Thursday, January 10, 2008

James Murdoch Finlayson's story

I would really like to sit down and ask Murdoch some questions. He's still kicking, living with his sister Jennie Llew Guyton and brother Patillo Ainsworth Finlayson in Columbia, South Carolina. My sister Jennie told me this past Christmas that Murdoch is 96 years old. I really wish I could drive over to Columbia for a weekend and ask some questions and record some history. They all have had such interesting and wonderful lives. My last visit to Columbia, SC was seven years ago. I don't get out much. At that time I was with my wife and then four year old daughter Katie. I wasn't prepared then with a recorder and wish now that I had more advantage of the opportunity.

I ran across a letter today that uncle Murdoch sent me four or five years back. It's a brief account of his WWII experience. I also have some photos of him that perchance some of my siblings haven't seen. The following is my uncle J.M. Finlayson's WWII service account.

"...I was working for Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), headquarters as a Chief Associate. It was my first U.S. government job after graduating from University of South Carolina. As the war progressed, a man came in the office and said “You fellows have no worries – you are frozen to your jobs – but the next day we were told to select the branch of service we wanted!!! I didn’t have time to even apply for a commission! I found myself in the Navy as a Storekeeper 2C. – then on up through the ranks SK 1C, Chief SK, Warrant Officer, then Commissioned Warrant Officer, I am glad I served in all those; some of it good, some bad.

I went overseas on an LST (248), via Bermuda, Gibraltar, Algiers and Tunisia (North Africa) – Sicily - Bizerte. I had my first experience in an air raid in Algiers – May 1st, injury in a fall. Then when we moved to Bizerta, 2nd fall in air raid in Bizerte. I experienced one to four air raids for seven straight weeks – then to England for D-Day maneuvers.

I was one of the Navy men England appreciated by granting “special return” on the Queen Mary and a march down 5th Avenue in New York! I was not the fortunate one seen kissing that girl. You see that on old TV films.

I remained in the Naval Reserve for nine years thereafter – duty in New York City, Air Force Penn, and New Orleans.

In closing I want you and Brooky to have my war medals and related material at a later date. Well, you have a brief account now. – Love Murdoch"

Murdoch- Not only do your nieces and nephews love and miss you...we are proud of you! -David
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