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11 replies to this topic

#1 Nohno



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Posted 22 September 2009 - 05:47 PM

My name is Jill, and I hail from Seattle. I've been interested in WWII history since I was very young, as I grew up an Air Force brat living in West Germany. Spent 11 years there, plus 3.5 living in France. Normandy was one of our favorite weekend destinations, and of course I grew up surrounded by the vestiges of the war.

I am currently working on a project to publish a story from my husband's great-uncle, who was a merchant mariner on board the SS West Nohno (thus the user name). I'm sure many here know it was one of the blockships at Normandy. So I came to mine for information and ask questions, one of which is whether there might be a market for the book if we decide to publish it for purchase (right now it's just a family project). I'll pose that question in more detail in the Information Requests forum.

I'm off to the rest of the forums! Regards!

#2 jemimas_special2



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Posted 22 September 2009 - 07:53 PM


Welcome! Look forward to your project, and the end result ;):) Love Seattle! I have family in the Bellingham/Ferndale area... beautiful state.

All the best Jill,


#3 PzJgr


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Posted 22 September 2009 - 08:27 PM

Howdy and welcome to the forum. Glad to have you with us. Good luck on your endeavor and Happy posting.


#4 dgmitchell



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Posted 22 September 2009 - 08:46 PM

Hello Jill, and welcome to this fine place! Plenty of great things to read and people to meet so jump right in!


#5 urqh


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Posted 23 September 2009 - 07:30 AM

welcome.. i should think theres a market.. im sure we would all want a copy.

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#6 Nohno



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Posted 24 September 2009 - 09:28 PM

Thanks for the greetings, all!

#7 JagdtigerI



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Posted 24 September 2009 - 11:36 PM

Hello Jill, welcome to the forum!

"If you want peace work for justice" -Pope Paul VI


#8 SymphonicPoet



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Posted 29 September 2009 - 09:04 PM

Greetings. Always interested in things nautical myself, so I'd be happy to hear your husband's Great Uncle's stories. (And your own for that matter.) Welcome aboard.

#9 Erich


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Posted 29 September 2009 - 09:07 PM

why don't you include a small passage here for us to read Jill

and welcome

E ~
:aceofspades: E ~

#10 Nohno



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Posted 30 September 2009 - 04:06 AM

Great idea, Erich. Here's an excerpt from April, when they were docked in Southampton. This is not fully edited yet.

The next two days I stayed aboard and watched the stripping of the ship. They removed our metal lathe and all our raw stock, which we used to make machinery parts. I mentioned to the foreman that I would like to see where they were storing the material on the dock so that when we returned I could pick it up again. He looked at me as if I were crazy and said, “When you come back?” He must have known what our mission was to be but the crew of the West Nohno still had no idea of our destination.

April 5–6
The second engineer and I took a bus ride and toured the famous Winchester Cathedral. It was a beautiful experience and we picked up a lot of the old history.

On April 6 I got instructions to pump fuel oil from our double bottom into a barge that pulled alongside. I was to keep only a certain amount for our needs. Hell, this got the wheels in our heads turning. We calculated a distance circle that we could travel by the amount of oil left. We could go to the southern coast of France where the allies were invading the coast, but there was not enough to return. Also, the damaged German battleship Tirpitz had been chased east through the English Channel and was hidden in one of the Norwegian fjords. We could go there and scuttle our ship at the mouth to keep it from leaving, but this was thrown out because our mission was planned long before the Tirpitz was damaged. Well, we would find out soon enough!

April 7–10
I took a two-hour bus ride to Salisbury. Located there was also a nice cathedral. That day they started to load sand ballast aboard ship. Then on Saturday, the eighth, I took a ride to Shirley and found all stores closed. This town got quite a shelling from the German raids. I could not get transportation back to the ship so I had to walk about five miles before I found a bus going my way. I stayed aboard on the ninth; stood by while they loaded more ballast. I had to watch the ship’s trim. The oddest thing was the native crew; they worked all day Sunday but then on Monday the tenth, they took a day off. I asked the foreman, why work Sunday and take Monday off? His explanation was that Sunday was a double time day and Monday wasn’t. Besides, he said, how do you expect England to pay back their lend-lease? So we took Monday off with them and I took another trip to Winchester.

April 11
The shore crew started to cut large four-foot square holes through the athwart bulkheads. The ones cut between number one and number two cargo holds were cut low, near the bilges. The same was true between number three and number four holds. The one out between number three hold and the engine room was cut high over the engine room and also high on the bulkhead between number two hold and the boiler room. The idea was that when the ship was to be scuttled it would settle evenly, with the engine and boiler rooms last to get flooded.

There also was a crew of English demolition engineers who came aboard and installed three charges of dynamite on each of the interior sides of the ship. This made it clear that we were to be scuttled. But we were still in the dark about the destination.

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#11 LRusso216



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Posted 30 September 2009 - 03:15 PM

Welcome to the forum, Jill. I enjoyed reading your excerpt. Keep it up, and ask any questions you might have. someone is sure to know the answer.

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#12 SymphonicPoet



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Posted 30 September 2009 - 06:41 PM

Looks fascinating. Keep us posted. I think I'd very much like a copy when you get around to publishing it. I look forward to it.

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