After years of buildup, the tide of war was turning, and every day brought new stories to the pages of the Telegram-Tribune. At home several knotty problems were being untangled as well.
Aug. 16, 1944
Three San Luis Obispo navy men — Raymond Murphy, M.M. 2-c; Ernest Cossi, M.O.M.M. 3-c; and Baldo Herrera Jr., M.M. 2-c — had a coincidental meeting halfway around the world in the South Pacific.
The San Luis Obispo Board of Education authorized $5,000 to buy about 7 acres in the Ferrini tract for a future elementary school. The land was off of Foothill Boulevard on Ferrini road.
The invasion of southern France "Succeeds Beyond Dreams," according to one headline. Allied headquarters was maintaining silence on current conditions, but Axis radio said the Allied forces were now within 39 miles of Paris. News reports via Madrid said that all German command posts had been removed, leaving behind only a rear guard resistance and destruction squads.
Aug. 21, 1944
Lt. John "Jimmie" Miller was reported as killed in action while fighting in France.
Sgt. Richard L. Harris of San Miguel was reported as gravely wounded while serving with the 746th Tank Battalion in France.
Two absent-without-leave soldiers — Clifford Joplin, 25, and Hugh Moriarity, 20 — were apprehended near San Simeon by deputy sheriff rangers Archie Soto and Randolph Amperson. Both soldiers had escaped from the Fort Ord guardhouse in a stolen a car.
The American Legion endorsed a resolution favoring a veterans hospital in Paso Robles.
Gains in France were making some Allied leaders giddy. Gen. Bernard Montgomery said: "The news is very good, and the end of the war is in sight. Let's finish off the business in record time."
Aug. 22, 1944
The San Luis Obispo City Council passed an ordinance placing a yearly $100 per table fee on public gaming tables. Councilman Joseph Leary branded the ordinance as "the most disgraceful action I have ever seen." Other council members argued the ordinance provided the city with necessary control over gaming.
A fight between the county auditor and tax collector's offices for management of delinquent tax rolls was resolved by the Board of Supervisors. Auditor Willis Chase was balking at a recommendation by the grand jury to release control.
The county was negotiating a new navy lease of San Luis Obispo County airport.
San Luis Obispo was undertaking a special census to count the explosion of population due to the war. The city had a population of 8,881 in 1940, but a mere four years later the number had exploded to an estimated 12,500 based on ration book registration. Meanwhile the city was taking a financial loss in state and federal allocations based on the outdated numbers.
The story was given the headline: "'Loyal' Nips Win Round in Court." Federal Judge J.F. T. O'Connor ruled that the Western Defense Command must show cause why loyal Japanese-Americans should not be allowed to return immediately to the Pacific coast. Plaintiffs were Mrs. Shisuko Shiramizu, widow of a soldier killed in action in Italy; Massaru Baha, an honorably discharged war veteran; and Dr. George Ochikubo, a dentist who had applied for military service.
Reports that Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was dead were now coming to light. Early reports claim the German leader died shortly after his car drove into a ditch evading a strafing Allied fighter plane. The truth of his suicide, under orders from Hitler, would only come to light much later.
The German army in France was said to be in a "complete tailspin." Their counterattack had been repulsed, and American armor was pressing forward despite worries of a "delicate supply problem."
More B-29 raids over Japan were reported. It was becoming clear that bombing the Japanese islands was more than a propaganda effort but a real and growing threat.