25 January 2017
Companion book: “Normandy: a Father’s Ship and a Son’s Curiosity” coming out 2017
This week in 1944 the PC 552 berthed in England for the first time. Nick Stine was there. What did you do this week?
There has been a lot of talk this week about the Americans’ 11 aircraft carriers in port. During World War II, the Americans built 22 just during the war years.
The PC 552 berthed in the Tamer River, Saltash, England. Arriving in England, the crew saw firsthand for the first time the destruction brought on by a modern war in the middle of the 20th century. They were shocked.
“This was their (crew and officers’) first look at open warfare as they witnessed the German bombings of England’s south coast.” (Ship’s History).
Radioman Roland “Nick” Stine remembers:
“When we went ashore there, I was dumbfounded of the villages and little developments along the way,” Stine said. “Hitler had already blown the hell out of all of them. As we went forward up to the other end (of the river) where they were, they were still blowing the hell out of anything in their way. War is just the damndest, lousy experience by the way it’s born.”
Stine’s family said he once described it as a moonscape by the way the artillery (sic bombs) blew holes in the buildings and ground.
The ship and its crew endured periodic air raids but took them in stride. What shocked them to the core was the vicious devastation unleashed on ordinary people, like you and me. It deeply disturbed and angered them. They were inspired to resolve the issue with a vengeance.
This week in 1944, we leave the crew contemplating man’s inhumanity to man.
Please sign up for weekly posts at: www.facebook.com/PC552