"Grandad in the War"
My grandfather, Samuel Hunter Hall, enlisted in the Navy in 1942. At age 44 he was too old to
be drafted, but wanted to do his part in the War. He joined the Navy and served in the
34th Construction Battalion. He had two tours of duty, first on Guadalcanal and then on Okinawa.
Perhaps due to his age, he must have realized the once in
a lifetime aspect of the adventure and decided to keep a scrapbook of it. In addition
and large official photos, he also kept menus, tickets, ID cards, invitations... seemingly
every piece of paper that he thought would be of interest later. There are almost 200 such
I have scanned in the text and images of the scrapbook and it is shown here in it's entirety.
Click on any image to see a larger version open in a new window.
I would suggest you peruse the List of Images on the Table
of Contents to get a sense of what's here.
Two additional items that have come down through the years are a couple of souvenirs.
These items are not mentioned in the text, so we can only guess where he picked them up.
(Of course, I should have asked him when I was a kid, shouldn't I? I didn't appreciate
it all then.)
The first is a rattan shield and wooden war club. I would imagine he picked these up on
Guadalcanal from the natives. It's just my guess, but I think these were made for sale
specifically as souvenirs.
The second item he collected was what he called a "Jap belly gun". After a fair amount of
research I have identified this weapon as an American-made gun called the FP-45 Liberator.
Perhaps some GI swapped it for some Navy chow and made up the "belly gun" story to enhance
The FP-45 Liberator pistol was manufactured by the Inland Guide division of GM
during the war. The single shot .45 caliber pistol was to be dropped behind enemy lines
with 10 rounds of ammunition and instructions on how to load it, the idea being that
partisans would use the pistol once to kill someone and take THEIR gun.
In fact, this does not entirely solve the mystery as the weapon was supposedly only dropped
behind enemy lines to partisans. What partisan bands would have been on Guadalcanal or Okinawa?
Of course, I suppose many souvenirs were swapped and traded at the ports along the way to
and from the front.
Throughout the text I have made up a few web pages providing further information on
certain subjects. These and any notes I have added are clearly identified as my writing
and not my grandfather's.
Comments or WW2 reminiscences from readers are welcome. Email me at