10/30/11 - posted by Richard

During WWII my phone number (SK0618) was on a child’s ID tag, a 1 x 2 ½” rectangular metal plate. There were also the letters “SF,” a serial number, my name, address, name of a parent, and for some children, a letter showing religious affiliation (C Catholic, J Jewish, or P Protestant). This information was type-pressed into the metal so that with the use of an ink pad, the information could be easily transferred to paper. The tag was supposed to be worn on a cord about the neck at all times. My ID serial number was C3561.
In 1942, civil defense authorities in San Francisco registered nearly 100,000 school children and issued tags. The reason was the possibility of a Japanese attack or invasion. Military authorities had plans for the evacuation of civilians into the interior. Of prime consideration was the removal of children, like the many British boys and girls who were sent away from their homes for the duration of the war. The possession of identification tags would facilitate the move. If the Japanese bombed SF or other coastal cities, the tags would help to identify our bodies. We sometimes thought about that when the air raid siren on the roof of our school sounded.
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