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PPP Brings Another World War II Audio Artifact Back to Life

June 3, 2014

For those who loved the story of the audio “letter” home from World War II soldier Oscar Spaly to his wife Lois, we have another treat for you.photo (9)

In the wake of the Sunday May 25 A1 front page feature in the Ann Arbor News, we were visited by several clients with similar records.

Among those records, the one from Clark Duane Roush stands out the most.

Roush was a member of the U.S. Navy from 1942-1945. While serving in the Pacific, he co-piloted a PBM Mariner, a bulky twin-engine seaplane (or “flying boat”) that conducted bombing runs for the 7th Fleet in the Japanese-occupied Philippines.

In July 1945, just before Japan surrendered, Roush was interviewed as part of a Navy radio program called “Voices From the Fleet.” The interview never aired, but Roush received an acetate 78 RPM record of his three-minute conversation.

After the war, Roush moved to Livonia, Michigan, where he worked in advertising and copy writing. He married Martha Jeanne Roush in August 1945. They had three children, all boys. One of his sons, Stephen, kept the record after his father died in December 2005 – and earlier this month, he brought it to us at PPP.

According to Stephen, one of his father’s more exciting missions – which was not mentioned in the interview – involved the PBM having to land off a Japanese-occupied island to try to pick up a downed flight crew. They did rescue the crew. However, one man who spotted the plane landing started to swim out to the seaplane and was attacked by a shark. The man was rescued, yet he lost one of his forearms. The elder Roush would go on to write about the incident in the Spring 1979 issue of Air Progress/Aviation Review magazine.

Here is the original 1945 interview that we digitized and restored, complete with a photograph of the record label and some footage of the PBM Mariner in action.

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