Brushy Creek Journal
Wednesday August 31, 2016
Partly Sunny 91°F/33°C in Cedar Park, Texas
Cloudy 68°F/20°C in Falmouth, United Kingdom
Don Barrett, my old radio buddy and blogger from LARadio.com sent me an email telling me that he had posted a blurb about my new book, LST 920: Charlie Botula’s Long, Slow Target!(Amazon Books) on the home page of his web site, LARadio.com. Don went on to tell me, OK Mike!
Now that you’ve written your first
book, the easy part is done. Now comes the real work – PROMOTING YOUR BOOK!
Don followed that note with a flurry of follow-up emails, each with a list of suggestions on promoting my contribution to American history. It was a good list of ideas. After all, Barrett is an accomplished author himself, and his Los Angeles Radio People occupies a place of honor in my own bookcase. (Partly because I am one of the LARPs, as he calls us, and I am mentioned in his book).
My book has a way to go before it appears on the New York Times Best Seller List, or is picked up by Oprah’s Book Club, but it is starting to sell and Amazon Books is keeping tabs on my royalties. So, I can honestly consider myself an author, not just an old retired guy who dabbles in writing. And, even more than seeing sales and royalties, I’m starting to get feedback from my readers.
When I went to my email inbox this morning, I found a note from Curt Pederson, a neighbor of one of the crewmembers of LST 921, the ship that was torpedoed in the U boat attack on my dad’s convoy. That survivor, Charles “Chuck” Watson of Tumwater, Washington was the ship’s cook aboard the LST 921 and suffered severe injuries in the attack. As Pederson told me in his note, We were neighbors and friends with WWII amputee, Chuck Watson, for over 25 years. We knew he was a cook on LST 921 and knew his ship was torpedoed. He never knew much about August 14, 1944 until I started to print out your blog on LST 920 and your father. You filled in so many unanswered questions.
Chuck’s ordeal is described in an eyewitness account by LST 921 crew member Lloyd Meeker, who survived the torpedo attack after a harrowing escape from the ship’s flooding engine
room. LST 920 took us to Falmouth,
England to a Navy hospital, survivor Lloyd Meeker remembered. There were lots of cuts and broken bones.
The cook was injured the most. The last time I saw him, he had both legs and an
arm in casts. He was in traction and his jaw was wired shut. For me, it was
good to get out of my oily clothing. Finally, Meeker recalled, we were told that 43 survivors and one body
were taken off the LST 920. All of the rest of the men went down with the stern
section. As it turns out, the ship’s cook was Curt Pederson’s old neighbor,
Chuck Watson, who lost his injured leg but otherwise fully recovered from the
ordeal. Watson is now 95 years old and still working in his yard.
|What was left of LST 921!|
A lot of the men who escaped from the sinking LST 921 would not have survived the attack of U 667 if it weren’t for the skipper of LST 920. Lieutenant Harry N. Schultz, who disobeyed standing orders and ordered his ship to turn around and pick up survivors instead of remaining with the convoy, which continued to steam on to Falmouth, England. Chuck Watson never knew who, specifically, was responsible for saving his life until his friend and neighbor Curt Pederson sent him a copy of LST 920: Charlie Botula’s Long, Slow Target!
72 years have passed since that afternoon in August 1944, but it’s not too late to say Thank you for your service!, to Chuck Watson, age 95, and the other sailors who came under attack by U 667 that day.
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© By Mike Botula 2016