"Lt. Bill North, Santa Monica City Lifeguard Service”, by Susan North Weeks
I am going to try to write a little something about my dad...
My dad was in both the First and Second World wars. He was chasing Pancho Villa at the Texas border when he was called away to World War I. He was shot, probably by friendly fire, in the hip while trying to cross the Rio Grande. He served in the National Guard Infantry in WW I. He was a sergeant in WW II stationed in Italy and North Africa. It was in North Africa that they named a beach after him, North’s Cove. He was stationed there to help soldiers rehabilitate. He also taught them to swim.
He worked for the Santa Monica Lifeguard Service from July 4, 1941 to February 1, 1964. He was a lieutenant. In 1945, he was furloughed, then assigned to the Rehabilitation Center at the Del Mar Club.
1. North’s Cove, North Africa, May 1944. Bill North is the tan one.
2. Rehabilitation Center at Del Mar Club, May 1945. Bill had his back to us, sitting on the ground.
3. Penalty Box with SM Pier in background, Bill North, July 1942
4. North beach lifeguards. Bill North = first row, first on left. About 1951. Others are Bob Walthour, Don Wolfe, Buzzy Trent, Leonard Chapin, Keith Nicholson, Rudy Kroon, Ralph Diana, Fred Bleecker, Captain Watkins, Bill Bowen, Roland Ball, Tommy Zahn, Don Grebs, Bill Campbell. Billy North = boy sitting on tower.
5. Junior Lifeguards with Bill North at far left, Rudy Kroon, Don McMahon and Susan North front center. About 1950.
And just for fun, I have a list of lifeguards that graduated from Santa Monica High School:
Pete (Preston) Peterson ‘36
Tom Zahn ‘42
John Howe ‘42
Dave Rochlen ’43 (Jams surf wear) surfer only, not guard
Joe Quigg ‘43
Rudy Gonzales ‘43
Ngaire North ’43 (my half-sister)
Doreen Francis North ’43 (my mother)
Mickey Farley ‘45
Porter Vaughn ‘46
Keith Nickelson ‘46
Matt Kivlin ‘47
Gene Poole ‘48
Buzzy Trent ‘48
Mickey Munoz ‘54
Nick Steers ’64 (same year I graduated but we didn’t know each other)
Arthur C. Verge ’74 (St. Monica’s) (I babysat him!)
Yes, Tom Zahn, John Howe, Dave Rochlen, my mother and my half-sister all went to school together and knew each other.
*** “Lt. Bill North, Santa Monica City Lifeguard Service” by & Copyright Susan North Weeks 2016. All photos courtesy of Susan North Weeks. Used here with permission. ****
x-ref: Per Susan North Weeks, additional information and photos can be found "in Arthur C. Verge’s book, Santa Monica Lifeguards. My dad is on page 55. My mother worked with Arthur providing photos. She is in the acknowledgments. I also have Arthur’s book “Los Angeles County Lifeguards”. My dad is on pages 43, 59, 69, 75, (and on) 84 (he is) the short one (standing in full uniform with hat above the sign) between the A and the R in “lifeguard”.
*** Many Thanks to Susan North Weeks for sharing this story with all of us. We really appreciate it!
Until next time.....
"County Recurrent" News
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