Posts Tagged ‘Saint Simons Island History’

World War II Veterans Return to The King and Prince

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

On Monday January 17th, the King and Prince Hotel was honored to have two gentlemen back as guests who both had not been here in decades.  One was Captain Carl Boyd from Falls Church, Virginia who retired as a Captain from the Navy after 33 years of honorable service.  Also accompanying Captain Boyd was Sgt. Charles Fiveash from Aiken, South Carolina.  Sgt. Fiveash grew up in Brunswick and has many fond memories of this area and the King and Prince Hotel even before World War II.   The King and Prince’s Vice President of Resort Operations, Michael Johnson and  Rooms Division Manager, Bob Speight sat down in their office with old photographs, original blueprints and memorabilia from the hotel that goes back to the 1930’s to have a walk down memory lane with Captain Boyd and Sgt. Fiveash.

St Simons Island History
World War II Vets at The King and Prince

Question:  Mr. Fiveash, what do you remember about the King and Prince in the late 30’s and early 40’s?

I remember the King and Prince being such a sporty place.  To me and all my friends it was “top of the line”.  Everybody wanted to go to the King and Prince. We had a lot of the “big bands” stopping through on Saturday nights on their way up north.  We saw the Glenn Miller orchestra and Sammy Kaye just to name a few.  It was a wonderful time and everybody enjoyed dressing up then.  The King and Prince always had an audience.

Question: Captain Boyd, please tell us about your time here at the hotel during WWII.

As you know, the Navy occupied the whole hotel during the war.  I was here for about nine months.  Mckinnon Field was used to store our aircraft and actual fighter planes were stationed there also.  I know that Brunswick’s shipyard was used for building the famous Liberty Ships which the Navy ended up making hundreds and hundreds of them.

Question:  How long did it take at the Brunswick Shipyard to make a Liberty Ship?

Usually it would take about 3 weeks from start to finish to construct a Liberty Ship.

Question:  Captain Boyd, what was your job here during World War II?

I was part of a class that was stationed here to learn how to vector our aircraft to engage enemy aircraft.  Out of the class of about 70 only four were from the fleet and I was one of those four.  I was assigned to a destroyer/mine layer that was based in Charleston.

Air Traffic Control per se and radar technology were new back then and we were taught at the King and Prince how to guide our aircraft to intercept the enemy planes.

Question:  How did the Navy get their enlisted men to the King and Prince?

We caught a train into downtown Brunswick where there was a train station then and just caught a cab over to the King and Prince.  The causeway that connected the mainland to the island had several drawbridges if my memory serves me correctly.

Question:   With coming back for this trip, did you think the King and Prince had changed a lot with its original building?

Of course the layout has basically stayed the same.  I remember a much smaller parking lot in the front.  {Captain Boyd} The officers had rooms that overlooked the ocean and the enlisted men faced the parking lot.  {Mr. Fiveash} I know the seawall was here before the war.  I do remember the terrazzo dance floor as you show me these pictures…………I even recognize a lot of their faces but cannot place their names.  There was no swimming pool but it was a place where everybody wanted to go.  It was a popular place among the locals.

Question: Mr. Fiveash, you were raised here.  Do the names Frank Horn or Morgan Wynn ring a bell with you?

My father owned a trucking company and I remember making many deliveries with the name of Frank Horn on the boxes.  I knew him but I do not recall the name of Morgan Wynn.

Question:  Mr. Fiveash, how did you get your job working in the shipyard?

I grew up in downtown Brunswick and I was around the docks all my life.  I knew a lot about boats and ships at an early age so once I started talking to the workers in the shipyard and they found out just what I knew, they hired me on the spot!