World War II Diary of Private Louis V. Hester Copyright Karen E. Hester and Raymond Scott Mullin
Editor: What follows is a transcription of a wartime diary of Private Louis V. Hester. a New Yorker, who served with the 198th Coast Artillery, Delaware National Guard. He sailed on the U.S.S. Arthur Middleton to Bora Bora, in the Society Islands. A scanned PDF copy of this diary is in the collection of the Delaware Military Heritage and Education Foundation, Inc., courtesy of Hester’s wife Karen E. Hester and son-in-law Raymond Scott Mullin who made the scans from the original document. I have tried to be faithful to the order and sequence with which Louis Hester recorded his experiences. The original diary is a five year ”comparative diary” with space for five entries on each page for the same date. This can be confusing as the storyline is discontinuous with entries fro several years on the same leaf. For this reason, I have elected to present it in sequential fashion instead. At the end of each month is a MEMORANDA section where Hester often takes the opportunity to summarize, and he also has made numerous notes in the end pieces of the ledger listing personal addresses, and bank account information which I have not included in this transcription. Other writings were included however, but I have moved them from there original position at the end and placed them into the appropriate timeline of the narrative for example a description of Stirling Island in 1943 was moved to the 1943 chronololgy. The diary covers the years 1941-1945 and is presented here in three web pages titled Hester Diary 1942, Hester Diary 1943, and Hester Diary 1944-1945.
Hester was a fine writer who wrote in brief telegraphic sentences. His grammar, syntax and spelling were for the most part excellent. I have, on a few occasions altered or corrected his spelling, particularly on geographic place names, and period conventions such as changing “to-day” to “today”. His capitalization was inconsistent and so I have on occasion altered the original text in that regard as well. Hester wrote in a legible hand for the most part, but there were several instances which were a challenge to decipher. For graphologists it is interesting to see his handwriting slant gradually change from a righthand slant, to a vertical, to a backslant with the passing of the years, presumably reflecting his state of mind. And occasionally, he resorts to a very deliberate and fancy print style for events of importance.
Hester was overseas for three and a half years – a long time to be away from home. He was paid the sum of $64.80 per month.
This journal is the most complete and detailed account of the 198th C.A. which has survived, to the best of my knowledge. Capt. Ervan Kushner, the Regimental Intelligence Officer, also kept a detailed diary which he later turned into a book entitled “Bogged Down in Bora Bora” which must stand as the definitive account of the experience of the 198th. The Diary which he based it upon is not in our collections however.
The reader may find Hester’s account to be relentlessly repetitive and even tedious in its narrative. This is unavoidable because his record of service reveals the tedium, boredom, and discomfort that was his lot and the experience of many other soldiers in that time and place. It is worth perusing because of that very fact. The account of daily garrison routines is often interrupted by an occasional small insight or a startling new revelation. His story is the story of a common “dogface” foot soldier. As one reads this journal one comes to know Lou Hester in a way. While transcribing it, I nearly was able to complete his sentences before even reading them, after awhile. It is the story of a hard working soldier who sacrificed a great deal in the service of his country, and his human reaction to what he saw and experienced. He endured a lot of hardship, and disappointment, but had his share of small victories, taking pride in his marksmanship and his photography and card playing pastimes. The reader would do well to share that experience, if only to read about it.
Kennard Wiggins, July 2012
A Summary of Hester’s Military Career:
Enters U.S. Army April 14, 1941 • 20 FEB 1942- arrives Bora Bora on USS Middleton • 16 FEB 1943- departs Bora Bora on USS Henry T. Ellen • 28 FEB 1943- lands on Efate, New Hebrides • 18 MAR 1943- moves to Coyne Hill, Efate • 15 OCT 1943- departs for Guadalcanal • 18 OCT 1943- arrives Guadalcanal • 08 NOV 1943- leaves for Treasury Islands • 10 NOV 1943- lands on Mono Island in Treasury Group • NOV 1943- moves to Sterling Island, Treasury Group • 21 MAY 1945- leaves for Bougainville, en route to Fitchhaven, New Guinea, rejoins 945th • 09 JULY 1945- leaves for Leyte on “President Hayes” • 15 JULY 1945- lands on Leyte • 12 AUG 1945- Begins voyage home Honorably Discharged October 10, 1945 at rank of Corporal
Louis Vincent Hester identifies himself at 208 Clarence Avenue, Syracuse N.Y., residence of Mrs. Louis Hester. Weight 152, height 5”9”, brown eyes, brown hair, Hat size, 7 1/8, pants 32-31, shirt 14 ½ - 32 or 33. He is a member of the Painters and Decorators of America Union.
Entered service on April 14, 1941, serving with Battery “H”, 198th Coast Artillery (Anti-Aircraft) He was honorably discharged on October 10, 1945 at the rank of Corporal.
April 14, 1941 Inducted April 14, 1941 at Yates Hotel. Sent to Fort Niagara N.Y. Went to Fort Eustis Virginia training center. Sent to the 198th Coast Artillery (AA) at Camp Edwards Mass. Moved to Fort Ontario NY, sent to Philadelphia for 10 days maneuvers. At outbreak of war went to Hartford Conn. Were shipped to O.D.& R. overseas center at Charleston S.C. Embarked on the U.S.S. Middleton and sent to Bora Bora, an island in the Society island group.
Christmas 1941 Hartford Conn. Had my dinner with three other fellows at a Chinese restaurant (of all places). It was a nine course affair with turkey as the main dish. We had a quart and a half of liquor and drank it all during the meal. One fellow, unused to it was taken to his lodging by my buddy. The former could hardly stand up. The two of them tried to out drink the other. The remaining fellow and I went to a show but was too drunk to enjoy it. It was an enjoyable day considering.
January 1, 1942 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was bombed from the air by the Japanese on December 7, 1941. It was a surprise attack and as a result 3000 U.S. soldiers and sailors died. The battleships Utah and Wyoming as well as other naval craft were sunk. I was at Fort Ontario at that time and on a weekend leave. We left Ontario in convoy with full equipment. It was a cold trip all the way and we were half frozen when we arrived. The first couple of days we were quartered in a hanger of the Pratt & Whitney Company. It was warm even though we had to sleep on a concrete floor. We then moved to a former tobacco house. It was dusty and we were packed in like rats. Later on our platoon moved into tents next to our guns which were located next to the parking lot at Pratt & Whitney. Each tent had a small wood stove and a pile of wood. We had steel beds and mattresses. There were six in our tent. We had a cold location as it was open space next to a landing field. At night we would fill the stove with wood till it got red hot and then go to bed. When the pipe clogged up with soot we would have to put on our gas masks because the smoke got so dense. We had to climb to the top of the tent on the outside and tap the spark deflector to stop the smoking. The weather was below zero at times but we didn’t mind it much. It was really good sleeping in the tents. They were better than the warehouse. We took our showers at a fire station a block away. It was quite convenient. The people of Hartford were swell to us. We were invited to dinner many times and went to one with a friend of mine. We hardly ever ate chow in our kitchen, but went to diners and restaurants. Pratt and Whitney gave us a turkey dinner and entertainment in their cafeteria. It was a delicious meal.
We were really enjoying ourselves when we had to leave. All of our guns and equipment were put on a train and on the 17th of January we were shipped to Charleston S.C. The name of the camp was O.D. &R. (Overseas discharge and replacement camp). It was a few miles from Charleston. We were there for ten days. I went to Charleston a few times. It wasn’t much of a city. One main street flanked by negro sections. Half of the city must have been black. I met a girl in North Charleston and went to see her a few times. They were nice people and it broke the monotony of the camp. I didn’t have much money because we didn’t get paid. It’s tough without money when you go to town. All you can do is wander around and wish. I was on detail at the docks for a few days. They were loading our ships. A huge Quartermaster depot was being constructed at the time and the place was under military law.
We left for the boat around 8 P.M. One barracks bag preceded us and we had to take the other one with us as our side arms, rifle, knapsack and helmet, (I didn’t have the latter at the time). Our trip was by bus and after a two hour wait at the camp, we got on the buses. It was crowded with all the stuff we carried. When we arrived at the dock, our other bags were in a warehouse, in long lines, thousands of them. We were there until three o’clock in the morning waiting to go aboard.
At last we went up the gangplank and were assigned to quarters in the hold. Two flights down. The passageways were narrow and I thought I was in a dungeon. The goddamn place made me sick. Four bunks high, lines of them, and no room to move around. It looked like hell, and the voyage was HELL!
January 27, 1942 We went aboard ship at 3:45 A.M. Tuesday morning. Were assigned to quarters. It’s really cramped. The boat is the “U.S.S. Arthur Middleton”, formerly the “African Comet”.
January 28, 1942 I haven’t got seasick yet. A lot are getting it though. There are plenty of fellows with heads over the rail. No one allowed on deck after sundown (blackout).
January 29, 1942 Saw some flying fish today. Navy fired 3 & 4 inch guns on boats. We have salt water showers and can’t lather soap. It’s really hot on this boat.
January 30, 1942 We are in a sub zone. Saw some tankers pass the convoy. Two destroyers left the convoy to chase subs. It’s almost impossible to sleep below deck.
January 31, 1942 Saw the lights of Miami Florida. It rained a little today. It’s still hot as hell and I guess it will stay that way. We are going closer to the equator.
February 1, 1942 We haven’t been paid yet. I don’t know if they will pay us on the boat. No sight of land. Food is lousy. The mess hall is scorching.
February 2, 1942 Had first fresh water shower since start of the trip. Sighted Panama at 12:45 P.M. It’s beautiful. Loaded at Cristobel. Passed through the locks and lake to Balboa Panama.
The Panama Canal (1942) It’s a sight you will never forget. At first sight you can see a long mountain range. It is the start of the Andes mountains that cover the western part of South America. To the southeast are huge mountains and on the other side is South America.
The Atlantic entrance to the canal is a picture in color. The name of the city is Christobal. On the Atlantic side are three locks. On the Pacific side are two sets.
Just before the ship reaches the locks electric cars on each side of the canal pull the ship, by means of cables, into the lock. When the ship gets in the doors of the lock close and water is pumped into it. At first the ship is below the level of the land by about 75’ and in awhile it is nearly level with it. It’s a funny sensation. From down to up.
The locks on the Atlantic side are called Gatun Locks. Between both ends of the canal the water is fresh as there is a fresh water lake in the Canal. High hills rise on both sides and there are many guns, well hidden among them. On the Pacific side is Panama City, the gateway to the Pacific.
The shortest distance between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and a great feat of engineering –the Panama Canal.
February 3, 1942 Left Balboa at 10:30 A.M. and started the second half of our voyage. The ocean is a deep green. There are 2,800 men aboard this ship. A crowd.
February 4, 1942 Up at 7:30 A.M. Had chow- too hot to eat. Hot as hell below deck. Signed payroll. Lifeboat drill at 10: 30 A.M. Supper not bad. Went to bed around 11P.M. Still hot as Hell.
February 5, 1942 Up at 7:30 A.M. Chow. Damn that galley. Life boat drill at 10:30A.M. Went on guard duty at 2:30 P.M. Evening chow lousy. Got paid $5.00 and played cards for first time.
February 6, 1942 On guard today until 3 P.M. It rained and I played cards most of the day. Had drill and more lousy chow.
February 7, 1942 Up at 7 A.M. Had exercises. We will have it every morning. Life boat drill at 10:30 A.M. Played cards all day. Is this ship hot! I sweat all day and night. Losing weight.
February 8, 1942 Up at 7 A. M. We passed the equator. They stuck my head in a barrel and squirted soap in my mouth. Went through a line of paddles. We were initiated into the Royal Order of Neptune.
February 9, 1942 Up at 7 A.M. Ate, exercised and boat drill. The alarm was sounded and guns were ready for action. The destroyer escort circled the convoy. It could have been a sub.
February 10, 1942 They caught six men stealing beer rations and fruit juice in the hold today. They are in the brig. We had our share of the stuff but were fortunate.
February 11, 1942 They told us our destination today. Bora Bora, an island in the Society group. It’s six miles long and two miles wide and under free French control.
February 12, 1942 Up, chow, drill. The same story every day. It gets on ones nerves at times. We would all be dead if we had to go to Australia on this boat.
February 13, 1942 Got up at 7 A.M. –Calisthenics. Ate a lousy meal. Had lifeboat drill at 10:30 A. M. Drinking water lousy. Evening chow N.G. Quarters hot as hell. Smooth sailing.
February 14, 1942 Chow N.G. this morning. Lifeboat drill again at 10:30 A. M. Water is awful. It reminds me of a slave ship. We live in the hold like rats. Weather good. Oh, for land.
February 15, 1942 Got up at 7 A.M. and exercised. Boat drill at 10:30 A. M. Scorching below decks. Saw a couple of seagulls. A sign of land. Let me off of here.
February 16, 1942 They started to clear the decks to unload the boat. They read the articles of war. Saw some more sea gulls today. Land must be near now.
February 17, 1942 Sighted land. Circled the island and came in the channel. The island looks beautiful. The ship dropped anchor. Natives came out in boats to great us.
February 18, 1942 The second day and no sign of landing. Native boats are all around the ship. They are diving for coins and bartering. The Md’s went ashore to inspect.
February 19, 1942 We have our equipment ready to land. I hope it is today. Anything to get off this boat. Land really looks good. We are going ashore for sure tomorrow.
February 20, 1942 We landed at 10:30 A. M. after 25 days at sea. We got out of the boat in hip deep water. Struck shelter halves in a clearing and made camp. Eating canned rations.
February 21, 1942 Rained hard today. Got six cans of rations. Two for each meal. Found a spring. Stopped at a Chinese store on island. They didn’t sell much.
February 22, 1942 Put guns in position. Rained most of the day. It’s the rainy season. Had coconut milk. Out platoon is in a new area. Got soaked today.
February 23, 1942 I went up on the hill today and got a few lemons and other fruit. None of it tasted any too good.
February 24, 1942 We employed the first gun today. Went to bed early and so ended the day.
February 25, 1942 We put up our pyramidal tents today. Denny and I climbed the hill to get some water melons. We got stung by bees – no melons.
February 26, 1942 Slept all morning and worked in the afternoon policing around the tent and put sand on the ground inside the hut.
February 27, 1942 Still eating can rations. There is one can of beans, one hash and one vegetable hash. The other three contain crackers, sugar, coffee, and fudge.
February 28, 1942 Ate can of rations for breakfast. We got the other gun set up today. Had another can of rations for supper. It could be worse.
MEMORANDA (between pages for February and March)
Bora Bora On the 17th of Feb. we first sighted land. At first it appeared to be a cloud on the3 horizon. As we drew nearer, it looked like a huge mountain rising out of the ocean. It was an awesome sight. From a closer distance the island appeared to be a black mass of rock with two mountains. Low hanging clouds hid the top of one from view.
As we came nearer it began to take on color. There were a great many coconut trees. They were all along the beach, and along the ridge of the hills. The rest was a tropical green growth. The island was surrounded except for the entrance, by a coral reef. The ocean beat against the reef causing white foam and the water was a light green color.
The channel we entered was just wide enough to admit a ship with enough room to spare. It wasn’t long before we were in the harbor. The water was smooth and a deep green in color. The island really looked beautiful now- A tropical paradise.
The ship dropped anchor and we were officially at our destination – Bora Bora.
The Defense of Bora Bora (1942) Nature itself has given the island a good deal of protection from attack by sea. The island is surrounded by a coral reef except for the channel opening. An attack by sea for the purpose of a landing is almost impossible except for breaking through the channel which is mined.
On the channel side of the island 37mm antiaircraft guns and anti-tank guns stretch from Vitapi to the Navy base. This covers half the island. The other side of the island is defended by the three inch anti- aircraft guns and also thirty caliber machine gun nests.
Seven inch naval guns guard the island against an attack by sea. Seven of these guns are mounted on the hills at vantage points around the island. They have and effective range of approx. fifteen miles. Searchlights are also set up at various points along the hills. They are protected from low-flying planes by fifty caliber machine guns.
At other points are sound detectors that can pick up the sound of a plane and ship at a radius of one hundred miles.
The Naval airbase has eight Vought Sikorsky observation and scout seaplanes. They can carry a depth charge or small bombs against attack by ship or sub.
The total strength of the island is approx. five thousand men.
March 1, 1942 I went on guard from 2 to 8 P.M. and had the morning off. Still eating can goods. They aren’t so bad.
March 2, 1942 Worked on the road this morning and got paid this afternoon. Had to work unloading the boat till 8 P. M.
March 3, 1942 We had our first battery mess today after 12 days of canned rations. Worked all day unloading ammunition and worked from 6 P.M. till 8 P.M.
March 4, 1942 An attack was expected today. We have to carry side arms and rifles to and from details. Worked after supper and went to bed.
March 5, 1942 Worked all morning and went on guard at 2 P.M. and came off at 8 P. M. It looks like rain tonight.
March 6, 1942 Unloaded T.N.T. and shells. Those shells are really heavy. Played cards in the evening.
March 7, 1942 No work today. Played cards most of the day. We were issued those African sun helmets.
March 8, 1942 Worked around the Platoon area all day. I sent a $70.00 check home. I got paid, gambled and won.
March 9, 1942 No work today. Went on gun guard at 3 P.M. till 6 P. M. Went on guard again after chow. I got off at midnight. It rained for awhile today.
March 10, 1942 Worked on the road doing repair work.
March 11, 1942 Went on the road detail again today. It rained some – not much.
March 12, 1942 Worked on the pier all day. Played cards in the evening. We use a flashlight to see with.
March 13, 1942 Worked at the pier until dark. Went to bed early.
March 14, 1942 Stayed on the gun all day. We had an alert call at 11:30 P.M. that got me out of bed. They thought a sub was sighted. It was a false alarm.
March 15, 1942 Had to help the Navy move goods to their store hut. It rained hard today. My dinner in the open was ruined as a result.
March 16, 1942 Unloaded cement and lumber at the pier.
March 17, 1942 Unloaded cement and lumber all day. There are thousands of bags of cement. It’s hard work.
March 18, 1942 Worked on the pier unloading cement and lumber.
March 19, 1942 Worked on the road all day. It rained all day and everything got wet and muddy. Gave my wash to a native to launder.
March 20, 1942 Unloaded cement and lumber at the pier today. It rained a little. Not enough to make us stop working.
March 21, 1942 Worked at pier unloading cement. A destroyer, cruiser, and a hospital ship came in. We thought the latter was the mail boat, but it wasn’t. The warships left later.
March 22, 1942 Worked on the road filling in. The hospital ship left in the morning. The U.S.S. Middleton also left after being here 34 days.
March 23, 1942 Worked on the pier all day. It rained a little. A ship came in but went out as soon as it finished refueling.
March 24, 1942 Worked on the road all day. We thought the mail ship would come in today but it didn’t . That’s the only thing we want to see.
March 25, 1942 Went on guard today. Seven transports came into the harbor loaded with troops and supplies. They are probably bound for Australia. No mail.
March 26, 1942 Spent all day repairing road. It’s full of ruts as a result of the rains. No mail. All the transports left this morning after refueling. They are going to Australia.
March 27, 1942 Worked around our area. Had it easy all day. Went to a movie at the Navy base tonight.
March 28, 1942 Worked on road gang. Am waiting patiently for the mail boat to arrive.
March 29, 1942 A ship came in today. It didn’t have any mail on it. Worked on road all day. We get it in good condition and the rain ruins it.
March 30,, 1942 Repaired road. The mail arrived today at last. I got letters from home. Was glad to hear from them.
March 31, 1942 Worked on the road gang today. We got more mail again. Today is payday but they are holding it for a few days.
Native Life (1942) Occupations – fishing, gardening, handcraft, and household work. Alcoholic drinks – Pineapple beer and banana beer. Made from the fruit, water, and yeast. Also sugar. Recreations – Hula Hula and other gatherings. Work is at a minimum and they spend most of the time in leisure. Their meals are meager but are well built race. Strong and hardy.
April 1, 1942 Worked on road gang. We have to keep the only road on the island in condition. We haven’t got paid yet.
April 2, 1942 Worked on road again today. No pay today.
April 3, 1942 On road gang again. We didn’t get paid yet.
April 4, 1942 Had off today. Wrote some letters and took a hike up the hill. You can see for miles from the top.
April 5, 1942 No work today on account it’s Easter. Spent most of the day playing cards. Put on a newly cleaned uniform for the occasion.
April 6, 1942 Worked on the road gang. It was a hot day.
April 7, 1942 Again the road gang.
April 8, 1942 Just another day on the road.
April 9, 1942 Worked on the road, but we were rained out.
April 10, 1942 Worked on the road again today and went on guard at 8:30P.M.
April 11, 1942 Came off guard at 1:30 P. M. Had the rest of the day off for a change.
April 12, 1942 Worked on the road for a half a day. Had the afternoon off.
April 13, 1942 We worked on the huts today. They are to be our new living quarters.
April 14, 1942 Had the morning off and worked on the road in the afternoon.
April 15, 1942 Worked on the road all day. That’s about all. That’s enough.
April 16, 1942 Had off today. Laid around and rested most of the day. Lazy me.
April 17, 1942 Had K.P. for the first time on the island. A dirty job. Every time I get the job, I lose my appetite.
April 18, 1942 Worked on the road all day and went to a movie at night.
April 19, 1942 Worked on the road again. A convoy is expected to come in sometime this week.
April 20, 1942 Worked on the road. It’s a racket. We spend three fourths of the time sitting and talking. The shovel doesn’t get much use.
April 21, 1942 On the road again. It’s getting boring. Went to the movies in the evening. No convoy came in today.
April 22, 1942 Worked on digging a ditch for the Navy. They are a lazy bunch. They will probably get all the credit when it is done.
April 23, 1942 Had the day off. Climbed the hill and admired the view. Went on guard at 8 P.M. No convoy yet.
April 24, 1942 Came off guard at 1:30 P.M. Went over to Vitapi. It’s about four or five miles. Went up after watermelons in the evening – got some.
April 25, 1942 Loaded drums of gasoline on a barge today. Also moved 12 by 12 blocks of lumber. Denny had his ankle smashed by one – danger.
April 26, 1942 Worked at the pier again today. The mail boat came in this afternoon. We will get the mail tomorrow probably.
April 27, 1942 I only got a couple of letters from home today. They were appreciated though.
April 28, 1942 Working at pier unloading. Work, eat, sleep.
April 29, 1942 Still at Pier detail, a steady job for awhile.
April 30, 1942 Worked at Pier again today.
May 1, 1942 Worked at Pier.
May 2, 1942 Had the day off. Spent the day sleeping and writing.
May 3, 1942 Worked at pier.
May 4, 1942 We got paid today. Played cards the rest of the day. A boat came in today. It didn’t bring much for us.
May 5, 1942 They put me on K.P. today. That is one job I really don’t like. Anything but the kitchen. They are unloading the boat.
May 6, 1942 I got a $50.00 check today and mailed it home. The boat left today with the mail. I went on guard duty at 8 P.M.
May 7, 1942 Worked on jack-hammers today. We are clearing out a level place on the hill to build a tank. They use dynamite to blast rock.
May 8, 1942 Worked up hill again today. It’s really hot up there. It’s for a good cause though.
May 9, 1942 Worked on water tower today. We fired five rounds with our rifles at a range. I didn’t even get a bull’s eye. It must be the sights.
May 10, 1942 Worked on water tank again today. A boat came in today bringing more supplies.
May 11, 1942 I had today off. Didn’t do much but loll around. It’s a change from working.
May12, 1942 Worked in the platoon area today. The boat left at 8 A.M. for the states – Bon Voyage.
May 13, 1942 It rained today. I worked from midnight until 7 A.M. this morning. I had the rest of the day off.
May 14, 1942 Went on guard today at 8 P.M. Five hours on and five hours off. I will have tomorrow off.
May 15, 1942 The wind is really blowing today. Nothing much to say.
May 16, 1942 Worked on a water tank today. It was really hot too.
May 17, 1942 No work today. I spent most of the day playing cards. It was a nice day. Having off and all that.
May 18, 1942 Worked on the road today. I hate the job. Every time it rains we fill in the ruts. What a job.
May 19, 1942 I started on night work. We go to work at midnight and get off at 8 A. M. The rest of the day we get off.
May 20, 1942 We worked on the tanks all night in the rain. Muddier than hell too.
May 21, 1942 Eight tanks have to be up by June 15th. I guess it can be done.
May 22, 1942 We are working on roads that go up the hill to tanks. It’s futile in this mud.
May 23, 1942 We moved from our tents into Quonset huts today. The huts are really nice – thirteen or fourteen to each.
May 24, 1942 We are building twenty two oil and water tanks. It should be finished in September.
May 25, 1942 Nothing much today. A mail boat is expected in shortly. It’s been quite a while since we got mail.
May 26, 1942 Didn’t work much last night. Our two trucks got stuck in the mud and slept in the cab most of the night. Fired the 37s – five rounds each.
May 27, 1942 The rest of the batteries around the island fired today. The 20% increase in pay went through. Boy, am I going to save money in this hole.
May 28, 1942 A mail boat may come in tomorrow. It’s been a quiet day.
Two tanks were finished today. It won’t be long before the tankers pump oil into them.
May 30, 1942 They are working day and night on the tanks. It won’t be long now.
May 31, 1942 Another day another dollar. We should get paid any day now. That’s all for today.
June 1, 1942 It’s muddier than hell here. This night work is getting to be a job. We may as well sleep.
June 2, 1942 We got paid today amid a downpour. The mud is really deep. I played cards and now have %50.00 to send home beside my allotment.
June 3, 1942 A cruiser came in today. I was sleeping at the time. I loaned out $40.00 in winnings. Hot stuff.
June 4, 1942 The cruiser left today for the states. I had some mail on it including two $50.00 checks.
June 5, 1942 The tanks are going up fast. The job should be over in a couple of months. Nothing new today.
June 6, 1942 Laid around most of the day. A supply boat is expected in a matter of days. An oil tanker arrived today.
June 7, 1942 Nothing much today. The supply boat didn’t arrive. What a disappointment.
June 8, 1942 No mail boat today. Everybody is talking mail. Oh well, maybe tomorrow. It will have to come pretty soon – I hope.
June 9, 1942 Still on night work. Seven days a week. It’s a habit now. That mail boat is a matter of hours. But what hour. Maybe tomorrow.
June 10, 1942 Denny and I went over to Vitapi today. The mail boat, a freighter pulled in as we were going. Mail tonight. I feel lousy – headache.
June 11, 1942 I got three packages from home as well as letters. I really feel good now. How I hate to go to work tonight. It’s a racket.
June 12, 1942 Finished working at 6 A.m. on the tank job. Slept most of the day. Stood alert tonight. There is a show, “ Primrose Path” – Saw it long ago.
June 13, 1942 Laid around and read. Got a letter from Mrs. Steingraber. Went on alert from 5 to 7:30. Worked on a tank last night. Really did work too.
June 14, 1942 Worked on tanks last night. They are some job. Didn’t do much during the day. Played cards and won a couple $’s and read and slept the rest of the day.
June 15, 1942 Wrote some letters this morning. Slept, played cards and went on alert at 5 P.M. Got off at 7:30 P.M. and went to work at 12 P.M. Hard work too –tank.
June 16, 1942 We worked on the tank last night. It is almost finished. I went to bed at 7:30 A. M. and slept till 4 P. M. There was a movie tonight, but I didn’t go. Tanker left today.
June 17, 1942 No work last night so I got a good nights sleep. Read magazines most of the day and wrote some letters. A very quiet day.
June 18, 1942 Worked on a new road to more tank sites last night. Slept most of the day. Went on alert from 5 P.M. to 7:30 P.M. Spent the rest of the evening reading comic books.
June 19, 1942 No work last night. I worked on a ditch for our galley all day. It still isn’t finished. A ship came in. Brought more sailors – mail. None for me.
June 20, 1942 I got my second package from home last night. After I came back from alert this evening I got two letters from family. Worked last night and slept all day.
June 21, 1942 Worked last night on a new tank site. We had our first rifle inspection at 2 P.M. today. More are to follow. It’s raining this evening. It will be muddy tonight.
June 22, 1942 No work last night. Cleaned up debris along the shoreline today. Went on alert from 5 P.M. to 8 P. M. Went to a show afterwards, “Little Old New York” (Alice Hay).
June 23, 1942 Worked on a tank last night. Slept most of the day. We have an electric washer and I washed my clothes in the evening. They came out good.
June 24, 1942 Worked on a tank for about an hour last night and were rained out. Laid around most of the day. A ship came in about 4 P.M. It’s the “Santa Clara” from Australia. Went on alert.
June 25, 1942 Worked on a tank last night. Slept till noon. The two ships left today. Some of my mail is on them. It rained in the evening and looks like more rain.
June 26, 1942 It rained most of last night so we didn’t work. Worked a little today. There is plenty of mud in the road now. Can’t even walk in it. Went on alert.
June 27, 1942 Worked on the tank last night. Slept most of the day. Here it is Saturday night and place to go. I had four bees this evening. They were cold too. Finis.
June 28, 1942 Worked last night filling in tank site. Slept all morning. Had a good dinner, chicken, mashed potatoes, apple pie and fruit. Inspection at 2 P.M. Went on alert.
June 29, 1942 No more night detail. Worked on road today. Filling in with rock. An American destroyer and a British Cruiser came in. The cruiser scout plane circled about. It was a relic compared to ours.
June 30, 1942 Worked at the rock pile today, crushing and loading rock. It rained for awhile in the morning. There was a show at 2 ½ tonight but I didn’t go. Too muddy. Went on alert.
Memoranda June 1942 The British Cruiser that came in on the 29th was the Achilles. This ship was one of the three that sank the Graf Spee off Montevideo, South America.
One of the fellows went to Viatapi and was talking to one of the crew members off of the boat. The sailor said most of the crew were New Zealanders and all the officers and pilot (catapult planes) were British.
After the Graf Spee was sunk the crew of the Achilles talked to the interned Germans and even bought them drinks. The Achilles was anchored in the harbor for some time.
At the present this cruiser is patrolling in the Pacific. The catapult planes, two wings puller type affairs are of 1930 design. (Supermarine Walrus) Ours are ultra modern compared to them.
July 1, 1942 No more morning and evening alerts. We have Wednesday and Saturday afternoons off by the general’ s orders. Sunday is a day of rest too. They finally wised up at last. We have a ten gallon can of coffee, 10 pounds of sugar, in our pantry. Every evening there is a meal at our section. If you don’t like the meals at the kitchen we eat at home.
July 1, 1942 No work today. I’m going on the night shift at midnight. From 12 to 8 A.M. on the road. The British Cruiser and our destroyer left in the evening. Went on alert this evening.
July 2, 1942 Worked all of last night crushing rock with sledge hammers. Slept all morning and afternoon noon. The cruiser “Richmond” and a destroyer came in today. Went on alert in the evening.
July 3, 1942 Had off last night and today except for a small detail. I have to go on guard duty at 1 A.M. in the morning. It’s been raining al afternoon and is still going at 11:30 P.M.
July 4, 1942 Went on guard at 1 A.M. It rained all the time I was on. We got paid $10.00 in the morning. Played cards part of the day. Won and lost . It’s still raining continuous since yesterday.
July 5, 1942 Had off today. I have to work on the rockpile at midnight. The cruiser and destroyer left this morning. It rained part of day. Wrote a letter home and never thought I would finish it.
July 6, 1942 Worked on the road last night. Slept all day. Didn’t even get up for dinner. Went on alert in the evening. All in all a very uneventful day.
July 7, 1942 Had off last night and all day. Go on guard duty tonight. Washed my clothes today. Slept the rest of the time. A very quiet day.
July 8, 1942 Came off guard duty at noon. Hung my clothes on the line today. I have to go to work at midnight on the road.
July 9, 1942 Finished work at 6 A.M. Slepttill noon. Had fresh beef for dinner. Slept all afternoon, and went on alert at 5 P.M. till 8 P.M. They say a ship coming here was sunk.
July 10, 1942 Overslept last night. Worked on a ditch all day. It was hot work. Went on alert in the morning and evening. Got a haircut last night. Went to bed early.
July 11, 1942 Went on alert this morning. Swept and mopped the barrack after that. Slept the rest of the morning and afternoon. Went to a show and Hula, “Here comes the Groom” (Ann Southern).
July 12, 1942 Went on guard last night and came off at 5 P.M. today. The wind is really blowing and the water is rough. A show at 2 ½ called off. Due to storm.
July 13, 1942 Went on alert in the morning. Worked on a ditch the rest of the day. Its still a little windy out. Like fall weather back home. Chilly and damp tonight. Saw “The mad Miss Minton”
July 14, 1942 Dug a ditch today and a little3 plumbing work. Saw two good shows in the evening. “Seven Sinners” and “Arise My Love”. Have to go to work again at midnight on the road.
July `15, 1942 Worked three hours last night at quarry and rained out. Slept till noon and went on guard at 8 P.M. The tanker started to pump oil on the tanks in the evening.
July 16, 1942 The tanker left in the morning. Seven fellows of the 198th including one from our battery – Brothwell – went on it. They are going to officer’s school in the states – Lucky.
July 17, 1942 Scrubbed the barrack this morning. Went on a detail unloading steel culverts in the afternoon. Stood alert in the evening. I have to go to work at midnight.
July 18, 1942 Worked at the quarry last night. Slept till noon today. The Captain said we are going to leave within the next thirty days. Destination unknown. Something to think about.
July 19, 1942 Worked at the quarry last night. Slept most of the day. Did my laundry. Two ships, a freighter and destroyer came in around 6 P.M. No mail on them. I go on guard at 1 A. M.
July 20, 1942 We had property check and dental inspection. My teeth are class 4. I go to work at the quarry at 4 P. M. until 12. I rained a little today.
July 21, 1942 A New Zealand troop ship came in and refueled. It left in the evening. I got paid $2.20 ration money for my last furlough. That was 8 months ago. Came off guard at 6 P.M.
July 22, 1942 The destroyer and freighter left today. Saw a show in the evening. “A Yank on the Burma Road”. Went on alert. I’m going to work on the Quarry tonight.
July 23, 1942 Sprayed camouflage paint on tents and packed them all day. We are crating up stuff in preparation for our departure. Went on guard at 6 P.M.
July 24, 1942 Cleaned the gun all morning (37mm). We fired five shots from each gun to test them. Went to a movie at Hiannu in the evening. I have to catch up on my sleep.
July 25, 1942 Went on alert in the morning. Slept most of the day. Went to work at quarry at 4 P.M. and finished at midnight. Took a shower and went to bed.
July 26, 1942 Three ships came in today. A destroyer, freighter And transport. They left later in the day. Bound for New Zealand. Went on alert in the evening. Saw a show after alert. (Charles Boyer).
July 27, 1942 Worked at the quarry from 12 to 6 A.M. Slept all morning and part of the afternoon. Our plans for leaving were cancelled. Went on guard at 1 A.M.
July 28, 1942 Slept all morning and went on guard at noon. Painted the gun up. It looks good now. No show tonight so I well have to try to write a letter.
July 29, 1942 Had off all morning and part of the afternoon. Went to work at the quarry at 4 P.M. Worked till around 11 P.M.
July 30, 1942 Had to spent the morning on the gun. Slept all afternoon and went on alert at 5:30 P.M. till 7:30 P.M. We are due to get paid any day now. It can’t be too soon for me.
July 31, 1942 Slept all morning. It was about an hour to be exact. Did my washing. That takes about three hours. Went on guard again at noon and finished the day at 5 P.M.
MEMORANDA August 1942 The ship rumored sunk on the 9th was verified. It sailed from Quonset R.I. and was ten days out. There were sailors, 100 in all, for service here and supplies on the ship. They were reported lost. They fired the seven inch guns for the first time on the 13th. We have eight of them on the hills around the island. Two were fired, three shots apiece. They make a tremendous noise and the shell can be heard screaming through the air. Powerful stuff.
We have orders to prepare to leave here on short notice. The time of departure is indefinite. God only knows where we will go. One place is as good as another I guess.
August 1, 1942 Went on alert from 6 A.M. till 8 A. M. Worked at the quarry all day loading rock o9n trucks. Went on alert again from 5 P.M. till 8 P.M. Saw a show starring Joe Penner.
August 2, 1942 Stood guard from 6 A.M. till noon. Two sub chasers came in in the morning. They say our mail and supply boat was sunk. Stood alert in the evening and saw a movie, “Honky ‘Tonk”.
August 3, 1942 Went on alert from 6 to 8 A.M. in the morning. Cleaned up the barracks and had the rest of the morning off. Went on gun from noon to 5 P.M. Got paid. I go on guard at 8 P.M.
August 4, 1942 Came off guard at 1 A.M. and played a little cards. Went back on guard from 8 A.M. till noon. The two boats left in the afternoon. The mail boat is due tomorrow. Saw a movie.
August 5, 1942 Went on alert in the morning. Worked at the quarry all day and went on alert again in the evening. There was a show in evening but I didn’t go. Played cards and lost.
August 6, 1942 Went on alert in the morning. Slept the rest of the morning. Stayed on the gun all of the afternoon. No mail yet. I hope the boat hasn’t been sunk.
August 7, 1942 Spent the morning on the gun. Slept most of the afternoon. Stood alert in the evening. We moved to a new position. It is below pier number two. I have to work at the quarry tomorrow.
August 8, 1942 Worked at the quarry all day. Went on guard in the evening at 8 P.M. There was a movie, but I saw it before.
August 9, 1942 Spent the morn on guard. A boat came in the P.M. It has mail. Cleaned all my equipment for an inspection. I got six letters from the family in the evening.
August 10, 1942 We had a field inspection by Colonel Cook today. It started to rain when he came to our guns si it didn’t last long. Another mail boat is due tomorrow.
August 11, 1942 Unloaded cement and cargo from the boat that came in. It had 5000 bags of cement and equipment. One of the loading barges caved in. Loss- 1 truck, 40 tons of steel.
August 12, 1942 Went on alert in the morning. Cleaned up the barrack and went back to the guns. Repaired a culvert bridge in the P.M. Went on alert in the evening. Saw a stage show. U.S. Army
August 13, 1942 Spent the morning and afternoon on the gun. The boat that brought the mail and equipment left in te3h P.M. Another ship should be in tomorrow- maybe more mail.
August 14, 1942 Went down to the gun position and stayed until 11A.M. We had a barrack inspection at 1 P.M. Went on alert in the evening. The mail is due Wednesday so they say.
August 15, 1942 Stood alert from 6 to 8 A.M. Had off the rest of the morning and afternoon. Went on alert again from 5 to 8 P.M. They say the next mail is due tomorrow or Wednesday.
August 16, 1942 Went on the gun in the morning from 6 to 6. Had the rest of the day off. We had mutton (lamb) from New Zealand for dinner. Went on the alert in the evening from 5 to 8.
August 17, 1942 Went on the gun in the morning 5 to 11 A.M. Also spent part of the afternoon there. Went on alert in the evening. It’s boring at times. I mean all the time.
August 18, 1942 Spent the morn on the gun and had a lecture and the manual of arms. Went back in the afternoon and worked on a camouflage net for the position. Went on alert in the evening.
August 19, 1942 Had guard duty from 1 A. M. until 6 A.M. this morning. Slept the rest of the morning. Went on guard in the afternoon. A boat is due here soon – so they say.
August 20, 1942 A boat came in this morning. It had fresh meat. Ninety ton I heard. Spent the entire day on the guns. Saw a show in the evening. “In name only” (C. Lombard, C. Grant)
August 21, 1942 Five fellows from our battery went back to the states on the ship that came in in the morning. The boat left in the P.M. The three were Karis, Mahew, and Turtletaub. They are going to officers training.
August 22, 1942 The meat boat left in the afternoon. Stayed on the gun from 7 A.M. till noon. Had fresh eggs and sausage for breakfast. Ox beef for dinner and supper. From New Zealand. Had property check at 1 P. M. Went on alert in the evening.
August 23, 1942 Went on alert in the morning and had the rest of the morning off as well as the afternoon. We have fresh meat at all meals and vegetables. Very good too.
August 24, 1942 Stayed on the guns all morning. Went on guard at 8 P.M. last night till 1 A. M. Had off all afternoon and went on alert in the evening. We are getting good meals now. Excellent.
August 25, 1942 Stayed on the gun all morning. We have to do it every day. Two men on each gun. Went down after dinner till 5 P.M. Saw a show, “You can’t cheat an honest man” (W.C. Fields)
August 26, 1942 Went on the gun in the morning and afternoon. A mail boat is due to come in by Sunday. I did a little painting. Just to keep in practice. Some of our fellows are going off to officer’s school.
August 27, 1942 Went on alert in the morning. Spent the rest of the morning and afternoon paintinbg shelves and brackets in the hut. Had a hard time getting paint.
August 28, 1942 Went on guard last night. Slept all morning. A ship came in with mail. I got five letters from home. They haven’t gave it all out yet.
August 29, 1942 Had a inspection in the morning, bunk, rifle and gun position. I got some magazines from home. Spent the greater part of the day on the gun.
August 30, 1942 Went on the gun all morning and had off in the afternoon. The ship that brought the mail left in the afternoon. Went on alert in the evening.
August 31, 1942 Spent the morning on the gun as well as the afternoon. I got on guard at 8 P.M. The latest news is we are going to be here until next March. Got paid.
MEMORANDA August 1942 The leaving orders were cancelled. What an upset. They say our destination was to be Port Moresby, New Guinea. I guess the Japs sort of upset the plans.
As rumors will have it they say that we are going to leave in the near future. It won’t be East, but West. The sooner the better I guess.
On August 21, five fellows in the battery left for officers training school in the states. About forty in the Regiment left. There was also a group of sick. The reason for sending them back is because they became a burden on the island. Hospital room isn’t large enough. We really miss the two fellows from our barrack that left. Turtletaub and Karis. The former is a corporal and the other three are Penny, Mahew and Osendorf.
September 1, 1942 Spent the morning and afternoon on the gun. The boat brought in canteen supplies so I guess we are stocked for awhile. We are on canned food again.
September 2, 1942 Worked on alert in the morning. Cleaned up the barrack the rest of the morning. Worked on a new gun position we are building. Saw a show in the evening. “Bombay Clipper”.
September 3, 1942 Spent the whole day on the gun. The weather is getting hot again. It’s summer I guess. Wrote a letter in the evening. Pretty dull.
September 4, 1942 On the gun all morning. Had the afternoon off. Prepared for inspection in the evening. It’s tomorrow. I have to go on guard at 1 A.M. to 8 A. M.
September 5, 1942 Prepared for inspection in the morning and slept. Went on guard at noon and got off at 5 P.M.. A PBY came in at dusk. Saw boxing bouts and band at 2 ½ very good.
September 6, 1942 Went on alert from 6 to 8 A.M. Had the rest of the day off. Washed my clothes. It rained part of the day. First in a long time. Went on alert in the evening.
September 7, 1942 Spent the morning on the gun. A ship came in about 10 A.M. Freighter. It was due the 5th. I have to work on it at midnight. Saw a show at 2 ½ in the evening.
September 8, 1942 Finished work at number three landing at 8 A.M. Slept till 4 P.M. A boat came in to refuel and water. Got two packages from home. Plenty to read now. I go to work at midnight.
September 9, 1942 Worked all night at dock unloading. Slept all morning and afternoon. Have had two meals in two days. Went on alert in evening and wrote one letter.
September 10, 1942 A boat came in in the morning. A navy supply ship. It brought some mail. I got a letter from home. Walt’s in the army at last. Went on gun guard in the evening.
September 11, 1942 Came off guard at noon. Wrote letters and read in the afternoon. Went on alert in the evening. Saw a show - Abbott and Costello in “Ride ‘em cowboy”.
September 12, 1942 Went to work unloading at 2 ½. We stole two cases of soap. Two hundred bars for our platoon. Finished work at 4 P.M. Went to bed early.
September 13, 1942 Went on the gun in the morning. Had the afternoon off. The boat left in the afternoon. Another one is due soon. Another unloading job to do. Let’em come.
September 14, 1942 Spent the morning and afternoon on the gun. A ship from Australia came in and refueled. The refueling station is in front of our guns. It’s something to watch.
September 15, 1942 Had an inspection in the morning. Rifle, gas mask, guns, control, in fact everything. We didn’t do bad. The ship left in the morning. Alert in the evening.
September 16, `1942 On the gun all morning. Worked on anew gun pier all afternoon. Went on alert in the evening and saw a show after, “The adventures of Robin Hood”.
September 17, 1942 On the gun all morning. Had the afternoon off. Went on alert from 7 to 7:15. It rained off and on all day. Very dreary. (The same old story). What a life.
September 18, 1942 Spent the morning on the gun and had the afternoon off. Went on alert in the evening and saw a show. I go on guard at 1 A.M.
September 19, 1942 Came off guard at 7 A.M. Slept all morning. Went down to the gun for the afternoon. Saw a show in the evening, “Love Crazy” Myrna Loy and Powell.
September 20, 1942 Went down to the gun in the morning. Had the afternoon off. Went on alert in the evening.
September 21, 1942 Did guard duty all morning. Had the afternoon off. Went up on the hill to see the 7 inch gun. A tanker came in and a meat boat. Went on alert in evening.
September 22, 1942 Went on the gun in the morning. Had the afternoon off except for a police detail. Went on a detail in the evening filling in ground for a ball or parade field.
September 23, 1942 We moved our guns to No. 2 today. We are going to fire them tomorrow. Sixty rounds each. Sea and air targets. Went on guard at 8 P.M. to 1 A. M.
September 24, 1942 Fired the guns in the morning. Had the afternoon off. We put six shots into the sea target. The kite was dropped on the seventh shot. Best shooting in the battery.
September 25, 1942 The tanker left in the morning. We fired eight rounds on the rifle range today. Two destroyers came in to refuel. They are the latest type. Other naval craft are expected here soon.
September 26, 1942 Cleaned the latrine for inspection in the morning. Had the rest of the day off. Went on alert in the evening. Saw a boxing show at 2 ½.
September 27, 1942 Went on alert in the morning. Had the rest of the day off. A boat came in the afternoon. It was a small meat boat. Went on alert in the evening.
September 28, 1942 Went on guard last night and came off at 5 P.M. today. A ship came in from the states. I heard there was mail on it. We should get it tomorrow.
September 29, 1942 I got two letters from home. Also some pictures. “Home sweet home”. How true. I worked at a warehouse all day unloading foodstuffs. Got a few cans of turkey.
September 30, 1942 Went on alert in the morning and worked the rest of the day unloading a warehouse. The ship left in the afternoon. Got paid today.
MEMORANDA September 1942 The big rumor this month is that we are going to stay here until next March. That means that we have a long time to stay here, yet anything can happen.
The freighter that came in the 7th brought six months rations. It was unloaded from ships to barges and then unloaded from barge to truck. The barges are 100 ton and 50 ton. There were mountains of supplies. Most of it field rations. All of it canned goods. We work on eight hour shifts twenty four hours a day. And I do mean work.
I got a letter from home this month stating that my brother Walter was inducted inot the army. He was sent to ‘Fort Niagara the reception center. That makes two of the family in the army. One more to go.
September 27th finished eight months since we left the states. Four more and it will be a year. That means two overseas service stripes. Not bad. This foreign service isn’t so bad. Especially if there is a city or town within calling distance which there is neither here.
There is another rumor that we are going to leave here soon. It is probably untrue however. They usually are. When we came here they said we would be here for fifteen months at the most. That is long enough to remain on any island.
October 1, 1942 Spent the morning on the gun. Had the afternoon off. Went on alert and guard at 7:30P.m.
October 2, 1942 Came off guard duty at 1 A.M. in the morning. Slept till 11 A.M. Went back of guard from noon to 5 P. M. Got my stuff ready for inspection which is tomorrow.
October 3, 1942 Went on alert this morning. Worked the rest of the day on the gun pier. All we do is build piers. What a war. Went on alert in the evening.
October 4, 1942 Went on alert in the morning and spent the rest of the morning on the gun. Had the afternoon off. Went on alert in the evening.
October 5, 1942 Went on alert in the morning and stayed the rest of the morning on the gun. Had the afternoon off. I go on guard at 1 A.M. in the morning.
October 6, 1942 Came off guard at 6:30 A.M. Slept all morning. Went on guard again at noon and came off at 5 P.M. Saw a show in the evening. It wasn’t much.
October 7, 1942 Had K.P. till noon. I got relieved to go on the rifle range. We fired 64 rounds. I did pretty good. Couldn’t miss a Jap. Went on alert in the evening.
October 8, 1942 Went to work on the road at 8 A.M. Finished at 5 P.M. It was repair work. I qualified for marksman as a result of the score on the range. Not so bad.
October 9, 1942 Alert in the morning and then gun guard till noon. Had the afternoon off. Did some washing. Went on alert in the evening.
October 10, 1942 On the gun all morning. Had the afternoon off. I go on guard from 7:30 P.M. till 1 A.M. The seven inch guns fired today. Wrote a letter home in the afternoon.
October 11, 1942 Slept till 10:30 A.M. Ate dinner at 11A.M. and went on the gun. Came off at 5:30 P.M. Went to a show in the evening. The title, “What’s Cooking”. Good show.
October 12, 1942 Worked on a concrete foundation for a kitchen hut. We started at 8 A.M. and finished at 9:30 P.M. It was a tough job. The captain gave the detail tomorrow off. Nice of him?
October 13, 1942 They really did give yesterday’s detail the day off. Lounged around all day. Went down to the gun in the evening. Hula at Fareni in the evening – No go.
October 14, 1942 Had off all morning. Spent the afternoon on the gun. We get a day off following the night on guard. It’s about time. Details are at a minimum now. It’s a good sign.
October 15, 1942 Did nothing but sit around all morning. Went on the gun in the afternoon. I go on guard in the evening. The meat boat left in the afternoon.
October 16, 1942 Finished guard duty at 6 A.M. Slept all morning. Went for a ride in a sail boat and then went to Vitapi with a friend. We got some bananas and ate 25 of them.
October 17, 1942 Worked on the road all day. It is repair work. A boat from Australia is due tomorrow. Our top kick is going back to O.T. school on it. Saw a show in the evening.
October 18, 1942 Had the morning off. Spent the afternoon on the gun. The boat didn’t come today. It won’t have mail anyways.
October 19, 1942 On alert the morning and on the gun the rest of the morning. Had the afternoon off. Went on alert in the evening. The ship came in form Australia in the P.M.
October 20, 1942 Stood alert in the morning and was on the gun the rest of the morning. The ship that came in left. Our top kick was on it. Went on guard at 8 P.M. Have tomorrow off.
October 21, 1942 Went on alert in the morning. Was off from 8 A.M. till noon. Went on the gun all afternoon. Played cards and read in the evening.
October 22, 1942 Off all day. Slept in the morning. Washed clothes most of the afternoon. It rained most of the day. We need it.
October 23, 1942 Worked on the road all day. We are widening it a little and repairing it. It’s holding up good. It’s a very easy detail.
October 24, 1942 Went on the alert in the morning and remained on the gun the rest of the morning. Had the afternoon off. Went on guard at 6 P.m. It’s a stormy night.
October 25, 1942 Came off guard at 7 A.M. Took a shower and went to bed. Got up at noon and ate. A ship came in the morning.
October 26, 1942 Got mail today. A pack of magazines from and letter. First letter from Walt and Carl. Found Herman’ s address from wife. Stood alert in the morning and went on gun all afternoon.
October 27, 1942 Went on alert in the morning. We have to get up at 4:30 now. Stayed on the gun till noon. Got a letter from Rosemary Fenchel. Stood alert in the evening.
October 28,1942 K.P. today. What a job. N.G. I had an argument with the mess sergeant. The rat. I got a package of fancy crackers and cheese etc. from home. I will eat it on guard.
October 29, 1942 Stood alert in the morning and was on the gun till noon. Had the afternoon off. Went on guard in the evening. We got our new 37mm today. Nice gun.
October 30, 1942 Had the day off. Slept all morning. Went down to the gun in the afternoon. A cruiser and a destroyer came in in the morning. They were in the Solomon battle.
October 31, 1942 A destroyer came in the morning. WE test fired the new 37mm in the morning. Five shots. It was OK. Cleaned the bore in the afternoon. Got paid. Went to a show in the evening.
MEMORANDA October 1942 On October 7th we fired on the rifle range. Sixty four rounds in all. Sixteen rounds slow fire prone position, 8 sitting and 8 kneeling. Next, rapid fire. They allow thirty seconds to fire eight shots. The time starts from the standing position. Fired eight from prone, 8 sitting, and eight kneeling. We also fired 8 rounds from a standing position at slow fire. The majority of my shots hit the target. It’s good relaxation. The Garand rifle is OK.
The boat that came in the 19th took our first sergeant, Bill Oakes, back to the states to Officers Training school. The new top kick is “Salty” Prichard, our platoon sergeant.
November 1, 1942 One destroyer left yesterday after refueling. The cruiser and other destroyer left at noon. I had the day off. Went on alert in the evening.
November 2, 1942 Went on alert in the morning. Went on the gun for the afternoon. Had guard duty starting at 7 P.M. It ends at 6 A.M. tomorrow morning.
November 3, 1942 Another day off. What a life. Slept all morning as is usual when coming off guard. Wrote some letters in the afternoon. Drank a few beers and went to bed.
November 4, 1942 Got up at 4:30 A.M. and went on alert. Came off at 8 A.M. and went on road detail. We ran out of work and played cards the rest of the day. Went on alert in evening.
November 5, 1942 Had the morning off. Went on the gun from noon till 5 P.M. Went to a show in the evening. Before the show we had a lecture on the new M5 director.
November 6, 1942 Went on alert in the morning and stayed on the gun the rest of the morning. Had the afternoon off. Went on alert in the evening and went on guard. Saw “Mutiny on the Bounty”.
November 7, 1942 A French destroyer came in. It was flying the De-Gaul flag. A boat from Tahiti came in too. They had a big celebration in Viatapi in the evening. I had the whole day off.
November 8, 1942 MAIL MAIL A ship came in with mail and replacements from California. I got two letters from home, two from Ed and one from Walt.
November 9, 1942 Worked on the guns in the morning, and went down again in the afternoon. IOgot a Christmas package from Loren’s wife and some books from Don.
November 10, 1942 Cleaned up the hut this morning and went on the gun in the afternoon. We are working on the position. There is more packages and I hope to get one.
November 11, 1942 Went on the alert in the morning. And got off at 11 A.M. Went down again in the afternoon. I went on guard at 7:30 P.M.
November 12, 1942 Had the day off. Washed my clothes in the morning. Wrote some letters in the afternoon. Three minesweepers came in. Also a meat boat. All little ships.
November 13, 1942 Went on alert at 5 A.M. and remained on the gun all morning. Had to clean the floor in the P.M. for inspection. Went on alert in the evening.
November 14, 1942 Got up at 8 A.M. Had all morning off. Ate at 11 A.M. and went on the gun all afternoon. Saw a show in the evening at 2 ½. We had an inspection in morning.
November 15, 1942 Had the day off. Wrote a couple of letters and went on the alert in the evening. Went to a show at 2 ½. “Couldn’t see it. Too crowded.
November 16, 1942 Morning off. Got up at 8:30A.M. Ate at 11:30 and went down to the gun. Came off at 4:30. The three minesweepers left in the afternoon.
November 17, 1942 Another morning off. Went down to the gun in the afternoon. We are reconstructing our gun position. I go on guard tonight.
November 18, 1942 Came off guard at 8 A.M. the mosquitoes were biting hard last night. Couldn’t sleep in the morning. Went to Viatapi and had some pineapple beer. Not so bad.
November 19,1942 Had K.P. today. Supposed to get up at 4:30 A.M. but didn’t. It was 7 A.M. It isn’t so tough now. Serve and clean up. Signed the payroll.
November 20,1942 Got up at 4:30 A.M. and went on the gun till noon. Had off the afternoon. Went on alert in the evening. No shows tonight. All’s quiet on Bora Bora.
November 21, 1942 Had a property check in the morning. They check our equipment to see if anything is missing. Was on the gun in the P.M. Saw a show at 2 ½ in the evening.
November 22, 1942 Had the entire day off. A boat came in and two fellows in our Battery left on it. Fitzgerald; flying cadet – Sherman, O.T. Lucky fellows. What a life. No matter.
November 23, 1942 A bit of training on the new M-S director in the morning. Went down to the gunfor the afternoon. We did a little work on position. Go on guard in evening.
November 24, 1942 Came off guard at 8 A.M. the mosquitoes were thick last night. No breeze accounted for it. Slept all morning. Went over mountain to Annul and got some Pineapple beer. Mita.
November 25, 1942 Got up at 7:30 A.M. and went down to the gun and practiced on the M-5. Went down to our gun in the P.M. and filled sand bags. Saw a show at 2 ½ - so so.
November 26, 1942 At 8 A.M. went down and practiced on the M-5 director until 9 A.M. Had the rest of the morning off. Went down to our gun in the P.M. and worked on our position.
November 27, 1942 On the director from 8 to ( A.M. and worked on the position the rest of the morning. Worked again in the P.M. cleaning 50 cal. Arms. Holler is a G.I. Sergeant. Too much work N.G.
November 28, 1942 Had the entire day off. It just suited me fine. It rained off and on most of the day. I wrote a couple of letters and went to a show in the evening.
November 29, 1942 Went on the gun all morning. Had the P.M.off. Went on alert in the evening. Saw a show at 2 ½ after the alert. It was an old show.
November 30, 1942 Came off guard at 8 A.M. Slept all morning. Got paid at 1 P.M. and had a lecture at 3 P.M. on the military standpoint of the war.
MEMORANDA November 1942 The cruiser that came in October 30 was the Boise. It was a heavy cruiser and participated in the battle at the Solomon Islands. In the battle it sunk two cruisers and four destroyers. In turn, it took several hits and its rudder was damaged. 104 of its crew were killed and one gun turret was out of action. Other damage was also sustained. It sailed for the States to undergo repair. Another example of the U. S. Navy in action.
December 1, 1942 Two destroyers and a tanker came in. The destroyers left in the P.M. Had the day off. Got up at 11 A. M. and got ready to go to town. Went halfway around the island to the village of Annul. Came back over the mountain.
December 2, 1942 On the gun all morning. Three minesweepers came in. Trained for an hour on the M-5 director in the P. M. Stood alert in the evening.
December 3, 1942 Had a battery detail all day. We were cleaning out an area for a picture show. Went to Fanuii and bought a hula skirt and two spears. Fished in the evening.
December 4, 1942 Spent the whole day on the gun. We weaved coconut palms for the gun camouflage. Went to Fanui in the evening and bought a souvenir – a dagger.
December 5, 1942 A barrack inspection in the morning. What a war! On the gun all P.M. The ammunition hut leaked and we had to re-roof it. All quiet in the evening.
December 6, 1942 Had the morning off. Went on the gun at noon and came off at five. No. 3 alert started at 7 P.M. and we are confined to Battery area.
December 7, 1942 Cleaned the latrine in the morning. Went on the gun in the afternoon. We are covering the hut with coconut palms. I hope it is permanent.
December 8, 1942 K.P. from 5 A.M. till 8 P.M. No eight hour day here. We get K.P. once in every twenty days more or less. This isn’t so bad.
December 9, 1942 Went on alert at 5:30 A.M. and stayed on the gun all morning. Six submarines and tender came in. Cleaned the hut floor in the P.M.
December 10, 1942 GENERAL’S INSPECTION Went on the alert at 5:30 A.M. and remained on the gun all morning. Had the P.M. off. Went on alert in the evening and stayed till 6 A.M. We have a week guard now. Rained all day.
December 11, 1942 MAIL MAIL A boat came in from Frisco with and mail and supplies in the morning. Got two letters from home in P.M> and while on guard got ten more. What a day!
December 12, 1942 Got a Christmas package from Rosemary and her picture. My camera arrived – a beauty – Aunt Lizzie sent me a package. Also got a pair of slippers and a towel. So far I have about 15 letters.
December 13, 1942 Came off guard at 6 A.M. Got a box of candy. It’s been a good Xmas even though it did come early. Still on guard in the evenings.
December 14, 1942 Off guard at 6 A.M. Slept in the morning. Went on the gun in the afternoon and cleaned 30 cal. Ammo. Went on guard at 7:30 P.M.
December 15, 1942 Came off guard at 6 A.M. Wed. is the last day. Its pretty tough from 7:30 P.M. till 6 A. M. and then on gun in the P.M. Three of us are on each night.
December 16, 1942 Came off guard at 6 A.M. Slept part of the morning. Went on the gun in the afternoon and wrote some letters. Go on guard at 7:30 P.M.
December 17, 1942 Came off guard at 6 A.M. Slept till 11. Ate dinner and went back on the gun for the afternoon. Wrote a letter. Going to bed early tonight. Tired.
December 18, 1942 Got up at 5 A.M. and went down on the gun. Stayed till noon. Had the afternoon off and went on alert in evening. There was a show but I didn’t go.
December 19, 1942 Went on alert at 5 A.M. I fixed my bunk display the night before for inspection. Yes, we still have them. Had the rest of the day off. Mita.
December 20, 1942 Off all day. Got up at 10:30. After dinner I went to Fanuii and spent the P.M. taking pictures . It was a hot day. I had a headache in the evening.
December 21, 1942 Went on alert and stayed on the gun all morning. In the P.M. went to Mosquito Island. They are building an airfield and will be done in three months.
December 22, 1943 K.P. today. Up at 5 A.M. and labored all day. It isn’t so bad any more. I still hate the job however. Somebody has to do the feeding.
December 23, 1942 A boat came in from bases in the Pacific. I got five letters. Three from home and two from Hermans. The first from Loren. He’s in Australia. Honey detail in P.M.
December 24, 1942 On the gun all morning. Went on guard all afternoon. Wrote some letters in the evening. We had egg nog with whiskey.
December 25, 1942 Merry Xmas Merry Xmas Had the morning off and was on the gun in the afternoon. Last night the fellows were drinking lemon extract and grapefruit juice. We felt lousy today.
December 26, 1942 A boat came in this morning. It’s taking mail and some of our fellows to the states. Tyler, a corporal in our hut is leaving. Ten officers in the regiment are going too.
December 27, 1942 Came off guard at 6 A.M. Slept all morning. Went to Fanuii in the P.M. and took pictures. Went on alert in the evening. The ship left at 5 P.M. for the states.
December 28, 1942 Came off guard at 6 A.M. Slept in the morning and went to Fanuii in the P.M. Took some pictures of natives. Went on alert in the evening.
December 29, 1942 Had classes in the morning. Went on the gun in the P.M. Saw a show in the evening. We listened to a native community singing after.
December 30, 1942 An alert in A.M. and stayed on the gun till noon. Went to Fanuii in the P.M. and took some pictures. Saw a show in the evening.
December 31, 1942 A boat came in this morning. I was on the unloading detail. We took off mail and lumber. Went to a show in the evening. Fini l’annual?