There is a group of men who remember November 11 for another reason. They are the survivors of the torpedoing of the SS CAPE SAN JUAN on November 11, 1943. The transport (USAT 1441) was approximately 300 miles south of Fiji when it was struck by a torpedo from the Japanese sub I-21. Although initially struck at 0530, the ship did not go down until the next day. Damage from the torpedo and subsequent shelling from US rescue ships finally sent her to the bottom.
The SS CAPE SAN JUAN was carrying 1464 passengers and crew. The majority of the passengers were men of the 1st Fighter Control Squadron, the 855th Engineer Aviation Battalion, and the 253rd Ordnance Maintenance Company. Casualties from the initial torpedo hit, resultant fire, drowning, and shark attacks totaled 117. Men were rescued by a number of ships and smaller craft, as well as a flying boat.
This first grouping (although only two notes shown) belonged to one of the survivors. The dollar bill is marked "Torpedo Survive" (sic) and "Nov. 11, 1943 Cape San Juan." The five franc note is similarly marked "Torpedo Club." There are a total of seven bank notes in the collection signed by most of the officers of the three named units.