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Torpedo being loading into aircraft bomb bay

Torpedo being loading into aircraft bomb bay


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Torpedo being loading into aircraft bomb bay

Torpedo being loaded onto an aircraft of Coastal Command

Taken from Coastal Command, 1939-1942, HMSO, published 1943, p.135


World War II Fact: Imperial Japan Hit San Francisco and Other American Targets

It seemed like just another ordinary day at sea. Early on December 7, 1941, a U.S. Army-chartered cargo vessel, the 250-foot SS Cynthia Olson, under the command of a civilian skipper, Berthel Carlsen, was plying the Pacific waters about 1,200 miles northeast of Diamond Head, Oahu, Hawaii, and over 1,000 miles west of the Tacoma, Washington, port from which she had sailed on December 1.

On board the unarmed Cynthia Olson, formerly the Coquina and renamed for the daughter of the owner, Oliver J. Olson Company of San Francisco, California, were several tons of supplies destined for the U.S. Army in Hawaii. Thirty-three Merchant Marine crewmen and two soldiers were accompanying the cargo

Unknown to the crew of the Cynthia Olson, the Japanese submarine I-26, under Commander Minoru Yokota, was running alongside the slow, fat target, waiting for the moment to attack. The I-26 was about to strike the first blow of World War II against America.

“Tora, Tora, Tora”

Five days earlier, Yokota had received the coded message, Niitakayama nobore 1208 (“Climb Mount Niitaka, December 8”). The signal meant that war with the United States would commence on December 8, Japan time, or December 7 in Hawaii. Among the nine Japanese submarines assigned to patrol the waters between Hawaii and America’s West Coast, the I-26 had been at sea for a month. Its initial sea service took it to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands it was then ordered south to look for American ships.

At dawn on December 7, 1941, Yokota and his 90 submariners went to battle stations and surfaced. A warning shot from I-26’s deck gun raced across the Cynthia Olson’s bow. While skipper Carlson attempted some evasive maneuvers, the Olson’s radio operator sent out a distress call, but the ship had nothing with which to fight back.

Now the 5.5-inch shells from the sub’s deck gun began to find their mark, and flying shards of steel sent the crew rushing for the lifeboats. The I-26’s gunners kept up the one-sided battle until 18 rounds had been expended and the badly damaged cargo ship appeared to be riding low in the water. She refused to sink, however, so Yokota submerged and fired a torpedo at her, but it missed. Resurfacing, Yokota ordered the deck gun to resume firing. Only after another 30 shots were fired did the Cynthia Olson go under.

During the shelling, a coded message was received aboard the I-26: “Tora, Tora, Tora,” indicating that the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor had commenced and everything seemed to be going well for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). As the Cynthia Olson slipped beneath the waves, the I-26 turned and sailed away, leaving the men on the transport ship and in the lifeboats to their fates none survived.

Thus began Japan’s submarine war against the United States.

The B-1 Class Submarine

Truth be told, the Imperial Japanese Navy had been preparing for submarine warfare long before Pearl Harbor. In time they honed a design to do just that. It became their B-1 class submarine. The B-1 class was designated the “I” Series, and 20 of them would sail the Pacific Ocean during the war.

The typical B-1, with a crew of 95 men, was 356 feet long and 30 feet at the beam with a hull 17 feet high. Its standard weight was 2,200 tons, and it could carry 800 tons of diesel fuel that enabled it to cruise 14,000 miles at 16 knots (17.6 mph) per hour. Its top speeds surfaced were 23.5 knots (25.3 mph) and eight knots (8.8 mph), respectively. It carried 17 torpedoes and had a deadly 5.5-inch deck gun. To ward off encroaching enemy aircraft, it employed two 25mm machine guns. Its safest maximum depth was 330 feet.

What made the B-1s unique was that each submarine housed one Yokosuka E14Y1 scout plane (code named “Glen” by the Allies) inside a watertight, on-deck hangar forward of the conning tower. A double-track launch rail catapulted the plane to get it airborne. Its normal cruising speed was 85 mph, with a maximum speed of 150 mph. Although the plane’s primary role was scouting and it could do so with a 200-mile radius in a five-hour flight time, it could also carry a maximum bomb load of 340 pounds. The Glen’s second crew member, a gunner, sat facing rearward behind a single 7.7mm machine gun.

To fit a Glen into the onboard hangar, its wings, floats, and tail assembly were either removed or folded. With a crew of four it could be made air ready in less than 40 minutes. Upon returning, it landed next to the sub where a crane lifted it back on board. Crew members then disassembled it to fit it into the hangar.

Before the war, America’s military had no idea the Japanese had such capabilities. These weapons, the “I” subs and warplanes, were state of the art.

Japan’s antagonistic attitude against America rose between 1922 and 1930. Japan keenly felt snubbed by the Western Allies following their World War I victory. During the negotiations of naval limitations in Washington, D.C., in the 1920s, restrictions were placed on the naval power of the United States, Great Britain, and Japan in a ratio of 5:3:3. In other words, for every five warships America and England built, Japan could only produce three. The Japanese considered this a blow to national prestige and their expansionist aims.

From that point on a grudge match evolved between Japan and America, and the militarists in Japan began scheming for retribution as early as 1931. At that time Japan was considering stationing four mine-laying submarines off the West Coast should hostilities with the United States erupt. A major emphasis was placed on developing state-of-the-art submarines that could carry their own reconnaissance planes stored in on-deck hangars. (See WWII Quarterly, Winter 2012.)

Submarines Off San Francisco

Three days after the sinking of the Cynthia Olson, December 10, 1941, the I-26, along with other subs, was called back toward Pearl Harbor. It was imperative that the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Lexington be located and removed from action, but a four-day search proved fruitless. A new role was then established for the submarines. Vice Admiral Mitsumi Shimizu, commander of Japanese submarine forces, directed Rear Admiral Tsutomu Sato in his flagship I-9 to park his nine submarines off San Francisco by December 17 and commence bombarding the city on Christmas Day. Each submarine was ordered to surface, then fire no fewer than 30 5.5-inch rounds into the city.

Beyond the Golden Gate Bridge the nine subs loitered undetected and waited for December 25. During the week before Christmas they cruised out of sight and resurfaced at night to recharge batteries as needed. On the 22nd an unexpected order was received postponing the attack until December 27. That order came directly from Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander in chief of the Combined Fleet.

Five days later, Sato had a message to share with headquarters. His subs were drastically short of fuel. In all probability the attack could still commence on the 27th, but the complication would come in returning to Japan. Literally speaking, some subs might run out of fuel. Yamamoto called off the attack for that—and for another reason.

During the 1920s, Yamamoto had studied at Harvard University. He observed America’s industrial capacity and realized that Japan could not hope to win a protracted war with the United States. Yamamoto was further hesitant to attack the U.S. civilian population, particularly during a holiday, and was concerned about U.S. retailiation sometime in the future.

Four and a half months later, Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle’s carrier-launched North American B-25 Mitchell bombers, seeking revenge for Pearl Harbor, struck Tokyo. Had Yamamoto known that Tokyo would be bombed, he may well have authorized the shelling of San Francisco.

Christmas Eve Attack on the Absaroka

At 10:30 am on Christmas Eve, one of the Japanese submarines nevertheless went into action near Los Angeles. The submarine I-19, captained by an officer named Nahara, was cruising off Point Fermin in the Catalina Channel when the 5,700-ton freighter Absaroka, which had sailed from Oregon with a load of lumber, was spotted heading south for Los Angeles harbor.

The I-19 launched a torpedo that struck the freighter at the No. 5 hold, causing extensive damage and blowing the cargo from the hold into the air. A crewman was killed by flying debris. The radio operator sent an SOS signal, but within minutes the Absaroka had settled to her main deck. As the crew abandoned ship, one of their two lifeboats capsized, but the surviving 33 men managed to escape in a single lifeboat.

Shortly after the SOS went out, American war planes arrived and dropped bombs near where the sub was last seen. Following the aircraft attack, the patrol yacht USS Amethyst (PYc-3), assigned to the Inshore Patrol, 11th Naval District, and patrolling the entrance to Los Angeles harbor, dropped 32 depth charges.

The Absaroka’s crew was picked up over an hour after the attack, and the freighter was later reboarded by the Coast Guard, towed into San Pedro harbor, and beached below Fort MacArthur.

Kozo’s Raid on the Ellwood Richfield Oil Refinery

After the attack on the Absaroka, coastal defenses were strengthened around Santa Monica Bay and Redondo Beach. In early 1942, soldiers from Fort MacArthur installed two 155mm cannon and machine guns at the end of the Redondo Pier. This battery, known as Tactical Battery 3, was one of several around Santa Monica Bay. There were similar batteries installed at Pacific Palisades, Playa del Rey, El Segundo/Hyperion, Manhattan Beach, and Rocky Point and Long Point (both Palos Verdes). California was getting ready for invasion.

American soil was finally attacked by a Japanese submarine on February 23, 1942.

The sub that launched the raid was Commander Nishino Kozo’s I-17, commissioned a year earlier at the Yokosuka Navy Yard. Prior to the war, Kozo had captained a Japanese merchant ship that made stops in California’s Santa Barbara area at the Ellwood Richfield Oil Company refinery and storage facility, so he was familiar with the territory.

Kozo had another reason for the attack on the Ellwood oil facility. Prior to the war, he paused there to refuel his ship. As was the custom at the facility, Nishino came ashore to be greeted by the president of Richfield Oil Company. His party crossed the sandy, pear cactus-covered beach. Nishino lost his footing and fell onto one of the thorny plants. He took a couple of prickly thorns in his posterior and suffered a great deal more embarrassment when nearby depot workers laughed.

In the week prior to the attack, numerous nervous residents reported sightings of unidentifiable submarines surfacing off shore, but none were taken seriously. Besides, little could be done about it. Defenses at the oil storage facility were scant, consisting only of two obsolescent World War I howitzers at different locations. The closest officer in charge of those units was Captain Bernard E. Hagen of A Battery, 143rd Field Artillery, 40th Division. Furthermore, the Coast Guard patrol boat that was normally assigned to that area was off duty by the 23rd. At 7 pm that night, President Franklin D. Roosevelt commenced his radio fireside chat. Those in the Santa Barbara/Goleta area settled in to listen.

From the I-17’s vantage point on the surface, traffic along Pacific Coast Highway 101 was easily visible through binoculars. Oil derricks stood out just as plainly. There seemed to be no noticeable defenses or state of alert. Kozo’s plan was to fire at least 20 shells into the facility before any coordinated reaction came from defensive positions, as he expected would happen. At 7:07 pm the I-17 fired the first of 15 or 16 rounds into the depot from about a mile off shore. Most of the 5.5-inch shells fell harmlessly into the water, overshot the target, or landed as duds.

At 7:35, assuming that the Americans would be hot on his trail, Kozo fired his last round and beat a hasty retreat into the dark. He could have made a leisurely escape as nobody fired at his boat or came after him.

The results of the attack were minimal, producing only a slightly damaged derrick and a shot-up pier amounting to a few hundred dollars. But the panic caused by Kozo’s less-than-spectacular raid was incalculable. Mainland America had been attacked! People did not know what to do. Residents of Ellwood jumped into their cars and drove madly inland, trying to escape the attack and worried that an invasion would follow. The local phone lines were so tied up that no military calls could get through.

Following the shelling, Captain Hagen and a master sergeant went to the refinery and were defusing dud rounds when one detonated and Hagen received a shrapnel wound. He became America’s only assigned service member to receive the Purple Heart for a wound received from hostile action on American soil.

“L.A. AREA RAIDED”

The San Pedro Naval Operations Base sent three planes and two destroyers to scour the area. The planes evidently saw something and dropped flares and depth charges to keep the enemy submarine submerged until the destroyers arrived. At 4:51 the next morning, the U.S. Navy reported that the USS Amethyst had made contact with a submarine three miles southwest of Point Vincente and was dropping depth charges. The Amethyst also reported that she had evaded a torpedo.

War jitters were rampant in the wake of Pearl Harbor, the submarine attacks on coastal shipping, and I-17’s shelling of the Ellwood oil facility, just 80 miles from Los Angeles. Many saw these events as precursors of a greater attack, and tensions rose rapidly along the coast, a prelude for the “nonattack” on the West Coast, the so-called Battle of Los Angeles.

The forced evacuation and relocation of ethnic Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians from the coastal states and western Canada was just a few days old when, late on February 24, rumors of an impending attack on Los Angeles began to circulate. Around midnight, a report was sent out to antiaircraft batteries on the heights overlooking the L.A. area that enemy planes had been spotted, and the Battle of Los Angeles was on. One of the batteries opened fire on the unseen airplanes, and searchlights scanned the sky. The panic soon spread, and other gunners opened up.

Air-raid wardens dashed about, ordering people to extinguish lights and take cover. A number of auto accidents occurred as drivers drove through darkened streets with their headlights off, and several people suffered heart attacks, including one that was fatal. Some civilians rushed for shelters, while others went outside to see what the noise was all about. Some thought they saw the planes, while others thought they saw parachutes and bombs falling. Spent antiaircraft shells (over 1,400 were fired) and shrapnel rained down on homes and cars, with Santa Monica and Long Beach taking the brunt of the fallout.

There were also rumors that an enemy plane had been shot down and crashed at 185th Street and Vermont Avenue, and that other sections of the city were on fire.

The “battle” lasted over two hours before common sense prevailed and the guns fell silent. The next morning’s Los Angeles Times headline declared in bold type, “L.A. AREA RAIDED.” Like the rest of the populace, newspaper editors had succumbed to the rumors. A 1983 Air Force report attributed the panic to the sighting of a runaway weather balloon.

The fact that the city had not been bombed quickly became apparent, and there was plenty of chagrin and embarrassment. The realistic, unplanned air-raid drill was actually beneficial for Los Angelenos, however, because they gained experience in case the real thing happened. The Japanese did have plans to use giant seaplanes to bomb the city.

Two Attacks by I-25

Of the nine I-boats off America’s northwest coast, the busiest may have been Commander Meiji Tagami’s I-25, which made two direct attacks on American soil. After putting out to sea on October 15, 1941, the I-25, like several of the other I-boats prowling the American West Coast, was a brand-new vessel. Arriving on station one week after Pearl Harbor, Tagami, like some of his fellow I-boat commanders, proved to have sloppy work habits.

The I-boats had one crippling restriction when attacking merchant vessels. They were allowed to fire only one torpedo per merchant ship. Everything else had to be done via the deck gun. On December 14, the I-25 had sent 10 rounds toward the Union Oil tanker SS L.P. St. Clair, but all 10 missed. The tanker escaped into Oregon’s Columbia River estuary, which separates southern Washington from northern Oregon.

Twelve days later, Tagami and I-25 crossed paths with the 8,684-ton tanker SS Connecticut. This time Tagami exercised his single-torpedo option. He hit the target and set it afire, but it ran aground at the estuary. Afterward, Tagami departed for several months to attack military shipping in the Marshall Islands. He would return.

Near where the Columbia empties into the Pacific Ocean stands Fort Stevens, constructed on the Oregon side of the river during the Civil War. By 1941, its 10-inch coastal defense guns were near-antiques left over from World War I. The eight original guns were made in 1900 and installed at the site in 1904, but six of them had been removed, as local residents complained of their excessively noisy concussions during firing practice. The two remaining pieces, capable of firing 617-pound shells up to nine miles, were mounted at Battery Russell on carriages that retracted out of view. The fort was manned by the Oregon Army National Guard’s 249th Coastal Artillery Battalion, led by Lt. Col. Lifton M. Irwin.

Three months after Doolittle’s April 1942 bombing raid on Tokyo, Tagami and I-25 approached Fort Stevens. Believing that he had a worthwhile target before him (Fort Stevens was wrongly thought to be the entrance to American submarine pens), Tagami submerged and followed a collection of fishing boats closer to shore. Just before midnight on June 21, 1942, the I-25 fired 17 5.5-inch rounds in the direction of Fort Stevens. Tagami expected immediate return fire, so he ordered his gun crew to fire as quickly as possible without bothering to aim properly.

Those on shore would testify that only half the shells hit the ground. The rest were either duds or landed in the water. The most property damage done was to the post’s baseball field and a power line. One soldier incurred an injury running to his post.

Having quickly fired his rounds, Tagami made a hasty escape, but not a single shot was returned his way. Captain Jack Wood’s Battery Russell failed to reply. Gun crews totally miscalculated I-25’s position, believing it was out of range. The post commander ordered Wood to hold his fire so as not to reveal the fort’s exact gun positions.

Tagami later asserted that had he known of the fort’s insignificance he never would have fired on it. By mid-July 1942, the I-25 was back at its naval base of Yokosuka.

Nobuo Fujita: Determined Aerial Raider

Whatever Japanese intentions were for America’s West Coast, they never fully developed. But if there was a shining star in their abortive show, it would be Warrant Flying Officer Nobuo Fujita.

Fujita was born in 1911. Twenty-one years later he was drafted into the Navy and he became a pilot in 1933. Fujita was aboard the I-25 during a deployment in the Aelutian Islands. In the spring of 1942, he had flown above Kodiak Island at 9,000 feet and observed that the American response to an unidentifed plane was apparent indifference.

Fujita suggested an air raid against the United States utilizing Glen reconaissance planes launched from surfaced I-boats. The proposal was later endorsed by Prince Nobuhito Takamatsu, younger brother of Emperor Hirohito.

When a Japanese official who had been previously assigned to the consulate in Seattle, Washington, mentioned that late summer was quite dry in the Pacific Northwest, it was decided to launch such an attack, dropping incendiary bombs to ignite major forest fires and threaten population centers.

Fujita had also noted that the Panama Canal could be similarly targeted. The I-25, under Tagami, left Yokosuka on August 15, 1942, and headed back toward America’s West Coast with pilot Fujita and six 170-pound incendiary bombs aboard.

Each incendiary contained over 500 igniting elements that would disperse across a 100-yard blast area. Fujita’s aircraft would deliver two such bombs on successive flights.

Arriving off the Oregon coast during the first week of September, the I-25 whiled away the days waiting for a strong storm to blow over. Unusually heavy rain pelted the area, but in the predawn hours of September 9, 1942, conditions had moderated and Fujita and his bombardier, Petty Officer Shoji Okuda, were propelled off the sub. Flying 50 miles eastward, Fujita saw the lighthouse at Cape Blanco, and it became their beacon.

The first bomb was dropped 50 miles inland. Six miles farther, the second was released. In a flash both ignited. The two fliers fully believed they had succeeded and enthusiastically shared the news with Tagami. However, although both bombs exploded, the foliage was too damp from rain and lingering mist for a raging fire to develop. Fire warden Howard Gardner and one volunteer, Keith Johnson, easily controlled what smoldered.

A second raid went ahead on September 29 in the same general locale. Fujita reasoned that no one would expect a repeat incident. Flying 90 minutes inland, he let two bombs go. They plummeted onto a site called Grassy Knob near Port Orford, Oregon, but even less came of these as the wet foliage refused to catch fire.

Finding his way back to I-25 was a challenge for Fujita because of low cloud cover. He was able to find the submarine by following a trail of oil on the ocean’s surface. The I-25 had been previously attacked by air, and no one was aware of an oil leak until it was seen from above.

Unfavorable weather and heavy seas precluded a third attack.

Project Fugo

Later in the war, the Japanese resorted to using long-range, high-altitude balloons to cross the Pacific in hopes of starting forest fires. They were as ineffective as the bombers. However, in one unfortunate incident, several civilians were killed when a bomb exploded near their picnic site.

One question remains: Why did the Japanese choose the isolated region of Brookings, Oregon, to drop their bomb? Nothing of significance was there. even massive forest fires would not have impaired the American war effort.

Recalling the I-Boats

The Japanese did contemplate another air raid plan, this one involving the Kawanishi H8K “Emily” flying boat. The Emily had four engines and floats, making it a bomber-reconnaissance seaplane. Its wingspan extended 124 feet, and its fuselage was 92 feet long. It had a maximum air speed of 290 mph, a cruising range of 4,400 miles, and a bomb load of 5,000 pounds, with an armament of four 7.7mm machine guns and six 20mm cannons. In time, a dual 20mm cannon replaced the machine guns. By war’s end, 131 Emilys had been built but failed to realize their potential.

Lieutenant Commander Tsuneo Hitsuji, himself a pilot, proposed flying six updated Emilys to just off the California coast. There a flotilla of I-boats would meet them for refueling. The Emilys would then bomb Los Angeles. After hitting their targets, the planes would fly as far west as possible, seeking Japanese-held territory for landing.

Hitsuji dreamed even further. A fleet of 30 H8K2s might set down in Mexico’s Baja California waterway. There Japanese I-boats and German U-boats could surface to refuel and load them with bombs. Their new targets would be the Texas oilfields and beyond. With a 4,400-mile range, the Emily could fly any direction to hit the interior of America. Alas for the Japanese, as with other grandiose schemes, time ran out.

The Japanese threat to the U.S. West Coast never became substantial. The Imperial Navy claimed to have sunk five freighters off the West Coast for a total of 30,370 tons. Five others were damaged but salvageable. Captains of the I-boats grossly exaggerated America’s military response to their attacks.

The few responses made by the U.S. military were often as haphazard as the I-boat attacks. In the end, Japan never had the time, opportunity, or resources to launch a major offensive effort against the continental United States.

This article by Steven D. Lutz first appeared in the Warfare History Network on December 12, 2018.

Image: Japanese Submarine I-6 (JUNSEN-class, type II). 1935 or 1936. Public domain.


Award-Winning Chefs of the US Navy

With the Memorial Day holiday that recently passed and the upcoming 75th anniversary of D-Day, it seemed like a good idea to honor the brave men and women that served in our armed forces. Some of them made the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect our freedoms. To sum up the memories of all these brave soldiers in one day is truly an impossible task. Everyday that goes by is an opportunity to stop and reflect on those who protect us and allow us the liberties of living in this beautiful country of ours. To honor those whose lives were lost, we must also honor the living soldiers that continue fighting for those freedoms we hold so dear. Here are 3 cooks who made a difference throughout wartime in US history.

Credit for the picture goes to:

Doris “Dorie” Miller

When it comes to heroes of war, it takes a special act of courage to be recognized as a hero of war. Many brave and selfless acts of heroism have been documented throughout US Wartime history. The story of Doris Miller really stood out. Miller enlisted as Mess Attendant, Third Class in September, 1939. His final rank before his untimely death in 1943 was Cook, Third Class. It was a particular act of heroism during the attack on Pearl Harbor that earned him the distinguished award, The Navy Cross.

“Miller had arisen at 6 a.m., and was collecting laundry when the alarm for general quarters sounded. He headed for his battle station, the antiaircraft battery magazine amidship, only to discover that torpedo damage had wrecked it, so he went on deck. Because of his physical prowess, he was assigned to carry wounded fellow Sailors to places of greater safety. Then an officer ordered him to the bridge to aid the mortally wounded Captain of the ship. He subsequently manned a 50 caliber Browning anti-aircraft machine gun until he ran out of ammunition and was ordered to abandon ship.”

“Despite having no training in operating the big guns, he bravely jumped into action. Miller later recounted: “It wasn’t hard. I just pulled the trigger and she worked fine. I had watched the others with these guns. I guess I fired her for about fifteen minutes. I think I got one of those Japanese planes. They were diving pretty close to us.””

Doris Miller became the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross. His act of bravery was officially recognized by the US Navy in May of 1942, when he received the award on board the aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise. Commander in Chief of the US Pacific Fleet, Chester W. Nimtz, personally presented him the award.

Miller reached the rank of Ship’s Cook, Third Class and was assigned to the USS Liscome Bay. The USS Liscome Bay was an escort carrier during Operation Galvanic which took place near the Gilbert Islands.

“During that time while cruising near Butaritari Island, a single torpedo from Japanese submarine I-175 struck the escort. The aircraft bomb magazine detonated a few moments later, sinking the warship within minutes. Listed as missing following the loss of that escort carrier, Dorie Miller was officially presumed dead 25 November 1944, a year and a day after the loss of Liscome Bay.”

Defying the odds, a cook became a hero. Doris “Dorie” Miller rose to the occasion when called upon. He saved numerous lives when he manned that anti-aircraft gun. He selflessly bought his shipmates time to abandon the ship and get to safety. Now that is the way to be remembered.

Chef Martin C.J. Mongiello

(1965 – present)

If you are looking for ways to sneak healthier foods into your diet or the diets of your loved ones, look no further than Chef Martin Mongiello. Here is a chef that tricked former President Bill Clinton into eating healthier foods.(Heil, 2013)

In June of 1983, Martin Mongiello enlisted in the US Navy. It was a decision that proved to be positively life-changing. “He has the distinction of being one of the most decorated Chefs in the history of the Navy, was knighted in 2002 in Brussels, Belgium, holds several prestigious awards including a Presidential Service Badge, numerous world culinary medals, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Badge, five Navy Achievement Medals, two Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbons with Oak Leaf Clusters, three Commendation Medals and the NJ Distinguished Service Medal.”

It came time to retire from the US Navy. Now a disabled veteran, Mongiello retired in September, 2004 at the age of 39. He served active duty for 21 years and held Senior Chief Petty Officer(SCPO) rank E-8.

While still enlisted, Chef Mongiello was blessed with the experience of cooking for the Clintons as the Executive Chef to the White House.(1993-1996). During the same time of his tenure as White House Executive Chef, Mongiello also managed Camp David, the country retreat for the Presidents of the United States.

During his time as the Executive Chef to the White House, Chef Mongiello created a vegetarian dish called Spicy Arkansas Chili specifically for the Clintons. The recipe is featured in a cookbook called, “Everyday Cooking with Dr. Dean Ornish.”(Ornish, 1996)

This recipe features a delicious spicy chili over a bed of rice. When combined, the rice and the spicy chili create textural appeal with each bite.

Master Chief Derrick D. Davenport

(1975 – present)

Flavor comes in all forms. Sometimes you get assigned secret ingredients in the form of rabbit and other times you get squab and frog legs. Sounds like a bummer if you don’t like to eat those things. What do you turn those ingredients into? If you’re Master Chief Derrick D. Davenport, you turn it into the American Culinary Federation’s Chef of the Year Award for 2015. This achievement made him the first military culinarian to ever receive the award.

Winning awards wasn’t all that Master Chief Davenport excelled at. He also made a name for himself training the Afghan National Army.

“Senior Chief Davenport volunteered for a 14-month Individual Augmentation as an Embedded Training Team member for Coalition Joint Task Force Phoenix V& VI in Herat, Afghanistan. During his tour he trained fifty Afghan National Army Soldiers in foodservice and was awarded “Best Dining Facility (DFAC)” in the Afghan National Army.”

When it comes to feeding an Army, Master Chief Davenport may as well write his own book about it. He was featured in a Parade Magazine article after winning Armed Forces Chef of the Year contest in 2013.(DiGregorio, 2013)

Master Chief Davenport also shared some of his summertime favorite recipes. Shown here is jicama salad. Jicama lends an almost fruity taste with its texture similar to a potato. When combined with the spicier arugula and the hint of the honey and lime dressing, this salad definitely dances on your taste buds.

Next up on the summertime favorites is Jerk Chicken with Mango and Pineapple Salsa. If you’re looking for a delicious taste of the Caribbean, look no further. The charcoal grilled chicken provides a subtle spice from the habanero peppers with floral notes brought out by fresh thyme in the jerk marinade. The combination of sweet and tangy from the salsa pairs wonderfully with the jerk chicken to please your palate.

The Jicama Salad also makes for a great accompaniment with the Jerk Chicken with Mango and Pineapple Salsa to make a whole meal.


BOMBING UP TECHNIQUE - THE VALIANT AND THE VICTOR AIRCRAFT [Main Title]

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The (Complete) Last Log of 'Shady Lady'

For navigator John Nash 󈧫 and his Shady Lady crew, an August 1943 bombing run from northern Australia to Japanese-occupied Borneo evolved into something of a four-day walkabout. They dodged thunderstorms and Japanese Zero fighters, crash-landed in an Australian salt pan en route home, and were guided from the bush by a Benedictine monk.

John Nash ལ was the navigator on Shady Lady's last flight.

A B-24D Liberator bomber, Shady Lady took off from near Darwin, on Australia’s north coast, late in the afternoon of Aug. 13. The 12-plane squadron was to bomb oil refineries at Balikpapan, Borneo — a 2,700-mile round trip that at the time was the longest attempted in any theater of World War II. Here is Nash’s complete mission log at bottom are military photos from salvage operations on Shady Lady that allowed the bomber to fly from the bush.

Aug. 13, 1943 (Friday)

  • 0800: Left Fenton as part of 12-plane squadron for Darwin to gas up for longest strike mission yet pulled in any theater of war. Target: Balikpapan, Borneo, round trip 2,300 nautical miles.
  • 0900: Landed at Darwin, North Australia. Col. Miller’s ship had to return to Fenton. Lt. Roth in Beautiful Betsy smashes tail skid on landing, out for trip.
  • 1000-1200: Assigned rooms in shell-torn Darwin barracks. Pilots and bombardiers briefed.
  • 1200: Have dinner in bullet-ridden mess hall.
  • 1300-1700: Take cat-naps in barracks, then get lunch at mess hall. Leave for line.
  • 1740: Rev up engines, taxi to the strip, then just barely skim trees as we take off. Very heavy load.
  • 2000+: Pass over Timor just after dusk. Guns test fire OK. Weather good so far.
  • 2130+: Pass over Tijger Islands (mostly shoals). ETA for Salajar Islands (T.P) runs out. Solid undercover.

Pilots want to go around the huge cumulo-nimbus frontal area which looms up just ahead. I get a fair celestial fix on a couple of stars to our rear just before we enter cloud bank. Shows us left of course.

Original flight plan abandoned. Decide to pull a landfall on Borneo to hit below Balikpapan. Head 280 degrees and shortly run into rain, sleet, and lightning storm. Ship blown all over the sky.

Aug. 14, 1943 (Saturday)

  • 0300: Break out of the storm and see Laut Island, Borneo, just to our left. Head up the coast. Hit another rain, sleet, and lightning storm.
  • 0100: Break out of the storm just south of Balikpapan. Scattered cumulus clouds over target. Whole tip of peninsula ablaze (government piers and oil refineries). Notice several ack-ack [anti-aircraft] batteries in action along with searchlights as we circle to right of city. Some seem boat-based.
  • 0115: Over target. Begin run but interphone system in nose goes out so bombs not dropped. Can’t get out of searchlights. Ack-ack perilously close to tail. Circle and begin second run. Lights catch us and ground batteries open up as we drop bombs minus pilot-bombardier communication. All fall in target area. Sure hit on storage tank. As we were “tail-end Charlie,” an Australian photographer was flying with us. For some reason he failed to get pictures on the run. Pilots veto third run due to gas supply and worsening weather.
  • 0200: Leave target area. Blazes seen for 10 minutes after we head home. Fly down Borneo Coast and run into electrical storm. Altitude 13,000 feet but cumulo-nimbus clouds tower far above us. Pretty bumpy. Fear weak tail.
  • 0300+: Hit Laut Island and change course to hit Timor Island before dawn. After an hours flying we hit a tremendous front. Pilots want to go around it. I warn about ebbing fuel and need for maintaining course. Plane takes several headings, including near reciprocals, to skirt weather. Not much luck, so we resume course home.
  • 0600: Arrive over huge island just before dawn. We think it is Timor. ETA using 140 ks. indicates so. Decide to head for the strip at Drysdale mission and refuel. Think of lightening ship.
  • 0700: Come upon another huge island just before dawn. This is Timor. Adverse winds in the last frontal zone must have cut our ground speed a lot. Course takes us over Koepang, the Jap base. We can’t avoid it because our engineer gives us about two hours in the air.
  • 0705: Waist gunners notice two Jap fighters leaving the drome. We make up our minds to go down fighting.

Pilots put on power and descend to 1,500 feet just over the water. Sun rising on our left wing. Zekes fly between us and sun, pull ahead, then make alternate head-on attacks. Interphone out. Forward turret fails to function. Gunner simply sits there and points useless weapon at enemy on each pass. We think we are hit forward. Investigation reveals oil burning on gun. Top turret goes out due to failure of booster pump. Gunner manually keeps useless gun swinging at enemy. Tracer bullets pass by my window and under No. 2 engine. Close. On Zeke breakaway, waist gunner has him in range when his gun jams. The two Zekes press the attack for nearly an hour. Coordinated.

  • 0800: We hit low, scattered cumulus deck. Safety. Zekes make couple more passes then disappear. We suspect they may be following. Gas getting pretty low. No sight of coast.
  • 0845: Pilot prepares crew for water landing if Australian coast not sighted by 0915.
  • 0905: Land way ahead. Hope we can reach it. Very hazy out. Turns out to be huge shoals. Gas so low pilot decides to put tanks on cross-feed.
  • 0910: Another possible shoreline ahead. Perhaps more shoals. Turns out to be the Australian mainland. Thank goodness.
  • 0930: Over a very rugged coastline. Our fight with the Japs had forced us right of coarse so we turned left and started to look for Drysdale Strip. We knew it was inland a bit but the visibility was less than 10 miles and the pilot did not want to head over rough ground unless he could actually see the dirt runway, especially with gas so uncertain.
  • 0945: Pilot makes decision to land in an area of salt flats so the crew braces for crash landing. Plane almost to stop when right gear bogs down and nose wheel crumples, pushing nose into the sand with a jolt.

Quickly we scramble out escape hatches but no fires break out. Only casualty: Flying Officer Rustin, Australian photographer, who is thrown against waist hatch. Slight cuts on nose and forehead. Shady Lady seems OK except for nose turret and wheel. Hit ground 16:35 after take-off.

The plane lands on the desolate Anjo Peninsula, the northwest part of Napier-Broome Bay in the Kimberly region, about 60 miles northwest of the Royal Australian Air Force landing strip at Drysdale mission, near Kalumburu. They are about 312 miles southwest of their take-off point in Darwin.

  • 1000-1800: Remained near plane. Tried to get radio contact using kite and portable transmitter. Find radio punctured by shell and useless. Finally got plane’s radio going and contacted Darwin. Ate K-Rations at noon.

Our water supply low. Flies are very thick and headnets are godsend. Late afternoon we sight Lockheed and send up a flare. They drop food but water containers split on landing. Signals indicate: “Rescue party will reach you tomorrow afternoon.”

  • 1830: Doug [Craig, the pilot], Rusty, and I left for coast. It was a good hour and a half there and back through brush and marshes. When we reached the sea we had a nice wash in the salt water.
  • 2000: Back to the plane. Turned in near the plane. Slept on jungle kits and parachutes. Sand fleas so bad that we all wore gloves and headnets to bed.

Aug. 15, 1943 (Sunday)

  • 0800-1200: Arose and I had a bite to eat. Water is now rationed. Got on shady side of the plane and dozed.
  • About 1030 a shout from one of the crew. Coming across the marsh were three blacks, one towering a good 6 feet, 5 inches. They were unarmed. Several of the crew went to meet them. Yelled out, “Ya, Ya” (“hail,” “hello”) and prepared to use sign language. No need, for the tall leader boomed forth a “good morning.” Come to find out they are Christian natives on holiday from the mission at Drysdale. They wore crucifixes and bore the Christian names of Paul, Johnny, and Boniface (latter did not speak any English). Their bodies were disfigured by welts and painted with ashes and clay (said they had been dancing all night). We asked where we could get water. Paul pointed southeast and said it was “just a little way.” Craig, Rustin and Jackson [co-pilot] took all our canteens and left with the Aborigines for water. “Just a little way” proved to be over six miles, for they were gone over two hours. The Aborigines dug into a dry creek bed to find the water and built a fire so the place could be found again should it be necessary. Back at the plane site the rest of us took a dip in one foot of salt water that began to flow into the marsh a few hundred feet from the plane.
  • 1300-1930: Lunch of canned rations and a small cup of brackish water apiece. The Aborigines sat cross-legged and ate the candy we had given them. Later in the afternoon a native, about 18, joined us. He carried two spears, a thrower and a hatchet. He was persuaded to give us an exhibition. By means of his thrower, a three-foot rod with a knob on one end a hook on the other, he could propel his spears swiftly and accurately.
  • In mid-afternoon the Lockheed again flew over and tried unsuccessfully to drop water. Got more food OK. Flashed message: “Lugger will arrive by dusk, light fires.” A wood detail starts out and spirits rise. Lockheed spends most of afternoon flying bearings from ship-to-shore positions.
  • About 1730 several of the crew went with our three Aboriginal friends to the probable anchorage of the lugger. We almost pass our rescuers coming in but the Aborigines hear them and flares attract the party.
  • 1930-2300: Rescue party of four Aussies, Father Seraphim Sanz of Drysdale mission, and about five natives arrive with food and water. We all sit around the fire and fill up on canned meats, real bread and jam, hot tea and water. Due to low tides the decision was made not to head out till morning. Hit the hay about 2300.

Aug. 16, 1943 (Monday)

  • 0300: The tide came up and the cold and flies woke me. Found Father Seraphim and several others also awake. We spent some time talking about the mission, language, and customs of Aborigines.
  • 0300: The Father himself spoke their language. He finally got the natives to sing for us. They had been reluctant due to a seven-eighths eclipse of the moon occurring. We built them a small fire and gave them a large tin can and empty flare cylinder to use for drumming. Their music was within a five-tone range and was sung somewhat like our rounds.
  • 0400: Began our safari to the coast. Each of us carried his own personal belongings. The “boys” carried the rest of the special equipment. For over an hour our guides picked their way through untrailed wilderness until we reached the coast about daybreak. Here the entire party was transferred to the lugger, which had been pulled to within a quarter of a mile of shore.
  • 0830-1400: The day was sunny and the sun beat down on the deck. The native pilot picked his way slowly through the many reefs and shoals which abounded. We had a lunch of hot tea and bread and jam sandwiches.

Afterwards two Aussie noncomms got out their rifles and shot at fish, crocodiles, and tin-can targets. Saw a huge sail fish jump clean out of the water. Finally the lugger arrived off coast near the old mission. Was shuttled ashore in choppy seas. We all got soaked.

The lugger had crossed Napier-Broome Bay to land on its east side, at the original site of the Drysdale mission, founded in 1908 by the Benedictines order. In the 1930s, the mission moved further south to near Kalumburu on the King Edward River, where the RAAF built its Drysdale airfield, the strip Shady Lady had hoped to reach before its crash landing.

  • 1400-1700: Were trucked to the old mission. Here we were welcomed by the commanding officer. First he took us to a pail shower operated by hand. Next we had set before us a feast fit for a king. With the nice hot meal went ice-cold punch and tomato juice. The camp photographer took some pictures of the crew, the natives, and our rescuers.
  • 1700-2300: Left by truck for the new Drysdale mission. Arrived in time for supper. Here we met F/Lt. O’Neill and his crew of the rescue plane. We visited the mission buildings and met the priests headed by Father Thomas. Chatted with them about the mission and its work. Most of them are Spanish. One priest has been there for nearly 30 years. They only hope to keep the natives from killing each other. Can only Christianize and teach English to the young Aborigines. The Fathers showed us some native handicrafts. We purchased some arrows. Before we left, Father Thomas gave us some watermelon. What a treat. Then back to quarters.

Aug. 17, 1943 (Tuesday)

  • 0700-1230: After an early breakfast, we piled aboard the Lockheed-Hudson with F/Lt. O’Neill and his crew for the 250-mile trip back to our home base at Fenton. As we neared the airfield, the gunners inserted their guns and test fired them. I wondered what was up. On gazing groundward, I saw the smoking ruins of a plane.

Believe it or not, had we arrived a few minutes sooner, we would have been in great danger. The Japanese had just carried out a bombing raid on Fenton Field. Actually the Jap bombers must have passed over us as we approached to land. And so ends the log of Shady Lady for she never flew in combat again.

Father Seraphim Sanz, who helped lead the crew to the coast, holding a framed photo of the crew in 1988.

On Sept. 10, after being partially repaired and disarmed to lighten, Shady Lady is flown out of the marshes and back to Fenton, but the bomber never flies in combat again. The plane’s nose turret sits on the salt pan to this day, and tire marks from the landing are still visible.

At the end of the month, 21 Japanese aircraft bomb and strafe Drysdale airfield and the nearby mission. The attack destroys the mission building and kills five civilians, including Father Thomas, the priest who gave the Shady Lady crew a tour of the mission and the friendly gift of watermelon.

In 1988, as part of the country’s bicentennial, John Nash returns to Australia and reunites with Father Seraphim Sanz, the monk (he recently turned 90) who helped bring the Shady Lady crew to the coast.

Today, Nash, who taught high school on Long Island for many years, and his Australian-born wife, Lauraine (they met when her father invited the Shady Lady crew to a neighborhood party), live in Palm Harbor, Fla.

Photos: the Shady Lady salvage operation
The following photos of the Shady Lady salvage operation were taken by the late Eugene Halaas, Pacific theater photographer during World War II. Below, crew and aborigines pose in front of the plane, with its nose dug into the salt pan, before salvage operations.

Above, military personnel and aborigine helpers unload a rescue plane carrying supplies to repair Shady Lady. Below, extra weight is removed from the bomber.

At work during salvage operations:

Shady Lady is pushed into position to fly from the salt pan on Sept. 10, 1943. Subsequently, an illustrated rendering of the Shady Lady salvage operation, based on these photographs, was published in Yank magazine of December 1943.

Repairs completed, Shady Lady starts engines and prepares to fly from the salt pan.

Appreciation: To David Halaas for providing these photographs taken by his grandfather, the late Eugene Halaas to aviation historian Lindsay Peet of Western Australia and to Peter Dunn, whose Web site, Australia @ War, provides extensive information on wartime Australia, including a page on the Shady Lady.


Related Suppliers: Aircraft Maintenance, Spares and Ground Support

The B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range strategic heavy bomber manufactured by Boeing and operated by the US Air Force and Nasa. It is the longest serving combat aircraft in the US military and supports air interdiction, maritime and offensive counter-air operations. It was used in missions such as Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Stratofortress made first flight in April 1952 and entered into service in 1954. Boeing has built a total of 744 B-52s in 12 variants. The maximum take-off weight of the aircraft is 488,000lbs.

The new Stratofortress variant B-52H can carry free-fall bombs, cluster bombs, precision guided missiles and joint direct attack munitions, and has a mixed payload capacity of 70,000lbs. It can fly at speeds up to 650mph (1,046kmph) to an unrefueled range of more than 10,000 miles and altitudes of more than 50,000ft. It is manned by five crew members and powered by eight Pratt & Whitney TF-33 turbofan engines.


Torpedo being loading into aircraft bomb bay - History

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B-17, also called Flying Fortress, U.S. heavy bomber used during World War II. The B-17 was designed by the Boeing Aircraft Company in response to a 1934 Army Air Corps specification that called for a four-engined bomber at a time when two engines were the norm.

The bomber was intended from the outset to attack strategic targets by precision daylight bombing, penetrating deep into enemy territory by flying above the effective range of antiaircraft artillery. Turbo-supercharged radial engines (a uniquely American development) were to give the necessary high-altitude performance, and heavy defensive armament was to provide protection against attacking fighters. Accuracy was to be achieved with the Norden bombsight, developed and fielded in great secrecy during the 1930s. The Norden consisted of a gyroscopically stabilized telescopic sight coupled to an electromechanical computer into which the bombardier fed inputs for altitude, atmospheric conditions, air speed, ground speed, and drift. During the bomb run, the sight was slaved to the automatic pilot to guide the aircraft to the precise release point. In the hands of a skilled bombardier, the Norden was a remarkably accurate sight.

The first prototype bomber flew in mid-1935, and the B-17 entered small-scale production in 1937. Early versions proved to be more vulnerable to fighter attack than anticipated, but, by the time the B-17E version began to go into service shortly before the United States entered the war in 1941, the plane was equipped with turrets in the upper fuselage, belly, and tail. All but the last turret were power-operated, and each mounted a pair of 0.50-calibre (12.7-mm) machine guns. This increased firepower made the B-17 a formidable opponent for enemy fighters, particularly when flying in tightly stacked defensive formations for mutual protection. The basic element of a typical formation was a squadron “box” of 9 or 12 aircraft three squadron boxes staggered vertically and horizontally formed a group, and three groups in trail formed a combat wing. In the event, the need to keep such tight defensive formations over Europe compromised the accuracy of the Norden bombsight, since individual bomb runs were not possible without breaking the formation. Whole bomb formations had to drop their loads on the lead bombardier’s command, and the inevitable small differences in timing and heading led to dispersed bomb patterns.

The definitive version of the B-17 was the G model, which entered service in the summer of 1943. Armed with no less than 13 0.50-calibre machine guns, including two in a new “chin” turret for defense against head-on attack, the B-17G fairly bristled with machine guns. It was operated by a crew of 10, including the pilot, copilot, navigator-radioman, bombardier, and gunners. The plane’s service ceiling of 25,000 to 35,000 feet (7,500 to 10,500 metres), depending on the bomb load, put it above the worst of the German antiaircraft artillery, but, firepower notwithstanding, formations of B-17s proved unable to fight their way unescorted to targets deep inside Germany in the face of determined fighter opposition without incurring excessive losses. Deep raids were called off in mid-October 1943 and were not resumed until February 1944, when long-range escort fighters such as the P-51 Mustang became available. A 4,000-pound (1,800-kg) bomb load was typical for long missions, though the B-17 could carry up to 8,000 pounds (3,600 kg) internally for shorter distances at lower altitudes and even more on external racks beneath the wings. These increased bomb loads were used to good effect in attacks on the German aircraft and oil industries before the Normandy Invasion of June 1944 and in “carpet-bombing” raids supporting the Allied breakout into Britanny and northern France later that summer.

Sharing production with the Douglas, Lockheed, and Vega companies, Boeing oversaw the manufacture of some 12,730 Flying Fortresses, nearly all of them committed to high-altitude bombing over Europe. Though produced in smaller numbers than its partner the B-24 Liberator, the B-17, with superior high-altitude performance and greater resistance to battle damage, was the mainstay of the strategic bombing campaign. The B-17 had excellent flight characteristics and, unlike the B-24, was almost universally well regarded by those who flew it. Rendered obsolete by the larger and more powerful B-29 Superfortress, the B-17 served on after the war in small numbers as a search-and-rescue aircraft modified to drop life rafts by parachute.


Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal in WWII

17th June Enlisted into the General Service Corps embodied Territorial Army and posted to 9 Primary Training Centre.

From 1942 all recruits were enlisted in a General Service Corps in which they did their primary military training before being posted to their Corps. Training courses at the Royal Engineers training Battalions and depots were thus reduced to twelve weeks.

Date of Birth: 11th August 1904
Birthplace: Sunderland, Durham
Trade on Enlistment: Bricklayer / Labourer
Married to: Ellen Evans at Uxbridge on 9th September 1933
Father to 4 childern
Physical Description on Enlistment:
Height: 5ft 7 ins
Weight: 137 lbs
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Fair
Religion: Church of England

29th July Transferred to Royal Engineers as Sapper 14634980 and posted to No 4 Training Battalion, which was originally located at Colchester, moved to Yorkshire in 1940 and to Preston in 1942. Disbanded in late 1943.

In anticipation of the invasion of North-West Europe the intake of recruits in to the Corps in 1943 was exceptionally heavy, 51,000. In the short time available, twelve weeks , it was impossible to give recruits adequate training. Accordingly, a four week continuation course was instituted which four weeks were spent with field companies of reserve divisions. This collective training and experience in practical bridging and road making was very valuable to any branch of the Corps in any place of the world.

After 1941, due to the developments in Military Engineering as the war progressed the School of Military Engineering operated at Ripon, Yorkshire, formed a Bomb Disposal school.

7th October Posted to 1st Bomb Disposal Company Posted to 25th Bomb Disposal Company
25 BD Coy consisted of 225 / 226 / 240 / 241 / 242 / 244 / 245 and HQ sections.
Each company commanded 12 BD Sections. The basic unit of a Bomb Disposal Section consisted of one officer and fifteen other ranks, divided into two sub-sections, one for " removal" and one or "sterilization". Each was completely self-contained and mobile.
By 1943, the total Army BD force amounted to 10,000 men and BD units were based in all theatre's of operations.

25th BD Company Headquarters was based at 95 Court Road, Eltham, SE9
226 section billeted here prior to 8th May 1944. 25th BD Coy located:-

1943 Jan - Dec. Woolwich / Lewisham / Farnborough / Bermondsey /Orpington / Bromley / Beckenham / Eltham - Command London District
Till 5th July - Major J W Setchell, Captain Courtney
After 5th July - Major Alexander George Bainbridge, Captain Draper

The role of the Company HQ was a very important one, not only to the Company sections but to the whole network of Bomb Disposal Companies spread all over the UK.
Each section would provide input to disposal techniques through their own improvisation and were forever thinking of new ways or new equipment to help in their tasks. For example the removal of bombs, which were big and heavy, was passed on information from one section to another within the Company via the Company HQ. But the most important factor, was the central HQ in London who distributed all gathered information on an hourly basis which was a priority and distributed it to all other Company HQ’s in the fastest way possible.

Major Bainbridge (123013 ) was awarded his George Medal on 30th September 1941 in the London Gazette.

It was revealed in May 1945, that 235 Officers and men of Bomb Disposal Companies, Royal Engineers, were killed during the 6 years of bomb disposal work on the British Mainland alone.
A surprisingly low number, considering the vast geography of the UK that was under air raid assault and the high volume of Unexploded Bombs that fell on Greater London alone.

January Company Officer Strength:

Major Bainbridge AG (GM) Officer Commanding
Captain Draper JW 2nd in Command Lieutenant Williams DR E+M
Lieutenant Bool MA Reconnaissance
Lieutenant Weston F Reconnaissance
Lieutenant Willson AA in Command of section
Lieutenant Curry KE in Command of section
Lieutenant Fairhall JF in Command of section
Lieutenant Ross K in Command of section
Lieutenant Eagle GW in Command of section
Lieutenant Ward WF in Command of section

Major Alexander George Bainbridge was awarded his George Medal for disposal work at Monk Street, Woolwich in September 1940 and at Southern Outfall Sewer and High Street, Plumstead in October 1940 at the rank of Tempory Captain. His award was published in the London Gazette on 30th September 1941.

8th April 226 BD section came under command of 2nd Army.

1st May 226 BD section sent for training. Not mentioned in war diary as to what subject.

8th May 226 BD section (Lieut KE Curry) detached from Company HQ and moved to concentration point at Hobb's Barracks, Lingfield. Here they were tasked with making their vehicle’s waterproof, a sure sign to those curious of their movement and what may lay ahead.
Hobb’s Barracks was located next to the Hospital at Lingfield. Here No 347 Army Dental Centre was based. Also located at Lingfield (now the race course) was a Prisoner of War camp called Lingfield Internee Camp, where Italian’s captured in South Africa were held from as early as 1941.
Hobb’s Barracks was in use until 1971 and has since been demolished and replaced by an industrial estate.

File No WO 171 / 1959 25 BD Company June - Aug 1944 ( Home Front / Normandy )
File originally to remain closed till year 2045.

14th May 226 BD section commenced separate war diary. No further reference to their activities mentioned in 25 BD Company war diary, although they will continue to be shown on unit strength, but detached.
Section moved from Lingfield to Camp S8 (Weald Park, Brentwood).
14,000 men were marshalled into Weald and Thornden parks, where construction of tented camps were created by the 1st May. Vehicles were parked on adjoining roads to the camp.
During the first week of May, 21 Army Group Exercise “FABIUS” took place. It involved actual handling of troops and transport through the area.
226 BD section strength was 1 Officer, 30 Other Ranks and 1 Army Catering Corps cook attached.

“S” Marxhalling Area Camp locations:

S1 — Golf Club House, Orsett
S2 — Tilbury
S3 — Purfleet
S4 — Belitus Park, Aveley
S5 — Thorndon Hall, Nr Warley
S6 — Southend Halfway House Inn, Arterial Road
S7 — Warley Barracks
S8 — Weald Park, Brentwood

25th May Camp S8 sealed, no one allowed out. Camp perimeters were barbed wired and patrolled by the Military Police. Even after being sealed, troops often broke out of the camps to the local villages. Most of these troops, did not know the cause of their concentration so security was not a big issue. Those that did know or thought they knew were careful enough not to give away information. These camps were to remain out of bounds to the local civilian population and any unauthorised approached was soon dealt with. Even during the troop’s movement to the docks, the natural enthusiasm of the civilians to give tea, etc to the troops convoy when they halted at the check points near the docks. This was overcome some what by the use of the civil police, who used loudspeakers to control their intrusion. The local civilian’s must have realised that such a large build up of troops, was to result in some action on one of the European fronts.
With 500 men strong camps, hygiene was just as important as feeding the troops. First, mobile decontamination lorries were obtained from the ARP or the use of local bathing facilities, but were replaced later with 2 mobile bath units and a mobile laundry. Film and training show’s were screened in mobile cinema’s and live entertainment was also provided for all ranks within the camps, were the NAFFI services helped provide adequate breaks to other ranks only, from the daily preparation.

29th May Officer Commanding Lieut. KE Curry, moved with Recce group consistingL/Sgt. IA Maclachlan L/Cpl PJ McGuire and Spr. JA Powell to Prested Hall, Kelvedon between Whitam and Colchester.
L/Cpl. McGuire was later wounded on the 20th September 1944 by a booby trap near Trun on the Falaise area, whilst in the process of battlefield clearence. Spr. Powell was wounded on the Normandy Beachhead on the 14th June 1944 and was shipped back to England in the same month as Spr. H Clark.

31st May Remainder of section remain in Camp S8, whilst vehicle's are Transported to Tilbury Docks for early embarkation on to MT25 (Military Troop Ship).
Due to small detachments of units arriving at the camps without an officer, the issue of top secret instructions was impracticable. Therefore, this was overcome by attaching them to a convenient detachment which was due to sail on the same ship.

1st June Remainder of section move (marched with full equipment, if troop carrying 20 ton transporter vehicles not provided by 372 Transporter Company, Royal Army Service Corps. Troops often arrived rather fatigued) from Camp S8 to S7 (Warley Barracks, Brentwood) embarkation area under section Sgt JO Barker.

Here each soldier was issued with 200 Francs (equal to £1) and the chance to change what English notes they had into foreign currency landing rations a lifebelt vomit bags and a new set of clean underclothing. Also troops were fed on field service UK rations. It was important that all troops were well fed with a hot meal before embarkation. The issue of field rations was left to the last possible moment to transit troops, Prior to embarkation. Bread was baked in mobile kitchens of the ACC at field camps, where cooks were provided on the scale of 1 Sergeant and 11 men per 500 man camp. Sgt. Barker was later killed by a 'S' mine on 1st September 1944 near Caen, whilst removing casualties from a minefield. Sgt. Barker was the first member of 25 BD Coy and 226 BD Sec to be killed in action in Europe. He is buried at the Bayeux War Cemetery, plot XXVIII H20. He was 226 sections Sgt. at the age of 28.

The troops were divided into three broad groups:
The assault formations would board their assault ships with the first fleet.
The pre loaded, follow up formation of first line reinforcements would be on board their vessels in British ports, ready to follow ashore on D+1 or D+2 at the situation developed.
Later forces, earmarked for deployment on D+3 or later, were concentration areas close to the embarkation ports and they would be fed in as space Permitted as the situation required.

4th June Lieut. Curry, and section Recce team moved to Portsmouth for embarkation on HMS Eagle in preparation to cross the Channel with Naval Party 1502.
Remaining section under Section Sergeant, proceeded by troop carrying vehicles to Tilbury docks at 04.00hrs, near Gravesend and embark on to ship MT25 at 10.00hrs. During the long stay onboard ship, troops were offered daily papers cigarettes and odd welfare stores, so as to keep moral high and any repercussions of boredom at a low. This day was a Red letter day for the embarkation staff, when 18,000 troops were loaded into ships at Tilbury and Purfleet.
Tilbury Passenger Landing Stage, did have it’s own railway station, which was used to move troops in from Southend. Today the station has dissappeared and a large export/import car park takes its place.
All troops assigned to D-Day Operation "Overlord", France Liberation Force. When the troops arrived at the Tilbury embarkation area, they were told to only take with them a mess tin knife fork and spoon so as they could be fed a hot meal before embarkation. A haversack ration for all troops was issued before embarkation on MT ships. This was for consumption early after embarkation and tides the interim period onboard until voyage rations had been prepared and cooked.
It is interesting to note, that there was infact no Royal Navy ship called HMS Eagle in service at this time. HMS Eagle was sunk near Malta in 1942 and the next ship of this name was cancelled in 1944-45. This war diary entry must have been a error and the ship may have had a different name or extended name.

5th June Lieut Curry with Recce team embark on HMS Eagle, whilst section on MT25 sailed from Tilbury to Southend where it stood anchored awaiting convoy movement on D-Day. Tilbury Passenger Landing Stage was an ideal London port facility for the embarkation of thousands of troops with rail and road connections. The use of the landing stage made sure that any vessels did not have to enter the docks itself, but berth at the stage at any state of the tide. During peacetime, this stage could handle hundreds of thousands of passengers every year, so the mass embarkation of troops would not have posed insolule problems. Tilbury Basin and Cargo Jetty were also to be used.


D-DAY HMS Eagle and ship MT25 sailed into the Channel for the French Coast on D-Day. This sailing route was a very dangerous one to undertake, due 6th June to the number of enemy Motor Torpedo boats that patrolled the eastern entrance to the English Channel. This floatilla of ships with the support waves of the landing forces sailing from Tilbury, would have had a strong guard of protection vessels of destroyers and frigates from such threats.
The convoy would have proceeded round the Kent coastline and through the straights of Dover at approximately 13.00hrs. The Germans coastal artillery guns which were located near Calais, would fire at the passing convoy, but had no recorded hits. The convoy would navigate, hugging the English coastline while the Navy and Air Force lied down a heavy smoke screen at the narrowest stretch of the channel.

Number of troops embarked through Tilbury:

Force “L” ( First wave of troops from Tilbury to land D-Day, consisting of 2 Anti-Tank Brigades armed with Churchill tanks). Embarked D-2

Number of vessels Personnel Vehicle’s
Landing Craft Tank 90 4950 990
Landing ShipTank 19 5700 1140
Landing Craft Infantry 12 2400 Total 13050 2130

British Infantry Division follow up force of 3 Assault Brigade Groups, Embarked D-1.

Number of vessels Personnel Vehicle’s
MT Ship 14 7560 1890
MT Coasters 25 3500 875
Landing Craft Infantry
—light 8 1600
Total 12660 2765

Number of vessels Personnel Vehicle’s
MT Ship 10 5400 1350
Personnel Ship 1 1500
Total 6900 1350

7th June HMS Eagle and MT25 anchored off shore of landing beaches late morning. Weather to rough to board landing crafts alongside the ships. By late afternoon the ships proceeded west to Port-en Bessin between GOLD and OMAHA beaches where they tried to enter the port, but due to heavy enemy fire from cliff top defences, did not continue. Whilst the invasion of Normandy continued around them, HMS Eagle and MT25 remained at anchor off shore out off range at Port-en Bessin for the rest of the night. Could not land, due to delay in 47 Royal Marine Commando not yet attaching their objective of capturing the port and its high cliff defences.

September 12th 1942, after the disastrous attempted invasion by Canadian troops at Dieppe in France, British Commandos raid Port en Bessin. 10 raiders kill 7 Germans they find, but the shooting and noise alerts other defenders, who charge towards the attack. The Germans kill all but 1 attacker, a Private Hayes. Hayes swims along the coast and is aided by a French family, who passes him down to Spain. However, Hayes luck ends there, as Gereralissimo Francisco Franco’s Guardia Civil arrests the hapless Commando and send him back to France. The Gestapo interrogates and later shoots Hayes, acting under the notorious ‘Kugel’ order, signed by Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, that orders execution for all captured British Commandos. That order will in turn send Keitel to the gallows after the war. .

The fishing port of Port-en Bessin was set as the dividing line between the Anglo-American armies and was to be captured by No 47 Royal Marine Commando, who had landed on Gold beach at 08.25hrs. 47 Commando would land on the west flank of the British Second Army who had landed on Gold beach at the earlier H-Hour of 07.30hrs at Arromanches. Their task was to make a ten mile advance through enemy territory to attack Port-en Bessin from the rear on D-Day. Port-en Bessin was important as it was a designated point for the petrol terminal of PLUTO, the pipe line under the ocean.
The 1st Infantry Division of the US IV Corps were to swing east to link up with the British at the port. Port-en Bessin was defended by at least one company of German infantry from the 726th Infantry Regt, 716th Infantry Division entrenched in pillboxes overlooking the town and in strongpoints within the town. 47 Commando troubles began that day as they approached the landing beaches on JIG GREEN EAST sector, with an estimated strength of 300, nearly an hour after the main assualt forces on Gold beach. 3 LCA's (Landing Craft, Assault) were sunk on the way in and on landing at Le Hamel, which should by then have been quiet. The Commando found the 1st Hampshires still fighting for a foothold. They found their intended assembly area held by a company of Germans and suffered 40 casualties, before they cleared them out of it. They did however, take 60 prisoners, whose weapons served to re-equip those men from the sunk LCA's who had to abandon their own equipment and swim ashore. 47 Commando reached Port-en Bessin late on D-Day.
On the cliffs overlooking the port, there were several gun emplacements and bunkers. These formidable positions were attacked at dawn on D+1 by 47 Commando. Two of the strongpoints were taken with the help of a naval bombardment from HMS Emerald's 6 inch guns, rocket firing Typhoons and artillery smoke. A German counter attack, supported by flak-ships in the harbour, re-took one of the hills but at late afternoon on D+1, the German Commander and 100 men surrendered, only after 47 Commando had lost nearly 50% of its strength.
The Commandos had captured a port which was to play an important role in maintaining the flow of vital supplies and they had secured the junction between the British 50th Division on Gold beach and the US 1st Division on OMAHA beach. By the 14th June, the port was handling more than 1,000 tons of supplies a day, much more than it had ever done in peacetime.

Port en Bessin was used extensively in the filming of the war epic “The Longest Day”, where the centre of the town was used as a reenactment of the attack of Ouistreham Casino. The Casino was attacked by the Free French Commando troops attached to No 4 Commando. The Casino had infact been destroyed by the Germans in 1941 and replaced by a strongpoint that covered Sword Beach. The capture of this strongpoint was important for the further safety of landing troops on Sword Beach.

8th June Lieut. Curry and Recce team entered Port-en Bessin Harbour early in morning, to inspect harbour for explosives.
Recce team moved east to contact 73 Field Company RE and came under fire from enemy positions. MT25 with main party arrives to be disembarked.
Over 200 ships could be sighted from the deck of the ship, along only this part of the Normandy beaches.

9th June Partial party of section disembarks MT25 to Landing Craft Infantry which the majority were manned by Canadian troops. From the LCI men were transferred to a Landing Craft Assault, typically manned by American Navy personnel.
Only those responsible for the section vehicles would land with them, on a LCT.
Section made a wet landing 50 yards out, having to wade through 1 foot of water on to the beach area between Asnelles and Ver-sur-mer with a 3 ton Leyland Lynx truck with Austin Utility trailer and proceeded to Kipling Assembly Area. This truck was driven by Driver Day J C and Cpl. Clubley BP.
Drv. Day was killed in action (KIA) whilst clearing the battlefield close to Falaise on 22/9/44.
Second party of section with another 3 ton Leyland tried to disembark by landing craft, but because of a heavy air raid this was postponed. This truck was driven by Dvr. Allen J R and Cpl Thorbes F.

Lt. General Montgomery visits Commes, just 1 mile from Port-en Bessin.

10th June 3 ton Leyland that could not land on the 9th, was ordered off the landing craft and 'drowned' in deep water. This truck consisted of the following members of 226 sec Drv. Allen JR Cpl. Thorbes F Sprs. Arrowsmith J Evans WW Parker J and Watson R. Spr Evans was later KIA whilst clearing the battlefield close to Falaise on 22/9/44. Personnel were picked up by Royal Marines and placed to safety on a wrecked boat to await low tide. They remained there for 7 hours. The truck was salvaged later, but was written off with the loss of a radar trailer, electronic and personnel kit.
Third party section with 3 ton truck and 15CWT truck, made wet landing on
beach, without incident. This section was led by Sgt. Barker JO and driven by Drv. Pope G. The 15CWT was led by L/Cpl. Wilson H and driven by Drv. Coleman R G. All other members of 226 sec accompanied this section, so probably Spr. Clark would have been in this section as no other mention of his name is made. Drv. Coleman was the third member of 226 sec to be KIA whilst clearing the battlefield close to Falaise on 22/9/44.
All sections reported to Lieut. Curry at Port-en Bessin, but third party truck led by Sgt. Barker overturned on route to Port-en Bessin. All stores were off loaded and the lorry righted before proceeding to Port area, where they bivouacked with the rest of 226 BD section. One casualty from this incident, Spr.Naysmith R who was injured slightly when the lorry over turned.
Enemy sniper fire was a constant danger and the section assisted many times in the search and elimination of this threat.

During the Invasion of Europe, 5 BD Companies were deployed and between them disposed of 939,061 UXB's. Bomb Disposal units though not much concerned with enemy aircraft bombs, the Luftwaffe being chiefly noticable for its absence, found much to do when the extension of the area covered that on which the brunt of the Allies bombing fell and had failed to explode. These obviously needed to be cleared as well. They also assisted formations in the clearence of mines and booby-traps.

12th June Port- en Bessin was at this time still being continually bombed by the Luftwaffe most nights, to cease to Ports activity. No damage was ever sustained. Last members of 226 sec, L/Cpl. O’Neill J and Drv. Price J C make dry landing and report to Port-en Bessin. Drv. Price J C was later a casualty in a road accident on 26/1/45.
226 BD section under command of 10 Garrison, 21st Army Group. 136 BD section (under command of Officer Commanding 226 section, remain in area for general BD. In this sub area come under direct command of 19 Chief Royal Engineer works, particular responsibilities being Port en Bessin Harbour containing the petrol installations of PLUTO and Mulberry 'B'.

14th June General Charles de Gaulle makes his first liberation speech on French soil at Bayeux, the first French City to be liberated.

16th June Sapper Clark and other members of 226sec helped assist in the rescue of casualties and bodies of 73rd Field Company who were injured or killed whilst clearing mines. (Mentioned in unit war diary). 73rd Field Company had landed on D-Day, with the remainder of their support coming ashore on Jig beach on the D+3 and their transport disembarking on King Green sector on the 11th June.

17th June Those killed were buried in Monceaux en Bessin War Cemetery, 5km south of Bayeux, from the previous days incident. All the following who were killed on the 16/6/44, were later reburied at the Bayeux War Cemetery, south-west of Bayeux:
Cpl. Dixon T, plot XI A6 age 30.
Spr. Dickinson A, plot XI A7 age 24.
Spr. Close A, plot XI A4 age 24.
(later posthumously awarded the Military Medal for his actions on D-Day)
Spr. Rodman, no Commonwealth War Grave recorded in France.
Spr. Reece W J, plot XI A5 age 36.
L/Cpl. Nicholls E, plot XI A3 age 34. Nicholls was killed on the 14/6/44 whilst mine clearing and had been originally buried on the 15/6/44.

73 Field Company war diary WO 171 / 1530 June - December 1944
File originally to remain closed till year 2045.

King George IV makes a visit to the beachheads at Courseulles, 10 miles away D+6

19th June Gale hits beachhead and continues till the 21st June. Results in the American Mulberry harbour having to be abandoned. Due to the severe weather conditions the Allied Authority, authorised a rum ration to be distributed to all troops.

2nd July Section moved from Port-en Bessin to Tilly-sur Seulles, 20km south-east of Bayeux on the D6.

Tilly-sur Seulles fell into Allied hands on the 17th June, after a tremendous tank and street battle between 7th Armoured Div and 21st Panzer Lehr Regiment. During the struggle, the village was reduced to ruins.

7th July Section moved from Tilly-sur Seulles to Blary, 6km south of Bayeux.
9th July Section moved from Blary to Gheron, 5 km south of Bayeux on the D67.

10th July Casualty, Sapper Clark H 14634980, while handling heavy equipment. Severed finger on left hand. This could well have resulted in the building of Bailey Bridges that RE were crossed trained in. ( Mentioned in war diary )

He would have been treated locally at an FDS — field dressing station on his injury, but was requested to be sent back to hospital in England on the 15th July by Officer Commanding 226 BD, 243600 Lieut K.E. Curry RE.
Most wounded troops were sent back across the Channel by ship from Ostend back to Tilbury. He may well have been sent to the 86th (BR) General Hospital before being embarked at Ostend.
Casualty Receiving Hospitals in the UK were located at Lowestoff & North Suffolk Hospital Great Yarmouth General Hospital and Gorleston Hospital.

Official Cabinet figures on wounded between D-Day and 31st August 1944:
Killed 12412
Wounded 44604
Missing / POW 6671
Total 63687

Identified along with a Sapper Powell who was also injured, as members of the units diving crew. Training for the diving crews was conducted at Chatham under Royal Navy tuition and would consist of wearing and use of Siebe-Gorman pressure diving suits for deep water work and American light diving suits for river and beach work. The task was to locate and remove underwater mines and demolition depth charges.
Consistent diving for mine and ice packed waters would often result with hands and limbs being effected from ill effects.
At Chatham, basic training was conducted in a large water tank, where trainee divers were given the job of cutting through a steel hawser, with a hacksaw and a plank of wood. It was always a strange experience to see the sawdust rising to the surface when cutting. In winter, the Royal Navypersonnel broke the ice on the tank, put in a steam hose and a thermometer - when it read 38f, they were in.

15th July Service in North West Europe theatre ends, after 42 days.

PRO File No WO 171 / 1979 226 BD section June - Aug 1944
( D-Day landing / Normandy )
File originally to remain closed till year 2045.

226, 240 and 243 BD section were responsible for areas:
5 (Bayeux) sub area and all activities in 101 beach sub area, stretching to Caen and Falaise.

10th August 25 BD Company under the command of Major Bainbridge, disembarked on Juno beach and moved by night to set up HQ at La Villenuve (Caen - Bayeux road). 25 BD Company had been bombed out of their quarters just a few weeks before, by V1 flying bombs.

In August, Lt. General Bernard Montgomary had his Tactical HQ at Blay, only 20 km south-west of Port-en Bessin.

15th August 226 BD section move to Manvieux, west of Arromanches.

16th August 226BD section back under 25 BD Company command and move to Planet, 5 km east of Port-en Bessin.
25 BD Company's first base in France was Caen. In September the Company was moved to Brussels where they were clearing UXB's and mines in the Falaise Battlefield, Ghent, Bruges and Louvain areas.

Hospitilized at Hillingdon Hospital, Uxbridge to treat injuries sustained in France.
Convaluted at Home whilst having to visit Hillingdon Hospital. Any invalided servicemen who had not been discharged and still on active service would wear their battle blouses as normal, but with white shirt and red tie.

1st September 226BD section Sgt. Barker J O killed in action near Caen, clearing mines.
Buried in Bayeux War Cemetery, plot XXVIII H20.

22nd September 3 original members of 226 sec who landed in Normandy, killed whilst clearing battlefield remains in the Falaise Gap area. They were to be the last KIA of 226BD section of the war in Europe and post war clear up.
All following members are buried in Hottot-les-Bagues War Cemetery, south of Tilly-sur Seulles.
L/Sgt. Reeve G W, plot II B8 age 29.
Spr. Evans W N, plot II B9 age 37.
Drv. Coleman R G, plot II B7 age 25.

20th October Posted to 2nd Depot Halifax, Yorkshire.

25th October Posted to 7th Training Battalion located at Chatham.
May have been for further ordnance training ?

28th October Posted again to 2nd Depot.

January Company Officer Strength:

Major Bainbridge AG (GM) Officer Commanding aged - 38
Captain Melrose J (Jimmy) 2nd in Command aged - 30
Lieutenant William DR E+M aged - 28
Lieutenant Bool MA Reconnaissance (Discharged 3/4/1945)
Lieutenant Weston F Reconnisance aged - 36
Lieutenant Willson AA in Command of section aged - 39 (243 sec)
Lieutenant Curry KE in Command of section aged - 34 (226 sec)
Lieutenant Ross K in Command of section aged - 24
Lieutenant Boorman RA in Command of section aged - 39 (242 sec)
Lieutenant McClune JT in Command of section aged - 26 (240 sec)
In April 1945 Lieutenant Bool (Ferdy) then a Captain, was posted to HQ 1st Corps in Germany, as Senior Officer, Royal Engineers Grade 3 (SORE 3)

16th January 226 BD section transporting enemy bombs to the coast for use as demolition charges in destruction of enemy defences in and around the Brussels area.

17th January Embarked for service in France as part of the newly formed British Liberation Army.

19th January Half of 226BD section attached to 21st Army Group RE Training School, Knocke, near Zeebrugge, for emptying mines of explosives.
Approx 5000 mines of all types have to be treated, boiling method to be used. Finished 20th Feb - Number of mines treated 2,300.

22nd January Posted back to 25 BD Company, 226 BD section.

23rd January Rejoined section on Bomb disposal work in the Brussels area.
25 BD Company HQ at 3 Rue Charles Legrelle, Brussels.

28th February 226BD section preparing enemy bombs for transport to Sittard to use as demo charges in destruction of enemy defences. Work ordered by Chief Engineering 21 Army Group.

12th March 226BD section bomb disposal at Faux. 8 bombs dropped by Allied aircraft, 6 unexploded.

28th March Half of 226 BD section to 21 Army Group RE School, Knocke. Authority CE L of C to empty 700 enemy mines for training purposes.

12th April 226BD section sent BD squad to 3 British Army District to render safe approx 170 German bombs.

April Count - BD during April included:
Enemy and Allied 44 (12 long delay fuses)
Enemy bombs in Ammunition dumps 176
Enemy bombs used as democharges 14
Miscellaneous explosive objects 207
S "mines lifted 27

25 BD Company responsible for areas:
4 and 16 (Ghent) line of communication sub areas 7 (Antwerp) and 8 (Brugees) Base sub areas

22nd May Movement control warns 226 and 243 BD sections to stand by to move.

24th May 226, 240, 243 BD sections leave location for Hamburg on "Scheme Apostle".

25th May Staged at Wildeshausen, on route to Hamburg.

26th May Arrive Hamburg and marshalled in concentration area for 4 days.

28th May 226, 240 and 243 BD section struck off 25 BD Company strength.
Company strength down to 104 from 201.
The remainder of 25 BD Company went on to Germany and Berlin.


31st May Embarked US LST (Landing Ship, Tank) 519, which was anchored in Hamburg. Later on the 1st June anchored off Brunsbuttel until sailing on the 2nd June.

LST- 519:
LST-519 was laid down on 17th September 1943 at Seneca, Ill, USA, by the Chicago Bridge &amp Iron Co launched on 25th January 1944 sponsored by Miss Bonnie Faye Catherwood and commissioned on 17th February 1944.
During World War II, LST-519 was assigned to the European theatre and participated in the movements of convoy UGS-36 in April 1944 and the invasion of Normandy in June 1944. Following the war, she served with the Atlantic Fleet. Her primary mission was to dispose of condemned ammunition and radioactive waste material in deep water.
LST-519 returned to the United States and was named Calhoun County (LST-519) on 1st July 1955 after counties in 11 states of the United States.
She was decommissioned on 8th November 1962 and struck from the US Navy list that same day. LST-519 received 2 battle stars for World War II service. This was high for a LST service.

Bomb Disposal for May included:
Enemy and Allied bombs 112
Miscellaneous objects 1511 (including 61 Rine mines)
Holty? mines 40
3rd June Left British Liberation Army in Germany.

4th June Service in Norway begins, landing in Oslo. First stationed at Stavanger, then on to Egersund.
First stationed at Fagerborg Skole where Platoon HQ was established.

Areas of work carried out in Norway by 226 BD section:
Vallo Oil Refinery, near Tonsberg.
Fredikstad
Lillestrom
Sandefjord
Lillestrom
Rjukan Salpeter factory - July
Holmsbu
Terningen German Reservation, west of Elverum - August

7th June King of Norway Returns to Norway.

13th August 25 BD Company disbanded in Berlin.

30th August Embarked on ship called "Empire Dirk " to sail back to England.
This ship could well have been a Merchant Navy Vessel.

5th September Embarkation back to UK from Norway. Service in Norway totaling 3 months
PRO File No WO 171/ 8521 226th BD Platoon May - Aug 1945( Norway )
File originally to remain closed till year 2046.

27th September 226 BD section posted to and under the command of Officer Commanding 9 BD Company, which was based in the Manchester area, under
Major Alex Cleghorn RE and Captain BHP Price (GM) RE 2 i/c.
9 BD Company (consisting already of their HQ 68 69 sections. 81 section
had been stationed in Manchester since January 1945) was stationed in a
hutted camp at Spath road, Didsbury, Manchester and covered the
North-West of England. Their main task in Manchester was to commence AA (Anti-Aircraft) and UXB recovery, that still remained a threat since the cease of hostilities. Spath Road, is now a residential road and no evidence of a field where a hutted camp exists.
PRO File No WO 166/ 16938 9th BD Company January - September 1945

6th October Admitted to hospital due to some kind of injury ? As the Company was stationed in Manchester, he may well have been taken to either Manchester Royal Infirmary or Crumpsall Hospital, which were local to Didsbury in Manchester. Investigation found no medical records at these hospitals.

12th December Admitted to Hillingdon hospital again as M.P. 47 (Military Personel No: 47), due to the location to Cowley at the age of 41. He was admitted by Ambulance on the 12th with the diagnosis of Arthritis and placed on Ward An.8 where he was identified as having bed baths only. On the admission page it also states Order: E.O. (Caused by Explosive Ordinance perhaps).
London Metropolitan Archives Ref: HLU/HIL/23, admissions book page 49.

Again during this period he was able to recover at home, whilst still remaining under the care of the Hospital. Again when required, he would have worn the distinctive red tie and white shirt with his battledress.

15th May Hospital discharge book states M.P. 47 being invalided from the service on this date. Following medical decision to invalid from the service.

2nd July LMA date as discharge from Ward An.5 Hillingdon hospital of M.P. 47 record no: 46/320. Diagnosis was Polyarthritis, inflammation of muscles in several joints at the same time. Treatment would have been made over a slow, extensive period with the prescription of high doses of steroids. Once the advisable bed rest had been completed and the acute inflammation had died down, active exercise was necessary to build up the strength of the muscles again. Although full recovery will conclude, many have to stay on full treatment for 2 or more years, due to the risk of relapse (inflammatory condition flaring up again). What caused this case of Polyarthritis is unknown, but it is thought to be an ‘autoimmumne’ condition in which the body’s defence system over-reacts and causes damage to tissues in the body. It could be brought about by a traumatic injury, notably in athletes and industrial workers, especially if the injuries have been ignored (which injuries to the feet tended to be).
Any of the work carried out by a RE Bomb Disposal Company could fall into the category of an industrial worker, with the hard heavy manual labouring that they had to perform in digging down to UXB’s or unloading heavy plant equipment. Another cause, which could create this condition, was nerve damage!Perhaps a result of UXB work ?
London Metropolitan Archives Ref: HLU/HIL/23, discharge book page 73.

4th July Hospital discharge book states the disposal of M.P. 47 to Blackpool, possibly back to a RE evaluation centre for medical examination.

5th July Ministry of Defence date as discharged from hospital and back to the ranks.

8th September Discharged from the Army due to permanently unfit for any form of Military service. This was a normal discharge for someone who had been injured and was no longer required to do any Military service.

Service with the colours: 17th June 1943 to 8th September 1946

Norway citation from King Olav sent out to all who served in Norway.
From correspondence by Ex BD servicemen, the citation was also signed by King Haakon of Norway and the King Olav citations were issued as replacements or later issue citations.

Testimonial on leaving the service :
A conscientious and hardworking man. He has always carried out his duties assigned to him in an efficient and satisfactory manner.
Military Conduct: Very Good

Medals issued:
1939-45 Star
France and Germany Star
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45

Possibility of entitlement to General Service Medal with clasp "Bomb & Mine Clearance 1945-49 ", due to being invalid out of service in UXB work.
Minimum number of days service for the entitlement of this medal was 180 days in the UK or being invalid from the service due to UXB work.
However, due to never being able to obtain any true evidence to this injury being as a direct result of working on bomb disposal work in Manchester, the Minister of Defence at the time, George Robertson MP, was unwilling to assist further in this investigation unless direct evidence in official records was found.
Unfortunately, this I have not been able to find in all the following research.

Royal Engineer Bomb Disposal Sections Disembarked in Normandy June 1944

( This listing of Bomb Disposal Sections is not an entire list of all sections that saw service in Normandy, but a list of sections with existing war diaries that is still held by the Public Records Office In Kew ).

Section Number Disembarkation date and Information

HQ 25 BD Coy Based in Eltham. Sailed from Tilbury on 9th August and disembarked on 10th August at Juno Beach D+66. Based at La Villenue, where they set up the Company Headquarters.

26 BD Sec, 23 BD Coy Sailed from Felixtowe and disembarked on the 7th June at 16.30 hrs on Jig Green sector, and moved to Meuvaines. Section later went on to clear Nijmegan Bridge of demolition charges.

48 BD Sec, 23 BD Coy Based at Ashford. Sailed from Gosport on 10th June and disembarked on the 11th June at 19.30 hrs at Le Hamel. Assembly area Buhot. Based at Courseilles / St Aubin-sur-mer .

49 BD Sec, 23 BD Coy Based at Ashford. Sailed from Gosport and disembarked on the 7th June at Queen Red sector. Diving grew of section later sent to Nijmegan Bridge to clear underwater demolition charges and other explosives.

53 BD Sec, 19 BD Coy Canadian troops landed on English mainland from Toronto at Avonmouth 6th January 1944. Marshalling Area in London.
Disembarked on the 14th July at Courseulles and based at Manvieux
Later in September 1944, the unit was posted to clearing mines at Port-en Bessin.

58 BD Sec, 19 BD Coy Canadian troops who landed on the English mainland in early 1944 and originally based in Nottingham.
No landing information. Based at Manvieux.

95 BD Sec, 23 BD Coy Based at Ashford, then Norfolk. Sailed on the 9th June and anchored of Southend. Disembarked on the 12th June 21.00hrs at Graye-sur-mer. Section was dive bombed and based at Banville. Section later went on to clear charges from the Palais de Justice, Ecole Militarie (Military Acadamy) and Theatre Royal in Brussels in September 1944.

96 BD Sec, 23 BD Coy Based at Ashford. Marshalling area S8/5 . Embarked Leopoldville troopship 2nd June. Disembarked on the 8th June 11.00hrs at La Rivine.
Based at Tracy-sur-mer / Manvieux.

103 BD Sec, 5 BD Coy Based at Hamstead, London. Sailed from Southampton on 10th July and disembarked on the 11th July at Arromanches. Based at Coulombs.

108 BD Sec, 1 BD Coy Based at Hampstead, London. Marshalling area camp D, Southampton. Sailed from Southampton on 5th June 10.35 hrs and disembarked on the 6th June at Juno Beach. Based Ellon. Main task was airfield clearance.

136 BD Sec, 19 BD Coy Based in London. Sailed from Selsy and disembarked on the 8th June 14.00hrs at Arromanches. Cleared mines of Red Beach. Based at Arromanches / Manvieux.

141 BD Sec, 23 BD Coy Based at Ashford / Chatham. Marshalling area camp T5. Sailed from Royal Albert docks on MT 16 on the 8th June and disembarked on the 11th June at Item Red sector. Based at Banville. Section suffered 40% casualties in November 1944.

147 BD Sec, 23 BD Coy Based at Ashford / Hasketon, Suffolk. Marshalling area camp T3. Sailed from Victoria docks, Silvertown on the 14th June and disembarked on the 23rd June . Based at Conde-ser-seulles.

223 BD Sec, 25 BD Coy Based at Chiswick. Marshalling area camp at Botley. Sailed from Southampton on 7th July and disembarked on the 8th July 17.00hrs at Juno Beach. Based at Pierrepont / Rosel.

224 BD Sec, 25 BD Coy Based at Chiswick. Marshalling area camp C3. Sailed from Southampton on 8th July and disembarked on the 9th July. Based at Secqueville-en —bessin. Attached to 24 Airforce Construction Group.

225 BD Sec, 25 BD Coy Based at Eltham. Marshalling area camp C2. Sailed from Southampton on 10th July and disembarked on the 11th July at Le Hamel.

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In 1915 the Admiralty was considering the next generation of warship to follow the Queen Elizabeth-class battleships. The Director of Naval Construction (DNC), Sir Eustace Tennyson-d'Eyncourt, was given instructions to prepare designs for a new battleship. The design should: "take the armament, armour and engine power of Queen Elizabeth as the standard and build around them a hull which should draw as little water as was considered practicable and safe, and which should embody all the latest protection and improvements against underwater attack." [1] The design ('A') was submitted to the Admiralty on 30 November for consideration. The DNC had been able to reduce the draught in comparison to Queen Elizabeth by 22% by widening the ship to 104 feet (31.7 m) and lengthening it to 810 feet (246.9 m) this had the consequence of restricting the ships to use only one dock in Rosyth and two in Portsmouth. Large anti-torpedo bulges were fitted, and the secondary armament of twelve 5-inch (127 mm) guns of a new design was mounted on the forecastle deck. The resulting high freeboard gave the design a greater ratio of reserve buoyancy to displacement than in any previous British dreadnought. The design's stretched hull form also gave her an estimated speed of 26.5 knots (49.1 km/h 30.5 mph), about 2.5 knots (4.6 km/h 2.9 mph) faster than Queen Elizabeth had been able to reach in service. The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Henry Jackson, responded on 6 December that such a large ship might start a new arms race with the Americans that Britain could ill afford, and that better deck protection was necessary to defeat plunging shells during long-range engagements. [1]

The Admiralty asked for the design to be reworked ('B') with a maximum beam of 90 feet (27.4 m), but this was deemed unsatisfactory as it compromised the ship's underwater protection. A pair of revised designs was requested with the speed reduced to 22 knots (41 km/h 25 mph) to allow the hull to be shortened to better fit in existing floating docks and the minimum possible draught. The first of the two ('C1') was to have full bulge protection and the second ('C2') to have the best bulge protection possible without exceeding Queen Elizabeth ' s length. 'C1' was shortened by 100 feet (30.5 m) in comparison with 'B' and 'C2' was only 610 feet (185.9 m) in length, but draught increased by 1 foot 3 inches (0.38 m). In both proposals it had been necessary to reduce the number of guns in the secondary armament and reduce the thickness of the armour. The Admiralty was not pleased with either design and asked for a revised version of 'A' of the same draught, beam, armour and armament, but shortened and with the same speed as Queen Elizabeth. In addition the new five-inch gun was rejected in favour of the existing 5.5-inch (140 mm) gun. [2]

At least some of the designs were passed to Admiral John Jellicoe, commander of the Grand Fleet, who pointed out that there was no need for new battleships as the British superiority in numbers over the Germans was substantial, but that was not true for battlecruisers. Germany was known to be building three new Mackensen-class battlecruisers with an estimated speed approaching 30 knots (56 km/h 35 mph) and a reported armament of 15.2-inch (386 mm) guns. [Note 1] These ships would be superior to all existing British battlecruisers, and those then under construction (the two Renown-class and the three Courageous-class 'large light cruisers') were equally fast, but too thinly armoured to compete with them. He also remarked that his experience with Queen Elizabeth-class had persuaded him that an intermediate speed between the battleships and the battlecruisers was of little use he suggested that the design should be for either a 21-knot (39 km/h 24 mph) battleship or a 30-knot battlecruiser, preferably the latter. [3]

The DNC prepared two new designs in response to Admiral Jellicoe's comments on 1 February 1916, each for a battlecruiser capable of thirty knots or better and armed with eight 15-inch (381 mm) guns. Design '1' displaced 39,000 long tons (39,626 t) with two inches less belt armour and a speed of thirty knots. It used the bulky large-tube boilers traditional in British capital ships, which explains why the design was 9,000 long tons (9,144 t) larger than any of the previous battleship designs. Design '2' was essentially a repeat of the first design except that small-tube boilers were substituted. These were considerably smaller than the older type and saved 3,500 long tons (3,556 t) over Design '1' and had one foot less draught. [4] These savings were substantial enough to overcome the Engineer-in-Chief's objections that they required more frequent and expensive repairs. [5] The DNC was asked to submit four more designs using small-tube boilers which were submitted on 17 February. Design '3' was Design '2' with the machinery power increased to 160,000 shaft horsepower (120,000 kW) to boost the maximum speed to 32 knots (59 km/h 37 mph) while the other designs had either four, six or eight 18-inch (457 mm) guns. Design '3' was selected as Admiral Jellicoe had specified that the minimum number of guns should be no less than eight as fewer caused problems in accurate fire control, and two alternatives were to be provided, one with a dozen 5.5-inch guns and the other with sixteen such guns. The latter proposal was selected on 7 April and orders were placed on 19 April for three ships (Hood, Howe and Rodney). The order for the fourth ship, Anson, was placed on 13 June. [6]

Hood was laid down on 31 May 1916, the same day as the Battle of Jutland. The loss of three British battlecruisers during that battle caused the work on all three ships to be suspended pending an investigation into possible design flaws. Admiral Jellicoe's investigation blamed the loss of the ships on faulty cordite handling procedures that allowed fires in the turrets or hoists to reach the ships' magazines. It recommended anti-flash equipment be installed in magazines and handling rooms and the improvement of deck armour over the magazines to prevent plunging shells or fragments from reaching the magazines. The DNC and the Third Sea Lord opposed the latter, believing that there was no direct evidence that the magazines had been directly penetrated. [7]

On 5 July the DNC submitted two revised designs for the Admiral-class ships. The first was a modification of the previous design with slight increases to the deck, turret, barbette, and funnel uptake armour, one-inch protection for the 5.5-inch ammunition hatches and hoists, and the number of electrical generators increased from four to eight. These changes increased the displacement by 1,250 long tons (1,270 t) and draught by 9 inches (228.6 mm). The second design drastically improved the protection and converted the ships into fast battleships. The vertical armour was generally increased by 50% and the deck protection was slightly thickened as in the first design. These changes would have added another 4,300 long tons (4,369 t) to the original design and increased the draught by 2 feet (0.6 m), but would have cost half a knot in speed. This design would have been equal to the Queen Elizabeths, but 7 knots (13 km/h 8.1 mph) faster and with much improved torpedo protection, although it was some 13,000 long tons (13,209 t) larger than the older ships. After the DNC submitted the above designs, he was asked to consider variations with triple fifteen-inch turrets, and these were submitted on 20 July. The Admiralty chose the fast battleship design, and Hood was laid down again on 1 September. [8]

Later that month Hood ' s armour scheme was slightly revised in light of further analysis of the results of Jutland and the deck armour was modestly increased in order to ensure that a minimum thickness of nine inches of armour would have to be penetrated by shells striking at angles of descent up to 30° from the horizontal. Further alterations were made in 1917 during her construction that increased the thickness of her turret faces and roofs. These changes, plus numerous others, increased her displacement by 600 long tons (610 t) and her draught by 3 inches (76.2 mm), and reduced her speed to 31 knots (57 km/h 36 mph). The changes continued during 1918 when the thickness of her magazine crowns was increased from one inch to two the armour for the funnel uptakes above the forecastle deck was omitted in compensation. In May 1919 her main deck armour at the side abreast the magazines was increased to three inches (76 mm), and four 5.5-inch guns and their ammunition were deleted in consequence. The next month plans were approved to increase the thickness of the main deck over the forward magazines to 5 inches (127 mm) and to 6 inches (152 mm) over the rear magazines her four above water torpedo tubes and their protection were to be omitted and the wall of the torpedo control tower were to be reduced to a thickness of 1.5 inches (38.1 mm) to offset the armour's weight. However, the additional deck armour was never fitted and the torpedo tubes (less their protection) were retained. [9]

Earlier in 1917, however, construction of Hood ' s three sisters had been suspended as the amount of labour and material they required would be better employed in the construction and repair of merchant ships and escorts needed to keep open Britain's lines of communication in the face of the U-boat blockade. Design work continued however, although Hood was too far advanced to incorporate these changes, and ultimately would have been extensive enough for the other three ships to constitute their own class. [10] At the end of 1917 the suspended ships' design was modified to increase the thickness of the turret roofs to six inches (152 mm), and (unspecified) alterations were made to the armoured bulkheads. These cost a total of 267 long tons (271 t) in displacement. Other changes were a redesigned bridge structure and moving the funnels closer together and the exchange in position between the fifteen-inch shellrooms and magazines. This latter change would have caused the hull's form to be filled out somewhat to accommodate the handling room of the rearmost turret at the cost of a slight loss in speed and ammunition storage. [11]

Hood was the closest to completion and her construction was continued in case the Germans managed to complete any of their new battlecruisers. Admiral Beatty continually pressed to have Hood ' s construction expedited and for her sisters to be restarted, but the War Cabinet refused to approve either measure as nothing could be sacrificed in the shipbuilding programme to this end. After the end of the war the three suspended ships were cancelled as they could not fully incorporate the lessons of the war. [12]

General characteristics Edit

The Admiral-class ships were significantly larger than their predecessors of the Renown class. They had an overall length of 860 feet (262.1 m), a beam of 104 feet (31.7 m), and a draught of 31 feet 6 inches (9.6 m) at deep load. This was 110 feet (33.5 m) longer and 14 feet (4.3 m) wider than the smaller ships. They displaced 41,200 long tons (41,861 t) at load and 45,620 long tons (46,352 t) at deep load, over 13,000 long tons (13,210 t) more than the older ships. They had a metacentric height of 4.6 feet (1.4 m) at deep load as well as a complete double bottom. [13]

Propulsion Edit

The ships had four Brown-Curtis single-reduction geared steam turbine sets, each of which drove one propeller shaft. They were arranged in three engine rooms. The forward engine room held the two turbines for the wing shafts, the middle compartment housed the turbines for the port inner shaft and the aft engine room contained the turbines for the starboard inner shaft. A cruising turbine was built into the casing of each wing turbine. The turbines were powered by twenty-four Yarrow small-tube boilers equally divided between four boiler rooms. [14] They were designed to produce a total of 144,000 shaft horsepower (107,000 kW) at a working pressure of 235 psi (1,620 kPa), but achieved more than 151,000 shp (112,601 kW) during Hood ' s trials, when she slightly exceeded her designed speed of 31 knots (57 km/h 36 mph). [15]

They were designed to normally carry 1,200 long tons (1,219 t) of fuel oil, but had a maximum capacity of 4,000 long tons (4,064 t). [16] At full capacity, Hood could steam at a speed of 14 knots (26 km/h 16 mph) for an estimated 7,500 nautical miles (13,890 km 8,630 mi). They had eight 175-kilowatt (235 hp) dynamos, two diesel, two turbo-driven, and four reciprocating. [17]

Armament Edit

The Admiral-class ships mounted eight BL 15-inch Mk I guns in four twin hydraulically powered Mark II turrets, designated 'A', 'B', 'X' and 'Y' from front to rear. The guns could be depressed to −3° and elevated to 30° they could be loaded at any angle up to 20°, although loading at high angles tended to slow the gun's return to battery. The ships carried 120 shells per gun. They fired 1,920-pound (871 kg) projectiles at a muzzle velocity of 2,467 ft/s (752 m/s) this provided a maximum range of 29,000 yd (26,518 m) with armour-piercing (AP) shells. [18]

Their secondary armament consisted of sixteen BL 5.5-inch Mk I guns, which were mounted on pivot mounts on the forecastle deck, protected by gun shields. They were provided with 200 rounds per gun. [19] The guns on their CPII mounts had a maximum elevation of 30°. They fired 82-pound (37 kg) projectiles at a muzzle velocity of 2,790 ft/s (850 m/s). Their maximum range was 17,700 yd (16,200 m) at 30° elevation. Their rate of fire was twelve rounds per minute. [20]

The Admiral-class ships were designed with four QF four-inch Mark V anti-aircraft guns. They had a maximum depression of -5° and a maximum elevation of 80°. They fired a 31-pound (14 kg) high explosive shell at a muzzle velocity of 2,387 ft/s (728 m/s) at a rate of ten to fifteen rounds per minute. The guns had a maximum ceiling of 31,000 ft (9,400 m), but an effective range of much less. [21]

Two 21-inch (533 mm) submerged side-loading torpedo tubes were fitted forward of 'A' turret and eight above-water side-loading Mark V tubes were intended to be mounted abreast the rear funnel on the upper deck, although only four of the latter were carried by Hood. They were loaded and traversed by hydraulic power the submerged tubes were fired by compressed air while the above-water tubes used cordite charges. Thirty-two warheads could be accommodated in the two magazines in the hold forward of 'A' turret's shellroom. Hood carried Mark IV and IV* torpedoes, each which had a warhead of 515 pounds (234 kg) of TNT. [22] They had three speed settings which governed their range from 8,000 yards (7,315 m) at 35 knots (65 km/h 40 mph), 10,000 yards (9,144 m) at 29 knots (54 km/h 33 mph), and 13,500 yards (12,344 m) at 25 knots (46 km/h 29 mph). [23]

Fire-control Edit

The main guns of the Admiral-class ships were controlled from either of the two fire-control directors. The primary director was mounted above the conning tower in an armoured hood and the other was in the fore-top on the foremast. [24] 'B' turret could also control all the main gun turrets while 'X' turret could control the rear guns. [25] Data from a 30-foot (9.1 m) rangefinder in the armoured hood were input into a Mk V Dreyer Fire Control Table located in the Transmitting Station (TS) [26] on the platform deck [27] where they were converted into range and deflection data for use by the guns. The target's data were also graphically recorded on a plotting table to assist the gunnery officer in predicting the movement of the target. The fore-top was equipped with a 15-foot (4.6 m) rangefinder. [24] Each turret was provided with a thirty-foot rangefinder in an armoured housing on the turret roof and a Dumaresq analogue computer for local fire-control. [28]

The secondary armament was primarily controlled by the 5.5-inch directors mounted on each side of the bridge. They were supplemented by the two additional control positions in the fore-top, which were provided with 9-foot (2.7 m) rangefinders. Each of these positions was equipped with a Dumaresq calculator for local control, but the spotting data were normally sent to the 5.5-inch TS on the lower deck much like the procedure for the fifteen-inch guns, except that the firing data were calculated by two Type F fire-control clocks (analog computers). [25] The anti-aircraft guns were controlled by a simple 2-metre (6 ft 7 in) rangefinder mounted on the aft superstructure. [24]

The torpedoes initially had a similar system where various rangefinders, especially the fifteen-foot rangefinder above the aft torpedo control tower, and deflection sights provided data to a Dreyer table in the torpedo TS adjacent to the 5.5-inch TS on the lower deck. However the Dreyer table was removed during Hood ' s 1929–1931 refit and the calculations were made in the torpedo control position in the bridge. [25]

Armour Edit

The waterline belt of the Admiral-class ships was 12 inches (305 mm) thick, angled 12° outwards partly to keep the belt inside the bulge structure and allow torpedo hits to vent to the atmosphere. This angle also increased the armor's relative thickness to horizontal, close-range fire, albeit at the cost of reducing its relative height which increased the chance of plunging shellfire going over or under it. This sloped belt made their armor comparable to the 13 inches (330 mm) found in the latest British dreadnoughts. It ran some 562 feet (171.3 m), from the forward edge of 'A' barbette to the middle of 'Y' barbette. Forward of this the belt thinned to six inches before further reducing to 5 inches (127 mm) and ending in a five-inch (127 mm) bulkhead well short of the bow. Aft of the midships section the belt reduced to six inches (152 mm) it did not reach the stern, but terminated at a five-inch bulkhead. This belt had a height of 9 feet 6 inches (2.9 m), which 4 feet (1.2 m) was below the designed waterline. Above it was the seven-inch middle belt, 7 feet (2.1 m) high, and the five-inch upper belt, which was 9 feet (2.7 m) high. The middle belt stretched between 'A' and 'Y' barbettes, ending in four-inch transverse bulkheads at each end. The upper belt only ran from 'A' barbette to the end of the machinery spaces and ended in another four-inch transverse bulkhead. Five of Hood ' s decks were armoured with thicknesses varying from .75 to 3 inches (19 to 76 mm), with the greatest thicknesses over the magazines and the steering gear. [29] Immediately adjacent to 'A' and 'Y' barbettes the main deck was five inches thick to protect the magazines. [16]

The turret faces were fifteen inches thick while their sides ranged from 11 to 12 inches (279 to 305 mm) in thickness, and the roof was five inches thick. The barbettes had a maximum of twelve inches of armour, but were reduced in thickness in stages below decks, although the outer faces of 'A' and 'Y' barbettes were considerably thicker below decks than the other barbettes. The conning tower armour was nine to eleven inches thick, and it was the largest yet fitted to a British capital ship as it weighed 600 long tons (610 t). [24] The primary fire-control director atop the conning tower was protected by an armoured hood. The face of the hood was six inches thick, its sides were two inches thick, and its roof was protected by three inches of armour. A communications tube with six-inch sides ran from the conning tower down to the lower conning position on the main deck. The three torpedo bulkheads were 1.5 inches (38 mm), 1 inch (25 mm) and .75 inches (19 mm) thick. [16]

The anti-torpedo bulges of the Admiral-class battlecruisers were the first fitted on a British capital ship to fully incorporate the lessons learned from a series of experiments begun before World War I. They consisted of an outer air space, an inner buoyancy space and the 1.5-inch protective bulkhead. The buoyancy space was filled with sealed steel crushing tubes intended to distribute the force of an explosion over as wide an area as possible as well as absorb as much of its force as possible. [30] However, tests conducted after Hood was completed showed that filling the buoyancy space with water was equally effective and considerably cheaper. [31]


Torpedo being loading into aircraft bomb bay - History

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    PEARL HARBOR (Jan. 20, 2020) Family members of World War II hero Doris “Dorie” Miller react after the unveiling of the new Ford-class aircraft carrier USS Doris Miller (CVN 81) at a Martin Luther King Day celebration event at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. This will be the second ship named in honor of Miller and the first aircraft carrier named for an African American and an enlisted Sailor. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alexander C. Kubitza/Released)200120-N-PM193-2275

    - view the entire "We Love Propaganda" set

    Dorie Miller history, from Wikipedia (edited)

    Doris (“Dorie”) Miller was born in Waco, Texas, on October 12, 1919, to Henrietta and Connery Miller. He was the third of four sons and grew up in a strong and loving household. He enjoyed playing with his brothers but was also a considerate child. He often helped around the house, cooking meals and doing laundry, as well as working the fields. Miller was a good student and a fullback on the football team at Waco's A.J. Moore High School. They called him the "Raging Bull" because of his size (5 ft 9 in, over 200 lb).

    He worked on his father's farm until enlisting in the United States Navy as Mess Attendant, Third Class in September 1939. Following training at the Naval Training Station, Norfolk, Virginia, Miller was assigned to the ammunition ship USS Pyro where he served as a Mess Attendant, and on January 2, 1940 was transferred to USS West Virginia, where he became the ship's heavyweight boxing champion. In July of that year he had temporary duty aboard USS Nevada at Secondary Battery Gunnery School. He returned to the USS West Virginia on August 3, 1941.

    Miller awoke at 6:00 A.M. and was collecting laundry when the alarm for general quarters was sounded. He headed for his battle station, the antiaircraft battery magazine amidships, only to discover that torpedo damage had wrecked it, so he went on deck where he was assigned to carry wounded fellow sailors to safer locations. When Captain Mervyn Bennion was injured by a bomb splinter, an officer ordered Miller to the bridge to help in the futile effort to move him to a place of relative safety. Miller picked him up and carried him to a first-aid station.

    When directed to assist in loading a pair of unattended Browning .50 caliber anti-aircraft guns, Miller took control of one of them and began firing at the attacking Japanese planes, even though he had no prior training in operating the weapon he eventually ran out of ammunition. Japanese aircraft dropped two armor piercing bombs through the deck of the battleship and launched 5 × 18 in (457 mm) aircraft torpedoes into her port side. Heavily damaged by the ensuing explosions, and suffering from severe flooding below decks, the West Virginia slowly settled to the harbor bottom as her crew abandoned ship.

    Admiral Chester W. Nimitz pins Navy Cross on Doris Miller, at ceremony on board warship in Pearl Harbor, May 27, 1942. The 1941 Honor Roll of Race Relations named an "unknown Negro mess man" and on March 12, 1942 Dr. Lawrence D. Reddick announced, after corresponding with the Navy, that he found the name was "Doris Miller." The next day, US Senator James M. Mead introduced a Senate Bill to award Miller the Medal of Honor, without knowing what Miller’s deeds were for the basis of such award.

    On March 12, 1942, The Pittsburgh Courier released a story that named the black mess man as "Dorie" Miller, using his nickname. On March 17th, Representative John D. Dingell, Democrat from Michigan, introduced a matching bill as the one in the US Senate to award to Miller the Medal of Honor. On March 21st, The Pittsburgh Courier initiated a write-in campaign to send Miller to the Naval Academy.

    Letters of Commendation from the Secretary of the Navy were finally issued. Miller’s commendation of April 1, 1942 cited his "distinguished devotion to duty, extraordinary courage and disregard of his personal safety during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. While at the side of his Captain on the bridge, Miller despite enemy strafing and bombing, and in the face of serious fire, assisted in moving his Captain, who had been mortally wounded, to a place of greater safety and later manned and operated a machine gun until ordered to leave the bridge."

    The Secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox, sent a letter on April 9th to the US House of Representatives Chairman of Naval Affairs, outlining the requirements of the Medal of Honor versus the deeds of Miller, and recommending against an award of the Medal of Honor.

    During the All-Southern Negro Youth Conference of April 17th, a signature campaign was launched to give proper recognition to Doris Miller. Miller’s parents were brought to the conference and awarded a $100 defense bond.

    On May 10th, the National Negro Congress denounced Frank Knox’s recommendation to decline the Medal of Honor for Miller. But the next day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved the Navy Cross, the Navy’s third highest medal at the time, for Miller.

    Finally, on May 27, 1942, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz personally awarded Miller the Navy Cross aboard USS Enterprise. In his address, Nimitz remarked that "This marks the first time in this conflict that such high tribute has been made in the Pacific Fleet to a member of his race and I'm sure the future will see others similarly honored for brave acts." Only one month earlier on April 7, 1942, after intense pressure from desegregation advocates and liberal politicians, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox had issued a directive that African Americans were to be enlisted in general service in the Navy, though "it and the other armed forces remained strictly segregated."

    Miller’s rank was raised to Mess Attendant First Class on June 1st. On June 27th, The Pittsburgh Courier called for Miller to be allowed to return home for a war bond tour like white heroes. The following November 23rd, Miller arrived to Pearl Harbor, and was ordered on a war bond tour while still attached to USS Indianapolis. In December and January he gave talks in Oakland, California in his home town of Waco, Texas in Dallas and to the first graduating class of Negro sailors from Great Lakes Naval Training Station, Chicago.

    The Pittsburgh Courier continued to hammer to return Miller for a war bond tour in the February 6, 1943 issue. The caption to Miller’s photo read, "He fought. Keeps Mop", while another hero of Pearl Harbor got a commission. It said that Miller was "too important waiting tables in the Pacific to return him", even though he was already on tour.

    Doris Miller reported for duty at Puget Sound Navy Yard on May 15, 1943. His rank was again raised to Officer’s Cook Third Class on June 1st (although some sources, including the Naval Historical Center's website erroneously identify him as a "ship's" cook), and he reported to USS Liscome Bay, an aircraft carrier. After training in Hawaii for the Gilbert Islands operation, the Liscome Bay participated in the Battle of Tarawa beginning November 20th. On November 24th, a single torpedo from Japanese submarine I-175 struck the escort carrier near the stern. The aircraft bomb magazine detonated a few moments later, sinking the warship within minutes. There were 242 survivors. The rest of the crew was listed as "presumed dead". On December 7, 1943, Mr. & Mrs. Connery Miller were notified their son was "Missing in Action."

    A memorial service was held on April 30, 1944, at the Waco, Texas, Second Baptist Church, sponsored by the Victory Club. On May 28, a granite marker was dedicated at Moore High School to honor Miller. On November 25, 1944, the Secretary of the Navy announced that Miller was "presumed dead."

    •USS Miller (FF-1091) a Knox-class frigate was commissioned on 30 June 1973 in honor of Miller.

    •The Doris Miller Foundation was founded 1947, to give an annual award to the individual or group considered outstanding in the field of race relations.

    •The Bachelor Enlisted Quarters at Great Lakes Naval Base was dedicated to Miller’s memory on 7 December 1971.

    •A monument dedicated to Miller is at the Waco Veterans Medical Center, Waco, Texas

    •Doris Miller Drive - located at the Waco Veterans Medical Center.

    •Dorie Miller Center - A former shopping center located in San Antonio, Texas.

    •Dorie Miller Elementary School - located in San Antonio, Texas.

    •Dorie Miller Elementary School - located in San Diego, California

    •Doris Miller Elementary School - located in Waco, Texas

    •Doris Miller Junior High School - located in San Marcos, Texas

    •Doris Miller Auditorium - located in Austin, TX

    •Doris Miller Community Center - A recreation facility located in Newport News, Virginia

    •Doris Miller Park - a housing community for junior officers located at Pearl Harbor



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