York County LST-1175 The Beginning

My name is Bill Evans DC3 AKA William H. Evans AKA "Lefty" (as I was left handed).   When I first arrived in Norfolk as an FA, I was assigned to a barracks at NOB where I met other sailors that were destined to be assigned to the York County.  After we all attended training schools of different types, we were transferred to Little Creek where we saw the ship for the first time, and assumed responsibility of her and began standing watches.

Here's the crew's list, all of the last names should be accurate. There were very few enlisted men aboard who knew your first name, so I went by Evans; but after awhile, I was often called "Lefty".   I advanced to Damage Control 3rd class while on the York County, but then transferred to the USS Pocono (AGC 16), then to the USS Lake Champlain (CVS-39), where I experienced my first high line at sea during a Med cruise.

During my time aboard the York County, I wanted to share a few stories and discoveries we made while learning a new ship. Onboard, if you remember, was an intership broadcast station.   After I found it and discovered I could play records and Broadcast thru the entire ship, I set up a ship's station called GLBS, short for (Gatorland Broadcast Station).   I played music and told ship's stories, and did news from this station.  I also called the radio room from time to time and one of the radiomen would relay BBC broadcasts down to me, and I would pipe them thru the ship from time to time.

One evening shortly after we were in commission and underway, I had the BBC on and went outside of the area of the station and discovered a locker next to the room.   When I opened it, I found it full of foul weather jackets. It was then and there that I checked out one for myself and later I drew and painted a picture on the back of it.

One day while topside I was wearing it and was informed by the XO that my design was inappropriate, and that I had damaged military property. The picture had to be removed.   Well instead of doing what I was told, I sent it home and told the Quartermaster Chief that my jacket fell overboard; thus he issued me a new one.   In all reality, I think he knew what had happened, but never brought up the subject.   As I said, my jacket was drawn on the 2nd day after they were found.

I'd like to share one more story but can't recall how it happened anymore, possibly the bow doors were not brought in tight enough or secured. Anyway they broke loose while underway.   When this happened, General Quarters was sounded and I was called to the Tank Deck along with Witson.  He was our ship's welder and soon proved that he was a great welder.   This was when Chief Walokowski took over as our boss in the Shipfitters Locker.   We had a 1st Class named Minton and a 1st class D.C. named Caine. The Captain along with the XO and Chief Walokowski sought advice on how to repair this damage. The Top Bow Door hinge broke free and the bow door was taking in water.  We came to a complete dead in the water, and stopping the ship kept the water from coming in.

After the discussion was over, they came to the determination tof weld the hinge back in place. Minton was a little too big to fit in the area of the hinge to be welded, so they asked Witson if he thought he could handle it. He agreed, and the Chief knew he was a good welder. Well between Witson, me and the Boatswain's Mates, we rigged a boatswain's chair between the Bow door and Ramp and lowered Witson into position. The Captain ordered the ship to Reverse Engines to keep the water from coming in.

It took quite a bit of time, not only me lowering Witson into position, but above the Boatswain's Mates had to rig the Bow Door to pull it into place and keep it there while Witson could weld it.   The total job took about 4 hrs, but finished it.   Witson was given a commendation and increase in rank for doing such a good job.   We went into Naples, if I remember correctly, and the Navy sent Welding Experts to examine the weld.  Witson's commendation only came after the Navy experts declared it a perfect weld job, under the conditions that it was preformed.

Through the years I lost track of Witson, but if I remember correctly, he was returning to Kentucky to open a welding shop where he lived.   It's funny but you never really dwell into a mans private matters while you're with him on ship, but afterwards you wish you would have. It would be nice to have addresses and to know were your shipmates are from. I had a good buddy aboard ship by the name of Jimmy Greene, but even with him I lost contact, even though I did visit him once after the service. He then lived in Waterloo Iowa.   He met my wife and daughter, but after that we drifted apart. Update... I've found Jim who now lives in Centerville, Iowa.

Below are pictures and documents I've saved from my time on the York County and wanted to share them here.






Return to the York County page.