Monday, April 21, 2008

continued

David, I did not get to see the damage to this area before our captain (Lt. Charles Haslup) directed me to go to the flotilla communications message center at Deptford and stop the death message before it reached my parents in Cheraw, SC. Just before this, I had been told (either by the captain or some of the crew) that Bill McRae, who slept in the bunk just below mine in our stateroom, was one of two officers of our ship who were killed. I was believed to have been the third officer. Two bodies had been removed from my stateroom. There was shock after shock to me in every direction. Moreover, the captain or some of the crew took me over to one of the buildings at Deptford (I would guess that Dick Braman was with us, and perhaps as dazed as I) to view the corpses of the dead officers and enlisted personnel on the LST 312.

Afterwards, I began my immediate search unaccompanied to where our captain had instructed me to go and get that death message regarding me halted. Everything is as foggy as it can be in my memory at this point, but one of the most ironical experiences of my lifetime occurred when my storekeeper older brother, Murdoch, approached me. along my way. He was a part ot our amphibious flotilla (the same to which our LST had been designated as convoy flagship), and that land-based half of our flotilla organization had been moved from down near Plymouth up to London's Deptford area. I don't think he really knew that our ship had been struck, but we obviously were greatly excited and glad to see each other again. The two of us found our way to where I was supposed to go, and ended up sending a telegraph message to our parents. It stated: "Ignore any message you may receive regarding me. Am well and with Murdoch. Not a scratch on me." (More later, David)
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