Archive for September, 2010

In the words of the Flier crew…

Where was Flier 66 years ago today? | Posted by Rebekah
Sep 27 2010

It was the morning of September 15, and the second day of the investigation.  The men of the Flier, who had sat the entire day before in the passage of the Euryale would finally get to have their say.  Not only would they answer any questions put before them, but they had the opportunity at this time to say anything they wanted in the court,  even if it would reflect badly on their Captain or someone or something else.

First up, was Ensign Jacobson, the youngest of the three surviving officers.

After stating his name, rank and current station (which he still listed as USS Flier) he was asked where he was the night of 13 August.

“At nine o’clock, I went on watch as JOD [Junior Officer of the Deck, see this post for further definition] on the After Cigarette Deck.  At the same time, the other JOD was there so I was on the starboard side of the cigarette deck.  That was my station until I was swimming.”

According to Jacobson’s memoirs which he started writing only a few weeks later, he replaced Ensign Beahr who went down into the Conning Tower. They were due to switch stations again in a few hours.  The other officer to which Jacobson is referring is likely Ensign Meyer, who was on the Bridge.

They asked if he had worn his goggles and adjusted his eyes before reporting (important since, if he hadn’t, it might have opened the doors to a possibility that they were attacked by the enemy from astern, but Jacobson’s non-adjusted eyes didn’t see anything.  It was also a test of following procedures.)  He had.  They asked about visibility, which was cloudy, but he could see all the way to land.  (According to Jacobson’s  memoirs, he could see Comiran, Balabac and Palawan Islands that night.  If true, then despite the overcast he could see about 25 miles).  They then asked him what his opinion was as to the cause of the loss of Flier.  He will be the only person asked to name a potential cause.

“I believe it was a mine that hit the starboard side around the officer’s country somewhere below the surface.”

He was not cross-examined and declined to say anything else.

Next up was Wesley Bruce Miller.

He stated his name rank and as to his present station to which he was assigned, he answered, “I do not know what my present station is.”  (Understandable, all things considered.)

Under questioning, he revealed that he was the forward port lookout that night on Flier, and he had also adjusted his eyes before coming on duty.  When asked about the visibility conditions, he had this to say:

“Well, I could see land at eight thousand yards but it was very poor.  The sky was overcast.  No stars out.  It was cloudy and dark.”

Questioning Lawyer:  “During the time that you were on watch, did you see any ship or any suspicious object in the water?

Miller:  “No sir, I saw nothing in the water.  I could see a light on the beach.  There as a lightouse there but nothing in the water.”

Cross Examined by the other side:  “Was it a light or a lighthouse you saw?

Miller: I couldn’t say.  It as very dim.  it was where the lighthouse was and I imagine it was a lighthouse.”

Now, despite the fact that Jacobson said that he could see several miles and Miller said he could see only a few miles, we have to remember two things:  One, that Jacobson and Miller are standing on opposite sides of their boat and two, that Miller is much higher up than Jacobson.  In addition, Jacobson’s memoirs record that a storm was sweeping in when Flier went down.  It’s possible that those gathering clouds made it more difficult to see on Miller’s side.

The light that Miller saw was likely one of two houses.  The first option is the light at Espina  Point on Balabac itself or more likely, the light on the shore of Comiran Island which Jacobson would visit over fifty years later.

Taken during Jacobson's 1998 trip to the Philippines, this is the light on Comiran Island, which Miller might have seen that night in 1944. I was unable to find any photographs of the Espina Point Light on Balabac Island.

On a strange note, according to Miller’s son, Bruce, Miller was not scheduled to be on lookout duty during the time Flier sank.  A brand new hand on Flier, he was a non-qual, or non-qualified hand, and as such, subject to strenuous tests, qualification exams, and more than a little mild hazing.  Apparently, he was scheduled to be off-duty during this particular shift, only to be told by an older hand that he was now on lookout duty, courtesy of the older hand.

And that’s how Miller ended up in the water.  The name of the hand that accidentally doomed himself is not known.  The things that might have been…

Investigation Continues

Where was Flier 66 years ago today? | Posted by Rebekah
Sep 25 2010

Admiral Christie having gotten through the first round of questioning, it was now Commander Crowley’s turn.

As soon as Christie had withdrawn, Crowley took the stand voluntarily to relate the information he had concerning the Robalo.

“Sergeant  Pasqual de la Cruz, Philippine Army, USAFFE, whim I encountered at the Guerilla outpost at Cap Buliluyan, informed me on August 21st that he had recently returned from a reconnaissance trip to Balabac Island, This trip was made to verify a tumor that some Americans had been captured there.  He received the following information which he told me.  The USS Robalo was sunk by an explosion in the forward battery on 3 July 1944.  The reported position of the vessel at the time of the explosion was forty miles west of  Balabac Island.  There were four survivors of Robalo who were found on the beach of Comiran Island.  From his story, of which the facts are not clear, I arrived at three possible solutions as to the fate of hte survivors:  (1) that the four were surprised on the beach and jumped up, two escaped and two were captured: (2) in the foregoing event, two were captured and two were shot; (3) in the foregoing even all four were captured and two were deliberately shot after capture.  The names of the two survivors made prisoner were purported to me as Lieutenant Tucker and quartermaster Martin.  One of the others apparently was the commanding officer of the Robalo, and no information exists or was given to me as to the identity of the fourth  The reason for the conflicting stories as to the fate of the survivors is that Sergeant de la Cruz received the information from difference sources.  One other thing that he also told me, that the Robalo departed Port Darwin on a date late in June, I which I do not remember correctly.  I believe it was the 29th.  Apparently, it came from a survivor.  The two prisoners are reported to have been sent to the Japanese prison camp at Puerto Princesa, Palawan.  This is all of the information that I have.”

Next up was all the information about the Flier’s final hours, and from this, as well as the previous statement that both Flier and Robalo were recommended to follow Crevalle’s route through Balabac/Natsubata, we can reconstruct what happened.

Crowley stated that he was on the bridge and Lt. Casey was the OFficer of the Deck, however, he, Crowley, had the Conn.  This is significant because the Conn, or control of the engines and rudder, is usually the job of the Junior Officer of the Deck, in this case, Al Jacobson.  Technically speaking, Crowley revealed in that moment that he was unnecesary on the bridge, since there was an Officer of the Deck (OOD) Casey, and Junior Officer of the Deck (JOOD), Jacobson.  However, since the Captain is ultimately responsible for his boat, and this was going to be a tricky passage, it wasn’t considered that unusual that Crowley was on deck.  His having the Conn meant that he was responsible for the speed and directino of the boat, not Jacobson.  It’s quite possible that Crowley took the Conn because Jacobson was several feet away from the OOD and the Bridge hatch, through which he could talk to the Navigator, Liddell, whereas, Captain Crowley was sitting just over the bridge hatch and next to the OOD.

He was then asked how many lookouts he had posted.  He had four officers, two forward, two aft, on the bridge, four enlisted lookouts overhead in the periscope shears, the navigator and quartermaster were in the Conning Tower not Control Room (one floor below), on operator on the battle station radar, another radar tracking operator, someone on soundgear and Sonar (same station), and the radar detector was manned.

He named those one each level, though, when it came to the conning tower, not who was at what station.  Those who survived would report their own positions, and a few would report on someone else’s position, though they did not do so unless asked.

The four men on the periscope shears were Wes Miller, Earl Baumgart, Gerald Madeo, and Eugene Heller.  On the Bridge with Crowley were Casey (OOD), Jacobson, (JOOD), Lt Bill Reynolds, and Ens. Phil Mayer.  Inside the Conning Tower manning the various pieces of technology were Lt. Liddell (navigator), Lt. Paul Knapp, Art Howell, Don Tremaine, James Dello Russo, and Charles Pope.   Earl Hudson was Chief of the Watch in the Control Room beneath.

And so now we have the set up.  Looking at the line up of those who were on duty the moment Flier went down there are some interesting items.

They were officer heavy.  According to Jacobson, Ens. Beahr was on duty at the maptable in the Control Room, leaving only Ens. Miner unaccounted for.  With nearly half of the officers exposed outside and the rest in the center of the ship, Crowley was running the risk that a good gun battle could make an ensign or a lieutenant the CO of Flier in case of a shore gun attack, which was possible.  If something happened to pierce the skin of the Conning Tower and straife the deck, the men in the Control Room could, potentially, dive, sealing off the Conning Tower, drowning all within.  It had happened before, (on other boats) and the men were trained to do it if necessary.

Next up, the other Flier crewmemebers, who are currently waiting in the passage outside the improvised courtroom, give their accounts of that night.

Flier Memorial Film!

Memorial Ceremony | Posted by Rebekah
Sep 23 2010

For those who were not able to come to the Memorial Service and those who want to relive it or share it with friends or relations, I’m proud to anounce the whole Memorial Ceremony was posted on YouTube yesterday by the people who did the recordings.

Part 1 of 5  (The intro is rather long, the service starts around the 50 second mark)

Part 2 of 5

Part 3 of 5  (  The rest of the Keynote speach plus the Flier Roll Call begins here)

Part 4 of 5  (The rest of the Flier Roll Call)

Part 5 of 5  (The closing, the 21-gun salute, Taps, benediction, running of the Silversides’s engines)

Important Update

The Exhibit | Posted by Rebekah
Sep 18 2010

Most of you who were at the Memorial Service and especially those who weren’t, I have an update for you.

Many of you have heard the story of James Alls, commissioning member of Flier’s crew, who was aboard from the day she was commissioned as a US Naval Submarine in New London Connecticut, traveled through the Panama Canal, suffered the grounding at Midway, went on the complete patrol, and was ABSENT for the doomed second patrol.  The night before (or two nights before, I’ll be sure to get the full story) Mr. Alls got in a bar fight in Fremantle, and was hit in the jaw with a bottle, breaking it (the jaw, jury’s out on the bottle, not that it matters).

An injury so serious grounded Mr. Alls in the hospital in Fremantle, and the Navy assigned another man  to take his place on the Flier. Mr. Alls hoped that he would be re-assigned to Flier when she returned, since everyone aboard was so close to one another.

And of course, Flier never did return.

Mr. Alls, like the other survivors, questioned why he survived, and felt incredibly guilty that he wasn’t there with his friends who were like family the moment that it happened.  It haunted him for years.

But then the Flier was found, and Mr. Alls decided to make the trek from Kentucky to Michigan to memorialize his lost crewmembers, and throw a rose into the water for Fireman Donald See, the man who took his place.

The memories of these men, their personalities and stories, are still vivid in Mr. Alls’s memory and at that service, he was able to give the gift of introducing relatives of these long-lost men to those whose lives remain forever frozen in 1944.  In the words of a nice of Joe Kucinski (who apparently, everyone called “Ski!”) “Mr. Alls gave me my uncle back.  I never knew him before, but I feel I know him now through the stories [Mr. Alls] told me.”

I’m posting today the fact that Mr. Alls and I have tentatively arranged to meet for an extensive interview sometime in the next eight weeks in an undisclosed location.  (all this hinging on arrangements still being settled, hence the “secrecy”.)

So if you have a question you’d like me to ask Mr. Alls, e-mail me at ussflierproject@gmail.com.  I can’t promise that it will get asked, but I will certainly try.  I hope to continue to talk to and correspond with Mr. Alls for as long as possible, so if I can’t ask it during this first interview, hopefully I can soon.

I will be filming and recording this too, so if all goes really, REALLY well, I’ll try to post segments of the interviews here for everyone to see.  How’s that for exciting?

I know I’m excited.  Some of his information has been really enlightening.  It’s going to add some details to the book and definitly force a re-write of a couple of places.

For more about Jim Alls and the short interview he did for the Grand Haven Tribune,click here.  And see below.

Jim Alls remembers the U.S.S. Flier

Investigation

The Book, Where was Flier 66 years ago today? | Posted by Rebekah
Sep 15 2010

In light of the fact that the trial was quite long and easily bogged down, and I’m in the midst of a bunch of family stuff that cannot be put off, we will no longer be following the Flier on the 66th anniversary.  The Board of Investigation into the loss of Flier and Robalo began on Thursday, September 14, 1944, and continued to Saturday, September 16.  A day or so later, the men started their journeys back to the US where they were going to be debriefed, thoroughly interviewed by the press (though with strict guidlelines about what could and could not be said, leading to some interesting news articles), then each to 30 days leave with his family then back to service, whether aboard Submarines or not would be up to the men.

While all this was going on, and before the men were allowed to write many letters home, the news of Flier’s demise was slowly leaking out.  Like the service today, the Navy wanted to wait  until they had informed the family members (by letter or telegraph) before the official announcement, but the fact that there were survivors of the Flier lead to articles saying most or all of the crew had been saved, leading to some crushed hopes for many people stateside.

Since this story will now become so complex, I’ll be spacing things out a bit for a few weeks.  I hope you’ll find it interesting, but it takes the pressure off of me to stay on timeline and allows me to NOT write mini-novels every day for the next two weeks.  We’ll catch up and start doing some more stuff again soon.

Oh, by the way, The “Look Inside” thing is up one my book at Amazon.com, so you can check it out.  The Kindle version will be coming soon (provided I don’t shoot Adobe InDesign).

And now back to our regularly scheduled blog entry…The men reported to the “courtroom” such as it was, aboard Submarine Tender Eurayle.

The last time Captain Crowley had faced a panal of people questioning his ability to command the Flier, he acted as his own defense attorney.  This time, he opted for representation and requested Commander Charles “Herb” Andrews, commanding officer of USS Gurnard who had pulled into Fremantle at about the same time the Flier’s had returned.  He had also been “recruited” into this position less than 12 hours before, so this was going to be interesting for him.

Admiral Christie, likewise, opted for counsel and requested George Patterson to stand with him.

The first morning was a lot of preliminary items.  Crowley confirmed that he was the Commanding Officer at the time Flier was lost.  Admiral Christie confirmed that he was the person who assigned Flier and Robalo the routes they took.

Admiral Christie was the first one in the hot seat.  He was thoroughly questioned by Admiral Daubin about how and why submarines were routed to their various posts from Fremantle.   The reasons why various submarines were routed the ways they were routed were really complex. Even the phases of the moon were taken into account (because the phases could impact depths of water and strengths of tides during various points in the phases) when planning submarine routes.  No submarine could travel with another, no route could become a beaten path lest the enemy start to patrol more often.

Balabac, as it came out during the trial, was fairly well traveled, and had been crossed over 40 times in the 18 or so months since Christie commanded Fremantle.  (about 2-3 times a month)  During the investigation, Christie even referenced the fact that since the first suspicions that Balabac might be mined back in February, the Crevalle (three times), Tinosa, Puffer, Ray Bluefish, Bonefish, Roblalo (during her last completed patrol)and Lapon had all safely crossed Balabac and, as a matter of fact, the route Crevalle used when she crossed it in 8 May 1944 was given to BOTH Flier and Robalo to help them get through the strait (the route is listed point by point in the records).

With the loss of the Flier on the heels of the suspected loss of the Robalo, Balabac was ordered closed until further notice.

Christie also listed the reasons why each submarine was routed through the various places and the disadvantages to each when the decision so send this boat this way and that boat that way were made.  How depths and currents made some places unminable but more traffiked and patrolled.  How Balabac strait could be crossed through a number of channels:  Middle, Main, Lumbucan and Natsubata, but only Natsubata could not be mined in the deep water routes, which is why all submarine captains were recommended to cross there.  It was well known that the water in Natsubata was over 100 fathoms (600 feet) deep everywhere, though a strong cross current was also there, pushing submarines west.

Next up, was Captain Crowley, and we start learning more about what all happened that night…

Thomas Bohn

And now for something completely different..., Where was Flier 66 years ago today? | Posted by Rebekah
Sep 12 2010

Today, the Fliers who were dropped in Kalgoorlie are boarding another plane headed back to Fremantle.  The Investigation starts tomorrow.

But on a slightly separate note, I’ve had the honor of helping a Flier family the past few weeks, and thought I’d share the story.

Near the time of the memorial, the niece of Electrician’s Mate Thomas Bohn of Easton Pennsylvania, contacted me, telling me about her relation Bohn, and they couldn’t make it to the memorial service.  Since they couldn’t travel to Michigan, they were working on putting the money together to set a stone memorializing Bohn near his parent’s graves in the hometown cemetery.  While the headstone was provided by the government (there’s something I don’t mind paying for with my taxes!) it was going to cost a pretty penny to simply purchase the granite and set it.

Thoma Bohn, age 18 on August 13, 1944. His family knew him for ever as "Uncle Sonny". As it turned out, over the course of asking questions of his only remaining sibling, he wasn't altogether fond of the nickname!

We started working back and forth and together, wrote and submitted a series of press releases to the local papers and television stations telling the story of Bohn and his family’s efforts to memorialize him.  It has lead to an outpouring of funds so Bohn will not only be able to have his headstone set in place, but possibly also a scholarship fund for a student at his alma mater Wilson High School.

It has been a fun time to work with another family, and been great to see these men receiving their memorials that has been so long in waiting, and been amazing to help these people discover these relatives that they never knew, and learn more in turn.  Just asking these questions and listening to the stories has lead to more stories come to light that otherwise might have remained hidden.

THIS is what I find so rewarding about what I do.

To read the articles about this process, see below!

The first article that appeared about Thomas Bohn

And the follow up article from two days later

The article that appeared this morning

The News Station Report. (I originally posted the video link here, but it kept playing automatically, so I removed it. You can see it right here. I think it’s really really good.)

Gold Country

Where was Flier 66 years ago today? | Posted by Rebekah
Sep 11 2010

The Navy quickly realized, once the Fliers returned to Fremantle, that they had a problem.  The Submarine Force was far, far too small.  Eight Flier crewmen (almost 10% of the crew!) were going to be wandering around Fremantle, being seen by men they knew and who knew that these men belonged on the Flier…and it wouldn’t take long before people realized that Flier herself wasn’t in port, which would raise interesting questions.

Questions that, the Navy, in order to keep the other submariners from uneccessary fear and worry, would rather remain unasked.

Captain Crowley had to stay in Fremantle because he needed to prepare his defense.  While the Board of Investigation he was now facing (standard for investigating the presumed or known losses of any given vessel) was not a court martial, it was only one step down, and if it proved unfavorable, he could face a real Court Martial.  Since Admiral Christie was also going to be a defendant in this investigation, the Navy was flying Admiral Freeland Daubin in from the East Coast to preside over the trial.  In fact, he landed in Fremantle 66 years ago today.

Earl Baumgart requested to stay in Fremantle, as he was friends with a local family with whom he was staying. Since he was staying there, and eating his meals there rather than in the hotels and restaurants that the submariners haunted, the Navy decided to honor his request.  Besides, a spare Flier crewman wouldn’t raise that many eyebrows–last minute reassignments were common enough.

The other six–Liddell, Jacobson, Miller, Tremaine, Howell, and Dello Russo–were loaded on a private plane and flown 350 miles inland to a town named Kalgoorlie.  It was also in the middle of nowhere.  In short, it was the perfect place to stash six guys whose location needed to be kept secret for another week or so.

It may not look like much, but there is nearly 350 miles between Perth and Kalgoorlie. Once in Kalgoorlie, there is NOTHING for miles. It is so far from any other non-mining civiliazation that the mines are still "on-site" workers. (As mines are being located in more remote places, some mines find it cheaper and better to fly their workers in for an intense several days shift, then fly them home. Kalgoorlie is so far from anywhere, it's cheaper to haul everyone there, families and all.

Here's another way to look at the distance. In scale, the distance from Fremantle/Perth to Kalgoorlie is roughly the same distance as the Ohio/Michigan border to Whitefish Point in the Upper Penninsula. (as the crow flies). That is a beast of a drive, and in Michigan, you don't deal with desert. (I'm now showing my childhood roots, aren't I?)

Kalgoorlie is still, as it was in 1944, a large mining town with some of the biggest gold and nickel mines around.  It sits near “The Super Pit”, Australia’s largest open pit gold mine.

A satelite shot of Kalgoorlie, now a cluster of a number of towns working several mines, the largest of all is still the Super Pit.

Al Jacobson, who, along with Lt. Liddell, stayed in the mine foreman’s house that week, (the enlisted, I presume stayed in one of the numerous hotels in Kalgoorlie) got a first hand look at a mining operation–or he would have had they stayed there any other week of the year.  The first morning there, he recalled going to the mine with the harrassed looking foreman where all the miners were gathered.  The Union leader yelled, “Are we going to work today men?”  “NO!” was the resounding answer.

Then they all trooped away…to the racetrack.  They weren’t on strike.  Kalgoorlie’s biggest week of the year is the horse races held each September and war or not, they continued, and all mining operations were suspended until then, despite the fact the foreman’s orders were to run the mine at full capacity.

We know Al visited the racetrack on September 9, because he still has the program for that day.

The Cover to the September 9, 1944 Kalgoorlie Races. While this doesn't conclusively prove that Al visited the racetrack that day....

The fact that he recorded the first, second and third place winners in each category for all the races I think does.

Soon, however, they were going to return to Fremantle to face whatever music the Navy decided to play for them.

Take me out to the ball game…

Uncategorized | Posted by Rebekah
Sep 06 2010

Never one to waste a good afternoon (especially in an era before television, computers, video games, internet and when their mothers would release them to play unsupervised outside in the neighborhood with their friends…good grief how did these boys survive to adulthood?) the Redfins decided to have a game of pickup baseball the afternoon before heading out on patrol.  The photos are some of my favorites.

Quickly dashing back to boat before she left, the Redfin, all refueled and reloaded, headed back out to sea.

The Fliers, meanwhile, were boarding a plane for Fremantle, where they were supposed to get their clothing allowances, collect their pay, and resupply their uniforms and anything else.  They were also given medical checkups.  Donald Tremaine was already down with malaria, and Wesley Miller was also in the beginning stages of malaria.  To my knowledge, no other Flier survivors were afflicted with malaria, but I have yet to meet all the family members of the Flier survivors.   Due to the condition of their feet, however, all eight were classified unfit for duty and were given rest and relaxation as a part of the cure.

Earl Baumgart found rooms with a family he had met when they were in town just a month before.  Captain Crowley, anticipating an investigation, stayed at Admiral Christie’s residence while both worked on their defenses.  (They were to be investigated together.  Crowley to see if he had any part in his boat’s loss, Christie to see if he had provided all the pertinent information and the latest intelligence to Crowley to assist with the crossing.)  The rest, when not under a doctor’s direct care, stayed at one of the four hotels in the Fremantle area the Navy had completely rented.

And now to wait…

HOME!

Uncategorized, Where was Flier 66 years ago today? | Posted by Rebekah
Sep 05 2010

It was a boring journey back which I’m sure everyone was grateful for.  Sixty-six years ago today, Redfin pulled into Darwin to discharge her human guests.

Rounding the eastern side of Timor Island, they were finally in friendly ocean.  Just after dawn, several planes flew overheard.  Austin, knowing Redfin was supposed to receive aerial escort to port, didn’t dive as was standard practice, but rather gave a recognition signal, which was quickly responded to correctly.  They were finally safe.

The Track of Redfin from the moment she was told to head to the area near Brooke's Point for an unknown mission to the day she arrived in Darwin.

The refugees and Fliers were allowed out on deck to see the sun.  A Redfin hand, whose name has been forgotten, had a camera, and started taking more photos.  (I say more because if you look at the Redfin’s website, you’ll see a lot of photos taken aboard Redfin during the course of her WWII career.)  The first photo was likely the photo taken on the aft bridge deck of the two sub commanders, Crowley and Austin, then the seven Flier survivors (Donald Tremaine was bedridden with malaria, so only seven were on deck) then all the survivors.

The Redfin was not met with the usual bands and other trappings of a victorious returning submarine.  Her entrance to harbor was quiet, and in fact, the men soon found out that officially, their fourth patrol was not over, they were expected to leave on the new second leg of patrol in 24 hours, as soon as Redfin was refueled and resupplied.

There were jeeps on the dock.  The non-Flier survivors were loaded up and whisked away, never to be seen again by the Fliers and most of the Redfins.  For the rest of his life, Al Jacboson wondered what became of these people.

The Fliers were put up in a hotel in Darwin for the night.  Captain Crowley and Lt. Liddell had to know that there would be an investigation into the loss of Flier and whether or not they were partially or wholly responsible for the loss of her crew.  All of them faced the choice of whether or not they would want to continue on in the Submarine Force.

Enroute Home

Where was Flier 66 years ago today? | Posted by Rebekah
Sep 02 2010

Grrrr….I’m done wrestling with my computer for a while.  I tried desperately today to make a graphic showing where Redfin with the Flier survivors and other Brooke’s Point people is as they make their dash for Darwin, but Google Earth and my  Photoshop programs are having issues and I’m the one giving up.  Hopefully, tomorrow, they’ll have made up and if they decide to continue their tiff, it’ll be when I don’t need them at the same time.

So tomorrow, I’ll show you where they are.

A submarine is no place for people who have not been trained to be there.  Officer’s Country is the least complicated (in terms of machinery) and most luxurious (in terms of…well as opposed to the rest of the submarine.  It’s still really, really, spartan) part of a submarine.  My guess, and mind, it’s only a guess, is the Sutherland family was in the Chief’s quarters because that is the only cabin with four bunks, and the Three Amigos (Charlie, George and “Red”) were in the XO’s cabin because that had three bunks, and Garretson and Keirson were in one of the junior officer’s cabins, because those had two bunks a piece.  That’s my guess at any rate.  But the non-submariners were kept to Officer’s Country outside of escorted trips anywhere, including the head, or bathroom, which was likely flushed for them.  (This is not an insult to anyone by the way.   For those who have ever READ the instructions for flushing a toilet on a WWII Gato-class submarine, you’ll see WHY people who are untrained shouldn’t attempt it.  It consists of like fourteen steps to flush the thing, some taking place before, some during and some after.  And if you get it wrong…eeeeewwww)

The Fliers of course, as fully qualified submariners (and, for the next few days, official members of the Redfin crew, they’re still listed on the crew’s Master Crew List) were given freedom  to walk about, and do as they liked if they stayed out of the way, and sleep where they could find an open space (which may or may not be out of the way).  With the nine civilians in Officer’s Country, not only did the Fliers but nine of Redfin’s officer ranks also had to nap where there was an open rack whenever they could.  A fully-staffed submarine feels crowded anyway, but this must have felt so much worse.

The civilians were allowed to take meals in the Officer’s Wardroom, however, and talk together, so it wasn’t like they were in solitary confinement.  One night, as a matter of fact, Mrs. Sutherland discovered a pair of silk stockings tucked under her plate as a gift for her.  She’d never owned a pair before, and thanks to military rationing in the States and Australia, they were quite rare and valuable now.  A sailor who had bought them for someone else decided he could simply get another pair in  a few days when they docked at Darwin.  Mrs. Sutherland may have been forced to be shoeless, but once she could fix that in Darwin, she would at least have stockings to go with!

Other than that, nothing much happened during these days.  The most exciting thing on Redfin’s report other than the gunfight with the mysterious maru, was the sighting on Radar of what appeared to be a destroyer, but on closer examination proved to be an Aircraft Carrier carrying what appeared to be Allied aircraft.  They also saw a few fishing boats and a small patrol craft.  Nothing exciting, compared with the normal fare.