thank you for Mr. Johnston's file. I was being facetious in suggesting that we would lean on him for his father's unpaid passage, but am amused to note that my instinct was correct), has received some kind of award over something related to being another aviation figure who landed in the honey pot thanks to our pal Hitler.

“Footprints Halt!’ An ad for some kind of adhesive doormat that cleans the soles of shoes of people entering a very clean room at a ballbearing plant is illustrated with a picture of a child’s bare feet. That is, the technology of 1944 is projected to 1955 again! Page over finds Kinnear missing the opportunity to suggest that its technology could have a domestic use in ten years.

“Building Railroad Tracks for Electrons” is an ad celebrating Astatic’s “coaxial conductors.” Gives me a better sense of where the conversation is turning whenever the lads from the day turn up to visit your eldest and his wife.

“For More War Work With Fewer Workers” What will our future be, when devices like this have done away with manual labour in 1955? Though I could write 1855 for all the inherent plausibility of it.

Fortune, April 1945

This should be a quick read, as the entire number is devoted to Japan, and I cannot even begin to guess when we might be called upon to invest in the lands of the barbarians of Wa. I pick it up mainly in anticipation of that special outrage to which only Mr. Janeway can move me. For lack of any actual reportage, the number has been turned over to Herrymon Maurer, who has spent whole weeks in Japan in pursuit of his in-depth study of Eastern cultures. Known as the author of an “imaginative” account of Lao T’se, he is… He is One of Those. Enough said. Although Claude Buss and Shelly Mydans both recently repatriated from Japanese internment, are also represented. Neither, astonishingly, have a high opinion of the Japanese. Apparently, they, unlike other armies, select military police from the lower sort of recruits.

“Issei, Nissei, Kibbei” The paper is upset about the internment of American Japanese, even though it’s not as bad as all that, and it is really all the Hearst Paper’s fault. Not that that nasty gossip Hedda Hopper has helped, with her allegations that released evacuees have been committing sabotage.

“How Many Japanese?” It is supposed that the population of Japanese might rise by 1970 to 95 million, which is obviously too high for their land. This is the result of demographic transition. In the previous hundred years, Japan’s population moved from only 28 to 33 million. Industrialisation has had the effect of reducing birth rates. The point of the graphical comparison is that Japan’s curve lags that of England and Wales by 60 years.

Before the war, Japan’s increase of a million a year exceeded that of America and also all new inhabitants of western Europe! To feed them with imports, Japan has customarily depended on imports paid for with consumer goods. Emigration has been difficult, and there was the hold Manchuria thing. What is left? The Japanese are big on commercial fishing, and greater agricultural productivity would help.

Though not relevant, it is disconcerting to see the curve of population for England and Wales turn downwards in 1950. We did well to sell as much land as we did, when we did. I know that there is no direct relationship between population and real estate prices, but the one does tend to drive the other. It also illustrates just how tricky it is going to be to balance demand for housing against the future of the industry. No point in overinvesting in a sector that is going to be ebbing in the same way as the Lancashire cotton mills.

Or steel. Do I repeat myself? I do!

Unfortunately, it turns out that Mr. Janeway has no opinions worth printing on the subject of Japan and the Japanese, and I am deprived of my eagerly anticipated moment of righteous outrage.

Until next time, Reggie, I remain your beloved Cousin. 

PS: I  hope that you find time for this missive and do not spend it all looking at those wonderful baby faces. I see Grandfather in the boy. Do you?


  1. Let me guess, graphics were excitable?

  2. You know those frivolous foreigners. Always on about something that won't matter in 70 years.