The Granville County connection to the Enola Gay | The Butner-Creedmoor News
The Butner-Creedmoor News
Login
SearchHelpSubscriptions

BACK IN THE DAY

The Granville County connection to the Enola Gay

Posted on May 10, 2022

Updated on May 15, 2022

Top newsLocal newsOpinionColumns

Virgil Whyte’s Musical Sweethearts performed at the Camp Butner Outdoor Theatre on Aug. 13, 1945, one of many local events celebrating the end of WWII.

Contributed photo

Virgil Whyte’s Musical Sweethearts performed at the Camp Butner Outdoor Theatre on Aug. 13, 1945, one of many local events celebrating the end of WWII.

Virgil Whyte’s Musical Sweethearts performed at the Camp Butner Outdoor Theatre on Aug. 13, 1945, one of many local events celebrating the end of WWII.

Contributed photo

Virgil Whyte’s Musical Sweethearts performed at the Camp Butner Outdoor Theatre on Aug. 13, 1945, one of many local events celebrating the end of WWII.

Virgil Whyte’s Musical Sweethearts performed at the Camp Butner Outdoor Theatre on Aug. 13, 1945, one of many local events celebrating the end of WWII.

STEM — On Aug. 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The explosion almost instantly killed 80,000 people and tens of thousands would die later of radiation exposure.  
Three days later, anther bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 40,000 people. Japan’s Emperor Hirohito announced his country’s unconditional surrender in World War II in a radio address on Aug. 15, citing the devastating power of “a new and most cruel bomb.”  
That new and cruel bomb has a Granville County connection. Wallace Bowling was from Stem, and was drafted into World War II. So was Elbert Blackwell, another Granville County boy. Wallace and Elbert received orders to ship to the Tinian Island in the South Pacific, near Guam. 
Tinian Island had been captured from Japan, and American B29 bombers could now fly to Japan and return on a tank of fuel. In August of 1945, Germany had been defeated. At 2:45 a.m. on Aug. 6, 1945, the B-29 bomber Enola Gay, took off from the north runway at Tinian Island.  
The Enola Gay was piloted by Colonel Paul Tibbets, who had named the plane after his mother. Her takeoff weight was 150,000 pounds; the 65-ton Enola Gay with 7,000 gallons of fuel, a 12-man crew, and a 5-ton atomic bomb. She was overloaded by 15,000 pounds and had to use every inch of the runway to get airborne. The two Granville County boys, Wallace Bowling and Elbert Blackwell, were there as the Enola Gay rose in the sky. 
Later that day, Hiroshima would be hit with the most powerful bomb invented by man up to 1945. On Aug. 9, 1945, another B-29 bomber took off from Tinian Island headed to Nagasaki with another atomic bomb. 
With the news of Japan’s surrender, Oxford broke loose in a wild celebration. Creedmoor, Stem, Stovall, Berea, and households all over Granville County celebrated also. People gathered on Oxford’s and Creedmoor’s downtown streets. Confetti and paper were tossed out windows. 
Bells were rung and alarms sounded in Creedmoor. The Oxford Fire Department sounded 5-6, the designated Victory Alarm. Large American flags were put on fire trucks and driven around town with sirens going. Men, women and children went into the courthouse in Oxford to hear speeches, sing patriotic songs and say prayers of thankfulness. 
The Rev. J.L. Smith said, “We are here to give thanks to Almighty God for the end of this cruel war, the hour for which we have labored, sacrificed and prayed is now at hand.” Bells, horns and whistles could be heard in Granville County throughout the day-long celebrations.  
At the Service Club Number One at Camp Butner in August of 1945, there was an informal party with Durham girls, a dance at the sports arena, an outdoor watermelon party, a community sing and a square dance. At Service Club Number Three, there was a variety show and a dance with Raleigh girls.  
At the Convalescent Hospital in the Red Cross Recreation Halls at 12th and D Streets, a movie was shown to patients that probably boosted many spirits. The movie was called “I Love a Soldier.” On Aug. 12, at Chapel Number 10, there was a Protestant Service at 9 a.m. and a Catholic Service at 11 a.m. 
On Aug. 13, Virgil Whyte’s Musical Sweethearts performed at the Outdoor Theatre. A poster of a beautiful young woman, who was quite busty and showing quite a bit of her legs, was posted on a door in the Post Public Relations Building. A contest was held to name the lovely lady, with the winner receiving a glossy 8 by 12 inch print of the poster. James Nichols, a famous one-arm golf trick shot artist, entertained service men at the post baseball field on Aug. 13.  
For comments, call or text Lewis at 919-417-6305 or write P.O. Box 122, Oxford, NC, 27565.

More Top news

During its regular meeting on May 18, the Granville County Veterans’ Affairs Committee recognized Gracie Lundswall of Creedmoor, a sixth-grade student at Falls Lake Academy, for her five years of volunteerism with the national Wreaths Across America program. Gracie represented Granville County and the state of North Carolina through her work at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. to honor her grandfather and others who have served in the U.S. armed forces. She exemplifies the motto of Wreaths Across America: to remember fallen veterans; to honor those who serve; and to teach others the value of freedom. Gracie received a certificate of appreciation, a challenge coin, and a statute of an American bald eagle from committee chairman Michael Turner, right.

Falls Lake student recognized for service

May 20, 2022

Creedmoor commissioners met on May 16.

Creedmoor debates decision on tax increase

By Amanda Dixon
| May 20, 2022

CREEDMOOR — Commissioners spent nearly three hours reviewing information on the budget after Ed Glea...

North Carolina Department of Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson recently met with the Granville Health System leadership team to discuss the labor shortage crisis and potential solutions. Shown from left are: Brandie Johnson, GHS director patient access; Danika Davis, GHS director emergency department; Thomas Keller, GHS director environmental services; John F. Snow, GHS chief executive officer; Josh Dobson, NC Commissioner of Labor; Gail Barnes-Hall, GHS director Harold Sherman Adult Day Center; Adam McConnell, GHS chief financial officer; Linda Grissom, GHS director medical staff and administrative services; Ann Marie Holtzman Wheeler, GHS chief nursing officer; Renita Timberlake, GHS director primary care practices; Courtney Pernell, GHS staff development coordinator; Jonathan Pernell, GHS director emergency medical services; Kelly Harmon, GHS administrative director inpatient services.

Labor commissioner visits GHS

May 20, 2022


local news

Powered by Nash & Pine | v4.2.4