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Log book from WWII ship that sank off Florida mysteriously ends up in piece of furniture in Massachusetts

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A notebook discovered inside a piece of furniture in Massachusetts turned out to be a written log of one U.S. Navy destroyer's trips to Europe and back during World War II, officials said. The book appears in good physical condition in images shared online, despite being linked to the USS Amesbury, which eventually sunk off the coast of Florida.

The found artifact contains a hardcover jacket binding pages of lined paper. A single page, photographed and shared by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, shows a travel record for the warship between June 13, 1944 and May 31, 1945. Within that timeframe, the destroyer apparently voyaged over the Atlantic Ocean several times, stopping in New York, Key West, Philadelphia and Annapolis in the U.S., as well as Panama and the United Kingdom.

"A small, military-green notebook containing information about the USS Amesbury was discovered by Brenda O'Keefe of Massachusetts in a piece of furniture," the marine sanctuary said in a Facebook post that included images of the log and cover. 

"While the book's author is unknown, it describes many of the ship's activities and travels during World War II," the post continued. "The Amesbury, known locally as Alexander's Wreck, was a U.S. Naval destroyer escort that was being towed to deep water for an artificial reef, when it grounded and broke up in a storm before it could be refloated."

A small, military-green notebook containing information about the USS Amesbury was discovered by Brenda O’Keefe of...

Posted by NOAA Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary on Tuesday, April 9, 2024

One notable entry in the book, dated April 7, 1945 says: "War ended with Germany" -- although Germany did not officially surrender until May 7 of that year.

CBS News contacted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which administers the Florida Keys marine sanctuary, for more information but did not receive an immediate response.

The Amesbury was introduced as a World War II convoy escort in 1943, a role that it continued to serve through the end of the war as it completed four round-trip voyages between the U.S. and the United Kingdom, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command. Overseas, the destroyer made stops in Londonderry and Lishally, in Ireland, as well as Greenock in Scotland. The ship was eventually awarded a battle star for its services off of Normandy beach in France.

Naval officials decommissioned the warship and placed it in reserve in 1946, according to the organization Dive Center Key West. The 300-foot former destroyer ran aground and broke apart as it was being pulled farther out to sea to form an artificial reef, and now sits along the ocean floor about five miles from Key West. Known as Alexander's Wreck, water levels at the site are relatively shallow, at 25 feet, and the wreck itself has become a popular spot for divers.

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