Account of F. J. MALLGRAVE
General quarters sounded for the second time on the morning of
25 October at approximately 0645. The after engine room (control)
was manned by Chief Engineer and myself and regular G.Q. crew
KALBE, W. CMM; HEALD, CWT; LONG, WT1/c; CHEFLIN, WT2c; BOREN, WT3c;
TEULKER, F1c; TOVERA, F1c, who was control talker; DEVINE, WT3c,
2JV Talker; PERSON, R, MM2c; throttleman and 1JV Talker NASLUND,
WT3c; COWLES, MM3c oiler; ROSS MM1c; LEMIRANDE MM3c condensate man;
BENCE H. MM2c, utility, WRIGHT, WT2c, evaporator and also CRISWELL
MoMM2c and SMEHYL MM1c on H.P. air compressor and electrician mate
on #3 generator.
In charge forward engine room Lt. Hartin and Machinist Buford,
Chief Petty Officers present, Thumb, CMM and Pilgrim, CWT. I cannot
recall all the other personnel present.
At the time this second G.Q. was sounded we were making 127 rpm
on both engines. All boilers were steaming and #1 and #3 generators
were carrying electrical load.
Approximately immediately after I arrived and had relieved Ensign
Johnson the open bridge called down to make all possible speed at
the same time ringing up flank on engine order telegraph.
Within 2 minutes both engines were turning up speeds from 172 to
177 rpm as we were zigzagging the revolutions on each shaft varied.
We continued this speed as long as possible. Gun fire from enemy
ships could be easily felt below and caused ratting of metal. As
it was reported that enemy ships were closing, the bridge called
down asking if we were making all possible speed and to no mind
about smoke. I asked the person on the 21mc for permission to light
off smoke screen burners. Permission was granted. All smoke screen
burners were let off (1 each boiler). After laying smoke screen
for some time the forward engine told us they were cutting down
on oil to smoke screen due to the fact that it was interfering with
steam pressure. The after engine room did same thing.
At 0820 the forward engine room reported a hit and that water was
coming in. A few minutes later they reported water up to deck plates
level and reported that they were securing at about 0825. They had
secured. Communication was out between engine rooms. Steam pressure
on forward boilers was about 325, which showed she was blowing safety
Since #1 generator supplied the forward part of the ship there
was no power in the forward part of the ship for a few minutes then
all load was switched to #3 generator after we were asked over 3
JV circuit (electrician) if we wanted to light off #2 generator.
We told them no.
Somewhere right after fwd engine room secured there was a report
the bulkhead 100 had split. Between fwd engine room and machine
At sometime between 0835 and 0840 a shell came thru skin of ship
in after engine room on port side at frame 123. This shell pierced
boiler #3 casing and went into generating tubes. It knocked quick
closing valve handle off of boiler #3 so that fuel oil throttle
valve had to be used to close of oil supply (BOREN WT3c was firing
this boiler). Upon seeing water coming in rapidly 1 hole was about
6 to 8 round, I ordered secure all around and to abandon engine
room. At this time power was off due to no steam to #3 generator
but emergency battery circuit did operate overhead lamps and there
was no steam line breaks at all and practically all personnel left
by ordinary ladders to engine room and upon reaching 2nd
deck went up ladder alongside uptake hangar deck where they scattered
to abandon ship about 0845.
There were no personnel even injured upon leaving engine room.
Chief Heald lifted safety valves by hand before leaving.
When water was reported rising in forward engine room we in the
after engine room started our bilge pump and pulled a suction on
the drain well to help keep water down.
Further information in after engine room can be gotten from Lt.
Information on forward engine room from Thumb CMM.
Upon reaching the hangar deck I felt deck oily and wet (very slippery)
and also fire alarm was ringing. I asked someone what the bell was
ringing for, he said it was abandon ship. The curtain across the
hangar deck was drawn closed. The sprinkling system was not on as
fire main pressure was off.
I made my way to quarterdeck and just crouched behind ventilation
trunk and explosion occurred near #1 sponson and a large amount
of red hot sparks flew. I didnt turn around to see damage
but went onto #3 sponson where I inflated my life belt and helped
Topczewski MM2c cut loose the cargo net to climb down. He and I
climbed down and had to drop about 4 to waters edge.
All other personnel leaving #3 sponson jumped overboard.
I swam about from #3 sponson around fantail until I caught a life
raft with Lt(jg) Lynch. After resting I got back into water and
hung on. There were several badly wounded about on various life
rafts and morphine was administered to those who needed it as long
as supply lasted. We kept assembling rafts and tried to paddle away
to avoid suction of sinking ship. At about 0908 by my watch ship
went under very slowly. Only 1 underwater explosion was felt.
After the ship sunk we tried to organize a little better by tying
rafts together and helping the injured. One man, Muniz, E WT2c was
continually groaning and vomiting. He kept falling off the raft
and nearly drowning. I asked him what was the trouble and he said
he had been hit in the stomach. I did not see any hit or blood nor
did I investigate any further. He did have a few hits in his hand.
Finally he was noticed to be dead and on examination was pronounced
dead by executive officer and buried. A man named Cowles MM3c had
his arm practically blown off at the bicep. He had a tourniquet
(a belt) above the wound. However, he must have lost a great deal
of blood. He later died and was buried.
The executive officer swam out and brought in two lone swimmers
to our rafts and Barrows (ens) swam out and brought in a lone survivor
in a rubber life raft.
Near evening a second group of survivors joined us. This group
included the Captain. We all tried to gather as night fell. A man
named Smith GM3c Div badly burned died and during the night was
set adrift. All night we drifted and all personnel were very well
behaved. I recall another man buried at sea just before they set
Smith adrift. The next day early we examined our emergency rations.
There was mp water as bung was broken. The men started to eat biscuits
and malted tablets in spite of orders otherwise. Small hammer head
sharks were constantly about but were more nuisance than harm. About
0900 on the morning of 26 October Laurn WT1c was pronounced dead
and buried. We then saw mountain in the distance and we started
to paddle towards it and at evening the mountains were clearly visible.
At this point we ran across Lt. Comdr Waring and as darkness fell
we surrounded the cork net with life rafts to protect the wounded
from sharks. It was about this time we saw a Jap. Twin engine bomber.
We also saw three (3) different very pistol flares indicating the
other survivors and then the lights of the rescuing vessel. In the
meantime, most of the men went slightly haywire while
waiting. I was picked up by LCI #71.