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 Author  Topic: OT? Tomorrow = Anniversary of loss of USS Reuben James
PeterTareBuilder

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of PeterTareBuilder  Posted on: Oct 30, 2008 - 5:02pm
Hi there.

I figure that even though this is Off-Topic for a PT boat forum I'd post this reminder.

In the early morning hours of October 31. 1941 U-552 fired two torpedoes at USS Reuben James DD-245. The bow was blown completely off and sank immediately. The aft section sank five minutes later. Of the crew only 44 were saved. USS Reuben James was the first US warship lost t o hostile action in WW2.

I thought it is fitting to remember those brave men tomorrow.

PeterTareBuilder

"Give me a faster PT boat for I'd like to get out of harm's way!"

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Frank J Andruss Sr

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Frank J Andruss Sr   Send Email To Frank J Andruss Sr Posted on: Oct 30, 2008 - 8:16pm
May the God Lord Bless those who lost their lives on that fateful day. Thanks for the reminder..............


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PeterTareBuilder

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of PeterTareBuilder  Posted on: Oct 30, 2008 - 8:33pm
Hi there Frank.

When I think of the sailors lost with the Reuben James I think of a (paraphrased) line from Marty Robbins song "THE ALAMO":

"...and the small band of sailors lie asleep in the arms of the Lord."

May they rest in peace.

Cheers from PeterTareBuilder

"Give me a faster PT boat for I'd like to get out of harm's way!"

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Randy Finfrock

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Randy Finfrock   Send Email To Randy Finfrock Posted on: Oct 31, 2008 - 8:56pm
Yes, this was a real tragedy. There was even a song written about the loss of the Reuben James. My father-in-law, RM3c Bill R. Tatroe )later a PT veteran) served on the USS Reuben James as a supernumerary (only for a few weeks, in June 1941). He told me that she was a 'fast can'. It took him from Rhode Island up to Argentia, Newfoundland where he was then assigned to the USS Albemarle, a seaplane tender.

Bill traversed the North Atlantic with the Neutrality Patrol as far as Iceland prior to the US declaring war. The Reuben James was on an escort patrol when it was torpedoed by the German U-boat. As he knew many of the sailors on the Reuben James, he was distraught about the losses.

This took place about 6-weeks before war was declared, although US Navy ships had been escorting convoys months before.

The words to the CHORUS of the song are:
Tell me, what were their names, tell me, what were their names?
Did you have a friend on the good Reuben James?
What were their names, tell me, what were their names?
Did you have a friend on the good Reuben James?


Randy Finfrock

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PeterTareBuilder

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of PeterTareBuilder  Posted on: Oct 31, 2008 - 9:50pm
Hi Randy.

Here are the words to the song. The first is the song as Woodie Guthrie originally composed it. The second is how most atists sing it.

Cheers from PeterTareBuilder

As originally written by Woodie Guthrie:

REUBEN JAMES

Have you heard of the ship called the bold Reuben James,
Manned by hard fighting men both of honor and fame?
I will tell you a tale that will tell you the names
Of the men that went down on that good Reuben James

There's Harold Hammer Beasley, a first rate man at sea,
From Hinton, West Virginia, he had his first degree.
There's Jim Franklin Benson, a good machinist's mate
Come up from North Carolina, to sail the Reuben James.

There was Carl Cooperider, that shared the Reuben's fate,
Bucyrus was his home town, and Ohio was his state;
And then come Randall Cosgrove, and gunning was his game;
And he went on to glory on the fighting Reuben James.

If you ask who was it handled our hot torpedo box,
A man from West Virginia, his name was Charlie Cox;
If you ask who was it that manned the cannon ball,
His name was Walter Sorensen, from the town of Omaha.

Jesse Weaver died a seaman as true as he could be,
And he come up from West Point, the state called Tennessee.
William Flynn done his best and bravery I'll tell,
His home was Philadelphia where hangs the Liberty bell.

Dennis Howard Daniel, Glen Jones and Howard Vore,
Hartwell Byrd, and Raymond Cook, Ed Musselwhite, and more;
Remember Leonard Keever, Gene Evans and Donald Kapp,
Who gave their all to fight about this famous fighting ship.

Jack Campbell was our fireman, he stuck the battle through,
And there was Erastus Carbaugh from Mercer County, too;
Paul Magais stuck to the radio, and W.H. Kloepper, too;
Until the good ship Reuben James went down beneath the blue.

Eighty-six men were drowned, I can't give you all their names,
Only forty-four were saved from that good Reuben James;
It was the last day of October that we saved the forty-four
From the cold ocean waters 'long that long Iceland shore.

It was there in the dark of that uncertain night
That we watched for a U-boat and ready for a fight.
Then a whine and a rock and a great explosion roared
And they laid the Reuben James on the cold ocean floor.

Now tonight there are lights in our country so bright
And friends and relations are telling of this fight.
And now our mighty battleships steam the bounding main
And remember the name of the great Reuben James.



The popular version:

REUBEN JAMES

Have you heard of the ship called the good Reuben James,
Manned by hard fighting men both of honor and of fame?
She flew the Stars and Stripes of the Land of the Free,
But tonight she's in her grave at the bottom of the sea.

CHORUS:


Tell me what were their names, tell me what were their names,
Did you have a friend on the good Reuben James?
What were their names, tell me what were their names?
Did you have a friend on the good Reuben James?

One hundred men were drowned in that dark watery grave;
When that good ship went down, only forty-four were saved.
'Twas the last day of October we saved the forty-four
From the cold icy waters off that cold Iceland shore.

It was there in the dark of that uncertain night
That we watched for the U-boats and waited for a fight.
Then a whine and a rock and a great explosion roared
And they laid the Reuben James on that cold ocean floor.

Now tonight there are lights in our country so bright
On the farms and in the cities they're telling of the fight.
And now our mighty battleships will steam the bounding main
And remember the name of the good Reuben James.

Years later, Fred Hellerman of the Weavers (which recorded the song) added this verse:

Well, many years have passed since those brave men have gone
And those cold icy waters are still and they're calm.
Many years have passed, but still I wonder why
The worst of men must fight and the best of men must die.

"Give me a fast ship for I intend to go in harm's way."

"Give me a faster PT boat for I'd like to get out of harm's way!"

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  FRANK

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of FRANK  Posted on: Nov 1, 2008 - 11:58am
Hey guys-

I'm a big Kingston Trio fan, remember them? They recorded the song "reuben James" on their ablum titled "#16" with John Stewart singing the lead. This album came out in the late 60's. If I remember correctly the song did make the charts and had a lot of air time.
This song is of the shorter version!

Frank Ryczek, Jr.
Modeler/Friend RON-10 PT- 169 ' ZEBRA SNAFU "

HIGH TIDES ALWAYS!

YOUR FRIEND THROUGH SCALE SHIP MODELING AND PT BOAT HISTORY!

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PeterTareBuilder

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of PeterTareBuilder  Posted on: Nov 1, 2008 - 5:13pm
Hi fFrank.

Ah yes, The Kingston Trio. It was through their song that I first heard of the USS Reuben James. I live in Canada. Jimmy Dean's song PT-109 may have been where i first heard about PT boats. I can not remember if I heard the song first or saw the movie first.

Cheers from PEtertareBuilder

"Give me a faster PT boat for I'd like to get out of harm's way!"

Total Posts: 494 | Joined: Jun 24, 2008 - 5:59pm | IP Logged


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