November 29, 2016
Paul Polson was a Coxswain, a member of the Boat Group aboard the USS COLBERT APA 145 during WWII. (For background information about Polson and the COLBERT’s travails during the 1945 typhoon season, see the previous Blog post November 9, 1945.) Paul’s daughter, Dawn, recently discovered a treasure trove of his memorabilia from the WWII era. One of these documents is a first-hand account of the COLBERT’s struggle to survive Typhoon Louise, a terrible storm that swept across Buckner Bay, Okinawa, on October 9 and 10, 1945.
That letter is presented below. It is not signed; it appears to be a first draft. So we aren’t sure who the author was or to whom the letter was to be sent. We realize fully that one saves history one story at a time, and we believe the story below is worth saving. So, we are researching this subject and hope to have definitive answers soon.
What we do know, however, is that several details in this account confirm that the author was a member of the COLBERT crew. We can also confirm several key details in this letter because they are also found in Polson’s personal letters sent home immediately following the storm. The question is: Who wrote this riveting account of Typhoon Louise?
The pages below are exact replicas of the original document. The text clarity improves steadily after the first page.
This is the most riveting account of the struggle for survival “at sea” that I have read.
There are a few loose ends here that we would like to tie up.
- Can anyone out there help us to learn the name of the ship whose crew members were rescued by the COLBERT’s boat crews (see pp. 3 – 4 above)? Was it, in fact, a P.C. as mentioned on p. 3? If so, which P.C.?
- Can anyone out there help us to identify the sailor who was pulled from the water by COLBERT’s crew and gasped “God bless you!” (p.4)?
We will research these questions further with the membership of the Small Boat Sailors’ Association (SBSA). Does anyone have a suggestion where we might research further?
3. Can anyone out there help us to identify the author of this letter? Sounds to us like he was a member of the communications division aboard Colbert.
We save history one story at a time. Help please!!