The PT Boat Forum

Forum Category: PT Boats of WWII

Forum Name: PT Boats - General

Topic: Cdr. John Searles

I grew up (literally) across the street from Cdr. John Searles in Davenport, Iowa and knew him well for the first 18 years of my life. He was an incredibly interesting guy and gave me access to his library which was really something. I last heard from him a few years ago at the time he published his book "Tales of Tulagi" when he sent me an inscribed copy. Anyway, I just talked to my mother who still lives back there and it seems he passed away yesterday at the age of 97. The passing of a great hero.

Michael Satin

Posted By: michaelsatin | Posted on: Apr 11, 2013 - 11:23am
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered

Mike, I spoke with John several times over the years, and he sent me some photo's. A very nice guy, I am sad to hear of his passing, but what a wonderful life to live until 97. PT certainly meant "PLENTY TOUGH". If you could share his OBIT, it would be appreciated.

Posted By: Frank Andruss | Posted on: Apr 11, 2013 - 11:48am
Total Posts: 3964 | Joined: Feb 9, 2007 - 11:41am

What about his brother? Has he made his last patrol?


Posted By: Will Day | Posted on: Apr 11, 2013 - 3:34pm
Total Posts: 1954 | Joined: Oct 8, 2006 - 4:19pm

I also have a signed copy of Tales of Tulagi and thoroughly enjoyed reading about CDR Searles accounts of his South Pacific heroic adventures. I am very sad to hear of his passing and he will be in our prayers.

Posted By: Roy Forbes | Posted on: Apr 11, 2013 - 3:38pm
Total Posts: 371 | Joined: Sep 5, 2012 - 4:57pm

Pretty sure they are both gone now Will........

Posted By: Frank Andruss | Posted on: Apr 11, 2013 - 4:16pm
Total Posts: 3964 | Joined: Feb 9, 2007 - 11:41am

My mom told me she'd send me the obituary when it is published, apparently he just passed yesterday so all the paper had today was a notice. I'll be happy to let you all know. I never met his brother Robert (at least not that I recall) and am not sure if he's still around. Given how long John lived I'm guessing that he's not.


Michael Satin

Posted By: michaelsatin | Posted on: Apr 11, 2013 - 5:05pm
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered

if you are able please pass on my condolences to hus family.thank you

earl richmond

Posted By: earl | Posted on: Apr 11, 2013 - 6:02pm
Total Posts: 197 | Joined: Oct 18, 2006 - 12:13pm

Thank You for your posting. John was a true warrior! He was also an outstanding member of our greatest generation. I also have the priviledge of calling John a friend.
Over the years John has sent me an 8x10 photo of one of his favorite boats, which he assisted John Harlee put through its paces when first accepted by the Navy...PT 20.
John was also the First Exec and second Skipper of a boat that is near and dear to my heart...PT 48.
However, his REAL love, (even though his own boat was PT 60), was PT 59, and he expressed this in a letter he wrote to me some years ago. He spent many a nerve racking and bone chilling night at the wheel of this boat and each mission remained etched in his memory, as if it just occured.

I am also proud to say, that not only do I have a inscribed copy of his book, but I also have his ORIGINAL hand typed mission notes he used to write the book back in the 1980's.

In 2004, I became aware his younger brother, CAPT Robert Lippincott Searles, USNR (Ret.) had gone on his Last Patrol, I sent a condolence card and John sent me a Thank you card shortly after. He was a fiercly loyal friend who maintained his PT Boat friendships for his entire life, every year he would travel to Florida for the winter and PT Boat friends and family were always invited(Ken Prescott and Huck Wood and families would always visit with Jack and Bob in Florida every winter). Cocktail/cigar hour started promptly at 1600(as it will here today in Virginia Beach at Blue Falcon Manor in your honor).

The Princeton Chapter of the Tulagi Yacht Club had quite a following indeed and Jack was the Sole President/Commodore, Bob was the Sole Vice President /Second Commodore.

Jack I wish fair and following seas as Hogan Levy, guides the PT 59 up to the pier to take you aboard. Good Luck my friend and thank you for being a life long hero to me, and setting the example for my part of the Navy and my Navy career.

I will forward this info to Emma-Stina and Ken Prescott.
Funeral arrangements for: CDR John Malcolm Searles, USNR(Ret.) Pre-war RON 1, 2, RON 2, 4, 3(2), 31, are being conducted by:
Weerts Funeral Home
3625 Jersey Ridge Road
Davenport, Iowa 52807
Phone: 563.355.4433

Posted By: TED WALTHER | Posted on: Apr 12, 2013 - 8:18am
Total Posts: 2932 | Joined: Oct 16, 2006 - 7:42am

Thanks, Ted


Posted By: Will Day | Posted on: Apr 12, 2013 - 5:43pm
Total Posts: 1954 | Joined: Oct 8, 2006 - 4:19pm

Condolences to the family of CDR John Searles on his passing. He was one of the original Guadalcanal "Long Were The Nights" PT skippers.

I snagged a copy of his book "Tales of Tulagi" for just a few dollars -- this apparently rare tome has been listed at some incredibly high prices on the internet -- a couple of years ago, and it was an interesting read.

For those that have the book, I'd sure love to see a large, clear copy of that photo on Page 45 -- three 80' Elcos tied up in the bushes of Sunlight Channel in the Russells...

Posted By: Drew Cook | Posted on: Apr 13, 2013 - 3:03pm
Total Posts: 1289 | Joined: Oct 19, 2006 - 10:44am

Sad, corresponding with Mr. Searles when his book come out. Very pleasant gentleman. His brother passed away a couple of years ago. Believe he was the last of the early Guadalcanal officers.

Bill Smallshaw

Posted By: smallwi | Posted on: Apr 13, 2013 - 4:30pm
Total Posts: 108 | Joined: Jun 21, 2007 - 3:02pm

OK, I have received a copy of the obituary and, through the printed copy, a link to it on-line. Here is the link:


You can leave a condolence note there too. A great man and a great family.

Michael Satin

Posted By: michaelsatin | Posted on: Apr 18, 2013 - 5:41pm
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered