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ERB  portrait by John Coleman Burroughs
 From Tarzana, California
Memories from the 
Danton Burroughs
Family Archive
Danton Burroughs: ERB Grandson

Edgar Rice Burroughs
Oldest Correspondent in the WWII Pacific Theatre
An Illustrated Time Line of Events
1943: The War Years
Collated by Bill Hillman

Volume 1036

1943  ERBzin-e 1036
*  Sol Lesser resumed production of the Tarzan films with Tarzan Triumphs and Tarzan's Desert Mystery at RKO. Johnny Weissmuller starred.
Early: ERB wrote the article, "What Are We Going to Do about it?" in which he expressed doubts over the loyalty of the thousands of Japanese on the Islands. By fall he regretted some of these comments and prepared to write another article.
January 1: Ed breakfasted with correspondents and three refugees from the Dutch East Indies and Malaya.
January 3: Ham and Ed walked through and marvelled at the unusual flora of the Botanical Gardens. Ed noted that many of the plants would serve well as models for Jack's Inner World and Martian landscapes. Ed took the train for an afternoon VIP party at the home of wealthy cattleman, Field, in Pymble. He was back in time for a late supper at Ciro's night club run by Harry Gould of San Francisco.
Botanical Gardens, SydneyBottle Tree - Botanical Gardens, SydneyMoon over Pymble, Australia
January 4:  A radio magazine took photos of Ed and Harnett from the Broadcasting Station 2SM. The Bank of Australasia released impounded royalty funds of $3000. Ed took out cash and bought a warmer uniform. The RKO rep and "Film Weekly" magazine took publicity photos.
January 5: Ed attended a special screening of Tarzan's New York Adventure (final MGM Lesser picture) as guest of the MGM Sydney Studio and did an interview with the MGM News Service. He noted that many of Sydney's streets appeared to be right out of the 1890s. The Fields take Ed to Prinee's, a swank restaurant where he is shocked to see so many young men in civilian clothes.
coverSydney Harbour Bridge
January 6: Ed made a recording for MGM News Service - script by Saide Parker,  met with UP Sydney Bureau Chief, and recorded a talk for an Australian Broadcasting Commission children's hour. He then went shopping and visited a financial counting room right out of Dickens.
Counting Room
January 7: Ed purchased $3475.00 worth of US War Bonds for ERB, Inc. from a US army representative - a Tarzan fan as were most of the people he met in the Pacific. He then viewed a classified film of Rickenbaker at Kodak and saw Hulbert's friend Shelton in some of the scenes. He returned to the hotel to pack for next day's departure for New Caledonia. He had promised the Noumea Chowder and Marching Club a case of scotch but had been able to find only three bottles.
January 8: Military flights out of Mascot Field were cancelled because of a hurricane approaching New Caledonia so Ed checked back into Usher's. RKO made plans for another recording to promote the next Tarzan film release.
January 9: Ed pulled out the remainder of his Australian account in $118.50 US currency (exchange $3.26 per L). He then took a tram to catch the 11:15 ferry for Taronga Park Zoo to see the koala bears -- total cost of trip was 15 cents. He ended the day with by dining on oysters and lobster at Romano's.
Taronga Zoological Park
January 10 (Sunday):  He took a 5:30 A.M.  military bus to Mascot Field where 21 Marine Corps transport planes were waiting. Ham and Ed were the only passengers on the "Chuggar", a C-47 (DC-3) that took off at 8 with no freight. The trip was rough and cold, with boredom relieved only by sandwiches, a murder mystery book and the occasional smoke in the pilot's compartment. The end of journey was stressful as the navigator almost missed finding the island. Ed noted that the aircraft consumed 85 gallons per hour -- equivalent to an eight and a half month gas ration in Honolulu. They landed at Tontouta at 4:00 P.M. and rode through the rain to Noumea in the back of an army truck. The homecoming welcome at the Grand Hotel du Pacifique was a warm one and the Noumea Chowder and Marching Club soon got together again.
January 11: Ed picked up a jeep at the Base Motor Pool and drove out to Dumbea Valley to do a story on a Pack Artillery outfit, the 97th F.A.Bn.
Ed and Bouncing Baby
January 12: He finished story No. 16 and attended a press conference held by General Harmon at 3 P.M. Correspondents all expressed frustration with the Navy over the CINPAC order barring all correspondents from air transportation. Dick Tregaskis appealed to Admiral Halsey without success.
Ed at Press ConferenceAdmiral Halsey
January 13: Ed picked up Signal Corps photographer, Cpl. Wold, and reached the HQ of the 97th F.A.Bn. in time for breakfast. He gave a talk to the men and then watched them break down 75mm guns and pack them onto mules. Ed was issued a horse and rode along with the battery mule team over steep mountain trails through niaouli forests overlooking the Coral Sea.
75 mm gunArmy Mule
niaouli forestCoral Sea
January 14: Ed and Lt. Ramsey drove to the 1st Parachute Bn of the Marine Corps, thirty miles from Noumea, to arrange for a story and photos next day.
January 15: Ed and photographer, Sgt. Corson, went up with the first early morning parachute training flight and observed 12 tense trainees make their jumps. He almost fell out of the plane's open door -- without a parachute. After landing they drove "Bouncing Baby" out to the parachute range to get pictures of  the third flight jump.
Parachute Training JumpCorrespondent Ed Burroughs in the field
January 16: Ed took another request for air transportation to Guadalcanal to Colonel Sherman. In the evening he declined an invitation to a dance party put on by the enlisted men but watched from his overlooking balcony.
Dance Wallflower
January 17: He met photographer Jack Rice who had seen Hulbert two weeks before.
Son HulbertLeper ColonyLeper
January 18:  Ed was awarded a new rank, "Assimilated 2nd Lieutenant". He met Commander Sherman Everett Burroughs, Jr. USN, after which he drove to the top of a promontory at the north entrance to Noumea harbour. This location offered a beautiful view of the area and an opportunity to explore an old abandoned French fort with its battery of guns made in 1850. Gazing around the countryside below he marvelled at the buildings, hospitals, air fields and road network that the US military had built on this French colonial island.  In the inner harbour, protected by a submarine net, lay battleships, flat tops, cruisers, destroyers and merchantmen. On the way back to the hotel he passed a well-kept leper colony for natives with its barracks, hospital buildings and elaborate church. Beside the road he was shocked to see a young patient partially rotted away.
Gun BatteryQuarantine IslandBarracks
January 19 - March 19: ERB wrote Diary #2.
January 19: On his way to Tontoura for a story from Commander Burroughs at the Carrier camp, he picked up a filthy Fighting French courier with mail sack, two CBs and two coloured men from an Engineer Corps unit. He messed with Burroughs and several officers of his command, Air Group 3 of Aircraft Carrier Saratoga which was docked at Noumea. On the way back to the hotel he picked up a Javanese woman with baby and a boy with dog. Back in his room he discovered cause of an itch that had annoyed him all day: spider bite welts across his back. He believed that his health started to decline from this point on and that he was affected by this poison for the rest of his life. He later learned the island tap water he had been drinking had not been chlorinated, but he suffered no apparent affects from this.
US Aircraft Carrier, SaratogaPoisonous Spider
January 20: Ed reported the "Bouncing Baby" jeep stolen -- "one of the major outdoor sports on the island." He hitched a ride to the post office to mail off a story and then over to the hospital for spider bite treatment. While there he got stories from some of the 521 Guadalcanal casualties who had just been brought in by ship.
January 21:  He walked to the Signal Corps Photo Lab to get the Pack Artillery blow-ups and returned to find that Bouncing Baby had been returned. COMSOPAC promised to set up an interview for him with Jap war prisoners.
Correspondent Ed interviewing Jap prisoner
January 22: Ed learned that one of the new pilots he had flown in with on December 5th had been killed in a crash on the island without seeing combat. Ed made the long drive through mountains, swamp and jungle to the lower end of the island to get a story at the American Red Cross Officers' Rest Area. He picked up six CBs along the way. The Red Cross Area was disappointing, inhabited by only a Frenchman and a donkey. On the return drive along the bay and seashore he speculated on how much more the Americans had done for the island than the French who had left little in return for the enormous weath they had taken out. "It is a monument to the absolute low in colonization." Back at the hotel he had supper with Lt. Cmdr. John D. Bulkely, hero of The Expendables.
January 23: He returned to the hospital for sulfadiazine tablets and got permission to interview casualties and examine records showing causes of disability. "Tales of courage, of loyalty, of miracles. Tales of the cunning, the ruthlessness, the fanaticism of the Japs. These I heard that day from men recently wounded by gunfire or shrapnel on the jungle front, as I sat beside their hospital beds. . . . without exception they gave the 'Pill Rollers' (Medical Corps) credit for the highest courage and indefatigable performance of duty under fire." Ed spent the evening with Pat Frank, OWI, who had been with the BMTC in Honolulu.
January 24: Ed and Frank went to Isle Nou, formerly a French penal colony dating back to 1864. Around 100 "old white derelects" -  former inmates - still resided on the island. Ed waxed nostalgically over seeing the USS Argonne and the liner Lurline in the harbour -- ships he had spent time on in the past. He was treated royally by the Lurline crew who remembered him from past voyages.

January 25: He interviewed Major General Rush B. Lincoln and drove out to Little Old New York for a tour of the 754th Tank Bn. camp.
January 26: He went to QM to pick up leggins, raincoat and head net and returned to Little Old New York where he rode a tank and fired its 37mm gun. He dined with the officers of B Co. and later marvelled at the primitiveness of the native-built buildings on the post, and especially the camp latrine: "It was in an open tent facing a main path and only a few feet from it. It was a two holer, and had recently been on fire. One hole was only a cinder. The supports seemed to have been burned out, and one expected to crash down into the sink at any moment. It had one advantage. No one ever lingered there unnecessarily."
Stuart tank with 37mm gun
January 27: Ed had stayed overnight at the camp to go out on reconnaisance the next morning. He joined a caravan of 17 tanks accompanied by back-up vehicles. The column moved into a forest of naiouli trees where the tanks formed a large protective circle. They were to bivouac here for the night so the men camouflaged the tanks with branches and each person dug a slit trench, set up a cot and hung mosquitoa bar - all done in the rain. Ed made notes on everything, including the goings on at the kitchen truck and mess tents.
January 28: The camp breakfasted at 4:00 A.M. and then filled the slit trenches, packed gear and moved out. After observing the tank maneuvers taking place over all types of terrain and vegetation, Ed returned to camp and drove back to Noumea.
January 29:  Ed was given a supply of mystery stories and LIFE magazines from friends.

January 30: Permission was given to sail out on the USS Shaw. Ed packed, took a five mile boat ride out to where the ship was anchored on tossing seas, climbed a sea ladder with his gear and went through the protocol of boarding a naval vessel. He was invited to bunk with the Executive Officer and to dine at the Captain's table.
January 31 (Sunday): At 6:00 A.M. the Shaw sailed through the narrow opening in the reef, past Emedee Light and Tabu Rock on starboard and out into the Coral Sea. Awhile back, coming in from fighting around the Solomons, the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands and naval battles around Guadalcanal, the Shaw had missed the channel and had run aground on the coral reef. Orders were to abandon the ship but the crew lightened the vessel enough to float her off and to make temporary repairs - filling gigantic holes in the hull with concrete. It was aboard this wreck that Ed made the slow, zig-zag voyage back to Pearl, accompanied by the USS McKean.
USS Shaw, DD-373Guadalcanal Map
February: "Skeleton Men of Jupiter" appeared in Amazing Stories ($400).
February 1: The Shaw went through the first of the daily early morning battle stations alerts against sub attack. A few days later at this time Ed would be stranded below in pajamas. He had tried to take a shower while the crew were at battle stations but all doors and hatches had closed on him and water had been shut off. After his eventual rescue he had to parade past most of the crew in his pajamas to get back to his cabin. Ed spent much of the 5000 mile voyage on the bridge trying to spot something of interest on the endless ocean.
February 2: Ed's bunkmate, Lt. Croft, gave him a tour of the ship. He was amazed at how sailors from such diverse backgrounds and ethnic groups got along so well in such dark, cramped, and hot surroundings. He was also impressed with the huge stock of good food in the ship's three large refrigerating compartments. The Navy ate very well. Much of the crew was seasick but Ed had the stomach of an old salt.
February 3: At 8:41 A.M., the Shaw dropped anchor in the harbour at Suva, capital of Fiji on the island of Viti Levu. Natives paddled out with fruit, gifts and trade goods. Ed bought a war club for grandson, Mike. The Shaw tied up alongside the McKean and the crew was given shore leave. Captain Biggs, Lt. Croft and Ed walked through town, past Government House where a hundred Britishers were playing cricket in the hot sun, and on to the scenic Grand Pacific Hotel for highballs. They then went shopping, washed up at the ship, visited the Fiji Club and eventually made it back for supper at the hotel.
Fiji canoe coming out to meet the shipCanoes coming out to meet the ship
Suva, FijiCricket Field and Government House

February 4: The Shaw set sail for Pago Pago on the Island of Tutuila, American Samoa at 7:30 A.M. Also leaving the harbour were the Gulf Queen tanker, a flat top, and two freighters. The ships were accompanied by two planes circling overhead and a squadron of SC (sub chaser) boats looking for subs. The former governor of the island, "Yen" Hansen, a personal friend back in Hawaii, had presented Ed with a tapa cloth that later was hung on the Burroughs office wall. At 11:30 the convoy was ordered back to Suva harbor because of a hurricane threat.
February 5: Ed went ashore for a haircut from an East Indian tattooist/barber from Santa Barbara and later joined the Captain and company at the hotel.

Grand Pacific HotelLobby Grand Pacific HotelGrand Pacific Hotel, Suva, FijiGrand Pacific Hotel, Suva, FijiLighting the lamps in Fiji
February 6: He watched a casual 9:30 crew inspection. Ed joined the Captain and company at the hotel for drinks and supper.
February 7 (Sunday): Ed climbed an iron ladder to board the McKean for dinner followed by a trip ashore in the landing barge. Ed and Ramey made a 30-mile sightseeing tour via taxi through hills, jungles and villages. "They would have been a disappointment to Tarzan. We saw a young girl getting a bath by the roadside. She was no child, and she was entirely naked. Several natives were bathing her as she stood smiling as we passed within a few feet of her. I was highly incensed.  It was shocking, the speed with which our driver drove past." The day ended with a bridge game on board ship.
Fiji Village LautokaFiji Girls
February 8: The Menominee reported seeing a periscope ten miles south of Suva so the Shaw, McKean, the New Zealand corvette HMS Viti and a New Zealand Hudson aircraft all moved out to search for the sub. Unsuccessful in their search, all ships returned to port. The rest of the day was spent in the hotel lounge and playing cards on ship.
New Zealand HudsonCorvette
February 9:  This was a rainy, card-playing day that saw the arrival of a troop transport. The expected hurricane never arrived.
February 10: The Shaw awaited orders. Ed ate at the Petty Officer's mess, played bridge and went ashore to shop and to visit the hotel lounge. He had trouble getting his purchases up the ship's rope ladder, to the amusement of the crew.
February 11: Ed went ashore to watch a football game between Deck Force and Gunners on the field by Government House. Among the players were an All-American and other well-known players.
February 12: Orders came to leave on the 15th and to arrive at Pearl around March 1. Ed started to have trouble sleeping - a result of drinking Navy coffee round-the-clock.
February 13: A day of bridge and visits to the lounge. The hotel finally ran out of Scotch.
February 14: Ed played cards all day and was unable to get much sleep at night.
February 15: The Shaw and McKean sailed at 5:39 A.M. with a New Zealand patrol plane flying cover till 8. Ed was on the bridge as they passsed scenic Kanavu Island and towering Mt. Washington -- part of the Fiji chain of 250 islands. The battleship Mississippi and the destroyer McCallaw had joined them from Nandi, the port on the west end of Viti Levu. Following this they were joined by the damaged Minneapolis, the destroyers Reid and Cony and the tanker Gulf Queen and finally turned east on the first leg to Pearl Harbor. The McCallaw shot a line across the bow of the Shaw and delivered an aluminum cylinder containing mail.
The MississippiFrigate USS ReidUSS Cony laying a smoke screen
February 16: The Shaw crossed the International Dateline and moved back into Monday the 15th.
February 15:  "...a lazy life: read, sleep, and play cards."
February 16:  The Shaw went through violent seas through the night -- pitching and rolling. The heavy cruiser Portland was sighted - limping back to Pearl after being torpedoed in the battle of Santa Cruz.
February 17:  Sub contact was made at 7:00 AM following General Quarters and at numerous times all morning. This resulted in periodic frantic zigzagging in all directions and Ed making many runs up to the bridge. They were about to drop depth charges when the lookout identified the "sub" as a pool of porpoises.
Laying depth charges
February 18:  They arrived at Pago Pago, meeting the Portland coming out of the harbour. The pilot boat brought out pilots who navigated them through the mine field, past a big airfield to port with its grounded barrage balloons, past Coconut Point and The Flower Pot, into the harbour where they tied up alongside the Minneapolis at 10:30 A.M. Landing barges from the McKean had to help Shaw in docking because she was operating with only one screw. One of the divers inspecting the condition of the near-derelict Shaw was drowned. Ed was shown the sites by former correspondent Jonathan C. Rice, USMC after which he wrote classified descriptions of the base that could be read by family after the war in case he didn't make it to the end.
Pilot transferBarrage Balloons
February 19: The McKean and Shaw left at dawn. At 9:00 A.M. they went through a simulated dive bombing attack by four Grumman Wildcats. Ed saw his first water spout and a hammerhead shark.
Grumman WildcatsWaterspoutsHammerhead shark
February 20: Ed wrote stories 23 and 24 in the ship's office on one of their standard Underwoods -- a welcome change from his portable unit.
February 21:  After writing story 25 on his portable in the wardroom a terrific explosion emptied the room and plunged it into darkness.  Eventually he determined the cause to have been a depth charge dropped after a sub contact had been made.
Depth charge explosion
February 22: Ed got a haircut from a Filipino mess attendant. Adverse currents had slowed the ship to seven knots. The crippled McKean and Shaw were easy prey for any Jap attack.
February 23: They crossed the equator at 9:26 P.M.
February 24: A day of depth charge attack warnings during which Ed started to write a murder mystery containing 14 corpses.
February 24 - March 30: A comic detective story, "More Fun! More People Killed!" (20,727 words) was begun aboard the USS Shaw and was finished on shore.
February 25: The ships entered dangerous waters and were joined by two PBYs and the destroyer Boggs from Palmyra for protection.  The McKean was fueled at cruising speed from the Mississippi. A fifty foot boom from the battleship held the fuel pipe over the destroyer. Pearl ETA: March 2.
Fueling at sea
February 26: Ed observed all five ships firing at a towed target.
Target Practice at towed targetsTarget Practice
February 27: Following a morning sub alert the convoy took defensive maneuvers. Depth charges from the destroyers killed hundreds of flying fish and shook the Shaw violently. Sub alerts and Shaw depth charge drops continued through the day.
February 28: "Jack's birthday - 30 years old. On Joan's birthday I was in Noumea. On Hulbert's, in Honolulu. I should like to be in Chungking on my next one. It is getting a little colder as we steam north."
March 1: Ed cured his shaky hands by giving up coffee.
March 2: Finally the Hawaiian Islands were silhouetted against the dawn sky. The ships were escorted into harbour by patrol ships and planes.  They passed the sunken Oklahoma and Arizona and docked at 9:00 A.M. Ed phoned Hully from the Officers Club. He had been gone three months and had written 25 stories few of which had apparently reached United Press. He received news that Joan and Jim Pierce had separated and Jim had fled to Nogales, Mexico. Penniless Joan and the kids moved to Bel-Air to live with mother Emma, who was a chronic alcoholic.
"Hully drove over to Pearl from Hickam and picked me up. And, gosh! was I glad to see him!!"
~ Honolulu June 8 1943
March 20 - April 5: ERB wrote Diary #3.
April - June 8: ERB gives a detailed account of the trip on the Shaw in a 60-page story, "The Diary of a Confused Old Man or Buck Burroughs Rides Again."
The Diary of a Confused Old Man or Buck Burroughs Rides Again - 60 single-spaced typewritten pages
April 4: Ed wrote a letter (unsent) to Senator Johnson which is highly critical of the treatment he had received from the Navy - they  had refused to recognize his army or correspondent credentials. He went on to recommend the unification of all the American forces into a single United States Armed Force.
August 4: Caryl writes that she is attending the private Marlborough School for Girls. She persists in using the last name Burroughs - against her mother's wishes. She fought the adoption by Florence's new husband, Dr. Chase.

Updates will be added to this timeline as more dates become available.

An abbreviated timeline for 1040-1945 and the complete timeline for 1946-1950
are featured in the ERB Online Timeline Bio
Explore the complete ERB Online Bio - 1875-1950 at:

The Dean of WWII Correspondents in the Pacific
Edgar Rice Burroughs: The War Years
ERB WWII Time Line: 1940-1942 ERB WWII Time Line: 1943-1945 Photos  40-42   Photos 43-45
1940 Letters 1940 Letter Highlights 1940 Illustrated Timeline
1941 Letters 1941 Letter Highlights 1941 Illustrated Timeline
Pearl Harbor: Eye Witness Account USS Shaw / ERB Connection ERB-Truman H. Landon Connection
1942 Letters 1942 Letter Highlights 1942 Illustrated Timeline
1943 Letters 1943 Letter Highlights 1943 Illustrated Timeline
1944 Letters 1944 Letter Highlights 1944 Illustrated Timeline
1945 Letters 1945 Letter Highlights 1945 Illustrated Timeline
ERB: War Correspondent Pre- and Post-Wartime Timelines ERB Visits WWII Australia   Text Only
Our Japanese Problem ~ Hawaii Magazine ERB & Military: Early Years ERB Bio Timeline ~ 1875-1950

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