Lesser known facts about World War II
Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 22, 2014
First-hand accounts of memorable moments in World War II will one day cease to reach the ears of children and adults.
The World War II generation is rapidly disappearing and with them, the chance to learn lesser known facts about a war that ended almost 70 years ago.
Louisiana children’s author Alice Couvillon has written a new book, filled with “50 Fun Facts about World War II.”
Couvillon’s sister, Gloria Crassons is chair of the Friends of the Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library Brown Bag Book Review.
Tuesday, Couvillon presented a PowerPoint presentation, which featured trivia designed for readers of all ages.
Couvillon wrote her first book in 1990 entitled “Louisiana Indian Tales,” after a Girl Scout meeting about Indian pottery and an artist friend’s story. The novel includes 12 stories about Native Americans from pre-historic to historic eras.
“My sister Gloria, a former preschool teacher, told me, ‘we need a children’s Mardi Gras book,’’’ Couvillon said.
“Mimi’s First Mardi Gras” was published in 1992 and is her most popular title along with “Mimi and Jean-Paul’s Cajun Mardi Gras.”
Couvillon is a retired schoolteacher and to commemorate the upcoming 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, she decided to write a children’s book with fun facts about a nearly forgotten historic war.
There were many bits of trivia presented during the presentation including;
– President Franklin D. Roosevelt used Capone’s bulletproof vehicle to deliver his Infamy Speech, Couvillon said.
– Bock’s Car was the name of the plane that dropped bombs on Nagasaki, Japan.
– Local DJ’s wouldn’t take requests on the radio for fear of enemy messages.
– A fake town was built on the roof of the Lockheed Burbank Aircraft plant in California to camouflage the building.
– The American Red Cross sent monopoly games to prisoners of war in Germany. Hidden inside the game pieces was a map, compass and a metal file, Couvillon said.
– Nylon stockings were a commodity during wartime and used to make parachutes. Couvillon said the women would paint their legs with pancake makeup and tinted creams and used eyeliner to draw a seam.
– Paddy the Pigeon and G.I. Joe the Pigeon were known for delivering messages to soldiers in record-breaking speeds, Couvillon said. Many other animals were used during the war including cats, bats, a Yorkshire terrier, a reindeer and a bear.
– British Special Operations developed plans to thwart the enemy including rat bombs. Couvillon said the bombs were inserted into the dead rats. The plan was to leave the bombs throughout Germany and when the rat carcass was thrown into a furnace it would explode.
– The German hand motion Sieg Heil was inspired by American cheerleaders.
Tuesday’s Brown Bag event was well attended and guests said learning that animals had a role in the war was fascinating.
“I learned a few obscure facts the war,” Beverly Creel said. “I believe children will appreciate the facts rather than having text quoted from a book at them. It’s a good learning experience for students of all ages.”
Betty Stockstill said she never realized the important role animals played in the war.
“The children will latch on to these facts and go home and tell their friends and family about the great things they learned,” Stockstill said.
Couvillon’s book will be released in 2015.
Learn more about Couvillon’s work at www.pelicanpub.com.