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Apr 28

Dodging Death in Stormy San Luis Obispo, World War II week by week

Obispan Dodges Death As Bolt Hits Pillow
One San Luis Obispo man escaped death by the bare margin of a whim during the heavy electrical storm her Tuesday night.
If Andrew Chessmar, 1841 Slack street hadn’t decided to leave the comfort of the davenport in his living room to read in a nearby chair, he probably would not be alive today to relate a startling experience.

Lightning Hits Pillow

For a bolt of lightning which struck his house knocking a hole in the living room wall, and plunging the place into darkness by popping fuse plugs from their sockets, also cut a chunk the size of a teacup from the pillow where his head had been resting a few minutes earlier.
From the outside the house shows little evidence of the entrance of the electrical charge.
But there is a six-inch hole in the wall of the living room, and bits of plaster, forced through the wallpaper, are being removed from folds in the overstuffed furniture and elsewhere in the room.

Blaze of Light

Mr. Chessmar sustained no physical shock, but he and Mrs. Chessmar, who was in an adjoining room, say that the room was a blaze of reddish light for a second, Because the lights had been extinguished, they could not immediately discover the smoldering fire in the davenport pillow, and thought the house was burning.
Their telephone, too, was disconnected by the lightning charge but telephone company officials said this morning no other damage to telephone equipment in the city was done by the storm.

Fuses Knocked Out

M.A. Wood, manager of the Pacific Gas and Electric Co., reported this morning from 30 to 40 transformer fuses had been knocked out by the storm and several transformers may have been hit, Wood said, however that he believed the company was fortunate that so little damage was done.
The storm, a rare occurrence in this area, treated most residents to a good show, although more than one person said this morning that, “I was scared. That kind of thing gets me.”
Coming out of an apparently clear sky, the two-hour storm was one of the most severe electrical disturbances ever seen in San Luis Obispo, according to pioneer residents.
First impression of what the initial clap of thunder actually was, varied from thoughts of Jap invasion to impressions of the explosion of a tank car on the railroad.

April 14, 1943 Telegram-Tribune documents an attempted escape from Alcatraz Prison.

April 14, 1943 Telegram-Tribune documents an attempted escape from Alcatraz Prison.


In other news a blimp crash five miles southwest of Gilroy injured several of a nine man crew. The crash was at 11:45 in the evening and left the craft a total wreck.

Two men were recaptured and two drowned in an attempted escape from Alcatraz Prison. Floyd Hamilton, 36 former mid-west gangster and James Boarman, 24, an Indiana bank robber were shot while trying to swim away. The four desperadoes overpowered two guards and leaped out a prison shop window. Though they smeared their bodies with heavy grease to ward off the chill it offered no protection from gunfire.

Passover was scheduled to be celebrated at the San Luis Obispo Veterans hall on April 19. Turnout was expected to be 200 including troops and wives from Camp San Luis Obispo.

The Paso Robles Selective Service Board No. 136 sent 18 men to the Fresno Army Induction Station.

German and Italian troops were trapped an arc from Tunis to Bizerte but showing signs of making a stand.

Unreported in the Telegram-Tribune in April were a few major events that would later become known to history. Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, key planner of the attack on Pearl Harbor had been killed when his plane was shot down while attempting a landing at Bouganville. He had opposed war, feeling that the U.S. was too strong an opponent but carried out his orders when given. Code breakers had pinpointed the Japanese commander’s position and P-38 fighters shot down his transport April 18, 1943.
The same day on the other side of the world 51 Luftwaffe transports were shot down in 10 minutes while attempting to resupply beleaguered Army Group Africa. Once again code breaking played a role as did the growing strength of the Allied air forces.

April 19,1943 Jews in the Warsaw ghetto battled tank supported SS troops. The uprising was heroic but the civilians were hopelessly out gunned by the Nazi armed forces. The Soviets were too far away to assist and had little interest in supporting any group that might one day challenge Communist control.
New anti-submarine measures were beginning to turn the tide in the Atlantic Ocean. A combination of patrol aircraft and message decrypts were catching U-boats in vulnerable positions. In the coming month of May one-third of the submarines stationed in the crucial North Atlantic corridor failed to return to base. The life-line to Britain would be secured and a bridge to air superiority and invasion could now be built.

Related posts:

  1. New San Luis Obispo County Jail – World War II week by week
  2. Battan Death March, World War II week by week
  3. Stalin calls for a fight to the death, World War II week by week
  4. Escape from the San Luis Obispo Jail and other news-World War II week by week
  5. Segregation in San Luis Obispo, World War II week by week