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.
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