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Today's Features

  • Note: I would like to express again my appreciation to Wendy Noble, younger sister of Spitfire pilots Jerry and Rod Smith, who has provided advice and copies of her trove of documents concerning her brothers’ lives. In doing so I would like to quote from The Spitfire Smiths by Rod Smith, with Christopher Shores. In his Introduction, Shores writes: “Throughout I have been greatly assisted by Wendy Noble without whose efforts I certainly could not have completed this account...”

  • Author’s Note: This is my 200th column in a series “History Researched and Recalled,” published in The Sentinel-News since 2007.

    [I continue to depart from My Marine Corps Journal temporarily to describe the hazardous missions of a spitfire pilot.]

    Selected entries in Jerry Smith’s Diary:

  • Sculptor Jenny Hager-Vickery is proud of her latest creation.

    At 20 feet tall, Gypsy the Giraffe, a life-sized sculpture she created for the Jacksonville Zoo, is the largest she has ever done.

    “My husband actually worked on it with me as well; it was a daunting task – the largest I had made up to now was fifteen feet tall,” she said. “I call her Gyspy – that's her pet name – I name things with alliteration, so she got a ‘G’ name.”

  • Sculptor Jenny Hager-Vickery is proud of her latest creation.

    At 20 feet tall, Gypsy the Giraffe, a life-sized sculpture she created for the Jacksonville Zoo, is the largest she has ever done.

    “My husband actually worked on it with me as well; it was a daunting task – the largest I had made up to now was fifteen feet tall,” she said. “I call her Gyspy – that's her pet name – I name things with alliteration, so she got a ‘G’ name.”

  • May 3, 1942

    Yesterday, we unmoored and stood down the Clyde, anchoring in Greenock. The weather was perfect and the green hills were very tempting. I went ashore for a few hours in that famous old shipbuilding town, drank a couple of beers, walked miles, and noticed some ruins from last year’s air raids. It’s amazing the difficulty one has in buying whiskey in Scotland. Underway at 0530 this morn.

    May 7, 1942

  • April 22, 1942

    The Wasp’s second “campaign” is nearly over – the “Battle of the Mediterranean,” the first having been our “conquest” of Martinique. [An attempt at jest]

    The morning of 19th we passed through the Straits of Gibraltar on my mid watch. The lights of Tangier and Ceuta were illuminating the African shore, but the Gibraltar side was blacked out except for navigational lights.

  • As he gave a haircut and a shave to a customer, Robert Marshall talked about how the thriving African American business community on Henry Clay Street has all but disappeared since he opened his barbershop there in 1960.

    “We’re were just discussing that at the Martin Luther King service a few weeks ago, the way it was, compared to how it is now,” he said, expertly using a comb to shape the customer’s new do.

  • As he gave a haircut and a shave to a customer, Robert Marshall talked about how the thriving African American business community on Henry Clay Street has all but disappeared since he opened his barbershop there in 1960.

    “We’re were just discussing that at the Martin Luther King service a few weeks ago, the way it was, compared to how it is now,” he said, expertly using a comb to shape the customer’s new do.

  • Caught up in a whirlwind of festivities from balls to parades to concerts to the swearing in of the 45th president of the United States on the West Lawn of the Capitol, some Shelby Countians who attended the 58th Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C. over the weekend expressed awe and pride at having seen history in the making.

    For some, such as the Justice family, being there was a matter of pride in a military background, said Selina Stratton, who attended with her parents, James and LaGeni Justice and her brother, Jacob Justice.

  • April 6, 1942

    Yesterday afternoon and evening I was the guest of Captain Bell, R. M. [Royal Marines] on the Duke of York, most recently- commissioned British battleship. I made a complete tour of the ship and noticed that she is not a clean ship, but a happy one. I had previously met Bell in Norfolk and it seemed very strange to meet him again, here, 3,000 miles away.