|During my years of BB35 involvement, I
came across (and still come across) BB35 aspects that while not an
important historic event, I found interesting. Those aspects have been
included in the history section but they can be overlooked because the
section has grown so large. I have also included some of my personal
In 1914, TEXAS had an early form of mechanical air conditioning. For each grouping of magazines (forward-turrets1 & 2, middle-turret3, and aft-turrets 4 & 5) was a "cooler box" fitted with pipe coils, through which CO2 would circulate from one of the two refrigerating plants. Forced air (from electric blowers) passing through the coils carrying the CO2 would be cooled before entering the magazines.
Prior to the 18 May 1912 launch, the temperance union sent a letter asking that a bottle of champagne not be used to christen the ship. A bottle of champagne though was used.
4 July 1918, in England, before 25,000 people, a baseball team from BB35 played a combined baseball team from the US Army. I read about the game in a book called "North Sea Days", written by a BB35 crewmember that was aboard in World War I. The army won the game but the score was not given. The write-up said the army had four major league and minor league baseball players on their team. (I guess the army felt they had to stack the deck just to beat one battleship team).
On 29 September 1918, a TEXAS sailor broke into a ditty box and stole 5 boxes of Fig Newton cookies, having a total value of $0.70. For the offense, he was fined $27.70 and placed in solitary brig confinement for 15 days with full ration every 3rd day. (Found in the deck log of 12 Oct 1918).
Brooms flew over BB35, before sunset, 9 Oct 1931. On that day, three of the BB35 14" gun turrets were the three best of the entire Battle Force, in Short Range Battle Practice, for the gunnery year. Running the brooms up the main truck yards and jackstay was a tradition dating back to the latter part of the 1600s and the Dutch Navy. The Dutch flew the brooms to symbolize a clean sweep of the seas. (The account was printed in the BB35 weekly paper "THE TEXAS STEER", 10 Oct 1931)
During World War II, several BB35 vets have told about burning toilet paper and the commodes. On the second deck, at the aft end, on port and starboard, is the crew's water closet. On the outboard side of both sides, is a 20-foot commode trough. Salt water ran constantly through the trough for flushing. Crewmembers at the front of the trough would light toilet paper when they were done and send it floating the length of trough….even when and especially if other commode locations were "busy".
23 Dec 1945, the "Houston Post" reports possible BB35 transfer to the Chinese Nationalists. Congress had asked the Navy for a list of obsolete ships for possible transfer. Among the ships on the list submitted to Congress was TEXAS.
In late Jan 1950, the MISSOURI (the only US battleship still on active duty) got stuck in the mud. In a humorous jester, Texas Governor Alan Shivers set a telegram to President Harry Truman. The governor said he heard the MISSOURI was stuck in the mud and the state of Texas would be glad to lend the US Navy the use of BB35 until MISSOURI could return to service. President Truman's reaction to the telegram is unknown.
In 1966, two scenes for "The Sandpebbles" were filmed aboard BB35. I read about the filming is a 6 March 1985 Houston Chronicle article, by Jeff Millar. The article said the segments and several other scenes were edited out for time reasons. I contacted 20th Century Fox and Robert Wise among others in an effort to locate the film but no one had the edited segments. Most believed they were destroyed long ago. Mr. Wise wrote to me that one seen was Steve McQueen in the Engine Room receiving orders to report to China and the second was his leaving the ship.
I never saw a ghost aboard BB35 but I did see moving inverted shadows of visitors, who were not aboard ship on an interior bulkhead. In 1988, on the port side, up near the bow, 3rd deck (I have forgotten the compartment) the moving inverted shadows could be seen. As it turned out, the outboard bulkhead had a small pinhole. The size of the hole and other conditions were such that the hole acted as a camera lens and displayed the inverted shadows of visitors as they walked up to and away from the ship.
Have you ever been in a room/compartment with a 100% absence of light? Several places aboard BB35, especially the lower interior, your only source of light is a flashlight. Turning off the flashlight and with it a sudden total lose of vision is very sombering. Being inside TEXAS, my thoughts went to those trapped sailors in the darkened sunken battleships at Pearl Harbor, 7 Dec 1941.
|Started 11 May 1999 by Chuck Moore, FTV (1st Texas Volunteers) a Battleship Texas volunteer group - Donate Your Time And Support The Battleship Texas|