Deployed to Hawaii (updated)
Oct. 31, 1940: Pvt. John G. Winbury gives a hug to Robert Austin Winbury, 2, as he prepares to sail to Hawaii with the California National Guard 251st Coast Artillery unit. About 750 men boarded the luxury liner Washington, joining 1,200 new sailors and 1,000 shipyard workers already on board.
(A new online search revealed the son’s name. See the last two paragraphs.)
In 1940, the United States was building up its military and deploying units to many new or enlarged Pacific bases. The 251st was made up of 1,200 guardsmen from the San Diego, Long Beach and San Pedro areas. The unit was ordered into federal service on Sept. 16, 1940, and, after training in Ventura, was transferred to Hawaii. The remainder of the 251st shipped out to Hawaii on Nov. 17, 1940.
The 251st, an anti-aircraft unit, saw action at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and was credited with destroying at least two attacking Japanese planes. During World War II, the regiment served in Fiji, Bougainville and the Philippines.
Five photos of the 251st deployment by Times staff photographer Robert Jakobsen were published in the Nov. 17, 1940, Sunday Rotogravure section. This photo was the lead image of a photo page published in the special high-quality graphics section.
This image won first place / features in the 1942 Associated Press annual photo contest for California and Nevada. In 1943, Jakobsen’s photo won fourth place / news in the national AP contest.
A new Google search came up with this hit on the new Google books site. This photo of Private John Winbury was published as the Picture of the Week in the Nov. 25, 1940 issue of LIFE magazine. The son is Robert Austin Winbury, age 2.
LIFE magazine reported, “The dock in Los Angeles harbor was crowded with 743 other men, all dressed like Robert’s father, who were saying goodbye to other boys and girls like Robert and other women like Robert’s mother. Robert’s father called him “Butch” and told him to chin up, but Robert was not to be consoled.”
December 7, 2010, 2:01 pm
It would be interesting to know if Pvt. Winbury made it through the war, and what happened to his son, post-1940.
December 7, 2010, 5:27 pm
Following a new search, this post was updated with the son’s name. No other information is available.
Thanks for your question.
February 23, 2011, 5:45 pm
My maternal grandfather was the commanding officer of the 251st Coast Artillery. His name was Colonel John Harold Sherman. I know almost nothing about his service other than he traveled to Fiji with the unit and became ill. He was discharged due to this illness and passed away some time later, 1944 I believe. I'm hoping there are those with more info or pictures who can fill in the blanks of my grandfather's history.
March 24, 2011, 10:55 pm
On Dec. 22, 1940, the Los Angeles Times published several photos of the 251st Coast Artillery in Hawaii. The photos were provided by the Honolulu Advertiser. Col. John H. Sherman is mentioned as the commanding officer, but he is not in any of the photos. Scott Harrison
December 22, 2011, 7:00 am
My name was befor adoption Benjamin Franklin Daniels son of Simion Franklin Daniels of the 251st and he was at Pearl Harbor on Dec 7th 1941. I am trying to find out more information about them and exactly what happened that day. Unfortunatly my father took his own life while I was on my first tour in Viet Nam and I never got to talk to him about what happend that day. I was in contact is a Al Darden of the 251st but lost touch with him a few years ago. He seemed to know my father well. I belong to the Sons and Daughters of Pear Harbor Survivors and would like to search out others that had their parents at Pear Harbor that day. I know he knew some of the guys that were shot down in the Piper Cubs as he did talk about that a couple of times. He went with the 251st till he contracted a rare disease on one of the islands they were at. He was recouperating from the Elephantitis when he met my mother in SC. So if anyone has any info please feel free to email me at piperL4@aol.com
August 7, 2012, 8:38 pm
The child in this photo is my husband Robert Austin Burr (adopted name). The funny thing is that Butch (family nickname) had gotten his fingers stuck behind the trigger on his dad's gun – and THAT was the reason for his tears. His father, Jack Winbury did make it back alive, but one of the casualties of war was broken marriages and broken families. This same photo was used for War Poster as well – we have a very worn copy of that along with several of the copies of Life Magazine from when it was first published. Bob is alive and well at 74 years old and living in Mexico.
August 8, 2012, 9:59 pm
See reply below – The young child is my husband – 74 years old now :)
April 30, 2013, 10:05 am
The boy in the photo is an exact image of my son at age 2. He is now 54. I have been trying for years to see if he was related to the boy with the soldier. His Dad was adopted in 1934 in Minnesota and his birth Mom was a Forss. She had a relationship with a soldier passing through town. If anyone has any connections with Minnesota or would like to have a copy of the photo of my son, Dave, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Both of the "Dave's" are pilots. Dad is now 80.
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