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 Author  Topic: PT Sailor's Poem from Solomon Islands
james sullivan

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of james sullivan   Send Email To james sullivan Posted on: May 26, 2013 - 7:34am
My dad showed me his hand written copy of this poem and I knew you all would enjoy it. If you want to ask him any questions about the situation or the lingo, he'd be happy to explain it. I think it's a fantastic snapshot into their lives.

Written by Raymond Haden Lowell while about half drunk at Treasure Island in the Solomon Islands February 1944. Copied down by John William Sullivan, PT 107


Tarry awhile all you men with the beefs
I am discussing the subject it's this thing called Reliefs
The word relief means vagues to you no doubt
So I'll try to explain what it's all about.

The old men on these boats are entitled to one
Just try to get it not so easily done
So we wait and we wait for those incoming rates
As they mean our fare back to the States

They are schooled at the Melville where they at least should learn,
The difference between the bow and the stern
They are thoroughly acquainted but with each rate on the boat
This fact is attested to by the exam they wrote

After 4 months they are ready to go
Out where they'll see the main part of the show
They are fully accomplished to relieve all the men
No doubt they will get here but the question is when.

We will grant that they get here, fresh from the States
But God almighty man - look at the rate
Torpedo men, flagwavers, dit dot men galore
If there's not gunners enough, they can always get more.

I ask pity for me, a motor mech by birth
The hardest rate to get relief on the earth
We go on patrol where we fight and we pray
But just who are the ones who turn to next day

I'll tell you who in one little word
Its the rate that Melville seems to never have heard
For if they know, they certainly have no reason to boast
For not sending the rate we certainly need most

You say a hundred and 2 reliefs have come
There will be shouting and happiness aplenty for some
There's no need to ask what the 2 rates over may mean
They head to relieve Motor Mechs that's plain to be seen.

Another month rolls around, there arrives a hundred and 3.
Oh the happiness and joy there's bound to be,
Its readily means 3 engineers go back
Yes sir my boy all in one crack.

The solution to this crime lays with the brains up above,
Who should get together to develop some Motor Mech love
We outnumber the rest of the crew 4 to 1
So just why in the Hell isn't something done

We will take it for granted that 5 men have arrived
To relieve 25 both good men and tried.
Now comes their hole card, which they break out next
Its article nine of the PT boat text.

These men have come, this much we can presume,
So more engineers to give the boys room.
It seems necessary for a breaking in period to be
Which will last 2 months and possibly 3.

There is a sad tale that comes to my mind
Of two ron storekeepers, not sick and not blind.
One fought the war at Noumea each day
The other sat back and dished out the pay.

To hear them tell it their work was real tough.
All night in war not nearly enough
For their heroic actions, they were first to go
But the boat riding men, well the answer was NO!

Now I have never been the kind to blow off my brass,
Nor did I fight this war sitting on my ass,
The reason is plain to everyone's eye
We'll have to change rates to go back to R.I.

Now I'll tell you men there's something wrong
What do they learn at Melville besides the school song
They might as well close the old dump up tight
And send them out here where they have to learn right.

They growl when they get here because they might have to ride
Every 4th or 5th and then with the tide
Too bad they didn't arrive in mid year
We would have been glad to hold the towel as they shed each tear.

Now the question I ask to the powers that be,
What will become of the others and me?
We fought when we had to and you'll admit we fought well
Won't you send us the heaven, we're darn sick of hell!

We may be wrong but we think we should growl
Why not send us back and let the rest of them prowl,
Or will you keep us here till some time in June
With the promise we all will be relieved soon?

The Marines take the island while the Army holds the ground,
Why not let these guys go round and round?
They're the fighting men, while we're just country bricks
So break down you b___ and relive at least 6.

Total Posts: 13 | Joined: May 21, 2013 - 10:57am | IP Logged

Frank Andruss


Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Frank Andruss   Send Email To Frank Andruss Posted on: May 26, 2013 - 8:54am
Jim a fantastic poem, while on a PT BOAT. Thanks so much for sharing yet another inside look into the PT BOATERS..........

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of earl  Posted on: May 26, 2013 - 6:29pm
that was neast.hank your dad for me. glad he finally got home. earl pt108

earl richmond

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John Sullivan

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of John Sullivan   Send Email To John Sullivan Posted on: May 27, 2013 - 7:26am
The guy that wrote this poem (R.H. Lowell) is not listed in the Knights of the Sea book. The reason, I suppose, is that he died as a young man. The only people I know who knew the author were
1) Cyril A. Richards from Rhode Island. The three of us once went to the Naragansett Rhode Island horse race track and had a great time
2) AV Stockdale from Surprise, Arizona

Ole JW

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MN Gal

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of MN Gal   Send Email To MN Gal Posted on: Jun 4, 2013 - 3:36pm
What a great poem, thank you so much for taking the time to type that all out.
Please thank your father for me too.
I tried to send him a email thanking him and a Happy Birthday message but it came back to me undeliverable.
Thank him for keeping it all these years and then sharing it with us.


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