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Memories of George Marquis
This is me in Perth in late '44.
Joe Nowak came aboard the Bergall on July 15th, the day before we left New London for Pearl. He transferred off the Cuttlefish. The first night he was aboard, I had the duty, but talked him into taking my place so I could go on liberty. He was really pissed at me (I found out later) but we became friends and he even did me the favor of introducing me to my wife. What a friend!
This is Joe and I on the fore mounted 40mm deckgun that we manned. Joe is in the left "training" seat (training = left and right control) and I'm in the right "pointing" seat (pointing = up and down control).
Here is another shot of her 40's with two "Rising Sun" flags on the barrel designating the damage done by that gun at that time. Manning the gun is Joe and I, Lt. Welch is on the bridge with his back to the periscope shears and the guy with sun glasses on the bridge is Mort Soiett, one of our cooks. Joe was a gunners mate so he this was his "home turf". Submerged, I was a forward torpedoman but on the surface everybody had a new job.
I remember an event that happened during the initiation from pollywogs to shellbacks. We crossed the equator submerged so we had to have the initiation the next night on the surface. One of the officer's mess stewards was placed on deck way up on the forward bow and told to stay there. They then cycled the vents on the ballast tanks and air escaped. This guy thought they were diving and made a running sprint for the bridge. He cleared the forward 40mm deck in one leap and came down on the bridge. Of course, everyone was laughing but I think he needed his drawers changed. Lt. Welch got into a big fight with some of the crew when we had the initiation for crossing the equator. (Pollywog to shellback).
We also had a guy who was really upset when we crossed the International Date Line because he would lose a day's pay. He became bearable when he found out he would gain an extra day's pay when he came back.
The meals on the Bergall - to me - were always good. We had a cook who only worked nights baking bread, pies, and cakes. One thing I do remember was that when we left Pearl on the way to the So. Pacific, the first time, we got a supply of pineapple stuff. We had diced pineapple, sliced pineapple, crushed pineapple, fresh pineapple and even candy bars with pineapple in them. Dole must have had the contract for the Navy, they had a big plant there in Honolulu. I sure remember the cook, Mort Soiett, using the boat intercom to announce "chow" as follows: "Chow down, chow down for the second section, come get it before I throw it in the shit can".
I have memories of our Bergall showers. We collected droplets out of the air and perspiration from the guys, ran it over coolers and put it in our shower source. It was 'smelly' to take a shower!
Our War Patrols
The most scared I ever got was on the first patrol. We sighted a sub and played tag with it for a while. We sighted him and we would dive and start tracking him and he would dive and we wouldn't know where he was. We later reported the sighting and were informed that it was probably one of ours as one was suppose to be in the area. Later contacts in our patrol indicated that it was probably the enemy. Those quiet moments, when you think you are in pursuit but don't know for sure if YOU aren't being pursued, were pretty hairy.
There were two bunks in the overhead of the forward torpedo room just inside the hatch to the Officers Quarters. These bunks were for the two black Officer Mess Stewards. Just underneath these bunks was where I was standing, reloading torpedoes when we took the 8-inch shell through the torpedo loading hatch... the shell went right over my head (I've still got a piece of it as a reminder). A lot of shrapnel and shit from the shell and the damaged hatch landed in these two bunks. There were also air and water lines and electric lines spurting all over. It was quite a mess and we used a lot of mattresses to plug holes both incoming and outgoing. I remember helping throw over the side many pounds of butter (real butter) on the way back to Perth after the 8-incher hit us on our second patrol. This was so our rations for the next patrol would not be decreased because we came back with these (extra) supplies. I believe this second patrol only lasted about 30 days - most of them were much longer. I also remember before leaving port, for the next run, filling every available space and the bilges with beer and booze which was illegal but a MUST for our crew.
Here's a piece of the 8" that bounced around the inside of our boat from the
second patrol, I found it and I've kept it!
(editor's note: the sharp edge is still so sharp that you have to handle it like the razor that it is!)
After our boat's repair in Fremantle from the 8-incher we took on the second patrol, I remember we had to take a skeleton crew out in the Indian Ocean and make a deep dive to see if the repairs to the forward torpedo loading hatch was tight. I was on that run and in the forward torpedo room while a guy was up in the loading hatch with a flashlight to see if there were any leaks after we dove. He was a little concerned about the condensation that formed around the loading hatch, but guess it was fixed because it worked after that.
On the third patrol, we were the first boat to use the 'Cutie' (Mk 17) torpedo. It was an acoustic homing type, meaning that it "listened" for noises like a ship's propeller and aimed itself toward that noise. The first cutie we fired was in Lombok Straits and hit a small island to island steamer. We picked up two prisoners and took them back to Australia. My memory is not too hot but I think we had to be beneath 150 feet to have the 'Cutie' arm itself. All I remember is that we were submerged and going all ahead 1/3 when we should have been dead in the water. Our first firing was the homesick kind. I was in the Forward Torpedo room when we fired from there. The JP sound man sat in a corner of the FTP room tracking it. All of a sudden he flipped his intercom to the control room and said "Jesus Christ, Captain, that thing is following us". We just went to all stop and threw the rudder over to miss it. It then went on up and got the steamer. That cutie was the only one we actually fired on patrol - I think.
On our third war patrol, when we got a hit on a Jap battleship, we took several depth charges from their destroyers. I remember the Captain coming on the intercom after the charges, saying that those were thousand pounders. They really jolted us up good and we had to repair some of the wooden deck strips when we got back to Perth. I remember, during a patrol in the South China Sea, hearing on the ship's radio Tokyo Rose. It was eerie to hear her mention the Bergall being out there in the South China Sea and her knowing all about us.
After one of the patrols, we decided to have a base-beer-ball game. As you can see, the accommodations were pretty basic and we sure didn't have a lot of fancy equipment. We had beer, a baseball and an attitude. What else would we need to have fun?
During the fourth patrol we got the crap kicked out of us with Jap depth charges. I kept track in the FTR of how many and it totaled l85. We also had to use our signal gun tube in the ATR to send out a missile that made the sound of a sub's screws to draw the Japs away from us. We were in a small harbor on the China coast chasing some small freighters.
It's interesting that our only unsuccessful patrol was when we rescued those four American fly boys. Submariners always claimed that just to make it back from a patrol was successful.
The smell of fresh bread!
We had a tall, skinny cook onboard that we called "Cookie". He was a baker and would stay up all night and cooking bread and pies and stuff. He had lots of previous war patrols under his belt when he joined us. One thing though, he was "pressure happy".
My War Patrol Card
After my 3rd patrol, I was able to update my combat insignia card to reflect our three successful war patrols up to that point. (I later earned a fourth star for the Bergall's fifth war patrol.)
After arriving back stateside, we hauled the ole girl out for the repairs needed to fix the damage caused by the mine exploding nearby on the fifth patrol. This also was also the opportunity to do the regular overhaul routines required. Although up on blocks, we still had to man the watch, which explains the "dog house" on deck at the end of the gangplank.
The Old Man
Commander Hyde was a great guy to serve under. As a young man (I can say that now!) of 29 years old, he commanded the boat with a very calm and deliberate manner. He didn't say much but if he was talking to you, you CERTAINLY listened. I never heard him raise his voice or chew anyone out. After some incident that I was involved in, he turned and asked me, "What are you? What's your rate?". So I said, "Torpedoman Second." He quietly responded, "Why don't you be a Third for awhile." Whoaaa, very nicely he lowered my rate on the spot. At the end of the next patrol I got my rate back but I sure remembered his way of making his point. That's the way he did things. He had 8 previous War Patrols under his belt when he took command of the Bergall and that experience showed.
Here's Commander Hyde throwing off the lines of his "old boat" after handing it over to Commander Thomas Kimmel in New London (note the fabulous weather!)
Later, after the war, I was in the area of New London with my wife. Wanting to show off a little for my wife, I decided to take her on a tour of the sub base. The gate guards wouldn't let me pass. I had gotten out of the Navy so I didn't have any valid ID and they weren't about to let us on. Knowing that Captain Hyde was stationed on the base I asked the guard to ring him up for me. Well, much to my amazement and honor, Johnny remembered me and drove straight over and brought us on base and showed us around like we were dignitaries or something. He sure treated us well and made me look like a king in my wife's eyes!
I still have my original sea bag with USS Bergall in fancy script and a full length naked girl, all done byRobert 'Flags' Faselt. It's getting along in years, but here's Bobby's art on my seabag.
This is my loving wife, Marion, myself and our dear friend Esther Kress.
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