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 Author  Topic: Help needed narrowing down Ron and Boat.
kklinge

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of kklinge  Posted on: Dec 17, 2018 - 3:12pm
Good evening, Gentlemen (and ladies if any).

First, you all have built an amazing forum packed with information. I've spent the past few days paging through it and its really fantastic. Great job!

Second, I am trying to narrow down some information regarding my Grandfathers service on Tulagi during the war. I am trying to narrow down his Ron and if wildly lucky, his PT boat. Any help, even attempts, are greatly appreciated. My late Grandfather is my hero, and I hope to add a model boat to his shadow box/photo wall. Thank you all!!!

Here is what I know..

Gerald H Seller, enlisted, came in from the reserves. He was a machinist mate, specializing in engines.

He arrived at White Poppy - New Caldonia 11/20/1942 from San Diego.

1/13/1943 he arrived in Tulagi. This seems to go along with the arrival of Ron 6, but I am not sure if he came with the group or as a replacement for someone on Ron 2 )

4/14/1944 (MOMULS V6 ??) He went to Melville RI for a month then to a training station in Newport RI until 10/46.

The story of his boat was pretty specific, it sounds like it may be 108 but I cannot tell. He had come on deck from the engine room to smoke when an explosion blew him from the ship. He swam to an island with a guy he simply called "Moonie" who had lost his leg (and survived, my grandfather would run into him years later at a VFW dance, cutting a rug with a wooden leg). I believe there was one other man on the island with them. He wasnt sure what caused the explosion, he figured that it was probably one of the wonky US torpedo that didnt detonate or a Jam mine.. he simply did not know.. This is the only story about the PT that I recall, he passed when I was a teen and had already had dementia by the time I started trying to collect stories past the ones he always told.

again, thank you all so much for providing so much information already. There are so many of us that care and want to know more!




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29navy

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of 29navy  Posted on: Dec 18, 2018 - 3:52am
Here's what I've been able to piece together. Gerald Seller was not assigned to a Squadron. He was assigned to PT Base 3, which was on Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides. Base 3 was a major engine overhaul facility.


He arrived at BASE 3 on January 13, 1943. He left Base 3 in April 1944 and arrived at the MTB Repair Training Unit at Melville - a sub command of MTBSTC in June 1944. He stayed there until March 1945 and was transferred to the Navy Training Center, Bainbridge MD.

Charlie

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kklinge

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of kklinge  Posted on: Dec 18, 2018 - 5:29am
Thank you VERY MUCH for compiling this information for me!! I really really appreciate it!


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29navy

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of 29navy  Posted on: Dec 18, 2018 - 6:09am
Well, it gets a bit confusing.

Here's what "At Close Quarters" has to say about it:


For example, when the first echelon of Motor Torpedo Boat Base 1, consisting of 4 officers, 21 men, and large quantities of spares and equipment arrived from the States and unloaded at Espiritu Santo, no one informed the PT squadrons of its arrival. Much of the base equipment was cannibalized by other commands at Espiritu Santo, PT spare parts deteriorated on the beach, and officers and men were assigned to other duties. Eventually, the remnants of material and personnel were collected and assimilated by the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons command, but during nearly all of the Guadalcanal campaign, the squadrons had to make out as best they could with entirely inadequate base facilities.

By March 1943, Base 2 and half of the salvaged personnel and material of Base 1 had been sent to Tulagi. Base 3, augmented by the other half of Base 1, was established as a main engine overhaul base at Espiritu Santo. By May 1, the Espiritu Santo Base was overhauling 10 to 12 engines a month, and by November 1 was operating at full capacity of 54 engines a month.



Based on this and notes on the muster reports, I believe it all started as MTB Flotilla Base - Ringbolt and split into Base 2 (which started as Base 3) as of 1-31-43 and the "new" base 3 as of May 31, 1943.

Gerald is only listed in the "new" Base 3 muster reports.

So it could be confusing for the yeomen typing these things out.

So now it is as clear a mud, right?

Charlie

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kklinge

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of kklinge  Posted on: Dec 18, 2018 - 7:04am
Certainly clear as mud, though I am grateful records of any kind are available and that folks like you are wiling to help!

Side question, in the book In Close Quarters there is a list of wounded, one being Mooney Charles F. By chance do you have any information on this? I was hoping perhaps that this may lead to information about the story my grandfather told about "Moonie"... perhaps as spelled "Mooney" losing a leg when the boat exploded.

Wartime records are a miracle to begin with. You have new people jotting things down and so much going on its really surprising any of it is as useful as it is. Add in security reasons and MUD is certainly what it comes out as. In contrast, his records from when he first enlisted in 1931 are excellent and list in good detail the ships and submarine he was on during Yangtze River Patrols.

Again, you have my deepest gratitude for your help. This is all very important to me and I hope to keep the stories straight so they can be added to the family archives for my children to reference.




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29navy

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of 29navy  Posted on: Dec 18, 2018 - 11:28am
Charles F Mooney was in RON 15 and then RON 32. Haven't found anything in particular about him or an explosion, yet. Although, in Feb 1945, he was supposedly at the US Naval Hospital in (possibly) New Orleans. Still looking.

Charlie

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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: Dec 18, 2018 - 4:39pm
Hey Charlie,
When I read about a fire and explosion, I immediately thought of Tufi. I looked it up and copied from At Close Quarters the following passage. Perhaps he was there at Tufi? Jerry

From "At Close Quarters"
Late in the afternoon of March 17, PT's 67 and 119 had completed fueling at the Tufi jetty, when a sheet of flames leaped up between the two boats. The flames spread so rapidly that the boats could not even be cast off. Their crews had barely enough time to go over the side. Ammunition and gasoline tanks exploded and the boats sank at the jetty. A small Australian cargo ship, the AS16, which had been unloading supplies just astern of the PT's, also caught fire and was destroyed. The flames spread quickly to the dock and to the gasoline dump ashore. Six depth charges stored ashore exploded in one mighty blast, spreading the fire still further. Soon the entire stock of gasoline, except for 700 or 800 drums on the far side of the cove, was ablaze. Gasoline from exploded drums seeped into the ground and the whole area continued to burn until late the next afternoon. Losses were the 2 PT's, the Australian AS16, 4,000 drums of gasoline, 6 depth charges, the jetty and a shack containing tools, spares, fueling pumps, and ammunition. In view of the rapid spread of the flames and complete destruction of everything at the base of the hill, it is almost miraculous that no one was killed or even injured. It was believed that the fire started when a native lighted a cigarette and threw his match into the water, touching off gasoline on the surface."

What do you think Charlie?

Jerry Gilmartin
PT658 Crewman
Portland OR

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29navy

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of 29navy  Posted on: Dec 18, 2018 - 5:46pm
Hey Jerry,

I'm trying to correlate the various boast losses by "in-port" explosions but most of them happened in New Guinea, a bit of a haul from Espirito Santo, but not too far out of the realm.

Only thing is, Charles F Mooney doesn't line up. He was with RON 15 in the MED and then to RON 32 when it was commissioned 6-10-44. And by June 1944, Seller was at RTU.

Unless Moonie refers to someone else, as a nickname and not necessarily a last name???

Charlie

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29navy

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of 29navy  Posted on: Dec 18, 2018 - 6:00pm
The Boast listed as being destroyer by fire/explosion are:

63 Destroyed by fire in port, Hamburg Bay, Emirau Island, June 18, 1944.
67 Destroyed by fire in port, Tufi, New Guinea, March 17, 1943.
107 Destroyed by fire in port, Hamburg Bay, Emirau Island, June 18, 1944.
119 Destroyed by fire in port, Tufi, New Guinea, March 17, 1943
239 Destroyed by fire in port, Lambu Lambu, Vella Lavella, December 14, 1943
301 Damaged by explosion in port and scrapped, Mios Woendi, New Guinea, November 7, 1944.

Only 3 meet the criteria of happening before April 1944:
67 and 119 at Tufi and 239 at Lambu Lambu. Although the 239 just burned at the dock. So it could be Tufi.

Charlie

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kklinge

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of kklinge  Posted on: Dec 18, 2018 - 7:38pm
You all are amazing. I am not sure if Mooney was a name or a nickname. I just thought it a rather huge coincidence that there was a Mooney injured in service. I wish I knew more. Again, thank you!

Edit to add, I talked to my Uncle who said that the boat had blown up while they were under way and away from base. Far enough that they had to sit it out on an island to be picked up. It was a big deal because the one guy, only referred to as moonie, was missing a leg. I know this may not help, but I really appreciate the effort!


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