Destroyer Escort Commanding Officers Collection: Richard B. Hillyer Papers, 1944

Manuscript Collection #564-013

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: Destroyer Escort Commanding Officers Collection: Richard B. Hillyer Papers
Creator: Hillyer, Richard B.
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Copy of The Greatest Anti-Submarine Action of All wars (an account of the World War II action of the USS GEORGE, DE 697) and copies of supporting documents, including the USS George war diary for May 1944.
Extent: 0.0010 Cubic feet, 1 folder and 1 oversized folder, Published book, drafts and diary

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

July 20, 1992 7 items, 1 volume; Copy of The Greatest Anti-Submarine Action of All Wars (an account of the World War II action of the USS GEORGE, DE 697) and copies of supporting documents, including the USS GEORGE war diary for May 1944. Donor: Mr. Richard B. Hillyer

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

Destroyer Escort Commanding Officers Collection: Richard B. Hillyer Papers (#564-013), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Mr. Richard B. Hillyer

Processing Information

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services

  • Processed by Amanda Switzer April 2010


Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Richard B. Hillyer served on the USS GEORGE (DE 697) during its successful anti-submarine operations during May 1944 in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Hillyer was an enlisted sailor with the rank SC3/c (Ship’s Cook 3rd Class). After the war he wrote an account of the ship’s actions during that operation and from this produced a self-published book in 1946 entitled The Greatest Anti-Submarine Action of All Wars: U. S. S. GEORGE (DE 697)

Hillyer noted at the end of his book that he wanted “to give credit to the crews of all these ships” and to allow all of the destroyers in the anti-submarine operation to receive credit as they had received a joint commendation for their efforts.

USS GEORGE (DE-697) was built on 22 May 1943 by the Defoe Shipbuilding Co., Bay City, Michigan and was launched 14 August 1943. The ship was named in honor of Seaman Second Class Eugene Frank George and sponsored by his mother, Mrs. Harlow F. George. The ship was commissioned at New Orleans, Louisiana, 20 November 1943, with Lieutenant Commander J. B. Page in command.

After a shakedown cruise off Bermuda, the USS GEORGE sailed from Boston 11 January 1944 to escort a merchantman from Norfolk to Noumea, New Caledonia, arriving on 19 February. Until the spring of 1944, the ship escorted transports to the Admiralties, the New Hebrides, and the Solomons during consolidation operations carried out there. On 16 May, the ship sailed from Florida Island, Solomons, in a hunter-killer group with the USS ENGLAND (DE-635) and USS RABY (DE-698) on what would become one of the most successful antisubmarine actions in the in the Pacific Theater of World War II.

During this patrol from 19 to 31 May 1944 the three-ship team sank six Japanese submarines (I-16, RO-106, RO-104, RO-116, RO-10S, and RO-105) in waters north of the Bismarck Archipelago—a truly remarkable achievement. The USS GEORGE arrived at Manus 4 June after this feat, and during the next 3 months conducted antisubmarine patrols and escorted merchantmen to the New Hebrides, the Solomons, and the Marshalls. After serving briefly as a station-ship at Funafuti, Ellice Islands, the ship traveled to Australia, arriving in Sydney on 12 October.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The papers contain an undated edition of Hillyer’s self-published book. Also included are several other items related to the ship, many used for the research of his book. For specific details of materials, please see the container list below.

Subject Headings Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Container List Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

  • Box 1#0564-013.1
    • Folder a#0564-013.1.a
      • The Greatest Anti-Submarine Action of All Wars: U. S. S. GEORGE (DE 697), by Richard B. Hillyer, U.S.N. (undated). Soft cover. 1 item. 147 p. Note: This book details the actions of Destroyer USS George during C.O.M.C.O.R.T. DIU 39 and 40 in the Pacific Theater that resulted in three destroyers (George, England, and Raby) sinking six Japanese submarines.   (item #1)
      • A log of Travels of the U. S. S. GEORGE (DE-697) from Commissioning to January 6, 1945 Kept by Grover C. Clev. Divins of Haddon Heights, New Jersey (1946) Photocopy typescript. 1 item. 1 p. Note: Pages 271-272 of Hillyer's book The Greatest Anti-Submarine Action of All Wars Corrected by Hillyer.   (item #2)
      • Anti-Submarine Operation C.O.M.C.O.R.T. Div. 38 & 40. Prepared by R. B. Hillyer (2 Feb. 1992) Photocopy typescript. 1 item. 1 p. Note: Consists of a hand-drawn map with notes indicating the longitude and latitude for every submarine sunk, dates of sinkings and operation, total area of operation. Also included is a sinking of a submarine by USS Taylor (not a member of the operation).   (item #3)
      • Chapter 1: Destroyers and Destroyermen, p. 3 (undated) Photocopy typescript & Holograph note. 1 item. 1 p. Note: Holograph note in red ink reads: "The George was the flagship of Operation C.O.C.O.R.T. Div. 39 & 40, Hamilton Hains, CMDR, USN, was O.T.C."   (item #4)
      • History of the USS GEORGE (DE-697) from (22 May 1943 - 8 October 1958 (undated) Photocopy typescript. 1 item. 1 p.   (item #5)
      • Fred W. Jest's Official War Diary (May - June 12 1944) Photocopy typescript. 1 item. 12 p. Note: Just was mission commander for C.O.M.C.O.R.T. DIU 39 and 40 for May through June 1944. Declassified materials.   (item #6)
      • USS George (DE-697) entry in the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships: Volume III, Title page, 69-70 (1977) Photocopy typescript. 1 item. 2 p.   (item #7)

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Department, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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