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This 1943 news review was produced by the U.S. Office of War Information. It has several segments including: a band of isolated Australian troops fighting on the island of Timor, recycling of obsolete ordnance by the U.S. Army to create new metal for the war effort — including Civil War cannonballs, WWI tanks, tractors and howitzers –, the effort to preserve British rare books and manuscripts in the United States through storage and microfilming, wartime efforts to increase production by the herring fishing fleet resulting in the greatest catch in 16 years, German and Russian forces fighting in the high mountain passes of the Caucuses for control of vital supply lines, and finally a factory work song from Australia entitled “Thinggummybob” to boost morale.
The Battle of Timor occurred in Portuguese Timor and Dutch Timor during the Second World War. Japanese forces invaded the island on 20 February 1942 and were resisted by a small, under-equipped force of Allied military personnel—known as Sparrow Force—predominantly from Australia, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands East Indies. Following a brief but stout resistance, the Japanese succeeded in forcing the surrender of the bulk of the Allied force after three days of fighting, although several hundred Australian commandos continued to wage an unconventional raiding campaign. They were resupplied by aircraft and vessels, based mostly in Darwin, Australia, about 650 km (400 mi) to the southeast, across the Timor Sea. During the subsequent fighting the Japanese suffered heavy casualties, but they were eventually able to contain the Australians.
“The Thing-Ummy Bob” is a 1942 song which was written by Gordon Thompson and David Heneker which celebrates the production line worker of World War II making components for complex weapons to win the war. Its chorus is
“ I’m the girl that makes the thing
that drills the hole that holds the ring
that drives the rod that turns the knob
that works the thing-ummy bob ”
A thingumabob or thingummy is an extended form of the word thing which the Oxford English Dictionary records being used as far back as 1751.
The song was popularised by performers Arthur Askey and Gracie Fields.
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