“WWII Dutch Harbor Scrapbook”
These are photos of Unalaska and its port, Dutch Harbor. I along with several hundred infantry trained soldiers
arrived at Dutch Harbor in July, 1943, via the SS Columbia, a passenger ship converted for carrying troops. We were
reserves for the forthcoming Kiska invasion in August.
We were assigned to the 58th Infantry and we were quartered in Pacific huts outside of the town halfway up a
mountain side. Prior to leaving Seattle, we traded our standard outer garments for arctic field jackets, arctic boots,
gloves with a trigger finger, a wonderful double eider-down sleeping bag and a rucksack pack which held 80 pounds
We trained hard, day and night marching around the mountains on narrow foot paths. We fired and operated
Japanese weapons captured 2 months earlier on Attu. We also made beach assaults from landing barges.
The Seabees were constructing roads in our area which required dynamite blasting. One day we were notified that
there was to be a blast and that we should stand across the road a few hundred feet from the blast. There was
some miscalculation in the timing of the blast and the effect was that the rock mountain side came flying out in
thousands of fragments, some the size a basket ball. We were showered with these fragments. I received several
small cuts and the soldier standing next to me was killed instantly when he was hit by a large fragment in the
head. He fell next to me and never uttered a sound. I was lucky. Many fragments fell through our Pacific huts, and
the occupants rushed out thinking it was an air raid.
After the Kiska screw-up, a number of us were transferred to the Post Engineer which was totally over staffed so
we drew KP for a week at a time.
By October, we were told we were being transferred to APO 729 which was a primitive base and they needed us. Of
course, we had no idea where APO 729 was (Shemya) and that we would travel by the Navy troop ship, "David W.
Branch". That turned out to be one of the most hair-raising adventures of my entire stay in the Aleutians.
[Editor's Notes: Ian, like many stationed in the Aleutians during WWII, spent time on several of the islands, including
Shemya and Attu. You'll find other pages with photos from Ian on these web sites as well through a "Site Search." Ian also
authored the book "They Also Serve," found on our site's Bibliography page.]
1. July 1943: Ian Beaton, 58th Infantry, Dutch Harbor...ready for Kiska (Never
Happened!). [Ian Beaton]
2. 1943: Ian Beaton - Det. Post Engineer Section, Dutch Harbor.
3. 1943: Ian Beaton; Dutch Harbor.
4. 1943: Ian Beaton, Dutch Harbor.
5. 1943: Ian Beaton, Dutch Harbor.
6. 1943: Ian Beaton, Dutch Harbor.
7. 1943: Ian Beaton, Dutch Harbor.
9. 1943: Ian Beaton, Dutch Harbor. This is a photo that was stamped "Restricted"
by the Army Censors.
10. 1943: Ian Beaton - A "Restricted" photo was not allowed to be sent home
during the conflict.
11. 1943: Ian Beaton - Dutch Harbor.
8. 1943: Ian Beaton - Photos not having any strategic value to the enemy would
be stamped with a "Passed" stamp. All personal photos and mail was censored
by the U. S. Army.
Originally Published: 07/11/2005
Last Updated: 04/25/2017 08:45