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(Photos below contributed by George Klos) Except for the engine, the Port Motor Whale Boat was destroyed
I just got hold of an 8x10 photo of the News (above) which was taken just after the 61 Med storm. The ship is pulling into (probably) Cannes. Mount 32 is in surrender position and some damage to the bow is shown. On the original you can see the 2nd Div (me) rigging the forward accomodation ladder.Some mounts and antenna are turned, barrels in different positions etc. George Klos, 2nd Div, NN 01/60 to 01/62
I was there for the 61 cruise. One hell of a storm. Jim Sollee NN 12/60 to 01/64
Delighted to see some photos from MY era.. before the big antenna went up on the forecastle. And I remember the hurricane crossing the Atlantic very well. I crawled up to a bridge at (I think) about the 05 level with an 8mm movie camera and hung on for dear life in the 100 mph+ wind. Old Thunder was smashing into swells that arguably were nearing 100 foot, and the decks were awash in classic style... it was awesome! Jim Peden NN 02/60 to 03/62
The things I remember about the storm is that we had to get underway early. I think that a helicopter brought back the last of the liberty party because of very high waves at the jetty. We ate cold cuts for about 4 days because they could not light off the stoves. There were a lot of seasick sailors . Waves were 30 to 40 feet high and winds were in excess of 175 mph we could only make 3 to 5 knots at flank speed..There was a Greek ship that sank and all the crew was lost. One of the windows on the bridge was broken by high waves ,the only thing left of the port life boat was the engine. The ammo box on the focsle was busted open and the ammo was scattered on the deck. Gunner Brandon, a Chief Gunnersmate and a BM1 dumped the ammo over the side (the chief was a short heavyset guy I can't remenber his name. I think the BM was Medcalf from first div. The fwd gun mount sheared the stowing pen and was swinging back and forth. There was a tear in the bow and the saillocker and the anchor windlass room was flooded. The pyro-tec locker was ripped off and lost. The next port was Cannes France. Eugene (Willie) Willis NN 12/60 to 08/63.
I spent several rounds of watch at the helm during this storm. It was such a fight that two helms men were sent to the pilot house to switch off and on during each watch. If one lax moment occured like not enough counter-rudder given to check the swing or ahead speed slowed to the point Thunder couldn't answer her rudder, the wind would take control. All we could do was force the ship dead ahead with plenty of rudder swing, up to 25 & 30 degrees Left-Right at times (we were not allowed to go over 30). We were yawing such that the screws were frequently out of the water. We lost steering in the pilot house once during my turn at the wheel, the wind swung Thunder into the trough before after steering could regain control. It happened during the last part of the mid-watch, Several shipmates were thrown from their racks and the Captain soon came to the bridge to converse with the O.D., no doubt to remind him that Thunder had to have headway enough for the rudder to take effect. Gary Dunn NN 12/60 to 11/62.