Thursday, January 31, 2013

ALCO and Mixed-Train Daily

March 1946: With the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) in the midst of converting from steam to diesel locomotive production, Duncan Fraser, President of ALCO, makes the decision that launches Howard’s artistic career. Hired as ALCO’s new company artist, Howard begins painting their locomotives in the livery of prospective customers, and examples of his work for them can be viewed at

September 1946: At a three-day gala hosted by ALCO at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, Howard’s paintings are on display, and Lucius Beebe attends. A journalist with the New York Herald-Tribune, Beebe is considering leaving New York to pursue freelance writing and publication of railroad books. Lucius seeks out Howard and a long-term relationship is born, with Beebe buying a number of paintings over the years.

1947: Mixed Train Daily, co-authored by Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg, is the first of many to use a Fogg painting on the cover. The following photo from Howard's archives shows L-R: Clegg, Fogg, and Beebe (seated), in front of the display of six paintings that Howard completed for their book.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Master Railroad Artist

Described for decades as the world’s foremost railroad artist, Howard Fogg’s fascination for railroading began early, and he sketched his first train when only four years old.

After graduating from Dartmouth College with honors in 1938 with a degree in English Literature, Howard attended the Chicago Institute of Fine Arts.

“Better Make Up Your Mind F. D. Or There’ll Be A Wreck”
February 24, 1940 cartoon by Howard Fogg
Courtesy of Richard Fogg

Appreciative of the many ironies in life and politics he hoped to pursue editorial cartooning, although he also painted, which is where his talent ultimately led him.

The Alaska Railroad was finished in 1923 and owned by the US government until 1985 when it was purchased by the state of Alaska. Mount McKinley looms in the background. 1978 oil painting by Howard Fogg. Image courtesy of Leanin’ Tree, Inc.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

East Wretham Airfield

Northeast of London in Norfolk, the heart of East Anglia, East Wretham airfield was rapidly built in the early days of the war and became operational in March 1940. It consisted of grass runways, the northeast to southwest measuring 5,640 feet and north northwest to south southeast at 4,200 feet.

East Wretham Airfield, England 5 February 1946 Source: Royal Ordinance Survey. Annotations on photo from Freeman, Roger A., Airfields Of The Eighth, Then And Now, 1978. This artistic work created by the United Kingdom Government is in the public domain.

The Royal Air Force requisitioned Wretham Hall, located approximately one mile from the airfield, for use as an officers’ mess.

Wretham Hall, one mile from East Wretham Airfield USAAF Station Number 133, six miles NE of Thetford. Courtesy of J. McAlister: Archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association

East Wretham and its various hangars and buildings as well as Wretham Hall officially transferred to United States forces in July 1943 with the 359th Fighter Group and the 85th Service Group, comprised of the 1833rd Ordnance Supply and Maintenance Company, 1065th Quartermaster Company, 49th Station Complement Squadron, 395th Service Squardon, and the 1101st Signal Company, arriving on October 19, 1943. East Wretham was assigned USAAF designation Station 133.

"We Take Over" from the photo archives of Howard Fogg

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sailing for England

On October 7, 1943, 359th Fighter Group HQ personnel and the 368th Fighter Squadron, Howard Fogg's squadron, boarded the U.S.A.T. Argentina in New York Harbor.

The 369th Fighter Squardon boarded the Thurston and the 370th Fighter Squadron boarded the Sloterdyjk, once a Dutch motor vessel.

Image of the Argentina from a 1952 postcard

The U.S.A.T. Argentina (originally the Pennsylvania) was built in 1929 for the Panama-Pacific Line, sailing from New York to San Francisco via the Panama Canal. Following a remodel in 1938 she was re-christened the Argentina by the American Republics Line. After her refurbishment, the Argentina carried 475 passengers and 380 crew. She was Hull 329, with Official Number 229044, 613 feet long, 80 feet wide, and measured 20,614 gross tons, 33,000 tons when loaded.

Though she was set to sail on January 3, 1942 for South America, on December 27, 1941, the Argentina completed her last pre-war voyage when she arrived in New York. Approximately 200 passengers had booked passage and were in the Line’s offices completing baggage declarations when the Navy and Maritime Commission notified the steamship company to cancel the sailing – officials refused to discuss their actions.

On January 23, 1942, the Argentina departed from New York as the flagship of six troop carriers. She was then enlarged to hold 4,000 troops, and began Atlantic convoy duty.

She was double-loaded when the 359th boarded her on October 7, 1943, carrying nearly 7,000 men. Men were everywhere, on all the decks, and in the scuppers.

On October 17, 1943 the Argentina anchored in Liverpool Roadstead shortly after dark. On Monday the 18th, she sailed into the Mersey River and docked at the Mersey floating dock about 4:15 P.M. Debarkation of the men of the 359th began at 5:15 A.M. on Tuesday, October 19th.

By November, 1945, the Argentina had transported 175,592 service men to or from the ETO in fifty-six voyages. On January 26, 1946 she carried a different passenger list when 452 brides, 30 of them pregnant, 173 children, and a war groom sailed from Southampton, England for New York. Stormy seas forced them to arrive a day late, but on February 4,1946, the tired GI brides from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Malta were met by their husbands, a band, Mayor O’Dwyer, and 200 newsmen as this first “official war bride ship” pulled into harbor.

On May 6, 1946 the Argentina returned to civilian operations and in November was reconverted to liner service at Bethlehem Steel’s Shipyard. De-activated in 1958, the Argentina was ultimately sold to Peck Iron and Metals for scrap in 1964, then re-sold to Luna Bros. and scrapped in Kearny, New Jersey.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Camp Kilmer, New Jersey

Excerpt from the Diary of Lt. Howard Fogg, October 2, 1943: Our route was varied to say the least. First, we traveled to Greenfield, thence Troy, thru Albany, down the West Shore to Weehawken, thru the yards to a junction with the Pennsylvania at Jersey City. A GG1 (Pennsylvania Railroad electric locomotive) hauled us into Kilmer at 4:00 P.M.

To call this place huge is rank understatement. It’s breathtaking, with huge loading platforms, miles of buildings, and more. There are thousands and thousands of men. Every PX is jammed and every theatre full. Really an impressive array of manpower surrounds us, and, for once, efficient Army organization. Excellent food albeit cafeteria style. Good Bachelor Officer Quarters, better than Westover. There’s gambling and cards, galloping dominoes, and streams of whiskey.

U.S. Army Photograph of Camp Kilmer, New Jersey.
Camp Kilmer was a staging area and part of the New York Port of Embarkation for troops heading to the European Theater of Operations. The wooden buildings were painted bright contrasting colors for camouflage, similar to the Dazzle camouflage used on ships during World War I. Over 2.5 million soldiers were processed through Camp Kilmer to the ETO or back home.