Jan 10

Heroes in Camouflage

Thursday, January 10, 2019 12:01 AM

By

We are very familiar with the names of famous naval leaders and heroes of World War I. But there are hundreds of other individuals whose efforts contributed to achieving victory in 1918. The story of a few starts in Philadelphia and the individuals who worked for the Fourth Naval District and the U.S. Shipping Board. Their stories are presented here as an example of those efforts.

Sara Elizabeth Carles was born in Philadelphia on the first day of January, 1894. Her brother, Arthur Beecher Carles Jr., was 12 years older. Nothing indicated at the time that the siblings would, in future, be selected for inclusion in Who’s Who in American Art. Both studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and Arthur later became an instructor there. Arthur eventually earned scholarships which enabled him to study in France for several years. With war on the horizon, their lives and the lives of all Americans were soon altered beyond recognition.

Arthur Beecher Carles Jr. (Family photo courtesy of Sara Johns Griffen – Sara Carles granddaughter)

Arthur Beecher Carles Jr.
(Family photo courtesy of Sara Johns Griffen – Sara Carles granddaughter)

When the U.S. entered the war in 1917, the Navy department created the Naval Overseas Transport Service to send equipment and supplies to France for the American Expeditionary Force. This is when our brother sister team joined the war effort. Arthur Carles was already an established artist when he was recruited to supervise the application of camouflage patterns on merchant vessels. He was posted to the Philadelphia office of the Emergency Fleet Corporation camouflage department. He was 36 years old and had been working as an art instructor. At 5’8” Arthur was often spotted among his friends and contemporaries by the beard he wore most of his life.

Sara Elizabeth Carles (Family photo courtesy of Sara Johns Griffen – Sara Carles granddaughter)

Sara Elizabeth Carles
(Family photo courtesy of Sara Johns Griffen – Sara Carles granddaughter)

Sara enlisted in the Navy on 11 November 1918 and given serial number 184-81-52. She joined the almost 2000 other Philadelphia women who joined the Navy. Despite being only 24 years old, Sara was already showing her talent as an artist. She was assigned to the Fourth Naval District Headquarters in Philadelphia, to prepare drawings of camouflaged ships. The women in the 4th ND who helped with these reports were Sara Elizabeth Carles, Florence Dorothea Fischer, Ruth Prentice Thompson, Sara Scott, Lilian Archer Jones, and Jean Knox.

Most served only until the end of the war or a few months later. After the war Sara Carles went to Europe to continue her art studies. She returned to the U.S. and later became the chief fashion artist for Harper’s Bazaar magazine. Florence Fischer remained in the Navy until 4 Aug 1919 when she was released as a Yeoman first class (f). The official reason for her discharge was listed as “lack of funds”. Lilian Jones also continued to work for the Navy and became a civilian draughtsman at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

There are many Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) reports bearing their names. I counted over 70. Here are a few examples of their work.

(ONI reports – U.S. National Archives Record Group 38)

(ONI reports – U.S. National Archives Record Group 38)

 

(ONI reports – U.S. National Archives Record Group 38)

(ONI reports – U.S. National Archives Record Group 38)

 

(ONI reports – U.S. National Archives Record Group 38)

(ONI reports – U.S. National Archives Record Group 38)

As far as I have been able to determine, Earl W. Jukes was the only aide for Information to employ women in preparing drawings of camouflaged ships for forwarding to ONI headquarters in Washington, DC. But what was his story…

Earl Winfield Jukes was appointed to the Naval Academy in 1904. His official appointment came from North Dakota even though he was born in Illinois.

Earl Winfield Jukes from the 1908 Lucky Bag (U.S. Naval Academy)

Earl Winfield Jukes from the 1908 Lucky Bag (U.S. Naval Academy)

He was assigned to the USS Washington while still listed as a midshipman in 1909. In 1910 he was assigned to the USS Rainbow which was then part of the Asiatic Fleet stationed in the Philippines. Unfortunately, while stationed there his health went into decline. Subsequent periods of sick leave and hospitalization in Washington and Philadelphia alternated with assignments to destroyers Barry, Preston, and battleships Missouri and Indiana followed.

In January 1913 it was decided to move Ensign Jukes to the retired list under the provisions of Sec 1453. The law allowed retirement for naval officers who were incapacitated due to injury or illness sustained while on active duty. At that time Jukes was credited with 3 years and 5 months sea time.

But that was not the end. Ensign Jukes was recalled to active duty and assigned on 23 January 1917 to the staff of the Commandant Fourth Naval District in Philadelphia. He became Aide for Information on 10 Jul 1917 and held that post until 18 March 1919. His duties included security for shipyards and naval installations in the district. Jukes lead a team of investigators who looked into potential cases of sabotage and watched foreign born nationals who might become spies or saboteurs. He was responsible for reporting on all camouflaged ships that came into 4ND ports. The standard ONI report form required details about the ship with photographs and drawings of the camouflage patterns. Earl Jukes was the only aide for information who employed female volunteers as artist and camoufleurs. His yeoman (F) team was apparently not duplicated in any other Naval District.

After the end of hostilities, Jukes served briefly as recorder for the board of awards at the Navy Department in Washington DC. He then reverted to true retired status. He was later promoted while on the retired list to LCDR which was the highest grade he held during his wartime active service.