CLENT BREEDLOVE
CIVILIAN PILOT TRAINING PROGRAM
PRE-FLIGHTS PROGRAM
1939-1945

Plainview PGS Article 20


WWII meant rationing, lean times but Plainview shared Christmas spirit with glider students at Finney Field

By John W. McCullough, Graduate Student in History, Texas Tech University

This is the 20th article in a series about Clent Breedlove’s Plainview Pre-Glider School at Finney Field.

With the autumn of 1942 upon them, citizens of Plainview and glider students at Finney Field felt both the war-time restrictions as well as the lean times of rationing.

Numerous notices in the Plainview Evening Herald advised citizens on everything from following rationing guidelines to observing the new 35 mph speed limit on highways.

In the October 8, 1942 edition of the Plainview News, an article appeared which stated that meat for civilian use had been cut nearly 20 percent that day by government order.  The government had taken this action in order to ensure sufficient quantities for the armed forces and for lend-lease.  By the end of 1942, consumers would be limited to about two and a half pounds of meat per week.

Then on November 18, the Plainview Evening Herald reported that registration for gas rationing would begin the next day.  Mr. E. W. Kinney, chairman of the Hale County rationing board said that “arrangements were about complete for the sign-up”.  Forms for making application would be available at most filing stations and tire dealers, stated the Herald.

Soon, articles appeared that coffee sales would be halted for one week prior to one cup-a-day coffee rationing.  Sugar had already been rationed and the government was looking at rationing meat and butter next.

With the fall of the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia, and the fall of French Indochina to Japanese forces in the spring of 1942, the Allies quickly found that they were in short supply of natural rubber.

Tire rationing was already in effect and the “tubeless tire” was already being discussed.  The tubeless tire was invented by John B. McCay of Tulsa, Okla.  Tests with cars using tubeless tires were encouraging.

“The tubeless tire may add more than 200,000 tons of high grade rubber to the country’s scrap rubber stockpile”, William R. Boyd Jr., chairman of the Petroleum Industry War council, stated.

Other options for citizens with automobiles were tires made of “reclaim rubber”.  

Montgomery Ward advertised in the Plainview Evening Herald on November 29 that “the new Government mileage-program provides that every responsible car-owner who observes rationing regulations will be eligible to apply for recaps or replacement tires.”  The article went on to say that “most car-owners would be eligible for re-capping service, used tires, or the new ALL-RECLAIM RUBBER TIRES!”

Even with all of this rationing occurring, residents of Plainview still found the resources and time to help the pre-glider students at Finney Field enjoy a happy Christmas.

The Herald announced on December 20 that a Christmas day party for pre-glider students would be held at the America Legion home from 11 o’clock in the morning until 8 o’clock in the evening.

“There will be games, music, dancing, and food”, stated the Herald.

The idea came from the Hale County Federation of Women’s clubs but has developed into a community wide event with Mrs. Winfield Holbrook and Mrs. M. W. Lemons serving on the steering committee.  Mrs. Fleet Sheppard was the president of the Federation, commented the Herald.

Mrs. H. G. Stinnett, Jr. will arrange the entertainment and music while a group of younger girls will act as hostesses, chaperoned by Mrs. D. O. Hollingsworth.

Mrs. G. F. Fellay would be the chairman of the foods and Mrs. Ray B. Knoohuizen planned to arrange the tree and other decorations.  Mrs. T. O. Collier would provide books and magazines.  After the party, she would have those reading materials sent to the pre-glider school to be shelved in the recreation hall for the soldiers’ use.

In addition to the reading materials, Plainviewans were asked by Mrs. Stinnett to bring cards and games to the Legion hall for use on Christmas day.  Those items would also make their way to Finney Field once the Christmas party was over.   

She also was interested in borrowing someone’s ping-pong game and other large games.

The Christmas day committee also hoped that many Plainviewans would open their homes for Christmas dinner to the men from the pre-glider school who were hundreds of miles away from home.  Those residents who desired to host some of these men for a holiday dinner were asked to call Mrs. A. A. Alexander, Mrs. W. B. Davenport, or Mrs. E. G. Alexander, said the Herald.

Some of the pre-glider men also may have had relatives driving in to see them for the holiday; so any Plainviewans who could have offered a spare bedroom for them were asked to call Mrs. Tom Boyd, Mrs. Roy Barnett, or Mrs. Paul Bryan.

However, by December 23, the Plainview Evening Herald reported that of the 156 soldiers stationed at the pre-glider school at Finney Field, only 30 had received invitations to stay at a local resident’s home on Christmas Day.  Mrs. Holbrook, Mrs. Lemons, and Mrs. Sheppard asked in behalf of the Hale County Federation of Women’s clubs, that Plainviewans who were considering opening their homes to these men to make their invitations firm quickly.

Then in the Christmas Eve edition of the Herald, the very heart-warming news was announced that all men stationed at the pre-glider school had invitations to enjoy a Christmas dinner at someone’s home in Plainview.

In fact, there were more invitations than there were soldiers, said Guy Witt, Chamber of Commerce manager.

“Instead of the uniformed men being disappointed it was the families who called in late who were left out.  It was the same situation on Thanksgiving when there were more invitations than soldiers”, commented Witt.

The soldiers will rendezvous at the Hilton Hotel and hosts will pick up their guests there and take them to their homes.  During the afternoon, the soldiers will be guests at the party sponsored by the Hale County Federation of Women’s Clubs.

To everyone who served at Finney Field during WWII:  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in 2014!

Readers are also asked to visit the National WWII Glider Pilot website at www.ww2gp.org and www.breedlove-cptp.org for more details about the glider program of WWII.

Anyone with information about the Plainview Pre-Glider School at Finney Field should contact John McCullough at (806)793-4448 or email johnmc@breedlove-cptp.org.








                                                       

Cartoon from the Plainview Evening Herald, 1942.