Monday, November 30, 2009

fire on the mountain

New Caledonia
Mon. Sept. 28, 1942

Saw a wonderful picture. In fact, a late picture at the 9th Sta. last night. The name was "Ball of Fire" with Barbara Stanwyck & Gary Cooper. The best show I've seen on the island so far (that is besides Bing's pictures). I have today off, getting the first day this week.

Tues. Sept. 29, 1942

Went on guard at 8 A.M. (as usual) with Frank Layman. Around 11:30 A.M. I called Danny up & he told me to investigate a fire on one of the mountains. Harry Falgo told me later that the fire was on the road to Pieta. So, after chow I had to ride the whole range of mountains above "Blondie's" house. We played some casino late this evening. Frank & I beat Skull & Mytko 3 out of 4 games. Retired around 11 P.M.

Wed. Sept. 30, 1942

Went on guard as usual this morning. After P.M. chow we went to the show at the 9th Station Hosp. The picture was "Two Yanks in Trinidad" with Pat O'Brien, Brian Danbeury & Janet Blair. It was very good & one of the latest we've had. They mentioned about the Jap attack on Pearl Harbor. There was a beautiful song in the picture. The name of it was (of course) "Trinidad".

Thurs. Oct. 1, 1942

Went on guard this morning with Nothern (Frank was off). After chow, we took a ride up the pack Howitzer trail practically all the way to No. 1. Frank has had a toothache all day. Today we were paid. I drew $19.34. I now have $255 in finance.

Fri. Oct. 2, 1942

Frank and I went on guard at 8 A.M. and it rained all the time we were out there. Rec'd a letter from Mother today dated on Aug. 31 Still no letter from Marjorie. It has been over 3 months.

Sat. Oct. 3, 1942

It has been scorching hot all day. Went on guard at 8 A.M. ( as usual ) with Frank.


This is Harry's War Diary

With these entries we get a feel for the repetition of Harry's everyday life on the island. He repeats the "as usual" phrase in several of these, however he never fails to list the entire date with year, or the A.M. / P.M. designation.

When a report came in of a fire nearby, the Ordinance Company was very cautious. The munitions they were stock-piling would be at risk of explosion.

Harry seems perplexed that a movie has already been made that refers to the Pearl Harbor attack. Oh, the magic of cinema:)

Don't worry, Harry will get a letter soon from his Darling Marjorie....

Jody & I hope you enjoyed these special posts for Harry's War Diary in the month of November; and be sure to visit this blog for several more posts every month that continue to cover the diary.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

it sure did

New Caledonia
Mon. Sept. 14, 1942

Nothing but bad news & still no letters from home. It's been a month since I've had any & over two months since I've heard from Marjorie. I hear we are taking a hell of a beating in the Solomons.

Tues. Sept. 15, 1942

Heard today that a Sgt. hung himself at the 22nd Ord. Co. last night. They said he had a beautiful wife, too. My throat is still plenty sore today, but I am still mopping it out with Listerine & liniment.

Wed. Sept. 16, 1942

My throat is still plenty sore today but is showing signs of improvement. Wynn is off today.

Thurs. Sept. 17, 1942

My throat is much better. Scoffield is off today.

Thurs. Sept 24, 1942

Tonight Ben & Danny went to the show *** in Pieta. It was the first time they have been to the show since we have been in Dumbea. Frank Layman or Bob or Bill haven't been yet. The first show was "Rage of Paris" with Danielle Duverriex (the French star) & Douglas Fairbank, Jr. The second show was "Reno" with Richard Dix, Gail Patrick & Joan Fontaine. It sure did look like Reno all right.

Fri. Sept 25, 1942

We had four quarts of wine tonight, so we got to feeling pretty good. Retired pretty early.

Sun. Sept. 27, 1942

I have today off because I go on the 12 to 8 shift this week. This afternoon Frank, Wynn & myself saddled our horses up & took a ride into the mountains. We covered the whole range of 8 mountains. Came back around 4 O'clock pretty tired & I know those horses must be. Took a bath, shaved & cleaned up to go to the show after "chow" (supper).


This is Harry's War Diary

Nothing but bad news, indeed. The miserable conditions which they worked, the lack of any credible news, the loss of contact from home. The only thing they have to look forward to is a show or a ride on a horse. As bad as things seem for Harry now, it will certainly get alot worse.

At this time on Guadalcanal, the Marines are facing a crucial point in the Bloody Ridge conflict; mortar fire has cut off communications and the battle descends into hand-to-hand combat.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

named him Smokey

New Caledonia
Mon. Sept 7, 1942

Today is "Labor Day". Kruse & I went on day shift from 8 A.M. to 4 P.M. "Gig" & Wynn has the 12 P.M. to 8 A.M. & Nothern & Layman has the 4 P.M. to 12 P.M.

Tues. Sept. 8, 1942

Since they were working in Areas 1 and 2 Sgt. Irwin said we could only use one guard, so I came back at 4:30 and Kruse stayed out all day.

Wed. Sept. 9, 1942

It starting raining around 2P.M. today and "Duke" was soaking wet when I brought him in. "Gig" has Jim now, and Wynn has Nick, while Bob is riding the wild horse that he broke in. We named him "Smokey" & he can run like a deer.

He had more bucks in him when we put the saddle on than he did when Bob got on him. It is now 8:30 P.M. & is coming down outside now. A bad night to pull guard.

Thurs. Sept, 10, 1942

Today I had off & spent most of the day re-writing my other diary. They are running a show truck into Pieta tonight.

Fri. Sept. 11, 1942

They had 2 shows at Pieta last night. The first was "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" with Maureen O'Hara and Charles Loughton & the other was Bob Burns in "Alias the Deacon". Rubel was made 2nd Sgt. yesterday & Ben Wynn shot right through the floor beside my bunk. It's a good thing I wasn't there. I had gone to "Blondie's" with Frank. Today Harry Falgo was made 1st Sgt. I have tonsilitis again but I am not going to the hosp. I have some Listerine & Chloroform lintiment that I am going to mop it out with.

Sun. Sept. 13, 1942

Today I am on guard from 8 A.M. to 7 P.M. (11 hours). I will have the 4 P.M. to 12 P.M. shift along with Frank Layman next week. Kruse will be roving man this week.


This is Harry's War Diary

Duke, Jim, Nick and Smokey were horses they used to move ammo. Harry's group proudly called themselves stable boys and did their best to keep the horses going.

It seems that Harry had 2 diaries that he was writing, and we later learn of a third. Probably this pocketsized journal was used for brief comments. It would be very interesting to find the other diaries he kept and compare them.

Harry tells us of yet another close call, this one down at the corral and by one of their buddies.

On Sept. 12th the Japanese prepare for a counterattack on high ground near Henderson field at Guadalcanal. The hill would later be called Bloody Ridge, where some of the most dramatic fighting took place.

Friday, November 27, 2009

tore an old chimney down

New Caledonia
Mon. Aug 31, 1942

I got a break last night because I didn't have to pull guard & I caught up on my much needed sleep. This morning Wopick moved back to camp & Wynn (Ben) came up in his place. Last night we were supposed to have eaten supper up at "Blondie's". They had inviited us a few days ago, but Frank didn't want to go, so Nothern & I didn't go either. Instead, we fried some eggs. I think we will be paid this afternoon.

Tues. Sept. 1, 1942

Yesterday evening, just before chow, we rec'd our monthly pay. I drew $19.34 & $54 was put into the finance. I think I will make an allotment next month for $20. Nothern (Skull) & I missed the show truck last night by 2 minutes.

Wed. Sept. 2, 1942

Kruse & I pulled guard last night as usual I had No. 2 post & he had No. 1. We stayed together most of the night, however . Then we went down to wake the cook up at 4:00, call Bill at 6A.M., wake the bugler (Hoflinger) at 6:15, eat chow and come back to the corral. Schoffield is "roving" man this week.

Thurs. Sept. 3, 1942

I came in at 8 A.M. & went straight to bed and slept right through dinner until 4 P.M. I got up and shaved and prepared to go to the show at 4:30. After chow "Gig", Nothern, Mitko, Johnson, Wiesemmel & myself went to the show which was at the **9th Sta. Hosp. The pictures were "Sued for Libel" with Kent Layler. It was getting very interesting but half way through the picture, it rained & they called it off. They also had an Edgar Borgin comedy.

Fri. Sept 4, 1942

This evening, Frank Layman and myself went up to Blondie's. We had quite a time. We got a dozen eggs & came back & fried a few (78c a doz = 30 franc) Also we had some **** corn that "Skull" had gathered. "Bob" Scoffield is on guard with me tonight & Kruse is off.

Sat. Sept 5, 1942

This morning instead of going to bed (as I should) I went up & tore an old chimney down on one of the mountains to get some bricks to build our new fireplace with. I worked all morning carrying them down. We mixed some mud cement together so we could hold the bricks in place & also took an old coffee can & made a smokestack for it. After evening chow, mitko, Nothern & myself stayed down at base camp & as Johnson had 3 quarts of Rhine Rum, we drank some. Wiesmmel, Nothern, Mitko, Johnson & myself were dead drunk. Although I couldn't walk straight, I did manage to get Nothern back to the corral. I have vowed to never drink that stuff again & get in that condition. It tastes like novacaine.

Sun. Sept. 6, 1942

This morning I am surprised I am not sick. Nothern is very sick & he has to go on guard with Layman from 8 A.M. to 7 P. M. I told him I would take his place but he wouldn't let me.


This is Harry's War Diary

4 A.M. comes early when you're an army cook. and the bugler doesn't fare much better. A "roving" man was a guard that traveled around between posts throughout the night. Sometimes they called the positon a freelance or extra man.

I can only guess that the photographs with the men holding boards is a show of their gathering/harvesting. They liked to cut coconuts, fry eggs, and gather some kind of corn.

So, Harry was spared a hangover after the drinking binge, but it was still enough to swear him off rum forever.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

my favorite crooner, my monthly ration

New Caledonia
Sat. Aug. 22, 1942

Today they brought more Solomon Casualties, some with arms off & some with legs off. I feel much better now.

Sun. Aug. 23, 1942

This morning I would have went to church, if I hadn't been so weak. They hold services right here at the hosp. I saw Corp. Charlie Wilkes, Shady DeRoberts & Weismmel. I didn't know they were in the hospital. The Capt. said I could have a regular meal today. Tonight, Weismmel & I went to the show right here at the hosp. It's shown in the open & the field (adjoining the hosp. grounds) has some beautiful palm trees around it. The first show was one of my favorite crooners & one that I had seen 3 or 4 years ago. The name of the picture was "Double or Nothing" with Bing Crosby, Mary Carlisle, Andy Devine & Martten Raye. The second picture was "Bachelor Mother" with Ginger Rogers & David Niven. "Ginger" is sure a swell grand actress.

Mon. Aug. 24, 1942

I am okay today & the doctor let me go & get my "chow" at the kitchen. Wisemmel's ears are about well, so I guess we will be going back to camp in a couple of days.

Tues. Aug. 25, 1942

This morning I shaved, etc right after chow & then spent the A.M. over in Ward 5 with Frank Wisemmel. Incidentally, my nurse here is a "Rebel" also, she is from New Orleans, Louisiana.

Wed. Aug. 26, 1942

This morning my throat is completely well & the doctor said I could go back to camp tomorrow. Went over to Wiesmmel's tent & played a little Black Jack. I won $2

Thurs. Aug. 27, 1942

This morning I came back to camp. While I was in the hospital Corp. Jack Robinson had his tent burnt down & all of them lost their personal belongings, including Shady DeRoberts footlocker. Rec'd my monthly ration when I came back which consisted of 1 ctg cigarettes, 3 cigars, 1 cake of soap, 5 Gillette blue blades & a toothbrush.

Fri. Aug. 28, 1942

Today I received a V-mail from Mother dated in Nashville on Aug. 11 & they rec'd it in Australia on Aug. 21. Ten days, which is pretty quick time. I also rec'd a letter from Marjorie dated Feb 1.


This is Harry's War Diary

Classic photograph of Harry with his brownie; and a candid shot of a flooded latrine (?)

You have to have known Harry to understand the wording "Robinson had his tent burnt down". It doesn't mean the fellow took a match to it; just the opposite. This was Harry's way to say that the tent burning down was a misfortune that happened to the fellow.

At the end of August on Guadalcanal, the Marines have completed construction at Henderson Field and it is now operational. The Americans are now able to launch attacks on the Japanese supply ships that have been landing reinforcements and food. The seas around the Solomon Islands are littered with disabled vessels from both sides of the battle.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

got away from me

New Caledonia
Sat. Aug. 15, 1942

Sgt. Austinger gave us $5 to build him a corral for his "wild horse" that he is going to break in. So Kruse, Johnson, Danny & myself started on it at 1 P.M.. By 6P.M. we had it completed. After this, we drank some wine that Wopick had & we got to feeling pretty good.

Sun. Aug. 16, 1942

Johnson & I went on from 8A.M. to 4 P.M. this morning & we have to go on again at 12 P.M. "Jim" got away from me this morning. I left him alone to graze while I answered the phone. He came straight to the corral. Took him right back out tonight after chow. Lt. Irwin gave Kruse, Nothern, Layman & myself regular guard duty. Johnson & Isham didn't want it. He said he would send 3 more up in the morning.

Mon. Aug. 17, 1942

Today Nothern, Layman, Kruse, Mike & myself also Scoffield (veterarian) moved all our things up to the corral to begin our "regular guard" duty. Gigenheimer "Gig" will move up tomorrow, he is on K.P. today.

Tues. Aug 18, 1942

There were 3 Marine Officers in for chow this afternoon who had seen some action in the Solomon Battle. I came off guard at 8 A.M. feeling pretty bad & was sleepy but could not sleep.

Wed. Aug. 19, 1942

Scoffield took my place on guard tonight because I was so weak I could hardly move. I did't go to chow yesterday afternoon or last night. I'm trying my best to keep from going to the hospital. After they had been "daring" to take me down to the GI Hospital, where they said I had acute tonsilitis (which I knew). I was put in Ward **** after patients who had Yellow Jaundice & everything else. The hosp. is pretty full here because of the Navy & Marine casualties brought in from Guadalcanal.

Thurs. Aug. 20, 1942

Today my condition is no better. I still have a 102 degree temperature.

Fri. Aug. 21, 1942

Today my condition is a little better. The nurse gave me a bath this morning. The Marines & sailors left out this morning headed for Hawaii & then back to the States. Most of them seemed to be crippled in the legs from "flying scrapnel"


Harry's War Diary

Harry M. Haslam (1919 - 2007)

"Jim" was one of the horses that Harry was assigned to keep. Keeping the livestock ready for work was an additional duty to their Ammo depot responsibilites. The horses were vital in the movement of heavy loads, and the men become very attached to them.

August 19th (12 days after the Marines attacked Guadalcanal) the Japanese landed 900 troops for a bold offensive to re-take Henderson Field. 800 Japs were killed, 34 American casualites. Harry was in a hospital for fever and witnessed the flow of combat injuries.

For every combat casuality, there were 5 soldiers struck by malaria. Harry's case is complicated by his chronic infection, and he suffers through bouts of fever.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

the horses came in

New Caledonia

Fri. Aug. 7, 1942

I worked with Jack Robinsons's gang today unloading "Ordinance trucks" & heard today the Corp. Bill Williamson will be the corporal at the corral & that Harry's **** will be the stable boys. Went out and visited Frank Layman awhile & then went to the beach. I am reading a book tonight called "Pacific Treasure Island" and it is dedicated to the people of New Caledonia.

Sun. Aug. 9, 1942

Today we had a day off. Bill Williamson moved out of our tent today. He might be up at the corral. This afternoon, the horses came in. 16 of them & the fellows in Brown's Section walked them all the way from Noumea.

Mon. Aug. 10, 1942

This morning we had rifle inspection & I passed mine okay. Kruse, Johnson, Layman, Nothern, Isham & myself were picked for guard duty for a week. Starting at 8 A.M. this morning. Since we all have ridden horses a little, we were picked first, so that we could break them in. Due to the fact that we had 6 horses; 5 saddles & no bits, we had to pull it on foot. The bits did, however, come in later this morning. Frank & myself cleaned up two of them

Tues. Aug. 11, 1942

This morning after chow, we moved up to the corral. Sgt. Danny Greenstein moved up with us. We went out and combed and brushed the horses. After we were through brushing them, we were instructed on how to saddle them the Army Way. After this, we took them for a ride in the No. 4 Area. Their names are:

Jim (Harry & "Gig")

Duke (Johnson & Harry)

Mae West; mare (Isham & Nothern)

Nick (Nothern & Wynn)

Babe; mare (Layman)

Joe (Kruse)

Johnson's horse, Mae, came running back to the corral as fast as she could. Johnson had gone to get off and he hit her in the head with the butt of his rifle.

Wed. Aug. 12, 1942

This morning we were all assigned to pull 8 hrs. of guard duty again. Johnson & I are on 8 A.M. to 4 P. M. Rec'd 4 letters from home today. Two from mother & one from Evelyn Hailey. I am not even going to answer it.

Thurs. Aug. 13, 1942

I was on Post 2 last night which included from the camp across the bridge into No. 4 Area. We had planes installed in the area & have to call up every 2 hrs. I called David at 7 P. M. and again at 2 minutes to 9. I lost two more dollars in a Black Jack game awhile ago which brings my total to $19 in two days. I lost $14 yesterday. Later, I also lost my other $6 and then borrowed 10 more from Johnson, who now has around $100. They brought 4 bags of mail this evening, and believe it or not, I recieved 14 of them. There were 9 from mother & dad - 1 from sister, 2 from Marjorie & 2 from Evelyn Hailey.


This is Harry's Way Diary. He was 22 years old at the time of these entries, and serving in the Pacific Theater of WWII.

The day the horses arrived was a special day for these fellows. They took over the care of these horses and mules, which were used in heavy labor on a daily basis. The horses were able to move bulky loads in the steep terrain of the island, where the men and trucks could not.

August 7th was D Day at Guadalcanal. 19,000 Marines land on Guadalcanal with their objective to take over an airfield under construction. Rough fighting would continue for 4 months as the Japanese moved ships and troops in to counterattack repeatedly. On nearby Tulagi the Japanese HQ was been attacked simultaneously by U.S. Marines.

Harry will be sent to Tulagi and to Guadalcanal within the next 10 weeks (from this entry).

Monday, November 23, 2009

5 quarts of rum

New Caledonia
August 1942

Had to work in the mud up to our ankles. I worked with Bill Brown's Section will pull guard tonight. Last night I was drunk for the first time on the island & so was Weismmel, Dobek & Johnson. We drank around 5 quarts of Rum.


Mon, August 3, 1942

Today we moved all the tents about a mile from the mess hall. Tonight I am going up to "Blondie's" with Frank Layman to get my laundry. She is getting more friendly all the time. Her mother gave me a doz. eggs, which over here are very scarce. She showed us where the dog had bitten her.

Tues. Aug. 4, 1942

Today we worked most all day in the drizzling rain. Had a little argument with Sgt. Baronsby this morning. Worked with Robbie's gang up at the corral. I am on guard tonight from 10 to 2 on Post 2.

Wed. Aug 5, 1942 Recieved another letter last night dated on Feb. 21. It made me very happy, even if it was 5 months old.

Thurs. Aug. 6, 1942 Today we were paid. I rec'd $71.89 and I put $30 of it back into the finance.


This is Harry's War Diary.

Harry M. Haslam (1919 - 2007) was my father-in-law and we hope these postings will honor his contributions and sacrifices.

I'm left wondering if the $71.89 was for a month's wages?

When Harry called someone friendly...that was a good thing. He was comfortable around them, and wanted their company. Those who knew Harry well, remember his extroverted personality and quick humor.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

catch a ride

New Caledonia

July 1942

They are unloading torpedo shells and mules down at the docks, so there is no ammo coming in. There were 3,000 Marines that came in today. This morning at 11 o'clock the fellows shot a deer at the edge of the woods. Last night "Gig" & I slipped out of camp and tried to catch a ride into town, but to no avail. We walked as fas as the airport and back, which is about 2 miles each way. The Infantry Patrol from Camp Edwards, Mass. is on the stage in Noumea.

Mon. July 13, 1942

This morning I went to town in the "Jeep" with St. Irwin to see the Air Force Surgeon about my glasses. Was talking to Capt. Wisler in base camp & he said he didn't see how we could win this war (the ape ball). Imagine, a Co. Commander.

Tues. July 14, 1942

Today is "Bastile Day" here in New Caledonia & all the French soldiers and natives have the day off. There's a rumor going around that we may go to Noumea. They estimated there is between 20 & 30,000 troops on the island now. Up to now called the "Battle of the Coral Sea" is the most significant. The island is now being used for "supply base".

Wed. July 15, 1942

I was happiest today because I recieved a letter from Marjorie dated June 10 and another dated later said that mother had mailed for Pretty Barbara & Jack.

**** several entries and pages are lost here****


This is Harry's War Diary. Great care is taken to preserve the writing style, so it appears here just as it was written 66 years ago. Harry M. Haslam (1919 - 2007) was my father in law.

It seems being called an 'ape ball' is quite an insult and Harry reserves that slight for a commander that shared doubts about the outcome of the war.

Jody & I have decided to share this diary with my blog readers in the month of November to honor Harry's service during WWII. I will continue to post 1-2 diary entries a month until we've covered most of the 3 1/2 years that Harry was in the Army.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


New Caledonia
July 1942

This morning at 3 A.M. we had an air raid and had to use our gas masks. I was with Joe Fredericks. All the boats in the docks at Noumea have pulled away and put in the harbor. I understand they got the mail off first, however the Japs were sighted off our coast at 10 P.M. The firing lasted until dawn.

Tues, July 7, 1942

We built roads again today across the creek. I think we should be in the construction crew instead of the Ordinance. At 3 o'clock another shipment of 25 pounders came in.

Wed. July 8, 1942

Worked on the road again today. At 2 P.M. an issue came in for the 20th Coast Artillery for 37,000 shells. Last night "Gig" & I went to the show in Noumea to see "Frontier Marshal" with Randolph Scott & Nancy Kelly. I talked to a soldier there who was with the 32nd Artillery and he was also stationed at Camp Forrest & he was from Illinois.

Thursday, July 10, 1942

Today we are still unloading ammo. Most of them are 15 pound smoke shells. Today is my darling Marjorie's birthday. Good! but I wish I had something to send her.

Fri. July 11, 1942

Today we unloaded 37 **** gun shells for Anti-Aircraft guns. Last night, "Gig". Robertson, Dobek & Myself went to the show in Noumea to see "Design for Scandal" They also had a swell stage show with some comedians who have been on Broadway but who are now serving "overseas" with us. "Creamy" of the 51st also gave a performance. They had an orchestra that played "Glenn Miller" type of music also. Their "Moonlight Cock-tail" sounded just like Glenn. Have the radio back now, so I will close & go & listen to the news from the station K.G.E.I. in San Fransisco in the Fairmont Hotel. They always say "This is the United States of America" and boy does that sound good.


This is Harry's War Diary. When the handwritten words can't be read, I have replaced them with **** The photo here is of two men at the ammo depot.

It seems Harry made a mistake when dating the entries because it skips July 9th. When he writes about his sweetheart, he refers to her as "my Darling Marjorie" and his use of an exclamation point (after "Good") is the only time he has used that punctuation!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

the bulls eye

Solomon Islands
June 29, 1942

Today is an off day. Gig received 4 letters from home today. As yet, I haven't recieved any.

Tues. June 30, 1942

Today we took a trip to Noumea with the rifle **** but didn't get to use it, because the artillery was using it. Last night I saw "Call Out the Marines" with Vivian Mc Laglen & Edmund Lowe. Was really good but like all service pictures was mostly for infantry staff. Today is pay-day here and don't think any of the "G.I."s have been paid.

Wed. July 1, 1942

Today I was paid for the first time. "Gig" & I went to "Blondies" tonight. ****

Thurs. July 2, 1942

Today we went on the rifle-range in Noumea. This was the first time I had ever been on a rifle range. Had been on the basic range in Aberdeen. I didn't score assigned hit with the 1902 Springfield rifle, although I had a good score with the Grummans (8 shots) including the bulls eye. I also got 31 with the Tommy Gun. Arrived back in camp around 3 o'clock, cleaned our rifles & took a bath.

Friday, July 3, 1942

Today the ammo started coming in again, so I guess our little vacation is over for awhile.

Saturday, July 4, 1942

We unloaded more of the ammo today. They sent 7 flat cars of 18 pounders from the docks. Capt. Fredericks, Nobleman, Dobek & myself unloaded them. "Gig" & Jack Stuart were made P.F.C's today.

Sunday, July 5, 1942

We're unloading 25 pounders & 18 pounders today, which were made in Australia. I worked with Bill today. Heard today that we lost 4 battleships off the Hawaiian coast and that Guadalcanal fell. Nothing but bad news for the past month. I can't stand the navy British sometimes. They are not showing me a thing. I am smoking my new pipe today.


This is Harry's War Diary.

When parts of the handwriiten journal are illegible, I have replaced it with *****

Harry Haslam (1919 - 2007) was my husband's father and Harry served in WWII in New Caledonia and Guadalcanal. Jody & I are sharing this diary in memory of "Daddy"

Most of Harry's entries record his guard duty, his movie schedule, and his work at the ammo depot. The remarks about 'nothing but bad news' and 'they are not showing me a thing' are very much in character for Harry.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chico the deer

New Caledonia
June, 1942

Most of the fellows went into Pieta this morning to have their teeth examined. The rest of us go Wed. Spent most of the morning camoflauging the shells in No. 1 Area. "Gig" & I sprayed the brown paint & Wiesimmel & Ricco sprayed the green. This evening we hauled rocks for the new depot. I am not on guard tonight, though "Gig", Wiesimmel & Dobek are.

Tues. June 23, 1942

Today we have another day off, since we pulled guard last night. Heard this morning that Libya fell & that the Germans made a new advance on the Russians. This evening, just before dark, they arrested the little French boy again (16 yrs. old) It seems he stole a wallet. He is "Blondies" brother. They caught him down by the creek. I think I will go to the show in Noumea.

Wed. Jun 24, 1942

We all went to have our teeth examined at the American Hospital in Pieta. Mine was +2 which means I have to have a cavity filled. Last night, I saw "Dark Victory" with Bette Davis & George Brent. This evening I had scalding water (coffee) poured on my head when I accidentally ran into Bill Williamson at chow. "Gig" recieved a letter from his girl today & she said she was going to become and Army Nurse and "Gig" is very upset about it. Her name is Eleanor.

Thurs. June 25, 1942

Today we are building roads for the new depot again. Dobek & I worked on the truck. I am on guard tonight with Rakitka, Johnson & Nothern from 10 to 2 on Post 2.

Friday June 26, 1942

We have another day off due to the fact that we pulled guard duty last night. We camoflauged our tents the other day with green & brown paint.

Sat. June 27, 1942

We're still building roads again today. "Chico" the deer won't hardly eat anything since Tony Natashi went up to Bulla Paree.

Sun. June 28, 1942

Today the whole camp had an off day. Had rifle inspection this morning. I got "Gigged" for mine because it was pitted. Lt. Irwin is going to inspect them again at 4:30. Thornton & Bill helped me clean my gun this morning. Gig also got stuck for his Tommy-gun. Played the Air Corps a game today & won both games 9 to 2 & 10 to 8. Bob McMann played second base for the Air Corps. The "Air Cobras" are equipped with 7 guns ( 4 0 30 caliber mcahine guns, 2 - 50 caliber & 1 - 20 inch cannon)


This is Harry's War Diary. These entries represent one week in Harry's journal during his service in The Solomon Islands during WWII. Their camp was located near Dumbea, but they often went to Noumea for the movies.

When Harry says he had scalding coffee poured on his head, he means that it was a mishap. Of this, I am sure.

Are we to gather from this that they had a pet deer? Yes. there was a photo of a deer taken with Harry's brownie camera.

Blondie was a local lady that took care of their laundry. As the diary continues, you will find out that Blondies farm was one of the few places they could go to get away from camp.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

took a hike

New Caledonia
Sun. June 21, 1942

Today all 3 sections had the day off. We are expecting a boat load of 37,000 155 shells in tomorrow. "Gig" is sitting on his bunk cleaning his Tommy-gun and Dobek & Weismmel have gone to church. The Protestant services are in French so I didn't go. This I will close for now and read the Bible.

After chow, we played two games of softball. Our side winning the first by a large score & Eaglebrooks side winning the other. Corp. Bill Williamson, "Gig", Johnson, Pancho & myself took a hike into the mountains early this morning, arriving back in time for chow. We also did a little shooting. The mountains went practically straight up & we sure was puffing when we got to the top.

This is Harry's War Diary. The photographs were taken by Harry with his brownie camera. We hope you join us in honoring all the veterans of war and every soldier and sailor who serves his country.

Harry M. Haslam (1919 - 2007) was my husband's father. Harry was in the Solomon Islands during WWII, assigned to an Ordinance Division. They unloaded, built depots and roads, and pulled alot of guard duty. About 5 months after this entry, Harry is sent to Guadalcanal.

Monday, November 16, 2009

a common occurance

New Caledonia, Solomon Islands
Saturday June 10, 1942

The rain is still going strong & our tent is one large mud hole. At noon Sgt. Desmond told us we would have to move our tent because they wanted all the sections together. We have to go & take our tent down & go & get another one way up in the transportation section & pitch it down on the creek bank. Tonight the section goes on guard again, and my turn is the 3rd shift from 2 to 6 A.M. on Post 2 in the 155 area.

Tues. June 16, 1942

We started the week off by building floors (roads) for the entire camp. The "Great Dictator" with Charlie Chaplin is playing in Noumea. This morning Pvt. Couse shot through his tent and it went past my tent into the creek where I was washing. Another close shave. This is getting to be a common occurance.

Saturday June 20, 42

Have another day off today because I pulled guard from 10 to 2 on Post 1. Cleaned my rifle this morning while Dobek was cleaning his, Pancho came back from the hospital this morning. The second time he has cracked a finger while working.


This is Harry's War Diary.

Harry M. Haslam (1919 - 2007) was my husband's father and I dedicated most of my blog posting in November to honor his memory.

Strange coincidence in these entries that Harry gripes about moving the tent to the creek, then later is almost struck by a stray bullet at the creek.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

the army career of Haslam the Private

New Caledonia

June 1, 1942

Today I go on guard duty with Gig & Pancho from 10 P.M. to 2 A.M.

June 2, 1942

Corp. Bill Williamson came down in the Jeep last night & talked to Gig & I while we were on guard. When Mike Boyle came on at 12 he did the same. Sun. we were issued cigarettes, soap, candy, etc. The Army career of Haslam the Private almost came to an untimely end this morning when Pancho shot through the tent between Gig & I. He was cleaning his gun.

June 7, 1942

Today is Sunday and we have it off. Had breakfast this morning of pancakes & cereal as usual. Haven't had my mail for almost 4 months now. Last night, Hoplinger the bugler while on guard, took a shot at a fellow using a flashlight in the depot.

Thurs. June 8, 1942

Have the day off due to our being on guard last night. Today I made myself a foot-locker. I am going to the show tonight to see "Navy Blues" with Ann Sheridan and Jack Oakie. This is the rainy season here now & we get loud bursts every 15-20 minutes. Was also off yesterday but didn't do much of anything except play a little football in the afternoon with "Gig"


This is Harry's War Diary. Every effort is made to be true to the original.

Harry M. Haslam (1919 - 2007) was my father-in-law. We hope to honor Harry's time spent in the army during WWII. Harry's birthday was on November 15th and today we'll be sharing some fond memories of him.

The footlocker in the photo is not the one that Harry made that day - it's actually the footlocker from his C.C.C. station in Reno. In later posts, you'll see the contents, Harry's uniform and other surplus that have been preserved.

There are several entries in the diary that mention a near miss from friendly fire, and as the incidents increase, Harry becomes angry about the carelessness.

Friday, November 13, 2009

grab them by the handful

New Caledonia
May 25, 1942

Incidentally, the wet season is just now starting in over here and it lasts up until Sept. The mosquitoes are now so bad here that you can grab them by the handful.

**** have built an airport about a mile from camp and the field is full of the new "Air Cobra's"

Today, Monte, Kraacks and myself went on a hike into the mountains. I fell all the way down into the creek from a 100 ft. cliff.

A few days ago, a lot of the fellows were issued Thompson Sub-Machine guns. I don't care for one, I'll take the old Springfield.

May 30, 1942

Today is "Memorial Day" & instead of going to town & the parade with Marjorie, I find myself 11,000 miles from the "Good Ole U.S.A." We have the day off, so I am spending most of the day cleaning up ****


This is Harry's War Diary. Every word is copied here exactly as it appears in his journal: just as he wrote it.

**** indicates illegible text

Harry M. Haslam (1919 - 2007) was my husband's father. Jody and I share this with my blog readers in honor of his service during WWII.

Marjorie became his wife and they were together for 61 years. There still remains stacks and stacks of love letters written between Harry and Marjorie from 1941 - 1945. It's quite a love story.

You might already suspect that the mosquitoes will cause some big problems for these soldiers; and later you'll learn just how serious the malaria situation became.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The 7-can Soup

Dump 7 cans in a kettle and add browned meat and sauteed onions. Throw in the seasoning, or add your own.

2 cans whole corn(include liquid)
1 can pinto beans (include liquid)
1 can Rotel ( include liquid )
1 can diced tomatoes ( include liquid)
2 cans black beans ( include liquid )
Brown: 1lb ground turkey
2 diced onions
Mix together: 1 pkg. Ranch Dressing mix
1 pkg. Taco Seasoning

Simmer all together 30 min.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

halfway around the world

New Caledonia
April 1942

After spending a week onboard, we landed on the island of New Caledonia on April ** 1942. We were thinking that we wouldn't find the company on this small island which is only 250 miles long and 30 miles wide. We stayed onboard 3 days, when we finally found out that our company was here.

Left the ship on a Saturday, and proceeded to the co. which was stationed about 2 miles from the docks on the outskirts of Noumea, the capital city. We were glad to see them, in a way, because we had traveled halfway around the world looking for them.

The co. turned out to be handlers of Amm. and all we did was Manual Labor. It was considered the best ******* in the Caledonias. Our first day here, we helped move 3 depots. They allowed us 5 days to do it, but we did it in 2 1/2. We stayed in base camp about a week, then we moved out to Pieta, and after a fine days work there we moved to Dumbea where we are now.

We shower & take a quick bath in the creek that runs in back of camp.


This is straight from Harry's War Diary; every word is copied here just as it appears in his handwritten journal. The sections that are illegible are replaced with ****

Harry M. Haslam (1919 - 2007) was my husband's father. Harry's War Diary is published here to honor his service in WWII. The veterans that serve our country deserve the best tributes we can provide.

In future postings, you'll hear Harry talk more about the creek behind camp, the maintenance of the ammunition depots, and his schedule for guard duty

View Larger Map

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How to make Orange Clove Pomanders

Take a few minutes and put together some pomanders.

The spiked fruit works as a fragrant air freshener for 2 months and makes a festive decoration for your home.

For some details instructions, check this recipe

Or you can follow along with my project:

whole cloves

ground cinnamon

ground nutmeg

essential oil ( I used SAGE)



Use the skewer to make holes in the orange skin. Try inserting a few cloves to see how much spacing you'll need. Work about 5-10 holes ahead of your cloves to make simple designs.

Allow the orange skin to dry (overnight). Combine the cinnamon, nutmeg and oil in a ziplock bag and roll each orange in the mixture. Tap off the loose powder.

Wrap the orange in ribbons; you can make loops for hanging or bow on top for display.

Monday, November 09, 2009

greatly surprised

April 1942

We next sighted land on April 6, 1942. This time it was Brisbane, Australia and our destination after spending 37 days onboard. We camped temporarily in the city about a mile from the docks. The camp was located in the "Queensland Turf Club", a very very beautiful race track.

On Wed. April 4 we recieved our morning orders & said goodbye & cheerio to Camp Ascot. Our next destination was Darwin, where we went to help an amm. company there. From here we took another train ride to Sydney arriving there on Thurs & the whole company took a "train" to Camp **** (another beautiful race track) on the outskirts of the city, where we stayed until 5:30 P.M. that evening. At 6:30 P.M. we went back to that station and took a train to Melbourne. still further down the coast.

We were greatly surprised, including Capt. Meyers, when we finally wound up at the docks prepared to take another boat ride. I'll be darn if we didn't board a ship that came over in our convoy from New York. The "Santa Paula" also of the "Gray Line", however it was not the sister ship of the "Santio Lucia" as the "Santa Anita" was, which was also in our convoy


This is Harry's War Diary---every word is typed here exactly as it appears in his journal. Harry M. Haslam (1919 - 2007) was my father in law and served in WWII.

When the writing is illegible, I have replaced it with

Saturday, November 07, 2009

the fateful news

Ft. Dix to God knows where

March 1942

After a week in the 109th we were put into a Casual Detachment, an organization composed of soldiers from every branch of the service. On Feb. 28th 1942 we rec'd the fateful news that we were going "overseas". Called Mother & told her about it, but she wouldn't believe me.

So, on Sunday March 1, 1942 we left Ft. Dix by the train, and headed for the Brooklyn Navy Yard & boarded our troop ship on Mon. March 2nd 1942 at 2:30 A.M. Our officers were Capt. Meyers and Sgt. Scott who turned out to be two swell fellows. We later found out that the name of the ship as the Santio Lucia, once a luxury liner. It belongs to the "Gray Line".

We stayed in dock until Tues. March 3 1942 at noon, when we pulled out into the harbor opposite Ellis Island, where we stayed until the next day ( which was Wed. March 4, 1942) At the time we pulled out to sea headed for "God knows where".

We headed due South, the weather was fairly warm and the water a beautiful blue by the time we hit the Florida Coast. Our convoy is now considered the largest in history, which included 5 troop ships, 8 cruisers and 1 aircraft carrier (sunk) 2 destroyers and a mine sweeper.

On March 14, 1942 we sighted land for the first time. It was "Panama". We stayed there until the next day at 5:15 A.M. when we again pulled out to sea. Eleven days later we sighted land for the second time. This was the island "Bora Bora" 90 miles from Tahiti. On leaving the island our next stop was Tahiti to take on a few supplies. We stayed there overnight & hit the high seas again.

We crossed the "International Date Line" on April 1st, 1942.


This is part of Harry's War Diary: every word, ever phrase, every abbreviation and every "puncuation" is exactly as it appears in his handwritten diary. The first 12 pages of his journal covers 7 months of service and catches up to his assignment in the Solomon Islands.

As I transcribe Harry's handwriting, I noticed that every time he lists a date it is complete with the year. He doesn't even shorten it to '42. An admirable quality that Harry is practicing; the desire to not leave details untold, and not to leave assumptions.

Harry M. Haslam (1919 - 2007) was my husband's father and I'm publishing these excerpts with Jody's blessing. We honor Harry and the 'swell fellows' that he served with in WWII.

Friday, November 06, 2009

craft show for wildwood

you'll find that my handmade woodburnings and painted rocks are not found in my ARTFIRE shop.

don't worry, they're just being offered at a local craft show and will return soon.

My vintage shop is still open for business on ETSY...and the music CD's are available for purchase 24 hours a day:)

Wish me luck in my vending opportunity!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

aforementioned fellows

Dec 1941 to Feb 1942

After we completed our training in Aberdeen, which required 3mos. we were assigned to various organizations which sent us to nearly every state in The Union. Mike was sent to Maxwell Field in Ala. near Montgomery with an Aviation Ordinance Company, and I was sent to Ft. Dix, N.J. to join the 51st Ord. Co along with nine other fellows who, with the exception of Kraacks and Johnson, were from different battaltions. Harry Smiley, another close friend, was sent to Las Vegas, Nevada. Not far from where I was stationed in a "C.C.C" camp prior to my induction.

During my stay in Aberdeen, quite a few events took place; most important, however were the Yellow Jap's attack on Pearl Harbor on Sun. Dec. 7th 1941, which plunged us into The War with Japan, Germany & Italy. Another thing which didn't meet with my approval was the "Guard duty" I pulled from Christmas Eve noon to "Xmas Day" 3:30 P.M.

I was, however fortunate enough to obtain a 3 day pass on New Years & to see the folks back home once again, although I had to telegraph "Mom & Dad" for five dollars.

Upon my arrival at Ft. Dix (which was Feb. 1, 1942) I was put into the 109th Ord. Co. along with the 9 other aforementioned fellows, who turned out to be the best pals a guy ever had. Their names and respective states in which they lived are:

Julius O. Johnson Greenwood, S.C.

Zolton Kraacks New Brunswick, N.J.

Bernard H. Gigenheimer Mansfield, Mass

William Dobek Detroit, Michigan

Frank Layman, ******


Jack Skully Nothern, Ohio

Al*auma Mounclin, Chicago, Il

Martin Drydin Bridgeport, Conn.


A special series of articles from Harry's War Diary. Every word, every abbreviation and every punctuation is exactly as it appears on Harry's pocketsized journal. Whenever the text is illegible, I have replaced it with ****

Harry had a beautiful 'hand'. His writing style and flair with the pen were well known to those who knew him. The portions of the writing which I cannot make out are usually due to deterioration of the pages and fountain pen ink that was completely washed away.

He frequently refers to his group of buddies and other men as "fellows" and call them by nickname. They built a very strong bond during the next year, and work in some horrible conditions.

Harry M. Haslam (1918 - 2007) was my husband's father and Jody has permitted me to share it with you as a tribute to Harry's service during WWII from November 1941 to July 1944.


Monday, November 02, 2009

A Marine Diary

If you'd like to read another war diary online, try

A Marine Diary: My Experiences on Guadalcanal

by J.R. Garrett

I found it fascinating, and I hope you do too.

Disabled American Veterans

As you read more from Harry's War Diary, I hope you'll support the Disabled American Veterans. Until the time of his death in January 2007, Harry was a devoted member of the DAV. He was generous in his contributions and eager in his help. The DAV would send him certficates to acknowledge his donations, and they kept him up to date with publications.

Harry would often been seen wearing a DAV cap or jacket. When he purchased a new American flag he ordered it through the DAV. A DAV license plate was mounted on his vehicle, and he wanted people to ask him about it so he could garner their patriotism and support.

I don't think Harry ever took advantage of a DAV program for himself. As an elderly WWII veteran, he was entitled to their services. Harry would say that there were other fellows that are alot worse off than him that needed the DAV.

The DAV reported 6 cash donations made in the name of Sgt. Harry Haslam when he passed away. Please consider the Disabled American Veterans a worthy cause.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

hadn't quite anticipated

Camp Forrest
Nov. 11, 1941

Today I was inducted into the "U.S. Army" at Camp Forrest, Tennessee. After one night in which time we were "X-Rayed" & officially sworn in, we pushed on to Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia, where we were fingerprinted & had a little basic training.

Three days later (which incidentally was my 22nd birthday) I found myself on "K.P." This was a birthday present I hadn't quite anticipated.

Mike Weber, who was inducted with me, was at this time my closet friend & companion; although I had many friends before long. It was hard to leave the folks back home & my darling Marjorie whom I love so dearly.

I stayed at Ft. Ogelthorpe sixteen (16) days when orders came through that Mike & I would be sent (Thanksgiving Day) to the Ordinance Training Center in Aberdeen, Ind. the "Army's Proving Grounds" Incidentally, Mike & I were the only two out of the whole barracks that was sent to Aberdeen. The rest of the fellows were put into Inf. or Field Artillery.

Mike was finally put into the Administration Section, and despite my protests I was put into a Munitions Detail. I was very very disappointed because I was quite certain that I would be put into a machine shop with the experience I had.

We were sent on plenty of hikes, and one in particular (which was in a deep snow) I landed in the hospital with acute tonsilitis.


This is the first installment of Harry's War Diary series. Every word, every abbreviation and every punctuation is exactly as is found in the pocket sized book. When words or sections are illegible, I replaced it with ****. The series will include some black and white photopraphs that Harry took with a brownie camera in future postings.

Harry M. Haslam (1919 - 2007) was my husband's father. Jody has granted me permission to post Harry's War Diary in honor of his father's service.

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