Part 1: Year 1944
Left Bangor Ireland on June 3, 1944. On June 4th we are stationed off the coast of England with three battleships, eleven cruisers, and eight destroyers. We reversed course for 12 hours, then backtracked for 12 hours. The invasion had been called off for 24 hours because of weather.
Headed past Plymouth on to Portland, picking up Invasion Fleet as we went. At Portland we turned south and headed south across the channel on the evening of June 5th. Kept clear of mines by mine sweeper. Early on the morning of June 6th, we met many C-41's going back toward England. They had dropped paratroopers over Normandy.
During early morning before daylight we moved up to about 10,000 yd. of the coast of Cherbourg peninsula and watched as our bombers bombed shore installations all along the coast. The bombing was really heavy and quite a few planes were shot down due to heavy flak. We passed two small islands taken earlier by Rangers. Battleships Nevada and Tuscaloosa, along with a couple of English cruisers, lay off shore and anchored. Our bombers were bombing shore batteries and installations all along the coast and peninsula east to British beachhead. We made landing at Omaha and Utah beaches. The sky was lit up with flares, and the coast was all afire from the bombing. The flares were so bright they lit us up off shore.
At day break we moved up to about 7,000 yd. off the beach. We were followed by a PC and landing barges. The sky was full of planes, mostly ours, but an ME 109 dove on us and at the same time, a Spitfire was on his tail. He released his bombs too soon, because he scored a direct hit on the flying bridge of the PC which was about 75 yd. astern of us. A couple of seconds later the landing barge ,(LCI or LCT) blew sky high. Don't know if it was hit by a bomb, mine, or shore battery. Shells were dropping all around us, and we were firing full salvos rapid fire. We reached position, dropped anchor, and started firing at German shore batteries, machine gun nests, trench mortars, and any other targets we could get. P-38's and A-20's low level bombed the beach, and it was really a sight. Don't see how anything could come out of that beach alive.
One shore battery fired 68 rounds, (75 or 88 mm) at us. Thirty before we knew he was firing at us. He finally got our range, and the last 4 shells landed about 25 yd. off our port stern. We lifted anchor and started doing figure 8's firing at the battery which seemed to be near a church steeple in a village on the beach. No more shells came from this battery.
Meanwhile, Destroyer Corry was sunk by shell fire to our right, (lost some men). We fired about 1,000 rounds of 5 in. shells during the initial landing. Rocket barges, (LCR's) went in and released their rockets.
A small landing craft brought 7 wounded soldiers aboard for our doctor to treat. They had been aboard an LCT which had hit a mine on the beach. Only one was not wounded, and only the seven survived the explosion which blew up the LCT. Two of the seven died on our way back to England that evening when we went back for fuel and ammunition. An English war correspondent was aboard taking pictures of the invasion. We were relieved by the Butler that afternoon, and we returned to Portland England.
June 7-We were back off the coast of France bombarding shore batteries. We were anchored in an unswept mine field. Every now and then a mine would go off after the sweepers started to sweep the area. Some went off too close for comfort. Watched a flight of B-26's just about wipe out a village on the beach still held by the Germans.
Fifteen amphibious ducks were headed over toward German held territory on the end of the peninsula. We watched them through glasses on the bridge. A shore battery started firing at them. Later that evening only 3 ducks came along side and said they were lost. They were the only ones left out of the 15. The shore battery had just about wiped them out.
The Destroyer Glennon hit a mine to our right, and her stern from the No. 4 gun aft was blown away. Heard they had about 35 casualties. She stayed afloat a couple of days, and then German shore batteries sank her.
Six transports towing gliders came over the beach and cut the gliders loose. Weather was kind of cloudy, and the LST's and Liberty ships on the beachhead opened fire on some planes which came in low overhead. As they went over our ship, we could see they were P-51's ,(Mustangs). Two were shot down in flames by AA fire, and a third crashed a couple of hundred yards off our port beam. A couple of seconds later a parachute came down after the plane, and the pilot was picked up and brought aboard our ship. He was unhurt until they picked him up, and then they caught his knees between the two crash boats. He was limping around on deck for a couple of days before he was taken off by an RAF crash boat.
The Meredith was hit by shells or bombs and sank the next day. During the night E boats attacked the outer destroyer screen, and the Nelson backed down on a mine and blew her stern off. She was towed back to England.
We returned to Plymouth England for more fuel, ammunition, and stores and then came back off the coast of France.
We are now in the outer screen for E boats. Quiet during the day, but air raids all night. German planes dropped mines and radio controlled bombs. One hit a couple hundred yd. off our bow.
June 23-Morning-Picked up two German pilots out of a life raft in the bay off shore. They were shot down during the night. They didn't have much to say. One had a sprained ankle. Took them over to the beachhead and turned them over to army MP's around Colleyville.
June 27-Six PT boats and ourselves were sent over to Cherbourg to draw fire from German shore batteries while two Liberators took pictures. When we got there, we turned toward shore and were within 8,000 yd. of the beach when things began to happen. We were straddled by a salvo of shells, some landing in our wake, some off our bow. Meanwhile, one PT was damaged by a near miss, and we had to use up a container of smoke mixture to lay a smoke screen so we could get out of there. All the time the shore batteries were shelling us. The last shell hit off our fan tail when we were 16 miles off shore, and a couple whistled right over the ship. Everybody started hugging the deck. Come to find out the guns on shore were 11 in. and 5 in. We returned to outer screen of the beachhead.
July 11- Returned to Plymouth for first liberty since a couple of days before the invasion started.
July 12- On our way to Bangor Ireland.
July 13- Arrived in Bangor and went on to Belfast and tied up at Pollock Docks.
July 16- Underway to Toranto Italy I think.
Arrived in Algiers.
Arrived in Malta.
July 26- Arrived in Alexandria Egypt.
Left Alexandria Aug. 1 for Malta.
Arrived Aug. 3.
Left Aug. 6 for Naples Italy. On our way through Messina Straights saw volcano Strombola erupt. Arrived in Naples. Left Naples for Malta.
Left Malta Aug. 12 for invasion ,(I think) of southern France.
Aug. 13th- Still underway off Panderllia.
Aug. 14th- Posted map on bulletin board that shows we are to invade southern France somewhere between Toulon and Marseilles on the morning of Aug. 15 at 8:00.
Aug. 15- Invaded southern France screening carrier force.
Aug. 16-Still screening carrier force.
Aug. 17- Still screening carrier force. Went to Ajeccio Corsica to refuel and returned to screening operation.
Aug. 18- Still screening.
Aug. 22- Went to island of Maddalena for rest and fuel.
Aug. 23- Returned to Ajeccio and then to southern coast of France off Marseilles.
Aug. 24-Still screening carriers. During first night of invasion 12 FW-190's dropped flares looking for us.
Aug. 25-Almost lost 6 men trying to rescue pilot.
Aug. 30-Back in Ajeccio Corsica. We finally got mail. I GOT 45 LETTERS!
Sept. 3- Still in Ajeccio. Expect to leave tonight for Oran.
Sept. 6, 1944- Left Oran for U.S.A.
Part 2: Year 1945
April 4- Underway from San Diego to Pearl Harbor.
April 10-Arrived Pearl Harbor.
April 28- Arrived Eniwetok.
April 29- Underway from Eniwetok to Okinawa.
May 2- Passed Saipan. Due to arrive Okinawa May 4.
May 5- Arrived at Okinawa at 10:00 a.m.
May 6-7-8- Assigned as anti-aircraft screen. Air raids at night. Heard news of Germany's surrender.
May 9- Anti-aircraft screen. Jap suicide plane crashed into DE in next screen.
May 11- Underway at sundown to invade a small island 50 mi. north of Okinawa.
May 12- Landed a small number of troops on Tori Shima. Coming back to Okinawa that night we were attacked by 4 Jap planes. One suicide two engine bomber crashed about 15 yd. off our stern. We shot down one other. Our fighter cover shot down one, and another was shot down by an LCS.
May 13- Back at the beachhead at Okinawa.
May 17- In China Sea as fighter director ship.
May 23- Returned to beachhead.
May 28- AA screen. Three Jap suicide planes were shot down over the shipping area at dawn. Two were shot down in flames a couple of hundred yd. from the screen the other missed and crashed. WE HAVE LOST OR HAD DAMAGED ALMOST TWO DD'S OR DE'S PER DAY SINCE THE INVASION OF OKINAWA STARTED. SOME DD'S HAVE HAD AS MANY AS FIVE SUICIDE PLANES CRASH INTO THEM.
May 29- 12:18 a.m.- en route to RP 16 ,(Radar Picket). Attacked at 0010 by 2 planes. First plane splashed. Second plane set afire. It passed down the starboard beam at 2000 yd. turned and crash dived on ship hitting 40 mm's and amidships. Aft engine room blown open to sea. Fire broke out amidships igniting ammunition, and ship settled to 6" freeboard at aft engine room. Plane apparently carried phosphorous bomb. One depth charge for sure blew up. Estimated casualties: 11 killed, 28 missing, 15 wounded. Ship was towed to Kerama Retto by tug.
May 30-31- was transferred to APA until ship was towed in.
June 2-Returned to ship and started repairing.
June 13- Still repairing. In 2 months time 180 ships have been damaged or sunk. Of those, 44 destroyers were damaged and 10 sunk. One destroyer was hit by 5 suicide planes, and another destroyer was hit 3 different times by suicide planes.
June 21- One suicide plane came in over Kerama Retto and dropped a bomb on one sea plane tender that was hit and crashed into a second tender. Later that night a Baca bomber was shot down by one of our fighters over the shipping area.
June 22- Had a beach party. Went over to the Jap village and looked around. Saw a cemetery with some of our boys off our ship in it. A few Geisha girls inside a barbed wire fence. Some PW's working for the soldiers. HOPE TO BE HOME BY AUG. 30.
July 1- Going into dry-dock for repairs at Okinawa. Hope to leave there by July 15.
July 13- Anchored in Buckner Bay. Expect to leave and start back to States under our own power by July 15.
July 22- In Guam. GOT A LOT OF MAIL. Expect to leave for Pearl Harbor July 24 and get there about Aug. 4. WON'T BE LONG NOW!
July 24- Underway for Eniwetok. Should get to Pearl Harbor about Aug. 2.
July 27- Arrived at Eniwetok. Took on fuel and got underway for Pearl Harbor. (Anniversary)
Aug. 2- Arrived Pearl Harbor.
Aug. 3- Left Pearl Harbor for Seattle Washington. Expect to arrive Aug. 10.
Aug. 6, 1945- ATOMIC BOMB DROPPED ON HIROSHIMA JAPAN.