Aboard a patrol boat in World War II, chasing Japanese subs

In 1942, Art Bell was a twenty-three-year old ensign in the U.S. Navy, assigned to duty aboard the PC 477. The PCs were 173-foot, steel-hulled submarine fighters. Uncle Sam had thousands of seamen on hundreds of PCs convoying and patrolling in WWII. They were introduced in the desperate, early days of World War II, when the waters off America’s Atlantic coast were a graveyard of torpedoed ships. They performed essential, hazardous, and sometimes spectacular missions, yet the PCs were scarcely known at all outside the service.

Here is the story of the wartime service of one of those ships.

From Pearl Harbor to Guadalcanal, from Australia to the Solomon Islands, the PC 477 saw action throughout the South Pacific. Collecting numerous first-hand accounts from his shipmates, Art Bell, who eventually took command of the 477, gives us a detailed, compelling and often humorous memoir of life aboard a Navy ship during the war. It is a feast for World War II buffs and an essential reference for historians studying that period.

The Navy didn’t even dignify PCs with names. But the crew of the PC 477 did. They called her “Peter Charlie.”

Art Bell (1919 - 1988) was a respected Los Angeles attorney. He played baseball at UCLA with Jackie Robinson, saw action in World War II, and graduated from the USC Law School in 1951. His son, James Scott Bell, aided in the writing and editing of the book.