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Help - white highlight for stamped script

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In the early morning hours of 13 November, 1942, 2 American heavy cruisers (San Francisco and Portland), 3 light cruisers (Atlanta, Helena and Juneau) and 8 destroyers took on a force of 2 Japanese battleships (Hiei and Kirishima), a light cruiser (Nagara) and 11 destroyers in Sealark Channel off Guadalcanal. While the battle was a strategic victory for the US, in that Admiral Abe failed to bombard Henderson Field with the big guns of his battleships and his transports were forced to turn back without unloading their troops, the American ships took a heck of a shellacking, particularly the San Francisco (the American task force commander, Adm. Daniel Callaghan, and San Francisco's skipper, Capt. Cassin Young, were both killed at their post on the navigation bridge. There are amazing photographs of the damage suffered by the san Francisco on line, which are well worth checking out. It's incredible that she didn't sink). She managed to limp back to Mare Island in California for repairs in December and by February she was on her way back to combat. While she was being repaired at Mare Island, a worker there carefully cut out a roughly 5 x 3 inch piece of the navigation bridge where a chunk of shrapnel from a Japanese round had blown out through the steel. He punched (or stamped) the following information around the edge of the artifact "NOV. 1942 SHRAPNEL HOLE SOLOMONS BATTLE CUT FROM CRUISER SAN FRANCISCO NAVIGATION BRIDGE" The metal is unfinished steel and he originally put some white paint (?) in the recessed letters to make them stand out. At this point in time, however, very little of the highlight remains. I would like to reapply something to make the text stand out again and am wondering what the best way to accomplish this would be? There is also a light surface rust on the metal which I believe can be taken care of with a good wipe-down with an oily rag. I figured that someone on the forum would know the best way to preserve this amazing artifact. Thanks very much, I appreciate any advice - Chrispost-133053-0-03670200-1433813470.jpg

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Are you looking for something temporary or permanent? You might ask what firearms collectors use to make markings show up better.


Very interesting piece. I was just reading 'Neptune's Inferno' ( James Hornfischer) and 'Tin Can Sailor' (Cal Calhoun) today, so it really is good timing. The battle took place on Friday the 13th of November, and what a terrible pounding our ships received. In 'Tin Can Sailor' Calhoun recounts that his ship, the USS Sterrett DD-407, actually accompanied the USS San Francisco back to California after the battle (both ships were in bad shape after the battle, reportedly Halsey boarded Sterrett and wept for the men lost and for what the survivors had been through). Both ships had such extensive damage that they underwent repairs at Mare Island California. Part of the San Francisco's bridge superstructure was removed during this time and is now on display at Land's End in San Francisco.


Just to help members recognize the significance of the piece I am attaching a few images from the WWII damage report of the San Francisco following the battle. From ibiblio.hyperwar: http://ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/WarDamageReports/WarDamageReportCA38/WarDamageReportCA38.html#PLATEIII












"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*


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Thanks for posting the photos. I've been a student of WWII in the Pacific for a long time, focusing mainly on the Marines. While they were always cheesed at the 'squids' for having hot chow and a bunk to sleep in, they probably never imagined the level of sheer terror those poor souls on the bridge experienced during this fight, or the guys below decks who were unaware of what the big picture was while the fight raged around them, hoping and praying they weren't going to get scalded to death, blown apart or sucked down to a dark and watery grave when their ship sank.

I suppose I'd like to 'permanently' highlight the lettering, however I'm completely open to suggestions from those who know better than I do. I do feel that it's important to preserve and display this artifact, though.

Anyway, thanks again - Chris

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