Sunday, February 2, 2014

the captured aviator

The last time I spoke in person with my uncle Pat, he asked if I could find anything about the aviator that was once transported aboard the USS LST-312.  I was able to find his name but Pat had passed away by then.  I was soon contacted by his granddaughter because of a previous post about the incident.  Pat always wondered what happened to that Luftwaffe airman. He would have been delighted to have known his name.

While aboard the 312 the prisoner, the crew were not allowed to speak to prisoners.  Pat said the prisoner was always escorted by two guards, each with a 45. Pat did say that he briefly went back and forth with the prisoner over the Joe Louis and Max Schmelling fight.  Pat always got a kick repeating the story.

I looked at him, and surprisingly he said, in his German accent "Max Schmelling - 12 ROUNDS!" Our guards and myself quickly shouted..."Joe Louis -1ROUND!"  -Pat
Nadine Goldenbaum, Hermann's granddaughter, wrote me and reminded me that I had mentioned I had a picture of him somewhere.  I went to digging and found the photo to scan and share with Nadine and you.  I also enlarged Hermann Goldenbaum's face so we can all get a good look at him.  Forgive me Nadine for taking so long to get back with you.

Though I couldn't identify the captured aviator for Pat Finlayson in time, perchance they've already met on the other side.

Hermann Goldenbaum
USS LST-312 Ship's Log Excerpt / June 10, 1944

0105, air raid, what a barrage.  Wouldn't think anything would get through.  One plane down. 0430, air raid.  1015, American SC came alongside with orders to beach at 1600.  Two LSTs were sunk on the way over yesterday.  One was our sister-ship, the 314.  With the 313 getting it at Gela, that leaves just two of us, the 311 along the shore.  Two were sunk.  1430, moved in closer to the beach.  Brought German pilot onboard who was shot down last night.  1815, unloading.  Vandagriff and Purdy went on the beach.  Fox holes and gun-nest reported on the beach with tunnels all over the place.  This is reported to be the worst beachhead of all.  French people don't seem to be too happy at having us here, but that's tough shit.  We have orders to take no prisoners.  They weren't taking too many anyway. 2050, unloaded, tide coming up.

British LCT trying to beach, but can't get in close enough.  Even so they are pushing the American troops off anyway.  Tide rising like crazy, trucks stalling and half covered already, troops yelling for help and trying to get ashore.  Some drowning, can't get help to them fast enough.  They are afraid of an air-raid and want to beat if off the beach.  About 20 vehicles lost, don't know how many men.  2305, air-raid.  Had warning of heavy aircraft concentration today on the radio, maybe it's true.

Log entry of Richard (Dick) B. Hudson SM3/c
from 'Sentimental Journey of the USS LST-312' by David B. Finlayson 2011
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