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PAGE FIVEuniformly friendly, cordial, and helpful. He is a very swell person. He even, later, turned over confidential files to me that I might obtain material.
Noumea ~ Native Village ~ St. Louis Mission: December 8 and 9
Colonel Stead was equally kind to me, and I developed a warm feeling of personal friendship for him and for Capt. H. M. Bowen of Chicago, also of G-2, F.I.C., who was in Col. Stead's office.
Stead told me that the hotel was full and that there was no more room, but he summoned Mess Steward Sgt. Edward Buttler of East Dedham, Mass., and told him to make room for me. So Buttlar dug up an army cot and shoved it into a corner of the room occupied by Capt. J. Alford Burden, M.C., than being used as an interpreter, having been born and raised in Japan. Burden had been an interne in Queen's Hospital in Honolulu and had practiced on Maui. He knew Dr. Rolla Brown well. Brown is my physician. He had agreed with me before I left Honolulu that I was a damn fool to undertake such a trip. We were both wrong. Incidentally, Burden is a UCLA man.
At mess that evening, a Lt. Ballanger came over to my table and introduced himself. He went to Pomona with Jack and Jane. A moment later a lieutenant (s.g.) USNR sat down beside me. He took another look at me and said, "For God's sake, what are you doing here?" He was Hal Thompson, Rochelle Hudson's husband. I had become well acquainted with him in 1940 when he and Rochelle were living at Lanikai and I was living at Kalama Beach. He went to the L.A. Coaching School at the same time Hulbert and Jack were learning nothing at the same place.
Met a Colonel Ralston just before supper. We got to talking about ages, and I bet him a Scotch highball that I was more than ten years older than he. I didn't have any Scotch and couldn't have gotten any. I didn't have to, because he lost. He took me up to his quarters and paid up.
The next day (Dec. 9), 1st Lt. William L. Van Ness of Mechanicsburg, Ohio, Signal Corps (Photo) drove me out in the country to a native village. He took Cpl. Edward C. Wold of Oakland, Calif., an excellent photographer, along. The village is close to the St. Louis Mission, a French-Catholic institution, formerly famous for its St. Louis rum. The village is set among trees in an attractive location. The huts are mostly grass thatched and a combination of French-Colonial and native architecture.
There were only women and children around, as the men were all away working for our armed forces. Wold took several pictures, including some of me with a buxom ex-cannibal lady and her incredibly filthy child. The latter might have been two years old, but it played with a knife with a six inch blade. Later, the Grand Chief came, and I was photographed with him. His grandfather was an Irish man. The Irish certainly get around. Like all the other natives there, he spoke French.
Many tribes inhabited the island; and being warlike, there was little intercourse between them except over the dinner table. As a result, each tribe has its own language which the others do not speak; so now they converse in French. They are Melanesian -- dark skinned, fuzzy haired, well built; but not as tall or fine looking as the Fijians. They smile readily, love flowers, and are very fond of Americans. I was told that they do not like the French.
When we got ready to leave, we found that they had filled the jeep with flowers and fruit. The Grand Chief presented Van Ness with a set of deer antlers. Van Ness gave cigarettes to the adults and chewing gum . . .
US Army Hospitals also provided medical care and treatment to the local population
New Caledonia Village Huts and Unique Tall Thatched Huts
St. Louis Mission by Mont-Dore, Grand Terre, New Caledonia
Melanesian Tribal People
Rare Edgar Rice Burroughs WWII Photos
Col. David Taylor shares eight photos of ERB as a WWII correspondent
from the National Archives in Washington, DC.
Longtime Burroughs Family Friend: Acress Rochelle Hudson
and Naval Officer husband Hal Thompson (Hollywood actor/screenwriter)
WWII Espionage Agents
Rochelle Hudson: ERBzine Tributes
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