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 Author  Topic: Ship's bell from PT 285
Ethan Pooley

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Ethan Pooley  Posted on: Sep 15, 2015 - 11:40pm
Hello all - I'm here to ask for your opinion on the authenticity of a PT bell. I have no reason to think it is anything but genuine, but I can't remember from my grandfather's account whether he kept it himself or whether a shipmate kept it and later gave it to him. If it was the latter, I'd like some confirmation that it looks legitimate.

It is approximately six inches in diameter at the lip, and there is badly-peeling green paint on parts of it. My grandfather said it is the bell that was removed in Tulagi in '43 when PT-285 underwent gunboat conversion. It wasn't slated to go back on - I don't know if there was a new bell, or what - and so he or a shipmate kept it and took it home later on.

Here is a picture:



--
Grandson of PT-285 skipper Wilbur "Rocky" Pooley

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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: Sep 16, 2015 - 1:29pm
Ethan;
You have something very rare there, I would hang onto it if I were you. While I know of a few cases of where the PT Boat ships bell was stuffed in somebody's seabag and made it home, most of them did not. So if you are not going to keep it for yourself, please donate it to PTHQ or the PT Boat Museum in Fall River, Massachusetts. Your Grandfather's boat, PT 285 "The Fighting Irish" had a special place in PT History, it has been relayed to me that the 40mm guns that were mounted on PT 285 originally came from PT 59, a 77' ELCO PT Boat that was JFK's third PT Boat command.
Take care,
TED

Ron23PT-285GB.jpg

PT285UNDERWAY.jpg



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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: Sep 16, 2015 - 4:29pm
Hi Ethan,
Thanks for your post. I think the bell you have is authentic as well. For comparison, you can look at the 2 following photos. The first is the one we have on PT658 donated from another Higgins PT Boat. PT482. We polished it up a bit and hung it on the mast. The other from a PT265 series boat was hung on the Port gun tub just aft of the helm. If you want to donate it to us we would be honored to display it as well in our new museum we are building. Thanks Jerry

PT658vanLowellDrivesoffVancouverSept2011.jpg

PT265 to PT313 series helm arrangement (photo from Al Ross' collection)
PT265to313turret-1.jpg


Jerry Gilmartin
PT658 Crewman
Portland OR

Total Posts: 1388 | Joined: Oct 8, 2006 - 11:16pm | IP Logged

Ethan Pooley

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Ethan Pooley  Posted on: Sep 17, 2015 - 12:38am
Thank you both very much! I definitely plan to keep the bell and pass it down through my family.

Jerry, my son and I just made an appointment to tour 658 this Saturday at 1pm! It will be the first time I've ever laid eyes on a PT.

Ted, that information about the 40mm guns is priceless. I did learn of the JFK connection in general - that 283/4/5 took over the job JFK's group was doing. My grandfather had never known that, and I was able to tell him about it. He passed away at age 95 in 2012, but fortunately it was a year or two earlier that I had started to really take an interest and match up what he could tell me with online records. He is the man on the starboard side of the cockpit in the second picture you shared - he remembered the photo being taken and pointed himself out to me when it ended up in a book.

I have a half hour of well-edited audio stories about his PT experience. He was the procurement officer for Ron 23 in New Orleans, and was with the 285 boat for well over a year. He got orders back to the states when the squadron was at Mios Woendi. His stories include the trip through Panama to the Pacific and Bill Schaffner's friendly-fire version of the sinking of 283. I can make them available to you if you'd like.

As for the bell, I just uncovered the perfect reference photo that clinches it, if your two votes of confidence were not enough:

- THIS IMAGE COULD NOT BE RECOVERED, it was hosted elsewhere.



--
Grandson of PT-285 skipper Wilbur "Rocky" Pooley

Total Posts: 7 | Joined: Sep 15, 2015 - 11:36pm | IP Logged

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: Sep 17, 2015 - 4:15am
Happy to hear it is authentic and that you cherish what it represents Ethan!

I think the green paint might be from when it was removed from the boat.



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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: Sep 17, 2015 - 5:30pm
Hi Ethan
I spoke to Wally about you and we will be meeting you and your son on the PT658 this Saturday. I am looking forward to your visit! Bring your camera and that bell if you can. Also if you have any other photos of the boats I would like to get a copy.

PS You may want to plan a little extra time to see the USS LCI713 which is moored right next to the PT boat. She was a WW2 combat veteran vessel as well. Plan about 45 minutes extra to see the LCI,

Jerry Gilmartin
PT658 Crewman
Portland OR

Total Posts: 1388 | Joined: Oct 8, 2006 - 11:16pm | IP Logged

Ethan Pooley

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Ethan Pooley  Posted on: Sep 18, 2015 - 8:32am
Awesome Jerry, looking forward to it. I don't have any photos, unfortunately. I have the bell, his service records, and the audio recordings. But I'll check once more for anything else.

Not sure on the LCI - that will depend on some of our other trip timing.

--
Grandson of PT-285 skipper Wilbur "Rocky" Pooley

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Nuge210

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Nuge210   Send Email To Nuge210 Posted on: Sep 18, 2015 - 12:31pm
Hi Ethan,

Welcome aboard ! I can't wait to hear of your visit to the 658, hope you and your son have a great time.

My Dad went to Ron 23 in early 1945 as skipper of the 286, so probably did not meet your grandfather overseas. But I'll bet they met after the war
at Peter Tare reuninons.

Steve

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Ethan Pooley

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Ethan Pooley  Posted on: Sep 18, 2015 - 11:19pm
I did find some photos. These may screw up the width of this page, but here they are.

Could these be before-and-after shots from the overhead photo Ted posted above?
They are all aerial, low, and near centerline on the boat. Everything visible matches.
These two look like original prints, but they have no notes whatsoever. :(

THE IMAES BELOW COULD NOT BE RECOVERED





An assortment of small shots, some with censor stamps:



A newspaper article quoting my grandfather about PT experiences:



--
Grandson of PT-285 skipper Wilbur "Rocky" Pooley

Total Posts: 7 | Joined: Sep 15, 2015 - 11:36pm | IP Logged

  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: Sep 20, 2015 - 9:24am
Here is an update from Ethan's trip to visit the PT658 yesterday. Ethan and his son showed up and Wally Boerger and I were there to show him around. Ethan had brought the bell from the PT285 for comparison to the bell we have from PT481. We noticed they both are similar in that the Engraving or Stamping on both bells is on a rising slant. The USS PT 285 slowly rises in height from the bells rim as each letter was stamped onto the bell. It appears that the bell from PT305 is the same if you look closely at the photo. Ethan also brought a Higgins PT Boat Tie Clip, which I believe was handed out at the Higgins PT Boat Squadron Commissioning ceremonies by Higgins, and is not a post war copy of anything. It looks different from the Elco tie clip pins. Anyway we spent about an hour with Ethan showing him the entire boat, and his son was especially interested in the twin 50 cals! Looks like he may be a future sailor! Thanks Ethan for coming to visit! Jerry

Wally Boerger and Ethan and son inside PT658 charthouse

IMG_2591.jpg


Ethan and son at the helm
IMG_2597.jpg


Ethans son Oliver inside the Port Twin 50 turret
IMG_2599.jpg


Comparing the two bells
IMG_2607.jpg


Closeup of two bells with slanted upwards writing
IMG_2606.jpg


Higgins tie clip front
IMG_2609.jpg


Higgins tie clip rear
IMG_2610.jpg


Thanks Jerry


Jerry Gilmartin
PT658 Crewman
Portland OR

Total Posts: 1388 | Joined: Oct 8, 2006 - 11:16pm | IP Logged

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