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Author Topic: Shoe Parts  (Read 14936 times)

Ric Gillespie

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #60 on: November 29, 2018, 08:26:27 AM »

Interesting hypothesis.  I think we're making progress. Is there evidence that the Bushnell surveyors were on the island overnight?  Yep.  See pages 14 and 15 in the Bushnell Report (https://tighar.org/aw/mediawiki/images/0/0a/Bushnell_Part_2.pdf)

Bushnell arrived at Gardner early on the afternoon of November 4, 1939.  The next day they got all their gear and personnel ashore. Bushnell then left to go survey Carondelet Reef. It looks like the party left on Gardner consisted of 2 hydrographic engineers, 2 officers, and 21 men.  They also recruited the 16 native laborers to help.  The first job was to erect the three steel towers which are variously described as being 100, 90 or 80 feet tall. They mapped the outline of the island by taking azimuth readings from observation points along the shoreline to the towers, but first they had to have good lat/long coordinates for each of the observation points.  That had to be done at night when they could see the stars (see the highlighted section on Azimuth Readings).  This was done by the two hydrographic engineers accompanied by one man. They appear to have recorded the lat/long for all the sites in one "evening."  That's a big job that must have taken all night and it would involve at least one crossing from the ocean side to the lagoon side.  If that crossing took place near the Seven Site because the ocean-front vegetation was thinnest there, it would be easy to miss the skull and skeleton in the dark.  It they then took the sextant out of its box to make a celestial observation from the lagoon shore it would be easy to misplace the box in the dark.  No time to search for it.  Gotta keep moving.

I like it. No overnight camping. No campfire. No clambake. No discarded shoe. No lost sextant. Just a box misplaced in the dark with the inverting eyepiece still secured.
The April 1940 the work party finds the box and one of the laborers rips out the inverting eyepiece, removes the lens, but later throws it away.  They find the skull and bury it.  The box is of no interest and they live it there.

The water cask is a possibility, but what about the Benedictine bottle?  It must have been somewhere near the box or the skull.  Either the Bushnell boys left it there (they misplaced the sextant box because they were drunk?) or the castaway had it and it rolled own the hill like the skull.  FWIW, Kilts said the "cognac bottle" had "fresh water in it for drinking."  The surveyors certainly didn't need to carry drinking water in Benedictine bottle and we have good archaeological evidence that the castaway had a system for collecting, and boiling drinking water. It's logical they she also had some means of storing purified water.


« Last Edit: November 29, 2018, 10:17:44 AM by Ric Gillespie »
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Matt Revington

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #61 on: November 29, 2018, 01:33:21 PM »

This journal at the Smithsonian might give some details of the Bushnell expedition,
https://siarchives.si.edu/collections/fbr_item_modsi5773

Schultz, Leonard Peter, part 6 : log for navy surveying expedition, USS Bushnell, Phoenix Island, 1939
"The Bushnell left San Diego on 1 April 1939 for Hawaii and then on to the Phoenix Islands [Phoenix Group] and other islands of the Pacific Ocean. Localities include Canton Island [Kanton], Enderbury Island [Enderbury Atoll], Hull Island [Oronoa], McKean Island [McKean Atoll; McKean Island], Swains Island, Rose Island, Tutuila Island [Tutuila], and others. Schultz records travel and field research activities, collections made, descriptions of specimens, natural history observations, life on the ship, and expenses. Several collections were made using poison at reefs. Pasted into the volume are colored sketches of fish, field maps, correspondence, tickets, and other documents relating to field work and travels."

Gardner Island is not  mentioned in the abstract but we know the Bushnell went there so it must be among the "and others"
« Last Edit: November 29, 2018, 01:47:09 PM by Matt Revington »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #62 on: November 29, 2018, 03:13:21 PM »

This journal at the Smithsonian might give some details of the Bushnell expedition,

Therein lies a tale.  Way back when we were first considering whether the Nikumaroro hypothesis was worth testing, I discussed it with my old friend Tom Crouch at NASM.  He said, "As I recall there was a Smithsonian ichthyologist (fish guy) named Schultz on a US Navy expedition that surveyed those islands back before the war.  I think he wrote a paper.  It should in the Castle (Smithsonian headquarters building).  I'll be happy to check it out for you."

I thanked him profusely.
A couple weeks later he called and said, "I read Schultz's paper.  He was all over that island.  No sign of anything unusual."
Just for the heck of it, the next time we were in DC, Pat and I stopped by the Castle and looked at Schultz's paper ourselves.  He was not aboard for the November cruise.  He was never on Gardner.  I've never trusted Tom Crouch since.
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Bill Mangus

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #63 on: November 29, 2018, 04:01:09 PM »

According to my handy-dandy moon phase calculator, the waning moon was about 20% full on 7 Nov 39. We don't know what evenings they may have been shooting the stars down by the Seven Site but, depending on cloud cover, the party would have had at least some natural light to augment the flashlights they presumably carried. Still pretty dark though to go wandering around in strange territory. Easy to not notice bones, etc in the underbrush.
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« Last Edit: November 30, 2018, 06:41:25 AM by Bill Mangus »
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Alfred Hendrickson

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #64 on: November 29, 2018, 06:30:54 PM »

A couple weeks later he called and said, "I read Schultz's paper.  He was all over that island.  No sign of anything unusual."
Just for the heck of it, the next time we were in DC, Pat and I stopped by the Castle and looked at Schultz's paper ourselves.  He was not aboard for the November cruise.  He was never on Gardner.  I've never trusted Tom Crouch since.

Maybe this is a question for another thread, but why would Tom Crouch say something that was obviously untrue?
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #65 on: November 29, 2018, 07:53:30 PM »

Maybe this is a question for another thread, but why would Tom Crouch say something that was obviously untrue?

I don't think he was intentionally lying.  I think he didn't read carefully.  When I say I don't trust him, I mean I don't trust him to be careful. I've seen it several times.  In the 2010 Discovery Channel documentary he said, "Are you telling me that Betty Klenck was the only person to hear Amelia Earhart's distress calls?"

I could cite other examples.
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Kevin Weeks

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #66 on: November 30, 2018, 06:23:52 AM »

I like the night time plotting as a way for the box to have gotten to the 7 site. makes sense to me.
as for the benedictine bottle being used by them, I have a harder time if it was for alcohol. can't see them getting that many plot points done in one evening and also being drunk! if that was the case I wouldn't be surprised if our castaway was a member of the crew! lol.

now... we would be getting into something less likely here... BUT.... we know the earlier new zealand expedition had to do a similar but less complete survey over a longer period of time. they mention drinking the medicinal brandy over christmas as well as supplementing their rations with local foods. it's a possibility that this survey crew spent the night at some point out of camp doing the same thing. campfire, turtles etc. could all come from them. likely?? cant say, but not impossible.
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James Champion

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #67 on: November 30, 2018, 05:39:48 PM »

But the benedictine bottle is a bottle and floats. Of all the things discussed it the the most likely item to have possibly washed ashore and been collected by the castaway. It would be very useful for survival.
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J West

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #68 on: November 30, 2018, 08:17:52 PM »

This journal at the Smithsonian might give some details of the Bushnell expedition,

Therein lies a tale.  Way back when we were first considering whether the Nikumaroro hypothesis was worth testing, I discussed it with my old friend Tom Crouch at NASM.  He said, "As I recall there was a Smithsonian ichthyologist (fish guy) named Schultz on a US Navy expedition that surveyed those islands back before the war.  I think he wrote a paper.  It should in the Castle (Smithsonian headquarters building).  I'll be happy to check it out for you."

I thanked him profusely.
A couple weeks later he called and said, "I read Schultz's paper.  He was all over that island.  No sign of anything unusual."
Just for the heck of it, the next time we were in DC, Pat and I stopped by the Castle and looked at Schultz's paper ourselves.  He was not aboard for the November cruise.  He was never on Gardner.  I've never trusted Tom Crouch since.

Hi y'all, I'm newly registered, but have been lurking for decades. Fascinating history. I'll try to do an intro over on that thread WIGART.

About this USS Bushnell topic: starting a few months ago (slow, yes, have my own 'ship'- AKA: Hole in water you throw time and money into). I really dug into it (from my limited resources) using my Ancestry Fold3 access. I have concentrated before on my uncle's WWII destroyer, the USS Boyd, DD-544; uncle was an MM2c, KIA off Nauru with 12 other shipmates on 8 December 1943 (their Captain was LtCmdr U.S.G. Sharp, later ADM and comcicpac during early VN war) .

I have the Muster Rolls for the entire "1939 Survey Area, South Pacific Is." expedition, from the Bushnell's Norfolk departure onward. A fair amount of information can be gleaned from even Muster Rolls. I made a rudimentary 'Movement of Ship' doc from it.

The four hydrologists (surveyors) embarked at Norfolk on 4 March 1939, bound for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to start, and remained through the vessel's next assignment into 1940 (at least).
The ichthyologist was embarked in San Diego on 1 April 1939, and left the ship on its' first return to Honolulu, in July/August 1939, after the initial cruise to the survey area.

The crew and ship spent a fair amount of time in their base port, Naval Station, Tutuila, American Samoa (Pago Pago).
One hydrologist's wife (Witt) is listed as a passenger on one of the Bushnell's several non-survey excursions, to some outlying AS islands for a Flag Day event that may have lasted a week (looked like a party cruise...among others, embarked a large AS Navy rate band, wives, children, servants, etc).
The ship's crew was usually between 195-210 enlisted, with probably 10-15 officers. No officer roster found yet, I do have a 1939 Navy "Directory" which lists all Navy and USMC officers and assignments, but it would be a massive job to filter out the Bushnell's officers from that pdf.

The civilian survey crew's names and titles were:

Kennedy, George F.  Assoc. Hydro Eng.  (presumed the lead, as a report was written by him and is in the ships' Survey Papers on TIGHAR here (Part 4, pp 8-10): https://tighar.org/wiki/USS_Bushnell_Survey_(1939) )

Bigelow, Henry W. Jr.  Asst Hydro Eng.
Witt, Edward J.  Asst Hydro Eng.
Lang, Sheldon  Junr. Hydro Eng.
Schultz, Leonard P.  Ichthyologist


 :)  John

(edit)  Notice that my comment is still open to 'modify', so I'll try to add the source pdf pages for the "List of Nonenlisted Passengers of USS Bushnell" here (more as a test of upload):
"at date of sailing from Pearl Harbor, T.H. for 1939 Survey Area Date 17 April 1939" (and San Diego to PH)




« Last Edit: December 18, 2018, 08:02:12 PM by J West »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #69 on: December 02, 2018, 07:58:13 AM »

Terrific research John.  Welcome aboard.

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Bill Mangus

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #70 on: December 02, 2018, 09:49:09 AM »

Nicely done, John. 

It might be interesting to see if any descendants of these gentlemen have any interesting stories, papers or pictures from this voyage. Were these gentlemen the ones taking the star sightings and doing the computations?   Anyone up for some genealogy research?

Also, Bushnell's deck log might shed some light on how/why the sextant box got left behind (though since it probably happened while she was at Canton Island they probably didn't know anything in detail about activities on Gardner Island). 
Bill Mangus
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Jeff Christmas

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #71 on: December 02, 2018, 10:02:56 AM »

Welcome to the forum, John.

I too have been trying to piece together the names of the Bushnell crew so as to cast a wide net and try to track down their personal histories as they relate to being in the Navy - specifically the survey expedition.  It looks like you’ve made further progress in getting details about the muster , whereas I’ve only been able to come up with a (probably incomplete) list of names of the crew.  I do, however, have a pretty good idea of the officers.

You said in your post that it would be a massive job to filter through the Navy Directories.  Well, I’ve already done that for the yearly directories from 1935-1940 and then found the easy button after the fact.  Yesterday I came across a different type of Navy directory from 1 Oct 1939:

https://archive.org/details/navydirectoryof1939unit_0/page/n3

Within the directory, on page 208, is a collated list of the Bushnell’s officers.  The list matches up reasonably well with what I’d previously pieced together from other sources but is more satisfactory as it represents a documented snapshot a mere month before the survey.  I've taken a snapshot of the page but am battling my computer and have not been able to load it up.  I will try again shortly.

Anyone have thoughts on which officer(s) were likely to have gone ashore at Gardner?  I presume it would be one of the junior officers.

FYI – Here was my best guess before finding the October 1939 directory:
(name, start date of Bushnell duty, home state)
Commander William Bryan Coleman, 21 June 1939, Illinois (Commanding the Bushnell)
Lt Commander Beverly Armistead Hartt, 23 Feb 1939, Virginia
Lt Commander Charles Horace Kendall Miller, 29 May 1937, Massachusetts
Lt Harry Nelson Coffin, 22 August 1938, Maine
Lt Vernon Long Lowrance, June 1939, North Carolina
Lt JG Thomas Donald Shriver, 18 Jul 1935, Wisconsin
Lt JG Delmer Francis Quackenbush, Jr, , Michigan
Lt JG James Hunter Fortune, Jr, 30 June 1933, Michigan
Med Isp Henry Dewitt Hubbard, 13 Jan 1939, Alabama
Paymaster Leonard Alois Klauer, 28 February 1938, Iowa

Quackenbush and Coffin are associated with other ships in Oct 1939.  There were five more Lt JGs on the October directory that didn’t show up in the documents I originally studied.  Note:  A few of these officers ended up retiring as Admirals.

Jeff Christmas
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #72 on: December 02, 2018, 11:07:15 AM »

Anyone have thoughts on which officer(s) were likely to have gone ashore at Gardner?  I presume it would be one of the junior officers.

I agree that it would most likely be a junior officer.  The best clue might be the officer's job aboard the ship for that cruise if a record can be found. Junior officers are given areas of responsibility - Personnel Officer, Operations Officer, Communications Officer, etc.
There's a list of officer's and their jobs in Colorado's deck log.  Bushnell's log might also have such a list.  Also, if there was disciplinary action for the loss of the sextant box that might ve recorded in the log.
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J West

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #73 on: December 02, 2018, 12:59:24 PM »

Thanks Ric, Bill, and Jeff, I've enjoyed reading TIHGAR stuff a long time as a lurker; my efforts now aren't going to compare with most of y'alls, but I'll try to do a little. PS: I had a long, very technical, career with Western Electric, and its' subsequent companies, very familiar with the corp documentation and processes, schematics, (SD, CD, J, ED, H dwgs...) etc.

First, on a reread of my first comment, I need to make some slight changes again.
Chief is that my comment about my uncle might seem that he was Adm Sharp, not so. Uncle John was an MM2c, Sharp was his Captain. Uncle was KIA in the Boyd's forward engineroom (8 Dec 1943) when the Boyd was shelled by a Japanese shore battery while doing a SAR for a reported downed aviator close in to the island of Nauru. There is a photo taken from a bomber over Nauru showing the shorefire barrage hitting the Boyd and around it, close to the moment he and 13 shipmates were killed (it's on 'navsource' or another site). He and the crew had some intense combat actions before that, including sinking an IJN submarine larger than the DD itself, off of Makin Island a couple weeks earlier.
One of the reasons I follow the AE saga, there are some parallels in these Pacific places ( a personal goal is to sail some of those waters, before/on my way 'out', heh).
When I was a kid in the '50's I would spend hours in my grandmother's basement, where my dad and uncle's old 'stuff' was. That included stacks of old '20-40's magazines and their toys, tools, etc. I remember reading contemporary accounts of AE's adventures from that basement.

Ric, the Bushnell's "Decklog"s aren't yet available from Ancestry/Fold3 AFAIK, they do seem to have a continuous addition process, so maybe they will turn up.
I had done the whole Muster List thing before finding a link here (this thread?) to the Bushnell's four part Survey report. It was an interesting read, and filled in many gaps. The ship's decklogs would be the 'holy grail' for this though.
They might be available from a Navy historical division, but I haven't got to asking them for a copy of my uncle's DD yet. Fold3 did have much ship's documentation for the Boyd, what are essentially decklogs; and also an extensive "Action Report" of the Nauru incident.
The Bushnell decklogs would be an invaluable resource. The survey crews were put ashore on multiple islands and left for up to a week or two. I'm sure that the OiC of those crews would have filed a report.
The logistics involved in that survey operation just amaze me, the planning and provisioning, crew selection, etc.

I had a coworker and friend who, much later, did Pacific Island survey work while in the military. He had some tales to tell, but this was before my interest in TI/AE, so don't remember if the Phoenix Group were visited by him then. I tried to reach him recently with these questions, but he had passed away a few years ago.

Bill, good point about the descendants. The hydrologist Witt would be a good starting point, since it appears he had a wife (IIRC, listed on a Bushnell passenger list), kids possible later. I'll have a look on Ancestry.

Jeff, good info. I think the Navy Directory I have also has various sections, one might be of 'ship's rosters' (I don't remember, all this stuff runs together when you spend too much time on the screen). I'll check it, if so, try to upload it, or the whole directory.

The civilian surveyors did do the most technically demanding tasks of the survey work. I'm sure that they also planned much of the ops, in close coordination with the Bushnell's crew. The Bushnell's navigator was certainly a key player.

I've been learning the idiosyncrasies of this forum, aarrrgg; that last verification step kills me, my machine has slowed down and my IP connection is slow. Those "Captchas" drive me around the bend.

I'll try to post the most 'Survey' contemporary "Quarterly Ship's Complement" here later, which lists all crew aboard, and also has "Changes" sheets reflecting any personnel changes. Who knows, maybe some of y'all had kinfolk aboard.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2018, 01:41:42 PM by J West »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #74 on: December 02, 2018, 01:17:17 PM »

The Bushnell deck log should be readily available at the National Archives.  We have relevant parts of the deck logs for Itasca, Colorado, Ontario, Swan and Pelican.
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