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 Author  Topic: SC1c Lawrence Crenshaw, RON 37 PT 495 & 542
amdrury

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of amdrury  Posted on: Apr 12, 2020 - 1:38pm
Hey everyone and happy Easter!!!

I figured I would introduce myself to the group, I am currently a college student here in Kentucky studying political science and history, focusing on the World Wars. In my free time I reenact, research, and collect military artifacts which I use for public presentations and education.

I came to this group while doing some research this week and thought you all might be able to help me out! I saw some things online about the amazing forum and thought some of the members in here might have further information or photographs to help me and a family friend.

A few years ago I was given a set of items from the sister in law of SC1c Lawrence B. Crenshaw. While I never got to know him, I have learned much about him to best preserve his story. Below I have a detailed account for any interested.

What I was hoping to find are any other photos, artifacts, or stories from his combat squadron, MTB RON 37, or from his boat, PT-542. I also believe there was a small unit history written on MTB RON 37 and was hoping to find some who may have this saved in their computer. Also included with his items was an 80' Elco model kit which I imagine he had stored away to recreate one of his boats, while he was never able to, I have decided to take up the task and recreate boat 542. I have never done a boat model so any and all suggestions are appreciated as well as any good reference photos! I figured the groups on here would be the best place of any to look, cheers!



This grouping belongs to SC1c Lawrence Buell Crenshaw. Born in Edmonton County, Kentucky, Crenshaw joined the Navy on November 23, 1942 and remained stateside until his deployment with MTB RON 33 upon their commissioning on December 3, 1943. At this time Crenshaw was a Ship's Cook 3rd class (SC3c), an unusual rating to find amongst a PT crew, and was assigned to PT 495 Gentleman Jim. Crenshaw acted as a cook and gunner aboard 495 until he suffered an injury and was posted stateside until the commissioning of MTB RON 37 on June 5, 1944.

As a member of MTB RON 37, Crenshaw was assigned to PT 542 known as Margie and later Skid's Boat as again, cook and gunner. In November of 1944 MTB RON 37 was stationed at the Panama Canal where on November 15th, PT 541 and 542 performed a demonstrative display of small boat tactics for Admiral Fithian Kingman and a large delegation of representatives from numerous South American Nations. After these exercises, MTB RON 37 began its trek to the Pacific Theater. Upon arrival, the squadron was sent to PT Base 9 at Treasury Islands in the Solomons and soon saw their first action against the enemy.

On December 26, 1944 the PT boats of MTB RON 37 in joint operation with many other gunboats and 12 F4U Corsairs bombed, strafed, and shelled a number of Japanese bivouac and supply areas on the Southwest Coast of Bougainville to disrupt supply flow to the Japanese Army currently engaged with Australian troops nearby. Several boats received returning small arms fire as they made their numerous runs against the beach but no casualties or serious damage was reported. For the next week the squadron conducted patrols along the shoreline and rivers of the area strafing and mortaring enemy positions.

The next month consisted of similar operations throughout the Solomon Islands. On January 27th PTs 541-544 used a native guide to make a heavy coordinated strike on a Japanese position southwest of Liuliu.

February was 37's final month of operations in the Treasury Islands where patrols and raids continued as they had before. According to Australian estimates, of the 800-1000 Japanese stationed on the island, around 200 had been killed by the strafing and shelling of MTB RON 37.

After these months of duty MTB 37 was sent to MTB Base 2, Espiritu Santo with MTB RON 32 and the USS SILENUS, conducting regular tests and drills while awaiting further orders.

At the end of July, the SILENUS and MTB RON 37 were sent to Okinawa where the boats acted as part of the Air-Sea Rescue unit under Fleet Air Wing ONE in the assisted rescue of downed aviators and others adrift at sea.

At the conclusion of the war, Crenshaw returned home and remembered his days in the service quite fondly, attending a number of PT Boater reunions and keeping up with his former shipmates. Crenshaw especially had bonded with his former crew of PT 495 and marked in his copy of Knights of the Sea, where his buddy had been killed from shrapnel wounds at the Battle of Leyte Gulf.



The grouping consists of his dress uniform which appears to be made by a company called Goldberg, the material is not the typical wool of the dress blues, but a finer private purchase version. There is also a copy of the personal logs of Lt. Frank Olton, skipper of PT-495. It seems that Olton and Crenshaw were good friends and at the reunion in 1982, Olton gave Crenshaw this binder detailing 495's service after Crenshaw was reassigned to MTB RON 37. The logs are quite interesting and very descriptive, including a lengthy passage on their participation in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Crenshaw was also invited to the commissioning of the USS LEYTE GULF (CG 55) in 1987. I imagine he had a number of RON 33 buddies there who asked him and his wife to come; he kept two programs from the service each with a challenge coin, and a longer pamphlet on the making of the ship.

Also included is a PT Boater reunion pin, the 1982 edition of Knight's of the Sea, another PT reference book not pictured, his model kit, and a postcard from the PT Museum.

Here are two pics to see if it works

jeida.jpg

jeD8f.jpg


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amdrury

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of amdrury  Posted on: Apr 12, 2020 - 1:44pm
More photos

jedWj.jpg

jegL6.jpg

je1T5.jpg

jeFwS.jpg

Crenshaw is in the back left row with his shirt unbuttoned
jeMKY.jpg

Photo from Melville
jeXam.jpg

jelj0.jpg

jesNc.jpg

These are the only two I could find of his boat from a facebook forum
jexg3.jpg

jeI8T.jpg

jeTWt.jpg




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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: Apr 13, 2020 - 3:42am
Welcome, and thanks for the photos and history! It is great to see PT history being carried on to the public.

I had a few photos of the 495, The crewman in the last photo looks a lot like Mr. Crenshaw but I have it labeled as 'Greenwell MM/2C'.

jezJ7.jpg

je2n4.jpg

je8aM.jpg

jeSpJ.jpg

je0bH.jpg




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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: Apr 13, 2020 - 9:16am
Welcome to the forum and thanks for sharing Lawrence Crenshaw's history with us. Tough time to be a student in the COVID-19 shut down! Hang in there.

First, what is your name so we know what to call you.

I'll try and help out with the models. Which model kit did Mr. Crenshaw have? Also what modeling experience do you have? Which boat did you want to build? We have some excellent modelers on this web site and we'll help as best we can.

PT-495: Ed Casacia who goes by ducati650 on this site built a wonderful model of PT-495. He did a lot of research and posted a ton of wonderful photographs. In fact one of yours I think is a Photoshop'd image of his kit in a natural scene. Ed is a great guy and I expect if you reach out to him he'll help you.

PT-542: The two photos you've posted of this boat are the first and only photos of this boat that I've ever seen.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope we can help you out.
Dave


David Waples

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  amdrury

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of amdrury  Posted on: Apr 13, 2020 - 7:16pm
Thanks for the replies everyone, and the name is Alex!

Today I actually got a lot of great stuff on Crenshaw. Not only did I get the paper items from his last remaining relative, but also got a copy of the MTB RON 37 unit history which had lots of cool images of both his boat and others in the squadron.

ji7gg.jpg

This one looks like either Panama or the Solomons, not sure as I have only really just began to delve into it. I think those might be covered PTs behind him
jiGPy.jpg

Some vet cards, his shellback certificates, and his Kentucky Colonel award (important honor here in KY)
jipW8.jpg

ji4ci.jpg

Signed by Bush
jiQUO.jpg

jihbk.jpg

jiwnA.jpg

The crew
jiblo.jpg

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amdrury

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of amdrury  Posted on: Apr 13, 2020 - 7:27pm
As I said before, he was not on 495 very long, as he hurt his leg during shakedown and was returned to Melville where he waited for the commissioning of 37. I think I would like to recreate his combat boat, PT 542. While we only have these four photos of it, I have found lots more in the unit history as well as some specific details on the boat's construction.

The model he had was a 1977 kit of PT 109, and unfortunately after finding these pictures I dont think it will work as the setup is simply too different. Do you all have any suggestions as for a good kit and also what kind of colors these might be? The unit history only says they were painted green with a camo pattern.

The first two are of PT 542, it is the second in the row
jiCpI.jpg

ji3Jn.jpg

Here is his model
jiE1Z.jpg

And some unknown and IDd of the squadron
jiOPa.jpg

jimmf.jpg

jiqej.jpg

jiyU6.jpg

ji5o5.jpg

A good color photo, I presume these would be the correct colors but not sure how faded or strong it should be
jiNnS.jpg

jiJlY.jpg



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amdrury

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of amdrury  Posted on: Apr 13, 2020 - 7:34pm
I am not very experienced in models, unfortunately, however I will be doing this as a project with my father while in quarantine and he has been making models since he was a boy, so I will not be left to drown.

Some specific things I found in the unit history:

the .50s were the aircooled version, four total on each boat with twins mounted together in each turret. (Crenshaw operated one of these)

The squadron's boats were issued 60mm Mortars. The PT Command saw how useful they were against barges and this squadron was the only with a mortar issued to each boat.

An excerpt from the PT 542 log in Panama mentions mounting a starboard bow 20mm as well as a 37mm bow gun with battle phone connections at each gun.

On Nov 15 1944 while performing for the South American delegation PT452 and 451 practiced machine gun firing as well as depth charge usage

There is a description from Tulagi mentioning how the green paint of the boats helped them blend into the heavy foliage of the trees along the bank

And you all know way more than I do by looking at pictures, assume I am completely ignorant on PT terminology and need an explanation for most of the bits... hahaha


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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: Apr 13, 2020 - 9:38pm
Greetings, and nice to meet you Alex.

That's great that you and your dad are taking this project on together. Sounds like he has good experience. So you're right. If you want to build a replica of PT-542 that old Revell kit is not a good choice. There are three good options for you though.

If you like the scale this kit is available from MegaHobby and it's on sale right now for $24.60 plus shipping. This is Revell's most recent release and it's the same class as Mr. Crenshaw's boat.

https://www.megahobby.com/products/pt-588-pt-57-patrol-torpedo-boat-1-72-revell-germany.html



If you would like a larger model a company called Merit released this kit in 1/48 scale. I've seen these built up and they are a nice kit.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1-48-Merit-U-S-Navy-Elco-80-ft-P-T-Boat-Late-War-PT-596/373019516976?hash=item56d9b22030:g:R7kAAOSwf11egRpV

The last option is even bigger and that's the Italeri kit in 1/35 scale. It's huge. You can find them at online retailers and eBay.

https://www.italeri.com/prodotto/822

What makes it tough to fit out a PT Boat, any PT Boat, is that no two were the same once they were in the field. Crews did whatever they could imagine to give themselves an advantage. All of the parts you need to duplicate the boat are out there. The question you have to ask yourself is how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go? I'll point out some things from bow to stern that I notice...

1. Interesting but I'm not seeing the 37mm M4 or 37mm M9 auto cannon. Not sure why that is but seems to be the case on a couple of boats in this squadron.

2. Very common on these boats in theatre was to add additional 20mm Oerlikon cannon's on the foredeck. There is the standard factory mount on the port side but crews often added a second 20mm on the starboard side. Typically mounted on the same type of gun mount which I think is a Mk. 10. Somebody will correct me if I'm wrong. None of these kits have extra 20mm Oerlikons for this second gun. You can buy these from Shapeways. Or you could buy a second kit. A second kit might be the best choice to keep the parts consistent looking. An injected molded kit part on one side and a 3D printed part of the same gun on the other side would look different.

3. Boats in this squadron only had roll off torpedos in the forward location. The aft pair are not mounted. So no problem there.

4. The radar in all of these kits is incorrect. It shows that last generation of radar units called SO3. The radar on Mr. Crenshaw's boat is SO2. I think that nomenclature is correct. It's a dome shaped unit. If you went with the 1/35 scale boat, Italeri makes an add on kit that includes radar. Otherwise you can get them from Shapeways.

5. These boats had wind deflectors over the cockpit. They are in the shape of an airfoil with supports attached to the sides of the cockpit. They are available from Shapeways in 1/35 but not smaller.

6. You won't need the rocket launchers or rocket storage lockers that are included in these kits either.

Some accessories you could buy to spruce up the models...

1. Eduard makes a photo etch set for the 1/72 kit that adds detail to your model. Check with your dad to find out if he wants to work with it. You can buy them from Sprue Brothers web site.

2. Jeff Davidson sells a set of toe rails that add nice detail to the bow section. They can be purchased on Shapeways.

Paint. The scheme on the 542 boat appears to be Measure 31/20L. This is a combination of Black and two shades of green on the vertical surfaces and a third shade of green for the deck. AK Interactive used to make a set but I'm not finding any available anymore. If you go with the Revell kit they provide instructions on how to mix the colors.

Numbers. Warbird decals makes a nice set which includes numbers and also victory markings. You can find them here..

https://warbirddecals-com.myshopify.com/products/warbird-80-elco-pt-boat-general-details-part-ii-decals-1-72-047-for-rvll-usa-rvll-ger-kits

Now that I've spent all your money! That's probably how I would approach building PT-542. I would probably recommend the 1/72 Revell kit. But seriously, have fun with the build and time with your dad. That's the most important thing and it's a nice way to honor Mr. Crenshaw for his service on these wonderful boats.

Dave

Let me know if you have any questions.
Dave

David Waples

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Will Day

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Will Day   Send Email To Will Day Posted on: Apr 14, 2020 - 10:12am
The boat in the "A" Frame is the 536.

Will

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Will Day

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Will Day   Send Email To Will Day Posted on: Apr 14, 2020 - 10:12am
The boat in the "A" Frame is the 536.

Will

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