Thursday, April 24, 2014

Japanese Submarine I-45 (Sank the Eversole and Sunk By the Whitehurst

I wasn't able to find out too much about the I-45 as it did not have much of a career other than sinking the Eversole. //// It was part of the Ocu-gata-class of submarines which were 108 feet long and could cruise on the surface at 23.3 knots and underwater at 8. //// Commissioned Dec. 28, 1943 and listed as missing Oct. 27, 1944. //// On April 5, 1944, it damaged the VC-66. On Oct. 27, 1944, listed as MIA east of Leyte. Oct. 28, 1944, sank the USS Eversole. On Oct. 28, 1944, listed as sunk.prob. by Whitehurst, East of Siargio. //// --GreGen

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

USS Eversole (DE-404)

From Wikipedia. //// The USS Whitehurst sank the submarine, I-45, that sank the Eversole on October 28, 1944. //// The ship was commissioned 21 March 1944 and named for naval aviator John Thomas Eversole who was killed at the Battle of Midway. It arrived at Pearl Harbor in June 1944 and did anti-submarine patrol at Leyte Gulf. It escorted two damaged aircraft carriers and rescued downed pilots and took wounded off carriers. //// On 29 October 1944 it had just made submarine contact when it was hit by two torpedoes and sank in 15 minutes with the loss of 80. Many of the dead came about because of the Eversole's armed depth charges going off as the ship sank. They had been set to go off at particular depths. //// The USS Bull rescued 139, tanks in part to their use of flashlights at night. The Destroyer Escort Sailors Association has a list of the 80 who died. //// --GreGen

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

USS Whitehurst (DE-634)-- Part 2: Sank a Sub and Hit By Kamikaze That Killed Norman Ellsworth.

On October 29, 1942, the Whitehurst received word that the destroyer escort USS Eversole (DE-404) had been torpedoed and sunk. The Whitehurst and USS Bull went to the scene and while the other ship rescued survivors, the Whitehurst searched for the submarine, making contact and sinking the I-45, believed to have been the submarine that had sunk the Eversole. //// The Whitehurst next served off Okinawa during the invasion and on April 1, 1945, was struck by a kamikaze. Norman Ellsworth was among those killed. //// The ship did not sink and returned to Pearl Harbor for repairs and later served in the Korean War. It was featured in the movie "The Enemy Below" where it was the USS Haynes. //// In 1969, it was struck from the Navy List and eventually taken to sea and sunk as a target ship by the USS Trigger (SS-564) on 28 April 1971. //// --GreGen

Monday, April 21, 2014

USS Whitehurst (DE-634): A Followup on Iowa's Norman Ellsworth-- Part 1

From Wikipedia. //// On April 18th, I wrote about Norman Ellsworth who died aboard the destroyer escort Whitehurst off Okinawa during a kamihaze attack. Here is a followup on the ship. //// The USS Whitehurst (DE-634) was a Buckley-class destroyer escort commissioned 19 November 1943 and named for Henry Purefoy Whitehurst, an ensign on the USS Astoria (CA-34 who was killed at the Battle of Savo Island off Guadalcanal in August 1942. //// The ship arrived at Pearl Harbor 4 Feb 1944 and served convoy duty around the Pacific. It was off New Guinea and saw action at Wakde Island and continued with escort duty. //// Before the Philippines, it was assigned to the anti-submarine/aircraft screen TU77.7.1 to guard fleet oilers and on Oct. 27, 1944, drove off two Japanese planes. //// --GreGen

Saturday, April 19, 2014

USS Indianapolis Survivor to Speak in Lake Villa, Illinois

From the April 9, 2014, Hi-Liter "WWII survivor to speak at Chain of Lakes Community Bible Church." On Wednesday, April 30, the church will have a true American hero, Edgar Harrell, who survived the tragic sinking of the USS Indianapolis, considered to be the single worst naval disaster in U.S. Naval history. It was also the last American ship lost in the war. The event starts at 7 p.m. and is free. The Chain of Lakes Bible Church is located at 43 W. Grass Lake Road in Lake Villa, Illinois. I'm definitely planning on being there. Especially since I have been writing so much about the USS Indianapolis so much on the last couple weeks. The last two years, I have gone to the Indy 500 and spent a lot of non-racetrack time at the Speedway American Legion across from where the race is run and they have a large picture of the USS Indianapolis and its history up on one of the walls. I also see that Mr. Harrell has written a book about the USS Indianapolis tragedy so hopefully I'll be able to get a signed copy. A Real Hero. --GreGen

Friday, April 18, 2014

Recounting the History of Colfax Veteran Killed in Action-- Part 2

While at sea, he learned of the birth of his daughter whom he never met. //// Next station was the Philippines where the Whitehurst served as part of the anti-aircraft/submarine screen. They helped rescue the survivors of the USS Eversole which had been torpedoed. Then, it was off to Australia for five months. //// In April 1945, the Whitehurst was patrolling by the Kerama Islands southwest of Okinawa when it was attcked by four Aichi D3As, Japanese Navy dive bombers, now operating as kamikazes. The first one crashed into the bridge and the bomb it carried broke lose and blew up inside the ship. //// The USS Vigilence came and rescued 21, but Norman Ellsworth was not one of them. He died that April 12, 1945. His remains were transported back to Hawaii and buried at the Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. //// --GreGen

Recounting the History of Colfax Veteran Killed in Action-- Part 1

From the March 7, 2014, Newton (Iowa) Daily News by Matthew Nosco. //// Norman Ellsworth graduated from Colfax High School in 1936 and enlisted in the Navy Feb. 15, 1937, and after training was assigned to the battleship USS Nevada for most of his 8-year naval career. //// He was not on the Nevada during the Pearl Harbor attack (60 killed) as he was attending a special training school in San Diego at the time. //// The Nevada was repaired for a year at Pearl Harbor and Puget Sound Navy Yard. It received better anti-aircraft guns and then deployed for the Battle of Attu, Alaska. //// Receiving furlough, he returned home and married Louise veronica Villasen. Reassigned to the destroyer escort USS Whitehurst which went on many refueling and escort missions. After that, it was sent to Indonesia where it patrolled and monitored traffic between the two main islands. //// --GreGen

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Battle of Atlantic Off NC Coast, April 1942

Another four ships were sunk before April ended. And, there was an eight day lapse before the last one. Possibly because the U-boats had returned to base to resupply? //// April 20th-- CHENANGO, freighter, torpedoed and sunk by U-84, 31 killed. //// April 20th-- AGRA, freighter, torpedoed and sunk by U-654, 6 killed. //// April 21st-- BRIS, freighter, torpedoed and sunk by U-201, 5 killed. //// April 29th-- ASHKHABAD, tanker, torpedoed and sunk by U-402. //// That amounts to 27 Allied ships sunk during April 1942, just off the coast of North Carolina. //// The War At Our Front Door. --GreGen

USS Indianapolis Survivor: John Heller-- Part 2

The 61 survivors with John Heller quickly dwindled over their five-day ordeal, eventually ending up with just 18. During the day they would play games to pass the time and keep their sanity. At first, the various groups of survivors were fairly close together, but as they days passed, currents and wind spread them farther and farther apart. //// After their rescue, they were taken to a nearby island, but most had wounds and ailments too severe so they had to have a hospital ship transport them to Gueam where Heller spent three months in a hospital. At one time, he was down to just 98 pounds weight. //// After Guam, they were transported to San Francisco where they had a parade in their honor. //// Another of the Greatest Generation, Now Gone. --GreGen

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Palindrone Week With the Dates.

All this week, the days, when shown in number form, read the same forward and backwars, actually since Friday. //// Friday was 4-11-14, Saturday 4-12-14, Sunday 4-13-14, Monday 4-14-14, Tuesday 4-15-14, Today 4-16-14, Thursday 4-17-14, Friday 2-18-14 and Saturday 4-19-14. //// I kind of doubt that happens too often. //// Enjoy it while it lasts. --RoadDog

USS Indainapolis Survivor John Heller-- Part 1

From the July 14, 2011, "Survivor of USS Indianapolis speaks to fellow veterans" by Jennie Miller. //// (This article appeared before John Heller's death this past April 2, 2014.) //// John Williams, introducing John Heller, 83, said, "There are two things Navy men know. The first is Pearl Harbor. The second id the USS Indianapolis." //// When he was on the Indianapolis, John Heller was just 17 years, the youngest on board and fresh out of boot camp. That fateful July 30, 1945, he had just finished bridge watch at 8 PM. Just after midnight, the first torpedo "hit in the most vulnerable spot" between the aviation gasoline and ammunition for the big guns. That blast took twenty feet off the Indianapolis' hull. //// He and others worked to get a life raft free. They went over the side and one of the planes that was still up on the observation platform (probably catapult launch) started rolling over toward him and the others. //// More to Come. --GreGen

World War II Sit-In in Chicago

From the Feb. 23, 2014, Chicago Tribune "Birth of the sit-in" by Ron Grossman. //// Before the more famous Civil Rights sit-in in Greensboro, NC, eighteen years later, there was a sit-in by 28 blacks and whites at the Jack Spratt Coffee House on East 47th Street in May 1942. (I have seen other sources say it was 1943.) //// This place regularly refused service to blacks. That was kind of strange because the United States was busy fighting a war to save democracy overseas while blacks were denied basic rights by law in the South and custom in the North. Of course, bad treatment was the lot of blacks during the war both on the homefront and front lines. //// I wrote more about it in todays entry to the Cooter's History Thing Blog. //// Things I Didn't Know. --GreGen

USS Indianapolis Survivor John Heller Dies-- Part 2: The Savior Marine and Sharks

In a 2012 interview, John Heller remembered: "We had a Marine with us, thank God. And, if a guy went beserk and started drinking seawater or started swimming away, or tried to take one of us down with him, he'd have to hit him, and he'd take the jackets off him and make sort of a float ring out of it to give us more buoyancy in the water because our jackets were getting pretty water-soaked." //// He continued: "It was pretty hard to say what we did during the day. We'd watch the sharks go by. They'd miss me and get somebody else. But they had a big feast out there. They didn't need a little small guy like me." After rescue and recovery, Heller was sent to Washington, D.C., to testify at the court-martial of his captain, who later committed suicide. //// After the war, he was discharged and returned to Michigan. For 37 years he owned four gas stations in Birmingham and Troy. //// He was te last survivor of the Indianapolis living in Michigan. //// --GreGen

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

USS Indianapolis Survivor John Heller Dies-- Part 1

From the April 12, 2014, Detroit Free Press "Michigan vet who survived naval disaster honored as hero with kind heart" by Robert Allen. //// After writing the last several entries on John Heller and his experiences on the USS Indianapolis, I decided to see if there were any other articles about him. I was very sorry to se that he had died on April 2nd. //// John Thomas Heller, 86, died of natural causes April 2, 2014. A memorial service was held at Big Beaver United Methodist Church in Troy, Michigan. //// In 1945, he was just 17 and the youngest crewmember of te heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis which was sunk by a Japanese submarine on July 30, 1945, after delivering the components for the atom bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. //// The ship sank in just 12 minutes. Of its crew of 1,197, 910 went into the sea. By the time they were rescued five days later, after dehydration and sharks, just 317 were still alive. Since the ship had been on a top secret mission, it was not noticed to be missing except by accident. //// --GreGen

Monday, April 14, 2014

USS Indianapolis Reunion 2014

I just found out that the next reunion for the survivors of the USS Indianapolis is set for July 24-27th, 2014, in Indianapolis at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. This is something I'm considering visiting. //// Unfortunately, of the 41 survivors mentioned by John Heller back in 2012, there will be at least one less as I just found out today. //// More on that tomorrow. //// --GreGen

World War II Vet Recounts Sinking of USS Indianapolis-- Part 3

John Heller remembers: "I was sleeping on deck near the guns and the deck got so hot that I burned my feet. I grabbed a life vest and ended up in the water as the ship began to list. We watched as she drifted away, listing heavily to one side. Then she went straight up and then straight down." //// No one noticed that the Indianapolis had failed to arrive at her station in Leyte Gulf. Days later, Navy planes hunting for subs followed a ship's oil slick and found the survivors scattered over 200 square miles of araea. //// Of the 60 survivors who went into the water in Heller's group, only 18 were alive five days later. //// Today, only 41 are still alive (probably fewer now since the article is from February 2012). They meet in Indianapolis for a reunion every two years. A book was written about the ship, "USS Indianapolis (CA-35): Only 317 Survived." //// --GreGen

World War II Vet Recounts Sinking of USS Indianapolis-- Part 2

Along with the huge boxes (the bombs) another container, four-times larger than a cigar box was kept on the floor in the captain's cabin. It had the components for the atom bomb. The Indianapolis delivered the cargo at Tinian and returned to the Philipines. //// Shortly after midnight July 30, 1945, the ship was hit by two torpedoes and sank in less than 15 minutes. At least 300 of the crew went down with the ship. //// Some 880 went into the water. Five days later, that number was down to 317. //// Sadly, the Indianapolis had been on a top-secret mission delivering the atom bombs, so its disappearance was not known for quite a few days, accounting for the long time before the survivors were found. //// --GreGen

Saturday, April 12, 2014

World War II Veteran Recounts Sinking of the USS Indianapolis-- Part 1

From the February 18, 2012, Detroit News by Tom Greenwood. //// John Heller, 84, of Clawson still remembers the tremendous explosion that woke him up. However, he can't remember how he survived his five days in the Pacific Ocean afterwards where he battled sharks, thirst and the delirium that killed so many of his shipmates. "I guess I was just lucky." //// He was just 17 when he convinced his mother to let him join the Navy in January 1945. He had an abbreviated training and was one of the 1,197 men assigned to the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis in San Francisco. //// Before the ship left port, he remembers two garage-size boxes loaded into the ship and guarded by heavily-armed Marines. The Indianapolis was carrying components for the two atom bombs. //// --GreGen

Battle of Atlantic Off NC Coast: April 1942

German U-boats were sinking lots of Allied shipping off the U.S. Atlantic coast. These are just the ships sunk off the North Carolina coast. //// April 16th-- ALOCA GUIDE, shelled and sunk by U-123, 6 killed. //// April 16th-- DESERT LIGHT-- freighter, torpedoed and sunk by U-572, 1 killed. //// April 18th-- AXTELL J. BYLES-- tanker, torpedoed by U-136. //// April 19th-- EMPIRE DRYDEN-- freighter, torpedoed and sunk by U-572. //// April 19th-- STEEL MAKER-- freighter, torpedoed and sunk by U-654, 2 killed. //// April 19th-- HARPAGON-- freighter, torpedoed and sunk by U-109, 41 killed. //// And Most People in the U.S. Didn't Even Know How Dire Things Were Going Along the Atlantic Coast. --GreGen

Friday, April 11, 2014

Getting Arrested in Wilmington During World War II

From the March 12, 2014, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Back Then." //// MARCH 4, 1944: Even at war, crime continued on the homefront in Wilmington, BC, which was bustling during the war, having its population double with the influx of workers at the shipyard and soldiers and families at nearby Camp Davis. //// During the month of February, Wilmington police reported 537 arrests. For assault with a deadly weapon, 21; assault with a deadly weapon on a female, 22; //// drunk, 133; drunk and disorderly, 25; disorderly conduct, 18; adultery, 12; ; larceny and receiving, 27; operating a car while intoxicated, 13; occupying the same bedroom for immoral purposes, 15; speeding, 21; and vagrancy, 28. //// Kind of ineteresting to see people being arrested for adultery or occupying a room for immoral purposes. And, they had DUIs back then as well. //// Wilmington At War. --GreGen