Paris-Plage, La Chapelle Jeanne d’Arc

Divided back postcard. Postmarked July 3, 1917, Army Post Office. Stamped:  Passed Field Censor 2289. Publisher/printer:  Neurdein & Co., Paris.

Price:  $10.00

Plage is beach, so….beach in Paris or Paris Beach? Ahhh, so the full name of the town is actually Le Toquet Paris-Plage, which is located in northern France, on the shores of the English Channel. Le Toquet was, at one time, known as “Paris-by-the-Sea.”

Addressed to:   “Master J. Obery, Polkyth, Saint Austell, Cornwall.”

“Dear Frank. How are you. I saw a little boy who has had a bad throat – how is yours. Keep smiling. Best love   Daddy”

J. Obery was Francis John Patrick Obery, born East Ham, Essex, London in 1910, son of Edward Richard Hooper Obery, born about 1879 and Kate Hooper, born about 1876, who had married on August 5, 1905, in St. Austell, Cornwall. The parish marriage register shows the groom’s occupation as schoolmaster and that his father’s name was John Edward Oliver Obery. (Two middle names were seemingly a tradition.) Kate’s father was Francis Hooper. Edward’s address at the time of marriage was 141 Milton Ave., E. Ham, London and Kate had been living in Watering Hill, Cornwall.

It’s hard to write about some of these cards and photos sometimes. Maybe because there’s that familiar feeling of being able to walk over to the next block and find the Obery Family, or a sense somehow of a trillion points in a person’s life with connections back to ancestors, and forward to their descendants, an overwhelming fullness you can feel but that’s difficult to translate…..

That said, a quick look at the 1911 census shows Edward, Kate, Francis and Edward’s widowed mom, Phillipa Obery, all at 141 Milton Avenue. We later picture the Oberys, minus Edward, locating to Cornwall to stay with Kate’s family, for hopeful safekeeping, while holding Edward in their constant prayers. For context re the move to Cornwall, the month prior to this card being written, 162 civilians were killed in a German daylight air raid on London, June 13th. Another 57 civilian lives were lost in another raid July 7th, just four days after the postmarked date on the card.

Edward served in the Army Veterinary Corps and yes, thank God, he did make it back to his family.

A little about the postcard image:  So, this would have been produced from a photo, not necessarily true to the original, as sometimes the printer or publisher removed or added things (according to what they felt was needed). Anyway, there are some nice details to pick out within the full scene. (The whole is maybe reminding you of a bunch of miniatures set up in a reproduction.) We notice that the road’s edges must slope downward, since the car’s on an angle, driving “in the ditch” some would call it 😉 ; there’s one of those wooden pole fences held together by wire, leaning a little this way and that, as they are wont to do, the fence looking out-of-place with the very stately 4-story building behind it (Or vice-versa!) Moving to our right, we can partially read a sign for an Auto Garage; sweeping further, we pick out three buildings that have half-timbering on a portion of their facades (the vertical stripes with some diagonals) and then of course there’s the church, Saint Joan of Arc, which is not very old at all at this time, having first opened July 14, 1911. (Incidentally this church sustains damage in the Second World War, but is then, thankfully, able to be restored.)

Sources:  Le Toquet. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Touquet (accessed November 11, 2020).

England, Cornwall Parish Registers, 1538-2010. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013. (Ancestry.com).

Class: RG14; Piece: 9565; Schedule Number: 88. 1911 England Census. (Ancestry.com).

“The First World War. Spotlights on History. Long Range Bombers.” nationalarchives.gov.uk. (accessed November 14, 2020).

The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO). Ancestry.com. UK, British Army World War I Service Records, 1914-1920.

Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995.

A Formal Occasion, Onboard Ship

Photo, white border. Circa 1910s – 1940s.

Price:  $6.00         Size:  About 2 x 2 and 7/8″

A snapshot found in a loose box of photos, location and ship name are unknown, and the date is unknown. If you enlarge the photo you’ll see three men in non-military type hats, that are walking with the officers. Maybe they are dignitaries of some sort.

Memorial Day Parade, Hazel Park, MI, 1966

Divided back postcard, unused, 1966. Photo by:  Southeastern Michigan Business & Professional Women Association. Series or number 12842-C. Publisher:  L. Goldberg & L. Wilson, Hazel Park, Michigan. Printer:  Dexter Press, Inc., West Nyack, New York.

Price:  $5.00

“1st Prize Float, Memorial Day Parade. May 29, 1966. Hazel Park, Michigan.”

That’s a helicopter represented in this flower-covered float, honoring the “Fighting Soldiers From The Sky.” Note the rotor blades that are blending in with the crowd.

A Happy Easter To Irving Felix

Divided back, unused postcard. Circa 1914 – 1919. Publisher unknown. Easter series number 36, design 103.

Price:  $10.00

“A Happy Easter – Here’s a wish from a friend

And a greeting true

Just a remembrance, – from me to –

You.”

There are layers to everything, the history of an object, for instance – who made it and how it ended up in where it did, and we’ve remarked on this thought in prior posts, but this card has a special poignancy. And it’s a strange feeling to hold a postcard in your hands that was sent over a century ago and know the fate of the little boy it had been given to. And if our perception of time is normally felt as linear, this is one of those instances that stands out as something different, as if you could walk into the next room and meet the Felix family over Easter dinner. For it was a gut-wrenching discovery to find that Irving Arthur Felix was one of the men serving on USS Houston (CA-30) the heavy cruiser that went down during the Battle of Sunda Strait, off the northern coast of Java during WWII, along with her ally, Australian light cruiser, HMAS Perth (D-29).This after a valiant and greatly outnumbered Allied fight against the Imperial Japanese Navy forces in the vicinity. The numbers vary slightly in different accounts, but of Houston’s crew of 1,068, the survivors numbered 368, surviving only to be taken prisoner and interred in various POW camps. Seventy-nine of the prisoners died, of which Irving Felix was one. According to articles in Iowa newspapers, his family (wife, parents and brother and sister) found out around March 1942 that he was reported missing in action, and learned of his death sometime before July 15th ’43. He died April 26, 1943 at age 29 and was buried in Batavia, (now Jakarta) Java with full military honors. His grave site was later moved (or added, not sure if the original still exists) to Riverside Cemetery, Charles City, Iowa.

The postcard:

Addressed to:   “Mr. Irving Felix, Floyd Iowa.”

The sender wrote:  “Dear Irving: – Here is a card for you even if you can not read it. Inez you can read it. how is that song he sings with the rooster on his arm.    Aunt Tena[?]”

 1920 census info….

Irving Felix was found on the 1920 Federal Census for Rudd Township, Floyd County, Iowa, age 6, and we’re not sure at what age he learned to read, but Inez is his older sister who, like their aunt had suggested, could have read the card to him. From the 1920:  Parents Clarence A. Felix (age 33) and Ida Felix (age 36) and children Inez (age 11) Ivan (age 8) and Irving (age 6). All are born on Iowa, and both the parents are of German heritage. Clarence’s occupation is farmer.

In closing….

To the boy who sang a song about a rooster, and to paraphrase the verse on this card,  “Here’s a wish from friends true, and a heartfelt thank you, from us to you.”  (In remembrance of all lives lost during wartime and a prayer for peace and unity of all on our planet.)

Sources:  USS Houston (CA-30). n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Houston_(CA-30) (accessed April 12, 2020).

HMAS Perth (D-49) n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMAS_Perth_(D29) (accessed April 14, 2020).

Battle of Sunda Strait. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Sunda_Strait. (accessed April 12, 2020).

Year: 1920; Census Place: Rudd, Floyd, Iowa; Roll: T625_490; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 120. (Ancestry.com).

“St. Ansgar Man Is Missing After Java Sea Battle With Asiatic Fleet; Irving Felix of Rudd, Also Reported Lost.” The Courier (Waterloo, Iowa). March 17, 1942. Tuesday, p. 7. (Newspapers.com).

“Sailor Dies in Japanese Camp.” Globe-Gazette (Mason City, Iowa). July 15, 1943. Thursday, p. 6. (Newspapers.com).

Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 14 April 2020), memorial page for Irving Arthur Felix (15 Jan 1914–28 Apr 1948), Find a Grave Memorial no. 32213511, citing Riverside Cemetery, Charles City, Floyd County, Iowa, USA ; Maintained by Kathy Gerkins (contributor 39861343) .

Boyd Roland Gibbs, 4th Field Artillery, Battery B

Real Photo Postcard, unused. Circa 1916 – 1919. Arax Photo Studios. AZO stamp box.

Price:  $15.00

“Mr. Boyd Roland Gibbs. 4th Field Artillery. Battery B. Atlanta, Georgia.”

Hey, well I fibbed 😉 evidently in the last post. Thought I had no military, but found this one. And a great one it is. Full name, artillery and location on the back for this handsome guy in WWI army uniform. Someone’s current great or great-great uncle today. Boyd Gibbs was born in South Carolina in 1898, son of James Patrick Gibbs and Leila Ida (Prince) Gibbs. U.S. Army transport records 1918 – 1919 list Boyd’s rank as wagoner.

Sources:  Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 27 May 2019), memorial page for Boyd Roland Gibbs (May 1898–13 Nov 1940), Find A Grave Memorial no. 143151272, citing First Baptist Church of North Spartanburg Cemetery, Spartanburg, Spartanburg County, South Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Margaret (contributor 46516145).

The National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland; Record Group Title: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985; Record Group Number: 92; Roll or Box Number: 440. (Ancestry.com).

“The Duties of the U.S. Army Wagoner.” (http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~gregkrenzelok/genealogy/veterinary%20corp%20in%20ww1/wagonerduties.html) Accessed May 27, 2019.

U. S. Army Man, WWII

Photo, white border, WWII.

Price:  $5.00           Size:  About 5 x 3 and 1/4″

No i.d. on the back for this U. S. army man during WWII, who was enjoying a bottle of soda pop when he posed for the picture. The snapshot was found loose in a bin full of others, at an antique mall. And we’re assuming he was army due to the stamp on the back of the photo which shows:   “Passed for publication, U. S. Army press censor 62801, U. S. E. C.”  Maybe one of our readers can give us more information. Do the initials U. S. E. C. stand for United States East Coast and is the number 62801 the censor’s i.d. number?

Source:  “What does USEC stand for?” https://www.acronymfinder.com/United-States-East-Coast-(USEC).html. (accessed November 12, 2018).

U. S. Navy Man And Bride

Photo, white border. Circa 1940s – 1950s.

Price:  $3.00        Size:  2 and 13/16 x 1 and 15/16″

A beautiful couple, no i.d. on the back, posing on their wedding day in front of an automobile, which we can’t see too much of. The era is WWII or possibly the 1950s.

Couple During WWI

Photo, white border. Circa 1914 – 1918.

Price:  $2.00          Size:  3 and 3/16 x 4 and 4/16″

For Veteran’s Day…..though a day late

Even though this snapshot is very blurry, I still like it. There’s no identifying info on the back for this handsome couple. (Love the woman’s skirt – row upon row of  ruffles). But what comes to mind? The word precarious, for love during wartime. In this case the era was The Great War, as it was then called. But, in contradiction to that first thought, the word enduring. Love is forever.

A U. S. Navy Man, WWI

Real Photo Postcard, unused with writing. Circa 1914 – 1918. EKC stamp box.

Price:  $10.00

For Veteran’s Day….

“Best Wishes & Good Luck to a splendid Bunk Mate, Charles Ed. Sickler. Paxton, Ill. R-R-I.”

Most likely we’re looking at Charles Ed. Sickler in the photo (at least one presumes!) as it sounds like this writer of best wishes was giving this remembrance of himself, along with his mailing address, to his buddy, “the splendid Bunk Mate.” A cool guy, Charles, you can read his perhaps dry sense of humor in the card. The RR1 would be Rural Route 1. But no confirmation was found for him in census, military or city directory records, and that is surprising.

Hugh Ester Bayles

Divided back, unused with writing and/or photographer stamp. Three Real Photo Postcards of Hugh Ester Bayles, taken in San Jose, CA, by photographer Enrico Bambocci. Circa 1913 and 1918. Solio stamp box.

Price for the set:  $20.00

So, we’re a little late with this military-related post, for the prior Memorial Day, but nevertheless….three wonderful RPPCs of Hugh Ester Bayles. Hugh was the son of Levi Bayles and Lydia Mitchell, and was born August 21, 1892 in Paxico, Kansas (still a small town today). The 1910 Federal Census shows Hugh, his parents, and his siblings, Charles, Ruth and Homer, living in Mokelumne, Calaveras Co., CA. At the time of the first World War draft registration, he was living at 918 Harliss Ave., San Jose, CA, and working as a truck driver for the Raisch Co.[?] located on Auzerais Ave. He enlisted April 30, 1918. He was married to Bessie Irene Way, prior to 1939. He died November 30, 1982 at age 90.

At age 21, about 1913, San Jose, California. The photographer props at this time include an animal skin (uggh) of….is that a badger? (poor guy) and a vase holding geraniums.

Hugh, age 21. Different day, as he is wearing a different (pin-striped) suit and a wider tie.

In uniform, at about age 26, circa 1918.

Sources:  Registration State: California; Registration County: Los Angeles; Roll: 1544322. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.

The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (4th Registration) for the State of California; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147. (Ancestry.com)

Paxico, Kansas. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paxico,_Kansas (accessed May 30, 2017).

Ancestry.com. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Mokelumne, Calaveras, California; Roll: T624_73; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 0011; FHL microfilm: 1374086. (Ancestry.com)

State of California. California Death Index, 1940-1997. Sacramento, CA, USA: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics. (Ancestry.com)

Find A Grave Memorial# 140189413 for Bessie I. (Way) Bayles