Pat Shannon’s Nawiliwili home shelled during World War II

During World War II, Pat Shannon, along with his wife Sophie and daughter Hannah, were shelled in their Nawiliwili home by a Japanese submarine at around 1:30 a.m. on the moonlit morning of Dec. 30, 1941.

The submarine, situated offshore of Nawiliwili, shelled Nawiliwili Harbor with several three-inch shells, one of which riddled every room in Shannon’s home, which was located on the top floor of his machine works situated along the stretch of harbor between what are today the Matson and Young Brothers terminals.

Fortunately for the Shannons, they had taken cover downstairs after being awakened by the explosion of the first shell and were not harmed.

Another shell started a small canefield fire by the bulk sugar storage warehouse on the bluff above the harbor, which Joseph (Black) Souza and Kelii Afat were fighting when still another shell exploded nearby, prompting them to dive into a ditch for safety.

Yet, most of the shells were duds — one punctured a Shell Oil Company gasoline storage tank, others created water plumes in the bay, and another was run over by a vehicle traveling on the harbor road later in the morning.

Some time later, when the burned canefield was harvested, the harvesting luna discovered a dud shell that he dutifully took to Grove Farm manager William Patterson Alexander’s house (which still stands, albeit decrepitly, on Nawiliwili Road) and laid it on Alexander’s doorstep. When Alexander noticed it, he was astonished, to say the least.

Charles (Pat) Leaman Shannon (1906-1964), was the owner of Kauai Marine &Machine Works of Nawiliwili during the 1940s and 1950s, and was also the president of the Kauai Camera Club, an officer of the Kauai Squadron of the Hawaii Civil Air Patrol, and an enthusiastic flyer who earned his private pilot’s certificate on Kauai in 1946.

His Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser, an American, three-seat, high-wing, single-engine, conventional-landing gear-equipped light aircraft produced by Piper Aircraft between 1946 and 1948, could often be seen being flown by Shannon in the skies over Kauai.
Hank Soboleski has been a resident of Kauai since the 1960s. Hank’s love of the island and its history has inspired him, in conjunction with The Garden Island Newspaper, to share the island’s history weekly. The collection of these articles can be found here: and here Hank can be reached at


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