View Full Version : One for WWII naval historians

10-23-2002, 09:21 PM
My father was a Lt. on LST 639 during the war, and I've been trying to find where the ship was engaged. I've discovered, from an LST web site, that it was involved at the Palawan Island landings, and the Visayan Island landings, both in 1945, but haven't been able to find out much about these actions. Any information?

Mr. Know It All
10-24-2002, 05:22 AM
Jack.....This site might be helpful---> http://www.history.navy.mil/
Good Luck
Kevin in Ohio

Ross Faneuf
10-24-2002, 11:04 AM
Try Samuel Eliot Morison's 'History of Naval Operation in WW2', vol. 13 or 14; available at any US library.

Or, since I have the whole set and the index, you could just drop in some day when I'm home and not busy; come to think of it, if I make you wait til I'm not busy it would be impossible smile.gif

[ 10-24-2002, 12:06 PM: Message edited by: Ross Faneuf ]

Alan D. Hyde
10-24-2002, 11:06 AM
Ross is right, Jack, and Volume 15 (only volume I don't have) has an excellent index.


Jim H
10-24-2002, 03:36 PM
Jack, it looks like they were part of the Philippine invasion. Palawan is an Island in the group and Visayan is a group of islands.


10-26-2002, 09:38 PM
<sigh> the Phillipines would be such a fine sailing ground. Too bad it's chock full of pirates and Muslim separtists.

10-26-2002, 10:45 PM
Thanks guys,

Pop was no hero; didn't volunteer right off. He worked on the home front, making synthetic rubber, till the movement and draft of war came over him. Volunteered for the navy, because it suited his nature.

I know these things by presumption; he entered the war in 44.

But, for whatever reason, he went to war. He almost never talked of it, yet I felt, growing up, that it was central to his experience of life. I just am trying to understand a man who died in 1980.

He went on to be a "winter of our discontent" executive, but I think the high light of his life was being an officer on that LST.

And not to denigrate his later work. He traveled all over the world as a businessman. Rumor has it that some of his reports on European and Japanese industry went to the CIA.

How many of us know our fathers? You who have them, just in front of you, ask them who they are!


10-27-2002, 06:50 AM
I was lucky enough to have my father record a video of some of his memories for us before he died.
Hearing him talk about his time in the pre-WW2 Australian navy, and later his life during the Great Depression and then during WW2 and beyond was a real eye-opener.....you never know what your parents got up to before you were around to take an interest.

10-28-2002, 04:59 AM
I had a couple of hours free this afternoon before a flight out of Canberra, where the Australian War Memorial is. Fascinating to wander through there and see the exhibits. Dad spent over 4 years as an involuntary guest of the Germans after being captured on Crete.

The funny bit was when a group fo what appeared to be very senior German Army officers came through (in uniform). Very much in a hurry, no eye contact...... oops, don't mention the war!


martin schulz
10-28-2002, 07:20 AM
Originally posted by igatenby:
oops, don't mention the war!

IanChrist - you did it again.

10-28-2002, 08:32 AM
Originally posted by Meerkat:
<sigh> the Phillipines would be such a fine sailing ground. Too bad it's chock full of pirates and Muslim separtists.It is a fine sailing ground, and it is not chock full of pirates and Muslim separatists. Just keep clear of western Mindanao.

But the rumours do a great job of keeping the place from getting overcrowded.....

The real danger is typhoons - do not muck about in the Philippines in typhoon season!

I espescially recommend Palawan.

10-29-2002, 02:26 PM
It has to be one of the most beautiful parts of the world to fly over - all those jungle-clad islands with just the occasional coastal village and a few boats visible from 35,000 feet.

10-29-2002, 04:01 PM
Originally posted by Martin Schulz

Christ - you did it again.

Ahhh, but at least I was smiling! Seriously though, why would they want to tour a facility like that (a war museum) in uniform?

At a guess, I'd say the visitors on the day would have been 50% Aussie, 25% American tourists and 25% Japanese tourists - who no doubt would have seen a very different view on the war from what they get presented at home - and perhaps I've just answered my own question.

10-29-2002, 04:10 PM
No, I don't think you have, at all.

Japanese history books are VERY different to German ones in their analysis of the first half of the last century.

May I offer an explanation - that the senior German officers were almost certainly guests of the Australian military, and were visiting out of courtesy?

[ 10-29-2002, 04:19 PM: Message edited by: ACB ]

Gary Bergman
10-29-2002, 05:08 PM
The Visayan Islands do not suffer the larger parts of typhoons. Cebu and Leyte sometimes allow the supercat ferries to run during typhoons. They usually stay in that region as heavy rain, the outer islands deffinitely get hammered.

10-29-2002, 05:27 PM
You're quite right. Conversely, the Batan Islands get absolutely clobbered by them! WB could do a nice article on the boats they have there - definitely not banca territory!

Gary Bergman
10-29-2002, 09:12 PM

10-30-2002, 05:51 AM
Salamut, compadre!

10-30-2002, 11:56 PM
G'day Ishmael, My dad, Alan Cole was SBA on HMAS Gascoyne . She did the surveys for the invasion of the Phillipines and has a decoration from the Phillipines Govt for the work. Youre dad may have seen hi ship at some time. He talks about the air raids and shallow water.

11-08-2002, 03:04 PM
Several of you remark on a phenom that I have noticed for years. My Da joined USN in early '41, got out in '46 . . . survived what was I believe the first casualty of the Normandy landings, sinking of USS Osprey AM56 at about 1800 05 June.

He went on to an admirable 35-year teaching career after that . . . now what is he doing? reconstructing the deck operations of minesweepers, which is what he did then, and writing it all out. I think you are right, that for those guys looking back over all those years that experience really stands alone. They don't talk about it much -- my dad has gotten more and more interested in sharing it over the last 20 years, but when it was fresh in his memory I think he wanted to forget it and immerse himself in other stuff. Anyway, it has been a supreme piece of good luck for me to be able to share it with him. What started the most recent "jag" was seeing a proper naval architect's model of one of those ships.

I have done a lot of the heavy lifting of research -- Navy Historical Center is great. So is hazegray.org/danfs (their volunteers have translated many more ship histories for the web than the navy version). Morison is good and detailed though some differ with his outlook on some things. There are threads to lead you to actual ship's deck logs, muster books, battle reports, personel records (if you are a relative I believe) etc. Let me know if you want more info. They take a while and are not cheap, but there is no substitute for opening a package in the mail and seeing a nigh-60 year old deck log signed by your dad as O.O.D. before you were born.

Jim -- nice map of the Philippines -- where do you find maps like that in electronic format? Ish -- thanks for starting a good thread. On the German officers . . . queer confusing feelings I had on seeing a video series on the U-boat war, with inteviews with those buggers who sank a couple million tons of shipping . . . all looking like somebody's favorite grampa. No higher moral stance here, just wondering why it has to be and are we really any different from army ants. . . I went to see USS Arizona once about 20 years ago, and I could barely get aboard the boat or the monument for the mobs of Japanese visitors. Conversations were not possible, but it had the feeling that this was their look at their finest hour . . .