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Posted (edited)

#ArtifactHighlight -- A British and American “sea bag”’ from Iceland

One of the more unique stories of the Marine Corps in WWII involves their deployment to Iceland. In the spring of 1941 (prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor), British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill asked the United States for assistance. 

He hoped to have American forces garrison the neutral nation of Iceland, to free British soldiers for combat elsewhere.  Despite the U.S. not being at war, President Franklin Roosevelt agreed -- provided that the occupation force was invited by the Icelandic government.

Headquarters Marine Corps soon organized a provisional brigade for the assignment. It consisted of volunteer Marines, which allowed them to deploy overseas more readily than new military draftees (to the U.S. Army). Known as 1st Brigade (Provisional), the unit consisted of 4,095 men. Their convoy departed from Charleston, SC in June 1941. Weeks later, they arrived in the European warzone off the coast of Iceland. Along the way, the Marines passed the debris of sunken allied merchant vessels and the HMS Hood -- all recently sunk by Germany in the North Atlantic.  
 
Among these Marines was Cpl Harry H. Allen. Assigned to the Brigade Headquarters Company as a telephone wireman, he would serve with the 1st Brigade until they returned to the U.S. in 1942. During his time on the island, Allen (like many Marines) enjoyed the camaraderie of the British army’s 79th “West Riding” Division and other colorful English units. His personalized “sea bag” (picture below) is adorned with the national flags of the United States and Great Britain and is hand-painted with the name “1st Provisional Marine Brigade”, along with his name and initials.  This artifact is a fascinating piece documenting the American’s unusual time in Reykjavik and service in Europe during WWII. Allen would later serve in the Pacific, taking part in combat operations on Kwajalein, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima. He received the Bronze Star for his heroism on Saipan.

 

 

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Edited by Subdeacon Joe
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Posted (edited)

 Great story and artifact! Another mostly unknown and forgotten bit of US military history. Most people are also unaware that we were in Russia in 1918 shooting at Commies.

 

 

9530A5D9-845A-4BF5-AD22-C08D2D70682C.jpeg
 

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Edited by Utah Bob #35998
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Also in June of 1941 the Air Corps was officially re-designated the United States Army Air Forces. Lt Hogg it was commonly still referred to as the Air Corps until 47. My dad went enlisted in 43 and the ring he bought at the PX says Air Corps on it. 

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All before my time, but I remember Edith saying something about, "when you was in the Air Force Archie", and Archie about having a meltdown in the living room. "Air Corps Air Corps Air Corps!! How many times I got to tell you that?!?"

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4 hours ago, Utah Bob #35998 said:

 Great story and artifact! Another mostly unknown and forgotten bit of US military history. Most people are also unaware that we were in Russia in 1918 shooting at Commies.

 

 

9530A5D9-845A-4BF5-AD22-C08D2D70682C.jpeg
 

51A7C2CA-23A2-4F33-9F13-C042F5AE8D15.jpeg

D0402CD2-ACA1-4B90-960E-F8380AA31C9F.jpeg

 

Yep.  AEF Siberia.   https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/wwi-siberian-expedition-siberia-aef-1923593677

 

One of the Doughboys at my Dad's VFW Post had the Siberia clasp on his WWI Victory Medal. 

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16 hours ago, Subdeacon Joe said:

#ArtifactHighlight -- A British and American “sea bag”’ from Iceland

One of the more unique stories of the Marine Corps in WWII involves their deployment to Iceland. In the spring of 1941 (prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor), British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill asked the United States for assistance. 

He hoped to have American forces garrison the neutral nation of Iceland, to free British soldiers for combat elsewhere.  Despite the U.S. not being at war, President Franklin Roosevelt agreed -- provided that the occupation force was invited by the Icelandic government.

Headquarters Marine Corps soon organized a provisional brigade for the assignment. It consisted of volunteer Marines, which allowed them to deploy overseas more readily than new military draftees (to the U.S. Army). Known as 1st Brigade (Provisional), the unit consisted of 4,095 men. Their convoy departed from Charleston, SC in June 1941. Weeks later, they arrived in the European warzone off the coast of Iceland. Along the way, the Marines passed the debris of sunken allied merchant vessels and the HMS Hood -- all recently sunk by Germany in the North Atlantic.  
 
Among these Marines was Cpl Harry H. Allen. Assigned to the Brigade Headquarters Company as a telephone wireman, he would serve with the 1st Brigade until they returned to the U.S. in 1942. During his time on the island, Allen (like many Marines) enjoyed the camaraderie of the British army’s 79th “West Riding” Division and other colorful English units. His personalized “sea bag” (picture below) is adorned with the national flags of the United States and Great Britain and is hand-painted with the name “1st Provisional Marine Brigade”, along with his name and initials.  This artifact is a fascinating piece documenting the American’s unusual time in Reykjavik and service in Europe during WWII. Allen would later serve in the Pacific, taking part in combat operations on Kwajalein, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima. He received the Bronze Star for his heroism on Saipan.

 

 

FB_IMG_1620355577746.jpg

FB_IMG_1620355582883.jpg

FB_IMG_1620355587816.jpg

SDJ,

 

  Again, another fascinating piece of history. And once again, it shows your usual caliber of work.

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2 hours ago, Capt. R. Hugh Kidnme said:

SDJ,

 

  Again, another fascinating piece of history. And once again, it shows your usual caliber of work.

 

Thank you,  Capt 'n, as I've said before,  all I do is pass on things I find of interest. 

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28 minutes ago, Subdeacon Joe said:

 

Thank you,  Capt 'n, as I've said before,  all I do is pass on things I find of interest. 

Being a USMC Recon parent, I found it interesting that leathernecks were involved in WWII, prior to Pearl Harbor. I realize it was not direct combat, and more like guard duty at a shipyard. But, I like to throw these factoids at my son just to keep him challenged. 

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1 hour ago, Capt. R. Hugh Kidnme said:

Being a USMC Recon parent, I found it interesting that leathernecks were involved in WWII, prior to Pearl Harbor. I realize it was not direct combat, and more like guard duty at a shipyard. But, I like to throw these factoids at my son just to keep him challenged. 

Trivia knowledge is power! :D

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