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"The Raft"

Discussion in 'WWII Books & Publications' started by Hummel, Oct 12, 2008.

  1. Hummel

    Hummel Member

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    Does anyone remember this book? It is the true and accurate account of three crewmembers of a patrol plane -- US, unknown what type -- that crashlands into the Pacific. The three crewmen get out and onto the raft and are there, with no food or water for 30+ days. They have a knife and, I think, a pistol or flare gun. I read this when I was VERY young, so probably around 1966-68 and it was beat up back then. It might have dated to WW2 as a matter of fact.

    I remember the book as being narrated by one of the crewmen and he recounted how he used to knife to stab a small shark under the raft. He stabbed it, and it felt as though he stabbed the raft, and he was terrified that he had done so. They may have caught an albatross or a gull too, but that may be my faulty memory.

    Anyhow, if anyone knows this one, can you post with information, please? Thank you!
     
  2. fsbof

    fsbof Member

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    Your memory is good - I read The Raft back in the '60s and again about 15 years ago. It was written by Robert Trumbull, the city editor of the Honolulu Advertiser and a correspondent with the NY Times. The plane's crew - pilot Harold Dixon, bombardier Tony Pastula, and radioman/rear gunner Gene Aldrich - were in a Douglas TBD Devastator with VT-6 on a scouting mission off the USS Enterprise in January 1942 while Enterprise was on patrol duty with a convoy reinforcing the island of Samoa. During the flight, the crew got lost, ran out of gas, and had to ditch. How they survived 34 days at sea in a small 3-man raft makes for an interesting tale (the book includes photos of the crew, after rescue, posing with a similar raft). My copy of the book was printed in 1943, and includes the usual "To . . . From" inscription dated 1943. A quaint feature of the book are instructions on the inner flap of the jacket suggesting that, after reading the book, the owner should "put it to work for victory" - remove the jacket, cut a label from the jacket and paste it to the book's cover, tie the book with string, and mail it to the address on the label where the book will be passed along to servicemen, who "need books as well as guns."
     
  3. rparshooter

    rparshooter recruit

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    I just saw 2 older posts regarding "The Raft" by R Trumbull.
    The Pilot and Commanding Officer was Harold F Dixon and my uncle.
    I could go on about him for days. He was a truly remarkable and kind man and a hero in my young eyes. Not only did I read his book and I must confess, use it for multiple book reports as a student growing up, but I had the distinct privilege of being able to speak to him directly about his experiences on more than one occasion. The guy was an extremely interesting man outside of his career in the Navy. When he passed away the Navy held a memorial service for him in Pensacola Florida. If you folks want to talk about that book and the heroes it is about I'll be happy to oblige. I am available a rparshooter@gmail.com

    ron doherty
     
  4. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    I remember buying that book when I was in grade school, through Scholastic Books back in the 60's (remember those monthly book flyers the teacher passed out?).

    Excellent story.
     
  5. Hummel

    Hummel Member

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    I just wish the book were still available. With the conflicts we're engaged in now, it becomes more and more relatable to today's kids.
     
  6. rparshooter

    rparshooter recruit

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    you can get the book through Amazon
     
  7. Hwhistlebritches

    Hwhistlebritches recruit

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    In repsonse to the book "The Raft". Yes, I am familiar with the book. I too read a paper back version in the mid 60's. For many years I searched for it again and a friend found the original 1942 hardback addition in a used book store. I still have it.
     
  8. Pyrohi_Bob

    Pyrohi_Bob recruit

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    My Grandmother gave me this book with an inscription that my father, a Navy pilot, had known the author. I was very young at the time and don't recall much of it but am inspired to reread it.
     
  9. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    As a point of interest i'm looking at a relevant book "Down in the drink" - "The deadliest enemy was the sea" - Chronicles a bunch of "Goldfish Club" members stories...Its written by Ralph Barker...Well worth a read if your into the ditching stories...like me :)
     
  10. texson66

    texson66 Ace

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  11. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    I think I still have a copy of that book somewhere.... somewhere....
     

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