11 August 2013

4 July 1944

D + 28

Fourth of July! Called up to the Exec.’s office about 2200 last night -- one of our men was reported as drowned in Belfast. Left the ship in the company of the Exec.’s orderly (Mr. Bond) and proceeded to Bangor where we were picked up in a command car and driven to Belfast. Reported there to Victoria Barracks where four seamen from the CA-37 were being interrogated by the M.P. It appears that Thornton in the more or less inebriated company of these four men went swimming in a small river just outside of Belfast, sank beneath the surface and could not be recovered because of the muddiness of the bottom and the approaching dusk. All efforts to recover the body by grappling were of no avail. Rode out to the scene of the accident in a jeep -- recovery operations suspended because of darkness and inadequate facilities (e.g. river boat needed to pull hooks). Returned to Victoria Barracks, finished interrogation, and finally turned in at the A.R.C. about 0200. Up at 0700 and down to turn the case over to the Port Officer for Belfast. Learned that Elliot Emerson was in the vicinity but didn’t get to see him. Had a wild ride back to Bangor -- got lost on the way -- and just made the last boat out to the ship. Sailed at 1130 for the Azores, Gibraltar, and the Mediterranean. (ARKANSAS, NEVADA, TUSCALOOSA, QUINCY and twelve cans including our old friends: FITCH, BARTON, GERARDI, HOBSON, MURPHY, ELLISON, and PLUNKETT. The O’BRIEN has returned to the States for repairs -- a little yard time for Harvey Crockett -- well earned, certainly. We are escorting nine transports which do not appear to be loaded with troops.) It is rumored that we will rendezvous with the AUGUSTA on the Nitro and perhaps one or two limey cruisers tomorrow or the next day. This gives every indication of being a good sized evolution, whatever it may be.

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