Today’s “letter” (letter of nut? letter of coconote? I’m so sorry) can be found in the first volume of Letters of Note, copies of which can be bought here.
On this day in 1943, whilst serving as commander of the PT-109 torpedo boat during World War II, future US President John F. Kennedy and his crew were rammed by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri. Kennedy’s boat was instantly halved by the impact and two crew members were killed. Six days later, stranded in the Solomon Islands with his fellow survivors, Kennedy carved a desperate message into a coconut shell and handed it to Biuku Gasa and Eroni Kumana, two natives tasked with delivering it to the nearest Allied base 35 nautical miles away, by canoe. Amazingly, they succeeded, and as a result Kennedy and his men were soon rescued.
Kennedy later had the shell encased in plastic; it was then used as a paperweight in the Oval Office during his presidency.
(Scroll down for a much-needed transcript.)
NAURO ISL COMMANDER
NATIVE KNOWS POS’IT
HE CAN PILOT
NEED SMALL BOAT