Posted by: SJS | January 18, 2012

Burial at sea

      Included on the 2011 annual calendar published by PT Boats, Inc. of Germantown, TN was this deeply moving photograph.  While we cannot see the face of the sailor looking off the stern of PT 132, it is not difficult to imagine that his thoughts and emotions are with his fallen crewmate who will soon receive a burial at sea.

Burial at sea

PT 132 in 1943: Burial at Sea

     By the autumn of 1943, when this photograph was taken, the PT boats were in the thick of the war on both fronts-Europe and the South Pacific.  The romance and excitement of serving on the PTs were surely tempered by sober moments like the poignant one captured in this photo.  Given their small size and the fragile structure of these boats, the sailors who manned them were never far from the awareness that any mission might well be their last.

     As the course of the war took the PTs more frequently into harm’s way, there were certainly many occasions when the crews faced the grim task of laying their mates to rest on land and sea.   Rarely have I seen a photo that reflects the starkness and sadness of this ritual with such powerful immediacy.


  1. Steve –
    This is an incredible photo. It says so much about what the crew of the PT boats had to come to terms with, and the sacrifices they were prepared to make.

    • Dudley, Thanks for the great feedback. As an expert photographer, it was terrific to get your reaction to this moving photo. Steve

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