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 P. Holland Torpedoman
QM2/c L.D. Elman Quartermaster
GM2/c C. Batchelor Gunnery
MM1/c Eldon C. Jenter Senior Engineer
MM2/c R.E. Marsh Engineering
MoMM2/c G.R. Tigner Engineering
RM2/c R.H. Ferchen Radioman
SC2/c G.G. Rozell Ship’s Cook
F1/c J.G. Gunther, Jr. Engineering
CQM R.M. Nanney Quartermaster
10 Oct. Hoisted aboard SS Roger Williams.
Underway for Noumea.
11 Nov. Arrived in Noumea.
15 Nov. Waterborne
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, under command of Lt. Charles E. Tilden, 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 a hail of five-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 the stricken vessel as the destroyer quickly closed upon them, spraying the sea around the boat with machine-gun fire. The destroyer came so close some of the PT crew could hear the Japanese sailors chattering on deck. One man was killed and two men were missing as a result of this action. 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 Ensign Bartholomew Connolly’s PT 115, and as Connolly approached to determine possible damage and rescue survivors, the 115 was taken under machine-gun fire from shore, wounding one man. The Royal New Zealand Navy corvette Kiwi, affectionately known to the PT sailors as ‘Smokey Joe’ and commanded by the jovial Lt. Cmdr. Gordon Britson RNZNVR was called in and promptly blew the wrecked 43 boat to pieces with gunfire before the Japanese could learn anything of value.