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LST 347
an ungainly type of transport, the LST still must have looked beautiful to the men of Hq Hq, Hq 2nd and Co D when they boarded it on July 12, 1944 after more than a month in combat

Happy To Be At Sea
14 July 1944
Lloyd H. Wilkins, Vincent Lowery, Michael Tomko, David A. Giblin and Ralph P. McGee board the LST.  All were members of Hq 2nd communications detail. 
(courtesy of George Christ collection)

LST-347 shown later in service as the Republic of France ship RFS Vire (LST-347) beached at either Saigon or Haiphong, French Indochina circa 1948-49 while disembarking an old English Truck "THORNY". Note she still carries side number 347 vice 9003 on this date. Photo source is the French review magazine "la Charte".

508ers BOARD LST 347
On July 12, 1944, Hq Hq, 2nd Bn and Co D  personnel spent the day resting until they were called to the beach at 2000 hrs.  After a march of 1 1/;2 hours they arrived at the beach and at 2345 hours they boarded LST 347.

While the ship awaited departure orders,  the men enjoyed the luxury of three meals served by the ships crew.  They had not experienced that treat even on the USAT James Parker when they left the States, let alone while in combat.  At 1600 hrs on July 13th, the LST moved into the harbor and joined a convoy headed for England.

The ship arrived in Southampton at 0600 hr on July 14th and the men remained on board until 2115 hr when they disembarked and moved to the nearby railway station where Red Cross girls served coffee and doughnuts.  The men entrained at 2145 hr and the train pulled out 15 minutes later.  A second treat of coffee and sandwiches was served on board.

At 0700 hrs, July 15th the train pulled into Nottingham Station and the men were "home" again.  tt must have been a welcome relief.

The men soon were enjoying the bounty of a Mail Call.  In short order everyone was paid their back pay and fifty percent of each company was given 5 days furlough and they quickly spread out across England, Scotland and Ireland as they visited favorite spots.  It didn't last long but for then it was heaven.


USS LST-347 (Landing Ship, Tank) was built at the Norfolk Navy Yard,.  Its keel was was laid down on 10 November 1942 and the completed ship was launched and commissioned on 7 February 1943.  During World War II, LST-347 was assigned to the European theater and participated in multiple operations in the European theater: the Sicilian occupation-July 1943,  Salerno landings-September 1943 and the invasion of Normandy-in June 1944   LST-347 earned three battle stars for its World War II service.

A relatively small ship with two diesel engines and twin screws, it was operated by a complement of 7 officers and 204 enlisted men.  The LST was 27 in length and had a beam (width) of 50 feet.  When fully loaded its draft was 8 feet forward and 14'4" aft..  Not built for speed, it could attain 10.8 knots maximum but typically ran at 9 knots, an economy speed.  Although it would have presented a great target for U-boars, the ship was lightly armed with just a 3"/50 DP; (Dual Purpose) gun with 1 40mm and 6 20mm barrels.

But the LST was a versatile ship with a displacement: of 1490 tons (lite); or 4,080 tons when it carried a full load of 2,100 tons).  It typically carried smaller craft topside and its a tunnel-like hold could be filled with tanks, vehicles, guns or cargo.

On 19 December 1944 she was transferred to the United Kingdom and returned to United States Navy custody in January 1948. On 23 January 1948, the ship was again transferred to France on lease.  On 21 March 1949. LST-347 was sold to France and was struck from the Navy list on 28 April 1949. 


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