U.S. Coast Guard Oral History Program
Editor's note: Ensign Joseph Matte III, USCGR, wrote this journal during his assignment to the cutter Ingham from early 1942 through mid-April, 1943, the most critical and bloody period of the battle between Hitler's U-boat fleet and the Allied convoys. The Ingham, along with her sister 327-footers, escorted convoys through these dark months, and reading Matte's words and thoughts adds a human aspect to what Churchill called the "dominating factor throughout the war"--the Battle of the Atlantic. Of particular interest, during this period the Ingham also engaged and destroyed a U-boat, the U-626, and Matte briefly describes the action although they had no proof of the submarine's destruction until after the end of the war. The journal is complete and unedited. Matte himself added a prologue, entries from the Ingham's logbooks and the documentation which appears at the end of the diary after he wrote the journal itself.
Although, technically, crewmen were forbidden to write anything down about their duties, especially while at sea or to take photographs (in case such information fell into the hands of the enemy if the cutter sank), many did write down their thoughts, wrote about their activities, or took snapshots. Future generations owe a debt of gratitude to those that took the time (and risk) to document what they did during the war.
21 August, 1942
It is now just six months since I left Boston on my first sea voyage. On that voyage Ingham left Boston suddenly, throwing off the Navy Yard workmen in the midst of their frantic labors and ploughing through heavy seas up to Argentia, Newfoundland.. On mooring to a tanker there in a whole gale, we fetched up so violently as to lose our port anchor and stove a hole in the tanker. Next morning we stood seaward in a fog in company with U.S.S. Niblack (destroyer) and an assortment of Canadian, British, and Free French corvettes.
Picking up our convoy somewhere to the northeastward of Cape Race, we made our way uneventfully to Londonderry, Ireland, passing to the northward of Rockall. Then, after a ten day wait at Lisahally, near Londonderry, we again put to sea, spending a few days in gunnery exercises, then meeting a westbound convoy and starting home. [See details of this period in EXTRACTS FROM INGHAM's LOG-BOOK, on page 2].
The winter routine was strenuous that voyage. All hands to General Quarters for an hour during morning and evening twilights, in addition to quarters and drills every afternoon except Sunday; long cold night watches zigzagging continuously even though the convoy could hardly be seen; high seas,, snow and sleet. But Spring was coming; the nights were getting shorter and there were several warm, pleasant afternoons in the Gulf Stream.
On the Grand Banks we met heavy weather, high seas, and dense fog, all at once. Zigzagging became impossible, and although the convoy and other vessels could be occasionally heard by fog horn or underwater sound gear, we had no way of keeping station and slogged along blindly. After several days of this we received word that the local escort had found us by radar, and had taken up their stations around the convoy. On this we headed for Boston, and after a couple of near-collisions we were out of the fog and on our way pounding down past Sable Island toward Cape Cod, Boston and springtime.
EXTRACTS FROM INGHAM'S LOGBOOK
February 16 to March 18, 1942
Monday, February 16 -- Joined the Ingham about 1730.
Ingham's Commissioned Officers
Comdr. Joseph Greenspun - Captain
Lt. Cdr. John Rountree - Executive Officer
Lt. Cdr Vernon Day - Chief Engineer
Lieut. Carl H. Stober (1) - Navigator
Lt.(j.g.) Paul Prins (1) - Gunnery Officer
Lt.(j.g.) Joe Naab - - Asst. Engineer
Lt...(j.g.) Victor Pfeiffer (1) Communications Off.
Lt.(j.g.) C. E. Masters, Jr.(1) Asst. Gunnery Officer
Lt.(j.g.) Ed Chester (1) (2) - Commissary Officer
Asst. Surg. J. A. Smith, USPHS Medical Officer
Ens. (R) Frank Mann (1) - Asst. Communications .
Ens.. C. A. Richmond, Jr. (1) (3) Asst. Communications .
Ens. James A. Martin (1) (2) - - -
Ens. Louis Sudnik (1) - Asst. Navigator
Ens.(R) Joseph Matte III (1) (3) Asst. Gunnery Officer
(1) Watch Officer
(2) Not aboard this cruise
(3) Department designation - 1 March, 1942
Saturday, February 21 --Assigned General Quarters station: No. 6 gun (5" gun on quarterdeck).
Monday, February 23 -- (1345) Got underway, stood out of Boston Harbor, out through the anti-submarine net and stood toward Cape Cod (to clear mined area off Cape Ann). (1900) Off Cape Cod, stood to northward zigzagging, vessel dark, one 5" and one 3" and the Y-gun manned, all water-tight doors and hatches below the main deck closed, degaussing coils energized, (these being normal sea conditions).
Tuesday, February 24 -- (0100) Off Cape Elizabeth, changed course to South. (0330) Reversed to North. (0737) Entered swept channel into Portland Harbor. (0907) Anchored in Casco Bay. Fueled ship. (1210) Weighed anchor and stood out to sea. (1324) Left swept channel and stood to eastward, around Cape Sable.
Wednesday, February 25 -- (0200) Clear of Cape Sable, stood to the northward.. (0534) Fuel oil slick was sighted. (0745) Entered field of slush ice. (1440 to 2400) Snow and heavy weather decreased visibility. Ship slowed to 12 knots, no zigzagging.
Thursday, February 26 -- (0730) Increased speed to 20 knots and resumed zigzagging. (1250) Course changed to 36 deg. pgc. (1350) Sighted east shore of Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, to starboard. (1535) Entered swept channel into Argentia. (1620) Moored to Navy tanker Salamonie, very forcibly, stoving a hole in her side and breaking our anchor, the bulk of which was lost. A heavy wind made maneuvering difficult. Remained alongside all night.
Friday, February 27 -- (1450) Unmoored and stood out of Little Placentia Bay in poor visibility in company of U.S.S. Niblack (DD), HMCS Chambly, HMS Rosthern, HMS Mayflower, and HMS Barrie (corvettes). (1500) Advanced clocks 1 hour to Zone +3 time.
Saturday, February 28 -- (0300) Clear of Newfoundland, set base course 53 deg. pgc. Contact (visual) was lost during morning with other escort ships. (1215) Searched astern. (1248) Resumed course, in company of HMS Mayflower. (1640) Sighted HMS Mayflower headed opposite direction. (1800) Reversed course. (1845) Resumed course 55 deg. (2000) Contacted Niblack.
Sunday, March 1 -- (0000) Steaming on base course 55 deg., at 12 1/2 knots base, in company with U.S.S. Niblack and 3 corvettes. (0830) Increased to 20 knots to stand ahead to search for convoy. (1330) Convoy sighted on port bow, in 50-05 N, 45-30 W. Took station on starboard bow of convoy, zigzagging at 15 knots on base course 50 deg pgc. (and true). (1800) All hands to General Quarters. (1806) All stations manned and ready. (1845) Secure from G.Q. (2230) Took assigned station on starboard quarter of convoy, remaining escorts having joined convoy.
Monday, March 2 -- (0635) All hands to G.Q. (0725) Secure from G.Q. (0840) Commenced search astern for two stragglers. (1000) Discontinued search, no results, and reversed course to rejoin convoy. (1344) Altered course to identify and speak freighter. Was a British freighter which had had fire in cargo hold and was now proceeding head to seas to secure cargo now adrift. (1640) Rejoined convoy and took station. (1745) All hands to G.Q. (1815) Secure from G.Q. (2330) Moved clocks ahead one hour to Zone +2 time.
Tuesday, March 3 -- (0621) All hands to G.Q. (0708) Secure from G.Q. (0805) Reversed course and increased to 20 knots to search astern of convoy for stragglers. (0905) Completed sweep and stood to rejoin convoy. (1200) Arrived on station with convoy. (1615) Again commenced sweep astern. (1823) All hands to G.Q. (1914) Secured from G.Q. Resumed station with convoy. (2345) Heavy hail storm.
Wednesday, March 4 -- (0540) All hands to G.Q. (0635) Secure from G.Q. (1024) Heavy snow squall. (1018) Commenced sweep astern. (1040) All hands to G.Q. for practice. All 5" and 3" guns fired two rounds. (1052) Secure from G.Q. (1755) All hands to G.Q. (1846) Sighted vessel and exchanged signals. (1902) Resumed station with convoy. Secured from G.Q
Thursday, March 5 -- (0508) All hands to G.Q. (0603) Secure from G.Q. (1630) Started sweep astern of convoy. (1744) All hands to GQ. ((1837) Secure from G.Q. (1924) Rejoined convoy. (2330) Moved clocks ahead one hour to Zone +1 time.
Friday, March 6 -- (0540) All hands to G.Q. (0641) Secured from G.Q. (0820) Reversed course to sweep astern. (1145) Regained station with the convoy. (1632) Again started sweep astern.. (1815) All hands to G.Q. (1849) Secured from G.Q. (2330) Moved clocks one hour ahead to Zone 0 time.
Saturday, March 7 -- (0620) All hands to G.Q. (0700) Made contact and started running it down, following attack routine. (0706) Lost contact, continued search. (0737) Convoy out of sight. (0740) Received orders to rejoin convoy. (0742 Secured from G.Q. (0745) Set course to return to convoy. (1020) Resumed station with convoy. (1810) Began sweep astern (1850) All hands to G.Q. (1932) Secured from G.Q. (2330) Moved clocks ahead one hour to Zone --1 time.
Sunday, March 8 -- (0100) Altered course in direction of Lough Foyle, Ireland. Visibility very poor. (I conned the ship from 0030 to 0400). (0500) .Degaussing system cut in. (0630) Inistrahull Light sighted ahead. (0640) All hands to G.Q. (0745) Secured from G.Q. (0905) Left convoy and proceeded toward Lough Foyle with U.S.S. Niblack. (0955) Hove to off Dunagree Point to await pilot. (1125) Got underway with pilot aboard. (1140) Passed through anti-submarine net, Lough Foyle. (1305) Moored alongside British tanker President Sargent.
Monday, March 9 -- (0734) Got underway standing up Lough Foyle toward entrance to River Foyle. (0855) Moored with U.S.S. Niblack at U.S. Naval Operating Base, Lisahally, Ireland. (Lisahally is at the mouth of the River Foyle, about 3 or 4 miles downstream from Londonderry. There is no native settlement here but a supply depot is being constructed by the U.S. Navy).
Tuesday, March 10 -- (Visited Londonderry this afternoon and evening, going in on a train. Got a haircut, in fact practically a scalping, then made a survey of the town in company of the Doctor. Visited the Northern Counties Club in the evening, where we played pool with other officers from the Ingham. Londonderry is the coldest place on earth. In fact, it is almost as cold outdoors as it is in the houses and buildings. The small rations of coal is the principal cause. The weather was quite mild, comparatively, but the only really comfortable place was aboard ship).
Wednesday, March 11 -- Sunday March 15 -- (No entries).
Monday, March 16 --- ( ) Got underway and stood out of Lough Foyle toward the sea for gunnery and anti-submarine exercises. Weather overcast. (Last Sunday and Monday were the only clear days since we arrived). Summary of the day: First exercise on the program was 5" gun drill; results were encouraging. 3" gun drill was fair, and anti-aircraft machine gun drill was more educational than inspiring. Anti-submarine exercise was a flop, as sound conditions were quite poor. Anchored for the night off Moville, just inside Lough Foyle. Ingham's sister-ship Spencer, and also U.S.S. Gleaves (DD), arrived here this afternoon.
Tuesday, March 17 -- Summary of the day: Underway at 0800 for more exercises. Sub tracking was better today, but only U.S.S. Niblack was able to try an attack. Took stations for anti-aircraft firing but no target showed up. Returned into Lough Foyle and moored to British tanker Empire Dolphin for fuel. Got underway and anchored after supper, again off Moville. We are scheduled to sail tomorrow morning, in company with U.S.S. Niblack and 5 corvettes, at 0430.
Wednesday, March 18 -- (0430) Got underway from anchor and stood generally northeastward in the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland.
END OF EXTRACTS FROM INGHAM'S LOG--BOOK
Our stay in Boston stretched out to five weeks, during which time the ship was repaired, rebuilt and rearmed. Life aboard was a nightmare of chippers and welders in every nook and cranny all night and all day, seven days a week. From this hell-fire the Ingham finally emerged a much more potent war-ship.
But the hell of life in the Navy Yard was compensated for by visits with family and friends, trips home, evenings ashore, frequent mail and the fine weather of the season., (May, 1942)
Our departure from Boston was a very gradual affair, as the Navy Yard workmen had done their usual work so well that it took nearly a week and a Board of Investigation to get the monkey wrenches out of the engines. Finally the ship was able to make her usual speed and so proceeded to Newport to calibrate our new "degaussing" installation. I had gone to Detroit on a one-day leave just before the ship left. I returned by plane, bus, Coast Guard picket boat and a Coast Guard Reserve yacht at Newport. That afternoon we proceeded through the Cape Cod Canal to the fleet anchorage in Casco Bay.
Here at Portland the ship was restored from the ravages of the Navy Yard workers and several gunnery exercises engaged in. Finally we proceeded, in the first half of May, up to Argentia, where we were joined by the U.S.S. Campbell, C.G. (Ingham's sister-ship).
Shortly we put to sea with the Campbell and a group of corvettes and picked up another eastbound convoy. The trip was uneventful, most of the submarines now plying southern waters, where their business was easier and their lives longer.
Life was also easier aboard the Ingham now, for the routine of morning and evening General Quarters had been abandoned.
On reaching Irish waters the convoy split up and we continued on into the Irish Sea with a small group. We were relieved of our charges near the Isle of Man and returned to Lisahally and Londonderry. The scant and sooty charm of Londonderry was becoming quite acceptable on successive visits, but we found that it was not for us, for we were to be transferred to the Iceland station. "For the Murmansk run," we thought, for all talk in Londonderry at this time was of that northern nightmare. Several ships had recently come in to northern Ireland from that run.
After another ten day stay and some gunnery exercises, we again set out to the westward with a large convoy. Although submarines were reported in our vicinity and we even sighted one, the trip was uneventful up to the time we were detached , not far off Newfoundland.
Here we relieved the old destroyer U.S.S. Leary, which had come down from Iceland, en route to the U.S. for refit, with the U.S.S. Duane, C.G. (another Ingham sister-ship). After about a day's run to the northward with the Duane we met another convoy eastbound. A day or so later we broke off with the Iceland group and proceeded to Reykjavik.
Two days after arriving in Iceland we were sent to 64 North latitude/30 West longitude, where we zigzagged aimlessly about for three weeks at 14 knots inside of a 120 mile diameter circle, radioing weather reports to Iceland four times a day. Here we passed over the late, lamented H.M.S. Hood many times in our peregrinations. (Hood was sunk by Bismarck in Denmark Strait in May, 1941).
Then we lay at our mooring in Hvalfjordur [Iceland] for two weeks, taking on stores and making the incessantly needed repairs. And then we made a run down to Icomp and back (Icomp = Iceland Convoy Ocean Meeting Point), arriving in Reykjavik to refuel after about six days running. Nest morning we again put to sea and soon overtook another southbound convoy. Another trip down to Icomp and this time we returned to Hvalfjordur. Here we have lain moored to a buoy for the past two weeks. And here the Prologue ends.
THE JOURNAL BEGINS:
ROSTER OF OFFICERS
21 August, 1942
Cdr. Joseph Greenspun Commanding Officer
Lieut. Cdr. Sid. F. Porter Executive Officer
Lieut. Cdr. Vernon E. Day Engineer'g Off. (Not abd.)
Lieut. Cdr. James Craik Navigator
Lieut. Jos. W. Naab Asst. Eng. Off. (Act. Chf)
Lieut. Vic. Pfeiffer - Communications Officer
Lieut. C. E. Masters, Jr. Gunnery Officer
Lieut.(j.g.) J. A. Martin - Educational Officer
Lieut.(j.g.) E. M. Osborne (R) Damage Control Officer
Lieut.(j.g.) Phil. Chase (R) Commissary Officer
Ensign C. A. Richmond Asst. Communications Off.
Ensign F. J. Mann (R) - Asst. Communications Off.
Ensign Louis Sudnik - Asst. Navigator
Ensign Joseph Matte III (R) Asst. Gunnery Officer
Ensign Gerald Hall (R) - Not Assigned (Not aboard)
Ensign J. F. Juraschek (R) Asst. Navigator
Gunner C. J. Woodell - Gunnery Division
Machinist B. F. Hansen - Engineering Division
Lieut. Arnot Groves - Supply Officer
Asst. Surgeon James A. Smith (USPHS) Medical Officer
Friday, 21 August -- (0900) Unmoored from buoy D-27 this morning bound for Reykjavik. Made inauspicious start, as #2 boat was dropped by the bow while being secured for sea, dropping a seaman into the fjord. Further, #1 boat, the lifeboat-to-be, was found to be without oars. Man was finally picked up, but Old Man distributed hell in large packages, justifiably enough. Thank God my last watch was over 24 hours before! (1100) Moored to tanker Sapelo in Reykjavik harbor. (1300) Unmoored from Sapelo and came to anchor. U.S.S. Leary brought 80 sacks of mail to Iceland, but not so much as a letter for Ingham. Old Man is sending another message to Commander Task Force 24. Tonight I finally made the bust which I had fearfully expected when I first began writing in the ship's log, namely filling in the blank after "...under the command of_______________" with Joseph MATTE. I'd like to see the Captain's face when he reads that tomorrow morning.
Saturday, 22 August -- Went ashore in Rinkydink this afternoon with 57 kronas in my pocket for go shopping. All the stores in town had closed at noon, however, so after a pot of coffee I caught a boat back to the ship The natives close up shop, don knickers and heavy shoes and, with all sorts of motley camping packs on their backs, go off hiking in the hills. Ought to be easy to burgle most any house in Reykjavik on Saturday night.
Sunday, 23 August -- Lieut. Cdr. Frank E. Kenner, ex-skipper of the Ossippee, was aboard for dinner tonight. Tomorrow we leave again for "Torpedo Junction".
Monday, 24 August -- (1130) Got underway in company of (sister-ship) Bibb, bound south.
Airmail is beginning to arrive in small trickles. Four officers received letters dated 13th and 14th August this morning. (The last letter from my family is one from Dad dated April 28, four months ago).
Left Iceland in a cold drizzle, escorting merchantman Pan York. By mid-afternoon it cleared up; turned into a pleasant day, "warm" sunshine and calm sea. Pan York is zigzagging at nearly 14 knots. We are now standing 4 hours on and 8 off, having finally abandoned the old stand-by system, adopted last winter when the ship was short handed aft, but which became a monstrous absurdity when the ship's officer personnel had been sesquied (to coin a word?)
I am standing watch with "Pecky" Masters and Ed Osborne. Ensign Ed. Keppler, U.S.N.R., is aboard from the tanker Sapelo for warship experience.
Thursday, 27 August -- At Torpedo Junction. (0400) Relieve the watch. Still dark, with dense fog; visibility about 500 yards. Zigzagging on starboard flank of Pan York at a distance of 3500 to 5000 yards, keeping contact by radar. Bibb similarly on port flank. (0417) Radar operator reports first one, then many "targets" in the vicinity of Bibb. (We have been awaiting meeting with the westbound convoy, running on opposite course to hers). We close in on Pan York to avoid losing her, almost running her down in doing so. Then we reduce speed and run alongside. After swinging about-face to the course of the main convoy, we ask Bibb for information on its location. Bibb reports that she narrowly averted head-on collision with another escort ship. (Bibb's radar must have been out). By the time we have the Pan York and the Bibb squared away, the convoy is out of radar range, so we increase speed in pursuit of it. (0730 The fog is lifting; the Bibb finally emerges, about where she should be. (0800) The convoy has just been relocated by radar and can be just made out through the lifting fog.
And so another convoy has come to "Icomp", met the transatlantic convoy, and gone on its way. This feat of effecting a juncture between two convoys in the middle of the ocean, with only rather meager and not-too-accurate information to go by, is one of the most amazing features of the convoy system,as wonderful as it is commonplace.
(1100) Having delivered our charge, we leave the transatlantic convoy and head westward with the Bibb in search of an eastbound convoy, from which we will take a group of ships to Iceland.
Friday, 28 August -- According to radio press, the U.S. destroyer Ingraham was sunk in a collision in a fog.. I wonder if it happened between 0400 and 0500 GCT yesterday morning. I also wonder if the U.S. destroyer Ingram was in a fog yesterday morning.
Saturday, 29 August -- (0745) Rain and fog. Visibility 1/2 to 1 mile. We have just picked up radar interference ahead, indication of an approaching convoy. (0815) An escort vessel is sighted. (0830) Ingham and Bibb join the escort group under Commander Task Unit 24.1.12, bound to the eastward with 54 ships in convoy. We take station on starboard half of van, zigzagging at 114 1/2 knots. Convoy speed 7.5 knots. (Last winter Ingham was in Task Unit 24.1.1).
Sunday, 30 August -- Our QC underwater sound machine has been out of order all day, robbing us of at least 80% of our effectiveness as an anti-submarine unit. This single device, which enables us to locate and track submerged targets, is by far our most potent anti-submarine device, for without it, it is almost entirely a matter of blind luck to "get" a submarine with depth charges. A corollary is that the six enlisted men who operate this machine are probably the most important men on the ship.
The QC machine was fixed this evening.
Monday, 31 August -- The week started off with a bang, for two ships in our convoy were torpedoed this morning about 0815. Several of our lookouts sighted a torpedo track between Ingham and another escort just before the explosions. Within 15 or 20 minutes both ships had gone to the bottom. Within an hour and a half the survivors had been rescued and we were on our way. The sub (or subs) was not sighted
Wednesday, 2 September -- Monday and yesterday were the kind of days that keep us from going batty from monotony. Monday afternoon we sighted a mine and sank it with about 2,100 rounds of 30 caliber rifle and machine gun fire. It looked like an old British mine and probably was unrelated to the attack in the morning.
About 0100 Tuesday a corvette in the rear of the convoy sighted a sub and attempted to ram it, then depth charged it. This was listed as a probable kill. On the theory that other subs might be around, all the other escorts and some of the merchantmen opened up with star shell fire. This was a fantastic, dream-like scene, with star shell bursts now in one sector, then in another, some of the shells whining by the ship, apparently close by. After some time at General Quarters, we secured and resumed our station.
During the day on Tuesday we received air coverage by patrol bombers from Iceland. These planes reported submarines on the surface at various times through the day; as many as four having been reported at times. The destroyers spent most of the day chasing these contact reports.
Just after breakfast yesterday we went to General Quarters twice as contact was reported astern. In the course of our prowls at this time we went down the center of the convoy on our way astern. It was interesting to see the strange deck loads of ambulances, jeeps, trucks, landing barges, etc., and the gun crews on every ship waving to us as we passed.
At 2000 yesterday the Iceland group of 11 ships broke away and headed north. The escort group consists of Ingham, Bibb, and the old U.S. destroyer Schenk, which joined us yesterday. Last night was uneventful. This morning we dropped one 600 lb. depth charge on a sound contact. The captain conned the ship for the first time, during this run, and did a poor job of it, for whatever the target was, it was inside our turning circle when the charge was dropped.
We had air coverage since dawn this morning, which no doubt accounts for the quiet time we have had lately.
Thursday, 3 September -- Quiet day today. Dropped one depth charge in a school of fish this afternoon. Rain all day. Sighted land about 1700; visibility about four miles.
Dropped our convoy off Reykjavik about 2030 and proceeded to Hvalfjordur (a fjord near Reykjavik which is protected by anti-submarine nets) where we moored to the tanker Sapelo at 2230.
Friday, 4 September -- RED LETTER DAY!! -- I finally got mail from home! Letters from Dad, Marie, John Cameron, and Russ Serenberg, (dated July 26 to August 8.). Magazines - Yachting, Mid-West Yachting News, Naval Institute Proceedings. New York Yacht Club, Rules & Regulations for the Construction of Racing Yachts.
Monday, 7 September -- Received a big batch of mail this morning, (July 12 to 29); lots of magazines, clippings, letters, and the planimeter I ordered from Boston.
Went to the (anti-submarine) "attack teacher" this morning, aboard the HMS Blenheim.
Wednesday, 9 September -- Took a boat under oars (for the first time) this morning, assisting in mooring the ship to a buoy. Until then Ingham has been laying alongside the U.S. supply ship Melville.
Received mail from June 3 to July 9, tonight.
Monday, 14 September -- Commander George E. McCabe came aboard tonight to relieve Cdr. Greenspun. Also Lieut. J. Van Heuveln reported aboard for engineering duty. They flew from Presque Isle, Maine by Ferry Command plane, via Newfoundland and Greenland; total travel time, 6 days.
Wednesday, 16 September -- Commander McCabe and the Captain held a joint inspection of the ship today, preparatory to a change of command.
Thursday, 17 September -- Unmoored this forenoon and proceeded to Reykjavik, where we fueled. Came to anchor about 6 PM, after fueling.
Friday, 18 September -- Went through all emergency drills today; (another part of the change of command routine).
Saturday, 19 September -- Commander McCabe relieved Commander Greenspun in the morning. In the afternoon, I went sailing in one of the ship's lifeboats. A fairly nice day.
Sunday, 20 September -- Commander Greenspun left for Argentia, Newfoundland.
Monday, 21 September -- (153 0) Got underway out of the harbor of Reykjavik in a gale, in company of Bibb, to escort ten merchantmen to Torpedo Junction.
Friday, 25 September -- Log of a sea-sick sailor: Ate a hearty supper Monday night, but after writing my log after coming off watch at 8 PM, I offered my supper up to the storm. Up again at 4 AM Tuesday for the Morning watch, but slept all day without eating. Tried some supper Tuesday night, but couldn't keep it. Turned in again after the 4 - 8 :M watch. Felt better Wednesday morning and held on to my breakfast.
The gale slowly backed around from SE to NW and steadied there. About 1900 Thursday (yesterday) we met the westbound transatlantic convoy and delivered our ships intact, except for one which put back into Iceland. Then last night we started off to the westward to try to find survivors of three ships torpedoed out of an eastbound convoy. This convoy was being escorted by the Campbell and
Spencer (sister ships to the Ingham) and Canadian corvettes. The storm broke up the convoy, and then the subs went to work.
Shortly after 4 AM this morning, we (and the Bibb) increased to full speed, between 18 1/2 and 19 knots. The wind had abated and shifted to southwest, smoothing out the sea. However, the wind increased shortly and a new sea has been building up all day, so that by now (3 PM) the ship is again pitching and quivering furiously. The motion in my room, the last one aft, is so violent that writing is difficult and it is even hard to keep my eyes on the pen-point.
During the second dog watch we decreased speed to 13 knots due to fog setting in. This effectively kills any chance of finding anything before daylight. Ship is now comfortable for the first time since leaving Reykjavik.
I beat the Doc 2 games out of 3 in dominoes this evening!
Saturday, 26 September -- About noon today 3 boats were sighted and their occupants picked up by the Bibb. They were 51 people of the Penn Mar. At 3 PM a life raft was sighted with 8 men aboard. Lieut. Masters took our No. 1 boat (under oars) to the raft and took off the men. The boat falls were led aft "married", with about a hundred men tailed off along the falls. On its return, when the boat had hooked on to the falls,. the order was shouted and instantly the men ran the boat out of the waves and up two-blocked in about 2 seconds! The survivors were from the Tennessee; they had been clinging to their little raft since Tuesday night.
Sunday, 27 September -- (0400 - 0800) Still proceeding east watching for survivors. Westerly wind building up a sizeable sea astern. About 0530, picked up two radar targets astern which closed from two miles to one mile, possibly subs trailing us. Manned the after 3" guns and searched astern with star shells and 18" searchlight but saw nothing. Then we manned Gun No. 3 (forward) and countermarched at 18 knots. However we took so much solid water as to make any action or gun fire impossible, so we again turned eastward and reduced speed to 13 knots, as before. Daylight came not long after, relieving the tension.
In the afternoon wee turned westward to meet an eastbound convoy. The wind had increased steadily to about Force 8 or 9, and the sea was running high, occasional combers topping 35 feet. Speed was reduced successively to 11,10, and 8 knots, and even so we were making heavy weather of it and taking considerable solid water on deck. The old destroyer Leary joined us today and was plugging along with us, taking a considerable beating, reporting boats smashed etc., and a plate on the starboard bow below the waterline cracked. On the Ingham the principal casualty was the No.4 boat (port side), the weather bow of which was smashed by a sea, at the same time smashing the bottom by driving part of its cradle through the bottom
Monday, 28 September -- After plugging along all day with the Bibb and Leary through high seas and fog, we found our convoy, just reforming after yesterday's storm About 4 o'clock a few of the ships were sighted through the fog; shortly after we were assigned a station about 5 miles out, which was kept by radar, of course.
By evening it quieted down so that I wrote a couple of letters, the first time this trip I could sit on my chair without hanging on.
Wednesday, 30 September -- Still zigzagging along this morning in uninterrupted fog. Have had practically no visual contact with our convoy. About 0800, the Iceland group of seven ships, including a transport, broke off from the main body, and we set our course (028 deg.) for Reykjavik..
The wind picked up again from the west building up a high and uncomfortable sea. The weather this trip has been totally miserable.
Friday, 2 October -- Sighted Rekjanes light in the 4 - 8 watch this morning. Made our landfall off Skagi Point about 0700 and proceeded into the inner harbor of Reykjavik, where we went to General Quarters for an air raid alarm just after docking. Bibb tied up alongside, and "our" survivors and hers were landed into Army ambulances. They were all carried off in stretchers for some unknown reason, though all of them were locomoting about ship alright before we tied up! In the afternoon we proceeded into Hvalfjordur, where wee fueled from the British tanker Empire Garden.
Lieut. Naab departed this afternoon in Rinkydink.
Saturday, 3 October -- Moored to buoy D--27 this morning. Went ashore to the club this afternoon and did a pretty good job with their beer. Stopped aboard the British cruiser Norfolk on the return trip, where we completed the job. Got off a letter to Serenberg via Northland today
Sunday, 4 October -- Proceeded to Reykjavik this morning, where we anchored. Lieut. Masters and Ensign Richmond departed en route to Grosse Ile, Michigan for flight training.
Monday, 5 October -- Got underway bound for Icomp with a convoy of 8 ships, in company of Duane and Schenk.
Wednesday, 7 October -- Barometer dropped very fast all day yesterday, reaching 27.93" early this morning. Wind began picking up yesterday afternoon, and blew full hurricane force for 4 or 5 hours today around noon. High seas, squalls with much spindrift; visibility poor. The convoy was scattered by the storm and tonight we have rounded up 5 of the 8. Still blowing about force 10 tonight.
Thursday, 8 October -- Storm abated today. By afternoon a new breeze had sprung up opposite to the old seas, making the seas quite calm..
Friday, 9 October -- The wind increased to half a gale last night, building up another rough, uncomfortable sea. This morning we find that two more of our ships have disappeared, leaving only three.
In the afternoon, however, smoke was sighted on the horizon, and under it we found one of last night's stragglers. About seven tonight, we were still bringing the straggler into the fold, out of sight of the rest of "the gang" Then Duane announced "Eureka! Do you get it?" Then began a race with darkness and the continual rain squalls. Through the murk we finally made out a few ships of the westbound convoy, then lost them in the darkness. But we had found them, and the radar kept us with them until one of the transatlantic escorts had come over and relieved us of our worrysome charge. Then we joined Duane and Schenk and started off to meet an eastbound convoy.
Saturday, 10 October -- Met the eastbound convoy in the 8 - 12 watch this morning. After running with it for an hour or so, the Iceland group of five ships broke off and headed for Reykjavik.
Monday, 12 October -- We were off Skagi Point this morning at 0400. Crept slowly in through the darkness to Grotta Point, near Reykjavik, where we broke off from the convoy and proceeded with the Duane and Schenk to Hvalfjordur, where we anchored about 0830.
Received mail this morning:
1. Letter from Dad of Sept. 4
2. Bill from N.Y.Y.C., Sept. 8
3. Letter from Polly, Sept. 18
4. Letter from Irma Briner, Sept. 18
5. Notice of Hank Parsons' new daughter, Sept. 17.
Thursday, 15 October -- Mail:
Letter from Dad, Sept. 23
Letter from Louis Zahn, Sept.. 23
Tuesday, 27 October -- Unmoored from Buoy D--27 at 0800 and proceeded to Reykjavik. Something went wrong with the steering machinery before we had cleared Hvalfjordur, so we proceeded the rest of the way on hand steering.
Immediately after anchoring off Reykjavik, we went to General Quarters for another air alert. Then, just finishing lunch we got up anchor and stood out into the bay to search for an Army flier who was reported to have crashed. After searching the area for several hours, proceeding the while on hand steering, we gave up and returned. Found out later that all planes were accounted for. Went ashore in Reykjavik late in the afternoon, and had dinner and drinks at Camp Knox (Naval Operating Base).
Wednesday, 28 October -- Underway just before noon, bound for Angmagssalik, East Greenland, escorting the S.S. Ozark. Yesterday and today delightfully clear and calm. Temperature ranging from 25 to 40 degrees. Steering gear now functioning normally. An exchange of watches gives me the mid-watch and the afternoon watch.
Present Roster of Officers
Commander Geo. E. McCabe Commanding Officer
Lt. Cdr Sid. F. Porter - Executive Officer
Lt. Cdr. James D. Craik - Navigator
Lieut. John Van Heuveln - Engineer Officer
Lieut. Vic. Pfeiffer - Communications Officer
Lieut. James A. Martin - Gunnery Officer
Lieut.(j.g.) E. M. Osborne (R)- Damage Control Officer
Lieut.(j.g.) Phil. Chase(R) - Commissary Officer
Lieut. (j.g) F. J. Mann (R) - Asst. Communications .
Lieut. (j.g.) Louis Sudnik - Asst. Navigator
Ensign Joseph Matte III (R) Asst. Gunnery Officer
Ensign J. F. Juraschek (R) - Asst. Navigator
Gunner C. J. Woodell - Gunnery Division
Machinist Ben Hansen - Engineering Division
Lieut. Arnot Groves - Supply Officer
Asst. Surgeon James A. Smith (USPHS) Medical Officer
Friday, 30 October -- Made landfall on coast of Greenland by radar at 82 miles just after midnight. Proceeded in at 5 knots, speed of Ozark. After sighting land at dawn, entered fields of brash ice and growlers and picked our way in slowly. A few small bergs around.
The aspect of this coast and the water was very impressive. The land is high and rugged in the extreme, and snow-covered to the waterline. There are deep fjords, but from about five miles out the shore line appears unbroken.
Shortly before noon we observed the Coast Guard trawler Nanok picking her way out, moving along the shore, often hidden behind icebergs. Then we left the Ozark and stood outward. After leaving the ice field, we held 5", 3", and 20 mm target practice. Later we entered an extensive field of brash ice, and pushed slowly through it for several hours before clearing it. And so the egg-shell-thin Ingham became an icebreaker!
Sunday, 1 November -- Steamed into Hvalfjordur this morning and moored to the British tanker Empire Garden at 1020.
Early yesterday morning (about 0500), we crossed the Arctic Circle and continued for some while, then altered course to the southward. The Captain made this detour to enable the crew to qualify as "polar bears", seeing that we were so near.
After fueling we moored again to Buoy D--27, sharing it with Leary.
Monday, 2 November -- On sudden notice to proceed to Reykjavik for orders, we got underway at 1630. In Reykjavik harbor a British trawler brought us Ensign J. Burd and our orders, and we put to sea without coming to anchor. Seems the convoy we were scheduled to meet in a few days was taking a shellacking, having already lost 5 or 6 ships, so we and Leary and Schenk were dispatched to help out.
Wednesday, 4 November -- We have been in the vicinity of our convoy most of the day, but have been searching for it unsuccessfully until darkness.
Found the convoy this evening and joined up, together with Leary and Schenk.
About 2100 tonight flares were sighted. Another ship had been torpedoed. We fired a star shell barrage, but saw nothing.
Thursday, 5 November -- We learned today that the ship hit last night was the 16th one torpedoed out of this convoy of about 35 ships , originally. When we joined there were only 4 escorts, the destroyer Restigouche and 3 corvettes. Few, if any, transatlantic convoys have ever been hit so hard.
A quiet today. We had coverage all day by a big 4-motored Liberator bomber, radar equipped. He dropped all his depth charges on subs on the surface nearby, with results unknown.
Friday, 6 November -- Uneventful. Went alongside Leary this afternoon and got two tubes for our radar via shot line..
Learned today that two ensigns coming to this ship are aboard U.S.S. Pleiades in this convoy.
Saturday, 7 November -- Iceland group broke off from main body at 1430 this afternoon. Four ships in group.
Monday, 9 November -- (0530) Approaching Iceland, we departed from the northbound convoy and stood to the eastward and joined Bibb and Duane escorting a convoy to Torpedo Junction.
For the past 5 or 6 days the wind has blown Force 6 to Force 8 almost steadily.
Tuesday, 10 November -- Finished Vol. I of O. Spengler's Decline of the West tonight. Started it about a year ago.
Wednesday, 11 November -- Came daylight today and we had two ships with us in convoy, having separated from the others last night due to storm and bad visibility.
Sunday, 15 November -- After cruising around for several days looking for the main westbound convoy, we found it this morning during the mid-watch, picking them up by radar at six miles
We delivered our two ships at daybreak and headed northward for Iceland at 18 knots, alone.
After days of rough and foggy weather which made it impossible to find the transatlantic convoy, or even the rest of the Iceland group, today was clear and quiet.
Monday, 16 November -- After several unexpected landfalls in a fog and some backing and filling, we finally found our way into Reykjavik and moored to a U.S. tanker at about 1500 this afternoon.
Tuesday, 17 November -- This morning , in Reykjavik, we took aboard five officers who came up in the last convoy:
Lieut.(jg) George S. Parker (R)
Ensign Gerald C. Hall (R)--Returning aboard
Ensign John M. Waters
Ensign Edward J. Kenney (R)
Ensign Carroll O. Heffernan (R).
Moved over into Hvalfjordur this afternoon and moored to "our" buoy, D--27. Found provisions and supplies of all kinds quite plentiful here, for a change. We received a big batch of October mail today and tonight..
Tuesday, December 8 -- Wrote the following RESUME for Nov. 21 through Dec. 8:-
November 21 -- Left Hvalfjordur (or was it Reykjavik?) with S.S. Culpepper, a tanker, bound around the south side of Iceland for Seydisfjord, on the east coast. The weather was delightful all the way over. We were very near the coast all the way over.
23 November -- .Came to anchor in Seydisfjordur at 1115, just two days out. Small village in the fjord here, all lit up at night. This afternoon, about four-thirty, we began dragging anchor in squalls which reached hurricane proportions. Number 3 boat (our only motor boat) broke away and went on the beach. After moving to several new anchorages, we finally settled down.
27 November -- Mid watch (midnight to four): Blowing a gale. At 0100 we began dragging anchor. We had the British anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Ulster Queen tied alongside, just in from Murmansk (with her guns worn out). As we dragged, the Limey began parting her lines, and finally dragged off by herself. After finally coming to anchor, we dragged once again. This time we almost went on the beach in our maneuvering. But we finally held in a new anchorage, to 120 fathoms of chain. And then the wind died out. (We lost our No. 1 boat, in this last episode)
30 November -- After mooring alongside the Culpepper and pumping water into her for ballast, we got underway at 1400 with her and U.S.S. Pleides, bound for Reykjavik..
2 December -- Anchored in Reykjavik at 1100 after a smooth trip. Proceeded into Hvalfjordur in the afternoon. Lieut. Al Martin left this afternoon for a month's leave of absence in London.
3 December -- I took over the Gunnery Department in Martin's absence. Lt. Pfeiffer took over Fire Control.
8 December --- Today ---We got underway at 0800 and proceeded to Reykjavik. END OF RESUME.
Thursday, 10 December -- Went ashore in Reykjavik this afternoon with Louie Sudnik and Lieut Groves. We had dinner with Mr. Jensen, the Danish mate of the S.S. Tennessee, whom we found in the middle of the ocean on a raft on 26 September last.
Friday, 11 December -- Underway at 0740 this morning, bound for Torpedo Junction with Leary and Babbitt and a convoy of 8 ships.
Tuesday, 15 December -- After searching for them unsuccessfully all day yesterday, we found the westbound convoy this afternoon. Nice sunny day; we sighted their smoke on the horizon.
Left with; our consorts to join an eastbound convoy off in the west. The barometer was down to 27.78" at 1930 tonight but the weather was still good!
Wednesday, 16 December -- The barometer reached 27.60" during the mid watch this morning; yet the weather still held quite good. (The average barometer off Iceland is 29.70", and it sometimes tops 30.00") It began to blow this afternoon, with the rising barometer. During the 8 to 12 watch tonight we joined the eastbound convoy we were to meet.
Thursday, 17 December -- En route eastward again, with a fairly big convoy. Our trio brings the escort group to ten.
During the 8 to 12 watch tonight, while on patrol 3 miles ahead of the convoy, we picked up screw-beats of a submarine while listening, ran in and dropped three 600-pounders. Then, getting contact on the U-boat again by echo-ranging we made another run and gave it a 10-charge barrage. Search was continued for some time, but contact was not regained. There is a strong possibility that we sunk him without forcing him to the surface. [EDITOR'S NOTE: This attack destroyed the U-626 with all hands]
Friday, 18 December -- No attacks on our convoy, no signals heard, either homing or sighting. Maybe we did all right last night!
Saturday, 19 December -- The Iceland group broke off at 1400 this afternoon, seven or eight ships escorted by the Leary and Babbitt, plus 3 corvettes which had run too low on fuel to continue on to Londonderry. We stayed on, to reinforce the remaining escorts of the main group.
Sunday, 20 December -- The "can" Schenk arrived from Iceland this afternoon to further reinforce our escort group.
Monday, 21 December -- At 1930 tonight, two British escorts arrived, relieving the Iceland escorts, so with the Schenk we departed for Iceland. The ships which relieved us were HMS Scimitar and HMS Shikari; type unknown, as we got only the barest glimpse of only one of them by moonlight.
Wednesday, 23 December -- Anchored off Reykjavik at 0700 this morning. Later we moored to the tanker Matinicock for fuel. At one o'clock we got underway and proceeded to Hvalfjordur.
Thursday, 24 December -- Big load of mail aboard! Campbell brought the Christmas mail to Iceland.
Friday, 8 January, 1943 -- Got underway at 1100 and proceeded from Hvalfjordur to Reykjavik. Received mail today.
Saturday, 9 January -- Captain A. M. Martinson came aboard from the Duane. He is to relieve Commander McCabe, who has orders to the West Coast.
Monday, 11 January -- Fueled this morning from the Matinicoek.
Captain Martinson relieved Commander McCabe this afternoon. Cdr. McCabe left to a rousing chorus of cheers as his boat pulled away.
Thursday, 14 January -- Under way at 0900, in company with Babbitt and Leary, escorting 11 merchant ships to Torpedo Junction.
About 1130 the Babbitt was detached to join the Duane and to proceed to an eastbound convoy to reinforce that escort. The Schenk left the fjord this afternoon to join that group, also.
Saturday, 16 January -- Our old enigma, the Peter Helm, broke down and was ordered back to Iceland.
Sunday, 17 January -- Got word from a Flying Fortress of the Coastal Command (RAF) that the convoy we were looking for was 30 miles away. Sighted it immediately from aloft (or rather, we sighted one of its escorts), and joined them at noon. Joined the escort group and started to the westward with them. This convoy had the most air protection this day that I've seen to date: a Flying Fortress, a Lockheed Hudson, and a PBY (or "old faithful").
Monday, 18 January -- No word has come out yet, but a careful estimate of various guesses, rumors, and hints indicates that we probably will be bound for the States in March, either to Boston or Curtis Bay, Maryland.
Thursday, 21 January -- At 0800, just before daylight, we and the Leary left the westbound convoy, in Lat. 54--26 N, Long.38--33 W, not far from Newfoundland. We headed northwest to meet an eastbound convoy. Leary is returning to Iceland, being low on fuel.
Friday, 22 January -- Met a large eastbound convoy at 1330 this afternoon, in the entrance to Davis Strait. Received escort instructions via shot-line from the Spencer. Campbell is also in this escort, together with six Canadian corvettes.
Sunday, 24 January -- Since joining this convoy, the weather has been very bad, blowing from Force 5 to Force 12 continuously, and from various quarters. The convoy, which is classified as fast, has been averaging 4 knots, and is becoming badly scattered. Visibility has been not over two miles at best yesterday and today. To top it off, our QC underwater sound gear has been out of order yesterday and the radar also out of operation part of the time. Between the end of evening twilight and moon rise, about two hours, it is so dark that we cannot see our own bow.
Monday, 25 January -- Weather cleared up today. Spencer had designated us to take charge of the "small" group we were with while she went off to join the "main body". This morning it turned out that we had 25 of the 47 ships, and all but one of the corvettes. By late afternoon the other group had not found us.
This afternoon I shaved off my beard, after taking a snapshot of it. Sic transit gloria hirsute!
At 1215 we sighted a mine in the path of the convoy and hove to near it with a warning signal flying while the convoy passed by. After 25 minuted of firing at it with Lewis guns, it sank.
Tuesday, 26 January -- Sighted the Campbell this morning while she was on a sweep astern of her group looking for us. She was with the Spencer and the "main group", consisting of nine ships. In the afternoon, about 1400,the groups merged and we continued on to the eastward.
Wednesday, 27 January -- This morning we made a survey of the names and positions of all ships in the convoy, a difficult job due to the poor visibility and heavy seas.
At 1600 we broke off with two tankers for Iceland. A troopship came up and joined us later. At 2330 the corvette Napanee arrived, en route Iceland to refuel.
At 2345 we picked up a radar contact astern and tried to run it down. All hands to General Quarters at midnight.
Thursday, 28 January -- The contact ran from us on various courses, probably a sub on the surface; it may have trailed the corvette. Finally it disappeared at 2100 yards, submerging as we began closing the range going full speed. We fired two depth charges when we arrived at this place, then searched a while. Our sound gear was partially inoperative. About 0100 we secured from General Quarters.
We arrived in Iceland this evening and proceeded into Hvalfjordur, where we moored to the tanker Empire Garden at 2740. Later I took a boat over to the U.S.S. Vulcan and got our mail, which was there in large quantity.
Friday, 29 January -- Al Martin returned from England this afternoon, thus ending my incumbency as Acting Gunnery Officer.
This evening the Captain, first Lieut. (Exec), and two sub-Lieutenants from the HMCS Napanee came aboard for dinner. The First Lieutenant was Frank Ellis, of the Windsor (Ontario) Yacht Club, who owned and raced the sailboat Dolphin on the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair. We had a great time chewing over old times and the many friends we has in common.
It was blowing 40 to 50 knots when they were ready to return to their ship, so I took charge of the boat. The trip back (to windward) was wet and very cold.
Wednesday, 3 February -- Lt. Cdr. Porter left the ship this morning with orders to new duty with Coat Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Underway at 0900 and proceeded to Reykjavik. Under way from Reykjavik at 1215 and went back to the entrance of Hvalfjordur and hung around a while waiting for Leary. After about an hour we put to sea alone and proceeded generally southwestward to meet an eastbound convoy. The weather is quite moderate.
Our ship is getting to need an overhaul badly. The boot on the underwater sound gear was stove in on the last trip by heavy weather, making that necessary equipment almost useless. Also, the ship is getting quite battered by various misadventures in coming alongside tankers in gale force winds. At least we are better off than the old (World War I) destroyers of the Iceland group, which are quite literally falling apart.
Thursday, 4 February
Present Roster of Officers
Captain A. M. Martinson - Commanding Officer
Lieut. Cdr. J. D. Craik - Executive Officer
Lieut. Cdr. J. Van Heuveln Engineering Officer
Lieut. V. Pfeiffer - - Navigator
Lieut. J. A. Martin - Gunnery Officer
Lt.(j.g.) E. M. Osborne (R) Damage Control Officer
Lt.(j.g.) P. Chase (R) - Commissary Officer
Lt.(j.g.) F. J. Mann (R) - Communications Officer
Lt. (j.g.) L. F. Sudnik - Asst. Navigator
Ensign J. Matte III (R) - Asst. Gunnery Officer
Ensign G. F. Hall (R) - Asst. Communications Off.
Ensign J. F. Juraschek (R) Asst. Navigator
Ensign J. M. Waters - Asst. Gunnery Officer
Ensign E. J. Kenney (R) - Asst. Commissary Officer
Ensign C. O. Heffernan (R) Asst. Damage Control Off.
Lieut. A. Groves - - Disbursing Officer
Asst. Surgeon J. A. Smith , (USPHS) - Medical Officer
Lt. (j.g.) G. S. Parker(R) - (Not assigned)
Gunner C. J. Woodell - Ordnance
Machinist B. Hansen - Asst. Engineer
(I was assigned an additional duty yesterday:- Photography Officer).
Friday, 5 February -- About 1900 this evening, picked up a radar contact, which turned out to be the Bibb, returning to Iceland after an overhaul in Boston, she then being some distance astern of the convoy we were looking for. About 2100 we joined this convoy.
This convoy has already had some action: two ships have been sunk and one of the escorts, HMS Vimy, has sunk a sub, getting about thirty prisoners.
Saturday, 6 February -- This morning about 1100 we went out astern of the convoy with the Bibb, looking for a sub reported by one of our two-plane escort. In the afternoon we moved to a different area where another sub had been sighted. No results. Rejoined the convoy in the evening.
Twelve subs are reported to be working on this convoy. Occasional star-shell searches and depth-charging by other escorts tonight.
Sunday, 7 February -- The mid-watch this morning (and the 4 to 8 also) were featured by prolonged intermittent illumination astern of the convoy by star-shells, gun fire, flares, rockets, and with torpedo explosions and depth charge attacks. We were patrolling ahead of the convoy and could not participate. Three merchantmen and an Army transport were sunk.
After daylight in the morning, we and the Bibb and two corvettes were sent astern to rescue survivors. The water was littered with wreckage, boats, rafts, life jackets, and many men. The Bibb arrived on the scene first and got over 230 survivors. We picked up 22 men and buried two of these. The corvettes picked many up, number not known. This afternoon we heard that a tanker in the convoy had just been torpedoed.
Early this morning, orders came for myself, Osborne, Juraschek, and Hall to report for Amphibious training by February 18, at Solomons, Maryland. These orders have not yet been delivered to us. The captain will probably protest them. I don't see how we could get there by that date, anyway. (A commando, eh? Well I'll be god-damned!)
These orders addressed me and Juraschek and Hall as Lieut. (j.g.), so we must have made it recently.
Monday, 8 February -- Two more ships were torpedoed before or during the mid-watch this morning, one at 2345. We picked up four survivors from two boats; one being alone in one boat, and the other three all we could get from 15 in the other boat, which capsized when alongside.
Two other ships were reported to have collided, but what the outcome of this was we didn't learn.
In the afternoon the Bibb attacked a sub astern, resulting in a probable kill, as two large oil slicks and several large bubbles resulted.
Tuesday, 9 February -- The Iceland group, 7 merchantmen, broke off this morning in longitude 14 deg., (a strange place for departing for Iceland). Escort consists of Ingham, Bibb, and Schenk.
Sunday, 14 February -- Sighted Eldey Rock about 1045 this morning and went through the "Hole in the Wall" and around into Reykjavik, arriving about supper time
Since leaving the main body on Tuesday the weather has been miserable, a succession of storms from the west and northwest. The convoy was scattered after the second night and we never knew whether we had two, or more, ships with us at night. When we arrived off Iceland the Bibb and ourselves had three ships, while the Schenk was quite a ways astern with one or more ships. At this point another ship returned to the fold from the eastward, and off Skagi Point we sighted another straggler coming up astern.
We sustained considerable damage from the seas. No. 1 boat was slightly damaged; No. 2 boat was stove. The port gun sponson (aft) was partially broken, and the starboard gun sponson was completely smashed by a sea which nearly washed two lookouts overboard. That's from the superstructure deck! The starboard sponson deck, after hanging to the side by several bolts for a day, finally broke adrift and fell into the sea last night.
Saturday, 20 February -- Learned this morning that my orders had been cancelled. The Captain had requested they be postponed until Ingham's return to the States (See 7 February) The other three also had their orders cancelled.
Stormy all week. Broke our anchor chain (to the mooring buoy) once. Engines turning much of the time, to ease the strain on the chain. Almost no boating in the fjord..
Saturday, 27 February -- We were all set to go into the Hvalfjordur floating dry dock at noon today, but just as we were about to unmoor, we got word that the dry dock was not in order. Then it started to blow again, so the whole business was called off for the day.
Sunday, 28 February -- We went into the floating dry dock this morning, in an attempt to repair the boot on our underwater sound machine.
Tuesday, 2 March -- This evening the Captain informed the officers that we had been assigned a month in the Coast Guard Yard at Curtis Bay, near Baltimore, beginning April 15.
Wednesday, 3 March -- Flooded the dry dock this morning, and left it at 1100. Moored to Empire Garden to fuel. Late in the afternoon we received word that we were to leave as soon as possible to search for survivors. Ceased fueling and went alongside U.S.S. Vulcan, where we took aboard our depth charges, two of our boats and one of the Bibb's boats, and commissary stores.
Thursday, 4 March -- About 0100 the depth charges were all armed, and we unmoored and put out to sea, standing on a southwesterly course. The weather at sea was miserable, as usual. (Al Martin was left in Reykjavik, so I am Acting Gunnery Officer again this trip).
Friday, 5 March -- Reached the search area early this morning and commenced searching on various courses.
Sunday, 7 March -- Arrived in Reykjavik harbor about 0730 and fueled from Salinas. Later we came to anchor. In the evening we again secured for sea, orders having been received for us to leave tonight.
Monday, 8 March -- It was too rough last night for the boat to bring back the liberty party and the captain, so we didn't leave until 0930 this morning, just after they returned aboard.
We again headed southwest, in pursuit of the Bibb and Babbitt, who left last night.
Changed back to "summer" time last night, viz. G.C.T.
Tuesday, 9 March -- Joined eastbound convoy this afternoon. Our sound gear was found to have the boot stove again.
Wednesday, 10 March -- Four ships torpedoed last night. Another was torpedoed prior to our arrival. One of the ships torpedoed last night is still coming along. Usual routine of star-shell illumination last night. This convoy has undergone many attacks, most of them unsuccessful or thwarted.
Thursday, 11 March -- Departed from convoy in Longitude 13 deg. and proceeded to Iceland with the Babbitt.
Friday, 12 March -- Arrived in Hvalfjordur late tonight.
Tuesday, 23 March -- Wrote the following RESUME for March 15 - 23:-
Monday, 15 March - Moved down to Reykjavik and moored to dock in inner harbor; first time at a dock since 2 October. Liberty ashore.
Tuesday, 16 March -- Underway with Babbitt at 1800, bound south.
Friday, 19 March -- Met eastbound convoy due south of Reykjavik in Lat 54 deg., at 0830. At ten AM, sighted column of water, flare, and smoke on the horizon, a straggler from another convoy, torpedoed. Stood over with U.S.S. Upshur, and picked up all hands, 69 survivors.
Saturday, 20 March -- Dropped a full pattern on a sound contact in the 4 - 8 watch. Results unknown.
Sunday, 21 March -- At 0800, we and the "can" Upshur were detached to proceed to LONDONDERRY!
The weather this trip has been the best we have had since early last September (and this is the farthest south we have been). There were several attacks and torpedoing of this convoy before we joined, but none since then.
The Babbitt left us on the run south, met another convoy, and also proceeded to Londonderry. All hands are looking forward to Londonderry -- grass and trees and a good liberty town.
Monday, 22 March -- Moored at the dock at Lisahally just before noon. The invasion of Derry commenced this afternoon.
Tuesday, 23 March -- Liberty party recalled from all saloons, gutters and bordellos this evening preparatory to a sudden departure.
Wednesday, 24 March -- Unmoored at 0100 and stood out, bound down the Irish Sea to Liverpool for dry docking to fix our sound gear.'
RUMOR -- The Iceland shuttle service is to be abandoned, the Iceland convoys coming via the U.K. Wouldn't that hurt our feelings?!
Entered the River Mersey in the afternoon and entered the Gladstone dock about 1700.
Liberty ashore tonight. Liverpool certainly took a terrible punishment in the heavy German air raids.. Almost anywhere one looks are ruined or desolate areas in the docks, the residential sections and in the center of town. The blackout is more complete and disconcerting than I have experienced elsewhere. The bars and clubs all close at 9:00 or 9:30 PM, with little going on anywhere afterward.
This afternoon I received my promotion to Lieutenant (junior grade). Also to Lt. (jg) were: Gunner Woodell, Machinist Hansen, Ensigns Hall and Juraschek. To Lieutenant: Lt. (j.g.) Chase and Parker. The roster of Ingham's officers now is:-
Captain A. M. Martinson
Lieut. Cdr. J. D. Craik
" " J. Van Heuveln
Lieut. V. Pfeiffer
" J. A. Martin
" E. M. Osborne (R)
" P. L. Chase (R)
" G. S. Parker (R)
Lt.(j.g.) F. J. Mann (R)
" L. F. Sudnik
" C. J. Woodell
" B. Hansen
" J. Matte III (R)
" G. F. Hall (R)
" J. F. Juraschek (R)
Ensign J. M. Waters
" E. J. Kenney (R)
" C. O. Heffernan (R)
Lieut. A. Groves
Asst. Surgeon J. A. Smith, (USPHS)
Department assignments same as 4 February, 1943.
Friday, 26 March -- Hot bath and quiet night's sleep tonight in Hotel Adelphi (Liverpool's best). First night spent ashore since first week of last May..
This ever-more-protracted cruise of the Ingham is apparently beginning to attract attention of people ashore on both sides. I met an armed guard officer (U. S.) who said he was told, when we came in, that there was a ship that was really being worked to death.
Saturday, 27 March -- Left the Gladstone dock and proceeded up the river and into the Herculaneum dock, where we are to be put in one of the graving docks.
Sunday, 28 March -- Entered a graving dock this morning and went on the blocks. The bottom of the boot on the sound gear was found to be badly holed and all stove in. Cause unknown, but probably heavy seas.
Wednesday, 31 March -- Last day of our stay in Liverpool, as we are scheduled to undock tomorrow morning. Our stay here has been most pleasant. Liverpool is not rated as the most attractive port in the U. K., by a long shot, but (by contrast) it was quite a paradise. We have had liberty from 1 PM to 9M, two days out of three for the officers and 1 PM to 8 AM every other day for the crew. With a year's pay to draw on, the men of the "Mighty I" cut quite a swath through the town.
Our future is uncertain still. Probably we will return immediately to Iceland via Londonderry. As the repairs to the boot on the sound gear was the sole improvement during our stay here, our need for dockyard overhaul in the U. S is as great as ever, but when we will get there only God and Commander Task Force 24 know.
Thursday, 1 April -- Undocked this morning and fueled from a tanker anchored in the river. In the evening we moored to a landing stage in Birkenhead and took on fresh water.
Friday, 2 April -- Underway this morning at 0700, bound alone for Reykjavik, direct.
Sunday, 4 April -- Arrived in Hvalfjordur this evening and moored to a Belgian tanker to fuel. Crew up 'til 0430 taking on stores.
Monday, 5 April -- Underway early this morning and moored alongside the Vulcan, from whom we took aboard our starboard sponson deck and splinter protection (see 14 February). Then we unmoored and proceeded to Reykjavik, followed shortly by the Vulcan. The Bibb also anchored off Reykjavik.
Well, at long last our task is ended. Tomorrow we leave for Londonderry with the Vulcan and Bibb,, winding up the Iceland Escort Group. The Babbitt and Schenk have already gone, and the Duane and Leary have been back some time for overhaul.
The Iceland run has been a man-sized operation. Our run to and from Icomp has been carried off with very small losses, but in reinforcing the transatlantic escorts we have fought many heavy actions against the enemy. And the weather on our runs has been continually furious from September through March. To date the Ingham has steamed nearly 60,000 miles, or 3 times around the circumference of the earth, since leaving Boston last May.
Tuesday, 6 April -- Underway at 0800 this morning in company of Bibb, escorting Vulcan to Londonderry.
Thursday, 8 April -- Arrived in Lough Foyle, Ireland this morning and fueled, then anchored at the Moville anchorage. At 1745 tonight we again got underway with Bibb and Vulcan, bound, at long last, for home. Our announced (or rather, rumored) route is south via the Azores and Bermuda to Norfolk, where we are to leave Vulcan, and thence to Boston, possibly.
Friday, 9 April -- After steering almost due west to Longitude 20 degrees, we turned south at 2015 tonight. Weather good.
Sunday, 11 April -- In Latitude 45 degrees this morning, we again turned to west, at 0500.
Orders came yesterday for John Waters and myself to report before 19 April to Advanced Fire Control in Washington, D.C for 4 weeks course, after which we are to return to Ingham.. Very good, but when we get any leave isn't clear.
Monday, 12 April -- At 2345 tonight we changed course to southwest.
Wednesday, 14 April -- My (and Waters') orders (see 11 April) were cancelled this morning. A stay of ten days in Boston Navy Yard is all the in-port period we are to get, apparently. This comes as a bad blow to all hands, after a year away from home waters.
Saturday, 17 April -- At 2030 tonight we sighted the entrance buoy to Chesapeake Bay (Norfolk), and stood in.
Sunday, 18 April -- We were detached from Vulcan just outside the entrance to Chesapeake Bay about 0130 this morning. In company with Bibb, we stood out the swept channel and set course for Nantucket Shoals and Boston.
Monday, 19 April, 1943 -- We entered Boston Harbor this morning and moored to Pier 4 West, South Boston Navy Yard, at 1030. [NOTE: My memory tells me that Bibb left us on the way north and entered Delaware Bay. Ingham arrived Boston alone. JM, 4/11/94]
END OF THE JOURNAL
The convoy we were joining was ON--77. See History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Vol. 1--The Battle of the Atlantic, S.E. Morison, Little, Brown & Co., 1947 (p,304)
This convoy was ONS--102. See History of United States Naval Operations in World War II,Vol.1--The Battle of the Atlantic, S.E.Morison, Little, Brown & Co., 1947.(p. 102)
This convoy was SC--100. See History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Vol. 1--The Battle of the Atlantic, S. E. Morison, Little, Brown & Co., 1947, (p.322).
The convoy we were to meet in early November 1942 was SC--107. See History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Vol. 1--The Battle of the Atlantic, S. E. Morison, Little, Brown & Co.. 1947, (p. 324).
For an accont of this evening from a different viewpoint, see Bloody Winter (Revised Edition), Captain John M. Waters, U. S. Coast Guard (Retired), Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, (pp. 73 to 76).
See photograph of Restigouch on page 374, History of United States Naval Operations in World War II--The Battle of the Atlantic, S. E. Morison, Little, Brown & Co., 1947.
Lt. Cdr. Porter set out from Iceland as a passenger on a surface ship. That ship was never heard from again; its fate unknown.
This convoy was SC--118. See History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Vol. 1--The Battle of the Atlantic, S. E. Morison, Little, Brown & Co.., 1947, (pp. 334-5).