Virginia C. Claudon Allen

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Virginia Allen sitting with a radio mic for her "GI Jill" program, Agra, India
Virginia Allen sitting with a radio mic for her "GI Jill" program, Agra, India

Virginia C. Claudon Allen was a civilian employee for Army Intelligence and an American Red Cross volunteer stationed in India during World War II . She hosted a nightly radio program to counter-act the broadcasts of Tokyo Rose. Like Martha Wilkerson's GI Jive show, U.S. military and civilian officials viewed broadcasts such as Allen's for the Armed Forces Radio Service as an essential support for troop morale.[1][2]

Early years of the war[edit]

Allen graduated from the College of William & Mary in 1940. When the war broke out she volunteered at Ream Army General Hospital in Palm Beach, Florida. She then joined Army Intelligence and worked at Morrison Field Airforce Base (now Palm Beach Air Force Base). After the death of her fiance, Lieutenant Langdon Long, in Africa, she requested an overseas assignment with the Red Cross. She entered the Red Cross as a Second Lieutenant and was sent to Fort Belvoir for basic training.

"GI Jill" in Agra, India[edit]

Allen arrived in India late in the war and was given command of the "Repairadise Club" in Agra. The Agra station was one of sixteen in the Indian-Burma theatre.[3] The airforce base at Agra was a key depot and repair facility for the India-China Division, Air Transport Command. Allen described her mission and the conditions of the assignment: "We had no individual radios. No U.S. newspapers. And, of course, no yet-to-be invented T.V. The movies shown on benches after dark were black and white and mostly westerns. Homesickness was the major malady; and it was a primary effort on our part to keep the GI's busy with activities such as club competitions in volley ball, golf (a two hole, sandy, home-made course, basketball and baseball."[4] "My radio messages were always upbeat," Allen explained after the war, "And the music was wonderful. Being 'on air' 55 minutes nightly was part of my weekly duty. We had great respect for the service men who seemed to appreciate everything we tried to do for them."[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cooke, James J. (2012). American Military Experience : American Girls, Beer, and Glenn Miller : GI Morale in World War II. Columbia: University of Missouri Press. p. 23. ISBN 9780826219848.
  2. ^ Hadlow, Martin (2004). "The Mosquito Network: American Military Radio in the Solomon Islands During World War II". Journal of Radio Studies. 11 (1).
  3. ^ "Radio Heritage Foundation - AFRS The India-Burma Network". www.radioheritage.net. Retrieved 2016-08-24.
  4. ^ "Memoir ( Page 10): Virginia C. Claudon Allen: Experiencing War: Veterans History Project (Library of Congress". memory.loc.gov. Retrieved 2016-08-23.
  5. ^ Shope, Bradley (2016-01-30). American Popular Music in Britain's Raj. Boydell & Brewer. ISBN 9781580465489.

External links[edit]