Downing, Charles S.
Manuscript Diary of Charles S. Downing, of the U.S. Navy, kept while on “China Cruise on the U.S.S. Benner DD 807 Flagship of Destroyer Division 32”, 1947 while off China during the Chinese Civil War

12mo, 44 pages of manuscript entries, plus 24 pages of miscellaneous notes, accounts, addresses, etc., plus blanks, one snapshot photograph laid in, bound in contemporary paper backed boards, back-strip worn, boards worn rubbed and scuffed, entries are in good, clean and legible condition.

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Manuscript diary kept by a United States navy sailor, beginning January 6, 1947, while on a cruise to China during the Chinese Civil War. Charles Downing worked in the engine room. Downing and the U.S.S. Benner depart San Diego enroute to Pearl Harbor, which they reached on January 12. The Benner departs Pearl Harbor the 14th for Guam. The Benner arrives in Guam the 24th and sails the next day for Hong Kong, entering Hong Kong harbor on the 29th. The Benner remains in Hong Kong until February 15th when it sails for Okinawa, and arrived on the 16th, departing the next day for Fusan, Korea. The Benner was on patrol duty off Fusan until March 6, at which time the vessel sailed for Tsing Tao, China, where they made repairs to the destroyer tender Piedmont. On March 26 the ship was under way for Saipan, where they picked up fuel, stores and five marines. On March 29 Downing writes that he was under way for the “Pagan Islands for shore bombardment.” By the 1st of April the Benner was underway for Guam, where it remained until April 10, at which time it sailed for Shanghai. The Benner arrived in Shanghai on the 19th and departed the 25th for Tsing Tao.  On May 3rd the Benner rendezvoused with C.V.E. to act as a “plane guard.”

“May 8 fog lifted sun out. Commenced flight operations from carrier everything went off o.k.” 

 

The Benner was stationed between Tsing Tao and Chalien Tao on maneuvers and training until mid-June, when Downing writes:

 

“June 19, Anchored Tsing Tao Chinese communists tried to steal salvage pontoon from salvage ship but the Benner went to rescue. Took 20 rounds from the 20s & 40s mm. and a few 5 inch to run them off – inspection canceled.”

On June 26th Downing writes he was headed for “good old Hong Kong,” where he remained until writing in July:

 

“July 10 Buckley left nest to refuel. Got dope we are going to Shanghai or Formosa to try and stop revolution…”

 

“July 12, 0800 Underway for Kielung, Formosa all the Happy Land Girls and Aha Lings garbage girls gave us a big farewell with fruit, flowers and fire crackers (The girls hated to see us leave.)

 

On July 16th the Benner was underway for Shanghai, where Downing began overhauling the aft fireroom, and the ship was refueled.

 

“July 22 1400 under way for sea for task force maneuvers 22-40 with CL-73 U.S.S. St. Paul, Des Div. 32 & 52”

 

The Benner returned to Tsing Tao on the 25th where it remained until August 7 when it got underway for Chin Wan Tao. Returning to Tsing Tao August 23 and refueled before getting underway for training maneuvers with Task Force 38.

 

“August 27 underway, no G. Q. planes buzzing around like a bunch of bees … Antiminer was hit by two fish from a sub and ended problem. Underway for Tsingtao”

 

“August 28 at midnight last night received word that marine flyer was forced down on island. The Task Groups went to investigate, discovered plane on beach, camouflaged no sign of flyer. Landing force went ashore to investigate from othership. Sent to Tsingtao for the Hawkins to proceed to scene @ full power. St. Paul & Tucker @ island. Another flyer was shot @ and returned to base with damaged plane. Benner & Buckley proceeding to Tsintgtao to refuel.”

 

By October 31, the Benner had returned to Pearl Harbor and in late November arrived in San Diego, where Downing was discharged and put into inactive reserves.