1945 ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT DIARY HANDWRITTEN BY A YOUNG SOLDIER ENDURING GRUELING BASIC TRAINING TO BECOME PART OF THE NAVAL CONSTRUCTION FORCE OF THE U.S. NAVY, THE WORLD FAMOUS 'SEABEES'

By: J. W. RIDGEWAY

Price: $2,055.99

Quantity: 1 available


On offer is a unique document of a critical part of the United States war effort in the second World War. It is a original, handwritten diary by a soldier, J.W. Ridgeway, going through Basic Training with the United States Naval Construction Battalions, better known as the ‘Seabees.’ Beginning with his arrival on February 19th, 1945, the diary is a detailed and comprehensive account of the process by which young men were shaped and molded into Seabees, capable of being both skilled construction workers building naval bases and trained soldiers who could take up a weapon at a moment’s notice. The Basic Training occurs at the Davisville Naval Construction Battalion Center in Davisville, Rhode Island and goes from February 19th to March 21th, 1945, right before the author’s embarkation overseas, which Ridgeway believes will be China. Almost every single day in the month-long training has a detailed and interesting diary entry written by Ridgeway. For the most part, the entries consist of an account of activities done during the day and at what time, however, he does supplement this training log with personal anecdotes of his feelings and of stories told to him by other soldiers, such as a lecture by a fellow Seabee who had been aboard a torpedoed ship that sank and who spent 4 days in the water before being found. The diary is 56 pages long, and each page has every single line filled with writing by Ridgeway. Names in the diary include: Lonny Amicucci, Lester Mut, Connie Rhoades, L. Yager, and others. The diary measures 6-3/4 x 8-3/8 and is in very good condition. The front and back cover are made of somewhat flimsy board and the company that manufactured the notebook is”Juniata Composition”. The front cover also contains the author’s name, the “School” which Ridgeway writes as “CMIC - Co. 6B-1” as well as his “Class” which is “Davisville, R.I.” The pages are still in good condition, showing only minimal signs of discoloration and wear. No rips or tears are present. The diary contains 5 loose pieces of paper at the end, a continuation of the entry that takes up the last page of the book. These pages are a bit flimsier than the ones bound to the book, but they are still in very good condition. Ridgeway wrote the whole diary in pencil, which is very easy to read and legible throughout. Some slight fading can be found, but nothing that affects the legibility of the words written. OVERALL: VG. Text: “Feb. 19, 1945. Dod Dodderidge took me over to the bus station at 6:33 A.M. Reported to Federal Bldg. at 10:00A.M. Left on train for Davisville R.I. at 4:55 P.M. Went thru Columbus, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York and Providence. Arrived At Camp Endicott 7:30 P.M.”; “Feb. 21. Reveille at 0600. Shaved, etc. Chow at 0655. At 0800 received our work clothes (GI issue). They are called greens. Returned to barracks and dressed in our greens.They are really warm. Rhode Island is much colder than Indiana.Chow is excellent and there is plenty of it. We are stationed at barracks D-6 and in our platoon we have 30 men from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, and Indiana. They are all tops and I believe that by the end of the boot we will have one of the best outfits in recruit training. I have been appointed company clerk and mail clerk which means a lot of extra work. However, I am excused from all work details and fire watches. Our trip to ships service once a day and mail deliveries at 1115 and 1615 are the high points of the day. There are lots of cigars at Ships Service and we are allowed 2 packs of cigarettes each day...We took our physical examination and all 30 boys in the platoon made the grade. We are company B-6 and have a swell fellow of about 35 the name of Lonny Amicucci for our Chief. He spent 2 yrs in the S. Pacific and really knows the ropes...”; “Feb. 28 - Reveille at 0600. Clean up the barracks. Chow at 0655. At 0800 we went for 2 hours of Judo. Now those stomach muscles hurt. At 1000 we had an hour of Close Order Drill. Mail at 1115 and altho I didn't’ receive any there was quite a pile of it.It’s beginning to get heavy. I have not had much time to write anybody except Betsy and Mom so I can’t expect much mail. It sure is a shot in the arm and there is nothing her in camp they can give you to replace news from home. Chow at 1155. Close Order Drill from 1300 to 1500. We had a lecture on Military Courtesy at 1500. Mail at 1615...Chow at 1755. I wrote a letter to Betsy in the evening. Laps at 2130.”; “March 13...at 1500 we went to the Chemical Warfare Hut and went thru Gas Mask Drill. After the Drill we went thru a Tear Gas Chamber. I couldn’t get a mask to fit me but went into the chamber anyway to find out what would happen. I found out damn quick, about 10 seconds to be exact. I really tore out of there and by the time I got my gas mask off I was crying like a baby. My eyes burned but after about 15 minutes I was OK again. When they issue us new gas mask I’m going to be damn sure mine fits. If this had been a real gas attack i would certainly been a dead duck and that isn’t much of a joke..”; “March 21.Reveille at 0600. Today we are secured until 1300. The time will be spent continuing our process of packing, etc. Chiow at 0635. The morning was spent packing. L. Yager and myself went down to S-29 Ships Service and made a few minor purchases. Chow at 1135. At 1300 we went to E-5C Drill Hall for our last Drill Period.” (United States Naval Construction Battalions, better known as the Seabees, from the Naval Construction Force of the United States Navy. Their nickname is a heterograph of the first initials "C.B." from the words Construction Battalion. Naval Construction Battalions were conceived of as a replacement for civilian construction companies working for the US Navy after the United States was drawn into World War II with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor On 7 December 1941. International law made it illegal for civilians to resist enemy attack, doing so would classify them as guerrillas, for which they could be summarily executed. The Seabees would consist of skilled workers that would be trained to drop their tools if necessary and take up their weapons at a moment's notice to defend themselves. The concept model: A USMC–trained Battalion of construction tradesmen (a military equivalent of those civilian Companies) that would be capable of any type of construction, anywhere needed, under any conditions or circumstance. It was quickly realized that this model could be utilized in every theater of operations as it was seen to be flexible and adaptable. The use of USMC organization allowed for smooth coordination, integration or interface of both the NCF and Marine Corps elements. In addition, Seabee Battalions could be deployed individually or in multiples as the project scope and scale dictated. They were unique at conception and remain so today. In the October 1944 issue of Flying magazine the Seabees are described as "a phenomenon of world war II”)

Title: 1945 ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT DIARY HANDWRITTEN BY A YOUNG SOLDIER ENDURING GRUELING BASIC TRAINING TO BECOME PART OF THE NAVAL CONSTRUCTION FORCE OF THE U.S. NAVY, THE WORLD FAMOUS 'SEABEES'

Author Name: J. W. RIDGEWAY

Categories: 20th Century Diary, 20th Century Manuscript, Books and Manuscripts General Overview,

Publisher: DAVISVILLE NAVAL CONSTRUCTION CENTER, RHODE ISLAND, 1945

Book Condition: Very Good

Type: Manuscript

Size: 4to - over 9¾" - 12" tall

Seller ID: 0009133

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