Saturday, March 26, 2016

US Navy ship missing for 95 years found


US Navy ship missing for 95 years found


US Navy ship missing for 95 years found

24 March 2016 at 12:34pm

Washington - A US Navy ship that went missing 95 years ago with 56 aboard has been found off San Francisco, ending one of the biggest mysteries in US naval history, authorities said on Wednesday.

The USS Conestoga tug boat, which disappeared on March 25, 1921 after departing San Francisco on its way to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, was the last US Navy ship to be lost in peacetime, the Navy and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration said in a joint statement.

“After nearly a century of ambiguity and a profound sense of loss, the Conestoga's disappearance no longer is a mystery,” said Manson Brown, assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction and deputy NOAA administrator.

The wreckage was initially detected in 2009 at a depth of 58 meters by a NOAA survey team working near the Farallon Islands, about 30 miles west of San Francisco.

The Conestoga wreckage, located three miles off Southeast Farallon Island in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, was positively identified in October 2015.

Experts believe the ship sank as its crew tried to reach a protected cove amid stormy weather.

The wreck is on the seabed and largely intact, although the wooden deck and other features have collapsed due to corrosion and age, the news release said. The hull is draped with anemones and various species of marine life are present at the site.

Video collected by remote controlled vehicles used to explore the wreckage revealed details consistent with the Conestoga, including the four-bladed propeller, steam engine and boilers, porthole locations, large towing winch with twisted wire on the drum and a 50-calibre gun mounted on the main deck.

No human remains were found but the wreckage is protected by a law prohibiting unauthorised disturbance of sunken military vessels and planes.

The Conestoga left San Francisco and headed to Pearl Harbor with a final destination of Tutuila in American Samoa.

Weather records showed that winds in the area about that time increased from 37 to 64 kilometres per hour, and the seas were rough with high waves.

When the ship didn't arrive as scheduled at Pearl Harbor about 3 860 kilometres away, the Navy launched a massive sea and air search operation, but focused its efforts around Hawaii.

Two months later, a ship found a lifeboat with the letter “C” on its bow off the Mexican coast, and the search was moved to that area.

The search for the missing ship was covered by American media for months, much like the present-day search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 which went missing two years ago while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Originally built to tow coal barges for the railroad, the Navy bought Conestoga in 1917 during World War I.

It operated on the US Atlantic coast and off the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean before being assigned to Norfolk, Virginia in 1919.

The Navy had declared the Conestoga and its crew lost on June 30, 1921.


Seattle cemetery honors forgotten hero 66 years later

Today is National Medal of Honor day and in Seattle, a hero who was buried and forgotten in a Seattle cemetery for more than six decades will finally be honored.

Evergreen Washelli Cemetery in north Seattle is the final resting place for many veterans - all of them heroes. It's been a source of pride to cemetery staff that among those buried are six who received the country's highest decoration for valor: The Medal of Honor.

Related: Mysteries of Seattle's old 'Doughboy' statue remain decades later

Men like these are recognized and thanked, if alive, by the President of the United States. If they gave the last full measure of devotion, the medal is awarded posthumously in a solemn ceremony. Either way, President Bush called it "the greatest privilege of the office to recognize these heroes for "valor beyond anything duty could require ... or a superior command."

During one award ceremony, President Obama said of medal recipients, "we are free because of them. May God continue to bless the United States with heroes like these."

Heroes like William Horton who built barricades to protect his soldiers under withering rifle fire while stationed in China in 1900. Like Orville Bloch who took out five machine gun nests during World War II. Like Lewis Albanese who after killing six snipers in the jungles of Vietnam, ran out of ammo, but still managed to killed two more soldiers in hand-to-hand combat.

And at Evergreen Washelli, cemetery manager Brenda Spicer says they are remembered with honor.

"They have a marker that goes the whole span of the grave from head to foot. It has an image of what they looked like with a flag flying behind it and their story is written out so passersby can read it and know what they did."

Fresh flags are placed each Memorial and Veterans' Day and special tours are arranged to remember these heroes.

But that hasn't been the case for a man named Emil Fredreksen. Since 1950, he's been in a grave without even the simplest of headstones. There are no flowers, no notes, no flags. Forgotten.

But Emil Fredreksen received the Medal of Honor back in 1906. The year before, he was a sailor aboard the gunship USS Bennington. Just after 10:30 a.m. on July 21 faulty pressure valves caused one of the Bennington's boilers to explode. Bodies were thrown "100 feet in the air." Thirty-nine of the crew were killed instantly. The decks were filled with debris, super-heated air, smoke, and ash. Dozens of sailors were horribly burned and unable to escape the scalding atmosphere.

When an officer called for rescue volunteers, there were only 12 men aboard who were able-bodied enough to rally. Time after time they crept into the hell below decks with wet rags over their mouths as they searched for and dragged the wounded to safety.

Emil Fredreksen was among those rescuers who risked their lives to save their shipmates and was also among the 11 USS Bennington sailors to be given the medal for their actions that day.

After that Emil went to serve 33 years in the Navy and the Naval Reserve. In 1925, he moved to Keyport, Washington. At age 75 he was still working full time for a Bremerton construction company. Near the end of his life, he moved to Seattle. At the time of his death, he had no family, and so he was interred without a special ceremony. His grave and his story were unmarked until four weeks ago.

"I got a call from a volunteer with the Medal of Honor society," Spicer said. "He told me 'You have a Medal of Honor in your care.' I told him I had six and he told me, 'well, it looks like you have another one."

Spicer was shocked and immediately began working with the volunteer and cemetery staff to investigate.

"We went out to the plot and dug down about six inches and found the concrete temporary marker used just before the time of burial that just has a name and dates of birth and death.

"Once they confirmed this was the correct Emil Fredreksen we got to work immediately," Spicer said.

In just one short month the staff worked with the Navy and the Medal of Honor Society to organize a ceremony for Fredreksen. Spicer says "the Navy was very happy to hear about this." Emil will receive full military honors. And, "the official military marker will be installed and we will display a mock-up of the final gravestone ... personalized just like the other medal recipients' graves. "

Spicer says everyone involved in this project has been intensely affected.

"It's very emotional for me," Spicer said. "To know his story and the wonderful things he's done and to know that he's going to be honored and his memory cared for forever, it's definitely emotional."

There will be a public ceremony at Evergreen Washelli at 2 p.m. on Friday. A reception will follow. Spicer says since this story has come out there have been "hundreds of calls offering help." She expects she will feel a powerful sense of satisfaction after the ceremony because making right a 66-year-old wrong is a matter of honor.

Source Site

Decades later, forgotten Medal of Honor recipient gets military graveside honors | Fox News

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Salty Talk


It is a rare occasion when the appearance of a word or phrase in a language can be dated with precision, but such is the case with one, which originated nearly 200 years ago.

By the end of the 18th Century, one of England’s main sources of naval stores – mast timbers, pitch, hemp – were the Baltic states. With the resumption of war between Napoleonic France and England following the Peace of Amiens, the French dictator gained control of Denmark and, thereby, one side of the narrow Danish Straits, gateway to the Baltic. Endangering the future of her first line of defense, the Royal Navy, England reacted.

Vice Admiral Sir Hyde Parker was ordered in 1803 to take a fleet into Danish waters and, at the least, neutralize the Danish Navy. Parker was not noted for his audacity, but his second in command was a handicapped little fellow – minus an arm and an eye – who had been gaining fame in the decade of war that had preceded this moment. His name was Rear Admiral Horatio Nelson.

Copenhagen, the Danish capital, is in the midsection of the Jutland Peninsula on the west side of the Danish straits. Off its north-south shoreline is a maze of small islands, sand bars, and twisting channels. When Admiral Parker arrived off the city, he found the Danes had moored the major units of their navy like a line of elephants close to the shore from the city southward, all close enough to land to be supported by the fortresses ashore. Nelson proposed that his superior employ a part of the British force to hold the Danes’ attention at the northern end of the line while he, Nelson, took the rest through the maze and attacked from the south, using a concentration of his force to chew up the Danes’ line sequentially from south to north. Parker agreed.

Turning a blind eye. Naval Institute Archives.

"Turning a blind eye." Drawing by Eric Smith. Naval Institute Archive.

At the appointed hour, Nelson headed south, while Parker "demonstrated" in the north. After overcoming a few problems, Nelson began his attack. The Danish defense was fierce and the outcome in doubt. Amidst the smoke and flame, a young midshipman reported to Nelson that a signal was flying in Admiral Parker’s flagship, a signal to break off the action and rejoin him. Nelson, ever alert to a dramatic moment, took a telescope from the young man and put it to his blind eye, saying, "I see no signal." He pressed on with the attack and won the day. His dramatic gesture quickly became folklore and inspired the phrase "to turn a blind eye," which means, "to ignore something or pretend it does not exist."

Grounded TS Lines Cargo Ship Splits in Two Off Taiwan

A crack in the hull of the stranded TS Taipei off the coast of New Taipei City, Taiwan. Photo: EPAA grounded cargo ship has split in two and is leaking fuel oil a little more than two weeks after becoming stranded along the coast in northern Taiwan. The vessel, owned by TS Lines, ran aground in rough weather near New Taipei City, Taiwan on March 10. All 21 crew members were rescued safely from the […]

The post Grounded TS Lines Cargo Ship Splits in Two Off Taiwanappeared first on gCaptain.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

WWI photo of German pilot with British flyer he had shot down before they enjoyed COFFEE

The German laterOswald Boelcke next to Robert Wilson


Oswald Boelcke (right), a legendary German air ace, stands next to British flyer Robert Wilson

The man on the right in the black and white snap is Oswald Boelcke, a legendary air ace regarded as the father of the German fighter air force and the aviator who trained the Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen.

Stood next to him is Robert Wilson, a captain of the 32 Squadron Royal Flying Corps who had to beat out the flames on his legs and arms after being forced to crash-land his bi-plane behind enemy lines in 1916.

Boelcke followed him down but rather than hold him at gunpoint and send him away for interrogation he shook his hand, took him for coffee in the mess and gave him a tour of his aerodrome.

The German later wrote: "When he went down, his machine was wobbling badly, but that, as he told me afterwards was not his fault, because I had shot his elevator to pieces.

"It landed near Thiepval - it was burning when the pilot jumped out, and he beat his arms and legs about because he was on fire too.

An unspoken camaraderie existed between Allied and German pilots

Matthew Tredwin, C&T Auctions

"I fetched the Englishman I had forced to land - a certain Captain Wilson - from the prisoners clearing depot, took him to coffee in the mess and showed him our aerodrome, whereby I had a very interesting conversation with him."

Captain Wilson was shot down in September 1916 and was Captain Boelcke's 20th 'kill' of the war.

By that stage the German's legendary status had already been secured on both sides of No Man's Land.

Seven months earlier he had risked his life to fly over British lines and drop a letter informing them one of their missing airmen was alive and safe after he had personally visited him in hospital.

The war albumBNPS

The picture is one of 105 World War One photos found in an old album amassed by an unknown German

After being released at the end of the war, Captain Wilson described his encounter with Captain Boelcke as "the greatest memory of my life".

The photo that has now emerged 100 years later was one of the last taken of Captain Boelcke as he was killed in action a month later after his plane had a mid-air collision with another German aircraft.

Although his crash-landing was survivable, he died from head injuries on impact because he never wore a helmet.

The picture is one of 105 World War One photos found in an old album amassed by an unknown German airmen.

Other images depict German aircraft, battle damage and aerial photos of Verdun, the scene of one of the biggest battles of the conflict that took place between February to December 1916.

German aircraftBNPS

Several images depict German aircraft

Matthew Tredwin, of C&T Auctions of Ashford, Kent, said: "Flying in the First World War was almost like a gentleman's club no matter which side you were on.

"An unspoken camaraderie existed between Allied and German pilots.

"A lot of these men were celebrities of their time because what they did had a certain romance about it, even though it was deadly.

"It is unlikely that the original owner of the album actually took this photograph. It is more likely this picture was mass-produced for fellow airmen and fans to keep.

The WW1 albumBNPS

Some photos depict Verdun, the scene of one of the biggest battles of the conflict

"It is a lovely album and has come from a British-based collector. He bought it some years ago from a dealer on the German/Belgian border."

Captain Boelcke was by far the most important and famous of the German aces of the early years of WWI.

He is credited with formalising the fundamental aerial maneuovres and rules of combat combat.

The photo album is being sold on March 30 with a pre-sale estimate of £1,000

Vandals slammed as £15k ($21148.50) damage caused to World War One headstones

Vandals have been slammed after about £15,000 of damage was caused to headstones – including some from World War One – at a cemetery in Houghton.

Police are appealing for information after five gravestones were damaged at Hillside Cemetery, in Stanley Street.

The damage occured between Wednesday, February 17 and Monday, March 21. A further 10 have also been knocked over.

It is estimated that the damage caused will cost about £15,000 to repair.

Police previously appealed for information after two headstones were pushed over at the same location in February.

Neighbourhood officers are paying extra attention to the grounds and working with the site owners to help prevent any further incidents.

Houghton’s Acting Neighbourhood Inspector Les Goodliff said: “Not only is the damage that has been caused going to cost a substantial amount of money to repair, but these graves have great sentimental value, and intentionally damaging them is hugely disrespectful to those who lost their lives in World War One.

“We are working with Friends of Houghton Hillside Cemetery to help prevent any further incidents happening at the site, and also to help us identify those who are responsible and we would ask anyone who does have any information to please get in contact with us.

“Officers will be paying extra attention to the grounds and carrying out regular patrols throughout the cemetery.”

Friends of Houghton Hillside Cemetery secretary Janice Short said: “The war graves were damaged in February, and I discovered this latest damage.

“I walked down to the bottom level, and there were 12 to 15 graves there which had been pushed over.

“I was furious to see it, and I knew it had been done intentionally, because those graves were sturdy.

“They had obviously been pushed over, and it’s so disrespectful that someone would even think about doing something like this.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101 quoting reference 968 210316, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Read more:

Ship Photos of the Day – USS Conestoga Found!


Ship Photos of the Day – USS Conestoga Found!


USS Conestoga (AT 54)

USS Conestoga (AT 54), the last known broadside photograph taken likely during WWI. Credit: U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command NH 71299

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) and the U.S. Navy announced on Wednesday the discovery of the wreck of USS Conestoga in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary in California, solving one of the greatest maritime mysteries ever in U.S. Navy history.

uss conestoga
Modern painting of the USS Conestoga (AT 54) on its final voyage pounding through large waves during a gale off Southeast Farallon Island in March 1921. Credit: Artist Danijel Frka © Russ Matthews Col.

The Conestoga and its 56 crew vanished without a trace after sailing from San Francisco Bay on March 25, 1921 on a voyage to Tutuila, American Samoa via Pearl Harbor, but when the ship never arrived many questions over where, when, and how the ship went down were left unanswered.

uss conestoga
In September 2009, a NOAA/Fugro multibeam sonar survey of the area around Farallon Islands documented a probable shipwreck with an estimated length of 52m (170ft) at a depth of 56.5m (185ft). Credit: NOAA/Fugro

The shipwreck was actually first documented in 2009, but it took investigators two years and a second survey in October 2015 to confirm the wreck as the Conestoga.

uss conestoga
Credit: U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command NH 89793

Conestoga was originally built as a civilian tug for a railroad company in 1904, but it was later purchased by the U.S. Navy in September 1917 to carry out towing and escort duties along the Atlantic coast.

You can find more about the USS Conestoga on the National Marine Sanctuaries website.

USS Conestoga
Ship’s Company beside and on USS Conestoga, at San Diego, California, circa early 1921. Credit: U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command NH 71503
Stern view of the shipwreck USS Conestoga colonized with white plumose sea anemones contrasting the water column. Credit: NOAA ONMS/Teledyne SeaBotix
Stern view of the shipwreck USS Conestoga colonized with white plumose sea anemones contrasting the water column. Credit: NOAA ONMS/Teledyne SeaBotix
Starboard bow view of the shipwreck USS Conestoga with the top of the stem visible. Credit: NOAA ONMS/Teledyne SeaBotix
Starboard bow view of the shipwreck USS Conestoga with the top of the stem visible. Credit: NOAA ONMS/Teledyne SeaBotix
uss conestoga
Deck and Longitudinal View of Conestoga, as reproduced in Marine Engineering 1904 Vol. 9, page 36. Credit: Robert Schwemmer Maritime Library

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