Sunday, July 25, 2010



In the great majority of corvettes and minesweepers commissioned from Canadian yards in 1941 and 1942, only a handful of officers and seamen had ever been to sea before. In HMCS Chambly, a corvette commissioned at the end of 1940, for example, only four of fifty-one ratings had served in the regular navy. Fourteen had been in the prewar Naval Reserve and the remaining thirty-three had no prior seagoing experience. “If you were fortunate serve in a new ship commanded by an experienced merchant were one of a lucky minority,” recalled one Canadian officer. “Most of the new ships in the early months of the war were a shambles....There was incompetence of every sort at every level; some of the ships were barely able to get to sea, and once there were fortunate to find their way back without mishap.” One Canadian admiral noted that in the fall of 1941 a typical Canadian corvette had a “Sublieutenant, RCNVR (temp) of two months sea experience as senior watch-keeper, backed up by a Sublieutenant, NVR  (temp) with no sea experience and a mate, RCNR (temp) who has lately risen from apprentice in a merchant ship and has never before been to sea in charge of a watch on the bridge.” “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!!” an irate senior officer signaled to a new corvette captain after a particularly inept maneuver by the latter. “LEARNING A LOT,” came the reply.

Well folks I don't know how many of you..[it don't make any difference what 'Navy' you were in]....ever done sea duty on "what we called a bobber"...[a extremely small vessel...that actually was worth there weight in gold]....but let me tell you it was an experience that you never forget. is an article with some insight into 'one' such extremely effective small attack vessel....hopefully at the end you'll have gained your 'sea legs' of understanding what it was like to be part of the crew on these little puppies.

You can give this one your undivided attention by clicking: HERE  to read: "CORVETTE AND HER CREW"

Saturday, July 24, 2010



Once the war was over and we got the boys home....we had gathered up about 4,870 ships that was sailing under the American flag....and 244 were American-owned sailing under a foreign flag....making a grand total of 5,114 ships.....and we had to find a place to put these floating monsters...reason being "We really didn't know what the heck to do with all these ships."  Then somebody came along and made the statement, "Hey, one never knows when we may need some of these vessels again."

So the question came up..."Where are we going to put all these puppies??"

Oh yes, the agencies had permission to sell them, dispose of them, or just to 'get rid of them in just about any way they could....but first of all they had to be 'herded up and storied to some manageable degree'....and that is one heck of alot of ships to put in one coral.

So what happen was this: In 1946, or there abouts, it was decided that eight anchorages would be established in rivers and basins in the U.S. that could and would be adequate to hold and store these vessels for what amount to several years.

This is what this article is all give the reader some idea of where these sites were, and what it took to get them ready to receice these mighty haulers of our war cargo and troops. 

Oh yes, some of it might be a tad boring to you, but in general it gives a pretty good thumbnail accounting of each anchorage....I'd say it is a pretty good history lesson ...something that is worth retaining just for some general knowledge...that is if your interested in 'Naval History."

If so...just click: HERE  for the article titled "The Bone Yards"


Thursday, July 15, 2010


They Bagged Five Bogies in Two Days

The crew of the little fleet tug wasn’t aware that they were supposed to let the big boys in the fleet get the glory of knocking down five enemy planes in record time.

Now anyone who knows anything about tugboats - even large ocean-going Naval tugs - knows that they were made to be work horses, not sharpshooting combat vessels. USS Chowanoc (ATF-100) was no exception, and indeed she spent many a day doing her share of shepherding garbage scows and other very non-glorious workaday harbor duties. That’s because as a fleet tug (the largest class in wartime service) her principal role was to assist the various combat fleets, be they of the amphibious support nature, supply convoys, or even the fast carrier fleets. You see the fleet tug was by any standard a jack-of-all trades, a valued Naval auxiliary that could be counted on to perform myriad missions 24/7 in and out of the combat zones. As such, the ATF - and there was 68 of the Navajo-class in service during WW II - were the Queens of what was popularly known as the “Dungaree Navy”- the sailors who manned those all-important fleet auxiliaries.

If you'd care to get some of the 'inside scoop' of these salty little buggers...and the crews that manned can click: HERE to read about "Chowanoc's Sharp Shooters"  Hope you enjoy the read....if you did..leave a comment ...I welcome "all" ...





One of the few authentic heroes of the Titanic sinking, mariner Lightoller also proved his courage and seamanship in World Wars I and II !

He was 66-yrs old when the German blitzkrieg cornered 400,000 Allied troops on the west coast of France in May 1940. He was 66-yrs old when the Royal Navy requisitioned his family yacht in a desperate effort to evacuate those soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk.

And, he was 66-yrs old when he told the Royal Navy, which had twice decorated him for courage under fire, that if any captain was taking his vessel into harm’s way, it would be him.

Weathered, resolute and uncompromising, Charles Herbert Lightoller possessed an unshakeable confident character shaped by a lifetime at sea. When he was born in Chorley, Lancashire, on 30 March 1874, his mother had only a Withdrawal from Dunkirk by noted artist Charles Cundall best depicts the utter chaos of trying to rescue an entire Allied army from German-controlled beaches with only a motley assortment of ships. Despite having their backs to the sea, the Allies managed to safely bring home more than 340,000 British, French and Belgian troops.

When he was born in Chorley, Lancashire, on 30 March 1874, his mother had only a month to live. A sister and grandmother died the same year, and Charles Herbert’s father soon abandoned his remaining children. The young man saw the sea as his only salvation, and began his life as a sailor at age 13. Now, half-a-century later, at ten o’clock on the first morning of June 1940, Charles Herbert headed for Dunkirk.

So folks...the above is a 'lead-in' to this awesome man's story....and it is truely 'awesome'....if you'd care to give it a read....just click: HERE  to read "By Valor Alone Charles Lightoller"


Tuesday, July 13, 2010



Few of us....if really 'any' of us recall the "The Birkenhead Disaster"....which if you read up on the subject...still ranks as one of the world's worst shipwrecks, yet deserves to remain memorable if only for the value of its trend-setting attitude toward women and children.

Above you see a sketch of the HMS Birkenhead breaking up after running aground on jagged rocks at 'Danger Point' off South African coast while en route to quell a native revolt in 1852. 

Now you would think that a ship 'going down' there would be nothing short of 'panic' with all onboard....well instead of 'panic', which most generally accompanied such disasters....the highly disciplined troops of the 74th Royal Highland Fusilliers stood at attention as they quietly drowned....their actions and self-sacrifice helped HMS Birkenhead's captain to coin the phrase "women and children into the boats first."

So...if you wish to read just a short version of this....[4 or 5 pages] can click: HERE  to read the article: Death At Danger Point.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


                     WILLIAM F. "BULL" HALSEY

The Navy’s feisty counterpart to Army General George Patton,William Halsey was a tough aggressive warrior whose credo, “Hit Hard, Hit fast, Hit Often!” made his Third Fleet the most feared - and successful - Naval force in the Pacific.
The young Naval ensign stood on the deck of the battleship Kansas watching the shoreline fade into the
horizon as she sailed from Yokohama. The warship was part of President Theodore Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet.

This first Roosevelt had literally lined up all of America’s 16 battleships in single file, painted them white for peace, and sent them around the world to demonstrate to the other major powers that the United States was one of them. In particular though, Theodore Roosevelt wanted to impress upon the Japanese Empire that America had the ability to wage war on them. War clouds between the two nations were growing ever-ominous. The President hoped this disguised goodwill gesture would clear the atmosphere.

The Fleet sailed from the United States on 16 December 1907. The young ensign, William Halsey, was among the officers who had seen Roosevelt himself waving good-bye to them as they sailed off.

Upon their arrival, the Japanese had showered the Americans with attention and gifts.Halsey ignored his fellow officers as they talked about how they had misjudged the Japanese and how genuine the affection seemed for America. The new graduate from Annapolis had felt something different from the Japanese.
The above is a 'lead-in' to my article to whom I believe was the best of the best when it came to "Naval Admirals"...this guy was pure 'blood and guts' when it came to a fight.  He was a 'tough ole bird' as they say, but he was always 1000% behind his they a simple deck sailor....or an 'officer' his view they were all there to do a job...his job was just different that what others had to do to win.

If you'd care to give this 12 or so page article a going over...just click: HERE  and it will pop up for you to read at your leisure.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010



I've always been in awe of 'battleships'....I guess it is the shear size of these ladies that somewhat overwhelms me when I put them in perspective to other vessels of the era of 'battleships.' 

Lets take the USS Maryland (BB-46) as a mere example:...16-in thick to throw a 2,000-lb shell out of her 16-in guns 23 mile...with unbeliveable pin point accuracy...and just think of this little known fact....her 1100 crewmen were all volunteers ....WoW!! in my book that is saying alot.

Now if you want to find out more indepth about the USS Maryland....all the way from March of 1920 to her 'rest in peace scrapping' July of 1959...well you may wish to give the article a going over....

The story of the USS Maryland (BB-46) is about 11 or so pages long....some excellent pics embedded in the article itself.  "Yes" it is a ship history....and maybe, to some a tad boring, but when you once read the article....step back and ponder just how 'mighty' this lady was....I think you'll really appreciate what these "battlewagons" and all the seamen that sailed her....provided for this country of ours....  She done what was asked of her...she took some beatings....she licked her wounds ...and dished it right back to the enemy.

"Yes" she was one fighting lady....and that is why she got the nickname "Fighting Mary"

You can read this article by clicking:  HERE


Friday, July 2, 2010


With the world's largest troopship in the crosshairs of his periscope, the captain of U-704 was confident he would be acclaimed a hero for sinking one of Englands proudest matriarch's.

Just after noon on 5 November 1942, the German Navy’s Kapitanleutnant Horst Kessler, hauled himself slowly up a narrow steel ladder leading to the tiny bridge of U-704, the submarine he’d commanded for just over a year. His climb wasn’t an easy one - plowing through high seas some 650-mi west of Ireland, the surfaced U-boat was being buffeted by fierce winds. Snow flurries and wind-driven sea spray cut visibility to less than 2-mi, and the lookouts belted to the vessel’s conning tower couldn’t use their binoculars because of the constantly overcoming swells.

It was thus something of a shock to those on the bridge when, shortly after 1 pm, the weather suddenly cleared enough to reveal a giant ship crossing the submarine’s path some 6- or 7 mi distant, racing westward. The vessel was huge, with two large funnels, two masts and a stepped-aft superstructure. A quick search through his ship-recognition book convinced Kessler the giant steamer would only be the British passenger linerturned troopship Queen Elizabeth, and he decided to make the most of his chance encounter. He had four torpedoes left in his forward tubes and one in the aft barrel, and he was determined to make them count. did this opportunity all unfold??....well it is all told in the article (click on this title): ASSAULT ON A QUEEN.

Bud Shortridge