News-Press from Fort Myers, Florida on October 20, 1944 · Page 1
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News-Press from Fort Myers, Florida · Page 1

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Fort Myers, Florida
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Friday, October 20, 1944
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(I FOKf F2YEK Thomm A, Edison Said: "There In 011W mm Kurt Myer will 90 milliun people Art going U find It out," News-Press 'Phonet Newa Department . . ... 44 Advertising, Circulation .... 74 Job Printing ........ 20 VOL. LX. NO. 339. 60th Year. FORT MYERS, FLA.. FRIDAY MORNING. OCTOBER 20. 1944 FIVE CENTS A COPY TUT MEWS PRESS MAI! I mm Ml Uo So News About Service Men Perry English, M. M. 1-c, writes from u Soaboe crump ut Quoddy Village, Mo., "We uro getting the llNews-Press and read it from 'kiver to kiver,' and us Fort My- ers boys (Chick Webb and John Mickle) are surprised at the price of real estate in our home town. John and I have had lots of fun Jgathering 'raspberries and dew berries and when we want u real treat we hold a clambuke, how ever none of this can take the place of a good fishing trip or a barbecue in the woods. G I"" Pi r!5 ' B. F. . Meston, field director with the Red Cross, writes from France: "We can now write of some of the places we've seen. Jn England I spent most of my lime in Northwich and Tiverton, got to London and Birmingham twice and to Manchester once. My last sight of England was Plymouth. In France Pve seen the Mjtowns of Caen, St. I.o, Cherbourg, Rarneville, La Mans, Paris, Reims and hundreds of other places. Thi will give you a fair idea of the '(looks Tour' we have been on. Most of these places we hit just briefly and many we just passed through. "I was in Paris 24 hours and did see quite a lot. It is a beautiful city and not at all like any other city in France. Looks more like (Ja city of our own and the people look and dress most as we do back home. Had lunch with Bing Crosby and I enclose a five franc note he signed for me. He is one reBl guy. I was very much surprised to find Qltinv.aj. loe to the front lines. I asked him about it and he said he ,would be ni the front lines and not sihging, if he had his way. I have always liked hini on radio ami in pictures but. now I appreri- Vjate him more." ru n Ralph L. Leffers, stationed at Camp Gordon Johnson, has been promoted to sergeant. 8 Road Patrol Says Coast Hard Hit ,m A report of hurricane damage I along the West Coast, "just like in Fort Myers but heavier in some places," was made last night by C'apt. Stuart Senneff of the state road patrol after a trip during the itnv fr-im Mmmi to Rrndnntnii where he received reports from pa trolmen in Wauchula and other in land points. On his trip up early in the fore noon, Capt. Senneff was prevented by high water on the. road from wgoing into Everglades but the patrolman there saiil that the townspeople had been assembled in safe "places to ride out the storm. Reports yesterday afternoon said that the water was rapidly receding. 9 At Naples there was considerable damage on the, beach but not much in the town, which was also the case at Bonita, Capt. Seneff said. Punta (Iorda was somewhat more severely hit than Fort Myers, as & Vrn Snriiftritn nml HrHrl.mtnii TUnt were directly in the storm center which continued on to the. eastern outskirts of Tampa at t:!!0 yesterday morning before continuing northeastward up the center of the '9 state in the direction of Oitando and Jacksonville. "At Wauchula," said Capt, Senneff, "our patrolman said the storm was the worst they ever had. k Many buildings were damaged but no loss of life was reported," Similar damage was reported at Mulberry, Bartow and other inland points on the same side of the storm as Fort Myers. Estimates were that the center passed here & some .'in miles out in the gulf about 2 a. m. No lull, indicating the center of the storm, was noted here or at Punta (Iorda but Sarasota, Bra-denton and Tampa reported inter-vals of dead calm in the period from ,) to fi:30 a. m, HAIDERS OVER REICH LONDON, Friday, Oct. 20(T Air raid alarms were sounded early today in southwestern Germany as the Berlin radio reported a strong formation of allied bombers was over the Rhineland ' again, following up the heavy ' American daylight raid yesterday jgby more than 1,000 heavy bombers. Those planes blasted the Rhineland war industry cities of Mannheim and Ludwigshafen with 8,000 tons of explosives, Invasion of Philippines, Reported Cdming Back IOQ SI4IUII MlltS Vigan' South China Sea. MlNDOftO wRUUf 1! AI -".' .'1. y.Trlc ) , PANAY1-VV. cfiU & PALAWAN Suu Sea MINDANAO 0 ' iamboang BORNEO ARCMIPfUCO 1 An American invasion of the Philippines, striking for Lcyte to divide the islands in half, was reported yesterday. The islands are shown above, where (Jen. Douglas Mat-Arthur declarer he would return after the fall of itataan. Citizens Thanked For Shelter Given Gunnery Soldiers Cl. Muenler PIeaneI by 'Fine Cooperation In Emergency Col. II. F. Muenier, commanding officer at Buckingham field, thank ed the citizens of Fort Myers last night for the splendid manner in which they cooperated in housing soldiers evacuated from the gunnery school to weather out the storm. Approximately 5,000 Buckingham G-I's, most of them dressed in olive drab coveralls, were Convoyed into the city during the afternoon before the hurricane struck. The majority of them were housed in downtown hotel lobbies, theaters, the post office and other public buildings, hut it was estimated that nvore than 1,500 were taken into private homes throughout the city. "I want to thank the citizens of Fort Myers for the fine spirit of cooperation which they displayed in taking in men during this emergency," Col. Muenter said. "I particularly ' want to thank Mayor Sum Fitzsimmons, Chief Charlie (Continued on Page Six All Communication Lines . Go Out in Storm Here A Tamiami Trailways bus arrived here from Miami at 6:25 yesterday afternoon and established the first transportation into or out of the city for nearly 24 hours. The bus left here headed for Tampa und another one arriving from Miami at 8:40 also headed north. The Miami bus was the first commercial passenger vehicle to arrive in Fort Myers since service was stopped at 8:30 Wednesday night. An Atlantic Coast Line train arrived here at 3 a. m. yesterday morning but later fills on both ends of the trestle over the Caloosahatchee river were washed out and the damage is not expected to be repaired before tomorrow afternoon at the earliest. Although the morning passcng- er train from the north could not have crossed the river if it had come this far, reports late yesterday said that the train was "lost" somewhere along the line from Tampa where it left early in the morning. It had not reached Ar cadia and no communications were available with Lakeland, Bartow and other stops along the route. Because of the lack of trans portation service, no mail arrived here yesterday. Postmaster Walter Walters said last night, however, that the first letters from out PHILIPPINE ISLANDS Pacific Ocean SAM AR I- ! tiYTI ' fVr3 (OHOl 1 Celebes Sea Iona Farmlands FloodedCrop - - Damage Is High TomatoPH ami Cuke If arl Hit; Sail Ilnin I'olnloes, CilniH Mown Off Heavy winds anil high water whipped by the tropical hurricane which Battered this section Wed nesday night and yesterday morn ing were responsible for heavy damage to both citrus and truck with some farmers estimating that as much as 75 per cent of the crops were destroyed. County Agent Carl Heuck and others engaged in agriculture said, how ever, that an accurate estimate of the destruction would not be made until a more complete survey is made. The Iona vegetable section and citrus groves on Pine Island were apparently hit hardest hut damage to the crops was extensive in all parts of the county. Large sections of Iona farmlands were flooded by tidewater ami reports from Pine island said that winds there swept some groves virtually clean. D. Geruci and Bert Draughon, vegetable growers, estimated that 50 to 75 per cent of the county's Continued on Page Four side are expected to arrive on this morning's train which arrives here about 10 o'clock. The National Airlines plane, which also carries mail, did not arrive here yesterday on either of its two scheduled flights. Fort Myers was also virtually isolated as far as .communications were concerned. Up until late yesterday afternoon, the only long distance line out of the city was a circuit, to Punta (Iorda. Later, however, another connection was made with Punta (Iorda and two circuits each established with Clewistou and West Palm Beach. There was no communication, however, with any town north of Punta Gorda or south of here. The connections with Palm Beach gave Fort Myers its first news service since power lines went off for good here at 11 o'clock the night before. Another news line, which comes over Western Union wire, was still unavailable. The telegraph company was unable to establish contact with any other office In tho state and last night it appeared it would be sometime- today before any telegraph service is resumed. The state road patrol office got through as far as Tampa with its radio hookup. In. "ojioirjci; 1 . V oatwi -i -1 MacArthur's Forces Land, Tokyo Asserts Amerieam Strike to Cut Islands in Half; Nq Confirmulion by Washington Bulletin! PHILIPPINES, Friday, Oct. 20 W) (Army radio pool broadcast) American invasion of the Philippines was officially proclaimed today by Gen. Douglas Mac Arthur. The special communique text: "In a major amphibious operation we have seized the eastern coast of Leyte island in the Philippines, 000 miles north of Moro-tai and 2,5011 miles from Milne bay from whence our defensive started nearly 16 months ago. "The Visayas is midway between Luzon and Mindanao and at one stroke split into two Japanese forces in the Philippines. The enemy expected the attack on Mindanao. i "Tacloban was secured with small casualties. The landing was preceded hy heavy air and naval bombardment which was devastating in effect. Our ground troops are already extending their hold." PEARL HARBOR, Oct. 16 .II American landings in the Philip-:&mJ.jotr? i.ulv'Gen. DougH? MacArthtir at two points which would raise an Immediate threat of cutting the archipelago in half were reported extensively today by Tokyo radio without allied confirmation. General MacArthur. whn has vowed "I shall return," issued his regular communique which told of heavy plane raids from his theater against Mindanao, southernmost of the Philippines, on Tuesday the day Tokyo said the reinvasion be- Continued on Page Two Russians Surge " Into E. Prussia LONDON, Friday, Oct. 20 (Pj A huge red army, composed of Moscow and Stalingrad veterans and supported by waves of tanks and planes and hundreds of big soviet guns, has begun the first Russian invasion of pre-war Germany, smashing several miles into East Prussia and still was making headway at midnight. Berlin an nounced early today. The fall of Eydtrau, border town !7 miles east of the ten-wuv junc tion of Insterburg, and 87 miles from the East Prussian capital of Konigsbertr on tho German Baltic coast, was announced officially yesterday by the German high com mand. Moscow, as is usual at the unfold ing of important operations, kept silent about the offensive which Berlin said was backed bv GOO tanks and supported at both ends of a flaming 2110-mile front by tw0 other massive armies attacking on tlie northern and southern ends of the imperilled Junker homeland. A dramatic midnight broadcast from Berlin quoted a German front correspondent no savimr that the , Russians still were diircintr deeper into the ancient land of the Teutonic knights, and adding: "No battle in the E'ast has ever seen such concentrations of Russian air forces and seasoned cam paigners cannot recall a similar surfeit of Russian artillery and tanks." Another broadcast niadn earlier said the Russians possessed "an unheard of numerical superiority.'' While the Germans often emphasize their own inferiority durinar a severe nazj reverse, Moscow dis patches previously said that the Russians bad massed a tremen dous force along the East Prussian frontier, where an army has been poised for two months. Berlin said German reserves were being rushed to the front, presumably these include units of the new home army of all males between (i and 60, whose formation Gestapo Chief Heinrich Himmler announced Wednesday in a speech snmewnere in East Prussia. City Escapes Serious Loss In Hurricane Wimls hYat li Peak of 100 Milt-s; Kiver I'loodn Low Areas, No. School Today With no reported loss of life or injuries, a tropical hurricane left this area about noon yesterday af- tr lashing Fort Myers and vicin ity with winds which at times ex ceeded 100 miles an hour and leav ing spotted heavy' property dam age in its wake. Although Fort Myers and its two nearby army airfields escaped serious damage, tori Myers Beach and other coastal areas suffered heavv de struction and truck and citrus crops were hard hit. The storm reached its peak here at 145 a. m. yesterday morning when the Page field weather station recorded winds which averag ed 00 miles an hour aid exceed-ed'l'iO miles in gusts. The barometer aho readied its lowest. 29.0:!, when the wind reached its hefght. Later in the morning after the storm had passed and the whvl shifted to a westerly direc tum, heavy tales swept up the Crloosahatchee river and inundated low portions of Fort Myers near the river. The high water which for a time stood three to five firi. d,...,, at und waterfront homes, sloshed nv'-r downtown seawalls and block- traffic .over the . FIryt street my s creek bridge; falling trees and debris which damaged some homes and brought down electric and telephone wires were the prin cipal cause of damage in Fort Myers. Water Tank Collapses Some of the falling trees, most of them Australian pines, struck houses and blocked streets but the damage was not extensive. The wind whipped off both sheet metal, shingle and tar paper roofs, blew down some downtown sitrns and other exposed fixtures which were not tied down securely but there were no reports of broken plate glass windows. One of the casualties of the storm was the water tank at the Royal Palm hotel which collapsed and smashed in the boiler room. The smokestack for the boiler crashed onto a car parked under it. leaving the ve hicle almost a total wreck. The hotel alsg suffered heavily Continued on Page Three! Canadians Hatlle To Free Antwerp LONDON, Friday, Oct. 20 fP) Canadian troops accelerated their drive against Germans pocketed in the Schelde estuary of Holland yesterday, one column bursting forward three miles, and last night the Berlin radio blurted out fresh speculation on the imminence of an all-out allied assault across the Dutch - German frontier. Late reports said the Canadians were fighting inside Breskens, just across the estuary from flooded Walcheren island, while another Canadian column splashed through the marshes three miles to within one mile of Costburg, squarely in the center of the pocket. This action was part of the determined effort to clear away German forces blocking the Schelde river liding to Antwerp and German military spokesmen have repeatedly maintained that a British-American "knockout blow" wonlrl be attempted somewhere between nacnen ana Arnnem as soon as the Antwerp sunnlv channel was opened to Gen. Eisenhower. Hut German broadcasts last night said Eisenhower might not even wait for the Belgian port to become nvaihihlp before l.nmrhinc a new assault. One propagandist even predicted a new seaborne invasion in the vicinity of Rotter dam. NO SCHOOL TODAY There'll be no school until Mon day, superintendent Harry Hendry announced yesterday. Mr. Hendry said the janitors would have to have extra time to clean the buildings which were used to quarter both soldiers und civilians during the storm. Storm Cuts Across Florida and Sweeps Up Atlantic Coast JACKSONVILLE, Oct. 19 (JP) A tropical hurricane swept northward tonight along the South Atlantic coast after crossing Florida, causing two deaths in Miami and estimated damage of $20,000,-000 to the state's citrus crop. The weather bureau said the storm probably would reach a point off Cape Hatteras, N. C, early Friday and pass out to sea. Relatively little damage occur red at Jacksonville, which had its worst blow since 1928, but nearly 50 beach houses were destroyed by wind and tides at Fernandina Beach, 25 miles northward. In the populous Sarasota-Tam- pa-St. Petersburg area, where the hurricane moved inland at dawn, beach residents were 'evacuated and no loss of life was reported. Damage to property in Florida was estimated in the millions of dollars, hut no single area seemed severely hit. Belated reports from Havana said at least 24 were killed, and Army Jeep Gets When Storm Cuts Power Fat Mullet Swim ?1 11IIU iVtlll 1 13 It Dehydration Plant While high winds and water were wreaking extensive damage on nearby Fort Myers Beach, the new fish dehydration plant a half mile away weathered its first storm without serious damage to the buildings and fill. Frank Reed, president of Reed-Martin laboratories which operates the plant, estimated the amount of damage at $5,000. This included 3,000 gallons of oil which had just . arrived and had been stored and spilled when the tank containing it was blown ever. Tide water which stood nearly three feet on the floor of the main building damaged motors and equipment of the cookers but did not reach the motors cf the dehydrating equipment. He said it would probably be a week before the plant could get back into operation. A test run scheduled for Wednesday at the plant had to be cancelled but the crew had fish anyway. As the water rose in the hulding, a number of large mullet came in with the tide. After daylight Frank Green caught a nice one in his hands and his daughter, Mrs. Jack Watson of the Trade Winds cafe, located across the highway from the plant cooked it for lunch. Buckingham Field Escapes With Slight Storm Loss Buckingham Field lost one building as result of the hurricane, but the results of the storm on other structures were scarcely notieca- able after the wind had died down by midday. The transient aircraft building near operations was toppled over during the night. Tarpaper was torn from the roofs ad sides of some structures, a-few window panes were broken and screen doors were torn loose on several structures. None of the few aircraft which remained at the fiel,) was damaged by the wind. Most of the permanent party men "n the post remained at the field on an alert status; they were placed in the strongest buildings on the post, and most of them spent the night sleeping on the floor. The telephone system betweeen the field and Fort Myers remained in effect throughout the storm. Col. H. f. Muenter, the comman ding officer, and most other key officers were on the field during the storm. Officers were not al lowed to return to Fort Myers to be with their families, but most of the married enlisted personnel Surgidero de Batanbano, south Cuban coastal port built on lowlands and over water, was destroyed by the hurricane Wednesday. It appeared that the Isle of Pines, although badly buffeted, had escaped heavy damage. Although the storm lost some of its force as it moved seaward, hurricane warnings were ordered hoisted from Florida to the Virginia capes. Winds of 60 to 80 miles an hour were forecast as far north as Cape Hatteras. The weather bureau issued the following 9:30 p. m., hurricane advisory : The hurricane is centered near Savannah, Ga., and just a short distance off the coast, moving north-northeastward or northeast ward about 25 miles per hour attended by winds of 60 to 80 miles per hour near the center and by gales over a 200 mile radius, except in areas more than 100 miles inland. The storm center will pass Continued on Page Seven Out Paper Car Wheels in and a v Insures Paper in Hurricane A new wrinkle in getting out the paper on time was performed by the News-Press when the power lines went down in the storm Wednesday night and an army jeep was pressed into service to pull Thursday morning's .hurricane edition through the press. It took a little longer than the electric motors but the first papers were "on the street" ahead of the usual hour and the last of the run was in the hands of carriers by the time daylight permitted them to pick their way through littered residential sections to make deliveries. Anticipating a power failure the composing room got a head start late Wednesday afternoon on setting type for the paper and everything was off the linotype machines when intermittent electric service, which company officials and linesmen had striven to maintain after the storm struck, finally went off for keeps just before 11 p.m. At that hour the plates were just "being placed on the press, only five minutes from starting the run. But those five minutes, or any additional, were ruled out as a possibility until next day by Manager Ed Smith, who remained at the power plant directing efforts to keep service going to the hospital, water works and the busi- Continued on Page Four were allowed to leave the field to make the necessary arrangements for the housing of their families. Radio contact with Maxwell Field, Ala., headquarters of the eastern flying training command, were maintained by the communications officer at Buckingham throughout the storm. The weather station remained open throughout the night, but the anenomcter blew off during a gust recorded as approximately ,00 miles an hour shortly before midnight. Training was halted at the gunnery school Wednesday morning in preparation for the emergency, and only a few departments functioned at full strength Thursday because of the absence of female civilian workers and many enlisted men who could not he brought back to tho post until afternoon. A full day of training was scheduled for today, with all soldiers and civilians at their posts this morning a8' usual. There will be no flying today, however, since the gunnery school's planes are still evacuated at posts in Georgia and Ohio and will not be returned until the hurricane has cleared up. Red Coconut, 15Cottages Wiped Away Commodore ami Nettie's Damaged. Boat Lost Ah Water Sweep Over Inland Hurricane winds reaching an estimated 00 miles an hour rolled gulf waters entirely over Estero island early yesterday , morning, destroyed at least 15 cottages, and battered all the large Fort Myers Beach hotels, inns, and dining rooms. The Red Coconut was completely demolished, others suffered lesser damage. J. L. Loftin, retired marine con tractor, made a survey of tho beach yesterday afternoon and estimated the damage to property at $150,000. He did not attempt to estimate loss in personal belongings. He said the beach itself' had not been damaged or washed away to any extent. In fact it was the contrary. The waves piled up sand to improve many sections of the beach. Water Sweeps Over Shortly after 3 o'clock in the morning the water started over the beach and the entire island was inundated to a depth of three to six feet for at least three hours. Nothing is left of the fishing pier. Sections of the pier, tossed by angry waves, helped to batter down the beach front cottages. There is not a stick left standing at Ray's steak and chop house. It just disappeared. Harry K. David son's four bedroom cottage "We're Here," one of the oldest on the beach, just folded up. Stoves, ice boxes and beds are scattered all over the back bay. The beach took a terrific beating, from 'Winds reaching an esti mated 00 to 100 mile velocity. Houses shook like sea oats in the wind. Some gave way and there are piles of lumber and furniture in the tall trees which line the bay side of the island. Many tall Australian pines and even a few sturdy coconut palms were blown down. The waves washed beach sand from six inches to a foot deep over the country road. Sand Covers Road , The first cars got to the beach at 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon. It was possible to drive the beach road by skirting washouts. The highway, however, was covered with sand and looked like part of the front beach. Most wires were down. The power stayed on until 10 o'clock Wednesday night but once out was not resumed yesterday. The entire island was covered with water from three until six o'clock and those who had stayed in cottages up on pilings might as well have been in the middle of the Gulf o Mexico. The wind was so high from midnight to dawn that it was impossible to walk on the road or beach. Waves were never more than 10 feet high and only about four feet high as they crossed the island. At least 15 houses were completely destroyed some leaving1 no trace except part of the foundations. Soldiers, their wives families and friends were seen hunting through the remains of tha demolished houses for clothing and personal effects. Many houses, not outwardly damaged, suffered from the high water which wrecked and ruined furniture. Floating Docks "Jenk's" place, at the bridge, suffered severe water damago with 18 inches of water inside. Tho building was not outwardly damaged, but the floor was littered with beer and liquor bottles, with, labels washed off. Walter Jenkins, owner of the establishment spent the night there. His'car was stuck in front of his place until late yesterday. It had been submerged in some four feet of water. His house, and furnishings on ths beach were undamaged. Tho Washington apartments, one of the old landmarks on the beach was more than half destroyed. Tha Continued on Page Four J THE WEATHER In Fort Myers yesterday (Ort. 19): High 85, low 71. Forecast: Clear and cooler. Tides at Fort Myers Beach: f High Low A.M. P.M. A.M. P.M. ; Fri 2:36 4:4 J 10;00 8:5 aat. 3.U4 5 MS JVM 9:li - Sun rises 7:3 f, sets 6:56. Moon rises 10:29 a. m., nets 9:29 p. m.

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