June 3, 1943 – Merton’s War Diary

June 3, 1943

Arrived coast of Greenland, followed shore outside of ice, and then went into bay of east coast near Ivictut.  Saw eskimo kyacks, Danish village, Victor Mature on a Coast Guard ship, went down life nets into life boat and rowed ashore to walk around.

Ivictut Greenland now seems to be known as Ivittuut and was a former Mining Town – and one of the only natural sources of the mineral Cryolite (which plays some sort of a role in Aluminium Manufacturing.)  I have to say that the photo below from 1940 does not look all that inviting despite the mountains.  This time of year, the average high temp is 54 F with a low of 39 F.

Cryolite Mine, Ivgtut Greenland

Cryolite Mine, Ivgtut Greenland

I know I asked – Who is Victor Mature?  Well it is a good thing that we have google to rescue us.

While I am sure there are other men by the name of Victor Mature, the Victor I believe Merton is referring to in this case was a movie star of the era.  Victor joined the Coast Guard after being turned down by the Navy as he was in fact color blind.  He served aboard the USGCS Storis which was doing patrol work in Greenland along side the Escabana (see May 30, 1943)

Victor John Mature – Click to Visit ‘Find a Grave’

Victor had been in several movies up until this time including: One Million B.C., No No Nanette, and My Gal Sal.  He apparently also auditioned to be in Gone with the Wind.

I have to imagine that my Grandfather has seen this film and I will be watching it soon myself.

In 1943 and 1944,  my Grandfather Merton Young traveled to Greenland while working for the Merritt-Chapman & Scott Company.  He wrote a brief diary of his journey and this is a piece of that story.

Next Entry – June 4, 1943


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