The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Local writer traces WWII vet's story


March 23, 2017

Diana Zimmerman

Recent transplant to Wahkiakum County, Lilly Robbins Brock read from her book Wooden Boats and Iron Men at the Cathlamet Library on Saturday.

Lilly Robbins Brock and her husband moved to Wahkiakum County about three years ago, so he could do some fishing.

On Saturday, she made her first visit to the Cathlamet Library to talk about her work and read from her book and another one that will come out soon.

While her first book is about a WWII veteran and Longview resident Maury Hooper, who served in the Pacific, her next book will be about a veteran who served in Europe.

"When I took this new project," Brock said, "I didn't realize he lived in Salem. He's a complete contrast to Maury. He's a little more colorful, where Maury was refined."

The new book is about Phil Bishop, who joined the horse cavalry, when he was young.

"The first story he wanted to tell me was about a procedure where they had a gun in one hand and the reins in the other while shooting at a target," Brock said. "It was about a man who shot his horse on accident."

Diana Zimmerman

Wally Boerger, a volunteer for Save the PT Boat, Inc., talked about the history and restoration of Motor Torpedo Boat PT658, which is housed on Swan Island in Portland.

After Pearl Harbor, Brock said that Bishop became more serious.

"In doing research, I learned things I didn't know about," Brock said, "and I enjoy putting this into books for other people to enjoy too."

She talked about the North Platte Canteen, the Ninety Day Wonders, Remagen, Hitler's Redoubt, and how Bishop narrowly missed an attack by Viet Cong when as an advisor in Vietnam he was reassigned to Saigon.

Brock self-publishes. The second book has been turned in and she is waiting for it to be printed. The first copy will go to Bishop, who is 100 years old.

Brock hopes to focus on a novel for awhile. The interviews have led to friendships, and the work becomes emotional, even more so in loss. The subject of her first book passed away in October of last year.

Meanwhile, there is a waiting list of veterans who would like to tell their stories.


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