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Titorenko Tells His Story

Alexander Titorenko

    I think I boarded the USS Rich in 1944 when it came into Boston, MA. I believe this was after the shakedown. After a number of trips to Ireland and dodging a few torpedoes, we finally were called to what was going to be the invasion of Normandy.

    On June 7,1944, my station on GQ was the bottom deck of the aft engine room. When the first explosion came I recall the lights went out. When the lights came back on I was trying to put the cat-walk back in place. When the second explosion came, the lights went out again and we restored power for the lights to come back on. About that time I believe we were maneuvering around and got hit for a third time. I don't know how long I was knocked out. I was just coming to when I heard Orville Warwick calling to me, asking if l was still alive. I replied I think so. I was a laying in the billages in front of the condenser. Warwick shined a light and helped me out to the ladder where Chief Ray Holler was waiting to pull me up to the second deck. There he and Warwick took me to the bow of the ship where I asked them to set me down among some other shipmates that were hurt. Then they went to see if they could help others. 

    As I lay there I saw a PT boat taking on wounded men off our ship. The Rich was sinking and started to pull the PT boat down. I saw them cut the line and pull away. I don't remember how I got on a PT boat which took me to an LST from there to an English frigate, then on to Plymouth, England, from there to Scotland. I was sent on a seaplane tender to Boston, MA. After a 30 day leave I was sent to Galveston, TX, where I was picked up by another escort, the Cecil J. Doyle. Then I went to the Pacific where I spent the rest of the war. After that, we came back to Boston where I was discharged January 14, 1946.

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