Forgotten Trails – by Lydia Grimes

Published 1:47 am Thursday, January 22, 2009

By Staff
Did you know that Brewton actually contributed enough through the sale of war bonds during World War II to furnish an airplane to the war effort?
Neither did I, but believe it or not, I found the following article in the December 2, 1943 issue of The Brewton Standard. The headlines for the story printed way back then read like this:
Flying Fortress Purchased With Local Bonds During Second War Loan Drive in April To Be Followed Soon By Other Bombing and Fighting Planes
Proudly carrying the name of the sponsors on her nose, this new four-engine Flying Fortress is expected to carry the news to Hitler that another little speck on the map of the United States has suddenly changed into a mighty engine of death right over his head.
And it won't be long before he can “see double” when he looks for “The Spirit of Brewton,” for another Fortress and a Fighter, with plenty of ammunition, have been ordered with the proceeds from Brewton's Third War Loan Drive in September, according to reports from Treasury officials.
With these big war planes from their home town showing up on the fighting fronts, the boys from the Brewton area can be proud of their people and can feel assured that the battle of the home front is being fought and won.
They can say: “This is Number One. There's plenty more where this one came from.”
In the Second War Loan Drive, Brewton's quota was $350,000 and the Bond sales were $420,000. As the cost of the Flying Fortress “Spirit of Brewton” was said to be $350,000, without guns and equipment, the $70,000 extra went a long way in putting her in good fighting trim and sending her on her mission to blast the Axis.
A quota of $458,000 was assigned to Brewton by the County War Bond Committee in the Third War Loan Drive in September and again the city went over the top by a wide margin with sales of more than a half million dollars, and the county exceeded its quota of $768,000 by more than $100,000, according to figures released by the War Bond headquarters.
The September quota was to cover the cost of five war planes; one four-engine bomber, one two-engine bomber, three fighter planes and $68,000 worth of bombs; all of which has been covered by Escambia County War Bond buyers, with enough added to buy another fighter, fully equipped.
The way these articles are written is certainly different than the way we do them these days. It is also interesting to note that there are no bylines accredited to anyone, so I don't know who actually wrote the article.
Digging through old newspapers is a wonderful way to learn about the history of our area. I have certainly enjoyed looking through old issues to find something that might be of interest to the readers of this column.
Anyone may look through our old editions kept at our offices. Drop by during regular business hours and you can browse all you want.
If you have a topic or point of interest you would like to see written about in this space, please let me know. I'll try to find the information you're looking for and share it in my columns.
You can give me a call at 867-4876 or drop me a line by email at lydia.grimes@brewtonstandard.com.
Until next week, happy hunting.