Dear Ms. Craven,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the U.S. Submarine War Patrol Reports, 1941 - 1945 in the Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (Record Group 38) that includes the report USS S-38, February 1942 - May 1942. This report has been digitized and can be viewed online using the Catalog. The events of 28 February and 1 March are described on images 12 through 15, and a list of HMS Electra survivors is on image 47. We also located World War II War Diaries, Other Operational Records and Histories, ca. 1/1/1942 - ca. 6/1/1946 in Record Group 38 that contains USS S-38 - War Patrol Report No 4 (Enc A-C). For the most part this is a duplicate copy of the previously linked war patrol report, although you may find this copy easier to read. The events of 28 February and 1 March are described on images 11 through 14, and a list of HMS Electra survivors is on image 46. Weather on these dates is described on image 29. The track sheet map for these dates is on image 44. In addition, the rest of the report to be of general interest.
Next, we located the Logbooks of U.S. Navy Ships and Stations, 1941 - 1983 in the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel (Record Group 24) that include the deck logs of the USS S-38 for February and March 1942. Plus, we located World War II Action and Operational Reports in Record Group 38 that may include additional reports submitted by the USS S-38. These records have not been digitized and are not available online. For more information, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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In addition, we searched online and located the following articles. Some of these have citations that may suggest further avenues for research:
Among the citations in some of the above listed articles is the book H.M.S. Electra by T.J. Cain as told to A.V. Sellwood, published in 1959. According to WorldCat, a copy is available at the British Library. We also located a listing of the book in the collections of the Australian War Memorial. There may be copies in other libraries.
Service records of British military personnel that served during the Second World War and later are still held by the British Ministry of Defence. Visit the Get a copy of military service records website for further information.
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!
Thank you for your post. My grandfather was also on the Electra, and I remember him telling me once time about being rescued by an American submarine.
Interested to read you input concerning HMS Electra.
My uncle Lt Cdr Tim Cain served throughout the war on HMS Electra and was the senior surviving officer when it was sunk during the Battle of the Java |Sea in February 1942.
He describes the eventful active war record of HMS Electra and the subsequent rescue by the American submarine described in the article in the book he Wrote "HMS Electra as told to A V Selwood" which is still available second hand in paperback or hard cover.
The only part he does not dwell on is life as a prisoner-of-war of the Japanese. I have found out seperately that he spend most of the imprisonment in a POW camp near Nagasaki and was used, presumably as forced labout, in some sort of ink factory.
He survived the war though my Mother often said that he was very emancipated when eventually repatriated. After writing the book he featured as a subject on This is Your Life. I vaguely recall a guest was one of the three survivors of HMS Hood. Unfortunately no recording of the programme survives.
What is really galling is that the wreck of HMS Electra has been plundered by scrap metal dealers..
I hope the above is of some interest to you both in your search for some facts.
Thanks Chris for your post. I recently retired and want to do some more research into my grandfather's service.
Thanks for your e-mail and welcome to the world of busy retirement..
Since I wrote that post I've come across some detailed information from the"This is Your Life"
programme which was largely based on the wartime exploits of HMS Electra and was probably instigated by the book of the same name that he had written.
As guests on the programme were a number of the surviving crew, a survivor from HMS Hood, and incredibly the Captain of the US Submarine SS38. It ended with a short film clip contribution from the mother of the Captain that went down with her.
I should be most interested to hear your grandfathers name and I will cross check if his name appears in the book if you do not have a copy.
Hope the above is useful - I have odds and ends of info. that I've picked up over the years if you want any further details I would be glad to be of assistance.
Thanks again for your message. My grandfather was George Craven. I have a letter he wrote to my nan and his rank is shown as stoker. He rarely spoke about being in the war. He did talk about the shock of finding only three survivors from HMS Hood - they had made kai and sandwiches expecting to pick up many more. My dad sadly passed away last year and I always hoped to speak to him about George's service. On speaking to relatives at the time of dad's funeral, it appears that we all have bits of information. My mum gave me the book written by your uncle so I am looking forward to reading this.
What a pity that the This is Your Life recording doesn't exist