Cadet Wilmeth had no sooner arrived at the U.S. Army's Military Academy at West Point in New York State, when he received word that his father had died in Fort Worth, Texas. Because of the importance of cattle to 'Cow Town', and his father's contribution to the economy of Fort Worth, Jo Brice Wilmeth's death received a lot of detailed coverage in the local newspaper.
The next few years passed by without any noteworthy events of consequence (that we can discover) that took place in the life of Cadet Wilmeth. Then in the Friday, June 1, 1934 edition of the 'Fort Worth Star-Telegram' this newspaper reported that on June 12 of that year, Cadet Wilmeth would be among 250 young men graduating from West Point with a Bachelor of Science degree.
On that day Wilmeth officially enlisted in the U.S. Army and was commissioned as a second lieutenant of infantry. Following graduation and three months' leave, Wilmeth and his fellow graduates all reported to their first stations as officers. Wilmeth was assigned to Fort Hamilton in New York State.
On Wednesday, March 6, 1935, the 'Evening Star' newspaper in Washington, D.C., reported that Wilmeth had been reassigned from Fort Hamilton to duty at the Panama Canal Department beginning on May 3, 1935. Wilmeth took the opportunity to visit his mother in Fort Worth. His arrival and departure in 'Cow Town' were noted in the April 19, 1935, edition of the 'Fort Worth Star-Telegram'.
Such detailed coverage did not continue.
Wilmeth's activities in the Panama Canal Zone from 1935 to 1936, are concealed from public view by a blanket of press silence. In those years the Panama Canal existed in its own 'Twilight Zone'. It was not part of the USA, and it was not covered by laws made under the protection of the U.S. Constitution, and persons born in the Zone did not qualify for an automatic right to U.S. citizenship. What we do know from official records is that in 1935, Wilmeth established his official place of residence in New York City, and so it is not clear how he divided his time between the Panama Canal Department and his leave time in the 'Big Apple'.
To discover what happened to Wilmeth after 1936, we have to turn to a brief retroactive mention in 1937 that appeared on August 2, 1956, in the Austin Statesman' newspaper. In 1937, Lt. Col. Wilmeth attended "infantry and tank schools" at Fort Benning in Georgia. In 1938, James Dudley Wilmeth married Eleanor Doxey in New York. She was born the year after her husband on January 2, 1911, but there is not very much information about their marriage that we have so far come across, apart from the birth of a son who was born in 1939, and named after his father. This same 1956 newspaper report does mention that from 1937 to 1939, Wilmeth was further assigned to the Third Division Tank Company at Fort Lewis, in the State of Washington.
In 1939, while the United Kingdom put its people in the gun and bomb sights of Adolph Hitler's military forces, the average American was staying out of harm's way. The USA did not want any part of yet another European War that would follow hot-on-the heels of 'The Great War'. That War was renamed 'World War I', so that the new conflict could be branded as 'World War II'. Americans had no intention of singing "Over There", all over again.
But Winston Churchill had other ideas.
He needed to get that wartime choir back in action as fast as possible and sing the same song with an updated schedule. Even that WWI military tune for golfers called 'Colonel Bogie' made a comeback.
Churchill's predecessor in office had tied the fate of the UK to the fate of Poland, but instead of being able to "put up", Churchill turned into a bag of wind. He could not fight back because although Churchill had campaigned for rearmament in light of Nazi Germany's obvious intentions, no one listened to him. So, while Churchill did not "shut up" when he became Wartime Prime Minister, at first, he was all mouth and no muscle. He could only exclaim: "I told you so". However, when it came to doing something about Hitler's attack on Poland, all that Churchill could do was make speeches and try to stop Hitler from invading and occupying the British Isles. To achieve anything more, Churchill had to drag America's farm boys and its munitions makers back into yet another European war.
Before the Japanese attacked the U.S. fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941, there was only one way in which Churchill could get America to enter the War, and that was by deception. He had to con the American voter into getting their government to move from neutrality to hostility towards Adolph Hitler. To do that he had to manipulate the media and create the impression that America would soon be under attack.
When Churchill's inferior military position was compared to that of Adolph Hitler, it seemed that British defeat was very possible. It was a fight for survival brought about by the previous Prime Minister who made military promises to Poland that Britain could not honor with practical measures. For Churchill this now meant that desperate times required desperate measures.
Churchill decided that there was only one way out of the mess that he was now in charge of, and that was to play dirty. Hitler was waging a conventional war based upon military might, but Churchill only had words and meagre armaments. Today, the tactics employed by Churchill to fight Hitler might be classified as terrorism, and they were certainly outside the accepted 'rules of war' where military targets were to be attacked for all the world to see.
This status of military inadequacy resulted in a devious plan by Churchill to avoid fighting fire with fire. Instead, Churchill decided to fight Hitler with unconventional terror tactics. To assist in his war of words, Churchill turned to Sefton Delmer who helped create the practical side of the Political Warfare Executive.
While the British Broadcasting Corporation carried on as before in its post-Reithian staid manner, Sefton Delmer delved into pornography, lies and deceit in both clandestine broadcasting and in print to such an extent, that it even horrified some in Churchill's own national government. Sefton Delmer's father had taught in Berlin before the War and Sefton Delmer had personally met with Hitler. Now he was told by Churchill to use his knowledge to deceive and malign Hitler and his henchmen in any way possible. Delmer even created fake religious broadcasts in German made by a Roman Catholic priest that were aimed at the German armed forces.
While Delmer's clandestine broadcasting and publishing activities plastered Nazi occupied Europe with fake news and information, Churchill used a modified American form of deceit to sway Americans away from neutrality. In New York's Rockefeller Building, Churchill authorized the establishment of British Security Co-ordination (BSC). It was controlled by the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) in order to manipulate U.S. print and broadcast media. Its purpose was to move American public opinion from neutrality to action in going once more going "over there" to save the British.
But there was even more to Churchill's methodology of military mind manipulation, because a huge chunk of northwestern Scotland fell under his militaristic command. Churchill transformed the entire area into a de facto military zone for his Special Operations Executive (SOE). In its northernmost boundary area, troops were trained to become saboteurs. It was their job it was to "set Europe alight".
Further down this same landscape of northwestern Scotland begin and beginning at the town of Inveraray with its eponymous castle and grounds which morphed into the lengthy shores of Loch Fyne, military camps sprang up on both of its elongated banks and on the castle grounds. This huge slice of Scotland that came under martial law and control by Combined Operations, was situated on the sector of the island of Great Britain that was furthest away from Nazi occupied Scandinavia and Europe.
The purpose of Combined Operations was to amalgamate a fighting force that would eventually become capable of invading the Continent of Europe and engaging on land with Hitler's military machine. To make this invasion possible, Combined Operations had to first get its troops across the English Channel without them being attacked and sunk at sea. That would require training to turn sailors into soldiers, soldiers into sailors and airmen into soldiers.
It did not take long for Combined Operations to get bogged-down and in need of a new commander to kick-start it all over again. Churchill wired Louis Mountbatten who was in the USA, to return immediately, and it was upon his return that Lord Mountbatten was then told by Churchill to take over command of Combined Operations.
In 1950, five years after the Nazi machine had been destroyed, Vice-Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten described his 1941 assignment. It appeared as a Forward to a book called 'Combined Operations; The Official Story of The Commandos' written by Hilary Saunders. Mountbatten wrote:
"The term “Combined Operations” is vague and does not convey more than a general meaning; but their scope is definite and precise. A combined operation is a landing operation in which, owing to actual or expected opposition, it is essential that the fighting services take part together, in order to strike the enemy with the maximum effect, at the chosen point and at the chosen moment. To help the services to do this, a Combined Operations Command was formed, whose primary function is to train officers and men of the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines, the Army and the Royal Air Force in the conduct of amphibious warfare. It is also the task of this Command to plan and execute all kinds of raids, small or large."
Mountbatten continued: "Amphibious operations are a complex form of warfare. On the material side they entail technical study, the production of new machines of wear, special types of assault craft, both large and small, and the use of these and other new devices. On the human side they demand the creation of sailor-soldiers, soldier-sailors, and airmen-soldiers, who must cooperate with imaginative understanding of each other’s methods and problems. The Combined Operations Command is concerned with both of these aspects and with many others."
When Mountbatten returned to the UK in 1941 to takeover command of Combined Operations, he had under his direct control, the training of not only British forces, but French, Norwegians, Czechs, Poles, Dutch, and Belgians from occupied Europe, and officers from the United States Naval, Marine, Army, Rangers and Air Corps. Therefore, Mountbatten's first task was to create a new agenda, and then to orientate everyone who would be charged with carrying out his instructions.
One of those summoned to attend Mountbatten's Orientation Course held during the Summer of 1942, was Lt. Col. James Dudley Wilmeth.
Next: Wilmeth's amphibious mission ....