U.S.S. Pittsburgh at Hawaii, Guam, Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Borneo, Siam, Singapore, Java, Ceylon, etc: 1929-1931. Album. This archive consists of an 8” x 14” 300-page scrapbook, filled with articles, clippings, photographs, cartoons, newsletters, assorted ephemera. Hood used 86 pages in the rear of the album to keep a daily journal. The archive also includes more than 100 loose photographs and another 20 loose documents, letters, certificates, and membership cards, as well as five 90-minute cassette tapes in which Hood provides an oral history of his naval service. Everything is in nice shape.
The scrapbook includes a promotion to “Student Petty Officer First Class,” an Independence Day dinner menu, a machinist’s mate’s test, a duty roster, pages of printed and manuscript naval related poems, and photographs of facilities and ships at Hampton Roads and the railroad trip that took him to California and eventual service on the U.S.S. Pittsburgh.
The remainder of the album includes mementos of his service on the ship including an invitation to a reception Governor of the Philippines Dwight F. Davis and a program published by the ship describing his retirement cruise, naval related clippings and cartoons about life in Asia, business cards (cafes, bars, tea houses), advertisements (dance hall, cabaret, eating houses), a label for Asahi Beer, an advertising handbill for a ship’s party, an initiation ‘subpoena’ from Neptunus Rex, a Singapore hotel brochure and theater ticket, a colorful multipage timetable for the Royal Dutch Indian Airways, and much more.
Hood’s well-written three-year diary begins with his departure from Norfolk on a five-day train trip to California where he and 5,000 other sailors boarded an old transport ship for duty in the Pacific. In addition to commentary about daily ship-board life and duty as machinist’s mate, it includes many other lively observations events and happenings during his time on-board. Some excerpts include:
“Battle manouvers . . . chasing torpedoes. . . Speed, speed, speed, all the time. . .. Thirty one knots and no smoke. Dropped a depth bomb and then . . . picked up dead fish . . . for dinner. . ..
Had target practice . . . fired the torpedoes and raised Hell. . .. We put out 14 shells on the #4 gun, 82 on #3 all star shells, and 32 small star shells on #5 anti aircraft gun. Fired a torpedo, also. Pretty sight. Star shells breaking over the target and four ships all firing at once. . ..
And oh! What a surprise I was appointed to mess cooking . . . three months of washing dishes and peeling spuds.” Subsequently, for days, Hood “peeled spuds . . . spuds and onions . . . more spuds . . . and more onions. . ..
Lost a man overboard . . . never found. Sharks got him, I guess.”
“Got a ‘shot’ . . . Every body is getting them some kind of preparation for the Southern cruise. . .. Going to the fights tonight.. .. A typhoon is just ahead of us. . .. Got woke up about 3:30 this morning, drenched to the hide. The hatch was open and we shipped about 50 gallons of ocean, not so hot. . ..
Kobe all kinds of Japanese merchants aboard selling souvenirs. . .. Walked around all day. . .. I like it very much. The people are polite and clean and they will do anything for an American gob. . ..
Proceeded up the Yangtze River . . . very pretty scenery coming up the river and there are English, Japanese and Chinese men-o-war here in Yanking. . . . Well, I can say I’ve been ashore in Shanghai [and] Tsing-Tao. . .. Made the rounds of the cabarets and did some dancing. Also drank a few. . .. Went to the ‘Marine’s Café’. . .. Lots of Russians here. . .. Made the cabarets again. Very pretty. The girls all in native costume. . .. The Exec says no more liberty until further notice, as a couple of fellows made an ass of themselves [in Chefoo] . . .
Underway at daylight for . . . Hainan just off the French-Indo-China coast, to protect the American interests and missionaries. [During the 1920s-1930s, Hainan was a hotbed of early Communist Chinese activity.] This place is held by the rebel army now and the Nationalist are trying to take it over. Some excitement, perhaps. . ..
The battle of Haihow was fought today and the town was taken over by the Nationalists. Very few killed. Not a shot fired in the town.”There over 100 loose photos showing shipmates (casual and posed images in various uniforms; including a Filipino mess steward and laundryman), recreation (soccer team and race-boat), equator ceremony (with Davy Jones, Neptunus Rex, etc.), the bridge, running torpedoes, an officer’s gig, and bum boats. About 45 show sailors on liberty in the Bali, Borneo, Ceylon, China, French Indo-China, Java, Philippines, Singapore, Sumatra, Thailand, Villafranca, Naples, and Pompeii.
Documents within the archive include Hood’s Birth Certificate, his 1927 Discharge, a Statement of Service from 1938, a post-WWII certificate recognizing his service in the Office of Scientific Research and Development, a post-WWII discharge certificate as a Sergeant in the Massachusetts National Guard, and a 1992 Certification of Military Service.
The ephemera includes membership cards in the Ancient Order of the Deep and Domain of Neptunus Rex, a coupon for the Osaka Bazar, a drink/dance ticket for the Japanese Bar Tokyo, advertisements for a tailor in Shanghai and a silk and curio dealer in Colombo, an invitation for a dance aboard the U.S.S. Macleish, a Luncheon menu for the Adelphi Hotel in Shanghai, and a U.S.S. Pittsburg “Happy Hour” program in honor of Governor Davis.. Very good. Item #009726
One of the best between-the-wars U.S. Navy scrapbooks we have handled with a desirable accompanying oral history.