April 5, 2017

1942. Downs Says England Can Handle All U.S. Aid

Dock Facilities Able to Handle Aid Despite German Attacks
"Workers assemble M-3 tanks in an American factory," 1942 (source)
United Press report reprinted in the Kansas City Kansan in 1942:
Downs Says England Can Handle All U.S. Aid
Dock Facilities and System Described as Thorough and Speedy
United Press Staff Correspondent
An English Port. — (UP) Colonel J.J. Llewellin, parliamentary secretary to the Ministry of War transport, said today that England's dock facilities could handle all the lease-lend aid the United States will be able to send, despite German bombing attacks.

This port is an example of what he means. The Germans have blasted it with incendiaries, oil bombs and explosives, ranging from 100 pounders to 2-ton monsters.

Nevertheless, it must be one of the busiest ports in the world. Scores of ships are anchored here, and they are being unloaded faster than they ever have before. Longshoremen go to work on the cargoes before the ships reach the docks, and where there are no dock sheds, the cargoes are covered with tarpaulins.

Colonel Llewellin was watching the longshoremen, panting and streaked with sweat, unload everything from shovel handles to tank treads.

"We have always had more dock space than ships to fill them," he said. We are well prepared to handle even more than are now coming, and we expect many more, especially since Secretary of Navy Frank Knox and President Roosevelt announced that American ships are doing convoy work."

As he talked to me, a little man in a slouch hat and leather jacket pushed us away, so American-made Havoc night-fighter planes could be unloaded from a barge. The barge, a peacetime ferry boat, was plying back and forth from a steamer anchored in midstream.

The little man's accent sounded American, and I stopped him. He said he is Arch Masterson of Hollywood, one of forty-five American engineers, mechanics, fliers and technicians stationed at a nearby factory where the planes are assembled.

"If you think the people move fast in New York, Detroit or Chicago, you should see these gents work," Masterson, a Lockheed Aircraft employee, said.

"We Americans are used to working under pressure, but, baby, they slap it to us here. We get those planes off the ship this morning and they will be in the air Sunday. That's speed in any man's country."