Title: Interview with Arthur Forster
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00006462/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Arthur Forster
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Spatial Coverage: 12033
Escambia County (Fla.) -- History.
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00006462
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Escambia County' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ESC 1

Table of Contents
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
Full Text

This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.

This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limits the amount of materials that may be

For all other permissions and requests, contacat the
the University of Florida.

Dec. 1974 NAS Allegany Page 1

During World War II, the Naval Air Station put out a story in book form

'. called "The Story of the Naval Air Training Center, Pensacola, Florida."

And that was of the air. There are quite a few small stories in it and

about the station. There is one story I will pick out to begin with and

make comment.on it. The old USS Massachusetts, which lies in the sand of

the Gulf just to the west eAtrance to Pensacola Bay was sunk in 1922,. by

opening her sea valves, after her sinking she served for years as a target

for Ft. Barrancas heavy artillery and for the stations dive bombers. In

September, 1942,,over 276,450 pounds of historical relics consisting of

cannon, cannon balls, anchors, many of them dating back to Ant bellum days

were scraped and sent to the smelters as a part of the Naval Air Stations

contribution to the second scrape metal drive. Additional metal was scraped

from the USS Massachusetts. Earlier in my talks here, I comment on the

Massachusetts being towed to Pensacola and just what happened to it. At..

the Naval Air Station, they have a pier that was built during World War I,

and it was built by the Proudfer -;. Company, and it was known as the Proudfer (?

Dock. As the war went on there was a tug boat by the name of the Allegany

which came to Pensacola and it docked at that particular pier and so they

named unofficially I believe, they named the dock the Allegany Dock. It is

now known as the Allegany Dock although I believe the Allegany is gone. I'm

going to make comment on a book called "Pirates to Pilots" and it was published

in 1958, at Pensacola for the Naval Air Station. Comments: the tug boat Allegan

the main pier at Pensacola is named for this tug boat which was brought from

the Great Lakes by the Navy and used during World War I as a. sea-going tug.

Previously, the pier was known as Proudfe Dock for the construction company

which built it. The Allegany was sunk on July 5, 1922, when she struck a

( ?ort propellor of the USS Orion while assisting her in berthing. It was just

about 7:00 when my boss Lt. Comm. Tucker called me on the phone and said,

Dec. 1974 NAS Allegany Page 2

"Forster, get down to the Allegany Dock right away the Allegany is sinking,

i J what you can." I managed to get down to the Allegany and get on board

they stretched a ladder so you could get on and off and we were still afloat

but moving in toward the beach. The propellers were turning and they had

a line on the bow and they were trying to pull us but it went over on it's

starboard side. It didn't sink all the way, just went down part way,but

enough to where we had to raise it. This was another job for the Bureau

of Construction and Repair and me being the Master Mechanic, that job feel

to me. Get it.up! There were no divers on the station that were regular

divers, they were'some sailors that had, or got paid when they did diving

but they were not regular divers but they would do the diving for us.

We did call ona' diving outfit in Pensacola by the name of Machetti(?).

This ole man Machetti had two sons working on the station and when he got

the job he had me let one of the sons help him. He had a small rig and .

it wouldn't take much to sink it. The sailors would go down to two at a

time and they would stay down an hour or two hours and then come up and

then another set of sailors would go down and in the meantime.everybody

around the deck would be waiting to see what the sailors were doing. It took

about three weeks to get equipment and materials necessary to raise this

Allegany but we did manage to get it up. I'm probably not suppose to say

anything about this, but I'm going to say it cause they can't do anything.

to me about it, during the time, the last night we were onboard this work

barge, the Mary Ann, the last night on it, about midnight we were all

working and were expecting this thing to come up about daylight, it was a

nice quiet night and I believe it was in July so the weather was clear,

and everything seemed to be going fine when it came time to put on the coffee

.hey had one of these great big copper coffee pots, that they had in the

Navy, and just about time it was time for the coffee somebody put about a

Dec. 1974 NAS Allegany Page 3

gallon of grain alcohol in it. We turned around and there was Capt. this

_,d Capt. that and they had to be the first ones to get in line to get the

courtesy of the first drink of what every it was we had. There were a lot

of white porcelain mugs all over the place for drinking and we all got in

line with the Captains first, drinks were offered to the Captains, each one

took it and when about a dozen men were in line there they all started to

drink at the same time and to my surprise the Captains drank and seemed to

enjoy it and they didn't comment other than "it was a good drink." I guess

they were so glad to see the tugs coming along as well as tih-- wr- that

they let them do most anything.- It was getting around daylight so I had

been on since early the morning before so it was about time I was going

home so the tug was tied up at the dock securely fastened and I went home.

I had this Albert Tucker, I think he was a Lt. Commander at the time, he

was the boss, he told me that he wanted all the men in my department that.

is the Bureau of Construction and Repair, or what is known as the Hull

Division, he wanted those men as soon as they worked a night, he wanted

them to take the next day off and rest up. He didn't want them to gather up

a lot of over-time that we couldn't afford to pay overtime. We had men that

were sitting around doing practically nothing in some of the shops. Now that

those were the orders I received and I carried out my orders. Every man in

my department that worked over-time took the time off and in the other

departments, in Steam Engineering, those fellows didn't take any time off,

they were union men and they figured they could handle it all right so they

held out for money. It came time for the boss to pay these men all the time,

they worked over-time and I was told to get up a list of all my men who worked

over-time and the fellows in Steam Engineering Division received their 50%

rer-time pay for working over-time, but my men received 50% for working any

over-time and they also had the time off. So we managed to ]eep-the men in the

Dec. 1974 NAS Allegany Page 4

Structural Division a little better-than the men in the other department.

- boss knew it and he approved of it. Now about these sailors that I said

went down under the tug as divers and spent hours down there, the only reason

they did that and there was nothing you could do about it, they only did that

because for diving in the Navy you get extra pay and these fellow were after

the extra pay and it didn't matter a damned to them if there were .a hundred

men on deck standing around doing nothing waiting to see what they were doing.

The Allegany was towed up to the Bruce Dry Dock and it was necessary for us

to put two plates on the starboard side and it took about two weeks to put

"these plates on that is new material. In addition to that of course the boat

had to be cleaned and painted all over. And that was about an additional

3 weeks work, that put the Allegany out of service for quite some time.

But it sure gave us a lot of experience in construction and repair work.

They did give us a special appropriation of $10,000.00 to do this job and

I think we were able to do it within the $10,000.00. Oh, I could talk all

night about the old Navy Yard and things that would happen but I'm going

to talk about something that happened during WW I. Now I don't remember just

when but we had a pigeon loft at the Naval Air Station, it came to life some

time during WW I, it was located just inside the northeastLcorner of the

high brick wall and they had good size cages for the pigeons to exercise in.

And if you are going to.have pigeons you naturally will have young pigeons

or squabs. In order to raise pigeons you have to get rid of the young. I

never did know just what happened to the excess pigeons but if I was in

charge I would soon find out what to do with them. I knew the man very well

who was in charge of this job he was a friend of mine, the man in charge was

Frank Lee, he was a United States Chief Petty Officer. He lived in Pensacola

practicallyy all his life and he died here about a year or so ago(ca.1973).

Everybody knew him and everybody liked him and they called him Red Lee.

Dec. 1974 NAS Allegany Page 5

The 8 16s and the F5L planes would go on navigation hops and when they

( nt they would take cages with these homing pigeons in them and of course

each of these homing pigeons would be marked with bands on their legs and

they would at sea let the pigeons go and the pigeons would fly back to this

fellow Red Lee and when they got back there he would make records of them

and put them back in the big cage. Late in the afternoon when WW I was

declared the Navy sent their 50 feet motor sailer boats loaded with armed

sailors to take over the German and Austrian merchant steamers that were

in the Pensacola Bay. There were about a half dozen boats more or less but

on one of these boats about the only real excitement that was one sailor

got trigger happy and shot a hole in the bottom of the motor sailer. The

bullet going through the floor which-was fastened to the frame and the

sailors had a lot of trouble getting to the hole in the bottom of the boat

to plug it up before the boat was about half full of water. I happened to

Know that because my organization was sent down the next morning to patch up

the boat. During WWV I the Marine Corp had a bull dog at the Naval Air Station

and the bull dog was friendly with everyone and I believe but I'm not sure,

but I believe the bull dog went to Germany and then came back and later died

in Pensacola. He was treated like a Marine hero and the Marines buried him

and took up a collection among everyone on the station and bought him a

monument and the monument was put up right down there near building 25 someplace<

I remember the.monument and I believe it was moved and put to some permanent

place on the Station and I would like to know just where it is as of today.

May, 1Yib

This is A. E. Fatemr, and I live at 421 Fou Station Road and this is August

the 15th, 1974.

This will be a talk about my coming to Pensacola. I filed an application in the

Brooklyn Navy Yard for a job as Pattern Maker, and while I was making out the neces-

sary form, I made a duplicate copy and sent it to the United States Aeronautical

Station at Pensacola, Florida. I always wanted to go to Florida.,

A few months later, or on the first of May, I received a call to go to work at

the Brooklyn Navy Yard at U4.24 per day. I was getting $4.80 per day where I was

working but it was a job shop and wage scale was higher. When I returned. home from

the Brooklyn Navy Yard that night, I thought I had the best job in the world. I had

a government job and in the mail was a call for me to come to Pensacols. I still

wanted to go to Florida but thought I had the best job I could get and the job at

Pensacola only paid $3.52 per day. That was second class as compared to $4.24 to

what I was getting at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. So, I sent them a.postcard and I am

going to read what I put on the postcard: "Dear Sir: Yours of April the 27th at

hand and a reply would say, that I cannot accept employment at anything less than

the maximum rate in force at your Station." Respectfully youw, Arthur E. Forester

815 East 155th Street, New York City."

And this is their answer: "United States Navy Aeronautical Station, Pensacola,

Florida. Officer of the Labor Board, May the 5th, 1916: Mr. Arthur E. Forester

815 East 155 St. Bronx, New York. Dear Sir: It is not customary to employ mechanics

at the maximum rate of "4.00 per day. If, after a two weeks trial, it is found you

cannot meet the requirements, it will be necessary to reduce your pay or discharge

you. You know your capabilities and the rating of a first-class mechanic, and if

you are sure you can hold your own, you will have no trouble to hold your rate. The

proposition from our point of view is to pay a man for what he does. If you accept

these terms, report for duty on or before Friday, May the 12th, 1916. Otherwise,

I will fill the position by someone else. Yours truly, Vernon L. Gossage, Recorder.

2- l:ay, 1916

Did you see what they said? I get a two weeks trial! I thought, with the

experience I have had, I would like to see the ran that could stick me at pattern

raking. I probably was a little conceited but I did decide to take the job, I

sent a telegram saying I -would not report Friday, MIay the 12th, but could report

Monday, sMay the 15th.

During the afternoon, I went to the Pennsylvania Railroad Station to get my ticket

I told the ticket agent I wanted a ticket to go to Pensacola by way of Jacksonville

because I wanted to make a "stop-over" to see my cousin, Harry Davison, who was living

in Jacksonville at that time. The ticket agent told me he couldn't route me by way

of Jacksonville, he couldjSiL.ime a ticket to Jacksonville and I would have to pick

up my own ticket at Jacksonville to go to Pensacola. My cousin lived in a small town

on the outskirts of Jacksonville and I had to take a streetcar to get there. Before

that day, in Jacksonville, when I got on the streetcar, I always sat in the back seat

of the car. I guess I did that so it would be easy to get off. But, when I got on

that streetcar in Jacksonville, the conductor of the streetcar pointed to a sigt. and

said, in a way, "hey you, get up in the front where you belong, don't you see that


sow, being I am in the South, I won't make any further mention of the sign.

I did meet my Cousin, Harry Davison, and his mother and father and that is the last

time I saw his mother and father but I had seen him since,

Earlier, I had mentioned that I lived with the Davison family. We lived in Harle

East New York and the Bronx, and in ftct I had lived longer with the Davison family

than I had ever lived with my own mother. I got on a day coach at Jacksonville and"

everything was O.K., except the train seemed to stop and go all night and now it was

daylight and morning. And the next stop was Live Oak aId we could stop long enough

to get some breakfast and the breakfast was a box of rolls and sausage and black

coffee and it only cost E quarter and now there may have been something else with

that but I don't remember. We had some more of ",top and go" of the train until

about 10:00 A. E,, when the train came to the L & N Railroad Station at Pensacola.

S1ay, 1916

I remember that slow ride over the ttrrcsal, with the sun shining on the water.

When I tot off the train, I looked around nd walked on over to Wri ht Street until

I got to Palafox. I could see down Palafox Street to the San Carlos Hotel Up to

then, I don't remember seeing an automobile or a horse and buggy on the streets, that

is, on Wright Street. It seemed to have been deserted; Now, also waking down

Falafox Street, things were just about the same.

When I passed the San Carlos Hotel, there vwere a few men reading newspapers.

The B & B Cafe was the first place I saw to eat, I stopped in there to have break-

fast. When I came out, I guess, after breakfast, I felt better. So I thought I

would look around. About the first thing to catch my eye were so many horse hitching

posts and only about two or three horse-drawn carriages on the street.

I walked South on Palafox Street until I reached a road that had railroad tracks

on it. I was told in the restaurant that I could get the Dummey Line that would take

me to the Navy Yard and the Dummey Line as a streetcar line that went to the Navy

Yard. It was about noon and still very few people.

I noticed the Police Station across the street and men behind the bars talking

to people on the street. I went into a small waiting room and Greek stand and stood

around and sat on a long bench waiting for the Dummey. When this Dummey finally

came, it was a summer or open car with the motorman up front on the platform and a

long bench running from side to side. I sat up on this bench and the motorman wanted

to make conversation and the first question he asked was, he wanted to know was,

where I was from and was I going to work down there? I believe this motorman's name

was Majors and years later, he was still .working for the Pensacola Electrical Co.,

not driving a street car but was in charge of a crew of men that went around town

trimming all the big tree branches away from the Company's wires and we became good

friends. When the streetcar got under way, the 6-flA started telling me about

the neighborhood that we were going through. That must have been some place at night.

Vay 1916

Now, as Tw kopt going, he told me about all the coal cars awaiting to go to the

coal tipple. Now all the people who lived 3loan the track were either fishermen,

longshoremen, or railroad people and that nobody went cold in the winter because there

was plenty of coal dropping off the cars when it was needed. The McLaughlin Railroad

was quite a sight. They had a few of the wood-burner type locomotives and they were

the first I have ever seen.

We passed an old home. He said belonged to an old family by the name of Runyon.

Also, he spoke about the Newport Co. & new company in Pensacola and they had that

row of smoke stacks and they were belching black smoke then. And this motorman con-

tinued with information about all of the_: places but being that I was a passenger

nM this street car often after my first trip, I learned to know-these places. Little

Bayou was next, that was Bayou Chico. To the left and some distance from the street-

car tracks, there was a sawmill, and I believe it was owned by some of the Blount famij

The pine timber for this mill was cut and floated from Perdido Bay into Brent's

Ditch. They would then make a raft of it and float it down to Bayou Chico, Now,

Brent's Ditch, that is a body of water you go over now just before you get to old

Gulf Beach and where the new High Rise bridge was Just completed. Now, going-on

further, there was an old barn-like place with porch extending right up to the street-

car station. It was quite a gathering place for both the Navy and local residences.

I believe it burned down years.ago.. This was a nice cool ride and quite a few promi-

nent families lived along the car line and they built stations and in somW instances

these stations were built to match some of the fine homes.

Pensacola Country Club was a Golf Club and they had quite a few acres of land

but they only had a small area of it in service and only a small Club House. It

was next, and it's quite a story nd I will tell about it later. I am4uszt_ aking-a

cor=eection-on_.thia I called it prties could rent this place

and the only way to get there was by a streetcar or walk. I guess you would say the

next stop on the streetcar line was the Big Bayou. Then we got there on this Sunday

fIay, 1916

May the 14, 1916, the white peoples' w iting room or station, had burned to the ground

"and the conductor of the street car said, "This station was here when I passed it

goint to to.wn but it burned up since.. There was a long board walk from this station

over a ditch and to a row of nice homes. There was about a dozen homes in this

general area. Later, I lived there at that the Big Bayou at what was known as the

Dorr House, a two story house built in 1904 and I am living in it at the present time.

This is r J9'7f

Now getting back to that streetcar: We're still on that streetcar going to the

Navy Yard, passing over a long trussle on a nice sunny day looking to the east and

west, watching the fish actually jumping and sailing out of the water, and what a

sight to behold. The )O"rP j4N told me the fishing was good here and in fact the

best in the world. The fish that we re jumping out of the water were mullett. I

never caught any mullet, but I have been eating fresh fried mullet and huh puppies

ever since. I have neve- lived in the South and I love them.

The streetcar stopped at L),A/ Station, just the other side of the long trussel.

When the Law's family got off the streetcar they got in a rowboat and had to row

about a quarter of a mile to their home on the other side. The next station was

Hobo station.

The conductor told me the next stop was the Navy Yard and he would probably see

me again on my way back to the city. Getting off the streetcar, I went into the

entrance to the Navy Yard and at the Guardhouse, there was an old man dressed in

kaiki. He was leaning back on a chair with the back touching the wall, with his

eyes shut.

Being that I had worked in the Brooklyn Navyyard a short time and saw the sharp

Marines on guard duty there, I had to come to Pensacola and see what I thought was

a Marine on duty, I thought, "What a Hell of a place". Later on, I learned who this

old man was. He was 6Q0;?'M _A4-ri aid he had a large family living on the Reser

ovation. He was a Civil Service Policeman and not a U. S. Marine. I walked south

to the last street before hitting the water. I turned east and two sailors, one

fa'yy, li3 6

one working under his-auto and the other sitting on a bench reading a paper. I

noticed that the buildings were all painted yellow and looking as though they were

painted 'arny years ago. The streets were paved with old broken building bricks. Thar

were sand spurs all over the place, long sticksor stems a foot or so long of each OiJ

and everything was dry and dusty.

I continued my walk east and then north and then west and there wasn't much to see

except a lot of old buildings. Noy to the entrance and past the old man who was still

sitting in his chair leaning against the wall, I walked over to the Dummey Station

and eventually the Streetcar or Dummey Line case and I got on it and rode to Banancas

for the ride and it's only a short distance to Barrancas and he spoke of a few places

in Pensacola. But, however, when I got back to Iensacola, I walked up Palafox Street

and when I got up to Garden Street, I turnedWS-T and walked about, I guess, a block

maybe 2 blocks and on the northwest corner was a small Greek Grocery Store by the

name of T *:.. I didn't know it at that tine but that was the fellow's name that run

the place. I went in there anyhow to see what they had and to get out of the hot

sun and maybe to get a cold drink. And while I was sitting in there, a fellow came

up to see me, talked to me awhile and he told me his name was Johnson. He was one

of the City Councilman of the City of PInsacola. I told him that I was at the Navy

Yard looking the place over. I expected to go to work there and he gave me, on a

piece of paper, the address of-somebody living in Uarrington.- I forget who it was,

and he says, "I advise you to go and see this lady, she's a good Catholic, and she:

would fix you right up, she would give you a good home, it's a good place to live.

C02 Dottles

There ',as a shipyard built down at what is known as Bayou Chico and they built

about 10 Liberty ships and then the shipyard was abandoned.

When it got around 1922 and 1923, the satsumas that were growing around Pensacola

at that time were growing very fast and there was quite a few of them, or in other

words, you could buy a bushel of satsumas for 750. So they decided to have a satsuma

festival and this festival was held in 1922 and also in 1923 down at what was known

as the Pensacola Shipyard. That was when they made these Liberty ships during World

War I.

I was employed at the Naval Air Station as Master Mechanic and my boss called me

to the office and he said we had to get .Ct/Q-f--i ..L*. torpedo plane down

to the shipyard, And this was in 1923 and he wanted it down there at the opening of

the Fair and at the end of the Fair he wanted me to go down there and get it.

Barrancas Avenue was still a dirt road from the Navy Yard bridge down to the

Halfway House and the weather was pretty rainy and I had two days in which to get

this plane set up for the opening of the Fair. The wings were taken off the plane

and the pontoons were taken off and the plane itself with the tail surfaces on, and

the motor in it it was a Liberty motor.- it was set up on

this truck and I had a crane, one of the cranes that's used to carrying engines around

in the Engineering Department to go with us in case we had any trouble with the engine,

maybe turning over or getting on its side on the way over there. This crane happened

to have hard rubber tires on it and the hard rubber slick tires would not o4VlDor they

were of no use in. the mud, so what we had to do was to tie this crane to the truck /

and also pull the crane while we were pulling the airplane.

We started this Job early in the morning and it was getting pretty late in the

afternoon and by the time we reached the fairgrounds, the keeper there at the gate,

wanted to know what we were coming in so late for. We couldn't bring that in tonight,

we would have to leave it outside and we had an argument. But, anyhow, I managed to

get in and we brought the airplane inside.

C02 Bottles
Now the handling truck and the two pontoons for this plane came down on another

truck, and it passed us on the way and it was there and the men had it in position

for us to set the plane on when we reached there. The trucks were in place, tha pontcx

were in place, and the struts and all we had to do was to set the airplane on to

these struts and tighten them down and put the wires on and then we covered up the, !

motor and parts for the night. W-' (J35 o -f-i1 C RP,7- #L- -7COs<' ,-l

Now, the next morning, I had a handpicked group of men, about six or eight of

them and they all knew a J;ii: planes and it didn't take too long to get this plane

in condition, in a sense, ready to fly.

Now, the torpedo, that torpedo that we had, was one of these wooden torpedoes

that we had M4/9ein the shop, a year or so earlier. And we took it back into the

shop and tried to clean it up a little bit. We put it back into the lathe and smoother

it up and gave it a coat of black paint and we got it down in place and we were

finished before dark and befos the Fair was to start the next morning, which was,

I believe, a Saturday morning.

I forgot to say, we didn't bring the wings down until the next morning and during

the next morning, a" - and wings got down at the Fair, just a few men there,

they were able to put the Vsings on in a very short time. And then, as far as we

were concerned, the plane was ready to fly, but, of course, it couldn't fly from

where it was. We had to build a ladder affair so that you could go up and see inside

of the fuselage and then go down the back end of it. Now it wae a rush Job to get

this thing up and in place for the Fair. They gave us two days to do that and it

wasn't really enough time. They furnished enlisted men to guide the people around

the plane and take care of the plane. Te had nothing to do with that after we got

the plane assembled.

Now, the Fair was held and t is was early Monday morning. Just as I got in,

I got in and I was told to "How about getting that plane out of that shipyard just

as quick as you can." Theyre complaining about the rool. it.' s taking up and they

C02 Bottles

need the space, so get down there and get it out just as quick as you can, Of course,

I got .out as cuick as I can. We managed to get it all out of the place, by noon-

time. .The day was a nice day and we could work. Of course, we had the pieces

out on the street and we had to get them home, that is, back to the Navy yard just

as soon as we could. We had to get three trucks and between the three trucks we

were able to get all the material down to the station by about noon and then it came

time to set the plane up. They wanted to use it and I don't know what they wanted

to use it for, probably they were going to use it to shoot some of these torpedoes

with, these blank wooden torpedoes.

I don't know, but we set the plane up and had it ready to go in a day or so

and it was turned over to the squadron and we'll call that the OStory about the

Satsuma Festival that they had in Pensacola in December, 1923."

-Being we're talking about these torpedo planes, these are "T Torpedo planes.

IPm going to talk a little about, I am not sure of the date, I don't know whether

it was before 1923 or after 1923, but there was a fellow I knew pretty well. We

were pretty good friends. His rame was George L. McMullen, United States Navy, and I

believe he was a, I am not sure, but I think he was a Chief. But he married a Pen-

sacola girl and he died just a few years ago. He died on the 2nd of September, 1959.

He was flying one of these R6L torpedo planes with the torpedo on it. That is, it

was one of these wooden blank torpedoes made out of about 18" in diameter and about

probably 16 or 18 feet long, We made them in the shop to take the-place of a real

torpedo. \ he was flying this plane and it was right down in front of Hanger 71

and he passed there about goof high and he dropped the torpedo and the torpedo seemed

to set all right and then he made another t3ip, cut the distance down, maybe about,

he was probably about 20 ft. high end he made that trip a nd he had no trouble and

then he tried it the third time, I remember, at least three times. And the third

time, he was pretty close down to the water probably 10 ft. above the water,

he was too close to the water.

C02 Bottles

And when he let the torpedo go, the plane just stood riLht up on its nose. There

was, in other words, the splash in the water, hit the tail, and threw the tail straight

up in the air and the engine straight down in the water and he just swam out of the

plane and he wasn't hurt, nothing the matter with him. He managed, I think he got to

shore without any assistance and I remember that. But there was nothing we could do

to the plane, it was a complete loss. I think if you could look up the records, you

could find that he had another lucky break. He was in a HS2 plane, flying toward the

station and it was pretty foggy and instead of flying over the station or in front

of the station, he flew over the tops of the trees on the point between the Big Bayou

and the station and the plane stayed up there and he had to climb down from the plane

and I don't know how many other people were in the plane with him at the time, but

I know he was in it. I don't remember the date, but it was during or right after

the war.

Some ren came down here from Washington with a winch and some cameras and a lot

of paper work to make sketches, etc., and they hooked this job on the, and I think it

was an H16. It might have been an,:ffzl :l flans, I am not sure, and this winch

had a cable on it and on the end of the cable they put a real torpedo. The torpedo

was rolled up there tight to the fuselage of the hull of the plane and the plane took

off and was making a trip around the base, and was making one complete trip. And

on making the second trip, they decided they was going to drop this torpedo to see

just what would happen and the torpedo came down, oh about half way, or probably a

thousand feet or so and the plane kept going and then the pane started rocking, and

it was a regular seesaw. The plane was, they expected the plans to crash any minute

when somebody on board who happened to have a large pair of wirecutters, just came

down tight on the wire cutters and let the torpedo go. So the torpedo came down and

splashed out in the gulf someplace. We thought it splashed, it dropped over on Ft.

Pickens, but it didn't, it splashed this side of Pickens and that was the last of

that. They took a lot of pictures but I had not seen any pictures of that particular

experiment. When I said they dropped the torpedo, I didn't mean that they actually

C02 Bottles

dropped it so that it would go in the water. They just let it unreel off this

winch that they had and it went down so far and they were holding it right at that

particular spot. The idea was to, if necessary, they could reel it up again, but

they didn't get a chance to reel it up.

On May the 15th, 1916, that was the day I went to the Naval Air Station. Not only

me coming to the Naval Air Station, as an event, but they also had other things that

happened on that day and I'll talk about them.

"While I was talking to the boss, somebody came to the boss and said, "Mr. Lake,"

we're finished with those toilets down there and you can use them down there now,

the water is turned on." that was the first time they had toilets in Building

One, as far as I know. I don't know where the toilets were before that time. Of

course, I wasn't there and I didn't look for them. At the same time, they put the

toilets on, they also put in a system of 2" galvanized pipe for fire protection in

the building that was 200 ft. long, more or less. They had about three of these

stand pipes on each side of the floor upstairs and also downstairs,

SThe hose that was used on these fire extinguishers, was rubber

inside and a cloth cover outside and it made a very good hose also. The end, the

nozzle came to a point and on the end of it was a, probably 3/4", maybe a j" hole

for the weter to come out. That would give a pretty good pressure.

Some time, and it was during the war, we were having a test of the fire hose

and one of the fire hose nozzles didn't give any water. Of course, we didn't know

why, but we had an idea. We turned the water off and took the hose apart and took

the nozzle off And in the nozzle was a b*L- 1 eRfI HN

NKc, a thing like that happening could not go on unnoticed. I went up and

told my boss about it and he said we'll have people check the hose all over the

buildings every so often ind it will be after working honrs and you won't know when

it is, and we don't expect to find anymore of those ball bearings.

C02 Bottles
i.e didn't want to say anything about it because if you let people know that a

ballbearing will stop a hose, there may be more hose lines stopped up. We don't want

that to happen, we never had any trouble with ballbearing stopping ut water lines.

But, here is something that happened at a later time: It was a Saturday morning.

The Fire Department's officer in charge came up and he said, want all the nozzles

turned on and see how much pressure we had. Well, that was all right, that was fine.

However, we had a dry spell and I doubt if you could find a glass of water any place

around the buildings, in the buildings, or out of the buildings. And as far as the

rats were concerned, I think these rats were just about, well, they wasn't getting

any water, they were about dired up.

Well, we had this spraying of hose. We sprayed all the hose lines and being

Saturday, we couldn't let them lay out there to dry because we had to close the

building. We quit at noontime and nobody gave it a thought so we just rolled up

the hose, that is, we placed the hose in the racks the way they belonged. Now,

they were in, you put it in and it hung down and you put a little more in and they

would hang down and it was that kind of a rack, not a reel but a rack. And as far

as we were concerned, why we made the test on Saturday and put the hose away and the

next time we were ready to use the hose, every line of hose in the building was leaking

When we left that Saturday morning with all that was wet, and the rats not getting

any water to drink, they just got up on top of that hose and they ate a straight

line through the hose all the way. They ate all the top of the hose that was wet

in order to get something moist. There wasn't a good line of hose in the building

and we had no protection until we could get some other hose. Oh, we had other fire

protection, we had what was known as pyreens all over the place. Pyreens areg'(a5S

containers about probably about 2 or 2-" in diameter, and about a foot long with a

handle on it so you can pump the pyreen liquid to the fire and when the pyreen liquid

goes to the fire, it makes a very black smoke and smothers out the fire or supposedly

does. There was about 1/2 dozen of those pyreens on the second floor of Building 1

and probably a few of them downstairs also on Building 1.

C02 Bottles

'No? the war was on and this is a complete story in itself and I'll start with

it. The sailors were issued uniforms. All the sailors had to have their names on

the uniforms and it had to be in white. Now, I don't know what the Navy did about

helping the sailors get their information on the uniforms, but there was a group of

sailors, some of the old timers that knew the Navy pretty well went around and stole,

cut out of the floors, linoleum that was on the floors, taking care of some of the

floors of some of the rooms and they would take it, glue it to the wood and then go

to the circular saw and rip it up in about 3/4 strips with the lineoleum on one side

and then they would take orders from the other enlisted men and cut with a knife the

initials of their names and they got anywhere from a quarter to fifty cents, depend-

ing upon how many letters and how long the piece of material was. Now the sailor

would get his stencil and held manage to find some white paint around someplace and

he'd put the white paint on the stencil and then put the stencil on his clothes.

Some of these sailors were not very good at doing anything and they would get this

paint all over their clothes and so they needed something to take this paint off

the clothes. So somebody came up with the bright idea that pyrena was something that

was sold under a certain trade name for cleaning clothes and you could buy it. So

we started loosing pyrenes off the walls. They would take the pyrenes, empty it and

then fill it up with water and then put it back and about practically about all the

pyrenes we had on the second floor got filled with water and was put back in place.

When it became generally known that this pyreen liquid was being used for a cleaning

agent, the squadrons were having their troubles also with sailors for stealing these

pyrenes. off airplanes. It got down to where sometimes the airplanes couldn't fly

because they were not equipped with a fire fighting equipment, these pyrenes. It

got so bad at times that I had to put three men down in the erecting shop just for

the purpose of maintaining the pyrenes that we had on the station, that is,

we had to take care of all of them. That was for the Public T.orks Department, the

Supplies Department, and all the office buildings. That was what we had as fire

protection in the old days, was pyrene. They were 3-" in diameter, about a foot long

with a little pump handle on it and that was what was used to protect the station

C02 Bottles

-that is, they would take care of all of the pyrenes except those on airplanes.

Wood came in and some offices had been smothered because they were in a room

where they had a fire and they put the fire out with these pyrenes and it seems that

the pyrene liquid when it hits the fire, it will probably put out the fire, but it

puts out a very poisoneous smoke. I don't know just when we received these 15 lb.

C02 bottles that hung on the wall in the shops and they had something like that in

the 002 bottles that also went into the airplanes. These C02 bottles were fine in

putting out the fires, it could do a good job of it but we didn't have much fire in

the shops and most of the fire was on the airplanes but when we needed one in the

shop, it did a good job. We set up equipment to fill up these 15 lb. 002 bottles

and we were some time before we had to do much filling of 002 bottles and then came

on summer time and the transportation, that is when they had these speed boats down

in the beach, that is in the wet basin. All those sea sleds that would go out and

kit(0%, in the bay and I think there was about five or six of them vere out every

day anadEfCA ol-! would have plenty of C02's on board. They took them out because

they were every once in a while having small fires on those boats. Occasionally on

real hot days, probable the boats would come in with the C02 bottles empty and we did

inquire around to see what happened and they would say, Oh well, the engine that we

had to put it on the engine and we had to use it. Don't ask me any questions, we can'

tell you that we needed it.

But let me tell you just what happened. People in town used to row out to these

boats that were anchored and they'd bring them beer and then maybe bring a 1/2 dozen

or a dozen bottles of beer and leave it with the crew. I don't know how the crew

paid for them but I know that they got the beer and what happened, the crew used to

take the bottle of beer or bottles of beer and put it in a bucket or a box or something

and just crack the valve on the C02 bottle and just let it cool off that beer so that

it would be nice and cool when they were ready to drink it. Of course, they never

C02 Bottles

expected to get caught or probably don't care very much whether they got caught but

they had this idea of getting beer cooled with C02. It became mighty expensive and it

was mighty dangerous for the crew because they would be without C02 protection sometin

on their way back home with the boats. And, of course, they also needed the C02's

they had on board for the oh may be in case of an airplane that was on fire and they

would have to go to the aid of it. Now, that was the condition that existed down at

the wet basin. Now, .Im-not saying that everybody used the C02 to cool the beer,

but I will say that it was used for that purpose.

I am going to tell you a story. -There was an officer assigned to the wet basin.

Now I don't know how long the officer had been around on the station or how much he

knew about these fellows using the C02's for cooling beer or if he knew it. But,

he was in charge and when it came around to, I think it must have been a Friday

morning for inspection, he had all his crew take every C02 out of every boat that he

had and there must have been probably as many as oh 15 or 20 bottles, these 15 lb.

bottles in a row, withfthe sailors standing along side of them. And he got a hold of

the first fellow and he says, "Turn on that C02, I want to find out if there is any

gas in it." The fellow says, "oh, no, no, you don't do that, he says that if you do,

that, you will break a seal and once you break the seal, you canrt tighten it up

again. You have to refill it." He says, "I am giving you an order, do it." The fel-

low laughed, I knew what he was doing and he just turned on the valve and he shot

out a nice big spray of C02. The officer seemed to be satisfied and he said to the

second man, he said, "You do the same thing," He said, "do that." And the sailor said

"I do that, I will waste the C02 in the bottle. You can't do that, you break a seal

and you loose the C02 that is in the bottle. And the officer says, "I am the officer

in charge." And I don't know just exactly what he said, but he gave a talk and the

fellow says, "All right, if that is what you want. Here it goes." And he let the

C02 go. Idon't know how many bottles were discharged that day, but not all of them.

The officer was stopped before he went mubh further. Now this line of sailors with

the C02 bottles was right down t FPQO -T i of the 0 & R officers office. And I

C02 Bottles

believe, I don't know, I am sure, but I believe somebody- called the 0 & R officer's

office and let them know what was going on and just a few minutes some officer came

down and stopped that officer and had him dismiss the rest of the sailors, Now all

sailors that had the empty C02 bottles had to bring them over to the shop to have

them refilled. And, of course, they were refilled, i.6w, way down on the end last two

men on the end, they had empty 002 bottles. If this officer had started at the

other way and went west instead of going east making his inspection, he probably

would have caught at least two or probably more empty 002 bottles. But it was the

shop's job to fill them all. So they were filled and we don't have any comment as

to how they get empty. We just fill them when they come to us. Of course, they

are what they call 002 bottles and they weigh 15 Ibs. more when'they are full than

when they are empty. So the officer didn't have to turn on the valve, all he had to

do was lift the 002 and he could have found out if the 002 was empty or full. Now

the station got a hold of a brand new fire engine and it was the first engine that

had 002 bottles on it. There was big bottles on the side. One on each side, and I

think it happened to be when we were just having our regular Annual Fair. In other

words, every year, we had a Fair on the Station.

In order to have some realistic ammunition fire works or whatever you may want

to call it, there was a small shack built at the lower end of the landing field. It

was built out of scrap lumber, lumber that was picked up by, I believe, off the beach

and out of the scrap pile and it wasn't worth anything. It was just a small building.

They took two airplanes and they had the airplanes drop some dummy bombs on this

building and when the bombs hit the building, the building blew up. Now the way the

building blew up, there was a man off in the distance and they had some electrical

equipment and dynamite bomb or cap or something like that in'this little house and

he set the fire or the explosion. We thought it was pretty spectacular. Everybody

seemed to clap and think it was all right and later on all of this wood that was

used on this building was blazing. It made quite a big bonfire over there. It

couldn't uranything, it couldn't burn the white sand, it could have burned itself

002 Bottles

out but the officer in charge, having authority like officers do have, he gave the

orders to go down and put that fire out sothis brand new fire engine with the two

C02's tanks on it wenh down there and emptied the two sealed, two tanks on that bonfire

that would have been out by itself in an hour. And when they came back, the officer

wanted to know why they used the C02 and they, the sailors, I guess, they looked at

each other but we were a week getting anymore C02 for that fire engine.

When we bought the machine, there were no spare tanks bought and we didn't have

enough C02 on the station to fill even one of those tanks. So the tanks were empty,

for I guess, maybe a week or two weeks or more. I forgot to say when I came to Pan-

sacola, on the corner down there at the Naval Air Station where the post office is

now, they had a small tower where they hung a hose when it got wet and a very small

fire engine that I think was manually operated, and I don't think they had a horse

to-pull it. I never it in operation, it was torn down shortly after I got there.

I'm going back to 002 bottles again. This is another interesting story. I don't

remember the year, but it's been twenty, its been 30 years ago more or less when we

put C02 bottles on airplanes and they small. I think they called them two pound

ers, I am sure, but they were small and they were put on the airplane and-put in such

- Tpositl-on that they would put out a fire in the carburetor if it started. We would

overhaul the plane, that was just part of the equipment that went on the plane, and

the plane would be put in line to be taken and flown at a-later date. Well, it came

around to a Saturday and Sunday. The plane looked all right and Monday morning, when

we got looking at the planes, most of these little C02 bottles were gone. Spear

fishing was just coming in and everybody wanted to get a hold of these little tanks

so they could use them for spear fishing. I think they used the smaller tanks first

and then'later on, some of them took larger tanks but we lost quite a few.

I am going to read a few letters here that will actually let us know when we

changed from the" Hfili Division to the A & R Division, United States Navy Air Station,

Pensacola, Florida.

Ljj C02 Dottles
Haul Division, 22nd of Mlarch, 1919. Memorandum to Heads of Department: It

'is requested that all official papers intended for the signature of the Construction

Officer be prepared as follows: Lt. Con-mander CC, U. S. Navy: This memorandum is

issued in lieu of memorandum 72 of March the 8th, 1919 in the temporary absence of

a Construction Officer.

Now, I am going to read that reference they make: "The 8th of March, 1919. The

signature of Lt. A. Tucker CC U. S. Navy will be recognized on official paper from the

Haul Division and during the temporary absence of the Construction Officer until

further notice. It is requested that all paper intended for the signature of the

Construction Officer be prepared as follows: "Lt. Construction Corp., U. S. Navy,

Acting Construction Officer. Signed by the E. N. Pace Construction Officer". Now

that was for Lt. Tucker and it was for the Haul Division.- Now, remember, March the

-8th, 1919.:

Now, this is November the 28th, 1919. memorandum to the heads of All Departments:

Beginning December the< lst, 1919, Lt. R. H. Neville Construction Corp, U. S. Navy

"will- b -the- c ctiom, will be the structural office in accordance with the new

organization recently put into effect at this station. Lt. A. Tucker, CC U. S. Navy

will be the assembly and repair office and all correspondence and reference to the

air craft and boats on this station will be referred to him for action. In the future

it is directed that no correspondence is to be addressed to the Construction Officer

as that position has been done awy with under the new organization in the absence of

the Assembly and Repair Officer. His duties are so open, the next senior officer in

the departments and that is signed by R. W. Dandadice, and" it is dated 28th of Novem-

ber, 1919, to take effect December the 1st, 1919, or in other words, we had the & & R

Department started 1Dcember 12, 1919. I said awhile ago that we' had a Fair here at

'one time. Well it was either a fair or a carnival and it was for the Navy Relief,

and we used to have those eyc-fi and this Lt. Tucker, he washere about pretty

close to 10 years and he used to take a very active part in these carnivals.

C02 Eottles

I'm going to tell you a little story: A couple of sailors walking down on the

beach ran across a Pelican that had its throat cut. There was a cut in its throat

or neck or whateveryou would call it, about a foot long. Somebody slashed it or

it got slashed someway. How, I don't know, but it was on the beach almost dying

for the want of something to eat. It couldn't eat because it couldn't get anything

past that break in the throat. The sailors brought it up and put it on the Mary Ann

and they started getting fish out of the Bay and they would feed the fish to the Peli-

can by way of this hole in the side of the neck. They did that until the Pelican

got pretty strong but he still had this big slash on his neck so they got a hold

of one of the sailmakers, I think they called him $SAfj t dZand he went down

there with a sailmakers needle and some sail twine and he sewed up this long gash,

like I say, it was about 10 to 12 inches long. He sewed it up and made a good job

of it and for a long time the men, sailors, used to catch fish and feed the fish to

the pelican and there was one thing we found out about the pelican, he would only

eat the fish head first. He wanted the whole fish, and it was a mullet, He wanted

the whole fish and he wanted it head first. He didn't take it by the tail. Later

on they'd get down to where they throw the fish at him and he would catch the fish,

throw it up in the air, and then let it come down head first and then he would swallow

it. Well, that was fine.

Along come this Tucker's Carnival. Tucker wanted a show. Somebody suggested that

they put the Pelican on exhibition and put him on as a Juggling pelican.. So we let

the pelican sit around awhile, get hungry, and then put him on the stage and started

throwing these mullet at him. Then.throw the mullet at the pelican's tail first and

he would grab them by the tail and then throw them in the air then they would come

down, head first, and they'd go ahead and slide right down. He'd do that about

a half dozen times until he got enough mullet and then he stopped and that was the

show for the pelican. And the pelican stayed around the Bayou around the Naval Air

Station for a few years and when the pelicans got scarce in the neighborhood, why

he being a pelican, he got scarce too. I guess he died like the rest of them.

C02 Bottles

:There was gambling devices on the station, that is, the kind of gambling devices

that you use at these carnivals. So every year when we would have a carnival, we

would send to town to one of the Churches and borrow the carnival equipment that

they had there. All that gambling devices, all that stuff, and it would always have

to be repaired before we could use it and when we would send it back, it was in pretty

good shape and so they did not loose anything by letting us use their gambling de-


But at one of these carnivals, they had a raffle and the raffle was for the first

prizes, a Packard automobile and the second prize was a radio, and I was fortunate

enough to win the radio and I brought it homes with me. And I had it for about ten

years and it was a pretty good set.

I did say earlier that we could buy a bushel of satsumas for 75s. Well, I mean

just-that. After 1923 or 24, we had some very hard freezes, and one year, it just

about killed nearly, nearly killed everything we had in the line of citrus and the

second year, after the second year, there just wasn't any citrus in this part of the

country. You couldn't get any, and I think that the people have given up on having

citrus trees in the yard. We had-some citrus trees in the yard and a lemon tree,

and a grapefruit tree, and a Kumquat tree. We were sitting pretty good with citrus

fruit in the yard but this cold weather, we just lost all of it.

Well, it looks like I might have left the Navy Yard and went toward, homo, and while

I'm here, I might as well tell you about 1935, somewheres along in there. There was

a law passed where you couldn't have the cows and cattle running wild in the community.

Now, before that, if you owned a cow, there was no way of getting you caught in it

in case the cow did some damage to your property. You had to have a fence high

enough and strong enough and a cattle guard -big enough to keep the cows from coming.

in. If the cows came into the yard, it was ycur hard luck. Since that time, I started

raising Camellias and Azeleas and I have a yard full of them. Camellias and Azaleas

are all over the place and I have given away hundreds of them over the years and I

have gotten a lot of pleasure out of working in the yard with my Camellias and


) Federal Credi

,This was during the war when I worked at the Naval Air Station and that was in

May, 1941. I was recommended by the Commanding Officer to the Governor of the State

of Florida, who in turn, passed the information on down to the Superintendent of Edu-

cation, Collin English. But on May the first, I received a letter from him. That is

Ccllin English, and it reads as follows: "It's May the 24th, from the State of Flo-

rida, Department of Education, Tallahassee. Arthur E. Forster, Route 1, Pou Statio:

Pensacola, Florida. Dear Mr. Fo ster: I have selected you as a representative of

Labor to serve on the State Advisory Committee for National Defense Training in Flori<

This is an important committee, and in view of the serious conditions which confront

us today, I feel that we need you to assist us in formulating plans for our defense

training program and in solving the many problems which arise. The following are sonm

of the specific areas in which they wish our assistance now. Determination of occupa-

tions for which training may be offered in the state; determination of numbers to be

trained; organization of advisory committees; development and approval, of course,

recommendations regarding general policies; approval, of course, fbr localities where

it would not be possible to organize and use representative local advisory committees

since as there are present pressing issues would be considered, I would appreciate

your arranging to attend a meeting at my office in Tallahassee next Wednesday, May

the 28th, 10:00 o'clock. Please let me know by telegraph, collect, whether or not.

you can be present.

I became a member of this committee and was present at practically every monthly

meeting and the cities that I went to where the State Capitol at Tallahassee, went to

St. Petersburh, went to St. Augustine, Tampe, and around back to Pensacola, Miami,

Jacksonville, West Pain Beach, Lakeland, Daytona Beach, and then back to Tallahassee.

And I went monthly to these meetings and gave a lot of time and worked for them until

about September, 1942, when I had to put all my time to my Job at the Naval Station

due to the war. I believe I was recommended to the Governor by the Commandant be-

cause of my work with the local school.

The Escambia School'Board had a local vocational teacher by the name of Charles

L. Holley. And from time to time, Mr. Holley would get in touch with the shops and

Trade Schools

find out what the needs of the shops were and put on training programs for the

shops and ha was, he and the school was a big help to the jobs. Later on, I'll

let you know what 'r. Holly had to do with the apprentice training program at the

station but it was before the war. .,, $..,

What we are getting back to, a Foremen's Conference that we had at the tKrry.

Repair Department, U. S. Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, March the 7th, 1940.

Now, I'm going to read the introduction, etc., of the letter by Charles L. Holley,

Director, Trade and Industrial Education, Pensacola, Florida. Following a discussion

with the master mechanic of the structural division, relative to foremanship training,

a meeting of the supervisors of the Naval .ir Station was held in which the possibi-

lity of conducting a conference, the functions and the advantages of a conference

study of the problems were discussed. No decision was made at this meeting although

the reaction of this group was favorable, In order to give to our supervisors time to

discuss the matter further and make their decision.

On March the 14, 1940 twenty-five supervisors, including quartermen, leadingmen,

and the progressmen, and an apprentice coordinator met at that trade school with the

local director of trade education who will be referred to hereafter as the leader

to begin their conference. Appreciation is expressed to Mr. Forster, Master Mechanic,

for advising the leader regarding the work of the supervisor. Much of the success

of the conference is attributed to his help. And now this is the purpose, the pur'

pose of the conference was to make an analytical study of the work of the supervisor

of the ioiyJls and repair department to assist the station by helping each super-

visor by becoming fully cognizant of his duties and responsibilities to reveal any

difficulties in the supervisors work to disclose possible training needs at our first


The leader, before beginning the work of the conference introduced Mr. Forster,

Master "echanic of the Structural Division, who talked briefly about the need of the

supervisors to make a detailed analysis of their duties, responsibilities and diffi-

culties who urged all of the men to participate freely in the discussions in order

that each one night benefit from the experience of the entire group.

Trade School

We had quite a few meetings and through Mr. Holley we were able to improve the status

of a lot of our supervisors, probably myself.

I want to go on further because there is some more. In view of the fact that

we have such hard times, so much unemployment at the present time, I have a letter

here that it might be a good idea to read it and let's hear what other people had

when we had hard times.
This is a report of the president's local committee of unemployment relief.

Now, this was President Hoover's Committee. Last November, in accordance with the

national policy of the community taking more care of its own unemployment relief the

President of the U. S. appointed a committee on Unemployment Relief at Pensacola.

This committee, after a survey, determined that local relief was necessary if extreme

suffering was to be avoided. Accordingly, arrangements were made whereby funds for

this purpose could be subscribed by the public through the Community Chest. The

committee asked for enough money to carry the work through the winter months hoping

that by spring the situation would be sufficiently relieved so that the work could

stop. The committee made arrangements with the city under which each man as the

committee might designate would be given work in the parks, on the streets, etc.

The wages of these men were to be paid from the funds of the committee. No man was,

allowed to work more than four days in succession and wages were to be set at 20.

per hour. This made the maximum earnings for any one man $6.40 per week. No part

of the money subscribed was used for anything other than to pay the wages of these

men. The committee desiring that the public be informed as to status of the situa-

tion and given herewith, given a condensed statement of its expenditures from Decembei

8, 1931 to March 1, 1932 due to the large number of deserving applicants and limited

funds available they have averaged less than $25 each for the entire period since

December 8. The workers had been limited to residents who were married and had chil-

dren dependent on them for support and who had absolutely no other means of earning

sufficiently to provide the necessities for their families.

Trade School
The committee in presenting thief situation to the public wishes to call attention

*to the fact that there has been no appreciable increase in employment since last Fall,

and that there would be a dire necessity for further relief along these lines when

the funds of the committee had been exhausted. It is estimated that the committee

has sufficient funds yet to come from subscriptions to carry the work on until approxi-

mately March the 20th, and this letter is signed, P'nsacola, Florida, March the 4th,

1932. And let me read over the Relief Coammittee: "Max Bear, F. M. Blount, W. B.
tL, u -no P1,
Ferris, A. E. Forster, H. A. E. R. Alone, John Massey, C. A. Mays, J. H.

Sherrill, G. P. Wentworth, C. A. Wise, and J. H. McCormick. Now that would be the

Relief Committee that was appointed by President Hoover in 1931 to take care of the

relief work in Pensacola during that depression.

I have some correspondence here and it is association to reduce the cost of

government, to further the interest of no individual, candidate, class, party, or

locality. Pensacola, Florida, April the 29th, 1933. Here is the Board of Directors:

J. H. Sherrill, President; -. E. Forster, J. H. McCormick, John Massey, R. V. Mosely,

J. G. Pace, Dr. J. S. Tuberville, t. H. Watson, Vice Fresidents; W. 1B.

Treasurer, and F. M. Blount, Secretary. It looked like quite a pretty good organization

and a pretty strong organization. A lot of the citizens and the politicians were

contacted baB-of-no- it was hard to give it up. We couldn't do anything with the

organization. I guess the citizens and politicians were too closely knitted together

to be able to do anything in that respect.

P i good many years ago we had no shop committee or ary grievance committees
or anything like that and even when somebody would take sick or would be in need of

some financial assistance we would take up a collection in the shop and help them

out as best we could. That condition went on for quite a long time and we set up a

small banking arrangement in the shop strictly unofficial, legal, but we had it and

then the first thing I knew, in came this federal credit union, and if we wanted any

kind of a C jU.ECsN.t agency at all, it had to be through this Federal Credit Union.

We started this Federal Credit Union in 1936. I took an active part in it and I guess

because I was the highest ranking civilian employee in the department and when it came

Trade Schoc

time to put out the books, the receipt books, I got book #1. Now, this is 1972, on

February 11. They took a picture showing the fellow signing by the name of Robert C.

Simons and he became Pan Ams 50,000th member, 50,000 and we had our picture taken

with the manager of the organization. I still have my book #1, but I don't have the

most money in the world. I have been retired almost 20 years and I guess I am just

holding on to the book for sentimental reasons, probably with a few dollars in the


I am looking over a book with a lot of pictures in it and I ran across one

picture that shows me milking a cow. Now, can you imagine me, from New York City,

down here about 4 years, and milking a cow for that is just exactly what I was

doing in this picture. Now let me tell you about it.

I was married, I married Irma Pou and (Frank Pou) when there was need for addi-

tional milk in the family, that is when I had Frank a son. Frank Pou bought a cow,

and it was a fine cow, for he paid $100 for it. It was just about a good cow as you

could get, it was a Guernsey, very gentle, gave lots of milk. It's calf came in

fresh when I got it and I used to feed NR, good, didn't let )6\run around with the

other cows. I generally brushedHEQ down good and clean and we were getting good

and plenty of milk. Well, Irma ran up to see the doctor, this is Dr. Fellows, and

in the conversation with Dr. Fellows, she says, oh, we have a cow. 1y daddy bought

me a cow, so we have a cow now. It's giving us a lot of milk, and Dr. Fellows almost

had a fit. He said, "Oh, you can't just have one cow and feed a child from the milk

of one cow, you have to have a herd of cows." And he went on further, saying that

if you had one cow and the milk would not be just right, it would affect the child

and we didn't want anything to affect the child because it was the only child we had

and we wanted to take good care of him, so we had to get rid of the cow. It was a

whole lot easier to get rid of this one cow than it was to buy a herd of cows to feed

this one child milk.

C. L. Holley was in charge of the Pensacola Trade School for a good many years,

and it was some years ago he helped us set up an apprentice program for the Naval

Air Station and during the depression in the 30's, it got down to where the labor

Trade School

unions did not want us to have an apprentice program anymore, so they contacted

Eashington and the Trade School was wiped off. Ie had no more Trade School from

then on until later on.

Mr. Holley got started again, I think it was with the Kiwanis Club. We managed

to get the Trade School started again and it has been a good Trade School. It's

still operating. In fact, my son was one of the candidates from the Trade School or

the graduates, in fact, the senior civilian at the Naval Air Station. Cobb is

a product of that Trade School.

During the war, this Mr. Holley was called into the Navy and Lt. Holley was in

charge of all the traiinng at the Naval Air Station for quite some time until he

was needed in Washington and he was sent there to take charge of, I believe, the

training program of the Navy. I don't mean the training of aviators, I mean the

training of the civilian employees at all the Naval Air Bases.

Some years ago, we had a Republican Governor by the name of Governor Claude Kirk,

end this was May the 29th, 1969, in the Pensacola News. "Senior Citizen gets safety

driving honor, A. E. Forster, 79, of Pou Station, was one of two senior citizens

honored by Governor Claude Kirk, Wednesday for safety on the roadways." There is a

picture here of the Safety Award that has the Florida seal on it and it says "Senior

Citizen, A. E. Forster, in recognition of outstanding safe driving, accident free,

for 51 years. Presented by Claude R. Kirk, Jr., Governor, May the 28th, 1969, and

there is a picture here with the Governor, May the 28th, 1969. And then there is a

picture here with the Governor presenting the certificates and the award to Mr.


Going on further and part of the news item was "Forster began driving in 1918.

He has driven 10,000 to 15,000 miles per year until retiring, but now, dropped back

to 6 to 8,000 annually. Forster was employed at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola,

retiring in 1955 as Naster Mechanic for the and repair department.

During World War II, he supervised 4,500 civilians and three thousand enlisted

personnel. Since his retirement, Forster has been active raising prize-winning

Azaleas and Camelias. He has built his own cabin cruiser which he still uses and

Trade School

is active with the Pensacola Historical Society, investigating family histories as

an Amateur Genealogist". Now, here is another letter on the same subject from the

Florida House of Representatives, Tallahassee, May the 29th, 1969. "Mr. -. E.

Forster, Pou Station, Pensacola, Florida. Dear .'r. Forster; Congratulations upon

your awards of one of Florida's safety drivers. I want you to know that we appreciate

your records as a safety conscience citizen and wish to take this opportunity to

thank you for your contributions to Escambia County and to Florida. The other members

of Escambia County Legislature delegation join me in extending to you a hearty "well-

dones. With very kind regards, Yours very truly, James R. Reeves.

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs