a young sailor just getting to England was a chore, with the U-boats, bad weather,
we lost all Life Boats, Rafts, had to return to East Coast landing in St Johns
Newfoundland for repairs, and replacement of lost rafts, life boats, repairing
damaged gun tubs, hull damage, propeller repair. As one blade of a 5 bladed propeller
had broke off the tip, Divers cut other 4 blades to same length, gave us slower
speed, no vibration. This damage repair took 3 weeks, we were then sent to sea,
and a new convoy landed at King George IV Dock, Millwall Dock part of London,(we
were 87 days out of New York, NY.) with a LCT in 3 pieces. While it was being
assembled I lived in a Seamans Hostel, with the Blitz going on nightly. At night
as the German aircraft dropped bombs on the area,we were instructed to go to the
Bomb Shelters, here we met the people that had been going thru this type of bombing
nightly for years. We seen lots of London flattened, but they still believed in
the end it would turn out better for all. All ships would fire as well as guns
thru out the city.
One day we had the LCT(6)
546 assembled, supplied, Myself and 2 crew members moved aboard. Commanding Officer
Jerome T. Landsberger Ensign USNR, arrived with the rest of our crew, we were
ordered to move vessel to Dartmouth England. This done, we did a few practice
landings, later was moved to Portland-Weymouth Harbor loaded with Army vehicles
and men. As the German aircraft flew over head dropping bombs and mines in to
the harbor, we knew our time to leave was close.
0300 (3 am) on June 5th, we started engines and moved out of the harbor, weather
was real bad, it was a bad day, high seas, impossible to steer these flat bottom,
over loaded vessels. We were instructed to return to harbor. Lots of ship had
problems getting turned around, we returned to harbor anchored, all during this
time the Minesweeper ships were clearing harbor of floating mines.
morning we started the engines at 0300 (3am), and with others departed the harbor,
sea was calmer, we ran up the English Channel made our turn and headed for France.
Our landing area was Omaha (red) Beach, Normandy France, by now every one knew
this was going to be a tough day. We wanted to land, others wanted us kept off
the beach. We were to be in 6th wave, but ended up earlier. We needed to get in
to spot where we could off load vehicles, we moved over, the German 88 fired over
us, small arms fire was sweeping our bow, one vehicle got off , but couldn't make
it to the beach, raised the ramp to waters edge, retracted to make a better landing. Noticed
several wounded men in water, CO, moved us over closer to the men in the water.
I was instructed to lower ramp more, then myself and John E. Foulk went down the
ramp, pulled the men we could reach on to the ramp, Army men aboard pulled wounded
aboard for what little medical we could give. We had collected 20 bodys. After
off loading Army men and gear, we went to Hospital Ship for our off loading of
wounded.. Then we did our job of off loading all the supplies and moving them
to the beach, we ran day and night, till the storm hit. We had damage , we lost
our ramp, we found a small river with several damaged LCT's, we removed a ramp
with the help of the Army, crane and men, we were back at work hauling supplies.
The ship break water was installed, made of cement ships and old ships sunk to
form a harbor for us. Some of us at later date got to make trip to Paris..
In November I returned to USA, then
was sent to Pacific, made invasion of Okinawa, seen several islands, then sent
to Leyte, Philippines.. Served aboard LCT (6) 546 in Europe, LST 284, LCI (G)
346 in Pacific. I was Regular Navy, after war decided I needed a change, took
discharge from US Navy, one day, joined U.S.Coast Guard the next, stayed in service
served 23 1/2 years and retire. Senior Chief Engineman..