Jersey War Tours

Action off Jersey 8th & 9th of August 1944
Squadron 34 & the USS Maloy

On the 8/9th of August 1944 PT Boat Squadron 34 and the Buckley-class destroyer escort USS Maloy (DE-791) was given a mission to disrupt the German minesweepers running a shuttle service between Guernsey and Jersey. Intelligence presumed some high ranking military personnel and supplies were aboard. Two PT boats (508 & 509) were on station southwest of Jersey code named “Barracuda”. Three PT boats took a north station (PT 500, 503 and 507) code named “Tunny”.

8th of August 1944

17:07 from Cherbourg USS Maloy, PT500, PT503, PT506, PT507, PT508 & PT509 get underway (speed 20 knots).

19:05 Visibility drops to 1,000 yards

19:26 PT506 Returns to Cherbourg due to damaged propeller

22:50 Visibility drops to 400 yards

23:20 Speed drops to 10 knots patrolling between Guernsey and Jersey

9th August 1944

03:20 Visibility drops under 200 yards

04:50 the USS Maloy picks up radar contact of 6 M-class Minesweepers heading to La Corbiere (speed 14 knots).

05:30 Tunny Group (PT500, 503 & 507) vectored to enemy shipping by USS Maloy

05:35 Tunny Group fire torpedoes no results observed, firing was made entirely on radar information due to 200 yard visibility in very dense fog.

05:58 Barracuda Group (PT508 & PT509) were vectored in to attack the German convoy with torpedoes.

06:08 Barracuda Group fire torpedoes

06:10 Barracuda Group report that an enemy force of 6 ships was firing at them, PT508 peeled off to starboard and directed PT509 to follow.

06:16 PT509 reported by radio “I am in the middle of them”

06:17 PT509 vanishes

06:19 to 07:00 Attempts made to contact PT509 by radio, USS Maloy closed in to three miles from the coast of Jersey but can not locate her on radar.

07:10 PT’s rendezvous with USS Maloy

07:21 The loss of PT509 is reported to CTF125 (Commander Task Force 125)

07:24 Lt H J Sherertz, Squadron 34 commander, left the USS Maloy and went aboard PT503 to search the beach area of Jersey for the missing boat. PT507 joined them.

07:25 USS Maloy, PT508 & 500 search west

08:00 PT507 & PT503 report enemy contact

08:10 PT507 & PT503 closed in on Minesweepers just outside of St Helier, fog was still too thick for an accurate torpedo attack. PT503 fires her last torpedo at 150 yards and both PT's open fire on the ships. The ships returned fire hitting the PT's with heavy shelling causing heavy casualties. Using smoke cover the PT's return to USS Maloy.

08:20 PT507 & PT503 rejoin the group, Maloy ready a fire and rescue party as smoke can be seen from PT503

08:23 PT503 came alongside of USS Maloy and Casualties removed.

09:26 Visibility rapidly increasing a course is set for Cherbourg

09:50 Request for Air Search for PT509 sent & Report made to CTF125 concerning ETA, casualties and requesting a doctor to meet them.

10:39 Plymouth Air Patrol (Sunderland Flying-boat) requested to search for PT509

11:00 Albright dies of Multiple wounds despite the efforts of the medics

13:00 PT 500,503,507,508 are ordered to return to base independently

13:10 USS Maloy stops so PT501 can transfer Lt Kurrie, Hospital corpsmen

13:12 Boat underway to Cherbourg 23 knots

13:15 Albright & Brumm pronounced dead

14:00 Anchored in Cherbourg to transfer casualties

14:13 Operation Complete

Ammunition expended:

PT509: Probably 2 torpedoes and gunfire
PT500: 2 Torpedos
PT508: 1 torpedo
PT503: 2 torpedoes
  • 400 rounds 50cal
  • 14 rounds 37mm
  • 20 rounds 40mm
PT507: 1 Torpedo
  • 156 rounds 50cal
  • 27 rounds 37mm
  • 45 rounds 40mm

Below is an overlay we made of the actual radar plotting done by USS Maloy during the battle. We have also marked the site divers found her engines. Click the photo for a
very large and high res version.

Stacks Image 10494
10 of August 1944
An aircraft in search of possible wreckage of the PT 509 sighted a body later identified as that of Walter P. Wypick, Gunner's Mate 3rd Class of the PT 509.

20th of August 1944
A shrapnel and gun-fire riddled portion of the PT 509 was found by Squadron 34 afloat in the Channel.

The album below shows photos from this as well as photos from the maritime museum in Jersey of part of the mast and one of engine ID plates.

1st of September 1944

14:00 USS Maloy Stops German Hospital ship Bordeaux traveling from St Helier to Ile de Cezembre.
17:00 USS Maloy ordered to take the Bordeaux in to custody until British guard arrive
19:10 Custody turned over to HMS Ulysses, Bordeaux crew ordered to sail to Cherbourg.

From this capture the first news from Jersey of the fate of the crew of PT509 was heard. The British questioned the Germans who said that a US boat rammed a VP or vorpostenboat (converted fishing boat) one mile east of Corbiere. The crew of the US boat boarded the fishing boat engaging the Germans with small arms. They then embarked back on their boat and continued the action. The US boat finally sank and one, possibly two survivors were laded at St Helier by the VP boat.

As expected a very different version of events was offered from the captured Germans.

Below a photo of the Bordeaux taken by one of Squadron 34 Crew whilst docked under guard in Cherbourg.

Sadly all but one crew member of the PT 509 were lost. John L. Page Radarman, 3rd class was captured by the Germans and given first aid treatment aboard their ship. At St. Helier Page was asked detailed questions by the Secret Field Police. Page refused to answer except to give name, rank, serial number. He was then taken to hospital where his wounds were treated. Approximately he reported that 75 Germans were hurt, with 4 killed. Page remained in hospital from the 9th of August to middle of January with leg, back, and chest wounds. Page stated that German surgeon was excellent but the hospital was very dirty.

The men of PT509 who gave their lives:

Lieutenant Harry M. Crist
Lieutenant Junior Grade James M Mathes
Lieutenant Junior Grade John K. Paylis
William S Ausley Gunner's Mate, 3rd Class
Alfred A Ricci Gunner's Mate 3rd Class
Walter P. Wypick Gunner's Mate 3rd Class
Richard E. Horsfield Motor Machinist's Mate 2nd Class
Marvin W. Lossin Motor Machinist's Mate 2nd Class
Kenneth R. Line Ship's Cook, 3rd Class
Edward C. Thale Quartermaster, 2nd Class
Charles A Kornak Gunner's Mate 3rd Class
Darrel A Bricker Radarman, 3rd Class
Rudolf W. Schaffroth Torpedoman's Mate, 2nd Class
Tony S. Reynolds Radarman, 3rd Class

The men of PT503 who gave their lives:

Elmer F. Albright Motor Machinist's Mate 2nd Class
Boyd W. Brumm Gunner's Mate 3rd Class

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