Henry G. Creech (service number 867-38-07) served as an Armed Guard aboard the SS JESSE BILLINGSLEY, leaving Algiers, Dec 5, 1943, arriving in New York on Dec. 25, 1943.
Henry G. Creech (service number 867-38-07) served as an Armed Guard aboard the SS RUBEN DARIO, leaving Liverpool, England, Aug 24, 1944, arriving in New York on Sept 7, 1944.
Henry G. Creech served as an Armed Guard aboard the SS RUBEN DARIO, leaving Montevideo, Uruguay, Nov 24, 1944, arriving in New York on Dec 24, 1944.
Henry G. Creech (coxswain 3rd class) served as an Armed Guard aboard the SS WILLIAM TYLER, leaving Swansea, England, June 8, 1945, arriving in New York on June 21, 1945.
According to the website warsailors.com, the SS JESSE BILLINGSLEY was in numerous convoys, including some in the Mediterranean Sea, some of which may correspond with the time period during which Henry Creech served in the that ship.
Convoy KMS 032, departed Augusta, Italy, Nov 24, 1943, destination Algiers.
Convoy MKS 45, departed Bizerta, Tunisia, April 6, 1944, destination Algiers.
Convoy MKS 47, departed Port Said, Egypt, April 19, 1944; destination Algiers.
Convoy HX 299, departed New York City July 11, 1944, arrived Liverpool July 24.
According to the website warsailors.com, the SS RUBEN DARIO was in convoy HX 332, which departed New York City on Jan. 13, 1945, and arrived Liverpool Jan 28. The RUBEN DARIO was torpedoed and damaged on Jan 27, 1945, by the German submarine U-825 while in this convoy. She suffered no casualties and was able to continue the voyage. She carried 8,026 tons of grain as well as gliders on deck See http://www.warsailors.com/convoys/hx332.html and http://www.uboat.net/allies/merchants/ship.html?shipID=3431. Whether Henry Creech was aboard at the time is unclear, based on the four New York arrivals detailed above.
The SS RUBEN DARIO was also in convoy HX 310, departing New York City on July 25, 1944, and arriving Liverpool Aug. 8, and in convoy ON 250, departing Loch Ewe, Scotland, on Aug 24, 1944.
I can find a record of the SS WILLIAM TYLER sailing in CONVOY HX 337, which departed New York City on Feb. 7, 1945, and arrived Liverpool Feb. 21. See http://www.warsailors.com/convoys/hx337.html. I can find no evidence of anything unusual happening to the WILLIAM TYLER during her wartime service.
You may be able to obtain your uncle's service records, including the names of the ships in which he served and the applicable dates, against which you could compare the dates found in the diary you have. Military records of veterans who served after 1900 are available through the National Archives, specifically from:
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100
Information on obtaining a veteran's military record can be found on the following National Archive web pages:
Note, however, that it is easier for a veteran's next-of-kin (spouse, parent, brother, sister, child) to obtain the veteran's complete records than for someone who is not next-of-kin. Since you are not next-of-kin, someone who is next-of-kin will have to obtain the records for you, or you can obtain the records yourself with the written permission of the next-of-kin, or you will have to be satisfied with a more limited amount of information (see http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/foia-info.html#mprfoia). However you may find that even the limited amount of information will be adequate for your purposes. Since the records of a veteran's "Assignments and Geographical Locations" are available to the general public, the ships in which your uncle served should be available in service records that you can obtain.
For still more definitive information, assuming you obtain your uncle's service records and assuming they list all the ships on which he served, you may be able to identify the ports to which he sailed by returning to the National Archives. The Archives has custody of a wide range of records relating to warships, merchant ships on which Armed Guard units served, and other Navy units for the period from World War II through Vietnam, with a heavy concentration in World War II records. You would probably be particularly interested in Armed Guard logbooks and reports, action reports, vessel movement report cards, and records of individual convoys.
To learn more about the scope of these materials and to request records for a given ship, write to the following address:
Modern Military Records Unit (NWCTM)
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
In your letter, include the names of the ships, the date/time period of interest; your full name, address, and telephone number; and as much other detail as possible about the information you would like to obtain. Due to the volume of requests received and the time needed to identify all appropriate records, Archives staff requests that you limit your request to five items per each letter. Allow approximately 10 – 12 weeks from the initial inquiry to receipt of the records.
A charge will be imposed for reproduction/mailing of the records, however do not send any cash/check/charge card information with your initial inquiry. Archives staff will review your request and mail to you an estimate of the cost and payment information. Follow the directions contained in that letter to order the desired records.
As to your mention in his diary that "we stopped a tin fish," one defensive technique during a submarine attack was to fire the ship's guns into the water at torpedoes. Sometimes this was successful, sometimes not.
I hope this information is useful.
Ron Carlson, Webmaster
Armed Guard website www.armed-guard.com