Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Sinking of the Ben and Josephine on Joey C's Blog

Our good buddy Joe Ciarmitaro writes one of the best blogs in the blogosphere. Today he has two historic documents about the sinking of his grandfather Guiseppi Ciarmitaro's boat, The Ben and Josephine. I'm posting a little taste below but you have to go to his blog to read the rest!
Thanks To The Infamous Fred Buck We Have Two Accounts From the Sinking Of Our Grandfather’s Boat The Ben and Josephine By German Sub in 1942

Article by Charles Dana Gibson, undated-

On June 2,1942, the Ben and Josephine, an otter trawl dragger, left Gloucester, Massachusetts, at 7 p.m., in company with another dragger, the Aeolus. Both were bound for the Seal Island fishing grounds off Nova Scotia. By 3 p.m. the next day, the two draggers were about 170 miles east of Cape Ann when the man at the wheel of the Ben and Josephine spotted a submarine on the surface proceeding on what appeared to be a parallel course. 
Although concerned, the wheelsman later stated that the opinion among his fellow crew members at the time was that the submarine was probably friendly. Whoever was up and about on the Aeolus, then four or five miles astern, seems to have had the same thoughts, since it also made no attempt to alter course. But friendly the submarine definitely was not: it was the U432, the same sub which had sunk Foam some days earlier.
When later describing to naval authorities what had transpired, the crew members of both the Ben and Josephine and the Aeolus stated that for an hour a number had periodically studied the submarine through binoculars.
During that time, nothing was seen to indicate that it spelled trouble; yet, the fact that its course and speed were continually altered to match the draggers produced a menacing atmosphere.  Around 4 p.m., the submarine suddenly changed its course as if to cross the bow of the Ben and Josephine, increasing its speed as it drew nearer. When approximately five hundred feet away, it swung parallel and a machine gun opened fire, bullets striking the water close to its prey. Guiseppe Ciarmitaro (Captain Joe our Grandfather), the Ben and Josephine’s skipper, had been taking a nap. Suddenly shocked awake, he ran for the pilot house to radio for help.

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