Yesterday’s News: The Shangri-La

When the United States government formally announced that the Doolittle raid — a flight of B-17s over Tokyo in early 1942 — had been carried out, President Roosevelt informed a reporter that the bombers had been launched from a secret base in “Shangri-La”, an island from a novel popular at the time.   I was thus intrigued to see this ad while searching for obituaries in 1943, encouraging Americans to buy stamps to support the building of the  “mystery ship” Shangri-La. I assumed this was a codename,  but it proves to have been the actual name: a USS Shangri-La was laid down in January 1943, completed in early ’44, and put into service in the autumn of that year.   An Essex-class carrier, the ship participated in late-war bombing raids against the Japanese home islands, so this is a rare case of an advertisement getting fairly close to the mark.  According to Wikipedia, the ship served through Vietnam, specializing in anti-submarine warfare,  and was retired in 1974.   Although I’m familiar with war bond campaigns, this is the first I’ve encountered where bonds or stamps were linked to a specific project, in this case a bonafide ship. 

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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2 Responses to Yesterday’s News: The Shangri-La

  1. Brian Joseph says:

    I also did not know that war bonds were ever linked to a particular ship as they seem to be in this case. I like looking through the text of old newspapers. They tell one a lot about the times.

  2. Stephen says:

    It's especially to read comics like “Blondie” and see how little they've changed!

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