25 July 2013

18 June 1944

D + 12

0030:- Flares reported close off our starboard bow. Considerable A.A. fire coming from beach directly ahead. Also directly ahead are some float lights that the enemy uses to sight on targets. Just how far ahead is not stated. They may be getting ready to tee off on this concentration of ships. (All of this information comes to us via Patty Duffy on the bridge, -- is broadcast to the whole crew, and suffers from understatement in consequence. For additional information we must depend on talkers from numbers 5 and 6 A.A. gun mounts and on the main deck aft -- 40 mm -- and upon a tie up with the after repair party forward of us. The latter has the more reliable word of the two.

0037:- C.I.C. reports all signals weak (Radar) at this time -- no report on flares.

0055:- Hostile plane overhead -- dove down and deposited something in the water about 50 yards off the port bow. As the bridge dispatches report : “We all ducked.” There was no explosion. (But they have our range.) Unless the above described “something” is a torpedo, as is quite probable - as there is considerable A.A. fire just ahead of us.

0110:- Destroyer O’BRIEN 9500 yards ahead reports being bombed -- six bombs dropped, nearest 100 yards off stern -- no damage.

0115:- Set modified Zebra.

0130:- Secure from G.Q.

2235:- Almost holdiay routine today. Morning sick call, church over the RBO system. We gather every Sunday in the Sick Bay ward -- take up a novel attitude for prayer squatting on the pipe edges of the lower bunks. Don Legg conducts the Protestant services and Ensign Duffy the Catholic services, both with the aid of Phil Spitalny’s all girl chorus and Nelson Eddy (The Lord’s Prayer). The Chaplain is somewhat disturbed because the only records he has left are “Day is Dying in the West” and “Now the Day is Over” -- and the services are always held at midday.

To reinforce the holiday there were letters waiting when we awoke this morning -- (Five from Jane, one from Mother, and one from Olivia.) Two of Jane’s and Mother’s and Olivia’s were written post D-Day 
and their spirit was fine. More power to the home front.

We are at G.Q. again awaiting our nightly visitation. There is a high light overcast tonight -- not sufficient, however, to interfere with bombing operations. In the operations shack this evening about 2000 balking with Col. Campbell. Our troops now have a strip completely across the base of the peninsula about six miles wide. No further reports of demolition from Cherbourg. There is no retreat for the German troops in the Cherbourg peninsula now. 20,000 to 30,000 yroops -- and it will be a fight to the finish, as our sea power will prevent any evacuation. Report just substantiated that Lieutenant Barclay, Senior Aviator, has been missing in action over France since 6 June. Our aviators left coast of England via the Isle of Wight where they were given Spitfires to fly and fight. My first roommate, Walt Lathrop, is with them -- a real aviator, Walt, and a real screwball.

2300:- Waiting.

2400:- Two of the cans -- one off the starboard quarter, one off the stern, firing at some undisclosed target, evidently low to the water. Land batteries are spraying us with shrapnel every so ofter -- no damage as yet.

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