San Diego Hysterical Society

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Shark Attack in San Diego Bay

by George Elliott

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We were in San Diego August 1944 and our ship was waiting to refuel, so in the meantime someone decided to have swimming call and since it was a warm day I decided to go in with the rest of them. Since some of us weren't swimmers we used one of the ship's life rafts, and hung onto the side just to keep cool.

Seaman 1st Class Williams
- The Late Seaman Williams -

A guy by the name of Williams was with me. The water was crystal clear and it seemed that we could see 30 feet down, when all of a sudden I thought I saw something....there it was again, just a flash of silver--a shark. I hollered but no one paid attention as there was a lot of noise, but Williams was trying to get on the raft. The shark looked as if he was headed right for me, but he got Williams instead--cut him right in half. It was a tiger shark about eight or ten feet long. Someone got the other half of Williams and we took him aboard ship.

I have never seen sailors clear the water so fast. The shark continued to hang around and wouldn't go away even after we threw a few grenades in the water. Someone found a shark hook and where it came from I'll never know. They even found a piece of meat from the galley about the size of a potroast but the shark wasn't interested, so someone decided to use the other half of Williams as bait, since the shark had already shown an interest in him.

They had the shark in less than twenty minutes, and the best thing was that not only did they catch the shark, but got the other half of Williams back and we were able to give Seaman Williams a decent burial!! We put him in his seabag along with a five inch projectile and after we cleared the harbor, over the side he went. Willie was a good old boy but we were glad to get back to sea again.


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