1944 Handwritten Sailors Diary Wwii On Lst Ship Battle Of Guam Greager 155 Pages
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1944 Handwritten Sailors Diary Wwii On Lst Ship Battle Of Guam Greager 155 Pages:
I have no problem at all with anyone purchasing my item and reselling it, however my description that I’ve worked hours on is not allowed to be copied by anyone for the above purposes. The main reason I write this is because I was contacted about a listing where someone had copied my exact sale and tried to sell a diary that they didn’t even have. It ended up being a fraudulent sale and I’m thankful they caught it in time. Thank you so much for your understanding.
Eastern Papua New Guinea. I’m not sure if the Navy allowed their sailors to keep such detailed diaries but I’m so glad he did. In fact the very first page of the diary reads…..
“To whom it may concern:
This is my diary. In it contains incidents and happenings which occur in my life daily, also my feelings whether they are sad, lonely, happy or whatever they might happen to be. I realize this is against Navy regulations but I haven’t the slightest intentions of letting anyone read this until the war is over. If you read this without my permission you are pretty low and cheap because nothing in it is the least bit interesting to anyone but me. Howard G. Creager.”
It was just a year ago today that I left San Francisco for Denver and 18 days leave I’d give all I own to be there now under the same circumstances. It doesn’t look so good for L.S.T’s down here. I have been told that when they make an invasion they do their own bombarding as they go in. Every L.S.T. down here has a Dr. aboard. I heard that we are going back down to Milne Bay tomorrow to pick up 20 new men. I also heard today that all transfers back to the states were cancelled, also all leaves in Australia were stopped last month. We had kinda hoped for one of those leaves but I guess it is out. I worked on phones all day today. Am making two new sets out of the ones in the scrap pile.”
Today is Dorothy’s birthday. I’d like to give her a big kiss for her birthday. We got paid this morning. I drew $74 so I’m going to send $100 home. Section 1 got liberty today to go to horse races on the beach. We had quite a time, the track was about 25 miles from the dock and we all go filthy from the dust. Hanson and I went together and we bought a quart of “Jungle Juice” from an American Negro. It got us pretty drunk but I have a typical hangover now and it aint funny. We saw quite a few Australian nurses, first women in a long time.”
When daybreak came this morning we had G. Q. and Cretin (our destination) was in sight. The tank deck was unloaded this morning and part of this afternoon and the army started loading gasoline for the next invasion. We’re standing condition 3 watches now so I have to stand my share.”
Well. It was just a year ago today that our ship went into commission and today we left Cretin New Guinea for a crack at the J-ps (short for Japanese. He spells it out but will pull my listing if I spell it out here) 62 hours up the New Guinea coast. The captain mustered us this morning and told us that there are 80,000 J-ps up there and there are only 30,000 of us so we would really have to fight. He told us that if we are attacked we would keep going ahead of our objective no matter what the situation was. Mr. Anderson told the main engine room boys that the mains would not be secured under any circumstances if something goes wrong they are to either fix them while they are running or don’t fix them at all. He added that he would like to be called as soon as they started smoking. There are 23 ships and 10 escorts in this convoy. We have over 600 troops aboard but they are only supposed to be aboard 62 hours, that’s where I got that 62 hours I mentioned a few lines back. I haven’t written a letter to mom and Vonda like I did before but I feel that someday they will both read this so there will be no need of writing another last letter. All I know about this invasion is on the opposite page. I love them both dearly and hope nothing happens to me for their sake. I’m right on the bow of the ship during battle so I really feel like I’m a good target.”
(I’ve scanned this page above to show his drawing of the boat and his position on the bow.)
We watched a little dive bombing and beached at about 8 o’clock. All the guns and vehicles were off by noon but the cargo on the tank deck wasn’t finished. We left the beach at 7:00 and are headed for Cretin. Just after we left the beach it was bombed and an ammunition dump was blown up within 150 yds of where we were beached.”
Yesterday afternoon about 4:00 there was a terrific explosion about 200 yds from the ship (or the beach). It shook the whole ship. There were supposed to have been two men killed and 175 wounded (I don’t know). As we left the beach a bunch of J-p medium bombers came over the beach and bombed the heck out of them. We could see the flashes all the way out of the harbor. This morning at 4:30 the guys coming off watch said that they could still see explosions on the horizon so I suppose they were still bombing the beach at that time. If so there were probably a lot of American soldiers killed because there was no place for them to go from the beach. The Tokyo radio reported our ship sunk.”
It’s 12:30 A.M. May 2nd or 2430. It doesn’t make any difference anymore. I still have the 12 to 4 watch and that’s where I am now. I just filled the washing machine with white clothes and will take them out about 2 o’clock so they should be clean. The captain was like a prince today. He gave us some good news. I guess that’s why I feel that way. He told us we are leaving for Pearl Harbor on the 12th of this month (which doesn’t happen as plans change). We are on the way to Cretin now and will dump our load there tomorrow then come back to Buna and lay around until the 12th at which time will we head for Pearl. I love my Vonda more each day.”
(On their way to Russell Islands)
We go here (Russell Islands) this morning about 9:00 and beached and unloaded. We beached right at the edge of a big coconut grove. We are in a very pretty little bay and quite as a mirror. We all went swimming this afternoon after inspection. After chow the captain called muster and congratulated us and thanked us for having such a clean ship. He told us that we would shove off for Florida Islands….”
(At one point they are tied up to the Battleship “Pennsylvania”)
We slept in until 6:30 this morning. I don’t know how they did it. I didn’t have anything to do all day and it’s a good thing too because I’ve been sick as hell all day. The captain called a muster today and gave us hell for not saluting, coming to attention etc. when he appeared. Also for not wearing hats topside. There are sure a lot of ships around us now. I believe we will see more ships on this next invasion than we ever have before. Three battleships were playing around all morning. Wrote a letter to Vonda this evening.”
I sure had some dreams last night. I dreamed I fell in love with Harry McCarthy’s daughter (Mira Jean I think her name is). It was a nice dream. I wish I could have more like it. I can’t help thinking of Vonda continually. She haunts me. Maybe I shouldn’t have written that letter, I don’t know. We got some troops aboard last night. I don’t know how many. We left Guadalcanal today shortly after noon in a convoy of about 40 ships. The captain told us that from here we are going to Kwajalein and from there we are going to Guam.”
Unidentified plane was sighted off our port bow. Well, the news is good everywhere tonight. Taiwan and Saipan are really catching hell. 124 planes were shot down over Tin. Saipan and Guam and 13 ships were sunk and 19 damaged. There probably won’t be a damn bit of action by the time we get there. We have 4 more days to go so there can’t be much left if they keep hitting them. I made me a chair today for the shop.”
Well we were attacked this evening at 5 o’clock by 3 J_p torpedo planes. There were 5 planes in the group but only 3 attacked us. Because we were in the middle column of the convoy the planes didn’t come too close to our ship although they were in easy range of the 3 in and the 40 MM. When I got to my gun I was the first one there. I quickly loaded it and got in my pointer’s seat. At the same time off our starboard bow our destroyer escort was firing at a single plane. In a few seconds the rest of my gun crew were in their positions and Bosnick and I sighted 3 more planes broad on the port bow. We reported them and all guns were trained in that direction. Two planes peeled off and come in over the ship directly on our port beam (500 yds) then banked and land off across our bow, that was the only good chance I had to fire and the word had not been passed to commence firing. I asked permission but no one would give it to me so I fired one round anyhow just to see how close I could come and that one round almost hit home. I was afraid to fire anymore against orders. At the same time the third plane circled and came in on our stern and dropped a fish at the 482 but missed by 3 feet. He was shot down at the same instant. Later I found out that the Capt. told Bob to pass the word for all guns to fire at will but he didn’t do it so that’s what fouled us all up.”
We are still lying off Saipan killing time, sailing at various speeds and courses. We had sunrise G.Q. but no enemy was sighted. We went back into Condition II after our G.Q. was secured and I had the 8 to 12. I slept all afternoon and went back on at 4. Four J_p planes attacked the other convoy which was on our port bow so naturally we sounded G.Q. We saw one go down in flames and the other three fled. I don’t know what type of planes they were. One L.C. I. in that convoy got its bow shot off presumably from one of the other ships stray shells. G. Q. was sounded again 5 minutes after the first one was secured. There were “many planes” on our port bow but they never came in sight so were secured again. I’m getting awfully sunburned standing the lookout watches.”
It was raining at sunrise this morning so we didn’t have G.Q. Some ship (LST) in the other convoy shot down a TBF early this morning. They were told five times that the planes were all friendly but they still shot one down. We got news today that the J_p fleet is three days out of Tokyo headed this way. We have already sent our task force to meet them. Midway took place today not so far from us. 300 J_p planes were shot down. Our losses were small. The South Dakota was damaged slightly. We had two G.Q.’s at noon but no enemy.”
(He says they are circling to kill time and that the invasion of Guam is postponed a bit. They are now on their way to Eniwetok. They’ve been circling so much that they are running out of food and water)
We had G. Q. last night at midnight. We didn’t know what it was although we could see a large fire several miles astern of us. We found out today that one of the carriers shot down a J_p torpedo plane, one of several that attacked them. We are still going in circles and no one knows when we are going in yet.”
Well we finally got some liberty. About 30 of us went over to a small island and took 8 cases of beer with us. The beer was good and cold but I only drank one bottle. We had a lot of fun just exploring the island and taking a swim every few minutes. The water was just as clear as a crystal and about 85 degrees F. We found a gallon can of peaches on one corner of the beach in about 4 feet of water so I brought it out and we opened it and the peaches were really good. Everything was fine until we started to go back to the ship and the small boat was hung on a coral. We worked furiously for sometime to get it off but the tide went out and left us there. I knew we would be there until the tide came in again so I went up to the middle of the island and made me a lean-to out of palm branches because it rains every night here. I got a life jacket out of the boat to sleep on and slept good until about 11:30 it started raining and Shorty Collins had taken some of my palm branches to sleep on so I started getting a little bit wet…..”
(Tide finally came in and they went back to the ship)
Reveille was held and I hurried out of my sack as a kid does on Christmas morning. As soon as I got up some of the boys told me that the battle was going strong and the battleships, cruisers and destroyers were shelling the beach so I washed quickly and went topside to view the show. It was still dark enough to get the full effect of the beauty of the tracers flying through the air so I stayed on deck until it was pretty light out. The scene was a pretty sight but as I stood there and watched the 6, 8, 14 & 16 inch shells I couldn’t help but think of the death and destruction they were bringing at the end of their beautiful flight…..”
(More on this day. In fact so much is happing this day that he starts writing sometimes minute by minute. I’ve scanned one of these pages above.)
We cruised all night last nigh to keep away from the island then came back this morning and stood by to beach. We had to keep the ship underway all day because the water is too deep to anchor. We could hear the firing all day but couldn’t see much of it. I don’t know how we are coming out. We almost have to read the news (same as US civilians get) to know what is going on. We are getting the ship cleaned up pretty good now that the marines are swarming all over everything.”
We cruised again last night and came back to the island early this morning. We came in a lot closer this morning tho, close enough that we could see the men moving around up in the foothills. The firing started hot and heavy about 7 o’clock with two crushes shelling hell out of enemy positions on the beach from about 3 miles out. One of them was firing directly over our head and those 8 inches really whistle as they go past. At the same time we could hear rifle and machine gun fire off our starboard bow. The firing here was steady until noon. The ship moved in a little closer to the beach and was we did we saw a squadron of dive bombers coming from the horizon and we knew they were brining no good for the J_ps. When they started diving it was really a sight. We were close enough that we could see the bombs and I counted 12 bombs drop out of a Curtis Helldivers belly as he pulled out of one dive then a few seconds’ later 12 explosions that rattled my teeth. A bomb explosion is a loud sharp crack and the sound carries a long way. We again moved closer to the beach and anchored this time within 300 yds of shore. There seemed to be quite a bit of machine gun and rifle fighting on the beach right ahead of us. Naturally a lot of the guys crowded around the bow of the ship to see what was going on but they didn’t stay long after a few stray bullets just missed them…..”
CONDITION OF ITEMS:
Handwritten items such as diaries and letters are never usually in mint condition. I try and describe my items the best way I can and post as many photos as I can. If a diary is tough to read for me I always say so in the description. If it is in bad condition I also say so and I usually describe the condition at the end of my descriptions. I have never, or I should say rarely, had a handwritten piece be in mint condition and there is a very good reason for that; they are made of paper, they’ve been carried around sometimes for 100’s of years and have been opened and shut hundreds if not thousands of times. So, please keep all of this in mind when purchasing diaries and letters from me..
MY BLOG: I’ve decided, finally, to start a blog site using the diaries in my personal collection. Over the years I’ve got so many amazing people emailing me asking me to share from my own personal collection of antique diaries. I’ve been trying to develop a web site but that is taking time so I thought I’d do this first and also facebook. There is also a page on the blog where I’ve written about why I collect. You can search for the blog by putting into one of the search engines (such as Google) the name; sallysdiaries (no apostrophe and all one word).