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 Author  Topic: Question for the Forum - PT Boat wheels (steering)
54scooper

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Jul 4, 2014 - 8:46pm
I was hoping that someone on the Forum could help me. My late father, Clay C. Cooper Jr. (b. 1917 d. 2007) was the last CO of PT 324. As most know, after Japan surrendered, the vast majority of PT boats were stripped, then burned/scuttled or otherwise destroyed. PT 324 was no exception. My father told us (his children) that, as the last skipper of the 324, he was allowed to take the wheel from that boat as a memento of the war. As the only one in my immediate family (other than my Dad) who served in the military, I inherited that wheel. I've done some online research of PT boat wheels and the photos that I have seen don't look like my Dad's wheel. Specifically, the photos I have seen depict small wooden wheels, similar to what you would find on a yacht or small sailing vessel. I've attached a photo of the wheel along with a close-up of one of the knobs of the wheel (not sure if knob is the correct nautical term). Can anyone verify that this is a PT boat wheel? The wheel measures about 16 3/4 inches in diameter and is painted olive drab. There are no markings (part no., manufacturer etc) Incidentally, PT 324 was an 80' Elco manufactured in Bayonne, NJ in 1943.

Thanks much!



Semper fi,
Shep Cooper LtCol USMC (ret)

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  Jerry Gilmartin

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jerry Gilmartin   Send Email To Jerry Gilmartin Posted on: Jul 5, 2014 - 12:49am
Hello LtCol Cooper,
Welcome to the message board forum! I have several photos of Elco boats helms and have seen the ones they have in the PT Boat Museum in Fall River MA and yours looks pretty authentic to me. The wooden ones you spoke of were mounted on the 78 ft Higgins PT boats. I believe the later Elco boats were made of steel with phenolic resin knobs. I will try to post some photos later. Jerry

Jerry Gilmartin
PT658 Crewman
Portland OR

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Jeff D

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jeff D   Send Email To Jeff D Posted on: Jul 5, 2014 - 4:42am
Very nice Shep! It sure looks like an Elco wheel to me right down to the grips, linen based bakelite on the originals. The paint may be original too, it looks greener than olive drab. If you want to check the dimensions, I have a drawing up that is based on Elco drawings here: http://www.pt103.com/PT_Boat_Components_Helm.html.

What a great item of your fathers to have. I've never seen or heard of one for sale but I imagine it is worth a lot so don't ever just dump it.



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Jeff D

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jeff D   Send Email To Jeff D Posted on: Jul 5, 2014 - 5:21am
I checked the drawing, it shows a radius of 8 1/8" from wheel center to rim center (note not to rim O.D.) and 9 1/8" from wheel center to end of grip standoffs(?). Hub depth is 1-1/2".

I'd bet money that it is indeed the wheel from the 324 boat.



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David Waples

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of David Waples  Posted on: Jul 5, 2014 - 6:33am
Welcome to the Forum Colonel Cooper. The wheel looks authentic as I'm sure the guys will verify for you.

What are your concerns and plans for it? I say that hoping that you'll be keeping it in your family. Were you planning on restoring it or leaving it as is? It looks like somebody already tried to remove some of the paint.

The reference I have from Al Ross indicates the boat was painted in Measure 31/20L. You might see some of the original color which should have been Ocean Gray (5-0) covered with one of the two green shades used in that measure? Looking at the few photos I see of your dad's boat it looks about right. But field applied meaning not the nice sharp images you see in some of the late factory paint finishes. Take a look at the colors of PT-658 that Jerry Gilmartin volunteers on to get an idea of the colors. If you're planning on restoring the paint I'm sure both of these gentlemen can help you with that.

That's a very nice piece of history you have. You're very lucky to have it.

Dave



David Waples

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David Waples

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of David Waples  Posted on: Jul 5, 2014 - 8:10am
By the way, did your dad have any photos of his boat that you could share with us?
Thanks
Dave

David Waples

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  TED WALTHER

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of TED WALTHER   Send Email To TED WALTHER Posted on: Jul 5, 2014 - 8:32am
LTCOL:
Welcome to the board, yes the wheel you have is the REAL DEAL. notice the second wheel below looks very similar to yours. But why did you choose a RON 31 emblem for your avatar, it should be RON 21.
below are two wheels that belonged to Sim Efland, his bio is below, and very fitting for this week, notice the last date in bio.


Simpson L. Efland

Efland entered the Navy in 1942 and was sent to Northwestern University for training. He was a classmate of John F. Kennedy. Efland was part of officers class 7 at the PT boat training base MTBSTC at Melville, RI. In 1942 he was in New Guinea as part of Ron 8 and served on PT 149 as XO and probably on other boats as well. At some point he was transferred to the Mediterranean and Ron 22. He was with Ron 22 on VE day May 7, 1945. Efland was then transferred back the Pacific and Ron 36 where he served as Operations Officer. On VJ day August 14, 1945 he was in Tarakan, Borneo. His final duty was as Commanding Officer of PT Base 17 at Samar, Philippines were he lowered the flag of that base for the last time at its closing July 4, 1946

.
PT 149 RON 8 Wheel.




RON 36 Wheel.

take care,
TED







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alross2

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of alross2   Send Email To alross2 Posted on: Jul 5, 2014 - 9:32am
This is from the ELCO Parts Catalog:


Al Ross


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  54scooper

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Jul 5, 2014 - 10:49am
Jerry, Jeff, David, Ted and Al:

Thank you, gentlemen, for your informative and educational responses to my inquiry. Very helpful and much appreciated. Although I never doubted my father's account of how he acquired the wheel, I just couldn't find any photos that matched his wheel. The photos and schematics you have provided have been most helpful. In answer to your questions:

1. I have no plans of selling this wheel. It is a tangible link to my Dad and his service in the Pacific during World War II. He left my Mom and two of my sisters at home to fight the Japanese and it was a hardship for our family, but one that he and my Mom willingly bore. When I'm older, I will see if my sons want it. If not, I will donate it to the PT Boat Museum in Rhode Island.

2 I may try to restore it, so I appreciate the tips on the paint.

3. Ted, I didn't have my glasses on when I chose RON 31's insignia. I thought it was RON 21's. I'll see if I can find RON 21's insignia.

4. The only photo I have of 324 has been added to NavSource Online maintained by Joseph Radigan. Link below:
http://www.navsource.org/archives/12/05324.htm

Finally, I also have 324's Bureau of Ships U.S. Navy Comparing Watch made by the Hamilton Watch Company. (photos attached). It's my understanding that the comparing watches were companion pieces to the ship's chronometer, which was instrumental in navigation (celestial, I assume).

I have some other photos that I will post later. Thanks again, to all of you for taking the time to answer my question so thoroughly and in such detail.

Semper fi,
Shep Cooper


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54scooper

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Jul 5, 2014 - 10:53am
Quote:

Jerry, Jeff, David, Ted and Al:

Thank you, gentlemen, for your informative and educational responses to my inquiry. Very helpful and much appreciated. Although I never doubted my father's account of how he acquired the wheel, I just couldn't find any photos that matched his wheel. The photos and schematics you have provided have been most helpful. In answer to your questions:

1. I have no plans of selling this wheel. It is a tangible link to my Dad and his service in the Pacific during World War II. He left my Mom and two of my sisters at home to fight the Japanese and it was a hardship for our family, but one that he and my Mom willingly bore. When I'm older, I will see if my sons want it. If not, I will donate it to the PT Boat Museum in Rhode Island.

2 I may try to restore it, so I appreciate the tips on the paint.

3. Ted, I didn't have my glasses on when I chose RON 31's insignia. I thought it was RON 21's. I'll see if I can find RON 21's insignia.

4. The only photo I have of 324 has been added to NavSource Online maintained by Joseph Radigan. Link below:
http://www.navsource.org/archives/12/05324.htm

Finally, I also have 324's Bureau of Ships U.S. Navy Comparing Watch made by the Hamilton Watch Company. (photos attached). It's my understanding that the comparing watches were companion pieces to the ship's chronometer, which was instrumental in navigation (celestial, I assume).

I have some other photos that I wlil post later. Thanks again, to all of you for taking the time to answer my question so thoroughly and in such detail.

Semper fi,
Shep Cooper







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