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DE-703 Ship's Log- fire aboard the SS HOWARD L. GIBSON
14 Oct 1944
Refer to file DE-575/A12-1/A4-3
14 October, 1944
0645: USS CRONIN DE-704 proceeding to rear of convoy to refuel. All escorts except USS SAMPSON DD-394 and USS HOLTON DE-703 shifted over one station to port.
0800: Position 33-48 N 23-56 W
0812: USS CRONIN completed fueling; USS FRYBARGER DE-705 proceeding to fuel; all other escorts except USS SAMPSON and USS HOLTON shifted station to port.
0930: USS FRYBARGER completed refueling. USS EARL V. JOHNSON DE-702 proceeding to refuel. All other escorts except USS SAMPSON and USS HOLTON shifted over one station to port. Our position now #4.
1049: USS JOHNSON completed refueling. USS PARLE DE-708 proceeding to refuel. All escorts except USS SAMPSON and USS HOLTON shifted one station to port.
1200: Position 33-57 N 23-12 W
1220: USS PARLE completed refueling. Proceeding back to stern of convoy.
1258: Commenced receiving fuel from USS CHEMUNG.
1334: Completed fueling. Returning to station. USS HOLTON proceeding to refuel.
1409: On station #5, 5500 yards from convoy, bearing 090 degrees relative from leading ship in starboard column.
1937: Observed what appeared to be explosion in rear. Streamed "Foxer" gear and prepared for submarine attack. Turned to starboard. Increased speed to 24-knots.
1939: On orders of ComTaskForce-63 commenced carrying out operation "Bingo" FTP-223.
1941: Observed two ships on fire and apparently burning from stem to stern. USS HOLTON reported one tanker and one Liberty ship on fire.
1945: USS HOLTON reported that the ships collided and that the fire was definitely not due to submarine action.
1952: Maneuvering 800-yards from burning tanker searching with all lights for survivors. Tanker has large hole in port quarter and fires are burning on deck from bridge al lthe way aft. Liberty ship is about 3000-yards, bearing 090 degrees True from Tanker, apparently on fire all forward of bridge. USS HOLTON searching for survivors there. USS CRONIN searching on port bow of tanker for survivors.
1953: Liberty ship identified as SSHOWARD L. GIBSON, ship # 114 in convoy, carrying general cargo. J.G.M.Grant, Master, bound for Karachi and Bombay.
1955: Commander Escort Division Sixty and USS HOLTON directed by ComTaskForce-63 to stay to conduct rescue. USS CRONIN directed to rejoin.
2000: Position 34-02 N 21-32 W. USS CRONIN having survivors close aboard asked CTF-63 permission to delay in rejoining to pick up men. Permission granted.
2001: USS HOLTON putting water aboard SS HOWARD L. GIBSON.
2002: Sighted lifeboat full of survivors, bearing 045 degrees True, distance 1000-yards. Proceeding to rescue. Commenced taking in "Foxer" gear. Ordered by CTF-63 to stay and conduct salvage operations with USS HOLTON.
2011: USS HOLTON reports that to his knowledge all hands on SS HOWARD L. GIBSON are safe and that they are not abandoning ship.
2014: USS HOLTON reports that SS HOWARD L. GIBSON rammed the tanker.
2016: Picked up 23 survivors of the British MTK GEORGE W. MC KNIGHT, ship # 126 in convoy but numbered # 124 at beginning of voyage, carrying 100-octane gasoline and planes, bound for Algeirs. R.E. Hopkins, Master, and four officers in the group. Complement of MTK MC KNIGHT 52 officers and crew.
2020: Set speed at 8-knots. Searching area for more survivors.
2026: Investigated burning life raft. No survivors.
2028: Investigated life raft. No survivors.
2030: CTF-63 ordered ComCortDive-60 to stand by and assist also to order salvage tug from Flag Officer, Gibraltar and Mediterranean approaches or Azores.
2033: Investigating burning boar. No survivors.
2044: USS CRONIN (DE-704) picking up survivors.
2052: USS HOLTON (DE-703) picking up survivors.
2056: Circled MTK MC KNIGHT close aboard and investigated half sunk boat. No survivors.
2102: Proceeding as directed by USS HOLTON to investigate life raft.
2116: Reported to CTF-63 that none of our survivors needed medical attention.
2124: Investigated life raft seen by USS HOLTON. No survivors.
2126: Searching in area ahead of tanker as directed by USS CRONIN.
2129: USS CRONIN reports twenty-two (22) survivors of MTK MC KNIGHT aboard, three (3) dead seen in water.
Accessed from http://www.overmyer.com/wardiary_2.htm on May 17, 2004.
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