23 August 2014


I have met many interesting people since I arrived in Rhode Island, but none more so than WW2 veteran Bill.  Bill was a US Navy submariner who served in the Gator class submarine USS Rasher, which was based out of Fremantle in Western Australia in 1943/44.  She racked up an impressive array of kills, the second highest in the US Submarine service during WW2, and was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation.

The Rasher went on to continue a very interesting career, being refitted into a radar picket boat for the Korean war, and refitted again as an auxiliary submarine for the Vietnam war.

Bill was onboard Rasher as a young sonar man throughout the war and he told many tales over a beer or two....or three.  Of great interest to me also was the fact that Bill was the first sailor to use the experimental underwater telephone aka GERTRUDE to speak to a submarine from a surface ship.  This really tickled me as I've taught a lot of people how to do that over the years.

USS Rasher's Battle Flag from WW@




  1. It takes a special kind of courage to be a submariner - a courage I don't posses

    Great story

    1. Sure does - both my sister and Brother in law are submariners .
      I did a two week cruise on an old Oberon class boat in my early days and that was well enough for me!

  2. Sounds like a great chap, not sure you'd get me in one of those though.

  3. Great story Paul. Vets have so much to tell and teach us, they just need someone like you to listen.
    There's a folksinger, ex RCN submariner who lives in Canada now, Tom Lewis, who has some great songs that talk about life underwater: http://www.tomlewis.net - you'd be the chap to appreciate him, depending on your musical tastes.
    Cheers, MP

  4. You're really luckyto have met him. Unfortunately the old boys are slowly vanishing and all the untold stories with them.

  5. Fantastic story! I have had the good fortune to speak with a few Veterans over the years and they have some of the funniest and often amazing stories to tell.

    Thanks for sharing Bill's.

  6. What an incredibly interesting person to meet. Great storys.