AFRICAN AMERICAN SAILOR on USS DUTCHESS WWII PHOTO ALBUM & DIARY
7” x 11” suede bound photo album showing “The Kiss of the Oceans,” along with “Photo-Log, U.S. Navy, Panama” on the front cover. The first photo shown in the album is a 5” x 8” photo of the USS Dutchess. The next photo is the same size and is identified as “S-Division, Ship’s Company,” with several black men. This album appears to have been kept by an African American sailor who was onboard the USS Dutchess, a Windsor-class attack transport that served with the US navy during World War II. There is a six-page, double sided, hand-written log, which details stops in Panama, Philippines, Hawaii, Marshal Islands, Saipan, Okinawa, California and Seattle. “My Log and Diary” starts on February 26, 1945 and goes till around late June 1945.
Some interesting entries include:
En route from Panama to Pearl Harbor: Arrive at Pearl Harbor at 07:30. General quarters drill. Disembark the 1500 Seabees and Marine passengers.
While on liberty today in Honolulu, I ran into my brother in-law, Joseph P. Coleman. Had fine time together. Had photos taken.
April 13 was the announcement of the death of our president, Franklin Delanor Roosevelt. 13:30 ship got underway.
Okinawa: Four air raid alarms during the day and night. Few planes drop bombs. Continue to unload cargo.
08:00 General quarters. Jap air suicide pilot crashes plane into heavy cruiser Birmingham, causing slight damage. Continue to unload cargo.
Continue to take on wounded aboard battleships and cruisers continue to bombard southern part of Okinawa. Two air alerts today.
In total, there are about 65 photos in this album, including 40 loose photos, and some Japanese and English currency. A clue to his identity include a souvenir envelope addressed to Herbert M. Simmons, on board the USS Abbott and a postcard addressed to Simmons at an address in the Bronx. The album is missing many photos from the pages, and I almost just took it apart, but the photos along with the diary make this a very compelling piece.