Home - Search - Site Map

USS Enterprise CV-6
The Most Decorated Ship of the Second World War

Home > News & Bulletins >

Most Famous Ship of U.S. Navy

Enterprise Given Great Welcome at So'ton

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND, Nov. 22 (AP) - Hailed as the U.S. Navy's most famous active ship, the aircraft carrier Enterprise, which has accounted for 911 Japanese aircraft shot down, 71 enemy ships sunk and an additional 192 damaged or probably sunk, reached Southampton New Docks yesterday afternoon, as reported in later editions of the "Echo," after being delayed by fog for over three hours.

The carrier was given a big welcome by the British Navy as she was brought alongside at 107 berth. A Royal Marine band from H.M.S. Daedalus (Portsmouth Command) played "The Star Spangled Banner" as she docked, and a party of British sailors gave her three rousing cheers. When the cheering had died down a band on board the carrier played the British National Anthem.

Distinguished Party

Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Tower, K.B.E., C.B., O.B.E. (Flag Officer-in-Charge at Southampton) was on the quayside to greet the carrier. He was accompanied by his Chief of Staff (Capt. A. Johnstone, D.S.O., R.N.), the Acting Deputy Mayor of Southampton (Councilor R. J. Stranger, M.O.), Mr. William H. Beck (U.S. Consul-General at Southampton), and Mr. R. P. Biddle, C.B.E, J.P. (Southern Railway Docks and Marine Manager).

Among the American naval officers present were Capt. R. F. Hickey (Naval Air Attache, U.S. Naval Forces in Europe) and Capt. R. F. Bryce (Deputy Chief of Staff to the Commander of the U.S. Naval Forces in Europe).

Piped Aboard

The official party, led by Vice Admiral Tower, were piped aboard the carrier, and after passing through a guard of honour on the quarter deck, were received by Capt. William L. Rees, U.S.N., who has been in command since last December.

In the captain's quarters members of the party were shown photographic records of the many actions in which Enterprise participated during the naval war in the Pacific, and the Presidential Unit Citation presented to Enterprise for:-

"consistent outstanding performance and distinguished achievement during repeated action against enemy forces in the Pacific war area."

Striking Record

Enterprise is the first American man-of-war to receive the Presidential citation, which records that the carrier, with her air group, participated in nearly every major carrier engagement in the first year of the war, sinking or damaging 35 Japanese vessels and shooting down 185 Japanese aircraft, apart from far-flung destruction to hostile shore establishments throughout the battle area.

It concludes: "Her fighting spirit and superb combat efficiency are fitting tribute to the officers and men who so gallantly established her as a solid bulwark in defence of the American nation."

After visiting the flight deck, the official party left the carrier, Captain Rees seeing them off from the quarter deck.

"Very Nice Harbour"

Commander J. K. Couniham, navigation officer of the Enterprise, told me that the carrier passed the Nab Tower light at about 1 o'clock yesterday morning, and the anchored in Cowes Roads, where they remained until the fog lifted.

"When we started off this morning," he said, "our visibility was something under 1,000 yards, but with all its navigational aids, Southampton is a very nice harbour to come into. The pilots did not have any trouble at all, and made a beautiful job of bringing us in."

Captain J. Bowyer piloted Enterprise from Nab Tower to Netley, and the docking pilot was Captain P. Smith.

Enterprise is due to sail for New York at 2 p.m. tomorrow, with 4,700 homeward-bound U.S. Service personnel.

Enterprise Makes 'Magic Carpet' Trip

Brings 4,668 GI's, Who Have Run of Ship - Huge Wave Tosses Men From Bunks

NEW YORK, Nov. 30 - Seventeen thousand returning American soldiers came into a rain-swept and windy city yesterday as nine more transports and converted fighting ships of the Navy brought home their contingents of the redeployed.

On the famous carrier Enterprise, ending her first special run across the Atlantic and back as a unit in the Navy's so-called "magic carpet" were 4,668 wildly cheering service men who just a few hours before had heard that the storm might delay their docking another day.

As the big ship, her towering island structure and flat deck swept by wind, finally made the Staten Island pier with the aid of tugs, the troops and Navy personnel on board set a new high on the waterfront for sustained cheering.

She had been proceeded into port by the converted cruisers Portland and Philadelphia, which brought, respectively, 1,242 and 1,261 high-point soldiers, many of whom complained bitterly about long delays in staging areas abroad. Other ships docked during the day, and the final arrival, the E. B. Alexander, arrived last night with 5,168, bringing the total to 17,356 men. Charles Sawyer, Ambassador to Belgium, and Mrs. Sawyer were first to debark at 7 P.M.

On all the ships the soldiers disregarded rain blowing in their faces, and stood on the open decks as the ships moved up harbor waters.

After the Enterprise docked it was disclosed that on the last night at sea, as the vessel lingered fifty miles off Ambrose Light Vessel waiting for Navy permission to come in, the northeast storm that lashed the seaboard struck her, and that one wave smashed a corrugated steel "curtain" of the port hangar where men were sleeping, washing several out of their bunks. No one was injured, but the men made a mad scramble to save personal belongings.

During the storm the ship's medical staff performed an emergency appendectomy on Corp. Harold L. O'Neil of the 349th Bombing Squadron. Attendants had to hold the patient on the table, but the operation was performed successfully.

The heavy cruiser Portland, one of the outstanding veterans of the Pacific war, docked during the morning at Pier 51, Jane Street and the North River. She participated in sixteen invasion landings and her crew engaged in a busy session of trading with GI's on the way across from Havre, receiving German souvenirs in return for Japanese items. Among the military units represented on board were the 634th Tank Destroyer Battalion, the 444th Ordnance Heavy Automatic Weapons Company and the 3711th and 3911th Quartermaster Truck Companies.

The light cruiser Philadelphia went in to the pier at Thirty-third Street, Brooklyn.

Navy officials said here yesterday that the next warship in with troops would be the battleship Washington, due early today at Pier 88, North River, with 1,506 passengers.

These articles are property and copyright of their owners and are provided here for educational purposes only.

Image Library - Action Reports and Logs - News Stories
Message Boards - Bookstore - Enterprise CV-6 Association

Copyright © 1998-2003 Joel Shepherd (webmaster@cv6.org)
Sources and Credits