John Henderson Turner Oral History Interview

December 13, 1973
Oral History #OH0010
Turner, John Henderson; Lennon, Donald R.
Physical description
0.01 Cubic Feet, 2 audiocasettes, 2 hours, 33 pages
Preferred Citation
John Henderson Turner Oral History Interview (#OH0010), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Biographical/historical information

Captain Turner was graduated from the Naval Academy in 1936 and attended submarine school in 1938. He served aboard the submarines USS Sculpin (late 1938–1943) and the USS Ray (1943) in the South Pacific and commanded the USS Seal in 1944 in the Kurile Islands. In March of 1945 Captain Turner reported to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, to command a new submarine which he sailed around the Great Lakes after World War II's end in August 1945. Captain Turner commanded the USS Boarfish in the late 1940s and worked for the Political Military Affairs division of the Office of Chief of Naval Operations in the 1950s.

Scope and arrangement

Main topics of discussion pertaining to World War II submarines are the sinking of the USS Squalus in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1938 due to a faulty valve; problems with the magnetic exploders and the firing pins of torpedoes; tactics of sighting, approaching, and hitting a target; watch duty; use of wolfpacks and of appointed "moving zones"; and techniques for photographing shorelines. Other interesting subjects included are the building of World War II submarines in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and sending them down the Mississippi River and through the Panama Canal to the South Pacific; a detailed description of the first sinking of a Japanese ship by the USS Sculpin; preparing the USS Boarfish to be turned over to the Turkish Navy in 1948; and congressionalpressures put on Captain Turner, when he was working for the office of the Chief of Naval Operations, concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Union of South Africa.

Administrative information
Source of acquisition

Gift of John Henderson Turner

Processing information

Processed by M. Elmore, June 1979

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Repository does not own copyright to the oral history collection. Permission to cite, reproduce, or broadcast must be obtained from both the repository and the participants in the oral history, or their heirs.

General note


Key terms
Personal Names
Turner, John Henderson
Corporate Names
Sculpin (Submarine)
Squalus (Submarine)
United States. Navy--Officers
United States. Navy--Submarine forces
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Pacific Ocean