JIMMY, LOIS,RED AND TAMMY IN 1944
His wife was delighted, because he was making much more money than before, and more than that, he would have a war-time protected occupation. Bus drivers were needed to transport service men around the nation for training.
Lois had reasons to not want him to join the service. Her brother was in the Texas-Oklahoma 36th Infantry Division, on active duty when the war broke out. She was expecting another child and felt having her brother serving was sacrifice enough for her family.
Red had tried to join the marines when he was 15. A friendly doctor in Sabine County had verified his age as 17. His mother had died when he was four, and his father had left him in East Texas on his own. He had been working as much as he could, but not eating regularly. After a few days of training with the marines, he passed out and their doctor disqualified him from the program for malnutrition. He hitchhiked to Austin with a man who had a load of oranges, and he ate his fill.
A second child, Tammy, was born in January, 1943. With two children and a protected job, he was safe from being drafted. In September of 1943, his brother-in-law, James Wilbur Bird, was captured after landing at Salerno, Italy, during the first invasion of United States forces in Europe. He didn't feel that he could remain on the sidelines while his brother-in-law was not only a veteran of combat, but now a POW. Halley decided to go against his wife's wishes and go to war. He knew someone working at the draft board, and arranged to be drafted into the Navy.
|Home on leave with Tammy and Jimmy|
He began his service on May 31, 1944, going to Camp Wallace in Galveston County for training. After eight weeks of training, he came home for a short liberty.
|Ready to ship out|
His gambling activities were further related to me by two of my Aunt Ellen's brothers that I was interviewing for family history information on the occasion of my Aunt Ellen and Uncle Wilbur's 50th wedding anniversary. Frank and Johnnie Hoes told me they were walking down a barracks at Camp Wallace, not knowing my father was also there. They could hear a loud commotion down at the end of the barracks where the men were shooting dice. Frank said to Johnnie that it sounded like Red Cooper's voice shouting at the dice. When they got there, Red was counting his money and had cleaned out everyone in the barracks. He gave some money to Frank and Johnny and asked them to go to the base exchange and buy enough pints of ice cream for every one in the barracks.
He had somehow obtained a Graflex Speed Graphic camera in New Guinea, and proceeded to take photographs of the base and of the native population. He had made friends with the chaplain, Scott Field Bailey, who was also from Austin, and who later became a Bishop in the Episcopal Church. Chaplain Bailey let him make a dark room underneath the Chapel, which was raised on stilts. Red also hand made an enlarger and other developing equipment out of plywood and spare parts.
To his gambling winnings he added the money earned by shooting photos of the men for them to send home. He sent photos to us, as well--in boxes stuffed with currency.
Below are some of the photographs he made while in New Guinea. Unfortunately, the names of most of the men are unknown to me. If you recognize anyone in the photos that would have served at Hollandia, New Guinea, between late 1944 and early 1946, please contact me with the information.
|Tex Cooper and Lt. Kyser|
|Lt. Kyser and Chaplain Scott F. Bailey|
|Dad's first Boy Scout troop|
|H. L. "Tex" Cooper|
It appears that he didn't miss any days on this month's Beer Ration Card. Note his name is spelled "Hallie." He didn't know it was supposed to be "Halley" until he got out of the service and applied for a VA loan to buy a house. He had to get a delayed birth certificate, and found out then that the doctor he had been named after was Dr. Halley. So, his navy records have both his name and birth date wrong.
Here is a chow hall pass.
|The monkey was just one of the guys, sitting with Chaplain Bailey, who listened to all.|
Native Dancers would put on exhibitions
There were native tribes living nearby, and in a village several miles up a river.
|Dad traded for a bow and arrows, which we still have today.|
He also brought back a miniature outrigger carved by a native that looks nearly identical to the one shown above.
|H. L. "Tex" Cooper|
|Native village on the river.|
|Tex Cooper in middle, shirtless.|
When the Japanese surrendered, numerous enemy ships came to Hollandia to surrender. Once, Red and Chaplain Bailey went out in a small boat to accept the surrender of the ship shown below. He said that they were reprimanded and almost court martialed for doing so, but there was no one else available.
The ship that surrendered to them was a Japanese navy command ship.
They had messages wishing them good luck written on them from the towns people.
My son Warren had this framed.
|In this photo and the one above, the base commander at Hollandia meets with the |
Japanese naval commanders that had just surrendered.
Shortly after Dad left for the war, Mother received notice that the owners of the little house with the white picket fence that we had been living in were moving back to Austin and wanted their house back. There was a shortage of housing during the war and Mother, who didn't have a car and had two kids had no easy way to look for another place to live.
She finally received an eviction notice, so she took both me and Tammy to her meeting with the Judge and asked him if he was going to kick the wife and children of a serviceman out in the street. The judge personally found us a place to live, in just a few days. It was on West 34th Street, and is where we were living when Daddy came home from the war.
We lived in a one room duplex, and in the other unit was Josephine French and her daughter, Nancy Kathleen, who was my age, as well. Her husband was in the army, fighting in Europe, so we had quite a community of people waiting for their loved ones to come home from the war.
While Red was overseas, Lois asked her mother and father, Julia and Jim Bird, and her sister Bette to come live with us in Austin. Granddaddy got a job at Capitol Saddlery, Mom got a job at the bus station (see photo below) as a baggage handler. Bette went to school and Grandmother stayed at home with Tammy and me. It must have been cramped in that one bedroom duplex, but I thought it was wonderful having my grandparents and aunt living with us.
Uncle Wilbur's wife, Bertha, and her son, James, lived just down the street from us and we saw them nearly every day as well.
James' cousin, Sandra Gale Hoes, who was born the same month I was in October, 1941, and her mother, Josephine Marko Hoes, spent time with us as well, while their father and husband, Frank Hoes,was also in the navy. Frank was a brother to Bertha.
|Lois Bird Cooper on right.|
Lois took numerous photos as well, like the one below of Tammy and Jimmy holding portraits of their dad. She would send them to him and that's how he kept up with his children's lives.
This was in a time of wartime shortages for film, so where did they each acquire the necessary film for all the photos they each made? Red was able to obtain the unused end strips from cameras in planes. He would then cut the rolls and modify them to fit his camera. Lois had a source as well, but I have forgotten that story.
|Tammy and Jimmy with photos of their father.|
When Red came home, Tammy didn't recognize him because she was so young when he had left. She wasn't comfortable around him for a couple of days. She got over it quickly and we spent many afternoons with Dad on the front porch watching all the cars go by and trying to identify them.
Tammy was not a very articulate talker and we all enjoyed her excitement every time she she could identify and point out a "tudabecker cabertable." You never saw anyone get so excited at seeing a Studebaker convertible.
|Finally home! -1946|
Lois and Red
elow are some links I have found on the web with information on Hollandia, New Guinea during WWII.