Samish Island in World War II

During World War II (1941-1945), a contingent of soldiers arrived on Samish Island to perform land/air/sea patrol for the duration of the war. A wooden observation structure was constructed along south-facing Samish Island Road. It was a small, rustic cabin on stilts surrounded by a narrow deck, rising some 16 feet off the ground and manned round-the-clock by volunteers. They were looking for enemy planes, on the chance that one might evade the large army installations near Port Townsend. Samish Islanders were mobilized to man the Ground Observer Corps.

Col. Ted Walford, Supervisor; Ann Walford, Chief Observer; Major Floyd McConnel, USAFR; Joan Baker, McKinley (Mac) Baker; Jimmy Vercoe; Mildred Hopley

Danny Moore, the young boy with the dog in the photo on the right, remembers that he and his mother spent many nights in the observation tower. When a plane would fly over, they would record and report to the Whidbey Naval Air Station the type of plane, the configuration of the lights, and the sound of the plane’s engines, direction, and course. He recalls that his mom was a ground observer when the Russian Sputnik (October 4, 1957) was launched and they watched it, as well.

Left side back, l-r: Col. Ted Walford, Supervisor, unknown, unknown
Left side front: Esther Lee Moore (Bowen)

Right side back, l-r: unknown, Mildred Hopley with daughter Nancy Hopley, Jimmy Vercoe, Bertha Norris, Joan Baker (Bertha’s daughter, Mac Baker’s wife), McKinley (Mac) Baker, who scheduled the watches.

Right Side front, l-r: Daniel (Danny) Moore and his dog; unknown; Ann Walford; Major Floyd McConnel, USAFR.

The Spotting Station no longer exists on Samish Island but was located along Samish Island Road, at the corner of Vicmar and Samish Island Roads during the 1940s and 1950s. The maple tree in the photo on the left of the post was removed in 1990s.