It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to update anyone about the book or exhibit or memorial service.
The memorial service will take place around the 13th, though I have yet to get a solid answer and when the public service will be. I will be meeting with people next week who hopefully can answer those questions and I can get that stuff nailed down. So to those of you who have contacted me recently asking for more details about the memorial service, I’m not ignoring you. I just know about as much as you do.
The book is progressing nicely. ISBN numbers and all that, so it will appear on Amazon when the time comes. My editors will hopefully get back to me soon (I’m meeting with a couple in a few days with one, and another one has been in contact with me. Each is helping me with different aspects of the book) and I’ll start the final pass on the manuscript. Still tinkering with the cover, but I’m at a point now that the book size has to be chosen before I can go much further. Another thing that will be set in a week. We’re still on track though.
I was recently loaned a copy of Flier’s Deck Log which starts on the day of her commissioning to just two days short of her arrival in Fremantle after her first full War Patrol. The deck log following this one likely went down with the Flier. What’s really interesting what is different between this and the War Patrol Report. The Deck Log, when Flier is underway, lists everything that happens during a 4 hour time period every day. 0000-0400 hours (midnight to 4 am) 0400-0800 hours (4 am to 8 am) and so on. On a boring day, the War Patrol report may list the noon Longitude an Latitude reading and nothing. The Deck Log will start off with a statement of Underway as before on this course, at this speed, using this many engines, and then track any course change, battery charge, exercises or drills done that day, quick dives, surfaces, or personnel issue.
Conversley, the War Patrol Report, will be more detailed on days when there was an attack, though it’s obvious that the Deck Log provided some source material. The Longitude/Latitude reports are found only in the War Patrol Report, which is where I’m getting the locations of the Flier, Redfin and Robalo, not the Deck Log.
One of the strange things about this particular Deck Log is the first six weeks are typewritten and very clearly copied. But then, from December to April, the Deck Log is handwritten, and in places, the writing is either faint or fading, or else poorly copied. I’m getting to know each person’s handwriting, and in fact, can identify the men from their hands. Casey wrote lightly, and is often difficult to read, though his lettering is quite open and easy to read when it isn’t too faded. Liddell has a strong hand, neatly legible and easily read. Germershausen’s hand is very tight and dark, as though he pressed the page heavily. I wonder if that was a reflection of his character (and if his name doesn’t sound familiar, that’s because he was transferred to the Sunfish on 21 March 1944, while Flier was in drydock.)
Handwriting being so personal and unique to each individual, this makes me feel closer to these men. One thing is for sure though: every one of these guys has better handwriting that most of us today!