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Slightly off-topic post on WWII.

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fox
  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • From: Narvon, Pa.
Slightly off-topic post on WWII.
Posted by fox on Monday, April 22, 2019 3:12 PM

Over the years, I have told you all about my uncles who got me started in the hobby. One, Oliver, was a submariner and the other, Dartangan, was in the Merchant Marines. I could never show you pics of them for a few reasons. The Photobucket fiasco, computer problems, no camera and finally the old fart using the computer. 

Well, I've solved all the problems, I hope. Here are some pics of the two of them.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/mVPdjRDA6Gfnhbna7

I hope those of you who are knowledgeable in military uniforms will be able to help me with a few questions. Hope I did a decent job in copying the photos.

Photo #1 - Oliver, and me at the ripe old age of 4.                                                                        Any one know what rank the 2 stripes on his sleeve are for?                                                  Looks like a patch is on his upper left shoulder. Any ideas?                                          Looks like an emblem of some type also on the left arm above the                                stripes.

Photo #2 -  Left to right. Dartangan, my grandfather and Oliver.                                                                      Any ideas on Darts rank?

Photo #3 - Left to right. My dad and Oliver, in his whites. Me and my younger brother.                    Do the whites help in answering any of the questions?

Any help will be greatly appreciated. Not having any luck getting info from the family.

Thanks.

Jim  Captain                    

 Main WIP: 

   On the Bench:  Revell 1/96 USS Kearsarge - 70% 

I keep hitting "escape", but I'm still here.

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, April 22, 2019 4:06 PM

That's a service dress blue uniform on Oliver for an enlisted seaman. The stripes are piping, same as on the collar and around the flap in the back.

It's great you have those pictures, I hope they lived to ripe old ages. And that's a great first name, D'art.

  • Member since
    February, 2016
  • From: Western No. Carolina
Posted by gene1 on Monday, April 22, 2019 7:08 PM

 D'art, It is nice to have any pictures of your family that served. This is my brother who had 7 major battle stars from Guam, Saipan & Tinian thru the surrender with the Missouri in Tokyo Bay. He was on the Battleship Indiana.

   He has one silver & 2 bronze battle stars at barely 20. We talked about the Pacific war for years. My best friend had his landing craft blown out from under him on the first wave into Omaha Beach. He drove it & was only one of 3 that made the beach.  I liked the Air Force, but it was post war in the late 1940's. My dad was a WW1 Marine in France . I talked to him on that. 

      Keep all the things you have on your military relatives. I have all my dads discharge papers after WW1 & Ilost his sharpshooters medal when I was a little kid. I do have his Victory medal tho & his Marine hat emblem. My brother turned down a Purple Heart because he didn't want to worry mom.

   

fox
  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • From: Narvon, Pa.
Posted by fox on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 3:12 PM

Thanks GM! Appreciate the info. 

As soon as D'art was in his teens, he had his mother sew bullseyes with a dart hitting the center on all his shirts. He had it done until his mother passed. Then he had it done professionally. Personally, I think the ones his mother did were betterWink. She also monogramed all my hankerchiefs. I still have a few of them.

Jim  Captain

 Main WIP: 

   On the Bench:  Revell 1/96 USS Kearsarge - 70% 

I keep hitting "escape", but I'm still here.

  • Member since
    August, 2014
  • From: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Posted by goldhammer on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 3:26 PM

Sleeve patch would indicate what job was, ie. machinest mate, torpedoman, quartermaster, etc.  along with rank.  Would be nice to have a picture of that to more redily tell you what he did.

If you know what boat/boats he served on, could look up crew to find  rank and specialist rating.

fox
  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • From: Narvon, Pa.
Posted by fox on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 5:00 PM

The name of the sub is the main thing that I've been looking for.  All of the "official" sites give me the same answer. I have to be a direct decendant in order to get that info. They sent me forms to fill out that his sons could sign to give me permission to get it. They won't sign it. All I know is that it was a Gato class sub. He told me once while watching a sub movie that when they were diving and showed the sailor pulling and pushing the levers to blow ballast, that was his job. Don't know what the official title is.

He had scratch built a 3' model of the sub that was fantastic. He had engraved the nameplate with all types of info. I was about 15 at the time. When they moved to N.J., his wife tossed it in the trash. He didn't find out about it until he couldn't find it when unpacking. He was PI**** with a capital P. I had never seen him that mad before or after that. 

Hey!!!!!!!!!! You just gave me an idea. Can I look up the crews on all the Gatos? Is there a place to do that? Any idea how many Gatos there were?

Jim  Captain

 Main WIP: 

   On the Bench:  Revell 1/96 USS Kearsarge - 70% 

I keep hitting "escape", but I'm still here.

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 5:17 PM

There were 77 Gatos, according to Wikipedia. 20 were lost, but he could have well been on one of those.

  • Member since
    August, 2014
  • From: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Posted by goldhammer on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 5:41 PM

I know there is a WWII submarine service group, they usually had a float in our Veteran's Parade out here.  Might do a search and try hooking up with them.  Possible they would have more info on most of the boats and crews as they organized reunions and such.

Warshipguy might know how to get in touch with them.

 

**EDIT**  Was just poking around on wiki, two groups might be the best bet.

United States Submarine Veterans of World War II

United States Submarine Veterans, Inc.

According to wiki, as membership goes down in the first, many have also joined the second as it serves all timeframes of service.

fox
  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • From: Narvon, Pa.
Posted by fox on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 6:15 PM

Thanks a lot for the info guys. I really appreciate the help. You guys are fantastic.

I need a break from the museum work anyway so I'll get right on these leads. Will let you know what I find.

Jim  Captain

 Main WIP: 

   On the Bench:  Revell 1/96 USS Kearsarge - 70% 

I keep hitting "escape", but I'm still here.

fox
  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • From: Narvon, Pa.
Posted by fox on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 8:34 PM

Quick update. Found the listing of the 77 Gatos. Started a Spreadsheet to keep all the info I collect so I don't keep going back over the same ship. Listed all the dates of service and info on the ones that didn't come home and why. 

So far the only info on crews is their class photos they sent when going to their reunions but no listings of the members. Still working.

Thanks again for the help.

Jim  Captain

 Main WIP: 

   On the Bench:  Revell 1/96 USS Kearsarge - 70% 

I keep hitting "escape", but I'm still here.

  • Member since
    October, 2005
Posted by CG Bob on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 9:57 PM

You might try contacting the local chapter of the U.S. Sub Veterans, Inc; there might be someone who could access crew lists.  

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 10:02 PM

Another thing. There was a following class, Balao, which had 120 boats.

They are so similar that it's quite possible his boat was a Balao.

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by Surface_Line on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 10:29 PM

In Photo #1, Oliver has a single stripe around the seam of his left shoulder.
Early in my Navy days, an older salt told me about the "Seaman's stripe".  I haven't seen much documentation yet. 

But we see a discussion of that shoulder stripe at http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/296101-what-era-are-these-sailors/.  Also at http://uniform-reference.net/insignia/usn/usn_ww2_enlisted.html.  Keep in mind that most of the historical "information" on the web is written by fools like me (tip of the cap to poet Joyce Kilmer) and perhaps should not be taken as Gospel, but it looks correct in this case.

So since the stripe is on his left sleeve and it must be red, because the contrast is way different from the white marks, he must be a Fireman, rather than a Seaman.  And the badge on his lower left sleeve looks to me to be the mark for an Electrician's Mate.

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 10:53 PM

Jim, the photo of you and Ollie is pretty special.

His uniform is a part of our military history all the way back to the 19th Century.

Cracker Jack.

He must have been pretty proud to wear the blue uniform when he came home to visit the folks.

 

 

  • Member since
    February, 2016
  • From: Western No. Carolina
Posted by gene1 on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 12:35 PM

Fox, I just finished building 8 new subs & it got me intersted enoughto go on ebay & get the book  Shinano, by Capt. Joseph Enright. It is about a Balao class sub that sunk the giant Jap carrier Shinano. It was 72,000 tons & the biggest ship a sub ever sunk. It was on her maiden voyage too. It is a really interesting & non fiction. It is the most interesting WW2 book I have ever read & about a sub like Oliver's.

fox
  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • From: Narvon, Pa.
Posted by fox on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 1:35 PM

Thanks gene1. Sounds like my kind of reading material. As "Johnny 5" would say, "Input, Input".

Jim  Captain

 Main WIP: 

   On the Bench:  Revell 1/96 USS Kearsarge - 70% 

I keep hitting "escape", but I'm still here.

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 1:40 PM

The Shinano was the third hull built for a super battleship, after Musashi and Yamato. It was finished as an aircraft carrier and used to ferry okha bombs.

  • Member since
    November, 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Friday, April 26, 2019 7:17 PM

The fellow in the white hat is likely a Merchant Mariner, as the cap device is neither a CPO nor a Warrant Officer, and the leather chin strap is not used on USN officer covers.

At least, per the 1941-44 USN Uniform Regulations.

  • Member since
    July, 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Saturday, April 27, 2019 9:13 AM

CapnMac82

The fellow in the white hat is likely a Merchant Mariner, as the cap device is neither a CPO nor a Warrant Officer, and the leather chin strap is not used on USN officer covers.

At least, per the 1941-44 USN Uniform Regulations.

 

Yup, that’s what was said in the beginning of the original post. One was a USN submariner and the other was Merchant Marines.

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

fox
  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • From: Narvon, Pa.
Posted by fox on Saturday, April 27, 2019 4:00 PM

CapnMac - Thanks for the info. Over the years, I have heard many stories from the relatives about my uncles. Whether they are true or not is the question. A lot of the info that I am getting from the members of the Forum has helped me get some things straight. I saw Oliver a lot growing up but he only told me a few things which I'm trying to get straightened out. D'art on the other hand never told anyone anything. He wouldn't talk about it. My mother told me a few things about him that I would like to believe but I don't think there is a way to prove them. I talk to his son but he doesn't know much about his fathers time in the service. He thinks that D'art was on a couple of destroyers but he's not sure. Mom says he was on freighters going back and forth across the Atlantic. I'll work on him next. I want to get all I can about Oliver first so I can build a model of his sub for his grandson. I've started on the basic hull and odds and ends. I'll put in the details when (and if) I find out what sub he was on. If he was on more than 1, I'll just pick one.

Jim  Captain 

 Main WIP: 

   On the Bench:  Revell 1/96 USS Kearsarge - 70% 

I keep hitting "escape", but I'm still here.

  • Member since
    November, 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Saturday, April 27, 2019 10:18 PM

The Merchant Marine was between a rock and a hard place.

Their jobs were strategic, so you needed all sorts of special permission to change careers. 

You were at sea, but not actually allowed to go shoot at anything (unless part of the Armed guard).  You just lowed through the water, 24/7 at 8 or 10 knots never knowing if a submarine or a dive bomber is going to ruin your whole day.

Your pay as frozen by the War Profiteering Act; and you had to wait on the shiupping company and the uniion to move you up a pay grade.

Tough sledding by any measure.

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Saturday, April 27, 2019 10:42 PM

I just think that Service Dress Blue Enlisted uniform is a real classic. It looks to have two piping stripes on the cuffs, three were not standard until after the war. It had the button front flap and belled trousers. The jumper had the great flap on the back with piping and two stars.

If you could find that thing it would be something. It probably got tossed with the sub model.

And the flat cap is no longer in the picture. Dress Blue now includes the white cap.

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