April 1945

April 1, 1945 – Sunday.  APRIL FOOLS!  Thats what I think anyway.  Things continue on and I am sick again.  On Monday I went back to the dispensary, but I was back in time to meet the pay master, make no mistake! On Tuesday food supplies were brought aboard.

April 4-5, 1945 – Wednesday to Thursday.  At 3:45 am this morning we took aboard 1 navy officer, 2 army officers and one US Navy Prisoner,  a seaman 1st class by the name of Elmo Dill, with orders for transshipment to the USS Celeno at Purvis Bay, Florida Island.  Purvis Bay is about 70 miles due East of the Russell Islands, very near the place where I first came aboard ship at Hutichison Creek.  We arrived there about 10 am and we were moored to our sister ship LCI(L)223 throughout the day.  While we awaited further orders we changed the water in all the life raft kegs.  Just before 6pm we brought aboard 2 US Army Officers, 1 New Zealand Air Force Officer, and 81 NZAAP Personnel, New Zealand Casuals, for transport to Guadalcanal the following day. On Thursday, at 6am we pulled out of Purvis Bay, crossed Iron Bottom Sound, and beached our passengers at Kukum beach by 8am. At mid morning we brought supplies and material aboard for the General Stores Keeper.  We remained at Kukum beach the remainder of the day retracting 10 feet off the beach at 1 pm to allow for ebbing tide.

April 6, 1945 – Friday.  GUADALCANAL TO ESPIRITU SANTO.  We received orders today to proceed some 600 miles Southeast to the Vanuatu Islands, specifically to Espiritu Santo Island.

Map of Espiritu Santo, Vaunatu Islands

While enroute the first day PC599 lost its main engines.  We stood by while LCI(L)223 took PC588 in tow.  At 1:18 am the following morning PC588 broke loose of LCI223 and so we waited at sea for a tugboat to arrive from Guadalcanal. The PC588 is a submarine chaser very similar in size to an LCI.

USS PC588 Submarine Chaser looses her engines enroute to Espiritu Santo

Through the entire day we remained a drift keeping watch over PC588. Finally at 9:45 pm a tug arrived from Guadalcanal and took 588 in tow back to port, then we continued on to Espiritu Santo.

April 10, 1945 –  TIE TO BUOY, SEGUND CHANNEL, ESPIRITU SANTO, NEW HEBRIDES. We got vaccinated today, receiving 1cc of the ‘plague vaccine’, 1cc of the Typhus vaccine, and 1cc of the Cholera vaccine.

Click on this link to see a video of life on Espiritu Santo Island during World War II

I wrote a letter home with a bunch of blather and chit chat as I can’t say anything to anyone about where we are or what we are doing.  I have been in the service now for 11 months and I can take leave after 18 months so I am considering going home and painting and shingling the house as it needs it real bad.

Letter home 4.10.1945 - Click on the letter to read it

April 11 – 14, 1945 – Wednesday to Saturday. ESPIRITU SANTO TO GUADALCANAL.  Today we D.D. Downing MoMM1c reported aboard.  He is in charge of a U.S. Navy Draft of 40 men.  Also one officer and 80 of NZAAF reported aboard for transportation to Guadalcanal.  We set course and sailed without incident to Kukum Beach on Guadalcanal arriving four days later on Saturday morning.  We unloaded our 40 navy enlisted men there. At 2:00 pm we took on an additional 113 men and 1 officer of Charlie Draft Royal New Zealand Air Force for transport to Bougainville.  We got underway at 6pm bound for Bougainville.

April 15-17, 1945 – Sunday to Tuesday.  AT SEA BOUND FOR BOUGAINVILE AND BACK.  We arrived in Bougainville at 11:00 am Monday morning and all men of the Royal New Zealand Air Force went ashore.  After lunch we received our third course of the Typhus vaccine. I hate shots.  At 5:30 we got orders to return to Russell Islands and so we embarked.  We remained enroute all day Tuesday and utill early Wednesday morning when we anchored again in Renard Sound.

April 18, 1945 -Wednesday. IN PORT, RENARD SOUND, RUSSELL ISLANDS. I wrote a letter home today, telling my mother how easy my life is compared to those guys who are still fighting the Japs down in the Hebrides where we were the other day.  A guy took us up to where we could see the front lines and we saw how much better it is to have a paper and pencil job, a clean bed, and good food every day.  My sister is engaged now to be married and she doesn’t write me as much as she used to.  There was a lot of mail waiting for me when we got back to port.  I wrote to everyone and started with this letter to mother.

Letter Home 4.18.1945 - One of my 'funnier' letters home depicting my life aboard ship

April 19, 1945 – Thursday.  R.H. Baskin, Seaman 1st Class, left the ship for dental work this morning.  Machinery spares were brought aboard in addition to 1 diesel main engine, 1 anchor, and 1 propellor assembly. They loaded the diesel engine with a pontoon barge that has crane on it.  They dropped it down into the well deck. A little later in the day the brought aboard 2000 rounds of 45 caliber carbines, 3000 rounds of 30 caliber, and 1,590 rounds of 50 caliber ammunition. That was about all the excitement we had for the day.

April 20, 1945 – Friday.  MOORED LCRB#2, RENARD SOUND, RUSSELL ISLANDS.  The POF engine was replaced today.  A pontoon barge came and removed the old engine.  LCI332 is moored to our starboard side and PC1600 to our port side.

April 21-23, 1945 – Saturday to Monday.   MOORED LCRB#2, RENARD SOUND, RUSSELL ISLANDS.  Stephen Podolak, Seaman 2nd class left the ship for Fleet Hoptial #110 first thing this morning.  He was back by 2:30 in the afternoon.  On Sunday R.J Tobey, Seaman 1st Class also visited sick bay and returned. LCI332 pulled away from or starboard side and was off to an assignment.  APc34 replaced her. They pulled out on Monday first thing.  Monday afternoon Ship Service supplies were brought aboard and SC1266 came along our starboard side.  Love those sub chasers!

April 24, 1945 – Tuesday.  MOORED LCRB#2, RENARD SOUND, RUSSELL ISLANDS.  Today Nelson W. Allen, Coxswain, left ship for sick bay and returned shortly afterwards, then the next day he went into the hospital.  I found a few quiet minutes to write a letter home to mother and I told her that I was shipping home the small model canoes that I bought on Santa Isabel.

Letter Home 4/24/1945 - Click on the letter to read its entirety

April 25-27, 1945 – Wednesday to Friday.Thursday we took on fresh water supplies, 3,798 gallons and the Paymaster from LCRB#2 came aboard. We also had the radar technician come aboard to make some adjustments to the radar.  In the afternoon we pulled up next to the fuel barge and took on fuel in preparation for our next mission.  We received a total of 21,788 gallons, which is the most we have every taken on as I recall.   On Friday Ensign D.D. Diers (D) Returned aboard and resumed regular duties having completed temporary duty at U.S. Naval Fleet Hosptial #110.

April 29, 1945 – Saturday.  Being the end of the month several of the fellows got transferred off the ship.  R.E. Garrett, Yeoman 3rd class and D.P. Schumacher, Yeoman 3rd class both reporte aboard LCI Flotilla Six Staff for passage to Guam.  I wish them luck.  The fighting is pretty much over in the Marianas, or at least in Guam by now.  Most of the heavy lifting up there was done last July by the marines.  As always, there are some Jap holdouts here and there but those islands are mostly back in allied hands. At 10pm tonight we got a surprise of our own.  Commander H.V. Milton, 604460 USNR, LCI(L) Group Fifteen Commander came aboard for passage to Guam.  Milton is over LCI Group 15 of which LCI222 is leader.  He commands 8 LCIs at the moment.

April 30, 1945 – Monday. RUSSELL ISLANDS TO FLORIDA ISLANDS.  At 5:50 am we retracted from the beach out of Renard Sound, Russell Islands enroute to Tulagi, Florida Islands in company with LCI’s 330, 223, 332, 327, 329, 336 and 549.  While enroute, just before noon, our power steering failed and we shifted to emergency hand steering.  Within 30 minutes the steering was repaired and restored.  At 1:00 pm we moored along side the dock at Green Beach, where we remained for the rest of the day.