Posted on by


Stories My Father Told Me

by Russell Dority

Dedicated to Electricians Mate 2nd Class William A Dority USN

I grew up hearing my dad’s tales of the Second World War, the good and the bad. One of my joys was him tucking me into bed of a night, Navy fashion; nice and tight. I’d then ask him to tell me a story. Mostly they were tales of the sea. He spoke often of Hawaii. I learnt of tropical islands and palm trees and, of course, the attack on Pearl Harbor. He told me that on that fateful morning of 7 December 1941 his ship, the USS Helm DD388 was the only ship underway in the harbour at that time.

Mate 2nd Class William A Dority USN. Image: Reproduced courtesy Russell Dority.

She was also the only fully-manned ship in the harbour because leave had finished at midnight the day before. She had sailed past battleship row heading for the de-perming buoy in West Loch. The Helm was due to have her hull de-magnetised before heading out on patrol the next day. This involved the removal of all the ships’ compasses and chronometers which were left on her sister ship, the USS Blue DD387.