Hank's Pages

PASSED BY NAVAL CENSOR

    From the day we enlisted until the Japanese surrender military security measures were uppermost in daily activities. Classes in Boot Camp and Training Schools stressed the need to avoid any discussion about weapons, radar, sonar, ship characteristics etc. We were particularly alerted to the problems of talking too much when on liberty or leave from the ship.

    Most of the Bangust's duty was in the forward areas where liberty, if we were lucky, was two bottled cokes or two Balentine beers in olive drab painted steel cans which we could drink over a 2-3 hour period on an atoll euphemistically known as a "Recreation Area". The toughest decision was whether to hoard the second drink until the last minute or whether to wolf it down while it was still cold. Obviously there were no security risks on "recreation islands".

    But, there were letters written home to family or friends where a careless phrase or statement could spread over the recipients neighborhood and beyond. To forestall this possibility, all personal mail which left the ship was read by a ship's officer.

    Questionable phrases or words were simply excised from the letter. Once censored the mail was stamped "Passed by Naval Censor" and sent on its way. As recently as July, 2000 1 was reminded by Jim McNabb, one of the Bangust censors that this was one of the most onerous duties they had to perform. "It was like spying on a friend and his wife or "girlfriend" (Note the officer's initials in the censor stamp on the envelope pictured)

    HeD8/00

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