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Doomsday Weld: 1943

Doomsday Weld: 1943

February 1943. "Enola O'Connell, age 32, widow and mother of one child, ex-housewife, now the only woman welder at Heil and Co., Milwaukee, maker of gasoline trailers for the Army Air Forces." Medium format Kodachrome by Howard Hollem for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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Irony Deconstructed

Heil is not a term but a proper name. Julius P. Heil founded his company in 1901 and it continues to this day. He went on to be elected governor of the state of Wisconsin in 1938. Since his name merely translates to hail from German, I’m sure His Honor felt no compulsion to change his family name.

More than you'd think

A quick search on genealogy sites shows quite a few Enolas born between 1945 and the 1960s, named not just Enola but Enola G. and specifically Enola Gay. Great photo.

Enola popularity

The Social Security administration runs a baby name popularity web site which shows name popularity ranks and total percentages by birth year. (It was invaluable when naming our kids!)

You can see it here:

Enola was never a very popular name, and had essentially fallen out of use by the 1920s. It was Enola Gay pilot Paul Tibbets's mother's name, and he was born in 1915.

Interestingly there were 99 Enolas born in 1953, presumably to WWII vets.

Irony compounded

I recall seeing heavy trailers and other equipment bearing the name "Heil," including in Vietnam in the late '60s.

Given the term's meaning in German and the Nazis' incorporation of it into the everyday greetings exchanged by the populace they ruled, I am mildly surprised that the trailer company did not change its name during World War II. On the other hand, perhaps the board of directors enjoyed the irony.


Just noticed that Enola spelled backwards is alone. Wonder how that relates to creation of the name.

Photo title

This photo title is genius. Good in so many ways. Thanks for the laugh!

An Unusual Name

Two and one-half years from the date of this photo her first name would become infamous as the name of the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. The "Enola Gay" was named after the plane captain's mother.

Iconic name

Are there any women named Enola who were born after August 6, 1945?

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