c 1996 R. Tinneny PREFACE He was born and raised in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia. He quit high school when he was 17 years old and left his family to serve his country as a member of the United States Navy in World War II. By the time he was 19 years old, he was a seasoned combat veteran and a naval hero. After the war he married a girl from the neighborhood and raised a family. He worked in the private sector for some time and then for the government with the United States Postal Service. He died at home with his family in the neighborhood in which he was raised. William B. Tinneny, "Bruce," as he was called from childhood, was the son of James J. Tinneny and Gertrude A. Spence. His roots, like all of the descendents of "Yankee Pat" Tinneny, go back to the little island-like townland of Goladuff which is located between counties Fermanagh and Cavan in Ireland. In the course of writing a book about the Tinneny family, I've reviewed many pages of research material and listened to and read stories about many Tinnenys all around the world. One of the most moving among them was the first hand account written by Bruce of his experience in combat aboard a merchant ship in the North Atlantic during World War II. That account is illustrative of the sacrifices, feelings and contributions made by those of our family around the world who served in combat in various conflicts and under a variety of national flags. This booklet has been prepared as a momento for his family and as a reminder to all of us of the sacrifices he made in the service of his country -- in the toughest of times and situations. Richard J. Tinneny Columbia, South Carolina December 20, 1996
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Bruce Tinneny Somewhere in the North Atlantic March 6, 1943 DEDICATION To: Aunt Dot, Bruce & Gail With love and fond memories of Uncle Bruce. R.J.T. William Bruce Tinneny was the eighth child and fifth son of James J. Tinneny and Gertrude A. Spence. He was born in the family home at 240 Gates Street in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 18, 1925. He was baptized at Holy Family Catholic Church in Manayunk on September 6, 1925. Bruce, as did his brothers and sisters, attended Holy Family Elementary School. It was while a student at Holy Family that he was seriously injured one day when he tried to help the nun open or close one of the large windows in the classroom. He climbed up onto the window sill and fell through the glass down to a metal grating which was one story below on the outside of the school. Bruce landed on his head and received severe cuts of the face and head some of which left significant scars which were evident for the remainder of his life. On September 24, 1942, with the United States heavily engaged in World War II, Bruce left Saint John's High School and enlisted in the United States Navy Reserve. Because he had a heart murmur he entered service through the reserve rather than the regular Navy which had more rigorous enlistment standards. Once in the Navy, there was no significant difference between those who entered through the reserve and those who entered as regular Navy enlistees. Bruce signed up after his brothers Joe and Tom and some of his friends had enlisted. He went to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center for basic training which lasted for about one month. Following basic training he volunteered to serve as a gunner with the Naval Armed Guard units aboard the vessels of the United States Merchant Marine fleet. From basic training at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, he was sent to the Armed Guard Center in Gulfport, Mississippi, where he was trained as a shipboard gunner. Except for the Navy gun crews aboard the merchant ships, the rest of the crews were civilian. Bruce was assigned to ships that carried materials and supplies throughout the North Atlantic. Some of these cruises involved transporting supplies from the United States to the port of Murmansk in Russia. Those cruises were called the Murmansk Run. It was extremely hazardous duty since the merchant ships involved in these North Atlantic convoys were constantly tracked and attacked by German submarines. Many of those aboard the merchant ships who survived the initial torpedo attacks, met their death when they entered the rough and frigid water. It was during cruises aboard the merchant ships that Bruce became a naval hero in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic. In 1996 I received a copy of a 21 page diary that Bruce kept while he was at sea on one of the Murmansk Runs from his wife Dorothea Tinneny. The diary provides a first hand account of the feelings that must have been common to thousands of naval personnel who served in combat during the war. The hand written entries in red ink were on United States Navy note paper which had a U.S. Navy emblem at the top of each page. The cruise that Bruce described in the diary was aboard the merchant ship the S.S. Henry Wynkoop. The Wynkoop was a liberty ship owned by the United Fruit Company of Boston, Massachusetts. Its dimensions were 441 ft. by 57ft. by 37ft. and her gross tons were 7176. The master of the ship that cruise was Glen Feltus. The diary described Bruce's thoughts prior to departing New York aboard the Wynkoop on February 28, 1943, the events leading up to the night the ship rammed a German submarine, that terrifying night's activity, and his thoughts as the ship limped into Belfast Harbor in Northern Ireland on March 15th. The diary follows: Feb. 28 The cargo is loaded and the ship is ready to start on it's voyage. She is scheduled to leave at midnight. One week ago today she split in two forward of the port beam. The next day they welded it and continued to work at it all through the week. Yesterday they finished the job on it and she is now a sea worthy ship. We were denied shore liberty though no one seemed to mind that because all hands were anxious to set sail. If they had only known what was in store for us we wouldn't ever have wanted to sail. Most of the old crew from the last trip were on her. They added six more Navy men to the Navy gun crew, so I guess we are all set. March 1 Cates our cox woke me up at 3:15 a.m. to go on watch. We are well on our way out of New York and are now going on sea watches. My watch is the 4 to 8, the same as the last trip. Sheppard GM3 is PO [Petty Officer] of the watch. I wish we had a different one because I don't get along with him. The sea is very calm and we are just starting to form a convoy. We will keep on picking up ships and escorts until we pass Halifax. We have a boy on here that has made this Russian run before and he tells me it isn't going to be a picnic. I didn't think it would be a picnic but I never dreamed what was in store for us. March 2 I woke up this morning feeling very good. The sea is starting to get rougher and the weather is getting colder but it doesn't bother me. In fact I seem to like it. In the afternoon, I was sitting on number 5 hatch talking to Cates and before I could move a wave run over me and I came close to being washed overboard. We are getting a real taste of the North Atlantic. We ought to pass Halifax in about three more days. As soon as we hit Halifax then we will be in dangerous waters. The sea is rough but I had yet to know how rough the North Atlantic is. March 3 I am tired of the four to eight. Shep is starting to get on my nerves but as I am his room mate, I guess I will have to get along with him the best I can. He is always on my ear about cleaning up the room. He don't know it but the sooner he stops pestering me about cleaning the room, the sooner it will be cleaned. The Ensign used to be strict on us, how many times the guns were to be cleaned. Now we are cleaning them whenever we feel they are necessary. I went to bed late tonight about 1 a.m. If I had known what was in store for us and how many sleepless nights I was soon to spend I would have hit the hay 7 hrs. earlier. March 4 Weather is gradually getting colder and the fog is starting to set in. The convoy is going along on a fine clip. We are doing 9 knots but we will have to cut down our speed when we join the main branch of the convoy. We now have about 25 ships with us and about 20 escort boats. It looks like this trip isn't going to be as bad as I thought it was. Tonight I was out on deck and the sea was a beautiful sight to see. The moon is out in full and the waves are rolling into breakers. Well, I guess I will go down and hit the hay. March 5 We picked up the main branch of the convoy about 7:30 a.m. and it is a beautiful sight to see. There are now about 60 merchant vessels with us and about 5 extra destroyers and a few more corvettes. The waves are pounding against the port side and once or twice I thought it was going to crash the bulkhead in. It is about 7 p.m. and I am out on the gun deck doing my nightly watch. I am just wondering when we will get back to the States again. The moon isn't out tonight and I am glad for that fact because if there are any subs around it is good to be cloaked in darkness. March 6 I got off guard at 8 a.m. and just as I was getting off, the sun was raising so I stood on the gun deck and watched it come up. I always like to see the sun come up in the morning because it gives me a sense of security. The convoy is now going about 7 knots. Tonight, as I am standing on the watch, the fog is so thick you could cut it with a knife. The ships are all blowing their fog warnings and it is a funny feeling to hear a horn blow right next to your ear and then see it almost ram it. The fog is getting thicker and thicker and I don't like the looks of it. I can hear the fog horns in the distance and they seem to get further away at each toot. March 7 I am on watch and the fog started to lift at about 6 a.m. I can't see any ships around so we must be lost from the convoy. It gives me a sick feeling in the stomach because subs just wait for a chance like this to get a lone unprotected ship. As darkness descends my feeling turns to fear but I doubt that anything will happen tonight. The Captain says, the convoy is to the north of us and that we ought to see it tomorrow. Now I hope so because I don't like this traveling alone. I am going down to hit the hay but I don't think I will sleep very good tonight. But I am going to try it. March 8 We have joined the convoy now and I am feeling safe again. About 10 a.m. our cargo in the hold started shifting. It sounded like we were hit by a torpedo but we weren't. I went to sleep and about 12 a.m. one of the fellows came in to wake me up for chow. He told me that we had an aircraft carrier with us and two destroyers. I went out on the deck to see for myself and sure enough there it was dead ahead of us. Just about dusk we had our first warning. The destroyers started dropping depth charges. Our cargo shifted again and we had to drop out of the convoy. I don't think any of us will get any sleep tonight. I am going to try but I don't think it will be much good. March 10 I never want to live through another day like this one. It was 7:30 a.m. and we were still lost from the convoy. I was on guard when all at once I felt the ship lurch and heard a grinding sound as if the ship was hit and was cracking. I was looking out to sea and when I turned around there on the port side the deck cargo broke loose from her mooring and almost broke through the railing. This was only the beginning. We caught up to the convoy at 3:15 a.m. and I almost shouted for joy but if I had known what was in store for us I would have cursed the day I ever saw that convoy. The 8 to 12 watch relieved us for chow and about 5:30 p.m. I was looking out the starboard side. We were still about 2 miles from the convoy on the after end but it looked as if the ships were right next to us. I was looking at a munitions ship forward of the beam when suddenly the sky seemed to be all lighted up. At first I thought it was the sun come out but that was impossible because it was when the sun should be setting. Bickers, the man on watch with me, hollered torpedo then ran over and threw the bell for the general alarm. It was then I saw a flare go up and then the ship blew up before my eyes. I was so scared that I stood rooted to the spot for about 5 minutes. It was the first actual torpedo I had ever seen and I felt like vomiting on the deck. I prayed to God that our ships wouldn't be next on the list. Right after they blew up the munitions ship they let go and hit a cargo ship on the port side of us. They must have been laying in wait for us because our detectors on the destroyers and the corvettes didn't pick off a sound. It was a wolf pack and God knows how long they were waiting for us to come. The corvettes started dropping depth charges left and right and some came so close to our ship that from the way it rocked the ship I thought we had been torpedoed. They were the only two ships they let have it that time. We secured the lookout at 7:30 p.m. and the men who weren't on regular watch went down in the galley to talk it over. We were all down there at 10:15 p.m. since none of us could sleep, when the second attack came. We ran up on deck and I saw one ship shooting up flares, showing that she was sinking and another one was just getting there. I don't know why God spared us because one of the ships was forward and the other was aft and we were in the middle. This attack lasted for about an hour and they were the only two ships molested. We went down the galley again and everybody was so jumpy that all they would do was smoke one cigarette after another. At 1:15 a.m. the worse attack of them all came. I was sitting near the door with 2 life preservers on, a pair of dungarees, 3 sweaters, a fur vest jacket, hat and gloves when we felt something hit our ship. I jumped out of my chair with one thought in mind. We were hit and were sinking. I had a pair of jungle cloth pants in my hand and still had them when I ran out on deck and aft to the gun deck. I was just about to climb the ladder and go to the deck when I heard Cates our cox holler "Go to the boat decks we've been hit and are sinking." My heart jumped in my mouth and I thought it stopped beating. I ran as fast as I could to the boat and the first one I came to was number 3 on the starboard side. An ordinary seaman was already in the boat and was putting in the plug, which was his job, when one gunner jumped in the after part and another jumped into the bow. I was just about to jump in myself. I had already thrown my jungle cloth pants into the boat and had told Pepper Martin to hold on to them until I got in. I was just about to jump for it when the ship rolled to the starboard side and swung the boat from my reach. It was a good thing it did because it was the only thing that saved my life. A second after that, the ordinary seaman hollered for the man on the davits to lower the boat into the water. The man was so excited that he just let the slack off the davit and the line run through his fingers. There was no man on the after davit and the boat swung down bow first. I was on the edge of the ship where they had the scaling ladders ready to go down them as soon as the ship touched the water so I saw every thing that happened. When the boat swung down bow first, Pepper was in the bow holding my jungle cloth pants. I heard him scream then I saw him loose his balance and [he was] tossed him in the water, then the boat landed on top of him. The ordinary seaman was the only one who had the common sense to hold onto the lifeline when the boat was lowered. Wagner was tossed out into the sea clear of everything. I have hope that he was picked up by another ship but Pepper is a goner. Number one boat was passing underneath where number 3 had been then I saw the ordinary seaman jump into it. I felt myself being pulled away from the edge. After that I couldn't think clear because if it hadn't of been for the ship rolling at the time I was going to get in the boat I would have been a goner along with Pepper. I could see the Captain hollering to the men to lower the rest of the life boats and the Chief, Cate, after seeing what happened to number 3 boat, went down to the boat deck to see that the rest of the boats were lowered safely. Number 4 lifeboat was the last to be lowered. After that hit the waves the Ensign told the Gunner, that we're left to go to the life rafts that were aft and forward. After number 3 boat capsized we saw a tanker get her end. All there was to it was a great glowing light that lit the whole sky and then the explosion followed. It made such a noise and seeing the men on her decks being blown to bits that I didn't care if I died or not. All the time we were sending up flares and all the men had their red lights turned on. Its a wonder that we weren't shot at in the confusion. One of the gunners let loose 2 life rafts and nobody was on them. There were only 3 rafts left and there were about 56 men. After all the boats were gone and there wasn't much hope left, the Ensign found out that we weren't hit. He figures we rammed a sub as she was submerging. A submarine came up and shelled the ship in front of us. And the 4 inch 50s after gun they had, blew the sub out of the water with 3 shots. The oil on the water was so thick you could have cut it with a knife. We stayed up on the gun deck until the sun came up then some of us went below and tried to get some sleep. The convoy had already left us and we were by our self again. I don't think there is much hope left because if a sub spots us we are a goner. March 11 I awoke at 7:30 after 3 hours sleep. One of the gunners came down and shook me and told me one of our life boats was coming toward the ship. Then I remember the events of last night and I thought it was a nightmare. This thought only lasted a second until I went on deck and saw the life boats missing and debris all over the deck. I then proceeded up on the boat decks to lend a helping hand if one was needed. It was then that I saw a corvette was with us there and then I felt safe. From the boat decks I could see a life boat coming toward us from the stern. In the bow was the Chief Cook and at the rudder was the Boson. It took about a half hour until the boat could come alongside of us. In it were 3 Gunners, the Boson, Chief Cook, ordinary seamen and able bodied seamen. The Chief Mate wanted to see if they could hoist the boat up but the sea was too rough and it was impossible. When everybody was safe on board the ship started to get up steam and we went full speed ahead. There were still 2 lifeboats not accounted for one contained 5 people and the other one contained 25 merchantmen. Altogether there were 31 men not accounted for, there is three that I give up hope for, 2 jumped over board that I know of and the other one I don't know what happened to him. The corvette signaled over to us and told us she was going back and looking for survivors. My heart dropped out on the deck because, before it should happen that we would be torpedoed, we had a damn good chance of being picked up but now with 56 men and only 3 rafts it seemed impossible that we would ever get picked up. Our destination was changed we were to go to Belfast, Ireland instead of Lockhue Scotland. We only have about 3 days more travel and I hope to live to see land again. March 12 We had no alarms during the night but I still didn't sleep good. I was eating in the galley this morning when an oiler from the engine room came up and asked for volunteers to go down and work as wipers. Me and another gunner went down with a kind of a shaky feeling because if a torpedo hits that is where she aims for, the engine room. I worked there until 12 o' clock when I came up to eat chow. I went out on the deck to see how things looked. The sea was calmer and the weather looked fine. I was still shaky but this sort of cheered me up. I went down the engine room and stayed there till 5 p.m. when I knocked off. The work is alright but you sweat like a pig. Most of the men still seem shaked up but we are doing 13 knots and ought to see land in two days. March 13 Had about 3 hours sleep last night. Can't sleep very good yet. Had no alarms during the night. I pray to God that we don't have any more. I have seen enough action to last me a lifetime. At times I am so jumpy that I am beginning to go crazy. Went down the engine room and started to work. If anyone thinks that wiping is easy they ought to try it. I don't stand any sea watches now that I am working. I stayed on deck until about 10 p.m. then I went down to go to sleep. I still can't get the memory of that night out of my mind. I think when I hit shore I will take to drink and try to forget it if that is possible. Some of the boys are starting to get brave and are taking off their rubber suits but are still sleeping with their preservers on. I hope to God I never have to go to sea again. March 14 Didn't sleep very good last night, still no alarms. That is comforting. It looks like we will reach land safe after all. I went up on deck and could see land. I almost shouted with joy. We were in the Irish sea. On the starboard side of us there was a convoy of transports. They had a good escort and I could have almost jumped overboard I was so filled with joy. My joy was short lived because about 10 a.m. that morning I was sitting in the galley when I heard the first depth charge go off. I was scared. I didn't know what to do. I ran out on deck and just about that time the depth charges started dropping in earnest. There was 25 all together. I curse the day I ever seen a convoy. It seems that every time we meet a convoy we always get an alarm. Subs are lurking because a destroyer sent up two flares . About 5:30 a.m. we were in safe anchorage. We didn't pull into port but expect to tomorrow. At least we're safe. __________ As a result of the above experience, Bruce's story was broadcast October 21, 1943, on the radio show "Valor Knows No Creed." The radio show was aired weekly in the Philadelphia area on radio station WIP. Following is an actual transcript of that broadcast. It is Copywrite protected and not to be reprinted for financial gain or publication: __________ "VALOR KNOWS NO CREED" SCRIPT XVI October 21, 1943 MUSIC: (up and out) ANNOUNCER: VALOR KNOWS NO CREED MUSIC: ANNOUNCER: WIP, in cooperation with the Philadelphia Fellowship Commission presents the fourteenth in a series of broadcasts dedicated to Philadelphia's heroic sons serving in the Armed Forces of the United States. These dramatized true stories are brought to you regularly every Thursday night at this time. MUSIC: (softly under) NARRATOR: Cold winds are sweeping across the Atlantic tonight.....Autumn's prelude to the winter which will soon hold the sea in its freezing grasp. But... SOUND: (Faint suggestion of sound of waves & wind) come ice or sleet or storms, convoys of hundreds of ships will continue to beat their way over the vast expanse in a steady unending, carrying precious cargoes of munitions, food and medical supplies to American fighters and their Allies abroad. Every freighter is a link to their life-line and on every ship of the Merchant Marine a picked Navy gun crew stands guard against the threat of submarine attack. William Bruce Tinneny, of 4129 Pechin Street, Roxborough, is one of those guards. He is only eighteen, but in September of last year he decided to enlist....(fade) (MUSIC OUT) MOTHER: (calling) Did Bill go upstairs to do his homework? FATHER: (coming in) He went upstairs, but I'm not too sure about the homework getting done. MOTHER: That boy is so restless, lately! Pa, you'll have to talk to him. He doesn't concentrate on anything for more than two minutes! FATHER: (patiently) All boys are restless these days, Mother, and he is growing up. -2- MOTHER: (sighing) Yes, I know. But these younger ones, like Bill, wanting to rush off..... FATHER: (significantly) Has he said anything to you -- yet? MOTHER: No-o-o. But I can see it coming! He's showing all the signs of wanting to get into uniform just-- FATHER: (proudly) Just like his brother's, eh? MOTHER: Yes. Tom was the same way until he joined the Navy. FATHER: And so was Joe before-- BILL: (coming in) (breezily) And what about our Joe? He's a sergeant in the air Corps already! MOTHER: Bill! You gave me a freight coming in like that. FATHER: What about your lessons, son? BILL: Aw, gee, Pop. I can't seem to get my mind on my books. FATHER: Why not? BILL: (hurriedly) Well, on account of a lot of things. Y'know Ed Martin, Pop? The fellow we call "Pepper" Martin after the ball-payer? Well, "Pepper" is signing up for the Navy. FATHER Mmm-m. y'don't say! BILL: Yes, he is going down to the recruiting office tomorrow. And you know we're buddies and he was saying today it would be great if -- FATHER: Yes BILL: -- if we could go together! MOTHER: Bill! FATHER: Well, do you want to go? BILL: (heartily) I'll say I do. MOTHER: But Bill -- what about your school? you ought to finish High School -- you'll be called soon enough -- -3- BILL: That's just it! They're going to call 18 year olds. I saw it in the paper. I might as well go now -- with Pepper... and I have a choice. I want to go in the Navy. (appealing) Look Pop -- FATHER: (encouragingly) Yes, Bill...? BILL: I want to serve... FATHER: I know how you feel, boy. I tried twice to enlist myself -- BILL: (awed surprise) You did! FATHER: (bristling a bit) And why not? I'm not quite 50. They turned me down once for being too old and the second time because of my eyes. BILL: Gee, Pop. I didn't know -- FATHER: (ruefully) So now I'll fight all my battles in a war plant. MOTHER: (half in sorrow - half humorous) Well, and it's a good thing they turned you down -- or you'd all be running off and leaving me -- FATHER: Now, Mother you know it's only because we want to -- MOTHER: I know. I know why you tried -- still you'd better give up the idea that you're as young as your sons! FATHER: (resignedly) Yes, I guess I'll have to, at that! MOTHER: (mischievously) Bill -- I don't see how all your girlfriends at school and in the neighborhood could get along without you! BILL: Aw, now Mom -- you know you are the only sweetheart I've got, the only girl I'll miss -- if I go away -- MOTHER: Bill! Not so tight! (SOUND): (clatter of dishes) MOTHER: There I nearly broke a plate! BILL: (suddenly) But Pop you didn't say if I could -- FATHER: It's all right. You go ahead down with "Pepper" and if you pass your physical you can go. But if you don't -- you'll have to promise to finish your high school course. -4- BILL: (eagerly) I promise, Pop. MUSIC: (Sound): Voices in background at recruiting station. CPO: Tinneny! Martin! O.K. you two. You're accepted. BILL-"PEPPER": Swell! 'Ray! CPO: Fill out these papers, sign em and leave em at the desk. You report back here 7 o'clock Monday morning without fail, understand? BILL-PEPPER: Yes sir! CPO: Very little baggage. Your stuff will be issued. BILL-PEPPER: Yes sir! CPO: You'll go to the great Lakes Training station. Here, wear this armband. MUSIC: NARRATOR: Well! Things moved fast after that, didn't they Bill. The training period was short but the course was very vigorous, intensive... BILL: And we thought high school was something! PEPPER: Yeah. That was a cinch compared to this! BILL: Would you rather be back? PEPPER: Not on your life. No sir-ee. BILL: I didn't think you would either. I don't know how it is, but we work like the duce -- and feel like a million bucks! BILL-PEPPER (both laugh) Uh-huh! And eat like a horse -- and always hungry! SOUND: (BUGLE) Assembly SOUND: (faint murmur and buzz of large gathering) -5- OFFICER: (echo chamber effect) That's the story, men. This is the first call issued in the country. The Navy must man these merchant ships with gun crews -- as many as possible -- as quickly as possible. You know what the subs are doing to our shipping. This type duty is arduous and -- it is dangerous. Therefore we will take only volunteers. No one is required to enter this branch of the service and if you do not volunteer it will be no discredit to your record. If you do volunteer and you are accepted you will be sent immediately to Gulfport, Mississippi, for special training. Volunteers forward! SOUND: Footsteps. OFFICER: (calling off list) Cadet Tinneny. Cadet Martin. (fading) Cadet.... MUSIC: NARRATOR Your letter home said: "Dear Mom and Pop: I graduated at Gulfport alright and am rated a gunner and seaman first class. We were sent immediately to New Orleans. (Pepper and I are still together) and we are assigned to a freighter for our first trip -- to Puerto Rico ......(fade) 1st Seaman: Hey, you guys. Come over here to the rail. Look what's coming up the gang-plank! 2nd Seaman: Well, waddya know! the Navy on parade! 3rd Seaman: This must be the outfit that is going to handle the new gun. 1st Seaman: Dey look like a buncha kids to me! 2nd Seaman: Yea. Even the top-kick -- or what ever he is -- oughta be wearin' short pants. Listen! ENSIGN: Ensign Wagner, U.S. Navy, Sir. Reporting with gun-crew. May I see the captain? -6- MATE: (easy) Glad to meet you Ensign. I'm first mate. MacDonald. Jim MacDonald. ENSIGN: Thanks, glad to know you MacDonald. MATE: (Trifle doubtfully) This your crew? Look a little young to me. ENSIGN: (confidentially) Yes. They're young alright. But they know their business. MATE: (not unpleasant but still skeptical) I hope so. Leave them at ease on deck. I'll take you to the Captain's quarters. (fading off) 1st Seaman: (heavy sarcasm)Are you sure you boys are old enough to go on this ride? You might get sea-sick you know! BILL: Oh yeah! 2nd Seaman: (feigning wonder) We didn't know the Navy is taking kids outta kindergarten. 3rd Seaman: No I didn't either! No wonder they wanta draft fathers. They musta run out of other men! Ed: You guys can't be so tough. They had to send us here to guard you! 1st Seaman: Oh-h-h! Izzat-so? Well, we kin look out for ourselves, fresh guy! We been torpedoed a few times. It's the ship you come to guard, not us, see. 2nd Seaman: Yeah! And you better be able to hit a sub when you see it. MATE: Alright, alright. Break it up. Show these men to their quarters. 3rd Seaman: (fading off) This way to the fo'c'sle! MUSIC: -7- NARRATOR: (as if still reading Bill's letter) That West Indies trip was just a pleasant run folks, and there was no trouble at all. we had a couple of false alarms. But didn't see a single sub. By the time you get this it will be alright for you to know that I am on my way to Russia..." Yes Bill, and probably on your way to trouble, too... on that convoy route to Murmansk...across the Atlantic...along the top of the North Sea...past Reykjavik, Iceland, and over the top of Norway and Sweden...the toughest, the coldest, the gloomiest and windiest run in the service. SOUND: (door opens to roar of wind, swish of sea) PEPPER: Close it quick, Bill! SOUND: Door closing shutting out nearly all sound. BILL: (explosively from cold) Whew! How's about some of that hot java. Say, Pepper, if it's like this now what's it going to be when we get further north? PEPPER: We'll probably come into Murmansk all covered with ice -- like a ghost ship -- if we get there! BILL: Oh, we'll get there, alright. Look we're out now -- how long? -- about seven days?... PEPPER: Yeah! It's just a week. Remember, we made the rendezvous with the rest of the convoy the second day out. BILL: That's when our plane escort left us and we were picked up by the destroyers. 1st Seaman: (on edge) Forget it, you guys. You can go nuts on this route trying to figure out what's going to happen. Pass the coffee pot. 2nd Seaman (solemnly) Yeah! This is one run where you just gotta wait...and wait...and wait. 1st Seaman: Aw-right, so what? Pipe down! 3rd Seaman: (brightly) Sure, if it's gonna happen. It's gonna happen that's all! -8- SOUND: EXPLOSION! (Not on this ship, but the one nearest it is blown up) BILL: and it DID happen! Come on Pepper. VOICES: If you guys hadn't talked so much -- Hurry up. Let's get on deck. Are we hit? You might think we did it ourselves -- I didn't feel nothin' -- only heard it! Get through that hatch! SOUND: (on deck) Bell ringing. running feet. VOICE: ALL HANDS ON DECK! ENSIGN: GUN CREW TO STATIONS! SOUND: (ON BRIDGE -- SAME AS ABOVE -- BUT IN BACKGROUND) CAPTAIN: Now, Mister, follow that zig-zag course. HELMSMAN: Aye sir. CAPTAIN: Full steam. MATE: Full steam. CAPTAIN: Well, we're on our way now, for awhile, anyway. MATE: If it wasn't for the fog, sir -- CAPTAIN: Well try to keep some of the ships in sight, but our orders are for the convoy ships to scatter. MATE: too bad for the freighter! CAPTAIN: blasted amidships. And she was carrying ammunition! MATE: (sadly) The crew -- CAPTAIN: (a bit sharply) If any survived, they'll be picked up by the escort. We have to keep going. MATE: I understand, sir. CAPTAIN: It may be a wolf pack -- or just a lone sub. can't tell yet. (fade) -9- NARRATOR: And it was hours before the real danger was known. Long. cold hours of watchfulness on deck as the grey day faded into a black night. The convoy had just reunited when... SOUND: EXPLOSION! CAPTAIN: Another one gone! It's a pack, alright, and they're still on our tail! Did you check our black-out? MATE: It's complete, sir; not a light showing. CAPTAIN: then order motors cut to lowest speed, and complete silence through-out the ship. The sound detectors will be trying to pick us up. MATE: (repeating order) Cut engines to lowest (fade). BILL: (subdued Tone) It looks like we may be next Pepper. PEPPER: I hope not. Maybe we can slip through the dark. BILL: Yes but we're scattering again. That's the way a U-boat pack operates. Make the convoy scatter then pick off the stragglers. SOUND: another explosion (more distant). PEPPER: (dully) Maybe you're right. There goes No. 3. See off the starboard. Must be about a mile away. BILL: Yeah. It's a rotten night to go overside. PEPPER: This quiet riding gives me the creeps! BILL: S -- sh! ENSIGN: (Hoarse whisper) Quiet, there! SOUND: Terrific boom and jarring (Sounds like but is not an explosion). PEPPER: This time WE got it. We're hit! BILL: Got your life-belt on? PEPPER: Yes. Got yours? SOUND: Bell. MATE: (Filter) Prepare to abandon. all hands to boat stations. CPO: (closer) (ditto) (ditto) -10- SOUND: Running feet. Boat davits squeaking. Shouts PEPPER: (sudden frantic cry) Bill! Bill! where you going? Come back here! BILL: I'm going to get my leather jacket. You know the one my brother gave me. Be right back! PEPPER: You're suppose to be in this boat with me! You'll be left behind. Bill. CPO: Alright. No. 3 boat. Lower away - Hey! SOUND: Shouts. Screams. Splashes. Sound of boat hitting side of ship. CPO: Grab the rope! SEAMAN: It broke. 2nd SEAMAN: She capsized. CPO: Overboard with those rafts. Quick. 1st SEAMAN: The boat struck some of 'em. They're gone. 2nd SEAMAN: Poor "Pepper". SOUND: Hatch closing. Footsteps. (The uproar on deck is faint). ENSIGN: (breathing hard) Tinneny. Has our gun crew gone? BILL: Most of 'em were in the boats, sir. I just came back for -- ENSIGN: (snapping) Never mind. Hurry out and round up as many of 'em as you can. Any seaman. Any officers. We're not sinking. I inspected the damage below. We weren't torpedoed. We rammed a sub. And we can still save the ship. BILL: (running up) Bob! The ensign says don't leave. Tell everybody you can find. Where's Pepper... the boat? 1st SEAMAN: Easy, son. You just missed getting it. BILL: The ropes are broken -- 1st SEAMAN: She capsized. "Pepper" went down just under it. The gunwale cracked his skull. -11- BILL: (sobbing) "Pepper" --- "Pepper" --- gone! SOUND: GUN FIRING. SEAMAN: What the ---? BILL: It's the ensign -- at the gun -- alone -- come on. ENSIGN: Another shell quickly, Tinneny. BILL: Yes, sir. SOUND: Click of gun breaches. Shot. BILL: Was it a sub? ENSIGN: (chuckling) It was two of 'em. I didn't have very good range. But it was close enough to make 'em submerge. Now we've got to count noses... MUSIC: NARRATOR: Most of the officers and crew had abandoned ship. the ensign asked for volunteers to man the engine-room -- and again you stepped forward, didn't you, bill? For four days you labored and sweated with three other men down in the vitals of the ship. You stoked coal in the boilers, you oiled the engines and helped keep the turbines running. You worked like a madman. Without sleep and with very little food.... Knowing all the while that any moment if a torpedo struck you would be... Well you didn't mind. It eased your grief over "Pepper" and your other lost mates... They would have wanted to bring that ship and it's cargo in... and you helped to do it! VOICE: (reading citation) "Seaman First Class Tinneny disregarded personal danger and although not familiar (reading citation) with the work for which he had volunteered helped keep the turbines in operation until the ship reached port safely with the result that vital cargo was delivered to the allies. This act of heroism reflects the heroic actions which are a credit to him and the United States Armed Forces." MUSIC: UP -12- ANNOUNCER: This story of a Philadelphia hero is the story of millions of American boys - marching, fighting and sometimes dying together, to preserve their common heritage for future generations. Bruce Tinneny is a Catholic boy. Next week's hero may be a Protestant or a Jew, for VALOR KNOWS NO CREED. He may be a Swede, an Irishman or a Pole. He may be a white or a Negro. These boys, fighting our battles, bleeding and dying in many parts of the world, for our safety and our security, make no distinctions of race, color or creed among their comrades. They are Americans all. Shoulder to shoulder, united in the faith of American brotherhood, in common love to God and Country, they fight for the right to be what they are -- They fight, and perhaps die, so that we may continue to live for that day when peace shall bless the people of the world and none to make them afraid. MUSIC: (up and out) ANNOUNCER: And so the curtain falls on the fourteenth chapter of the new series, "VALOR KNOWS NO CREED." Speakers and literature to promote a better understanding and spiritual unity between all racial and religious groups are available free, and can be obtained from the Philadelphia Fellowship Commission. If you would like to have a copy of the script of this broadcast and those to follow, or if you would like to send a copy to your friends and relatives in the Armed Services, write the Philadelphia Fellowship Commission, 1431 Brown Street, Philadelphia, Pa. Next Thursday, at 8:40 p.m. WIP will bring you another in the series of "VALOR KNOWS NO CREED." MUSIC. _________ Bruce was aboard the merchant ship described in the above accounts when it limped into Belfast, Northern Ireland, for repairs. While there he tried unsuccessfully to find Irish Tinneny cousins. Although he didn't know it, James Tinneny and his family, including his eldest daughter Mary (Mary Tinneny O'Kane presently of Limavady, Northern Ireland), were living nearby in the small town of Strabane. Their home was not far from the American Navy Base in Belfast where the damaged ship and Bruce were housed while the ship underwent repairs. Another account of the fateful cruise of the Wynkoop, which Bruce had described in his diary was provided to me by Mr. Thomas R. Bowerman of Anniston, Alabama. Mr. Bowerman also served with the Armed Guard aboard the merchant ships during the war. As of 1997, he managed the data base for the U.S.N. Armed Guard WW II Veterans Association. He obtained the below account from a work titled A Careless Word ... A Needless Sinking, Sixth Printing 1993, page 401 by Captain Arthur R. Moore which was published by the American Merchant Marine Museum. Captain Moore's account follows: "The Liberty Ship, SS Wynkoop, struck an unidentified object at 0350 GCT March 11, 1943 in the North Atlantic (51.19 North/29.21 West) while en route in Convoy HX-228 (#22) from New York to Belfast, Northern Ireland with 8300 tons of cargo including ammunition and a deck cargo of tractors and trucks. Her complement was 41 merchant crew and 25 Naval Armed Guard. Two crew members and one Navy man were lost. After straggling for two days due to heavy seas, the ship had finally regained the convoy. At 0350 GCT, the ship suffered a violent shock forward causing her to roll heavily to starboard and then right herself. From the below decks there was a rumbling and roaring sound as if something was rolling along under the hull of the ship. After this initial shock, the sea was covered with oil. the Master stopped the engines for a short time after the impact. Flares were fired and 2 red lights displayed signaling the ship was hit. It is assumed the ship collided with a submerged submarine and in all likelihood sank it. The ship made Belfast under her own power. After impact, some of the crew assumed the order to abandon ship had been given, and lowered lifeboats into a very rough sea. The # 3 lifeboat was lost while being lowered and the 3 men in it were thrown into the sea and never seen again. When it was determined that the abandon ship order had not been given, no further action was taken to abandon ship. Thirty-three men, including 7 Navy gunners, had abandoned ship. At 5:30 GCT, the Master got the ship underway and cruised around picking up the lifeboats. Sixteen men were picked up by the French corvette Aconit (K-58) and landed at the River Clyde. The British SS Stuart Prince picked up 5 men and landed them at Liverpool, [England]. One man, who had jumped overboard, was picked up by H.M.S. Sundew (K-57) and landed in Glasgow [Scotland]." The following article telling of Bruce's experience and heroism during the war was published in the internal newsletter at the plant where his father worked. It describes the incident and citation from the "Valor Knows No Creed" radio transcript. It also tells of two other combat incidents that he was involved in while serving as a gunner on the merchant ships in the North Atlantic. __________ NAVY CITATION Call it luck, good fortune anything you will, the fact remains that Wm. B. J. Tinneny, S1/C, 18 years of age, member of a gun crew aboard a ship of the Merchant Marine and son of Mr. James Tinneny of our Pattern shop, is still alive to tell of his hair-raising experiences since joining the Navy. His first ship rammed a submarine while en route to Murmansk, Russia, and after seeing other ships in the convoy being blown to bits, theirs had to limp into Belfast, Ireland, for repairs. The second ship he was on, was ordered to fall out of line from the convoy, due to engine trouble. The ship that replaced it in line was torpedoed shortly after. The next ship he was assigned to was torpedoed about 162 miles off Halifax, Nova Scotia. The craft was split in two, the half he was on remaining afloat because of a water-tight bulkhead, and managed to make port. Now he is serving on another Liberty ship. The following is a part of the citation he received from the Navy Department: - "Reports of the experience reveal that you were a member of the Naval Armed Guard Unit aboard an American merchantman which was subjected to viciously repeated attacks of great numbers of enemy German submarines. When with terrific impact the vessel struck an unidentified submerged object, many crew members, through a coincidence of separate signals, believed the order had been given to abandon ship, and took to the lifeboats, leaving the engine room partially unmanned. Although such action was clearly beyond the scope of your already assigned duty, you unhesitatingly volunteered to take the place of missing engine room seamen and performed a difficult and unfamiliar task in such a manner that the turbines were kept in operation and a vital cargo was delivered to an ally." To this we can add only an entirely inadequate, "Good Luck," and god Bless You, S1/C Tinneny! _________ The actual United States Navy commendation that Bruce received for his actions when his ship rammed the submarine ) Correspondence Reference Number Pers-650-RwB MM/651-48-01) follows: __________ Navy Department BUREAU OF NAVAL AFFAIRS WASHINGTON, D.C. AUG. 25, 1943 From: Chief of Naval Personnel To: TINNENY, William Bruce Joseph, Seaman First Class, V6, U. S. Naval Reserves Via: Commanding Officer, Armed Guard Center, Receiving Station, New Orleans, Louisiana. Subj: Commendation 1. The Chief of Naval Personnel takes pleasure in commending you for meritorious conduct during a recent hazardous voyage through the North Atlantic war zone. 2. Reports of the experience indicate that you were a member of the Naval Armed Guard Unit aboard an American merchantman which was subjected to the viciously repeated attacks of a great number of enemy German submarines. When with terrific impact the vessel struck an unidentified submerged object, many crew members, through a coincidence of separate signals, believed the order had been given to abandon ship and took to the lifeboats, leaving the engine room partially unmanned. Although action was clearly beyond the scope of your already assigned duty, you unhesitatingly volunteered to take the place of the missing engine room seaman and performed a difficult and unfamiliar task in such a manner that the turbines were kept in operation and a vital cargo was delivered to an ally. 3. The outstanding cooperation and unfailing devotion to duty which you displayed during the above emergency were in keeping with the best traditions of the Naval Service. 4. A copy of this record has been made an official part of your record in the Bureau. [SIGNED] Randall Jacobs _________ As if the experience aboard the Wynkoop wasn't enough, on March 4, 1944, Bruce was a member of the Armed Guard crew aboard another Liberty ship the S.S. Joel Poinsett when it foundered and broke in two in very heavy seas while enroute from Liverpool, England to New York in Convoy ON 225. The Poinsett was built in February 1943 at Houston, Texas. Its dimensions were 447ft. by 57ft by 37ft. It was owned by the Standard Fruit & Steam Ship Company of New York. According to an account provided in Art Moore's book, A Careless Word, the ship's position was at the rear of the 5th column of the convoy. The wind was force 8 from the west north west with very poor visibility. All hands who abandoned ship were rescued by the British freighter S.S. Eddystone and taken to Halifax, Nova Scotia. The ship broke in two. Mr. Moore went on to describe in his work how the master of the Poinsett reported a loud report like an explosion followed by two smaller ones. The ship had been vibrating badly in the heavy seas for several days. The ship broke in two forward of the midship house. The bow section sank but the stern section was towed to Halifax, arriving there at 2200 [10:00p.m.] on March 22, 1944. The section of the ship that was towed into Halifax was subsequently used for storage. From time to time Bruce was given leave when the ships that he was on were in England. On several occasions he spent these leaves visiting with his brother Joe who was a sergeant in the Army Air Corps' 8th Air Force stationed at the Royal Air Force Base at Bury Saint Edmund, England. During those visits Joe, Bruce, and some of Bruce's shipmates would enjoy evenings of drinking in the local pubs near the base. On at least one occassion Bruce and three or four of his buddies got into a fight in one of Joe's favorite watering holes that resulted in the pub being wrecked. Needless to say, Joe got mad over the incident. On another occassion Bruce and Joe were headed back to the base after a night in the pubs. Joe was armed with his military weapon, and the two of them were shooting the gun which was against both military and civilian rules. In addition to serving as a gunner with the Armed Guard crews aboard the S.S. Henry Wynkoop and the S.S. Joel Poinsett described above, Bruce also served aboard the S.S. John H. Murphy, S.S. Paulsboro and two assignments to the crew of the U.S.S. Auk during the war. He, also served two brief shore assignments at the Armed Guard Command (AGC) in Brooklyn, New York, where he was probably awaiting assignments to other ships.He was also assigned to the U.S. Navy Hospital at Portsmouth, Virginia. Bruce's distinguished and heroic wartime service lasted three years, three months and one day and ended when he was honorably discharged from the Navy at the United States Navy Personnel Separation Center, Bainbridge, Maryland, on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1945. He had risen through the ranks from apprentice seaman, eeaman second class to the rank of seaman first class. His discharge was signed by Lieutenant (JG) J.R. Etz, Assistant Records Officer, of the Separation Center. Bruce received his final pay from Lieutenant Commander John J. Noone, Jr., which amounted to $61.44, including $3.20 travel pay. He returned to Philadelphia and to the family home at 4129 Pechin Street where he celebrated Christmas 1945. Civilian life took some getting used to and living again in his parent's home presented some real adjustment problems. Sunday mornings in the Tinneny house always had a very definite routine which included going to Mass. This was a cardinal rule of Bruce's father. His philosophy was that if you lived in his house, no matter what, you got up out of bed and went to church on Sunday morning. Bruce's brother Donald recalled that the first Sunday Bruce was home from the war he had been out drinking with his friends the night before and didn't get home until very early Sunday morning. Donald said everyone in the family except Bruce went to Mass at Saint John's at some point throughout the morning. Bruce's father said nothing that first Sunday; however, the next Sunday was another story. The next week his father came home from Mass at about noon and called up the stairs to the third floor for Bruce to come down. Bruce said something about not being dressed and, in his own very special way, Jim convinced Bruce that he had better get down to the living room without delay. When he did, his father started out by reminding Bruce that when he was a boy he could take him by the hand and make him go to Mass. He told Bruce in no uncertain terms that in the future, as long as he lived in his house, he would get up out of bed and leave the house for at least an hour every Sunday morning. His father said that although he hoped Bruce would go to Mass during that hour, he could go to his friends, to the taproom, or anyplace else; but he wasn't going to lay in bed on Sunday mornings. His father then told Bruce that if he ignored the warning and stayed in bed again on Sunday morning, he would come up to his room and if his bags were packed, he would take them out into the front yard and Bruce with them. He said if the bags weren't packed, he would throw Bruce's cloths out the window into the yard and Bruce would follow. From that day on, no matter how tough a Saturday night Bruce had, he got up every Sunday morning and left the house for an hour. On some Sundays he jumped back into bed after spending his hour out. For a time after the war, Bruce also lived with his brother John [ my father and our family] at 4741 Fowler Street. After the war Bruce found work as a welder with the ITE Circuit Breaker Company. Then he worked as a welder with General Electric Corporation at their 69th and Elmwood Avenue plant in Philadelphia. After he left the Navy he became a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans. This group champions the causes of veterans of the military service who have service connected disabilities. On June 19, 1948, Bruce married Dorothea Patricia "Dot" Kottler. Dot was the daughter of the Tinneny neighbors Gustave Kottler and Marion Mary Platchek who lived at 4133 Pechin Street in Philadelphia. Bruce and Dot were married at Saint John the Baptist Church. The sponsors for their wedding were Bruce's brother John P. Tinneny and Mary Haggerty a friend of Dot's. The wedding was followed by a reception at the Manayunk Club which was a private club that was frequented by Bruce and his brothers and sisters. After their marriage Dot and Bruce lived in an apartment on Tulpehocken Street in the Germantown section of Philadelphia near Bruce's work. They then moved in with Dot's mother at 4133 Pechin Street. In 1954 they moved from Philadelphia to Stratford, New Jersey, which is about a half hour drive from Philadelphia. There, they bought a home at 58 West Temple Avenue. It was while they lived in Stratford that their two children Gail Patricia and Bruce Joseph Tinneny were born. They lived in Stratford until 1960 when they returned to Philadelphia and lived again at 4132 Pechin Street in Roxborough. Then, for a short time, they lived in a house on East Street prior to purchasing their home at 4215 Pechin Street. In the late 1960s, Bruce left the welding trade and got a job with the United States Postal Service. His initial work there involved sorting the mail. He subsequently moved to the parcel section where he worked until he was medically retired in 1980. About May 1980, Bruce was diagnosed with cancer of the lung. Although exploratory surgery was performed, it was determined that the cancer was inoperable, and Bruce was told that he had six months to live. This projection was correct nearly to the day. Toward the end, his son slept in a bed in the living room on the first floor of his home. Usually his son Bruce slept there also, to be available if Bruce needed assistance during the night. During the night of November 18th, young Bruce was awakened by his father who had begun severely hemorrhaging and within minutes Bruce was dead. Throughout his adult life Bruce was an avid gambler. He liked to bet on the horse races and sports games. The night before he died he bought into a football pool and put the ticket into his pajama shirt pocket. After he passed away, his body was taken to the funeral home of the local undertaker, William P. Koller. Mr. Koller called Dot a short time after receiving the body and told her that he had found the betting ticket for the football pool in Bruce's pocket. It turned out that it was a winning ticket, and the local bookie brought a payment of $50.00 to the house. Dot and the children placed the winning ticket in Bruce's pocket at the funeral, and that token of his great interest in betting went with him to the grave. Bruce's viewing was held at the Koller Funeral Home on November 21st. The next day, after a Mass of Christian burial at Saint John the Baptist Church in Manayunk, he was laid to rest in Westminister Cemetery, high above the west bank of the Schulykill River across from Manayunk. His obituary in the neighborhood newspaper The Review read as follows: __________ BRUCE TINNENY DIES; NAVY HERO IN WAR As a young man he went off to war at age 18 serving in the United States Navy Reserve in 1943. He signed up after his brothers and several of his pals had enlisted. And he became a hero in the waters of the North Atlantic war zone. W. Bruce Tinneny, husband of Mrs. Dorothea Kottler Tinneny, 4215 Pechin St. died Nov. 18 at home. He was 55. He was a member of the Disabled American War Veterans. Mr. Tinneny was commended by the Bureau of Naval Personnel for "meritorious conduct during a hazardous voyage." He was a member of a Naval Armed Guard Unit aboard an American merchant ship that was subjected to repeated attacks by a great number of German submarines. Mr. Tinneny's ship struck an underwater object and many crew members, through a coincidence of separate signals, believed the order had been given to abandon ship. They took to the lifeboats leaving the engine room partially unmanned. Mr. Tinneny hustled to the engine room. The Naval commendation in citing his heroic effort said: "Although such action was clearly beyond the scope of your already assigned duty, you unhesitatingly volunteered to take the place of the missing engine room seaman and performed a difficult and unfamiliar task in such a manner that the turbines were kept in operation and a vital cargo was delivered to an ally." Mr. Tinneny's ship made it to Murmansk. The Navy Dept. said that Mr. Tinneny's "outstanding co-operation and unfailing devotion to duty during the emergency were in keeping with the best traditions of the Naval service." Mr. Tinneny is also survived by a son Bruce J.; a daughter, Mrs. Gail McBride; four brothers, James; John; Thomas and Donald; three sisters, Mrs. Mary Haughey; Mrs. Clare Kelly; Mrs. Trudy Gallagher; and two grandchildren. Arrangements were by Koller Funeral Home, 6835 Ridge Ave. Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated November 22 at St. John the Baptist Church. Burial was in Westminister Cemetery. __________ POSTSCRIPT As of 1996, Dot remains in the family home on Pechin Street. She keeps busy helping her son Bruce as secretary-receptionist in his plumbing business, going to Betterton, Maryland with the family on summer weekends and traveling. Bruce owns and manages a successful plumbing business and lives in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia with his wife Carol and their children Bruce and Eric. Gail lives in Florida with her husband Jim Bullock and their children Ian and Ryan. Gail's two older sons Kevin and Timothy no longer live at home.