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Volume 6849

Wartime Journals of Correspondent Edgar Rice Burroughs
or Buck Burroughs Rides Again

Written April 1943 ~ Copyright ERB, Inc.
Transcribed and Illustrated for ERBzine by Bill Hillman


Feb 27-Mar 2: "Stand by for sub attack!" ~ Depth Charges ~ Oahu
The Burroughs Kids
Feb. 27. Heavy swells during the night, and rather violent rolling. Sub contact during morning. The three destroyers circled. The convoy zig-zagged in all directions - all scattered out. Again I was reminded of hens, chickens, and a hawk.  The Boggs dropped five depth charges. Although she was 2 1/2 miles from us, the Shaw was shaken by the detonations. Later, the Mississippi, steaming over the spot where the Boggs had dropped the charges, reported seeing several hundred dead flying fish.

Shortly after, we got another contact; and I ran up to the bridge again from the wardroom. We finally lost the contact. Probably a big fish. I went back down to the wardroom and started playing Canfield. Then came: "Stand by for sub attack!" Being fed up with running up three ladders to the bridge for nothing, I kept on playing Canfield. A moment later the ship jumped to the explosion of 600 lbs. of TNT.

Just as we were finishing dinner we made another contact. This time I went out on the fantail, a very much easier place to reach from the wardroom, which is on the same deck; and a better place than the bridge to watch from, as I could stand right by the depth charges. Nothing happened this time; but about 4:00 PM we made another, and I went out on the fantail once more. It was a good contact this time, and we dropped four charges in a diamond pattern - two over the stern and one smaller charge over each side of the ship - 1800 lbs. of TNT. The ship bucked plenty to that, and the whistle began to blow. It had blown a couple of times before on this day, suggesting an adventure and a wonderful story replete with life rafts, sharks, and notification of next of kin. A line had been rigged in such a way that whenever our weakened keel buckled, the whistle blew.

When the charges detonate, the water boils up astern, raising a watery hill. They had to be set for considerable depth on the Shaw, so that the ship, steaming at its greatly reduced speed, could get far enough out of the way not to have her stern blown off. This added to the interest of all on board. During these contact the circling destroyers, their white wakes boiling astern, the zig zagging convoy, the patrolling planes overhead made an unforgettable picture. We never saw a sub nor any indications that we had got one; but in those waters and among all the contacts we made there must have been some Jap subs.

During these last days we played a lot more bridge, read, loafed, and ate. But I had stopped trying to go completely Navy, and had given up drinking coffee all day and all night. I now slept normally again, and my hands no longer did the hula.

At 9:30 PM the Gulf Queen left the convoy and headed for San Pedro all by her little rusty lonesome. To me she had always presented a pathetic picture among all those grim fighting ships, tagging along behind like a stray cur seeking companionship, but not daring to come too close. I hope she reached San Pedro.

Feb. 28. Jack's birthday - 30 years old. On Joan's birthday I was in Noumea. On Hulbert's, in Honolulu. I should like to be in Chungking on my next one.

It is getting a little cooler as we steam farther north.

Mar. 1. Our last bridge session. Due at Pearl at 8:00 AM on the 2nd.

Mar. 2. Got up during General Quarters and went to the bridge. Oahu loomed black against the easter sky. Molokai, Lanai, and Maui seemed very close to starboard. Nothing seemed familiar. I had never approached the island. . .

Depth Charges
Naval Mine
This Journal Dedicated to "The Kids"
Joan Burroughs Pierce
John Coleman Burroughs
Hulbert Burroughs


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