War log tells of sailors' 20 days adrift at sea

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Colin1, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    #1 Colin1, Oct 30, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2009
    Daily Telegraph 30 October 2009

    A seaman's wartime log has been discovered that discloses how 67 British sailors survived for 20 days and drifted 1,200 miles at sea.

    Chief Officer Maurice Case wrote in his diary of how the stricken crew faced starvation and hypothermia after their merchant ship, SS Rhexenor, was sunk by a German U boat after leaving Freetown, Sierra Leone in February 1943.

    The men were stranded in four lifeboats and survived on water biscuits, raisins and the occasional raw fish. They drank salty rainwater and tins of condensed milk salvaged from the wreckage. The entry for February 4th read:

    "Breakfast: 1 biscuit with condensed milk, 2oz water.
    Midday: 1 biscuit, milk, 6 raisins and 2oz water. Everybody satisfied."

    The newly-discovered log tells of how the men were often drenched by heavy rainstorms, leaving them cold and wet for days afterwards. Three men died from hypothermia and exposure and had to be buried at sea in the middle of the Atlantic.

    The survivors navigated by the stars and eventually made landfall on Antigua. Although severely malnourished and 'a bit groggy on the legs' the men were in good spirits when rescued.

    Mr Case, who received an MBE for taking charge of one lifeboat, died in 1988 aged 87.
     
  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    WOW! I hope they publish the entire log, I'd love to read it!
     
  3. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Hope they publish the log.

    I just got finished listening to a book-on-tape "In Harm's Way" about the sinking of the Indy. Amazing and horrible what happens in the water. I didn't know that the whites of your eye can actually swell.
     
  4. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    :salute: I've got "In Harm's Way", and it is an amazing story. The whole time I read it, I kept thinking about that scene from "Jaws" where the guys are drunkenly comparing tattoos, and the skipper (forget his name) mentions one he's had removed. The scientist laughs and asks "what'd it say, 'Mom'?" Skipper stares off in the distance and says "No. USS Indianapolis." The other two guys sober up immediately. Never really understood that scene until I read the book.

    "Devil at My Heels" is another good one. Lou Zamperini (sp?) is a B24 crewman who loses his plane, him and another guy survive for forty some days in a shot-up liferaft, then several more years in various Japanese POW labor camps. EXCELLENT book!
     
  5. wheelsup_cavu

    wheelsup_cavu Well-Known Member

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    The first few times I saw the movie Jaws I didn't know about the Indianapolis sinking.
    I thought it was just part of the movie used for dramatic effect and not a real event.

    The captains name was Quint and he was played by Robert Shaw.
    The scene you are talking abput became much "scarier" to me after I knew the story of the Indianapolis sinking.


    Wheels
     
  6. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    When I think of disasters at sea, I think of those poor devels in the Kursk, or the men trapped at the bottom of a US battleship that had sunk at Pearl after the japanese attack. From memory they survived something like 23 days before suffocating
     
  7. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Robert Shaw wrote that scene and those words. Spielberg liked it so much he keep it in the script.
     
  8. wheelsup_cavu

    wheelsup_cavu Well-Known Member

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    I didn't know that Robert Shaw wrote those lines.
    No wonder he was able to deliver them so convincingly.


    Wheels
     
  9. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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  10. wheelsup_cavu

    wheelsup_cavu Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the video link RA.
    I tried to find it the other day.

    It still gives me chills to think what hapened to those men.


    Wheels
     
  11. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Jaws (1975) - Trivia

    Quint's tale of the 'USS Indianapolis' was conceived by playwright Howard Sackler, lengthened by screenwriter John Milius and rewritten by Robert Shaw following a disagreement between screenwriters Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb. Shaw presented his text, and Benchley and Gottlieb agreed that this was exactly what was needed. Whoever was responsible, Quint got the date of the sinking wrong, claiming it was June 29, 1945, when in reality it was 12:14 am on July 30th, 1945. Universal has toyed with the idea of making the "Indianapolis" incident into a film, using a young Quint as the lead, ever since. Note that June 29, however, is the date (in the film) that the young boy was eaten by the shark, as can be seen in the hand-written "reward" notice.

    Robert Shaw was a fantastic actor.
     
  12. JP Vieira

    JP Vieira Member

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    Sounds very interesting
     
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