October 7, 1943 -- 55 Men Lost
A beautiful 1.75 inch hand-painted, brass coin honoring the men of World War II who gave their lives fighting for our country!
The front of the coin honors the USS S-44 SS-155. The back has the following quote:
"To the 374 officers and 3131 men of the Submarine Force who gave their lives in the winning of this war, I can assure you that they went down fighting and that their brothers who survived them took a grim toll of our savage enemy to avenge their deaths."
-Vice Admiral C.A. Lockwood, Jr.
Commander Submarine Force, 1943 - 1946
About the USS S-44 (SS 155)...
On 26 September 1943, S-44 (Lt. Cmdr. F.E. Brown) departed Attu to begin her fifth war patrol in the Kuriles. She was not heard from a gain by the shore bases, but the story given here is taken from statements made by her two surviving crewmen, E.A. Duva, CTM, and W.F. Whitemore, RM3c. One day out of Attu, a plane which dropped several depth charges forced S-44 down. Then nothing was seen until 2030 on the night of 7 October, when radar contact was made on what was thought to be a small merchant ship. S-44 went in very close on the surface and started firing her deck gun, and immediately the destroyer they had underrated opened up with all guns.
The Captain ordered, "Take her down!" The diving alarm was sounded, but the ship did not submerge, for reasons not made clear in the statements of the survivors. Meanwhile, the destroyer had scored a hit below the water line in the control room, one in the conning tower, and one in the forward battery. The order was given to abandon ship, and a pillowcase was waved from the forward room hatch, in the hope that the enemy would cease firing, but they did not. The destroyer scored several more hits.
About eight men got off the ship and into the water before she sank, but only two were picked up by the destroyer. They were taken to the Island of Paramushiru for several days, and then to the Naval Interrogation Camp at Ofuna for a year. Finally, they were forced to work in the copper mines of Ashio until released by Allied forces at the close of the war.
During her first four patrols, all conducted in the Solomon Islands area, S-44 sank three ships and damaged a fourth. Her first patrol was conducted off the east coast of New Britain, and on 12 May 1942 she sank a small freighter. While covering the area west and south of Florida Island on her second patrol, S-44 sank the 1,051-ton converted gunboat KEIJO MARU on 21 June 1942. Her greatest satisfaction and important contribution to the Allied war cause came during her third war patrol, conducted on New Hanover. On 10 August 1942, S-44 hit the heavy cruiser KAKO with four torpedoes and sank her. This sinking was particularly opportune as KAKO was one of the four Japanese heavy cruisers of Cruiser Division Six, who at the very time were returning from the first battle of Savo Island. The night before in that battle they had sunk four Allied heavy cruisers without losing of themselves or suffering more than moderate damage. On her fourth patrol, off New Georgia, S-44 damaged a destroyer type vessel.
Would make an excellent addition to your collection or for your favorite sailor! Collect the entire series!
OPTIONAL: Our Air-Tite acrylic cases provide the ultimate long-term protection for your coin. They are made of crystal clear, hard Acrylic and will never yellow over time; the foam rings are made of Volara and both are free of PVC that could damage your coin.