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volume 3
september 2000

Rare pictures from radio's past

 





  Radio London: 1. The USS Density
by Gerry Bishop, Hans Knot and John S. Platt
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  Radio London's ship, the MV Galaxy, was a former Class Admirable minesweeper, called the USS Density (AM-218). The ship was built in Florida in 1944, measured 184'6" feet (about 56 meters) and weighted 780 tons. The ship was launched 6 February 1944 by Tampa Shipbuilding Co. Inc. in Tampa, Florida; sponsored by Miss M. Farmwald; and commissioned on 15 June 1944. Lieutenant Commander R.R. Forrester Jr. was in command of the vessel. Density proved itself in battle and received three battle stars for World War II service.
 
1

The USS Density at Tampa Shipbuilding yards in Florida, 1944

   
Listen to the very early days of Radio London
   
2

A view from above
on the USS Density

   
3

  USS Density: side elevation
   
4 The USS Density had a rich war history. The ship arrived at San Diego 23 September 1944 to serve as a training ship for the Small Craft Training Center at Terminal Island, until 2 February 1945, when she sailed for Pearl Harbor and Ulithi. Next she sortied from Ulithi 19 March 1945 to sweep mines preparatory to the invasion of Okinawa on 1 April. Patrolling off Okinawa for its capture and occupation, Density fired on the enemy in several suicide attacks. On 6 April she splashed several of the huge kamikaze force which struck the Fleet, then assisted Rodman (DMS-21), picking up 16 of her survivors and towing her to Kerama Retto.
   
5 Photo's right and below: the launching of the USS Density
   
6

Miss M. Farmwald launches the Density with a bottle of champagne

   
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8 On the 22nd April 1945 Density splashed an enemy attacker which cleared her bridge by only 10 feet, then rescued three survivors from stricken Isherwood (DD-520) before resuming her patrol. Five days later she recovered the body of an enemy officer from a plane she had downed and thus obtained valuable intelligence material, including a secret code book and photographs. While sweeping mines she sank an enemy suicide boat off Naha on 4 May. Density sailed from Okinawa 4 July to join a group of minesweepers supporting the Third Fleet strikes against the Japanese homeland.
   
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Photo's above, right and below: the USS Density at sea

   
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12 From 9 to 28 August 1945 Density was in San Pedro Bay, Leyte, for brief overhaul, and on 8 September put out from Okinawa to sweep mines in Japanese waters. She remained in the Far East on occupation duty until 20 November when she sailed for the west coast, arriving at San Diego 19 December. On 29 January 1946 she arrived at Galveston, Texas, to provide services to the reserve fleet at Orange, Texas, and was placed in commission in reserve 14 May 1946. Density was decommissioned there on 3 March 1947 and reclassified MSF-218 on 7 February 1955. In February 1955 Density was sold by the US Navy to be used as a Greek cargo ship and renamed Manoula. By 1964 she was impounded in Miami for non payment of harbour dues.
   
13 Density's torn and worn war flag has been framed and preserved and we even can show you a picture of it.
   
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  The sound fragment on this page is copyrighted. It is used here according to the rules of fair use and academic quoting. See for the information on this page: Naval Historical Center, Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Washington: Department of the Navy, 1991. Look here for other pictures and documents of Radio London (1964-1967).
  2000 © Soundscapes