Brent A. Peterson
Tarawa Souvenirs
Sun Aug 26, 2018 07:50

The collection of battlefield souvenirs was forbidden by the USMC during the war. Many Marines did manage to sneak things out one way or another. After Tarawa, the Marine Corps gathered approved souvenir material and transported it to Hawaii. The material was placed into warehouses at Hilo and each Marine was given several tickets and a turn to select souvenirs. The souvenirs then had to be approved by the Company CO and a form signed. Shipment home was then provided by the USMC. Japanese uniforms, insignias, swords and flags were common among these souvenirs. Some of the collections still contain the forms signed by he Company Commanders. The Japanese were known to "booby trap" many attractive items on the battlfield by attaching them to land mines or hand grenades. Many of the currency notes were actually signed aboard the transport ships on the days prior to the invasion (New Zealand notes) these are called "short snorters".

  • Corporal Jimmie S DowthittRobert Shield, Sat Aug 25 11:16
    I'm trying to track down a Corporal Jimmie S. Dowthitt (18 Marines, 2nd Marine Div or his descendents. I have some Japanese currency that he signed on Tarawa on 11/20/43. He also lists his name,unit... more
    • Tarawa Souvenirs — Brent A. Peterson, Sun Aug 26 07:50
      • Hilo warehouseNicole Garcia, Mon Aug 27 15:42
        I am very interested to learn more about the warehouses in Hilo. I am writing my Master's Research (At UH Hilo) on Camp Tarawa and the local experience during WWII. Would you be willing to contact me ... more
    • RE : Jimmie S. DowthittTom Godwin, Sat Aug 25 14:39
      Robert, This may be the Marine you are looking for as it is an uncommon name. Jimmie was in A 1/18. He has passed on. There is an obituary at this site. Robert appears to have had many children.... more
      • Jimmie S. DowthittRobert Shield, Mon Aug 27 11:03
        Thank you so much! You are right, it is an unusual name and I am thinking that this must be the gentleman. (The middle initial even matches!) My mother was a second generation Japanese American... more
        • Camp TarawaNicole Garcia, Mon Aug 27 15:33
          I am writing my Master's thesis on Camp Tarawa and the local experience. Would it be possible to contact you through email for more information about your mother and grandmother. These are exactly... more
          • Camp TarawaAnonymous, Tue Aug 28 09:32
            Hi Nicole, I'd love to hear more about your project! I don't know how much I can add, but I'd be happy to answer any questions you have. I could probably ask my cousins as well if necessary! Take... more
            • Camp TarawaNicole Garcia, Tue Aug 28 13:20
              Hi Rob, Great! Would it be possible to send you an email? Maybe you could email me?
      • Re: RE : Jimmie S. DowthittMark, Sun Aug 26 01:26
        Thanks for the info. I have currency too, but unfortunately it's pasted into the scrapbook grandpa made before he died in 1960. Don't recall seeing any handwriting on them though. Have to take... more
        • RE: WW2 souvenirs Tom Godwin, Sun Aug 26 05:48
          Sometimes you can get lucky with searches. A surprising 86,000 hits on for a search of "Japanese Rifles" delineated by years 1943 to 1944. I was able to find the provenance of things... more
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