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August 28, 2013

Plattsburgh woman shares WWII exploits

PLATTSBURGH — During World War II, Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service aviators conducted nuisance raids over Townsville, Australia. 

“They used to bomb the bay and stuff like that,” said Jacqueline “Jackie” Nisoff, an Australian native and Plattsburgh resident.

“Dad had built an air-raid shelter in the backyard, and we used to go down there if the siren went. One time, they dropped a bomb just a mile from the house. We all were sitting down there with clothespins in our mouths in the air-raid shelter. No one cried or anything else. We just sit there. We could hear the juz-z-z-z-z screaming (sound of bomb). It killed a few cows. We were fine.”

Her father, John Herbert James, a combatant in the Gallipoli Battle during World War I, brought home her future husband, David Nisoff, a Yank stationed at Garbutt Field in Townsville.

“My father was doing work at the air base. He started talking with him. David was born up here in Dickinson Center. He was in the 5th Air Force,” Nisoff said.

James mentioned that he had five daughters.

“I was the only one available because the others were too young. He (David) came out. The night he had dinner, I had a date with another guy. When I came home from my date, he was still there entertaining my father. We started visiting and all the rest of it. Finally, we started going together. Then, we got engaged, and then we got married. I got pregnant and had my little boy. David and I were very young. We were both just under 20,” she said.

At the time, brides and grooms not 21 needed parental consent to marry.

“Well, I had my parents, but he didn’t have his. That’s when I turned Catholic because he was Catholic. I had been to Catholic schools. The priest took us up for a ride on the tableland. It was a beautiful ride. He informed us that he couldn’t marry us because David was underage and didn’t have his parents’ consent,” Nisoff said.

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