Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
  PT-337 "PT Intrepid" / "Heaven Can Wait"
USN
80' Elco

56 Tons
80' x 20' 8" x 5'
4 x 21" Torpedoes
1 x 40mm gun
2 x Twin .50 cal MG

Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2003
Captain  Ensign Henry W. Cuttler, USNR
Crew  MoMM3c Francis C. Watson
Crew  Hyde (MIA)
Crew  Bruce S. Bales, USNR, O-257522 (MIA / KIA ) NC
Crew  QM2c Allen B. Gregory, USNR (MIA / KIA)
Crew  RM2c Harry E. Barnett, USNR
Crew  Y2c Henry S. Timmons
Crew  TM3c Edgar L. Schmidt, USNR, 5763780 (MIA / KIA) TX
Crew  MoMM3c Evo A. Fucili, USNR (MIA / KIA)
Crew  SC3c James P. Mitchell
Engine Room  MoMM1c William Daley, Jr., USNR, 7079462 (WIA / MIA / KIA) NY
Crew  TM2c Morgan J. Canterbury, USNR
Sunk  March 7, 1944

Ship History
Built by Electric Boat Co., Elco Works, Bayonne, NJ. Laid down February 17, 1943 as a 80' Elco Motor Torpedo Boat. Launched April 24, 1943. Completed May 14, 1943. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as PT-337.

Wartime History
Assigned to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 24 (MTBRon 24) and shipped across the Pacific to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA). Nicknamed "PT Intrepid" and later "Heaven Can Wait". This PT Boat operated from Dregger Harbor PT Boat Base on the north coast of New Guinea.

During the night of March 5, 1944 to March 6, 1944 PT-337 participated in a successful attack against Bogia Bay. The next night a follow up mission was planned further to the north deeper into enemy territory.

Mission History
On March 6, 1944 during the evening departed Dregger Harbor PT Boat Base along with PT-338 under the command of captain Lt.(jg) Carl T. Gleason. The pair proceeded northward into enemy territory to search for enemy barges in Hansa Bay.

On March 7, 1944 at 2:00am the pair were idling outside Hansa Bay then spotted targets close to shore on radar and attacked two luggers moored together, but heavy machine gun fire opened up from the beach area.

Turning to strafe the beach, more guns opened up including a heavy battery at Awar Point. Their first shell fired landed in the water near PT-337, with three or four others hitting nearby.  Another hit the engine room, and started fires aboard, wounding crew member Daley, forcing them to abandon the boat, that exploded and sank. Attempting to render aid, PT-338 tried to approach the area but was driven away by gun fire every time and was forced to withdraw alone before dawn.

Fates of the Crew
In a life raft, the crew attempted to paddle out to sea, but were fighting strong currents. During in the night, Daley died from his wounds and was buried at sea. By morning, their raft was still near Hansa Bay drifting toward nearby Manam Island. They attempted to reach the island as it might be easier to escape detection and locate food or water. Currents kept them from reaching the island. Two of the crew attempted to swim to the island, but currents swept them back.  Two others also tried in the night and were never seen again.

By dawn on March 8, 1944, they were still to the north of the island. Delirium gripped the surviving crew, with more trying to swim to the island, but disappearing. They thought they saw one of them reach the shore, then Japanese appear on the beach.  Mitchell successfully reached the shore, saw enemy and returned to the raft. That night, a boat approached them from shore with armed men aboard, but a sudden squall came up and the boat disappeared. On the morning of the March 9, 1944, they found a overturned Japanese boat, and a crab clinging to it that they ate, and a drifting dried coconut. This was the only food or water they had and all were covered in sores and sunburn.

On March 10, 1944 at noon three B-25 circled them and dropped a package but it sank, but two other packages survived, with instructions that a PBY Catalina would rescue them the next day.

Rescue
On March 11, 1944 a PBY Catalina escorted by two P-47 Thunderbolts arrived, rescued the five survivors and transported them to Dregger Harbor.

References
At Close Quarters PT Boats in the United States Navy pages 224-225, 226, 237, 471, 487-488
Navy Source - PT-337

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
March 5, 2019

 

  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
 
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Google Plus Instagram