During World War II, my grandfather served as a Seaman on the USS Chestatee. Unfortunately, he passed away while I was still very young. He — and many others he served with — were severely hurt or killed in action when the gasoline tanker they were serving on struck a mine in the straits south of Balabac Island. I should note that while he was injured very badly in the resulting explosion, he did live for about 50 more years and settled down in suburban New Jersey, where he could often be seen with a cigar that appeared as if it was perpetually in the process of falling out of his mouth.
I don’t know the story of the following court notice, but it’s one of my favorite artifacts of the era, and reminds me of an idyllic day on the ocean filled with young men trying to avoid boredom and the horrors of war.
The following notice was written by Davey Jones on January 30th, 1945. For pictures of the actual document, scroll to the bottom of this post. Please contact me first for permission if you plan to use the attached images.
USS CHESTATEE ON ENTERING
DOMAIN OF NEPTUNUS REX — NOTICE
AND LISTEN YE LANDLUBBER
I ORDER AND COMMAND YOU TO APPEAR BEFORE ME AND MY COURT ON THE MORROW TO BE INITIATED IN THE MYSTERIES OF MY EMPIRE. IF NOT, YOU SHALL BE GIVEN AS FOOD FOR SHARKS, WHALES, POLLYWOGS FROGS AND ALL LIVING THINGS OF THE SEA WHO WILL DEVOUR YOU, HEAD, BODY, AND SOUL AS A WARNING TO LANDLUBBERS ENTERING MY DOMAIN WITHOUT WARRANT.
YOU ARE CHARGED WITH THE FOLLOWING OFFENSES:
BEING ALIVE — GUILTY
EVADING ROYAL BARBER — GUILTY
DISRESPECT TO COURT — GUILTY
BANGING EARS WITH SKIPPER — GUILTY
HAS MORE HAIR ON FACE THAN HEAD — GUILTY
WEARS COXSWAIN’S CROW ON LIBERTY BLUES REVOLTING IN OPINION OF COURT — GUILTY
BEING A SACK MERCHANT — GUILTY
THEREFORE: APPEAR AND OBEY OR SUFFER THE PENALTY.
SECRETARY TO HIS MAJESTY
30 JAN 1945