The Silver Secret of Caballo Bay
by EAC Troy R. Cole Sr. USN Ret.
Trafford Publishing

"More than four million dollars in silver still lies on the floor of Caballo Bay."

Cole, the author of this highly detailed military saga, served in the US Navy for over 20 years after beginning his career in World War II. Using his insider knowledge, he has created a sunken treasure saga. When the US declared war on Japan after Pearl Harbor, Philippine assets owned by America—about 32 tons of silver bullion and 140 tons of silver pesos and centavos—were removed from the Manilla bank and stowed in wooden boxes. US sailors began moving this heavy, precious cargo to safety on Corregidor, but when Corregidor was about to fall to Japan, the remaining boxes were jettisoned in the deep waters of Caballo Bay. In 1942, the Japanese tried to recover the coins using US Navy prisoners as divers; these brave men did their best to sabotage the enemy intentions. After the war, US ships again tried to salvage the remaining fortune but with limited success.

In constructing this intriguing account Cole includes a multitude of facts about US ships, their names, and purposes. He sketches the life of ordinary sailors and pays homage to their bravery. Much of the book consists of logs of ship movements in and around Caballo Bay, information that will probably be of interest to serious fans of naval history and terminology. Apart from crucial questions about the location and amount of the silver, two other recollections are notable: entertainment brought by Bob Hope’s USO troupe, and the news transmitted by radio in August 1945, that the war was over—a time when “every ship in the harbor began shooting off every gun that was on board.” Reviving an old mystery—What happened to the boxes of silver in Caballo Bay?—Cole presents a dramatic timeline of the recovery efforts along with a chronicle of US Navy activity in the Pacific region.

Return to USR Home