Tag Archives: PBY Catalina flying boats

Johnson/Moseley family during World War II

In this post (written on Memorial Day, May 31, 2021) I describe what my ancestors and relatives in the Johnson and Moseley family did during World War II. The featured image above shows me wearing my uncle Lloyd Robins’ Coast Guard hat in the early 1940s.

The Johnsons

Harold Johnson

My father, Harold Johnson, registered for the draft in October 1940. He was called up, but failed his physical exam because of poor vision. During the War he worked at Spaulding Fibre Company in Tonawanda, New York, most likely making parts for the aircraft industry located in the Buffalo area.

Spaulding Fibre in Tonawanda, NY
Spaulding Fibre in Tonawanda, NY
Kenneth Johnson

My uncle Kenneth Johnson also registered for the draft in October 1940. He was living in San Diego, California, at the time. He spent the entire war working at Consolidated Aircraft Company. During the war, the Consolidated plant, near Lindbergh Field in San Diego, built over 9200 B-24 heavy bombers and 1800 PBY Catalina flying boats. Both airplanes were workhorses during WW II. Consolidated became Convair in 1943.

Consolidated Aircraft in San Diego 1940
Consolidated Aircraft in San Diego 1940
Richard Starr

My aunt Evelyn Johnson married Richard (Dick) Starr in August 1943 in Buffalo, New York. During the war, my uncle Dick was in The US Navy serving on the Destroyer Escort USS Richey. The Richey patrolled on convoy duty in the North Atlantic.

Evelyn Johnson and Richard Starr wedding 1943
Evelyn Johnson and Richard Starr wedding 1943
Lloyd Robins

Lloyd Robins was my 1st cousin, once removed. As a youth, he lived in the Johnson household, and was almost like a brother to my father. During World War II, Lloyd served in the US Coast Guard. In 2005 Anna and I visited Lloyd and his wife Jean in Tonawanda. During the visit, Lloyd told me  he helped transport cargo on Coast Guard ships from Australia to Burma in the war.

Lloyd Robins and his aunt Eva Johnson
Lloyd Robins and his aunt Eva Johnson

Here we are together in 2005.

Dick Johnson and Lloyd Robins in 2005
Dick Johnson and Lloyd Robins in 2005

The Moseleys

Louise Rebmann Moseley

My maternal grandmother was Louise Rebmann Moseley. She is the only woman mentioned in this post. My mother (Lillian Moseley Johnson) once told me that during the war, grandma worked at the Wurlitzer Company in North Tonawanda. Wurlitzer shifted production during the War from making organs to making bomb proximity fuses. A proximity fuse detonates a bomb or artillery shell when it gets close to a target. It was one of the most import technological inventions during World War II. For most of the war, its existence was a closely guarded secret.

My mother once told me that Grandma worked on the Manhattan Project during the war. I used to discount this until recently when I learned that part of the Manhattan Project was actually located in Tonawanda during the war. I’m still doing research on this and I will report more in another post.

William C Daley

William C Daley was my mother’s cousin. The Daleys lived in Auburn, New York. My mother used to call him “Sweet William.” His World War II story is tragic. On October 1, 1940, William enlisted in the National Guard. By 1942 he was in the 35th Infantry Regiment of the 25th US Army Infantry Division, where he was a 1st Lieutenant. The division was moved to Guadalcanal, and on January 11, 1943, it attacked a Japanese position (the “Gifu”) at Mount Austen . William led his squad into battle and was cut down by machine gun fire. Here is a short description of his death:

William C Daley death at Guadalcanal
William C Daley death at Guadalcanal

These events are described in more detail in a book entitled “Combat Infantry” written by Donald E Anderson.

William C Daley and girlfriend
William C Daley and girlfriend
George W Daley

William’s father was George Daley. George was married to Mary Moseley, my mother’s aunt. The Daleys lived in Auburn, New York, their entire lives. George had a long military career with the New York National Guard and the US Army. He first enlisted in the Guard in 1904. During World War II he was a US Army Lt Colonel serving at Camp Crowder in Missouri. Camp Crowder was a training camp for the Army Air Force. Apparently no trace of it is left today.

George W Daley
George W Daley