1945: Colonel praises Gen. MacArthur's plan

Published May 6, 2007

MAY 4, 1945

CLEARWATER - Even after Russian bombers give the land of the rising sun round-the-clock blasting from bases at Vladivostok, the final assault on Japan will require much more time than the average American civilian imagines, according to a former Clearwater accountant who just returned from more than two years service with the headquarters of Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

Col. James Hoffman was with the MacArthur offensive from the time a handful of American troops - two divisions to be exact - were prepared to fight a last-ditch battle against the invaders in the Australian bush after the Japanese offensive moved all the way down to Port Moresby.

Why Japan didn't invade Australia will always be a mystery, Col. Hoffman said.

"There are more Japanese troops isolated on the islands our troops have bypassed in the long road back to Manila, Saipan and Okinawa than we have in the Pacific theater, " he said. "But they hang like grapes on a severed vine, completely cut off from supplies and awaiting plucking at our leisure."

The Clearwater officer praised the MacArthur strategy in leap-frogging these islands as American amphibious spearheads plunged northward toward the Japanese homeland.

"When the whole story can be told, " he said, "the world will be amazed at the great accomplishments of such a comparatively small force. The Navy is entitled to full credit for hitting crippling blows at Midway and the Coral Sea. But Gen. MacArthur has saved the lives of countless American men through his remarkable strategy in leap-frogging island after island."

MAY 1, 1928

Large business locally in Florida stone crabs

CLEARWATER - Local ads featuring lobsters from Gloucester, Mass., bring to mind the fact there is a large industry in a similar line here in Pinellas County.

Folks in general know little about the catching and marketing of stone crabs, the southern lobster.

H.P. Peck left Clearwater yesterday with 20 dozen or more stone crabs for the St. Petersburg Market, on his last trip of this season. The stone crab is protected after May 1 and they cannot be caught again until October.

Mr. Peck had 450 crab traps - similar to the northern lobster pots - set from Anclote Key to Indian Rocks during the past winter and supplied the market for these succulent lobsters in the Sunshine City and other parts of this sub-peninsula. He explained that he was compelled to withdraw his traps from the Gulf front about Indian Rocks because they were systematically raided in that territory.

An attempt is to be made to pass a law protecting owners of crab traps, just as the lobster fishermen are protected along the New England shore. When that is done, a large business will be created.

MAY 12, 1936

Citrus industry movie may boost Pinellas

CLEARWATER - Pinellas County will gain a wealth of publicity from a movie short of its citrus fruit industry that will be exhibited this summer in leading cities of the north by S. Candler Coachman, of S.S. Coachman and Sons, fruit packers.

The movie was given a preview last night at Coachman Station, east of here.

All in vivid colors, the movie is a faithful reproduction of the citrus industry. It shows the various stages of fruit-packing, from picking to loading refrigerator cars with crates packed with glistening golden fruit.

North Pinellas History is compiled by Clearwater Times staff writer Theresa Blackwell. She can be reached at tblackwell@sptimes.com or 727 445-4170.

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