Blasts from the Past

A while back, I mentioned being in possession of some video taken by Garbanzo’s Grandfather around 1938-1945.  Most of it was taken while he was in the Navy.  During that time, he was assigned to the Yangtze River Patrol in China.

Just to give you some context, Garbanzo’s Grandfather Skeet was born and raised in Ohio.  He was accepted to the US Naval Academy where he graduated in 1937.  I found an old scan online of his class yearbook from 1937, and a reference is made to his constant clicking cameras.  It’s kind of funny given what I’m about to show you all.

When Garbanzo was in San Diego to visit his Grandmother many months ago, he smuggled out the rest of the video they had in their basement.  Smuggle is probably the wrong word.  Basically he wait until his grandmother took a nap, boxed up the videos and slides, and mailed them to our house.

He took them in to be digitized a few weeks ago.  We literally stumbled across the place after leaving the baseball game on the 4th of July.  He contacted them, got a tour of the place, and found out that this is THE place to get video stuff done.  I guess all of the movie and TV companies use them when filming in Portland.  In fact, they were doing some video work for the show Leverage.  These guys were thrilled at the chance of being entrusted with the video.  In fact, I think they digitized it before some other stuff because they called two days later to say it was done.  They wanted Garbanzo to give them details as to what they were seeing because it blew them away.  And, they couldn’t believe how good of shape this film was given it’s probably at least 70 years old.

Now that I’ve set it all up, here is the first of many clips.

China – Yangtze River Patrol – circa 1942 from Emmy on Vimeo.

So, what you are seeing is this.  It’s about 1940.  The Japanese Navy has trapped the remaining US river patrols far up the Yangtze River.  If I were a betting person based on the history I’ve read, I would guess this city you are seeing is Chungking.

Why do I believe this?  Well, the USS Tutuila which was the ship he was stationed on retreated back to Chungking after the USS Panay was sunk by the Japanese on 12-December-1937.  This is where the USS Tutuila remained until it was decommissioned by the US government and handed over to the Chinese government.  But, we’ll get into that later, I’m sure.

Despite that Japanese insistance that the sinking of the USS Panay was an accident, they were continuing to bomb near and around the other river patrols.  Keep in mind, the Japanese were running amock in the Pacific, and they weren’t exactly leaving China alone either.  Some of the footage you are seeing is of the city being bombed by the Japanese. 

Tomorrow, I’ll show you some of the footage from what we believe is Chungking as well as Hong Kong.

What do you think?

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