VOL 10 NO 3
Branson Report Page 2
Treasurer’s Report Page 2
Annual Directors’ Meeting Page 3
Membership Meeting Page 4
Branson’s Genesis Page 6
Shepherd of the Hills Page 6
College of the Ozarks Page 6
List of Attendees Page 7
Photos of Attendees Page 8
Harry Rea & Andrea Doria Page 13
Wartime Voyage # 5 Page 16
Wartime Voyage # 6 Page 16
Merchant Marine Career Page 18
Two Memoirs Page 19
The Capitol & Kids Page 19
Space, Time, and Change Page 20
Capt Duffy Speech Page 21
Mariner Befriends Enemy Page 23
Jollys & 50 State Capitols Page 23
Letters Page 24
Finding Robert W. Service Page 27
Going and Returning Page 28
Last CW Message Page 29
Member Info Change Form Page 30
Silent Keys Page 31
GIRA 1999 REUNION IN BRANSON A HIT
The 1999 GIRA convention in Branson, Missouri, was a delightful experience by any standards. Counting Gallups Islanders, spouses, friends, and relatives, at least 200 gathered in the Ozark mecca to celebrate our glorious past, happy present, and hopeful future. The weather cooperated with autumn’s opening act, deciduous trees beginning their annual colorful show. And shows are Branson’s forte. Almost too much of a good thing. There were a number of good restaurants and theaters within easy walking distance of our Radisson hotel headquarters.
As always we were torn between indulging ourselves by savoring the ubiquitous places of interest and interesting entertainments and hanging close to the hospitality rooms to visit with old comrades. There’s never enough time.
Bob and Virginia Mitchell, with Buddy and Jo Diebold of Branson Music Tours, did a magnificent job bringing all the details together and making it happen.
At the business meeting a motion to approve the present GIRA leadership to carry on for another year was passed unanimously.
Also settled by acclimation was our return to Boston for 2000, the 60th anniversary of the Gallups Island Radio School’s founding. And then in 2001 with our rabbits’ feet, we’ll head for Las Vegas. The Branson Music Tours will again handle the Las Vegas arrangements, which will be scheduled during the week when rates are better.
The year saw the closure of the nation’s few remaining CW stations (KFS, KPH, WCC and WNU). While the planet’s atmosphere has far more electromagnetic radiation being emitted than ever, the once ubiquitous (music to our ears) CW signals are no more. Perhaps all that we sent out through the antennas of ships and aircraft are still moving through the infinity of space at 186,282 miles per second. It’s demoralizing to no longer be needed.
Ed Wilder has an idea incubating for regions Seven and Nine to sponsor a regional gathering at Laughlin, Nevada,
in the spring of 2000. More information to follow.
Happy holidays and a great new millennium.
BRANSON GIRA CONVENTION 1999
**Platoon R-19 had the biggest turnout with eight members: Beaton, Ferguson, Jorgenson, Kesler, Lemma, Sloan, Ward, and Wilder.
Platoon R-15 was a close second with six members: Beaulieu, Brown, Hegge, Hucke, Schultz, and Warner.
Platoon R-07 had four members: Bouchard, Buckles, Clough, and Surina.
Platoon R-01 had three members: Bakula, Calderwood, and Miller
Platoon R-72 had three members: Geiselman, Graber and Guntner
**Don Runmark R-13 has done an excellent job collecting group pictures of Islanders, and had them displayed in the hospitality room. Many of the photos had the members identified with names, confirming the person in the front row of R-19 that I always pointed out as me, really was. Apparently some platoons didn’t have “official” group photographs made. If you have photos of your platoon, contact Don. With current technology, it’s easy to have excellent copies made.
**Delmar Davis R-105 of nearby Macks Creek, MO, showed off his Gallups Island uniforms at the General Meeting on Saturday. He saved his non-dress blues and whites (with big collars and 13 buttons) and the dress blue. They all still fit, something most of us wish we could claim. Delmar has a restored 1943 jeep (shown in the Spring 1999 Spark Gap) in which he participates in all the area parades.
**Dr. Sam Hucke, R-15, of just-down-the-road in Fayetteville, did a show and tell with a combination fish spear and paddle obtained in New Guinea during WWII. He also had a portable Japanese radio transmitter of the same vintage.
**Ray King briefed the group on next year’s GIRA convention in Braintree, MA, celebrating the 60th anniversary of Gallups Island Radio School’s founding. It’s likely one of the last GIRA gatherings (near) where it all began, so we look forward to seeing you at the Y2K home coming.
GALLUPS ISLAND RADIO ASSOCIATION
INCOME AND EXPENSES
JANUARY 1, 1999 - SEPTEMBER 23, 1999
Interest on Checking Account $73.00
TOTAL INCOME $12,743.00
Branson Reunion $100.00
Copying & Printing $392.00
Gallups Islander Mailing $185.00
Gallups Islander Printing $58.00
Legal Fee $25.00
Lapel Pins $1,404.00
Office Supplies $361.00
Online Service $220.00
President Expense $152.00
Sec/Treas Expense $500.00
Sec/Treas Stipend $1,200.00
Spark Gap Editor's Fee $400.00
Spark Gap/Ward $3,607.00
Total Expenses $9,873.00
Total Income $12,743.00
Total Expenses $9,873.00
Net Income $2,870.00
Balance as of 1 Jan 99 $16,681.12
Net Income $2,870.00
Balance as of 24 Sep 99 $19,551.12
GALLUPS ISLAND RADIO ASSOCIATION, INC.
ANNUAL DIRECTORS’ MEETING
Present at this meeting were: Bud Guntner, Ray King, Homer Gibson, Ed Wilder, John Sloan, Gene Harp, Jack Warner, Joe Graber, Verne Hegge, Lacy Williams, J J Ward, Bill Wittkowski,,Bud Fogleman, John Dziekan, Don Runmark, Keith Wallace and Buddy Diebold.
Our President, Bud Guntner, called the meeting to order at 8:10 A.M. Bud welcomed everyone to the meeting and after introducing the newly elected Regional Directors, he explained that the new directors would begin their term on January 1, 2000.
Ray King gave a report on the progress he has been making in preparing for the reunion 2000, to be held in Boston. Bud explained that the year 2000 will be the 60th anniversary of Gallups Island Radio School and that the Association has made new lapel pins commemorating that. These pins will be distributed to the membership in early 2000. Bud also explained that we are working on having new hats made for the membership, also commemorating the 60th anniversary.
Discussion was held about the various memorabilia about Gallups Island, concerning, what to do with the collection. Several ideas were presented: The U. S. Navy Museum in Quincy, MA; the museum at Kings Point and Ray King said that there is already a whole room full of stuff , including plaques which used to be erected on the Island, depicting what building had been in that location originally. Nothing was really decided upon.
Discussion was held about the location for the reunion in 2001. After considerable discussion, it was motioned and seconded that we hold the 2001 reunion in Las Vegas. The motion carried, then Buddy Diebold gave a presentation on what his organization could provide for the reunion in Las Vegas.
Bud reported that we are working on a new Roster and reminded all those present of the importance of providing the Secretary with any changes in address, area code, zip code, telephone number, silent keys, etc. by making the changes on the dues remittance form, which is sent out to each member, and mailing the entire form back to the Secretary. He also proposed that the dues remittance form be printed in each issue of the "Spark Gap" from now on, so that any changes that occur during the year, can be sent in right away, to keep the records current as possible.
Bud asked for nominations for the office of president. Gene Harp nominated Ray King for President. Ray King declined the nomination, stating that he was too occupied with the preparation of the 2001 reunion. Gene then withdrew the nomination.
Jack Warner then made a motion to nominate the current slate of officers for another two year term. The motion was seconded, and a vote taken, which was unanimous in favor of keeping the current slate of officers.
Bud then adjourned the meeting at 9:40 A.M.
GALLUPS ISLAND RADIO ASSOCIATION, INC.
ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING
President, Bud Guntner, called the meeting to order at 10:10 A.M. Bud welcomed everyone to the meeting and then introduced the newly elected Regional Directors, mentioning that eight of the ten were present:
Region One Bill Anderson R-72
Region Two John Dziekan R-108
Region Three Bud Fogleman R-80
Region Four Bill Yount R-77
Region Five Bill Wittkowski R-35
Region Six Lacy Williams R-98
Region Seven J J Ward R-19
Region Eight Gene Harp R-91
Region Nine Ed Wilder R-19
Region Ten Don Runmark R-13
The next order of business was a report by Vice President, Ray King, on the Reunion 2000, to be held at Boston. Ray reported that he has been actively working on setting-up the reunion; he has already contracted with the Sheraton Braintree Hotel; set the date of the reunion: August 10th - 13th, 2000; contacted the bus companies for the tours, etc. Ray explained why the Braintree Hotel was selected again, instead of a downtown Boston hotel. The hotels in downtown Boston, capable of accommodating a group of our size, are getting $300 and $400 per night for rooms, which of course is out of the question. Ray also explained why the reunion is set for August instead of September or October; by having the reunion in August, he was able to negotiate the same room rate that we had at Sheraton Braintree in ‘97, namely $89 per night (plus tax). If we wanted to be there in September or October, the best rate they would offer was $129 per night (plus tax). The reason being that from September on the foliage attracts a lot of people to the region and hence the higher rates for rooms.
It takes a lot of pre-planning to put on one of these reunions and have it be a success. Ray has already begun the pre-planning and making good progress. Some of the tours that he is working on include: Lexington/Concord; Gallups Island; Plymouth Plantation (a reenactment of the original Plymouth Colony which is very well done and very interesting); the Kennedy Library/Museum, etc. There are many things to do and see in the Boston area. Ray is going to have events starting on Thursday and run through Friday and Saturday. The reason we are going back to Boston in 2000 is because 2000 marks the 60th Anniversary of Gallups Island Radio School.
Bud then explained that the Association has had a new lapel pin made in commemoration of our 60th Anniversary. These pins will be distributed to the membership along with the Dues Notices, early in 2000. The Association is also working on obtaining new hats for our 60th Anniversary.
Buddy Diebold from Branson Music Tours, Inc., gave a brief rundown of what his organization could do for our group in 2001, when we have our reunion in Las Vegas, in case we want him to arrange the reunion at that time. It was suggested that airfare would be lower if we did not travel on the weekend. A motion was made that we have the reunion during the week, instead of on the weekend. A vote was taken and passed, by majority vote, that the Las Vegas reunion would be held during the weekdays.
…continued on page 5
Membership Meeting …continued from page 4
Doctor Sam Hucke made a motion that Letters of Commendation be issued to Tom Cruse, former Editor of the "Spark Gap", for his many years as editor, and to Jim Kinkel for all the work that he did in rounding-up the Alumni of Gallups Island Radio School, resulting in the membership that we enjoy today. The vote was unanimous.
Bud reminded everyone to make any necessary changes to the information Homer will include in the Dues Remittance Form, and asked everyone to send the form back to Homer, along with the dues.
(editor’s note: A copy of the form is included in this issue of Spark Gap on page 22).
Please make sure that we have your correct address! many fellows move and fail to notify the Secretary, resulting in additional expense; we pay to send it out and we have to pay when it is returned! Also you don't get your publications and other mailings.
Please make sure that your area code is correct, since a lot of area codes have been changed. We keep your phone numbers confidential, so don't hesitate to provide us with your number, even if it is non-listed. Also make sure that your zip code is accurate and includes the four digits at the end of the zip code. If you have an e-mail address, please include that also. If you know of any members that have become Silent Keys, please advise Homer of that information. Also, report whether or not the widow of the Silent Key would like to continue receiving the publications.
This information is very important to keep our records up to date. As we are preparing to print a new Roster and would prefer to print the correct information on each of our members. The only way we can do that is if YOU provide us with the correct information!!
The next order of business was the election of the officers of the Association. Bud explained that at the Directors Meeting earlier, when he requested nominations from the floor for candidates for President, a motion was made to reelect the current slate of officers to another two year term. The motion was seconded and a vote taken, which was unanimous. The officers of the Association will remain:
Bud Guntner, President
Ray King, Vice President
Homer Gibson, Secretary/Treasurer
Ken Palmer mentioned that it is now possible to have training time included on your DD-214. He has the necessary form, if anyone wishes. Write to him and he will send you one.
12750 Williston Road
East Aurora, NV 14052-9626
Delmar Davis was present in full officer's uniform and displayed even his sailor uniforms, which his mother had preserved for him in her cedar chest.
George Cushman made an announcement about the Project Liberty Ship calendars, which are available from Tom Gibson, W3DJ. It is an 18 month calendar, and there are 18 very nice photos of Liberty ships and Victory ships. Cost $15.00.
There being no further business to be conducted, Bud adjourned the meeting at 11:10 A.M.
Branson claims to be a place the novel, Shepherd of the Hills, built. The source says The Shepherd of the Hills, first published in 1907 and based somewhat loosely on the area’s history, is claimed to be the fourth most widely read book ever, after the Bible, the Koran, and Gone with the Wind. There was no New York Times best seller lists back then, but the novel reportedly sold a million copies the first six months after its first printing. Initially from nearby then from ever increasing distances, people came to visit the area of the book’s setting. Later the lakes formed by dammed rivers increased the influx. The tourists naturally sought nightly entertainment, which the locals tried to provide, including the 40-year run of the play Shepherd of the Hills. The first Theater, built by the local Presley family, is still going strong. As the crowds grew, promoters booked some traveling Nashville groups. Inasmuch as the people (audiences) were already there, Nashville promoters came to Branson to build theaters and provide shows to fill them. Branson now has more theater seats than Broadway and is still growing.
Approaching Branson on route 65 from the south, visitors see signs that suggest taking routes 165 and 265 for traffic avoidance. Regrettably most people don’t, assuming it’s to bypass the city. Actually you can get to a lot of places in Branson while avoiding the virtually constant traffic snarl on the main thoroughfare, 76 Street. Much of the time walking is almost as fast as driving along 76. There seems to be little hope for relief inasmuch as the single lane (each way) street has businesses pressing it on both sides. Drivers are considerate about letting vehicles onto 76, wherein, if they had to await a break in the traffic, they might run out of gas. It’s better to take buses to the shows at night. They can muscle their way through to special, close-in parking areas.
THE NOVEL, SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS
Harold Bell Wright made an extended visit to the Ozarks about the turn of the last century and based his story, however loosely, upon actual people and events. It is written in the dialect of that era which takes some getting used to even by a quintessential Appalachian hillbilly such as I. Belief in ghosts, called hants, was widespread. “Ary” was constantly used and meant “any” or “none”. “‘Thout” was “without”. Sammy, the female protagonist, says, “ain’t no use to worry ‘bout the choppin’ ‘til the dogs has treed the coon.“
One’s “lover” didn’t mean what it does today. Then a lover was a beau and most were not forward enough to even hold hands. “’Law I ‘low it won’t,’ Mrs. Mathews ejaculated”. People were ejaculating constantly which then meant “exclaimed” or “declared.” It continues to be the dictionary’s third definition. The novel still uses the original dialog which clearly shows how language constantly changes.
Shepherd of the Hills is a formula story that more than once resorts to deus ex mechina (providential interference) and there are a number of highly unlikely occurrences requiring a lot of “suspension of disbelief.”
Their fear that the area’s innocent, pastoral lifestyle would be banished by the coming of the railroad proved unfounded. It turned out to be the automobile instead.
Shepherd of the Hills remains a good, straightforward story of that place in time, providing a remarkable insight into what our forebears were reading a century ago.
It is available locally (Branson) at Walmart and other sources for less then eight dollars or by mail from: Shepherd of the Hills Historical Society, HCR1 Box 770, Branson, MO 65616
COLLEGE OF THE OZARKS
The College of the Ozarks is a tuition-free institution wherein all the students, generally of modest means, are required to work for at least 16 hours per week. Among other things, they operate remarkably good restaurant. There’s a similar college in Kentucky called Berea. Recently they rejected students’ “demands” to be permitted to have automobiles with the response: “If you can afford a vehicle, you can afford to go to a tuition-required institution of higher learning.”
Some 151 GIRA members, their spouses, and friends registered for the 1999 GIRA reunion in Branson. Five cancelled for health reasons or other conflictions. We missed Jim and Rose Jolly,
Ernie Clifford, and the Louis Pilchers. Those attending included:
Virginia and Bob Mitchell R-34
Ted and Lola Bakula R-01
Jack and Grace Bandazian R-69
Bill and Terry Banks R-117
Coleman and Ethel Barker
William and Emma Barker R-63
The Truman Barks
The Darrow Beatons R-19
Bill and Catherine Beaulieu R-15
John and Virginia Berens R-32
Bob and Frances Bouchard R-07
Robert and Jean Brainard R-110
Marvin Brown R-15
Nelson and Zelda Buckles R-07
David Calderwood R-01
Harry and Esther Carlson R-77
The William Clarks
Otts and Anita Claus R-33
Ernie Cline (Cancelled)
Robert and Elaine Clough R-07
The Mel Comptons
Mr. & Mrs. Bill Cowger R-46
George and Iris Cushman R-15
Myron and Mary Cutler R112
Ray and Rosetta Doerhoff R-17
John and Rose Dziekan R-108
Evelyn Ventola and Jim Ferguson R-19
Bud and Catherine Fogleman R-80
Bill and Eloise Gay R-100
Patrick and Barbara Geiselman R-72
Robert and Bobbie George R-110
Gene and Delores Gercken R-71
Homer and Dotty Gibson R-51
Mr. And Mrs. Joe Gilmaker R-95
Joseph and Virginia Graber R-72
Bud and Arby Guntner R-72
Gene and Barbara Harp R-91
Verne and Veda Hegge R-15
Floyd and Natalie Hill R-62
The Al Hoyts R-40
Dr. Sam Hucke R-15
Jim and Rose Jolly (cancelled)
Ray and Ruth Jorgenson R-19
Jack and Kit Kesler (platoon leader) R-19
Ray and Jane King (GIRA VP) R-103
Norbert and Irene Kucala R-22
James and Lois Layman R-99
Armand and Rosa Lemma R-19
Roscoe and Shirley Maricle R-05
Clarke and Virginia Martin R-105
Robert and Josephine Mayhew R-61
Mr. and Mrs. C. Miller R-01
Walter and Vivian Miller R-14
Chuck & Dolores Munyan R-03
Arvid & Mary Lou Nelson R-20
Paul & Dorothy Ozbun R-65
Ken & Ann Palmer R-98
Louis & Juanita Pilcher R-08
The Robert Pollitts R-14
Normal & Shirley Reiter R-49
Selig and Ruth Resnick R-54
Jushua & Earlene Roles R-95
Walter & Jan Rudat R-49
Don & Dee Runmark R-13
Lee & Maxine Schultz R-15
John & Betty Jane Sloan R-19
John & Elaine Surina R-07
Charles & Esther Thomas R-112
Robert & Bess Thornton R-57
Keith & Marilyn Wallace R-119
John JJ & Carol (Zimmerman) Ward R-19
Frank & Pat Warmack R-97
Jack & Helen Warner R-08
Ed & Dolores Wilder R-19
Lacy & Wilma Williams R-93
Deloy & Patrico Wilson R-93
Bill & Opal Wittkowski R-35
Bud & Arby Guntner
Homer & Dotty Gibson
Evelyn Ventola & Scotty Ferguson
Jane & Ray King
Bob & Virginia Mitchell
Ed & Dolores Wilder
Rosina & Armand Lemma
Bob & Jean Brainard
Bill & Opal Wittkowski
John & Betty Jane Sloan
Keith & Marilyn Wallace
George & Iris Cushman
Otto & Anita Claus
Vern & Veda Hegge
Joe & Virginia Graber
Pat & Frank Warmack
Lee & Maxine Schultz
Pat & Barbara Geiselman
Nelson & Zelda Buckles
Bob & Elaine Clough
Walter & Jan Rudat
Chuck Munyan & Friend
Fran Fitzgerald, Bill Beaulieu, Kay Beaulieu
Buddy & Jo Diebold
Nancy, Jack & Kit Kesler
Unfortunately we do not have the name of this cute couple
Back: George Cushman, Marwin Brown, Verne Hegge.
Front: Bill Beaulieu, Sam Hucke, Leland Schultz - All R-15
HARRY REA AND THE ANDREA DORIA
By Chet Klingensmith R-88
The band was playing “Arrivaderci, Roma” in the ballroom of the Italian ship Andrea Doria at 2300 on July 25, 1956. At that moment, second Radio Officer Harry E. Rea (R-056) was drinking a coke with Third Radio Officer Sorano in the radio shack of the USNS Pvt. William H. Thomas, a Navy troop transport en route from Barcelona, Spain to New York.
Thirty minutes later at 2330, an SOS blared on 500 KCS, and Harry joined in copying the position that SS Andrea Doria was sending. It had just been struck by the Swedish liner Stockholm some 45 miles south of Nantucket. Having worked from March 1952 to 1956 at the ITT-Mackay Radio station “WSL” on Long Island, Harry immediately recognized the ships involved by their call signs. When Harry ran with the message to the bridge they discovered their position was only 14 miles away. Captain John S. Shea ordered a change of course in the heavy fog and set out to help in what would prove to be the greatest sea rescue in history.
The luxury liner Ile de France, out-bound from New York, also received the SOS and promptly reversed course. The Ile de France’s captain, Raoul de Beauden, would soon perform brilliantly in rescuing 753 passengers, many half-naked, from the doomed Andrea Doria. Captain de Beauden had an urgent request from the Andrea Doria for lifeboats because a severe list to starboard prevented their lowering any of the lifeboats on the ship’s port side.
The William Thomas soon had the Andrea Doria in sight and within a mile dropped anchor and launched lifeboats. The Ile de France arrived about an hour later, hove to within 500 feet, turned on all lights and lowered lifeboats. The crew began rescue operations with remarkable speed and skill.
Harry recalls the first message he sent to the Andrea Doria was that the William Thomas had the damaged vessel on its radar screed from five miles away. The Andrea Doria responded urgently: “You hurry! You hurry!” In a short time, Rea explained, they had lifeboats in the water picking up survivors. The toughest part was lowering passengers from the Doria’s main deck
into the lifeboats. Although the Stockholm’s bow was badly damaged, it was in no danger of sinking and actually rescued more than 400 survivors.
A newspaper story quoted Rea, “Some people panicked! Some were jumping from the ship into the water and others were dropping their children into the water below.” The Chief Engineer of the doomed Italian ship with a skeleton crew spent frantic hours in the engine room manning the pumps. Their heroic efforts kept the stricken ship afloat long enough to rescue so many survivors.
Since Harry Rea had more experience than either Chief Radio Officer George Callas or Third Radio Officer Sorano, it was agreed that Harry should handle the radio traffic, which he did from 2345 until 1000 the next morning. Third Radio Officer
Sorano boarded one of the lifeboats equipped with a radio with the plan of radioing information from the scene. However, he became too busy helping to retrieve survivors off the Jacob’s ladder into the lifeboat. That was until he urged a remarkably large lady he was helping to “let go.” She did, and the momentum caused both to fall backward into the lifeboat, and Sorano broke his arm when he hit the Gunwale.
There are as many gripping stories as there were passengers on the Andrea Doria. One involves a then well known Hollywood actress Ruth Roman returning to the U.S. with her three year-old son, Richard. He was strapped to an officer cadet who climbed down the Jacob’s ladder and handed him to a lifeboat crewman. The boatman then said, “no more room,” as the lifeboat pulled away. Ms. Roman clung to the Jacob’s ladder for about ten minutes until another lifeboat arrived which took her to the Ile de France. The previous boat had taken her son to Harry’s ship, The Pvt. William Thomas. Later, when the ship arrived at Brooklyn Army Base pier with its survivors, newsman Walter Cronkite was there with a film crew to record Ms. Roman’s reuniting with her son. (Although some newspaper reported that Ruth Roman’s son was on the Stockholm, both Harry and another Pvt. William Thomas crewman, Ernest Melby, attest that he was rescued by the Pvt. William Thomas and delivered to Ms. Roman at Brooklyn Army Base pier. Harry explained that some of the Stockholm lifeboats delivered
…continued on page 14
Andrea Doria …continued from page 13
survivors to the Pvt. William Thomas which might have caused the confusion. Ruth Roman might have seen the name Stockholm on the lifeboat that took her son).
The wife of Dr. T.S. Peterson of New Jersey was trapped in her crushed cabin and all attempts to set her free failed. All her husband could do was give her morphine to ease her pain. The Pvt. William Thomas sent over A hydraulic jack, but it was inadequate to free her. It now rests with her in the deep water south of Nantucket.
When Maria Dooner, the two and a half year-old daughter of passenger Lillian Dooner, fell into the ocean, Mrs. Dooner dived in and was able to save her. Fifty-one others, many of them women and children, were not so fortunate. Five drowned, some died of their injuries after the rescue, 26 died on C deck, and on other
decks. A few crew members of the Stockholm were killed in the collision.
Dr. and Mrs. De Sandro dropped their four year-old daughter from the deck onto a lifeboat causing a severe injury to the child’s head. The lifeboat took her to the Stockholm where the ship’s doctor ordered her flown by helicopter to Brighton Marine Hospital in Boston. Taken to the Ile de France, the De Sandros had no idea where she was. It was only by chance that the Italian born child, without identification, was re-united with her parents eighteen hours before succumbing to her injuries.
A more fortunate survivor was three year-old Anthony Grillo whom his mother, Angela, had the courage to drop into a stretched-out blanket. He was taken to the Ile de France where his mother found him several hours later. Nearly 20 years passed before Anthony Grillo met a fellow employee at ADT Security and in conversation found he was a survivor also. What are the odds? Anthony attended the 40-year survivor’ reunion at King’s Point. (Check out Anthony’s web site at http://WWW.Andreadoria.org).
Ray Maurstad was the Radio Officer on the tanker SS Robert E. Hopkins outbound from Fall River, MA, to Texas. It was the fourth ship on the scene. “I believe good, fast communications were
responsible for saving the lives of 1,655 passengers and crew. We picked up the last survivor hanging onto the stern for dear life, stark naked, shouting for help.” Ray is also a graduate of Gallups Island Radio School.
One of Harry’s radio messages at 0740 of the morning after the collision read, “No communication with Andrea Doria. Has 45-degree starboard list. Large gash below starboard bridge wing. List increasing. Seaworthiness nil. Last report Captain and 11 crew still on board. No passengers.” His ship, USNS Pvt. William H. Thomas, had rescued 158 survivors, and it was a point in Harry’s 37-year career as a sea-going Radio Officer that he will never forget. He handled a tremendous volume of radio traffic in that event.
Giving his opinion of the cause of this tragedy, Harry said, “On early RADAR screens, ghosts would appear when you got near a target (usually a ship). At close range they would smear all around the screen no matter how the mileage was set. That may be why the Andrea Doria apparently picked up the wrong image and turned in front of the Stockholm. Harry admired the selflessness and courage of all the men who worked throughout the night and into the morning ferrying the lifeboats back and forth. Their lives were in great danger since they were right up against a ship that could suddenly sink any minute taking them down with her.
Harry Rea was born in Blawnox, PA, near Pittsburgh. Two years into WWII he took an early “graduation” from Aspinwall High School to attend the U.S. Maritime Service Radio School at Gallups Island in Boston Harbor. He graduated March 15, 1944, in Class R-56. Harry’s first ship, the tanker SS Oscar Strauss out of Marcus Hook, PA, joined a convoy bound for Gibraltar. He watched as a Gallups Island classmate aboard a cargo ship with a cargo ship with a deck loaded with Aviation Gas was blown up by a torpedo from a German U-boat just seven days out. Now retired, Harry lives in Destin, Florida.
For comments on the Andrea Doria, see page 15
Andrea Doria …continued from page 14
Author’s footnote: Harry and I were high school classmates, and his example influenced me to also join the Maritime Service. I graduated from Gallups in class R-88 in March 1945. The War in the Pacific was still raging. I was on my second trip to the Philippines as 2nd Radio Officer on the T-2 tanker SS Fort Fetterman when the Enola Gay dropped the A-bomb that ended WWII.
I soon left the sea to start college but, after six months, was grabbed for 18 months service in the U.S. Army. It would be another year before Merchant Marine duty counted as “service” and decades before veteran status.
Editor’s note: The Andrea Doria is still taking lives. The liner lies at 240 feet below sea level, near the limit of SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) divers’ equipment. The waters off Nantucket are bone-chilling cold, and there are strong currents often kicking up sediment that can severely restrict visibility. Spaghetti-like wiring within, and lost trawler nets covering the outside sometimes trap or cause divers to become disoriented. Last summer (1998) three divers were lost and more are expected this year as the total approaches a dozen. The close-in sunken vessel is a magnet for wreck divers, most of whom are well experienced. The 700-foot long Doria was built in 1953 at the cost of $30 million. It boasted 22 watertight compartments and, like the Titanic, was touted as being unsinkable. It took 11 hours to sink but had the good fortune of being close in with a number of rescue ships in the vicinity. Only 47 of the 1,600 passengers and crew perished.
(The Andrea Doria website reports that it was 54 individuals who perished, not a great disparity).
Checkout the website:
http://www.Andreadoria.org and its many links. You can also search for more links by typing “Andrea Doria” into the search field.
A ship in port is safe,
but that’s not what ships are for.
Grace M. Hopper
ANTI-TORPEDO SCHEME FAILS
In July 1943 convoy from New York to Oran in North Africa, the SS Robert Rowan and a second
Liberty ship, positioned at opposite rear corners, were equipped with experimental anti-torpedo cables. The three-inch cable, filled with explosives and held outboard 15 to 20 feet, completely encircled the ship. The theory was that when torpedoes, whose propulsion mechanisms put out a specific impulse, approached, the cable would be caused to explode and destroy them. None were fired at the two Liberties so equipped and it remained unclear if the device would actually work.
However, when the convoy reached Gibraltar and the SS Robert Rowan reversed engines to “set” the anchor, the encircling cable became wrapped around the propeller. Thus the ship was “hoisted on its own petard” so to speak. Fortunately one of the ship’s mates was a skillful diver and after numerous dives managed to get the explosive cable untangled safely. Another hopeful idea had backfired.
Regrettably I somehow misplaced the card of the GIRA radio officer on the SS Robert Rowan who gave me the story and am unable to credit him. JJ
Did you know …
The nautical term “Starboard” has no reference to stars at all, and few sailors know why this word designates the right side of a ship. The word has its origin back in the early ships of the Norse and other Teutonic people, when ships, though driven by sails, were steered, not by rudders from the rear, but by a paddle board (bord) over the right side. It was a "steering board." In Old English, steorbord; hence, "starboard."
Larbord. The first element, lar, is often assumed to have been a corruption of “lade” (for “load”), thus making “larboard” the side of the ship for loading. The assumption is logical, but cannot actually be proven.
(Thanks to Chet Klingensmith)
WARTIME VOYAGE NUMBER FIVE
by Bill Devoe R-19
Returning safely from Murmansk on the SS Joyce Kilmer, we arrived in Baltimore June 5, 1944, and were scheduled to sail again in two weeks. With our cargo of mines, artillery shells, and other explosives, we sailed down Chesapeake Bay to Hampton Roads for the convoy conference. Most of the crew from the last voyage, including the Captain, opted for the Maritime Service R&R program on Long Island so except for me the Kilmer had a new complement. I thought the ship was lucky so decided to sign on again. Captain Hiram Gallop proved to be as good a mariner as Captain Wilson had been.
At the convoy conference the Kilmer was designated as a RDF ship. I was given the frequencies and instructions to contact the commodore and escorts if necessary.
Early June 1944 was D-day. A few days afterwards our armies liberated Monte Cassino and Rome. Our cargo was for the Italian campaign, but our port of discharge would come via BAMS after we reached the Mediterranean.
In good weather the convoy moved along at about 9 knots. After three quiet days the activity began. Depth charges exploded ahead and on both sides of the convoy. I stood the RDF watch in the chart room keeping an eye on the assistant operators on duty. One evening about 1800, I picked up a definite homing signal. With racing heart I gave the bearings to both the commodore and the escorts in plain language. That night saw a lot of depth charge activity. In the morning one of the corvettes dashed by the Kilmer and blinked that a submarine had been contacted and put down making me really feel good.
The wolf packs pressed and caused the convoy to make frequent course changes. No ships were torpedoed during the crossing. Our many course changes got us around the waiting U-boats making a grand picture from our protecting aircraft. At the Strait of Gibraltar we formed up in two columns and passed the “Rock” without incident. After Tunis we broke away from the convoy making way for Siracusa, Sicily. Our forces had taken Sicily before the Italians surrendered and then declared war on Germany.
…continued on page 17
WARTIME VOYAGE NUMBER SIX
by Bill Devoe, R-019
New York - Trinidad - New York
After returning from Italy on the Liberty SS Joyce Kilmer and following three weeks ashore in NYC and in nearby Tenafly, NJ, I was ready for another go at the sea.
The SS Henry D. Whiton, KDRM, built just after WWI, was a turbine powered freighter owned by the Union Sulfur Company of Texas. She was oil fired and state of the art when launched, however, old age had left its mark, and when I boarded her in NYC in September 1944, she looked wrinkled and weary. Her yacht-like lines and extended stern counter were deceiving. The rusty vessel wasn’t fast at all.
The radio room and my cabin were one and the same with the battery room next door. Both were situated on the boat deck. The transmitter was an old Mackay and the receiver a Drake with plug-in coils that worked well enough. The crew were a cheerful lot and made me feel welcome right away.
We departed from New York in a very slow convoy of five or six knots and worked our way, without incidence other than breakdowns, through the Bahamas to the Windward Passage where we parted from the two escorts. Our destination was Port of Spain, Trinidad.
The Whiton was in a bad way. She leaked badly. Her auxiliary pumps were almost as big as her turbines and for good reason. So many leaks from so many seams kept the pumps struggling just to keep her afloat. We kept breaking down for short periods of time and working frantically to fix the problems, usually bypassing a ruptured pipe. We would fall out of the convoy, drift for a time, then struggle to catch up.
This was so common an occurrence that we hardly took notice until one afternoon off Margarita Island (Venezuela) we shut down and drifted for hours. Suddenly the general alarm sounded for a U-boat surfaced about a mile away on our port side. We expected to be sunk by a torpedo or gunfire. Our dummy gun forward was made of wood and not much of a deterrence. The U-boat just sat there, and after about 30 minutes, submerged. Our Captain wisely decided not to
…continued on page 17
Voyage Five …continued from page 16
Our armies moving relentlessly up the Italian peninsula were liberating Rome as we arrived in Sicily. We anchored in the circular harbor of Siracusa for several days with all restricted to ship. We took turns with the binoculars watching the local girls, brought out by balmy spring air, washing clothes. I continued watches as if we were at sea. Finally a BAMS message instructed us to proceed independently to Civitavecchia, the port city of Rome. We pulled up the hook and sailed through the straits of Messina. Without changing course the ship pulled into a whirlpool which caused us to do a slow 360-degree spin before emerging from the far edge. Spectacular!
That evening I saw Stromboli. According to British Admiralty Chart 172, Stromboli was formed by a single volcanic cone, 3,135 feet high and still active; by night the reddish reflection of the crater can nearly always be seen. The northwest side of the mountain descends steeply to the coast and is barren; the northeast side is verdant and cultivated. I was so impressed by the sight of my first volcano at a distance of 18 miles that I made a sketch of it, and copied the above description from the British Admiralty chart into my diary.
Our next stop was a brief one in Naples. After the pilot came aboard, we anchored inside the breakwater. The Captain and Armed Guard officer went ashore, returning the same day with information of floating mines so we didn’t depart until the next morning when visibility was good. Arrival at Civitavecchia was the following morning. We picked up the pilot, and proceeded past the breakwater then swung around heading for a nearby stone pier. Our speed was excessive and with engine going full astern we continued with tremendous inertia towards the stone breakwater that we had just come around. We bore down on several PT air rescue boats tied up along the breakwater. When their crews saw us heading toward them at great speed, they burst into frantic action and pulled two of the craft out of harm’s way. The Kilmer, shuddering from engine full astern, kept moving at about 3 knots, and crunched the bow into the stone pier. Our forward energy was dissipated in the crumbling stem and bow. We lost the carpenter shop and the paint
…continued on page 18
Voyage Six …continued from page 16
report the incident for we certainly would have been sunk had I broken radio silence.
Evidently, after studying us, the U-boat decided not to waste ammunition or a torpedo and concluded, correctly, that left afloat we would be a bigger detriment to the U.S. war effort. This was our happy thought as we finally got under way again after 20 hours.
We went through the Dragon’s Mouth, and sailed into the harbor at Port of Spain, Trinidad. The U-boat sighting was reported to shore authorities.
We tied up to a bauxite wharf and began loading the next day. Bauxite is a reddish ore used in the smelting of aluminum. Although it is a mined ore and lumpy, there also was a fine powder that covered the ship. It permeated everything; our food, clothing, hair, and bunks. Shore leave was uneventful. Trinidad was British and not romantic or beautiful at all. Although a busy port at the time, it holds no memories for me.
Our departure was routine, and we sailed independently across the Caribbean. I saw many patches of the sargasso seaweed and Portuguese man-o-wars (graceful black seabirds). I collected a bucket of the seaweed and found it teaming with tiny crabs.
Each morning the crew would gather up the flying fish that had landed on deck and take them to the cook. They were fresh and tasty, but small, and it required quite a few to make a meal. I was one of the few who ate any mainly because I helped gather them.
This was a most peaceful voyage through calm seas, blue skies, and soothing trade winds. I had completely recovered from the stormy north Atlantic and nerve-wracking enemy action by the time we came back through the Windward Passage.
I remember sighting San Salvador Island in the Bahamas, believed to be Columbus’s first landfall in 1492. I also remember that tropical QRN (static) wiped out most signals on 500 kcs.
When we picked up our pilot at Ambrose I had no inclination to leave the Whiton and so after being paid off, I signed on for another voyage.
Voyage Five …continued from page 17
locker but otherwise no serious damage. Civitavecchia had been bombed heavily and was deserted. Its steep hillside was covered with
ruined homes and torn up streets. Rubble was everywhere. At a RR station, also in ruins, I found and liberated a large brass telegraph key which unfortunately was lost later when the Wm. D. Byron sank, but that’s another story.
One day the Armed Guard Officer invited me to go with him to Rome. He had obtained a weapons carrier full of gasoline so off we went on a most interesting trip. We visited the Vatican, saw the Catacombs and the Apian Way. While outside the Vatican, a Cardinal came along and my Catholic friend instructed me to kneel with him and kiss the Cardinal’s ring. Unfortunately I’ve forgotten this Italian Cardinal’s name. Our stay in Rome lasted two days and nights. I was invited to spend the nights with a large, happy Italian family who treated me as a liberating hero and insisted that I must be Italian. One of the evening meals was Pasta Fazull, a delicious pasta and bean soup.
My most memorable experience was visiting the Sistine Chapel and gazing up at Michelangelo’s frescoes. He had done all this work lying on his back on scaffolding. The paintings seemed to have sunlight coming from the same direction, creating shadows. It looked so real that I looked for a window, but of course, there was none.
The sculptures by Michaelangelo were still hidden from the Germans so only a few in Saint Peter’s Basilica were on display. Rome was a very interesting experience. We patched up the Kilmer’s bow while unloading, and departed in late July for New York. Our only stop was for ballast in Oran, Algeria, unimpressive except for the squalor. Most of the native men wore fezes and the people seemed to like the heat, humidity, and dirty air. My return to the ship was the best part of the visit.
Our convoy to New York had lots of air cover and encountered no U-boat attacks. The escorts did a fine job shepherding us across. We arrived at Ambrose Light and tied up at a Brooklyn pier. Captain Gallop endorsed my FCC license as “very satisfactory”. I bid adieu to the Kilmer for the last time at the end of August, 1944 for three weeks ashore.
MY MERCHANT MARINE CAREER
By John V. Brucker, R-050
I was sworn into the Maritime Service April 26th, 1943 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I arrived at Hoffman Island, New York for Basic Training on May 4th. In July I entered Radio School at Huntington, Long Island. After two months there, I went to Gallups Island, Massachusetts to complete radio training in February 1944.
I boarded the Liberty Ship, the SS John Vining on March 15th as a radio officer. I stayed on this ship for almost two years, completing six trips across the Atlantic and one across the Pacific. My final voyage was on the Liberty ship, SS David Lubin for a trip to Venice, Italy, then back to New Orleans where I disembarked for the last time on April 17th, 1946.
For me, personally, the two years at sea was an exciting adventure and learning experience that will always be remembered. Fortunately, I have no thrilling war tales to tell. Although I knew submarines were about by the depth charges dropped by our convoy escorts, I never saw a ship damaged or sunk by the enemy. On one trip I was assigned to help pass ammunition for an Armed Guard anti-aircraft gun, but never saw nor heard an enemy plane.
When the war ended we were permitted to use the radio transmitter to send routine messages. During the war only distress signals could be sent. When the ban on transmitter use was lifted, I was on the key frequently with ship’s business, relaying messages between ships and shore stations including personal messages to the folks at home.
I was made to feel important on a few occasions. These were the times when we were either fog bound or hidden from the sun and stars by cloud formations. Under these conditions sextants were of little use. Especially when making a landfall I would be asked to use the Direction Finder located in the chart room. Obtaining two or more bearings that intersected on a map gave us the ship’s position.
Afterwards the Captain would sometimes thank me, and offer to buy me a cup of coffee, a pleasant gesture although it was free anyway.
TWO REMARKABLE MEMOIRS
Francis (Frank) McCourt’s books: Angela’s Ashes and ‘TIS (as in “It Is”) tells about his growing up in Ireland during the Thirties then returning to New York at age 19 after WWII. McCourt says that growing up poor anywhere is tough, and growing up poor in Ireland is worse, but growing up poor and Catholic in Ireland is the worst of all. I thought growing up poor in West Virginia during the depression was rough, but we were affluent compared to their situation. Angela was McCourt’s mother and the title Angela’s Ashes remains unclear since she was very much alive at the end of the book. But it all came together in ‘TIS.
McCourt was born in New York but his father foolishly returned to Ireland during the depression which was boom times here in comparison to Ireland. They seemed to have tea every five minutes although it’s unclear how they got it inasmuch as even bread was a sometimes thing. When his aunt came for them during their mother’s hospitalization for pneumonia, to her instructions to, “pack your clothes” they said, “they’re on us.” They had no blankets or quilts but only some old coats for covers in their flea-infested bed.
McCourt returned to New York at age 19 on the freighter Irish Oak which he claimed carried 14 passengers with one canceling making the passenger list an unlucky thirteen. This seems unlikely inasmuch as twelve passengers on freighters (without a doctor) was the limit by international agreement (I think). At any rate 14 seems an unlikely number.
Told well, his experiences on this side were just as interesting as in Ireland. Both books aren’t without their ration of baloney, however. He made a big thing about going to college without graduating from high school. As an Army veteran (Korean War duty in Germany) on the GI Bill at the time, he was among thousands who went to college without High School diplomas. Like most stories they require a considerable Suspension of Disbelief.
THE CAPITOL AND ‘THE KIDS’
MY FIRST SEVENTY-FIVE YEARS IN WASHINGTON
by our own Stan Jennings
The Capitol and the Kids is an intriguing memoir that we can identify with even more than Frank McCourts books. The multi-talented Jennings graduated from high school during the waning years of the great depression as war clouds formed over Europe. In the heyday of the newspapers and radio, he worked as an artist, writer, cartoonist, and photographer for several of Washington’s newspapers, US News and World Report, fifteen years for The National Geographic, and finally formed his own publication company. Apparently he is also clairvoyant. Just as I was about to call and order an autographed copy of his memoirs, it arrived in the mail. Putting all else aside, I plopped down on the front porch and read the first 38 pages before going into the house and had devoured it within two days.
Jennings writes from his birth on an Indiana farm to Washington where his father got a job in the national offices of the Public Health Services. The family moved frequently about the Washington and northern Virginia areas, with a number of trips back to Indiana. Stanley attended numerous schools in both locations. He photographed and drew sketches of the entire Washington parade from foreign dignitaries, national leaders, the politicians, actors, performers, sports figures, and the elite of the 4th estate during the apex of the newspaper and radio era. Contrasts: a glamour shot of Ingrid Bergman, another unglamorous shot of her hungrily dragging on a cigarette.
In addition to Stanley’s memories of growing up in Washington, the book is filled with memorabilia of the Thirties, Forties, Fifties, and to the present including major papers headlines of world-shaking events of an historic era.
His memoir is filled with pictures, cartoons, drawings, comics, anecdotes, and insides stories of the famous, infamous, and wannabes of arguably the most dynamic period in our history. Many of the drawings, photographs, and comic strips done by Stanley for the major publications of that era are included. The Capitol and the Kids is obviously a spoof of “The Captain and the Kids
…continued on page 20
TIME, SPACE, AND CHANGE
Sixty-five years ago (May 26, 1934) a train unlike anything seen before departed Denver’s Union Station to race eastward across the Colorado plains and the midwest. With an ultramodern curved prow and fluted silver sides, it was on a mission to prove the value of radically redesigned railroad passenger equipment by making the longest and swiftest land run in history.
But twilight time for railway passenger travel was already at hand. Fledging airlines were already making inroads into surface travel, and Pan American Airways president Juan Trippe was diligently at work challenging ships for trans-ocean voyages. By 1937 Trippe’s flying clippers had reduced the transpacific travel time to less than a third--from three weeks to six days, seven hours, and twenty minutes. The era of the magnificent flying boats (called Clippers after the square-rigged sailing ships of a century earlier) had arrived. On February 23, 1939, the new Boeing 314 (flying boat) made its inaugural flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong. Called the California Clipper, it had plush seating for 74 (sleeping berths for 36), a separate dining room serving full-course meals, separate men’s and women’s bathrooms, a deluxe compartment for VIPs, dressing rooms, and a dedicated lounge.
Its crew also included radio officers. But this glamorous era ended with the outbreak of war on December 7, 1941 when these magnificent craft were converted into troop and cargo transports. The war shifted the country’s gears, rapidly accelerating technological advances. Time and economy became more important factors for travelers than comfort. Remember when we used to ride to the airport in limousines? Airliners have evolved into little more than huge, long distance, fast buses. Some are even called airbuses.
A former coworker told of turning down a radio officer’s job on the Pan Am flying clippers because of the low pay. Most of the positions on the en route island stops (Honolulu, Midway, Wake Island, and Guam) were manned by single Ivy League types working for little more than the military paid. Methinks that I would have given it a go whatever the pay.
Capital & Kids …continued from page 19
(Katzenjammer Kids)” a favorite of my youth.
The eight and a half by nine-inch, 270-page tome is a jolly good read, a nostalgic trip to yesteryear with a bonus of 265 photographs (all by Jennings) and 140 drawings/cartoons. It makes a perfect coffee table book or bedside reader.
Stan Jennings’ memoirs about the Washington scene is far better than Tom Brokaw’s “The Greatest Generation” and the Peter Jennings and Dan Rather’s copycat books ghosted by heaven knows who.
A visiting friend thumbing my copy became intrigued and asked if it was available in book stores. It makes an ideal Christmas or birthday present.
ISBN 0-9674664-0-7 $24.50 plus $3 s/h Washington Book Distributors, 4930-A Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria, VA 22304-4809.
SPEECH BY MM CAPT GEORGE DUFFY - 9/16/98
Submitted by George W Cushman, R15
It is a privilege and an honor to be here today. Yet, slightly over 10 years ago this could not have been. Then, I was not considered to be a veteran. Then, I did not have the right to wear this medal. For over 40 years following the end of World War Two, congress after congress rebuffed the attempts of WWII merchant seamen who were attempting to gain the veterans status promised them by President Roosevelt shortly before his death. Finally, in 1988, in response to a legal action, a Federal Judge in Washington ruled that the Government was in error and that our service in WWII was to be considered as active duty. A great injustice was made right!
Nevertheless, it was a rather hollow victory because the only benefits now available to most of us are a flag for our coffin and a grave marker. And for me, the POW medal.
I relate this history to provide a backdrop for two narratives that I wish to deliver today:
The Merchant Seaman POW and the Merchant Seaman MIA.
Of the 168,000 persons who sailed in the U.S. Merchant Marine in WWII it is highly improbable that any one of them ever gave a thought to the possibility of being taken prisoner. The chance of losing one’s life to a torpedo, a bomb, or a kamikaze was an accepted risk. But to become a prisoner was unimaginable. The numbers prove my point: 509 men and one woman captured.
The details are interesting. Twenty-four were picked up by the eight German and two Japanese submarines that sank the ten ships. Most notable of those twenty-four was Capt. Henry Stephenson of the Grace Lines freighter Santa Rita. In 1942, sixty-six years old, he was plucked out of a lifeboat by the crew of the U-172. Was there ever an Army, Navy, or Marine Corps officer on active duty at that age? Exactly a year and a day later, while he languished in Milag Nord near Bremen, his son, LCDR Richard Stephenson, a naval aviator was killed in action over Sicily.
Seventy merchant seamen survived the sinking of two ships by two Japanese surface raiders, and 95 men from three vessels were taken prisoner by the German Raider Michel. This latter group, of
which I was a member, had the unfortunate fate of being handed over to the Japanese. Only in the Merchant Marine!
Thirty-one men survived the sinking of the Carlton in the infamous PG-17 convoy, only to be picked up by German float planes and taken to Norway. The balance of the 510 were caught in Shanghai, Manila, and Hong Kong in December ‘41 when the Japanese overran those cities. The lone female POW was among them.
Other American Merchant seamen were captured, but they were not sailing in American flag ships, a common practice. The Texaco tanker Connecticut, for example, was flying the Panamanian flag when she was sunk. Her entire crew of 38 was American, plus a 16-man U.S. Navy Armed Guard. Only 13 of the 54 lived to be taken prisoner by the previously mentioned Michel, and later turned over to the Japanese.
Now, for the MIA:
No one knows how many American merchant seamen were lost in WWII: 6600, 6700,6800, 7000? I have seen the total as high as 9000.
The use of approximate figures may seem odd, but the truth is that no one, no U.S. Government Agency, no record center, no one at all knows precisely how many of our merchant seamen died in that war. Other than a book in a glass case at the USMM Academy at Kings Point, NY, and which is admittedly incomplete, there is no public display or depository of the names of Merchant seamen who remain on their last voyage. It is indeed “as though they had never been.”
How did this state of affairs come to be?
First, it must be recognized that many of the between wars, depression era merchant seamen were loners, nomads, men without family ties, or with families in the Far East or Europe. WWII further isolated them. Many used their seamen union hall as their home address. Additionally, as I mentioned earlier, was the practice followed by many American companies whereby they registered their ships in foreign countries, Panama in particular. Men lost in those ships just disappeared. Who could be notified? Who cared?
…continued on page 22
Duffy Speech …continued from page 21
Whatever their number, one fact is without dispute: Almost every one of them is missing in action. Few deceased merchant seamen found a grave ashore. The very nature of their calling
dictated that the sea be their final resting place.
Consider that in WWII, forty-three U.S. flag merchant vessels were lost with all hands. Over 1600 men, ranging from 133 in the passenger vessel, SS Coamo, to 8 in the schooner Albert F. Paul went down with their ships. Some simply disappeared. They left port and as in the case of the Esso Williamsburg were never heard from again.
Seven men on a life raft were photographed from the conning tower of the U-123 which had just torpedoed their tanker, SS Muskogee. Neither they nor anyone else from that ship were ever seen again.
The commander of the U-159 reported the sinking of the ammunition laden SS LaSalle off Capetown with the words, “Ship atomized pillar of flame hundreds of meters high. For minutes, splinters rained down on my deck wounding three men on bridge watch.”
In the stormy North Atlantic, while in convoy, the Harry Luckenbach was torpedoed. Many member of her crew managed to get away in several lifeboats. The convoy swept onward, neither the rescue ships nor the escort vessels saw the boats and another 54 merchant seamen were M.I.A.
I had a former shipmate in the LaSalle, and another in the Harry Luckenbach. In addition to those 43 vessels lost with all hands, eight more had only a single survivor each. From those 51, a total of over 2,000 American seamen disappeared, “as though they had never existed.”
A Merchant Seamen never “joined” nor “enlisted” in the Merchant Marine. Just before commencing a voyage, the ship’s crew would sign articles, essentially the employment contract. If the voyage was to be “foreign” the articles would be witnessed by a USCG officer and retained ashore. For coastwise trips and time in port, less formal articles were used and kept aboard the vessel. Thus it was with the E.A. Bryant and the Quinneault Victory. While loading
a cargo of ammunition at Port Chicago, CA, the
5,000 tons already aboard the Bryant exploded, simultaneously detonating what was on the dock and in the Victory ship. The number of merchant seamen lost has never been determined. And if all that was not bad enough, consider that Maritime Law regards the voyage to have terminated if a vessel sinks, or is stranded, or otherwise destroyed. In these events, the wages of the crews are similarly terminated.
Upon reflection, one may wonder why we ever went to sea. It was, however, our profession, our calling. It was a life for which we trained and studied. Many of us continued to sail after the war. Following my repatriation after three years as a POW, I remained at home for less than 90 days and went back. That’s all that I knew. Subsequently, over the intervening years, I have seized upon every opportunity to relate the story of the United States Merchant Marine, and the terrible toll taken upon its men and women in WWII.
Thank you for allowing me and my fellow Merchant Mariners to participate in this ceremony of rededication.
NAVAL ACADEMY RETIRES SEXTANT
As of the autumn of the 1998 academic year, midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis have no longer been required to learn to use the sextant. Instead, the Academy is adding some classes on navigation by computer (GPS or Global Positioning Satellite). The sextant is an instrument used for measuring the altitude of heavenly bodies for fixing a position at sea. Naval officials state that the sextant’s use has become obsolete in the age of computers and satellites.
Checkout the following website, especially "Merchant Marine in WW II":
Try this website for a gripping story of heroism.
Courtesy of USMM
MARINER BEFRIENDS FORMER ENEMY
After four decades Captain George Duffy is friends with Konrad Hoppe who helped sink his ship in WWII. In 1942, Duffy’s ship, the SS American Leader, delivered supplies to the Persian Gulf for Russia. It then went to India and South Africa before sailing for New York on September 6. To avoid German subs, the American Leader was routed via the Straits of Magellan and across the south Atlantic to the Panama Canal. “Our task was to sink,” Hoppe, a former German sailor said, and if possible to capture the crew. Hoppe’s ship, the raider Michel caught the Leader 850 miles west of Cape Town. The Michel, a ten-thousand ton raider with a crew of 400 had been operating in the area for months and already sunk 9 allied ships. The American merchant ship, with a crew of 58, was no match for the Michel and failed to get off a single shot. Eleven Americans were killed. Captain Duffy and the other survivors were taken prisoner, and a month later transferred to a supply tanker, the Uckermark which took them to Japanese-occupied Java where 19 perished. Capt. Duffy was a POW for three years.
After 43 years Captain Duffy decided to make peace with his captors. “I wanted to know how the Germans found us.”
While on vacation in Germany in 1985, Duffy arranged to meet with Konrad Hoppe at his home. The meeting went smoothly and led to his attending four reunions of German naval people including some of his captors. “We made friends right away.” Hoppe visited Captain Duffy in the United States.
Duffy says he’s now at peace with his memories. “Slowly, one gets older, and starts thinking, ‘why should I carry this with me anymore?’”
Did you know…
You are more likely to be killed by a champagne cork than by a poisonous spider? Please be careful on New Year’s Eve!
Rose & Jim Jolly
JOLLYS VISIT ALL 50 STATE CAPITOLS
Rose and Jim Jolly, R-08, one of the few husband-and-wife amateur radio operator teams in the U.S., accomplished another objective in the summer of '99: they visited Juneau, Alaska, to complete a journey to all U.S. capitols that began in 1991. It was no coincidence that the Jollys were in Juneau at the same time their daughter and son-in-law, Heidi and Rocky Wolf, arrived there aboard the cruise ship Crown Princess in, celebration of their 25th wedding anniversary. Following the Jollys' tour of the state capitol building they boarded the Crown Princess to dine with Heidi and Rocky. Jim, former GIRA District 9 director, and Rose have an emblem from each of the state capitols they have visited.
Jim's call letters are W6RWI while Rose can be reached on W6QPV.
Did you know…
More capital cities begin with B than any other letter: Berlin, Berne, Bonn, Bucharest, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Brasilia, Baghdad, Bratislava, Brussels, Belgrade, Bogato and Belfast.
GIRA MEMBERS WRITE:
Your stories in the Spring 1999 issue of the Spark Gap brought back memories for me. I was in Gallups Island class R-07 from July 1941 to June 1942. Enclosed is my current QSL card listing the 10 different ships on which I sailed. The XYL and I have been on 23 cruises on 22 liners since I quit my professional sea going career, and we have booked my 100th voyage in 57 years for another voyage to the Caribbean in February 2000 along with a national meat-processing group. I was in the meat processing business for 30 years, and after selling the company, I was executive director of the Kansas Meat Processor Association for 12 years.
I made 76 voyages during WWII, and was on the SS Antigua, a United Fruit Company passenger ship on the Caribbean run when I quit going to sea in 1947.
My first ship, the SS Oneida, was torpedoed and sunk. The survivors landed on the eastern coast of Cuba on a raft on July 13, 1942. We had delivered a load of rice to San Juan, PR and were empty when sunk.
The remainder of my ships were either owned or operated by United Fruit Co. for the War Shipping Administration. I spent a year and nine months as the only American on the SS Crawford Ellis, LCKO, which was under charter to United Fruit on a banana run from Tampa, FL or New Orleans to the north coast of Honduras and return. The SS Samuel A. Fabens was a Liberty sailing to Europe in convoy with war materials.
On the SS Central Falls Victory we hauled troops from Mediterranean ports to the East Coast. The other vessels were mostly of cargo runs to various Caribbean ports.
The SS Esparta was a new ship on a banana run from New Orleans to Golfito on Costa Rica’s west coast. I was married and living in New Orleans at the time.
I was originally W9JUN before establishment of the 10th call area, and have been W0JUN since that time. I now work mostly 20 and 15 CW.
Zelda, my XYL, has been in most of the places with me. Hope to see you in Branson.
Nelson Buckles, R-007.
The Buckles cruise ships included:
Cunard Countess, P & O
Pacific Princess, P & O
Volendam, Dutch HA
Sun Princess, British P & O
Stella Solaris, Green Sun
Mississippi Queen, USA
Noordam, Dutch HA
Southward, Norwegian NCL
Golden Odyssey, Greek RCL
Star Princess, P&O
Star Princess, P&O
Sky Princess, P&O
Regent Sun, Regency
American Queen, USAS
Royal Princess P&O
A total of 23 cruises on 22 different ships.
I’m putting together an article which should be of interest to all of us who sailed in the North Atlantic convoys. I have been meaning to get this together for some time but only recently finished my research in London on the Normandy operation from the standpoint of the Royal Navy. By way of background, (incidentally you'll find my story in the GIRA book), I travel to London twice a year. I was a schoolboy in England before the war and in recent years, prior to my retirement, I ran an office there as a lawyer for Citibank.
About three years ago, I decided to give my frequent visits a purpose and since we made three North Atlantic convoy crossings between October 1943 and September 1944 including the D-day operation at Utah I felt a worthwhile project was to research the Admiralty convoy records and official Naval reports. After contacting the Admiralty I discovered all such records are maintained at the Public Record Office at Kew outside of London. It's a stop on the underground.
…continued on page 25
Letters … continued from page 24
Indeed, the records in question were declassified around 1965 and the originals (no microfilm here) are available for review. Many people use the record room for genealogical research as local records from all over Britain are filed there.
In any event, I obtained a reader's card good for three years and started looking for the convoy lists for my ship, the Amos G. Throop.
The first such listing was Convoy HX261 sailing from Halifax 10/11/43 with “general cargo" arriving at the Clyde 10/25 thence to Mersey for orders with our final destination, Manchester. The convoy was made up of 65 ships.
After returning to New York, our second listing showed us sailing from New York 12/29/43, Halifax 12/31/43 in Convoy HX273 to the Mersey for orders with our final destination, Hull. As I recall, we were diverted to Loch Ewe for a convoy around the top of Scotland and down the east coast and spent two weeks discharging bombs for the 8th Air Force. Hull was really in ruins as the Germans knew it was the supply base for the 8th Air Force and bombed it incessantly. We had taken the bombs on board at Cavens Point, New Jersey, previously mentioned by other writers including Bill DeVoe. Despite the misspelling of Cavens Point, it is probably closer to the truth calling it Craven Point. It was a rough crossing, we broke down off Newfoundland about New Year's Day and had an uncomfortable twelve hours catching up with the convoy, after which we narrowly missed disaster when a high octane tanker out of control crossed our bows within 100 yards while cutting across the convoy. U-boats were not the only danger. The convoy report showed three ships put back into St. Johns, Newfoundland.
Finally, on return to Boston, we were outfitted with bunks for about 800 troops in the No. 4 hold preparatory for D-day (date of course unknown at that time) and sailed in Convoy HX284 with 80 ships leaving Halifax 3/23/44 arriving in the Mersey for orders 4/5/44. Our final destination was Barry Dock near Cardiff, South Wales. By this time many of the convoys included large numbers of LST's destined for Milford Haven en route to Plymouth for the D-day landings. After discharge, the Amos G. Throop remained at Barry
for two weeks when we were ordered to the Clyde to get us out of the way for D-day. Around May 20th we went back to Milford Haven for orders and wound up at Newport, South Wales, where we sailed with units of the 4th Army Corps commanded by Lt. Gen. Troy S. Middleton (later the chancellor of LSU) on the morning of June 6th. We received the news of the landings over the BBC as we passed Land's End on a brilliant day as part of a 16-ship convoy. After waiting for clearance to cross that night off the Isle of Wight we arrived off Utah Beach, at dawn on D plus one. We were promptly shelled by German 88s from behind the beachhead. The captain moved us out of range and we witnessed the bombard-ment by a US destroyer of the fishing village of Grandcamp, where snipers were blocking our troops from joining up the Omaha and Utah beachheads. I recently read a book entitled the U-boat War by a British captain (which unfortunately I loaned out and can't locate) who turned out to be the destroyer escort leader of our convoy from the Bristol Channel to the beachheads. He described our night crossing to Normandy. It turns out the biggest threat that night was not U-boats but mines. Ships that strayed from the swept channels were badly damaged or worse. In any event, he had two US destroyers assigned to his task force and in the book he complained his communication with the US Navy was non-existent. In the middle of the night the destroyers took off without a word and he never knew what happened as his destroyer escort turned back after leading us to the Utah rendezvous point. I can surmise that the destroyers were urgently needed to shell Grandcamp and the neighboring area and if I can locate my book or another copy, I will be happy to tell him when I'm next in London. I doubt if he knows what happened to this day.
Our Normandy experiences will be another story and I have some pictures when we brought over a contingent of Red Cross girls on a later crossing from Southampton. We were not permitted cameras but one of their people took the pictures.
Kind regards and keep up the good work
Arnold Y. Claman, R-16
I am enclosing an 8 x 10 picture of a dance band I played with while on Gallups Island. While attending the Branson Mo. GIRA Banquet I was given the opportunity to play a couple of tunes with the band on my clarinet. It brought back memories of my stay on the island and my playing with a dance band we had formed. I played saxophone and clarinet with the band from 1944 through the first part of May 1945. 1 guess the band broke up because most of us were graduating.
My memory recollects that the picture was taken in a hall on the Boston Commons. The occasion was a celebration of V- E day. Looks like the band was really swinging.
My memory on the names of the fellows in the band is very dim. The fellow standing in front of the piano is Will Taylor. He was a manager director of the band. The drummer’s name is Gilbert Oberstein. He was a member of R-95, I had lunch with him a few years ago, but have not contacted him since. One or two of the three trumpet players were recruited from the Navy personnel on the Island. We practiced once each week in a hall on the Island.. Might have been the gymnasium. Looking at the band I am the fourth tenor sax player in the front row on the far left. Our music stands had G I painted on them in large white letters.
Playing music has been a lot of fun for me, and I still continue to play. Besides my real estate business I am the director of the Casablanca Big Band. We practice once a week and get a gig once in awhile.
Joe Gilmaker, R-95 W6HGU\A
FINDING ROBERT W. SERVICE
Once, when on a field trip to Alaska during the construction of the arctic pipeline, Zip Zaber, an avuncular type from the regional office, was showing us the highlights of Anchorage. Driving by a big cemetery near the town’s center, he remarked, “That’s where Robert W. Service is buried.”
The next morning, Sunday, I drove about the city leisurely. Passing the cemetery that Zip Zaber had pointed out, I stopped to look for Service’s grave. The cemetery was huge and finding a specific grave seemed a near impossible quest.
I walked to a nearby market and asked the manager if he knew in what part of the cemetery that Robert W. Service was buried. He asked the other employees, but no one had the slightest idea who Service was.
Walking back to my parked vehicle I noticed a tour bus pull up and stop at a big, darkened building that proved to be a museum. The bus driver emerged and looking about frantically, blurted, “It ain’t closed, is it?”
“Seems to be,” I said.
“Uh, what am I going to do with this busload of Japs… uh, tourists?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “Maybe they could help me find Robert W. Service’s grave.”
“Uh, this Service feller a friend of yours?”
“Well, yes, I guess you could say that. Actually he’s a famous arctic poet,” I said.
“Just a minute. Uh, come here,” he said., getting back on the bus and explaining the museum was closed and that we had a change in plans. Although the driver had no idea who Robert W. Service was, a number of the Japanese tourists did, and were enthusiastic to join the search.
We divided up into several groups and covered the entire cemetery within a half-hour but to no avail. The driver, who had stayed in the bus, looked disappointed. “Finished already?”
“Well, maybe we could take some pictures,” I offered. All had cameras, and they snapped scores of pictures. I had never been photo-graphed so much before or since. Back in Phoenix a week later, my curiosity whetted, I went to the main library seeking assistance to learn where Robert W. Service was really buried.
Two ladies, look-alike blondes, listened to my story with obvious interest. “We’ll research it as time permits and call you,” they promised.
A couple of days later I answered the phone and both were on the line, giggling. “The reason you can’t fine Robert W. Service’s grave is because they don’t bury people until they die. He’s still alive and living in the south of France.”
Later I discovered that he was actually dead at that time, but had lived into his eighties and was buried in southern France. He had spent eight years after the turn of the century in the Yukon as a banker and may have traveled back and forth through Skagway to British Columbia, but otherwise had never been to Alaska. He returned to England and was in WWI and after the second World War lived in France.
Years later I was in another visiting group that the aging Zip Zaber giving a mini-tour of Anchorage. Passing the same cemetery, sure enough, Zaber said, “that’s where Robert W. Service is buried.”
This is the Law of the Yukon,
and ever she makes it plain:
“Send not your foolish and feeble;
send me your strong and your sane.
Wild and wide are my borders,
stern as death is my sway,
I wait for the men who will win me,
and I will not be won in a day.
This is the Law of the Yukon,
that only the Strong shall thrive;
That surely the Weak shall perish,
and only the fit survive.
Dissolute, damned, and despairful,
crippled, and palsied, and slain,
This is the Law of the Yukon,
Lo, how she makes it plain!
From Robert W. Service
“The Law of the Yukon”
THE FUN OF GOING AND RETURNING
In times past, traveling to and from a place was half the fun and the arrival sometimes proved anticlimactic. I can remember hearing tourists in Paris exclaim “I had so much fun on the voyage coming over that I can’t wait to get onto the ship for the trip back.” While nothing could top our enjoyment of reuniting with Gallups Islanders in Branson, traveling to and from was indeed fun. We deviated from the interstate (I-17) at Camp Verde, AZ, taking the tree-lined, almost empty General Crook (Zane Gray) Highway, then route 87 to join I-40 at Winslow, AZ. We made Vega in the Texas Panhandle (660 miles) at dusk. The next day in drizzle, rain, and fog we forsook the Interstate for route 60 through the Texas Panhandle and across Oklahoma on route 412. About half was divided highways, often nearly empty and without the ubiquitous trucks on the Interstate. The natives were universally friendly, sometimes hard to get away from. Getting through Tulsa was the most difficult part, but the Cherokee Turnpike in northeastern Oklahoma was one of the most pleasing roads we’d ever driven. It is rolling-hill, forested country totally devoid of billboards, or roadway trash, and vehicles spaced a quarter to a half mile apart. We stopped at a new motel situated in isolated splendor. Traveling through the beautiful Arkansas countryside the next morning was marred only by flagged stops in areas of road resurfacing. Westbound after the convention, the Arkansas roads were an empty delight. We stopped at an Arkansas roadside stand for local grown apples and they had honey with the comb, now almost impossible to find. After the beautiful Cherokee Turnpike we made time on I-40 to stop at Groom in the Texas Panhandle. It was a family owned motel with only 26 units, but comfortably new. The proprietor was remarkably congenial and asked us to come back. At the adjacent Dairy Queen, we ordered a simple hamburger. The pretty teenage waitress said the usual price for the burger was $2.10 but the special today was the burger with fries for only $1.99. We asked for the special, but “hold the fries”, and she giggled and said she couldn’t do that. The hand-formed burger was huge and tasty but the fries were
wasted. Local boys kept coming to the drive-in window, and the pretty girl would say “go away, I’m working.” The next morning breakfast at the same place consisted of eggs with bacon, ham, or sausage and hash brown potatoes with two dinner-plate size pancakes. With bottomless coffee it came to $2.99. Old-timers at the next table helped themselves to coffee and chatted with us about the weather and state of farm crops.
Remarkably the restaurant at the Radisson and other places in Branson relied heavily upon fast foods, ie., frozen waffles, instant oatmeal, and the like, the Panhandle Dairy Queen, where we expected fast foot, actually rolled out the hamburgers and everything was done from “scratch”. An unexpected treat. Just out of Groom loomed the “Biggest Cross in the Western Hemisphere”. It soared above everything. We never learned where the world’s largest cross is located. The row of half-buried Cadillacs in the western Panhandle has now grown to a total of ten. In Albuquerque we left I-40 for a stress-less drive along state scenic route 44 through Farmington, NM, to the Navajo Reservation. When Carol asked two Indian ladies how far it was to Farmington, they said, “This is Farmington. You’re right in the middle of it.” The first town on the reservation was Ship Rock, named for a huge rock outcropping protruding out of the desert. Whoever named it “Ship Rock” obviously had never seen a ship. It looked more like a gargantuan castle or cathedral. West of Ship Rock, the roads became straight and almost empty. The road to Kayenta seemed to go on forever as if the town kept shifting westward. While many reservation establishments seem to be on the seedy side, the motel that we stopped
in Kayenta was the best of the entire trip, even better than the Radisson in Branson.
Monument Valley was only a half-hour drive in extreme northern Arizona spilling over the Utah border. We had viewed its magnificent scenes in at least a hundred movies, a multitude of them directed by John Ford. One peak is named for him. The Valley is even more spectacular in person. The Navajos always laughed when we mentioned John Wayne who, in movies, had dispatched more Indians than the U.S. Cavalry.
The drive back to Phoenix pleasant.
THE LAST CW MESSAGE
On 12 July 1999 Globe Wireless pulled the plug on the last commercial CW stations: KFS, KPH, WCC, and WNU. In the marine radiotelegraph era, KPH and WCC were RMCA’s (Radio Marine Corporation America) flagship stations, KFS (along with WSL on the east coast) belonged to MacKay Radio Corporation, and WNU (near New Orleans) was a Tropical Radio station formerly owned by United Fruit. But in these days of daily mergers, they all ended up in one company.
Paul Zell, W7JVY, surrounded by members of the press gathered for the solemn occasion, copied the last CW message on 500 khz and hf 4310 6376 12826.5 17972 and 17117.6 khz (kcs).
CQ DE WCC BT
IN 1901, CALLSIGN WCC WAS ASSIGNED TO THE SOUTH WELLFLEET MASSACHUSETTS WIRELESS TELEGRAPH FACILITY OPERATED BY GUILERMO MARCONI. MORSE CODE SIGNALS FROM WCC HAVE BEEN HEARD AROUND THE WORLD EVER SINCE. TODAY WE RETIRE WCC FROM WIRELESS TELEGRAPH OPERATIONS.
CQ DE WNU BT
12/2347 UTC JUL 99 BT
PEARL RIVER RADIO/WNU NOW CEASES RADIOTELEGRAPH SERVICE AFTER EIGHTY-SEVEN YEARS OF CONTINUOUS OPERATION. AR 73 DE WNU
CQ DE KPH BT
WE NOW CLOSE THE RADIOTELEGRAPH OPERATION OF STATION KPH SINCE 1904. STATION KPH HAS DISTINGUISHED ITSELF AS ONE OF THE MOST WELL KNOWN AND RESPECTED CALL SIGNS OF THE WORLD. BT NW CL DE KPH SK
This was the final CW message received by KFS from the SS Jeremiah O’Brien:
HR MSG FM SS JEREMIAH OBRIEN/KXHC CK 95/90 12 2350UTC ORC KFS 001
PRESIDENT WILLIAM J CLINTON 1600 PENNSYLVANIA AV WASHINGTON DC BT
DEAR PRESIDENT CLINTON STOP HISTORY IS MADE ON THIS DAY AS WE EMBARK ON A NEW ERA OF MARITIME COMMUNICATION STOP THIS OCCASION MARKS THE CLOSURE OF SHIP-TO-SHORE RADIOTELEGRAPH OPERATIONS FROM THE LAST FOUR COMMERICAL COASTAL STATIONS IN NORTH AMERICA STILL USING THIS TIME HONORED MEDIUM ON JULY 13 AT 000UTC STOP PLEASE ACCEPT THIS FINAL RADIO-TELEGRAPH MESSAGE FROM THE LIBERTY SHIP SS JEREMIAH OBRIEN IN SAN FRANCISCO AS A TOKEN OF THIS HISTORIC EVENT STOP BEST REGARDS BT
SS JEREMIAH OBRIEN/KXCH AR NIL
CQ DE KFS BT
THIS IS THE FINAL CW TRANSMISSION FROM STATION KFS, THE LAST COMMERCIAL RADIOTELEGRAPH STATION IN NORTH AMERICA. APPROPRIATELY, WE CLOSE CW AND EMBARK ON A NEW ERA OF COMMUNICATION WITH SAMUEL F.B. MORSE’S WORDS OF 155 YEARS AGO BT
WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT BT
DE KFS VA
Thus ends a great profession expanding across a magnificent era of wars and peace, economic booms and busts. As one friend says, I still tap out my thoughts daily in phantom CW even if nobody is there to copy. The tears shed by brass-pounders for radio-telegraph’s demise would float a liberty ship. Many of mine are there with ubiquitous others.
If any of the following information has changed, please fill in this form and mail to:
Homer Gibson, the Secretary/Treasurer:
Homer N. Gibson
P. 0. Box 1235
Hermitage, PA 16148
E-mail: email@example.com Fax: 724-962-0181
GALLUPS ISLAND RADIO ASSOCIATION, INC.
City State Zip code
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Silent Keys, the Sad Messages
GALLUPS ISLAND RADIO ASSOCIATION
SILENT KEY LIST
Anthony, Norman I.
Boissonneau, Joseph H.
Boyd, Gerald D.
Carpenter, P.I. Leon A.
Currier, Arthur A.
Davie, George R.
Dippold, Charles S.
Eppler, Donald B.
Erp, Mac E.
Fisher, James V. Sr.
Glazer, Melvin H.
Hollisian, Charles H.
Hutchinson, Robert F.
Jennings, Norman L.
Jones, James M.
Marshall, George Henry, Sr.
McKee, Claude L.
Miller, Robert J.
Purkiss, Frank E.
Reddick, Roy McGregor
Scott, Stephen Russell
Stallings, George C.
Travers, John L.
Watson, James A.
Zollinger, George L.
CM-037 R-001 (Al)
M-1 108 R-001
August 1, 1995
October 13, 1999
January 21, 1999
January, 19, 1998
January 29, 1998
August 1, 1997
September 22, 1997
September 11, 1998
November 24, 1998
February 24, 1999
August 15, 1997
October 27, 1999
October 7, 1998
August 26, 1998
February 27, 1999
April 10, 1998
GALLUPS ISLAND RADIO ASSOCIATION
Post Office Box 42036-357
Phoenix, Arizona 85080-2036
John (JJ) Ward, Editor
49220 North 26 Avenue
New River, AZ 85087-8080
Urban A. Guntner, President
Raymond E. King, Vice-President
Homer N. Gibson, Secretary-Treasurer
The Spark Gap is published periodically by The Gallups Island Radio Association. Basic circulation is confined to
Association members and Gallups Island Radio School graduates, instructors, and administrative personnel during
World War II. This alumni newsletter is dedicated to the men who went to sea as Merchant Marine Radio Officers,
school instructors and support people assigned to Gallups Island. Opinions expressed herein are those of contributors
or the editor, and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Organization, Officers, Directors, or Association members.
There’s a group of men that don’t fit in, And each forgets, as he strips and runs,
A race that can’t stay still; With a brilliant, fitful pace,
So they break the hearts of kith and kin, It’s the steady, quiet, plodding ones
And roam the world at will. Who win in the lifelong race.
They range the field and sail the seas, And each forgets that his youth has fled,
And they climb the mountain’s crest; Forgets that his prime is past,
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood, Till he stands one day, with a hope that’s dead
And they don’t know how to rest. In the glare of the truth at last.
If they just went straight, they might go far; He has failed, he has failed, he has missed his chance;
They are strong and brave and true, He has just done things by half.
But they’re always tired of the things that are: Life’s been a jolly good joke on him,
They want the strange and new. And now is the time to laugh.
They say: “Could I find my proper groove, Ha, Ha! He is one of the legion lost,
What a deep mark I would make!” He was never meant to win:
So they chop and change, and each fresh move He’s a rolling stone, and it’s bred in the bone:
Is only a fresh mistake. He’s a man who won’t fit in.
Robert W. Service