Recently people have been joining me on my Sunday Walks in Downtown Albany. Typically, I walk in Albany when I'm scheduled as a tour guide on the USS Slater. A slide show and a map are detailed at this blog entry. I plan on walking on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27. You can contact me at:

More on the USS SLATER (

Sunday, August 26, 2012

This Day, seventy years ago, 8/26/1942

Seventy years ago on this day, Wednesday, August 26, 1942 during the Battle of the Atlantic three merchant ships were sunk: the unescorted British steam merchant Beechwood was torpedoed and sunk by U-130; the unescorted Norwegian motor tanker Thelma was torpedoed and sunk by U-162; and sailing with Convoy LW-38, the British steam merchant Empire Kumari was torpedoed and sunk by U-375.

There were 101 U-Boats at Sea (Events this day - U-Boat Net).

During August, 1942: 114 ships (544,908 tons) were sunk and 17 ships (95,053 tons) were damaged by U-boats and mines.

The naval Battle of the Eastern Solomons took place on 24–25 August 1942. It was the second major engagement during the Guadalcanal Campaign. The two adversaries were never within sight of each other. All attacks were carried out by aircraft. Neither side secured a clear victory. However, Japan's losses were greater and included dozens of aircraft and their experienced aircrews. Also, Japanese reinforcements intended for Guadalcanal were delayed. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

08/12/2012 - What Ships Did Dad Serve on?

Today I was asked about researching a parent's service record from WWII.  There are quite a few sources but the starting point is the discharge papers. 

Military personnel records can be used for proving military service, or as a valuable tool in genealogical research. Most veterans and their next-of-kin can obtain copies of some records at the National Archives.  Access to records before 62 years are considered non-archival and there are restrictions.  Records before 1950 are archival, and are public.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

This day, seventy years ago, 08/12/1942

Battle of the Atlantic

Seventy years ago on this day, Wednesday, August 12, 1942 during the Battle of the Atlantic two merchant ships were sunk by U-508 while sailing with special convoy 12 (from Cuba): the Cuban steam merchant Manzanillo and the Cuban steam merchant Santiago de Cuba.

There were 96 U-Boats at Sea (Events this day - U-Boat Net).

USS Quincy (CA-39) Photographed from a Japanese cruiser during the Battle of Savo Island,
Quincy, seen here burning and illuminated by Japanese searchlights, was sunk in this action.
The Guadalcanal Campaign (Operation Watchtower) was the first major offensive by Allied forces against Japan. On August 7, 1942, marines landed on the islands of Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and Florida in the southern Solomon Islands. They overwhelmed the outnumbered Japanese defenders, who had occupied the islands since May 1942. The key prize was an airfield (Henderson Field) that was under construction on Guadalcanal. The Allies intended to use Guadalcanal as a base to support a campaign to eventually capture the major Japanese base at Rabaul.

Powerful U.S. naval forces supported the landings. They planned to unload as many supplies as possible throughout the night of August 8 and then depart early on August 9. That night, as the transports unloaded, the screening Allied cruisers and destroyers, were surprised and defeated by a Japanese Crusier/Destroyer Forece based at Rabaul. One Australian and three American cruisers were sunk and one American cruiser and two destroyers were damaged. The Japanese suffered moderate damage to one cruiser. The Japanese immediately retired to Rabaul without attempting to attack the transports. They were concerned about daylight U.S. carrier air attacks if he remained in the area. On August 10, one of the Japanese Cruisers (Kako) was torpedoed and sunk by the submarine USS S-44 near Rabaul (70 mi).

The USS San Francisco was assigned to escort the Carrier Wasp (about a hundred miles away from Savo Island). It was detached from the force that supported the landings, and was not directly involved with the battle.

On August 12th, 1942, a relief convoy to Malta is subjected to constant attacks during the day. Operation Pedestal was a British operation to get desperately needed supplies to the island of Malta. The most crucial supply was fuel delivered by the SS Ohio, an American-built tanker (with a British crew). The operation started on 9 August 1942, when the convoy sailed through the Strait of Gibraltar. The arrival of the last ships of the convoy on 15 August 1942, coincided with the Feast of the Assumption (Santa Marija) and the convoy was named the Santa Marija Convoy. 

Roughly fifty ships sailed through minefields, and came under attack by bombers, E-boats, and submarines.The operation cost of more than 400 lives, and only five of the original 14 merchant ships reaching the Grand Harbour. The SS Ohio made it to Malta but was so badly damaged that it sunk in Malta's Grand Harbor.

August 12, 1942 - Movie star Clark Gable enlists in the Army Air Corp. During the war he flew five combat missions.  Gable is discharged in 1944.