Posts Tagged ‘Bud Klock’

Postcard from the Dead

The Exhibit, Where was Flier 66 years ago today? | Posted by Rebekah
Dec 04 2010

Flier is still sitting in Coco Solo waiting for the pilot to take her through the canal, and the men are thoroughly enjoying Panama.  How much are they enjoying it?  Dunno, but we know they behaved well enough that there was no official record of it.  In fact, today’s deck log is dull.  I’m not going to bother post the actual log.  It’s that boring.  I included the transcript below.

——————————-

Saturday, 4 December 1943

Pg. 48

Zone Description +5

0000-0800

Moored starboard side to another submarine on west side of Pier A NO.B (or NO. 13) COCA SOLA C.Z. 0545  Moored startboard side Pier A

J.W. Liddell, Lt. USNR

0800-2400

Moored as before.

——————————-

While on liberty, the men of the Flier were free to send letters for the first time for days, but this included more intrigues.  All letters sent by military men had to be read and censored before they were permitted to be mailed home.

Flier’s radioman, Walter “Bud” Klock, had been in the Navy since 1938.  In the first few years , he wrote home frequently, informing his mother of the cities he was stationed in, the name of the submarines he was posted on, the places he visited.  But following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and the beginning of letter censorship, Klock started telling his mom that he was in that place where it was never winter (Hawaii) or he was assigned again to the first place he was right after boot camp (San Diego) or that his first real boat had been lost at sea. (USS ARGONAUT).  At times, when he heard of a military man heading home on leave, he would write a letter in plain language and give it to the guy leaving for him to mail from a civilian mailbox once home (where it wouldn’t be pre-read).  Klock never said anything that would have been considered treasonous, but it was easier to talk plainly to his mom when he got the chance.

It became a game of cat and mouse with the censors who were, of course, looking for any information that might tell and enemy when and were a ship had been or might pass through.  Sailors had to resort to codes, or shared memories of the recipient to relay where they were and what they were doing.  Since the return address was always the boat, and the postmark was always Honolulu or San Diego for a Pacific sailor, that didn’t help either.  Things got quite creative.

It might be the fact that a postcard from another Flier man, Oliver Kisamore, clearly showed the Panama Canal that caused its hold up.

This card is intriguing and a little creepy.

The front is simple enough.  It’s a colorized engraving of the USS Pennsylvania as she crossed the Gatun Locks.

This might be Pennsylvania’s 1937 crossing, but there’s no date marked on the card.  The back of the card is a piece of stationary, flipped over and taped to the back of the card. Oliver Kisamore, a Motor Mac from Andover Ohio, wrote a quick note to his father:  “Dear Folks:  Just a few lines to let you know I am O.K. Hope you fellows are too.  Is it ever warm here.  I’m pulling out soon.  I’ll write you when I reach my next destination.”  Love  [rest of name cut off]

Seems rather innocuous, and Kisamore mailed it from the Cristobal Post Office in the Canal Zone, and likely never thought about it again.  The Cristobal Post Office postmarked it “December 4, 9 30 AM, 1943, CRISTOBAL CANAL ZONE” and passed it on to the censors to pass inspection before they released it to the civilian postal service.

This is actually the Christobal post office that Kisamore mailed this postcard from.

But for whatever reason,( maybe it fell on the floor, or the censor thought the picture and description revealed too much information, who knows?) the postcard was not passed into civilian postal service, and it wasn’t delivered in 1943.  Or 1944.

There are two more clues on this card:  In the upper left edge there is a faint blueish stamp: “Released by O.N.I”  .  O.N.I. in this case, is most likely “Office of Naval Intelligence”, the department responsible for the search and censure of all communications between military and civilians.  Below it, is the date of the release:  Sep 4-1945.

Two days after Japanese representatives signed the surrender of Japan on the deck of USS Missouri.

And Kisamore had been dead for over a year.

I can’t even imagine how his family felt, seeing this last missive from their son in his handwriting so long after they had been informed of his death aboard the Flier thousands of miles away somewhere in the Pacific.

But today, sixty-seven years ago, Oliver Kisamore mailed what would become his last letter home.

My thanks to the families of Oliver Kisamore and Walter “Bud” Klock for sharing their family’s letters to help flesh out the story of the Flier for a new generation.  We’re still looking for photos and other letters from  Flier men, if you are interested in donating them for the purposes of research, preservation and education here on this site, for the Flier exhibit at the Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum.  If your family would rather hang on to the original letters, I happily accept digital scans or photographs of the originals, or am more than willing to receive originals, photograph them and return them.

The Exhibit, Where was Flier 66 years ago today? | Posted by Rebekah
Nov 01 2010

Been an interesting time.

A couple of days ago, the family of Bob Klock, radioman of the Flier, mailed me their uncle’s letters from WWII (and even before!) detailing his time in the submarine force.  It appears that he and Crowley served on the USS S-28 together and bother transferred to the Flier.  Even more fascinating, some of these letters from the S-28 are dated before December 7, 1941.  I’m reading one right now, dated October 20, 1941:

“I don’t know if I’ll get any leave ot not–I’m trying my best.  Maybe around Christmas they’ll give me some.  If so, I’ll be home then–but don’t plan on it very much.  It is pretty hard to get leave off a submarine because we have so few men.”

How many things will change all too soon for this man.  The above letter was sent from San Diego on official S-28 stationary.  At that time, she was part of Experimental Group 2. The ones from the S-28 group span 1940-1942.  As you get older, the censor marks appear, indicating that “Bud’s” letter was opened, read, and passed as not revealing information that could be too sensitive.

This letter is dated December8, 1942, from the S-18  (so he must have changed submarines between October and December.)  Please remember the Bud is his mother’s older son, and she is, from what I can glean from the few letters I’ve fully read, a widow with her Navy son as the family supporter, so if it sounds almost like a letter to a spouse, that is why.

“The world has finally been thrown into a fiery chaos.  I know, darling, that I haven’t been a real good son, but, Mom, I’ll write as often as possible now.  I know you are going to worry but please try to keep it down to a minimum.

“If, by some  misfortune, the West Coast even gets bombed, I wonder if I coudl send Louise [note from me: his girlfriend at this time] home to stay with you.  In that way my mind would somewhat be relieved.  We are certainly getting along fine these days.

“Hope you aren’t working too hard, but then I guess work will keep one’s mind off of other things.  Say hello to Mr. Smith and the gang and tell them we’ll really give them hell.  If Bob [note:  his younger brother] has to come in tell him to try to get a commission in the army or navy (reserve).  I hope he won’t have to, though.

“I don’t know if this letter will reach you because of the censorship but I hope so.

“Now you be a good girl and don’t you dare worry to [sic] much because everything is okay.  Don’t believe too much you hear on the radio.  Hope you, Bobm and grandma are in the best of health.”

Your Loving Son, Bud.”

This letter was eventually passed by the censor and mailed on December 27.  I can only imagine his mother, Violet, was immensely relieved to finally hear from her oldest son.

So sad, reading these letters, knowing that Bud only has a little over two and a half years left.  His photo on ussflier.com is one of my favorites.  I wonder if that is Louise…

It’s strange, looking at these letters.  Klock served on the Argonaut, the S-28,, and the Flier, all of which were eventually lost.  He also apparently served on the S-18, which not only survived, but had no casualties.

Back to the deck log of the Flier,

She stayed out to sea with “No Administrative remarks” until October 31, around 4 pm.  So I included the Deck Log for October 31 and November 1 in today’s entry.

Deck Log for October 31, 1943. Flier returned from wherever she went and tied up to the dock at Electric Boat.

The Deck Log for November 1, 1943. HERE'S an interesting tidbit! Flier named temporary flagship of Sub Division 162 by Commander Burlingame was the CO of the Sub Division. If you happened to come to the Memorial Service, this little note is even more interesting, because Burlingame, (who looked a lot like the Gordon's Fisherman when at sea) was the commissioning CO of USS Silversides, the submarine that stood for Flier at the ceremony.

So thank you to the Klock family for opening this window into the world of Flier and indeed, the Submarine service of WWII on a personal level.  If you are interested in donating material for the eventual exhibit or for future researchers, please contact me a ussflierproject@gmail.com  We don’t have to keep things permanently.  Once these items have been digitized and cataloged, they’ll be returned to the Klock family, and I can do the same for any other Flier (or Silversides) family.