Mention the painting of the sinking of the s'Jacob?
Rod and my paths did not cross again until July of
1998. I had been approached by the US Army Transportation Museum Fort
Eustis Virginia a few weeks earlier to help them locate photos of the
s'Jacob. The photos were used for a painting commissioned as part of
the launching for the first in a series of Strategic Sealift Ships the
USNS WATSON. The ship is named after Private George Watson, a quartermaster
aboard the s'Jacob who distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism
in saving several members of the crew and giving his life when she was
attacked and sunk near Prolock Harbor New Guinea. The painting depicts
Watson rescuing survivors in the water with the s'Jacob in the background.
President Bill Clinton awarded Watson the Medal of Honor on 13 January
1997. Action photos of the s'Jacob taken just after the attack and subsequent
rescue of the crew were located at the Australian War Memorial. The
photos were forwarded to the Army Transportation Museum for use in rendering
While in discussions with Fort Eustis on photos of
the s'Jacob sinking the curator of the museum told me about James Guilford
the best friend of Watson's who had survived the s'Jacob sinking. I
contacted Guilford to learn more about his time aboard the s'Jacob and
the attack on the ship. During our discussions Guilford a spry 84 years
old, expressed the desire to retrace the course of the s'Jacob's last
voyage. I immediately contacted Rod with the idea of making a documentary
as he had done with the B-17 Blackjack. Rod liked the idea and we began
negotiating with Guilford for an expedition in early 1999.
We were unable to get an agreement from Guilford and
decided to conduct an expedition looking for Australian Beaufighter
A19-130, which Rod had been collecting information on for some time.
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