Martha's Vineyard in World War II

Martha's Vineyard in World War II


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The small, tightknit island community of Martha's Vineyard was irrevocably transformed by World War II. From rationing and blackouts to a military presence in Chilmark, the war was brought home to the residents of the island. In the air, pilots flew training missions from the Martha's Vineyard Naval Auxiliary Air Facility. At sea, ferryboats served as hospital ships in the D-Day invasion, while enemy submarines lurked offshore. Mock invasions were undertaken by military forces from across Vineyard Sound, and remote sites were used for training missions and bombing practice. Residents participated in the war effort by buying war bonds, supporting USO activities and conducting air raid drills. Remnants and reminiscences of this illustrious past can still be found today. Join authors Thomas Dresser, Herb Foster and Jay Schofield as they revive the story of this resilient island during World War II.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626193727
Publisher: The History Press
Publication date: 05/06/2014
Series: War Era and Military
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Thomas Dresser lives in Oak Bluffs and has worked with the African American Heritage Trail group for several years, giving tours to sites on the trail. Dresser has written pieces published in the Martha's Vineyard Times, Vineyard Gazette, Martha's Vineyard Magazine, Vineyard Style and Cape Cod Life. He is also a member of the Martha's Vineyard Museum. This is Tom's sixth book with The History Press. Visit for more information. Herb Foster is a World War II veteran and retired college professor. He is the author of Ribbin', Jivin', and Playin' the Dozens: The Persistent Dilemma in Our Schools." He is also a Trustee of the Edgartown Library. Jay Schofield was a marine reserve and is a retired high school teacher. He is the author of "Beach Detecting In Surf & Sand: 270 Tips to Improve Your metal Detecting Along the Treasure Line and Pearls of Patriotism." Visit for more information. Curator of oral history at Martha's Vineyard Museum, Linsey is the author of "Vineyard Voices: Words, Faces and Voices of Island People" (1998), "More Vineyard Voices" (2006), "Those Who Serve: Martha's Vineyard and World War II" (2011) and "Edible Wild Plants of Martha's Vineyard" (1976)."

Table of Contents

Foreword Linsey Lee 9

Preface: The Invasion of Martha's Vineyard 13

Acknowledgements 17

Prologue: Touring Martha's Vineyard in the 1930s 21

1 The Road to War: 1940 23

2 Protection and Fortifications 26

3 The Atlantic Charter: 1941 31

4 Colonel Lindbergh 35

5 Civilian Defense 37

6 War 40

7 The Homefront: 1942 42

8 Plane Spotters 50

9 Peaked Hill 53

10 Rationing 61

11 Nursing Efforts 70

12 Along the Shore 72

13 Rumors 75

14 Aliens and Prejudice 78

15 Servicemen 81

16 United Service Organization 90

17 The Van Ryper Model Shop 94

18 Fern-boats Naushim and New Bedford 100

19 Shipbuilding 104

20 The Invasions of Martha's Vineyard 107

21 Navy Acquisitions: 1943 122

22 Martha's Vineyard Naval Auxiliary Air Facility 124

23 Plane Crashes: 1944 136

24 Edgar 143

25 The Gunnery Range 146

26 Submarines and Saboteurs 151

27 Prisoner of War Sergeant Joseph H. Sylvia 161

28 D-Day 162

29 End of the War: 1945 166

30 Postwar 169

Afterword: Herb's Story 175

Notes 177

Bibliography 187

Index 189

About the Authors 191

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