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Long Beach Press Telegram January 3, 1964 


3 From the Old England Wish New One Luck
by Jack Baldwin

Three civilians, once members of a team that helped sink six Japanese subs in 12 days, went aboard the new USS England in a Long Beach dry-dock Thursday to wish its crew "good hunting."

The three were key men aboard the old sub-destroyer-escort USS England that set a record during World War II that has never been broken.

The new 7,600-ton England, a submarine hunter-killer, was commissioned last month and was names after the famous predecessor.

The fantastic feet of the original England  promoted then Chief of Naval Operation to radio: "there will always be an England in the U.S. Navy."

One of the three-man team, Gus Daily, formally an ensign serving as the anti-submarine warfare officer aboard the DE-635, gives mush of the credit for England's record accomplishments to help given the sub-sinker by the top secret weapon of the war - the breaking of the Japanese code by the late Rear Admiral Ellis M. Zacharias.

"We knew just about where the subs were supposed to be. Messages to and from the Japanese subs had been intercepted and decoded. We were ordered in for the kill," recounted Daily, 43, a research psychologist in Santa Barbara.

"Ward and Johnson were on the sonar gear as we steamed out of Iron Bottom Bay in the Solomons toward Bougainville," Daily said.

He referred to Calvin Ward, 38, executive of a Los Angeles Based plastering contracting firm, and to William Johnson, a detective sergeant on the burglary detail of the Los Angels Police Department. Both men were sonarmen at the time of the six sinkings during the last two weeks of May, 1944.

"It was a team effort," Daily reminisced as he recounted details of the attacks that enabled England to adorn her single stack with the silhouettes of size Japanese subs - an adornment never to be duplicated by any other vessel in the U.S. Navy.

It was May 19 off Bougainville that the sea first boiled with oil and debris from the England's  first underwater kill. the sonarmen had picked up an echo and the 1,500-ton DE closed for the attack. On her fifth pass the England delivered a lethal on-target payload of depth charges that literally erupted what was later learned to be the Japanese submarine I-16.

The ship was able to detect and sink three more subs on May 22 and 23.

One week after her first score, the England spotted a surfaced enemy sub at 14,000 yards. At 4,000 yards the Jap sub crash dived and took evasive action. the sonarmen picked up the sub's ping and a salvo of depth charges was fired.

Came dawn and a sister ship discovered flotsam from the RO-108. The England had scored on a single Sunday punch!

The destroyer escort had sunk five enemy submarines in one week, to earn a "well done" from many quarters including one from Winston Churchill.

But the England, although her appetite insatiable, was running low on fuel and she was ordered to put into port. The England's "eager beaver" crew hated to leave the area.

According to intelligence reports, based on intercepted messages radioed in the broken Japanese code, there was still a sixth sub maintaining station along the 30 mile scout line only 30 miles from England's position.

The enemy sub was across an imaginary line that dividend areas under control of the fleet and the theater of war commanded by General Douglas McArthur.

By coincidence the Japanese sub, later to be identified and RO-105, lay right beneath a straight line course the England would have to take to reach the nearest fuel supply.

On May 30 exploding hedgehogs fired from the England brought to the surface the remains of her sixth underwater victim.

In 12 days she had sunk six subs.

But more important was the fact that England had destroyed the Japanese "spy line,"  and in turn prompted the admiral to redistribute his naval forces. This redeployment has been accredited as a major factor in the allied success in the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

Lt. Wayne Rauch, anti-submarine officer aboard the new England, the counterpart of ensign Daily on the original sub-killer, made a masterpiece of understatement when he said "The old England has left us a might tough target to shoot at."