PT 43
Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Two

October 1942-February 1943
Ens. James J. Cross, Jr.
Boat Captain
Ens. Andrew J. Floyd
Executive Officer
TM2/c Patrick Holland
QM2/c L.D. Elman
GM2/c Clifford Batchelor
MM1/c Eldon C. Jenter
Senior Engineer
MM2/c Robert E. Marsh
MoMM2/c Gerald R. Tigner
RM2/c Richard H. Ferchen
SC2/c G.G. Rozell
Ship's Cook
F1/c J.G. Gunther, Jr.
CQM Robert M. Nanney

10 Oct.
Hoisted aboard SS Roger Williams. Underway for Noumea.
11 Nov.
Arrived in Noumea.
15 Nov.
20 Nov.
Headed for Espiritu, towed by USS McKean.
25 Nov.
Arrived at Sesapi.
28-29 Nov.
Patrol-no contact.
3-5 Dec.
Patrol-no contact.
7 Dec.
Patrol, Lt. Charles E. Tilden OTC. Reefed.
13 Dec.
Patrol-no contact.
16 Dec.
Patrol-no contact.
22 Dec.
Patrol-no contact.
24 Dec.
Patrol-enemy contact, large vessel (either AK or CA) off west cape. Fired four torpedoes, two hits observed.
25 Dec.
Patrol-no contact.
28-31 Dec.
Patrol-no contact.

Log missing after this date. On 10 January 1943, with Lt. Charles E. Tilden and his crew aboard, PT 43 was damaged by a Japanese destroyer while attempting a torpedo attack in company with PT 40 and PT 112. The PT 43 fired two torpedoes at a destroyer, but excess oil in a torpedo tube, or an imperfect impulse charge caused a tremendous crimson flash as the weapon left the tube. The flare-up revealed 43's position for the Japanese; while Tilden's torpedoes missed, the PT suddenly found itself on the receiving end of accurate Japanese gunfire. The Japanese DD fired two salvos of 5-inch shells at the escaping torpedo boat, exploding a round in 43's engine room with the second salvo. Tilden ordered his crew to abandon ship as the destroyer quickly closed upon the stricken PT, spraying the sea with machine-gun fire. One man was killed and two men were missing as a result of this encounter In the meantime the 43, engines still operating, continued running unmanned at about three knots until it beached itself on the Japanese-held portion of the Guadalcanal shore. After daybreak, the boat was sighted on the beach by Ens. Bartholomew Connolly's PT 115; as Connolly cautiously approached to determine damage and rescue survivors, machine-gun fire from the shore pelted the 115, wounding a sailor in the process. A Royal New Zealand Navy corvette was called to the scene and promptly blasted the boat to pieces with gunfire before the Japanese could learn anything of real value.

Copyright © 2002-2013 by Gene Kirkland