About Jim Hatfield...

jim Hatfield March, 1942

Lest We Forget - Jim Hatfield 1922 - 2007

Jim Hatfield 1922 - 2007 Grave site

Jim was in the Army during World War II and had the opportunity to serve in the AOR (Area of Responsibility) around Massawa and Gura, Eritrea. He also saw the very early days of "Radio Marina," which later came to be known as Kagnew Station, in Asmara.

Jim was a Medical Technician with the the 104th Station Hospital that was set up to take care of a token U.S. and Allied military presence, and POW's around Massawa and Gura. The U.S. Navy had a representation in Massawa from the summer of '42 to roughly the summer of 1943, salvaging ships that were scuttled in the harbor - a departing gesture of the Italian Navy. This salvaging operation was spearheaded by U.S. Navy Commander Ed Ellsberg, a highly motivated guy that wanted to salvage as many ships as possible for the allied cause. You see, in that early period of the war, the Allies were not certain how the war was going to end up and they needed as many ships as possible to carry materiel to the various hot-spots. Allied ship production had not yet reached full capacity, and Ellsberg was their man. A good job he did! Read his book, "Under The Red Sea Sun," copyright 1946.

Jim eventually went up to Radio Marina - in Asmara (Tract A as we probably knew it), with the 104th and helped set up a dispensary there. At that time, the U.S. was about to receive that facility from the British. Radio Marina was a strategic communication relay station from Washington to parts east.

His following articles are priceless - since he is the only one I have heard of, still left around, that served in that part of East Africa in WWII - who helped lay the foundation of what a lot of my friends and me enjoyed at Kagnew Station and Massawa 27 years later. Thanks Jim!

Sorry to say that Jim passed away Tuesday, February 20, 2007. He is the last of a great era!

Massawa and Gura in WWII

Jim Hatfield's WWII Pictures

Back to Rick Fortney's Kagnew Station web site - The Early Days page

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