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ISSN 0146-93 12

No. 35

SEA HISTORY

OFFICIAL JOURNAL OF THE WORLD SHIP TRUST

SEA HISTORY is the journal of the National Maritime Historical Society , an educational, tax-exempt membership organization devoted to furthering the understanding of ou r maritime heritage . Copyright © 1985 by the National Maritime Historical Society. OFFICE: 132 Maple St. , Croton-on-Hudson , NY 10520. Telephone: 914 271-2177. MEMBERSHIP is invited : Sponsor $1,000; Donor $500; Patron $ 100; Family $30; Regular $20; Student or Retired $10. ALL FOREIGN MEMBERS , including Canada and Mex ico, please add $5 for postage. CONTRIBUTIONS may be made for any recognized project. Make out checks' ' NMHSShip Trust," indicating on the check the project to which you wish support to be directed . OFrICERS & TRUSTEES are Vice Chairman: Barbara Johnson; President: Peter Stanford; Vice President: Norma Stanford , Secretary: Alan G. Choate; Treasurer: A.T. Pouch , Jr. ; Trustees: Alan G. Choate, James P. Farley, Ellen Fletcher, Thomas Hale, Barbara Johnson , James F. Kirk , Karl Kortum , J. Kevin Lally, Harold R . Logan, Richardo Lopes, Robert J. Lowen, James P. McAllister, II, Conrad P. Nilsen, A. T. Pouch, Jr. , John H. Reilly, Jr. , Spencer Smith , Wolf Spille, Peter Stanford . Chairman Emeritus: Karl Kortum. President Emeritus: Alan D. Hutchinson . ADVISORS: Chairman: Frank 0 . Braynard ; Raymond Aker, Francis E . Bowker, Oswald L. Brett, Geo rge Campbell, Robert Carl, Frank G. G. Carr, Harry Dring, James Ean, John Ewald, Joseph L. Farr, Timothy G. Foote, Richard Goold-Adams , Robert G. Herbert, R. C. Jefferson , Irving M . Johnson , Fred Klebingat, John Kemble, Conrad Mil ster, William G. Muller, Capt. David E. Perkins, USCG (ret. ), Nancy Richardson , Melbourne Smith , Ralph L. Snow, John Stobart, Albert Swanson , Shannon Wall , Robert A. Weinstein , Thomas Wells ,AICH, Charles Wittholz . WORLD SHIP TRUST: Chairman : Frank G. G. Carr; Vice Presidents: Rt. Hon. Lord Lewin , Sir Peter Scott, Rt. Hon . Lord Shackleton; Hon. Secretary: J. A. Forsythe; Hon. Treasurer: Richard Lee; Erik C. Abranson, Dr. Neil Cossons, Maldwin Drummond , Peter Stanford . Membership: £10 payable WST, c/o Hon . Sec., 129a North Street , Burwell , Cambs. CBS OBB, England. Reg. Charity No. T7775L AMERICAN SHIP TRUST: International Chairman : Frank Carr; Chairman : Peter Stanford ; Hon. Secretary: Eric J. Berryman ; George Bass, Karl Kortum , Charles ;_ 0 mdgren , George Nichols, Richard Rath ; Senior Advisor: Irving M. Johnson ; Curator, NY Harbor: Mel Hardin . SEA HISTORY STAFF: &litor: Peter Stanford; Managing &litor: Norma Stanford ; Accounting: Maureen Conti ; Advertising: Margaret Settepani ; Membership: Heidi Quas; Corresponding Secretary: Marie Lore.

SPRING 1985

CONTENTS 3 LETTERS 4 EDITOR 'S LOG 7 NMHS PROJECTS: THE RONSON SHIP , Warren Riess & Sheli 0. Smith 10 IN CLIO 'S CAUSE : MISSING WITHOUT TRACE? , Charles Dana Gibson 12 SEAMEN 's RECOGNITION , Peter Stanford 14 AFTER FORTY YEARS , Harold J . McCormick 22 HOW AN UGLY DUCKLING FOUGHT BACK, Peter Stanford THE TYPE OF MAN YOUR BROTHER WAS , Ian A . Millar 23 FAST CONVOY DUTY , Benjamin D . Hyde 24 WHAT MANNER OF MEN?, John M. Waters, Jr. and Peter Cremer 25 BE GOOD SEAMEN, Earle P. Weir 26 SHIP NOTES, SEAPORT & MUSEUM NEWS: RADM WALTER F. SCHLECH , JR . 27 GUNS FOR THE USS KIDD , Arnold Shrubb 30 SAIL TRAINING : THREE GENERATIONS , B. Barner Jespersen 31 DAY ' S RUN , Report of the American Sail Training Association 32 THE LAST SAILORS , Neil Hollander 35 MARINE ART: NEWS 36 RSMA ANNUAL EXHIBITION , Alex A. Hurst 41 MODELMAKERS CORNER: THE CAPTURE OF U-505 40 BOOKS: THE BOOK LOCKER, Michael Gillen 46 DELIVERING THE GOODS, Frank F. Farrar COVER: " Convoy Escort 1942-Flower Class Corvette," by Cdr. Rex Philips. The doughty corvette adds a spark of color, almost of gaiety, to the grey, threatening scene of a convoy sailing dangerous seas. See Marine Art , page 36.

The National Maritime Historical Society is saving America's seafaring heritage. Join us. We bring to life Ameri ca·s seafa ring past through research , archaeo logica l ex pedi tions and ship prese rvatio n efforts. We wo rk with mu seums, hi stori ans and sai l training gro ups and report on these acti vities in our quarterl y journal Sea History. We are also th e American arm o f the Wo rld Ship Tru st , an intern ati onal group wo rking wor ld wide to he lp save ships of hi storic importance.

Won' t yo u joi n us to kee p al ive our nati on·s sea faring legacy'1 Membe rship in the Society cos ts onl y $20 a year . You"ll receiv e Sea History, a fasc in ati ng magazine fi ll ed with arti cles of sea fa rin g and hi stor ica l lo re. You ' ll al so be eli g ib le fo r di scount s o n boo ks . prints a nd oth er it ems. Help save o ur seafa ring he ritage. Join the Nati onal Maritime Hi sto ri ca l Soc iety today '

TO: National Maritime Historical Society, 132 Maple St. , Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520 YES I wa m 10 help . l unde rstand 1ha1 my contributio n goes 10 forwa rd the wo rk o f the Soc iety ' a nd 1ha1 I'll be kepi info rmed by rece iving SEA HISTO RY quanerly . Enclosed is: 0 $1,000 Sponsor 0 $500 Donor 0 $ 100 Patron ;] $30 Famil y 2 $20 Regular Member 0 $ 10 Student/ Re tired NAME (please pri nt)

Contributio ns

10

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NATIONAL MARITIME HISTORICAL SOCIETY

35


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SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985


LETTERS What an Adventure! While the attention of today's young people appears to be directed toward the stars and beyond , there is a real need to preserve and study the development of maritime technology over the past 3,000 years as a guide for the new adventure. Manned space missions are somewhat analagous to the the early voyages of the ancients sitting astride a log paddling to an offshore island while their tribesmen watched apprehensively from atop a sand dune. Our space program is only now building a reed boat and contemplating a voyage to the horizon. Your preservation of the relics and lessons of our maritime experience will serve the new adventure well. Thank you for inviting me to sign on. I look forward to active participation. WILLIAM J. RUSSONELLO Staten Island , New York Mr. Russonello is the discoverer of the bow piece of the armored cruiser New York, which the National Society is installing aboard the aircraft carrier Intrepid in New York, and he is the leader of the 20-year effort that brought this exuberant artwork home to its native state (SH29:20). It seems to us he's done reasonably well for a new memberwouldn't you say?-ED.

An Improper Bow I'm not really a nit-picker when it comes to other people's magazines, but I was amused by what you said under the photograph of the aircraft carrier Intrepid in the autumn SEA HISTORY: "This is the awesome sight a young Jim Ean saw when he first encountered Intrepid in the Pacific, 40 years ago." Well , no, it wasn't. She didn't get that hurricane bow until sometime in the 1950s, if memory serves me correctly, and that is borne out by other photographs in the same issue, showing her during World War II with the original open bow of all US carriers in that era. It is very seldom, indeed , that I can find an error in SEA HISTORY , even so minor an error as this one; so I write not in a spirit of negative criticism but in a spirit of fun . The magazine is first rate. Bravo Zulu. THOMAS FRENCH NORTON Annapolis, Maryland Mr. Norton (who signs himself "not without sin'J is quite right about Intrepid's bow. It was changed to the closed-in type used in the British navy following heavyweather experience in World War II, and steam catapults and angled flight deck (also Royal Navy innovations, oddly SEA HISlDRY, SPRING 1985

enough) were also added. So what we showed was not what young Jim E:an saw!-ED.

"My Little Morrissey..." Your article "The Quest for the Truth of the Ernestina/Morrissey " in SH34 omitted an interesting part of her story, when during World War II Captain Bob Bartlett was hired by the Army to take the Morrissey north in the Atlantic to report the presence of German submarines, by Army installed and operated radio. In those days submarines had to surface to recharge their batteries. The Morrissey was mistakenly thought by the German submarine commanders to be a harmless fishing schooner, therefore they paid little attention to her. I became acquainted with Captain Bartlett and his ship when I was assigned to the Boston Port of Embarkation as Radio Officer during the latter part of the war after my duty in Africa and Europe. The Morrissey had just returned to resupply after one of her missions. Her Signal Corps radio was a little too small and we replaced it with a more powerful one, fitting it into a sail locker with less than an inch to spare. Captain Bob also wanted a new set of batteries. At that time a new bank of 32-volt batteries was very expensive and I questioned the need for them . I well remember his comment " My little Morrissey, she's all I've got." I was overruled and he got his new set of batteries. HAROLD C. POITER, Lt . Col. AUS (Ret. ) York Beach, Maine

A chastened Mr. Herbert offers apologies to us, Mr. McCloskey, and the world, and appends the above picture of a Baldt anchor, which he drew for the Girl Mariner troop he used to teach aboard your editor's schooner sailing out of South Street Seaport. -ED.

This Vast Goal All my life I have been interested in tall ships, especially in clipper ships like the Flying Cloud and the Sea Witch. I have been sailing on many square riggers, and my dream is to have a replica clipper made. If you could help me in achieving this vast goal I would be deeply appreciative. FRANK WOUTERS San Clemente, California The National Society supports Melbourne Smith's Project Sea Witch, to build a full-scale successor vessel to the 1840s clipper, first ship to round the Horn in under 100 days. Write Melbourne at PO Box 54, Annapolis MD 21404-ED.

My Dory Which Was Lost, Is Found So far I haven't received a request for renewal, but I don't want to become a lost dory, so here is $30: $20 for membership and $10 for wherever it's needed most. Please make sure I'm not missed when SEA H!STORYS are mailed next! MIKE FLANNERY Syracuse, New York Mr. Flannery's extra contribution will go to support our membership drive-SEA HISTORY being a rare gift that becomes more valuable, the more widely it is shared-ED.

A Nit-picker Is Brought to Book! Referring to page 4 of SH34, it is indeed interesting to note that self-described " nit-picker" Robert G. Herbert , Jr. , is himself not infallible. Please note that Mr. Herbert refers, in two instances, to Balt anchors. He, of all people, should know that the name is Baldt, not Balt. Baldt, Incorporated , PO Box 350, Chester, Pennsylvania 19016, maintains (according to their advertising) the " largest stock of anchors and anchor chain in the world-all sizes and weights-new, used , reconditioned and surplus. Immediate shipment available from stocking locations around the world ." The prestigious Baldt firm produces various patterns of anchor and also offers anchoring, towing, chasing and retrieval systems. Baldt, you see, is a big name in the seafaring world . BRUCE B. MCCLOSKEY Fort Lauderdale, Florida

ERRATUM: John Henry Frazier, author of Early Maritime Artists of the Pacific Northwest Coast, 1741-1841, published by the University of Washington Press last fall, points out that in the excerpts we published from this important work in SH33, we confused a couple of captions. "Harbour of St. Paul in the Island of Cadiak," on page 38 properly goes with the picture on the facing page, bottom, which masquerades under the false title "View of Port Desengano," which was not reproduced in SEA HISTORY. The correct caption for the drawing on page 38 is "View of Sitka Bay, from the governor's house," lithograph of a drawing by F.H. von Kittlitz, in Litke, atlas to Voyage, pl. 3 (copy of Tsar Nicolai I) ; courtesy Lilly Library, Indiana University. Our apologies to Mr. Henry and to all hands. -ED. 3


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EDITOR'S LOG

LETTERS, continued

Last year, our 21st, we called the Year of the Member. As the year ended, we sent a questionnaire to all members asking, essentially: " How are we doing in our work together?" To relieve any suspense, let me report right away that 90 percent of the several hundred responses said the Society was on course and meeting its goals. Of the remaining 10 percent, 2 percent expressed no opinion, and most of the rest felt we would be meeting our goals if we had stronger financing, and more public support. Let's listen to that view, which I believe the favorable majority shares! We' re thinking first of rallying individual support to the building job ahead. Some of our leading supporters are considering ways to build up our ability to perform our mission better, and to help others. These are the seamanly qualities we aspire to : to do our own job well and to be quick and effective in moving to help others. As for public support , we are proposing this year to launch a major membership effort, supported by regional meetings. More of that , and more on the members' response to the discourse we've undertaken together, in our forthcoming Annual Report and Annual Meeting set for June in Essex , Connecticut. (If you're not a member, and want to see the questionnaire or receive the Annual Report when it comes out, just ask-but why not join us? Take a flyer and become an Associate Member for $10.)

SOUTH STREET: "Something Is Very Wrong" My husband and I go to South Street Seaport frequently and have for many years. We had hoped , like so many others, that the current development there would be beneficial to the musuem . All we have seen so far are expensive shops, expensive restaurants, and a museum presence that has dwindled to near nothing. The staff (what few we have spoken with) are dispirited and frustrated. The volunteers (also, only a few we have met) are unhappy. There seems to be no feeling of trust in the upper management. Gossip is rampant. It feels explosive, but you never know, maybe they can go on like that for a long time. I know a few people who have in one way or another been connected to South Street over the years. All I ever hear is "they don't pay their bills," " they're top heavy with upper level management drawing big salaries," " they don't care about the boats,'' "they're very sloppy," "money comes in for the boats and gets diverted" etc. One would think, over the years, that we would have lieard one positive comment about South Street. One can only begin to think something is very wrong. Whatever it is, as a museum worker and fan of South Street, I hope it gets straightened out. South Street Seaport is a wonderful idea, a wonderful place, and really should not be allowed to be ruined by what appears to be plain old mismanagement and a lack ofunderstanding of museum ethics .

National Society Projects Not just in the questionnaire, but in many comments received last year, it's clear that we should report out our own Society's activities more fully. Never mind the "blowing our own trumpet" syndrome! We are supposed to be doing the important things, and those things should be of interest to all hands. A letter printed on this page sheds light on some problems in South Street Seaport Museum , where the Society had been sponsoring the restoration of the ship Uiivertree until last fall. Following this is our report on the 18th century Ronson ship-''the ship that built a city." These projects reach back a century in one case and nearly three centuries in the other. We are pleased and proud that the maritime community, led by Shannon Wall of the National Maritime Union, has asked us to play a part in "Seamen's Recognition Day," honoring a great service by seamen in our own century which changed the course of history and brought peace to an embattled world. PS

MUSEUM DIRECTOR

J.ie are glad to report the winds of change are blowing in South Street. Museum President Christopher J. Lowery resigned in late February.followed by Museum Chairman John B. Ricker. The new Chairman, Robert W McCullough, has pledged a fresh start, and rededication to the founding purposes of the Museum~ED

The Greek Contribution We are glad to join your Seamen's Recognition Committee. The Greek merchant marine and Greek seamen took an active part in the struggle to supply Allied forces by sea in World War II, and suffered considerable losses. Out of 16,000 seamen serving the Greek ships some 2,000 or 12 .5 % lost their lives. Out of 583 ships, 429 or 62 .8% were sunk or captured by the enemy. Members of the same family often served in the same ship-leading in many cases to a family losing all its men. This was the price paid by Greek seamen in Greece's war against the enemies of freedom and democracy. MICHALIS ZENZEFYLLIS

General Secretary Panhellenic Seamen's Federation SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985


The A111erican Sea111an Why, he asks, does our country forget its debt to wartime merchant mariners? D- DAY, the 40th annive rsary of the Allied invasion of occupied France was celebrated last summer. Incredibl y, there was hardl y a word of credit to the Allied merchant seamen who contributed so decisively to the success of that operation. This year the world will mark the 40th anniversary of V-E Day (May 8, 1945) when the fi ghting stopped in the European Theatre of World War II. We in the NMU and others in this coun try and E urope believe the tim e is past due to correct the shameful disregard of a group of Americans who have been too-lon g denied the freely-given recognition and tangible gratitude of the country they love. We invite the nation and the world to join on M ay 8 in the observance of Seamen's Recognition Day, to honor the forgotten " Heroes in Dungarees" who moved the troops, bullets, bandages and beans to battlefront s around the world, writing casualty rates equaled only by the Marines. Generals Eisenhower, M acArthur a nd Admiral imitz all declared that World Wa r II could not have been fo ught and won without the seamen. On sign in g the GI BiJI of Rights for m embers of the Armed ~rv i ces , President Roosevelt said: "/trust Congress will soon provide similar opportunities to members of the merchant marine who have risked their lives time and time again during this war for the welfare of their country." Our nation, however, has yet to honor thi s sacred promise. M ost World War II seamen are now too old to take any real advantage of any GI Bill. While some seamen could use the medical care and other benefits, that's not what Attacks on merchant ships were the end for some ; for others, the beginning of terrible ordeals. Yet those who survived came back they talk about. They talk a bout their children time and again to "Keep 'em sailing." and grandchildren being a ble to say " H e was a H ero in Dun garees and he was buried in a National Cemetery with the American fl ag." And they say- all of them -th at ifthere were a national em ergency tomorrow, every las t one of these oldtime seamen would be walking up the gangway to serve his country.

Nati

• al M rit·me U ion

Shannon J. Wall , President Thomas Martinez, Secretary-Treasurer National Headquarters: 346 West 17 Street, New York NY 10011 • (212) 620-5700


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NMHS PROJECTS:

Archaeologists report on the Ronson Ship

The Ship that Built a City by Warren Riess & Sheli 0. Smith For two and a quarter centuries she lay waiting underground, a few feet below the hurrying footsteps of New Yorkers bent on their business on Front Street, in New York's financial district a few blocks north of Wall Street. Built, probably, around 1700, she was one ofthe deepwatermen that traded to New York in the first half of the eighteenth century-she is literally, ''the ship that built a city." Here two archaeologists deeply involved in the project report on what has been done with this most significant ship find since her timbers came to light in January 1982. Eighteenth century Manhattan dock workers swung their sledges hard, driving spikes through the planking of the old merchantman and into new pilings . The screech of wagon wheels and the shouting of orders filled the air above the newly formed dock , while wagons and ships drew alongside the derelict ship to empty their refuse and ballast into her gaping hold. Within a short time laborers filled the tidal area behind the merchantman , forming a new block on the East River waterfront. The only remainder of the once proud sailing ship was her mizzen mast , turned into a crane and her weather deck turned lading platform . A few years later the sound of creaking wheels and mates' calls were heard anew as the piers extended out past the hulk into the East River. New buildings began to rise over the old ship using her deck beams as foundation footers. By the end of the eighteenth century only the old-timers knew the wooden lady sat below the bustling merchant houses.

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Over two hundred years later sunlight once again touched the timbers of the merchantman. In January 1982 archaeologists, investigating a pre-construction site at 175 Water Street, New York City, discovered the 250 year-old merchantman eight feet below street level. The complete bow, port side, and a third of the stern were under a parking lot. The remainder of the hull lay under adjacent Front Street. By March 4 our team of 46 archaeologists and support crew had excavated and recorded all of the ship within the block. In a final twenty-four hour marathon we removed twenty feet of the bow, piece by piece (see SEA HIS1DRY, Summer 1983, "The Ronson Ship"). As the construction crew destroyed the hull of the nowrecorded ship to make room for a 30-story office building, we packed the bow timbers into a wet construction "roll away" and trucked them a short distance to the National Park Services facilities at Floyd Bennet Field in Brooklyn , NY. There the wood awaited shipment to a conservation facility still under construction. Three months later the facility was ready and the wood was shipped to the new conservation laboratory of Soil Systems, Inc. in Groton, Massachusetts. There the timbers were immersed in tanks of water to begin a long conservation process, which will allow the timbers to survive eventual drying and exhibition . In June 1982 we gathered an interdisciplinary team of specialists from around the United States to help extract information from this important find . Archaeologists, conservators , an historian, a wood specialist, and a ship reconstructer began studying, treating, researching, and testing the ship. Conservators Heidi Miksch and Betty Seifert immediately went to work cleaning all surfaces of each timber. As they stripped away the excavation mud with brushes and water, details of the fastenings, burthen marks on the stem post, and even tool marks became visible. As the conservators finished each piece of wood Carrie Horne Lathe carefully recorded it, using a method developed by J. Richard Steffy, of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, to make one-to-one drawings of each surface on sheets of clear SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985

Two ships much like the Ronson Ship, complete to three gunports aft on the lower deck , close to the Manhattan shore where the Ronson ship was laid ashore to make a pierhead about 25 years before the American Revolution. From the Burgis view of New York , 1717, courtesy the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

acetate. During the summer of 1982 she spent hundreds of hours hunched over the wood, black patch on one eye, tracing with colored Sharpies on plastic supported by a glass sheet. By autumn 1982 the bow timbers were cleaned, recorded, and ready for chemical conservation treatments. Betty then placed the wood in a bath of weak acid to remove iron salts without destroying the wood's cellular structure. the wood then went into a solution of water and polyethylene glycol (PEG) , a synthetic microcrystalline wax , where it has spent the last two years soaking. Today the PEG solution has traveled approximately one inch into the wood, the optimum distance for the wood's condition. When the timbers are eventually dried the PEG will remain in the wood cells, giving them strength to retain their shape. Betty plans to start the slow-drying process this year, before reconstruction of the bow. Once Carrie finished the wood drawings , she turned them over to ship reconstructor Jay Rosloff, a graduate student of Steffy 'sat Texas A&M University, to determine exactly how the bow pieces fit together. This step was needed, even though the timbers were together when the ship was uncovered , and each piece was numbered and recorded in place. The disassembly was done quickly, however, and much of it at night under floodlights, so the resulting photographs and sketches left some questions unanswered. Using reductions of the timbers' tracings , Jay carved one-to-five scale models of each piece of wood and slowly constructed a research model of the bow. This model and Jay's final report will also help determine how the timbers might be supported in a future exhibit. Emerging from the damp muck that held her encased for centuries, the ship impressed all who saw her with her businesslike air. The National Society believes her most important voyage is still to be made-a voyage into history to help New Yorkers understand how their seaport city came into being , how they got where they are today. Photos, Warren Riess.


The bow timbers are numbered prior to the disassembly and removal of this portion of the ship.

Wood samples were sent to Dr. Richard Jagels at the University of Maine, Orono. He determined their current strength and permeability for chemicals, and he found that the ship was made with many species of wood . The decking was mostly either red or Scotch pine-their test results are similar. The waterway, ceiling planking, and outer planking were made of oak, and one of the treenails was made of white ash, while most were oak. The United States Forestry Laboratory in Wisconsin further identified wood from two other treenails as hickory and juniper. Historical research, conducted by Warren Riess , picked up the story from there. As far as we know, no one in the early eighteenth century was shipping large amounts of southern hard woods across the Atlantic for shipbuilding. Since all of the wood tested is identified as being native American (oak and hickory) or either American or European (decking is either red pine or Scotch pine), we assume that the ship was built in America with American wood. We also see no indication that large amounts of shipbuilding hardwoods were transported long distances in America around 1700. "Live oaking,'' cutting and shipping southern woods to the North , became popular later. Searching for an area where all the wood was available, we find only the Chesapeake region included in all the species' natural ranges. We also know from

The

historical records that English tobacco companies sent English shipwrights to the Chesapeake to build tobacco ships in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The Ronson ship fits easily into this story. She was larger (100 feet between verticals) than most ships of her day, yet normal sized for a transatlantic tobacco ship. Moreover, her builder's attention to detail , something we noted during excavation, was typical of English shipwrights rather than colonial shipwrights. Finally, she was made of a variety of woods natural only to the Chesapeake region . After studying the early New York port records, Warren is studying shipping and shipbuilding records from the colonial Chesapeake in an attempt to identify the Ronson ship and determine her part in American history. As the puzzle comes together for the Ronson ship, the wooden lady has yet to make her final journey. The search for a home goes on . Like the historical study, the search has narrowed to the same two regions, New York and the Chesapeake. J.i

Mr. Riess, Executive Director of the Maritime Archaeological and Historical Research Institute, is director of site investigation ofthe 1717 pirate ship Widah in Massachusetts. His wife Sheli 0. Smith is director of site investigation of a mid-seventeenth century Basque fishing vessel on the Isle aux Morts. They live with their 13-month old daughter Tessa in Bristol, Maine.

NOTE: The National Society has proposed that the Ronson Ship be installed in a special exhibit building to be erected in Burling Slip, on the southern edge of the South Street Seaport district, little more than a hundred yards from where she was found. A report on this proposal is available and inquiries are welcome.

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Is the History of the Mariners of World War II to Go Missing Without Trace?

IN CLIO'S CAUSE:

by Charles Dana Gibson Today's researching hi storian quickly discovers that many important facets of history's most important sea lift- that of World War II-are no longe r locatable within the public record. Why? In part because beginning in the 1960s, bureaucra'ts decided that much of the documentation relating to wartime shipping was " unnecessaril y" taking up valuable space in the National Archives. As res ult, much of the story was burned or shredded . For instance, evaluators of US Army records at the St . Louis Records Center, ordered the destruction of the log books of all Army-owned ships along with those which were under the Army's long term bareboat charter. Thus, the day-to-day details regarding events that took place aboard Army transports have been lost fo r all time. Another exampl e: In a search I once conducted th rough government fi les, I came across correspondence dated early in 1946 from a civilian master mariner who, while serving as an Army Transport Service Marine Superintendent , had charge of files of wartime troop and materiel movements. His letters were pleading in their tone as he addressed Transportation Corps Headquarters, Washington , questioning headquarter's instruction to burn the fi les identifying each and every troop movement through the New York Port of Embarkation. Following his third letter of protest, a sharp and final communication came from Washington: " Not sign ificant ; burn them! " As I fo und out later, this order was quietl y disregarded and the files were removed to the Superintendent's home. Unfortunately, the man eventuall y moved to another state and somewhere in the move, the fi les were sidetracked. He is now dead , and the fil es have disappeared . These are only a couple of examples of the loss to posterity which is taking place with our maritime heri tage of the 1940s. The horror show goes on. Recently, I requested a World War II file through the Maritime Commission. The file purportedly contained specifics of ship charter ag reements between the War Shipping Administration and other government agencies ; they were of special import to research I was doing. To my dismay, the file "could not be located within the Archives." When I as ked for an explanation , I was told " it has disappeared." One may hope it is still in existence in some dusty corner. But what corner? One reason such things are happening is that the United States Maritime Commission has no assigned in-house historian , so there is nobody wi th the expertise to guide National Archive personnel regarding the retention and cataloging of 10

important files . That judgment is left to Archives staff who may-or may nothave any grasp of the maritime field , specificall y the period of World War II. The present policy of sw itching about personnel within the Archives aggravates the situation; it does not allow an individual to acc umulate sufficient knowl edge with the records that are his "stack" responsibility. In other words, that undiscovered file in that "dusty corner" may always remain as such. All is not completely bleak , though . There are many records currentl y locatable within the histori cal files of the Department of Navy, the Modern Military Records Center of the National Archi ves, and within the Maritime Commission fi les at the National Archi ves which , when assem bl ed into a cohesive fashion , give a relatively clear picture of many of the face ts of the sea lift. Through private research efforts, some of this documentation has already been pieced together. A valuable example of this is the JO-year study by Captain Arthur Moore which resu lted in his publication , A Careless Word ... A Needless Sinking. In his work, Moore relates, ship by ship, the stories of American merchant ship losses during World War II . Another private effort-one wh ich has already been placed into the public record , but only temporarily-are four appl ications, voluminous in their total bulk , as addressed to the Department of Defense Civilian/Military Veterans' Rev iew Board. These applications were made on behalf of certai n wartime grou ps of the merchant marine fo r inclusion under veterans' laws as administered by the Veterans Administration. These group applications contain literall y hundreds of pages of historical data pertaining to the World War II sea lift. Much of the data in those applications has never before been assembled under one cover; much of it is unique in content. The effort represented in gathering and articulating this material, when reckoned against the usual charge rate of participating historians and attorneys has been estimated as having a monetary value in excess of $135,000. Nevertheless , I am told by Department of Defense employees that once these applications have been reviewed and held for a reasonable time, there is currentl y no mechanism by which they can be shepherded into the Archives fo r permanent preservation . This means that in time they, too, will find their way into the shredder. Many ofus who have studied the sea lift have developed our own private archi ves; some are modest in scope. However, col-

lections such as that assembled by Captai n Moore, wou ld be considered highl y significant both in volume and in content. I for one, know of no central depository to which anyo ne could with confidence bequeath his records with any surety that they would be preserved. If such a place were available, then I fee l certain that there are many li ke me who wou ld bequeath ou r files , so their availabi lity to future historians could be ass ured . I also feel certain that once the ex istence of such a depository became known , there wo uld be scores of veteran mariners who would be willing to contribute oral histories and photographs. To prevent further losses, some institution or fo undation is needed to come fo rwa rd and offer its fac ilities for the longterm preservation of such documentation. In my judgment , the minimal standards for such a place should be: I. No n-governmental: the law spec ifies that Archive records which are scheduled to be destroyed cannot be transferred to another federal install ation. 2. A permanent location with a strong, funded status. 3. A trained curator and staff with knowledge of both the World War II period and of the maritime industry ge nerally. T his is essential fo r proper evaluation and cataloging. 4. A public relations program to ask fo r personal collections and oral histories and then to announce what is available. Statues, parks, museums, and study cente rs are scattered across the country honoring the armed forces of every war in which this country has been a partici pant . Yet to date, the American people have done little to recognize, much less memorialize, its World War II merchant marine. The short-li ved era of the clipper ship, the story of the America's Cup defenders, and the era of whaling all individually have been given more shelf space than has the far more momentou s and significant undertaking of our me rchant mariners of World War II. I can think of no fin er tribute to the merchant seaman and Armed Guards who served their country in World War II than the creation of such a permanent depository. Preservation of the record is the onl y surety that historians of the future wi ll recognize the significance of the outstanding serv ice rendered the nation by the mariners of 1941-45. '1

Captain Gibson went to sea at 16 as an ordinary seaman in Army small craft in World War II. He is the author of The Ordeal of Convoy 119, and owns a marine consulting firm in Boca Grande, Florida. SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985


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11


Officers and men of a US Coast Guard cutter escorting a North Atlantic convoy check over their flock as the long, dangerous winter night closes in. This evocative scene is from a painting by the late Anton Otto Fischer, who was there. Courtesy US Coast Guard.

Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of VE Day, May 8

Seamen's Recognition Day by Peter Stanford " The Battle of the Atlantic only recalls how terribly, terribly cold you were most of the time, and how alone you felt." So comments Earle P. Weir when his 26-year-old son asks him what it was like in the Great War. Seaman Weir survived his ship being sunk under him in that war, unlike some 6,700 American merchant seamen who steamed out of New York's Narrows, or San Francisco's Golden Gate or past Philadelphia's Cape May and never returned. That was a casualty rate higher than any one of the American armed services except the US Marines . Merchant seamen , in fact , were the first American casualties of World War II, as revealed by recent research conducted by their champion, Charles Dana Gibson . The transport vessel Cynthia Olson, under charter to the Army, reported herself under attack by a Japanese submarine about 1,000 miles northeast of Hawaii, at least 17 minutes before the attack on Pearl Harbor. None of the 33 crew members survived . On the Japanese side, the casualties are even more shocking due to the virtual destruction of the Japanese merchant marine by US submarines primarily, in the 3 years, 8 months of the Pacific war. K . Doi, President of the All Japan Seamen's Union , tells us that over 30,000 Japanese seafarers were lost at sea-their casualty rate was an appalling 43 per cent, whereas their Army lost 20 per cent, and the Navy 12

16 per cent. No organized force on either side in World War II equalled the tragic losses of the German U-boat force, which some people (including England's wartime prime minister Winston Churchill) thought to be the Axis force that came nearest to tipping the scales of war against the Allies. Three out of four young men who served in U-boats never came home. Seven hundred eighty-five U-boats were lost, leaving a battered handful afloat at the war's end, and of39,000 men who sailed on war patrols, 32 ,000 never came home-fewer than one out of five survived .

"What We Would Expect .. !' Feelings differ among survivors. Our member Richard F. Shepard forthrightly admits cheering when a British plane sank the German U-boat at the end of the film " Das Boot." The other moviegoers, including Dick's son , looked at him in horror. Dick goes on to concede that the film did get through to him , giving him "a look at an enemy I had never met, but dreaded." Then there is Ian A . Millar, founderofthe Sons and Daughters of US Merchant Marine Veterans, World War 2 , whose words might serve as the motto of Seamen's Recognition Day: "We must remember that all people who served at sea were doing nothing less than we would expect of our own people."

The Battle of the Atlantic, with its deadly northern extension on the perilous Murmansk run (to bring war supplies to an embattled Soviet Union) was the heart of the war at sea . The United States was ill-prepared for it. In the first months of the war the Canadians and British had to give us corvettes out of their overstretched fleets to stem the slaughter taking place off the beaches of Atlantic City, Fire Island and Miami, where hoteliers at first refused to turn off their lights at night, since it would spoil the tourist trade. U-boat skippers could not believe it , as they knocked off merchantmen silhouetted against the resort cities' glow. A year after American entry in the war, the battle reached its crescendo in the winter crisis of 1942-43. For the first six months of 1943 the Allies were plainly losing the war at sea on its most critical front, with 1.7 million tons of shipping sunk. The second half of the year saw only half a million tons lost , not quite as much as was lost in the deadly month of March alone. John M. Waters, a US Coast Guard veteran of the battle, observes in his book Bloody Winter that credit for the victory must go primarily to the British and Canadian navies, who bore the brunt of the battle and had 50,000 men engaged at its climax in May, 1943, as against about 3,000 American naval personnel. These small Allied forces, Waters rightly observes, were " the SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985


"I would like to see some small recognition of the patriotism shown by such a fine group of men." fulcrum on which the Free Wo rld's cause was so precariously balanced ." The toll of merchant shipping lost in the Battle of the Atlantic was 2,234 ships, totalling 11,899,732 tons, Waters notes. " Over half of these were British," he says, "and 30,248 men of the British Merchant Navy gave their lives that the Islands might continue in the fight." With the help of the National Maritime Union and others, the National Maritime Historical Society is co ll ecting survi vo rs' stories. We wa nt to see a cent ra l archi ves set up, as recommended by Dana Gibson on page II of this SEA HISTORY. And together with Shannon Wall , Pres ident of the NMU, Rear Admiral Thomas A. King, Superintendant of the US Merchant Marine Academy, Commiss ioner Susan Fra nk of the New York C ity Department of Po rts & Terminals, K . Doi of the All Japan Seamen's U nion,Spyros Skouras,of Prudential Lines in New York, W.B. Seaton of American President Lines in San Francisco and others, we are o rga ni zing observa nces in New York Harbor and elsewhere of the role of the merchant seamen on the 40th anniversa ry of YE Day, May 8 thi s yea r. Congress man Mario Biagg i, who is co-chairman of this effo rt with Shanno n Wall , has written us: " Recog niti on of our merchant ships and the men w ho sa il ed and di ed in them in ti me of wa r is long overdue. It is good to know that a major observance of the ro le of the merchant marine in Worl d War II w ill be held across the country thi s yea r."

The seamen's testimony as it reaches us brings to life the everyday concerns, the fea rs and valiant efforts of a threatened era in wo rld history. Charles de la Motte joined the Liberty ship John Walker as she was being completed in Baltimore in May 1942, half a yea r after American entry in World War II . Next month the ship went on to New York where she received her guns- one Sin , one 3in , and eight 20mm anti-aircraft automatic cannon. They then went across the harbor to New Jersey where they loaded tanks, planes and ammunition, and then proceeded in convoy to Scotland and then Iceland. "The tensions mounted when we received sa iling o rders to leave Iceland without convoy " .....:..bound fo r Murmansk. A few days out six German planes attacked the lone freighter. The capta in , John Nessen took the con and dodged the fallin g bombs " with the grace of a dancing master." A providential fog appeared , " like sailing into a cloud ," and the ship steamed on , hav ing hit at least two of he r attackers. She arri ved finall y in earl y November- delivering her cargo in time, presumably for the great Stalingrad offensive the foll owing month . Eight months after the ship set out , SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985

she returned to Bal timore. Subsequently de la Motte sailed to Africa , then Italy (where a German shell fired off A nzio cut the steam lines maki ng it impossible to unl oad the 3,000 barrels of gasoline she carri ed in her after hold !) , and on to France and Belgium until the l#zlkerwas laid up in January 1946- having played her part in turning the tides of history. " She was conside red a lucky ship," de la Motte remarks, to which one can onl y add "Amen!" The nation can be glad it had such ships-and men li ke Charles de la Motte to sail them .

Wanting to Be Involved T he seamen's reminiscences fl ow in , on different kinds of paper, in different handwritings, but all with a des ire to get across the story of the merchant mariner at war. They are typically orderl y and seamanlike, with touches of humor. Newport , on the Isle of Wight , was described as "a small town, but the beer was very good ," by Kevin H . King of Somerville, Massachusetts. He was in the battle off the No rth Cape in which the cruiser HMS &linburgh was sunk, his ship escaping by dropping smoke floats. Later he was torpedoed in the No rth Atlantic, and he lost another ship, the El Estero, when she caught fire and had to be sunk by the Coast Guard inside New Yo rk Harbor- to prevent her cargo of bombs from blowing up herself, the Statue of Liberty, and Jersey City. There was a feeling in America of involvement in the war. Everyone wa nted to do -his part and some signed up as merchant seamen after be ing rej ected by the armed forces. " I didn't want to miss the big one," says Stanley Hildreth of Oregon, who sailed in the Liberty Jam es L. Acherson in the invasion of Sicil y, and conni ved to get out of the hospital fo r the invas ion of No rm and y the following year. Farm boys and city boys, when they got to sea they fo und another world , run by rules they weren't accustomed to, with the old hands, and particularly the Old Man, looming larger than life. William 1. Bailey of San Fra ncisco sailed with a remarkable skippe r whom his offi cers called Ol af the Bear- " tough and brash and a man offew wo rds, mostl y cuss words," who enriched himself play ing non-optional poker with his offi cers, and amused himself with pithy comments on the amateur crews he had to sai l with : " Dummies. Dummies everyw here. I'm surrounded by incompetents. Even in the Navy. I hope they don't sink us by mistake." Bailey pictures him today, up aloft bossing the angels around , and concludes : " Bon voyage, Old Timer! You earned yo ur way and brought a chuckl e or two when it was most needed , at a time when the wo rld had gone mad ."

Charles de la Motte perhaps can speak for all these people, and of the role they played serving the nation, and in so doing, changing history. "As an elderl y man of82," says de la Motte, at the end of his yarn , " I would like to see some small recognition of the patriotism show n by such a fi ne gro up of men. Onl y that we were patriots! " Norway, whose mercpant marine joined the Allies after the German invas ion of 1940, lost 4,500 seamen in World War II , and 708 of the ir merchant vessels were sun k. No rwegians honor thei r seafaring tradition- and know what it costs. Their me rchant mari ne combat veterans receive veterans' benefits, and what to US seamen is more important , recognition. Far from be ing recognized , Ameri can seamen tend to feel slighted- their vital and courageous contribution overl ooked . The Hearst press once ran a story that National Maritime Union seamen had refused to unload military cargo on Guadalcanal on a Sunday, fo rcing the embattled Marines to do it for themselves . The story ran in 1943. The NMU sued Hearst fo r libel , and received $8,500 in settlement, six years later, lo ng after the war was ended . Many papers which ran the orig inal slanderous story never printed the retraction that was o rdered. Old hands still fum e over that.

Keeping the Sea How has the United States kept the sea lanes these men gave s0 much to keep open? Not well , it seems, fo r the nation that built 5,000 ocean-going ships in the c risis of World War II now ra nks among the have- not nations in ocean shipping, with shipyards cl os ing and our merchant marine dwindling to the po int that it carries less than 1/20 of our own overseas commerce. Our member, the di stingui shed naval architect Lester Rosenblatt , sees America today devo id of " the log istic capability we need to defend ourselves ," in a hostil e enviro nment where others are quite ready to bring push to shove- particul arl y when there's not go ing to be any push back. He recentl y as ked a Navy Department offi cial where his assess ment of the situation was wro ng- thinking that he must be wro ng, that no fi rst-class power would voluntaril y relinqui sh its ability to move in the ocean world . T he offi cial answered: " U nfo rtunately, I have a sinking sensation in the pit of my stomach that yo u are right." He then spoke to a political leader about this situation. The res ponse was to the po int : " But there is no constituency." No constituency? Perph aps we'd better build one, both in memory of the generation now pass ing on, who manned the sea lanes in time of ultimate peril , and in the hope that it will not be necessary fo rthe coming generation to do these things aga in . w 13


AFTER FORTY YEARS: I Find Out How My Ship Was Sunk in World War II -and Meet the Extraordinary Man Who Sank Her! by Harold J. McCormick, Lieutenant Commander, USNR (ret.) On Wedn esday, Jul y 19, 1944, the Ameri can Liberty Ship William Gaston set out by herself from Buenos A ires , Argentina , bound fo r Ri o de Janeiro, Braz il . T here she was to join a US Navy convoy bac k to the Port of New York, which the ship had departed two months earlier. I was aboard as US Navy gunnery offi cer. She never fini shed this voyage, be ing sunk en route. Fo rty yea rs later, I fo und out how this happened, and I met th e submarine skipper th at sank us.

Part One: 1944 William Gaston was my second Liberty Ship. The first , Alfred Moo re, was an auxiliary troopship, which had carried US Army A ir Force crews to England and Italy in 1943 and earl y 1944. Then I j oined the Gaston , sailing in convoy fro m New Yo rk on May 16 to Guantanamo, Cuba , and then on to Port of Spain , Trinidad , and Ri o de Janeiro. We then proceeded independentl y to Santos , Braz il , and Montevideo, U ruguay, at which ports we di scharged our cargo of mechanical eq uipment and vehicle ti res. On Jul y 10 the ship was ordered to proceed to Rosario, A rgentina and Buenos A ires , to load a cargo of9,000 tons of A rgent ine corn fo r deli ve ry to the United States- perhaps as a gesture to imp rove Ame ri can-A rgentine relati ons. Our crew enj oyed their shore leaves in Rosari o and Buenos Aires , beautifu l and prosperous cities . They we re the onl y ones we would visit during the war

which were not at war. Neve rtheless, in Buenos Aires we enco untered some anti-Ameri can attitudes. In our US Navy unifo rms we we re sometimes ve rball y abused on the streets and even hissed in the beautiful opera house, Teatro Colon. As we sailed down La Pl ata Ri ver on Jul y 19 we noted th at we we re being fo llowed by a small fre ighter fl ying the A rgentine fl ag. She was about 200 tons, and the dark smoke fro m her stac k ind icated th at she was probab ly a coal-burner. When we reac hed th e open sea and set a northerl y course toward Ri o, she chose the same course, taking a pos ition about one mile off our sta rboard qu arter. Our Navy gun crew stood its regular general qu arters watch, and , after dark , noted that the Argentine ship had turned on its running lights. Thi s was no rm al procedure for a neutral vessel in wa rtime, but interesting to th e crew of William Gaston , as most of us had never seen a neut ral ship at sea during the wa r. O n T hursday and Friday, Jul y 20 and 21, life was completely normal with the merchant and Navy crews aboard William Gaston. In fac t , it was better than normal as the ship was headed fo r home, and, hav ing picked up fres h stores of meats, vegetab les and fruits in Argenti na , was serving better meals than usualalways a major fac tor in crew morale at sea. During the first three days we gradu all y became accustomed to the presence of our A rgentine " neighbor." It gave us something to look at whil e o n watch. Our ship's master, Captain Harry W. Chase of New Yo rk

This German Navy photo of U-861 and crew at the commissioning in early 1944 shows Oesten in the front row center (first white belt f rom left). This was to be his third and last command.

14

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985


We felt very secure, as we knew that no U-boat could operate on or near the surface in such heavy seas. City, said : " The damn fools probably don't know how to navigate and are simply following us to Rio." If we had felt the Argentine ship was any kind of threat to us, we might have reported he r presence to US Naval autho rities by ship's radio. However, we were under orders to maintain radio silence during our passage to Rio. During the night of July 20-21 a strong gale started blowing out of the southwest and grad uall y developed into a violent pampero, the scourge of the South Atlantic during midwinter in the Southern Hemisphere. The heavily laden 7,000-ton William Gaston could hold her own in the mountainous seas, but the 200-ton Argentinian was tossed about like a rubber duck. At midday on July 22 William Gaston received a surprising coded message from the US Navy command in Braz il , ordering us to change course nearly 90 degrees to starboard , or from northerl y to easterly.' Captain Chase was confounded and irritated , but nevertheless obeyed orders . We noted that the Argentine vessel made the same course change and maintained the same relative bearing from William Gaston. Captain Chase then quipped: "Now the damn fools are following us to Africa!" By midday of Sunday, Jul y 23, William Gaston had sailed about 150 miles fa rther out into the South Atlantic, far outside of coastal shipping lanes , with the " lost" Argentinian ship still in close pursuit. About mid-afternoon a weird event took place. A huge albatross overtook William Gaston and began circling the ship, making a strange shrieking cry. All hands not on duty in the engine roo m ra n out on deck to witness the unusual spectacle. After a few minutes the huge bird glided down and made a kind of crash landing on the ship's steel deck , a most unli kely action for a webfoo ted sea bird. As it lay panting on the deck , the old hands in the ship's crew began to relate the old superstitions about the bird. A live albatross was said to bring good luck to a ship, but a dead /. M11ch later we lea rned a German U-boat, U-861 , had torpedoed and sunk the Brazilian aiuiliary troopship Vita de Olive ira aff Caba Frio, Brazil, 0 11 Ju ly 20. Th e US Navy H¡as trying to route Wi ll iam Gasto n around a coasral danger zone, bur we did nor k t10\\1 thar at rhe tim e.

albatross meant disaster. Finally two merchant seamen, wearing heavy gloves , picked up the albatross by its wings and dropped it over the side. All hands ran aft to watch the bird floating upright and riding :.ip and down in the huge swells. Then it was noticed that the Argentine vessel had disappeared , apparently veeri ng off to starboard . Dinner that evening was es pec ially enjoyable for the crew. The chefs always tried to make Sunday dinners something special. In addition there was a kind of relief that the albatross episode had ended happil y and that our Argentine pursuer had disappeared . At sunset the Navy gun crew stood its usual general quarters watching, taking positions on the fl ying bridge and fore and aft gun tubs as heavy seas were breaking over the starboard rail. Captain Chase had ordered that the doors on the main deck of the midship house be closed and dogged in order to prevent the seas from ru nning into the crew's quarters . At about 8:30 PM , ship's time, I walked around the corner of the passageway from my stateroom to the larger quarters of Chief Engineer Gustav Seeburg of Yonkers, New York . Within a few minutes we were j oined by First Engineer Walter Miller, of Raci ne, Wisconsin , who had just come off the 4-to-8 watch. We were discussi ng the fun we had had ashore in Buenos Aires and looking forward to Rio de Janeiro, which Chief Seeburg had visited but Walter and I had not. We felt very secure, as we knew that no U-boat could operate on or near the surface in such heavy seas. Then , suddenly and without warning, William Gaston was rocked by a tremendous explosion . all lights went out , and the mate on the bridge set off the heart-stopping emergency alarm. All hands rushed into the darkened passageways shouting "What was that? What was that?" Most of the crew was trapped inside on the main deck because the doors were closed and dogged , and they had to scramble up the narrow ladders to the boat deck in the din and darkness. I was ab le to find my way through the darkened passageways to my stateroom, where I picked up my life jacket and flashlight and then climbed to my battle station on the flying bridge. Visibility

Pulling a vanishing act, U-861 submerges in her acceptance trials in the Baltic. Photos courtesy Foto-Druppel, Wi/h elmsha ven.

On deck , aboard U-861 as she knifes through a calm sea ; here 64 men li ved in a year-long voyage halfway round the world and back. Photo, J. Oesten.

6

7

3

8 :-- "';'~~~r:­ ~

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SEA HISTORY, SPRJNG 1985

10

15


SS William Gaston, bui/1 in Wilming1on NC and launched Jun e 1942. Gross ions: 7174. Armamen1: 3.5in gun forward , 5in 38cal aft , 8-20mm an1iaircraft gun s. Max. speed: !Oki. She is one offive ships a1tacked by U-861 on !his cruise.fourof which sank. Nole 1he men in 1he after gun 1ub and on 1hefa111ail. Pho10, Na1ional Archi ves.

was almost zero and made worse by the salt spray which blew off the crests of the waves. No one on board reall y knew what had hap pened, but the Navy gunner's mate on watch in the stern gun tub told me over our sound-powered telephone line that we had been stru ck by a torpedo on our starboard quarter. I went down to the bridge deck to report that to Captain Chase. He seemed rather philosophical about it all. The ship was settling slowly by the stern . The eng ine room crew had already cl imbed up to the boat deck , and the ship was los ing headway in the rough sea . Captai n Chase then gave the order to abandon ship, which I passed on to the Navy crew. The first boat to be launched was No.I on the starboard side, which also was the weather side. It was swung out and lowered part way, and then was smashed aga inst the ship's sides by the pounding waves . Abandonment seemed impossible in those heavy seas, and Captain Chase co untermanded his earlier order, although communicati on had become almost imposs ible by that time. We were to douse all fl ashlights, take positions on the highest decks of the ship, and hope that we would stay afloat until morning.

Trying to think of something, anything constructive to do, I remembered the Navy codebooks, which were to be destroyed in an emergency. Captain Chase agreed th at we should throw th em over the side . I found my way to his qua rte rs, where th e codes

Hatch covers blew off, overhead rigging fell to the deck, and the ship was engulfed with the sickening sweet smell of explosives. were kept in a locked , perforated steel case . I carried that out to the starboa rd wing of the bridge, but before dropping it over the side had a second th ought : Suppose we don't sink? I put th e case down on the deck. By that time my ni ght vision had improved to th e point at which, looking aft on the starboa rd side, I could see the outline of the ship and the heavy seas breaking over the rail. Suddenly a second torpedo struck on our starboa rd quarter. Hatch covers blew off, overhead rigging fe ll to the deck , and the ship was engulfed w ith the sickeni ng sweet smell of expl os ives. This time th ere was no doubt. William Gaston was going

Harold McCormick , left, chiefof1he Navy gun crew aboard !he Liberly ship William Gaston, 1944.

Commander Oes/en, rig/11, a1 Trondh eim , Norway, in April 1945 after his epic voyage back from Malaysia.

16

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985


down-and fast . The crews scrambled to their lifeboats as the seas rose to float them. Within two minutes Boats 2 ,3 and 4 were gone, but there were still 14 men , myself among them , milling abo ut the boat deck. First Engineer Mill er, seeing that I was shoeless in stocking feet and wearing only a khak i shirt and tro users und er my lifejacket , took the time to return to his nearby cabin and brought me his trench coat-a very compass ionate act which I have never fo rgotten , even though I later lost the coat. Then , one man rose to the occas ion: USN Seaman First Class Walter Smith craw led up the now steep-s lanted portside deck and tripped a large liferaft mounted in a chute. The 14 men jumped over the side to the raft. Then, just as the ship was go ing down in a series of violent underwater erupti ons, Seaman Smith used his hunting knife, the only one on board, to cut the painter and prevent the raft from being pulled under w ith the ship. The first few minutes on the liferaft were like the climax of a nightmare . The mountainous swells were being reinforced by the noisy eruptions of air escaping from the sinking ship. Debris from the deck was fl oating everyw here, including several liferings with attached emergency lamps which turned on automaticall y and glowed red in the dark. For the men on the raft the re was an initial feeling of exhi laration at being still on the surface afte r the ship was go ne. We had won the first round . Within another minute or two, due to the toss ing seas and the phys ical and emoti onal reaction to our ex perience, the 14 men became seas ick almost simultaneo usly and vomited all over themselves and each other. For the next several hours we huddled on the raft, clinging to the deck boards to keep from being swept overboard. The deck of the raft was about the size of 9-by-12 rug , wholly inadeq uate for 14 men. The top, bottom and sides were wooden lattice work , holding a number of steel drums which provided buoya ncy. Being aboard was like riding a combination rollercoaster-flume ride, rising repeated ly to the crest of a wave and then sliding down into a deep trough, with seas breaking over us from all sides. We had the fee ling of being suspended in space , with no sense of direction , fl oating somewhere between the dark sky and dark sea . The surface of the ocean was dotted with plankton, whose luminescence added a weird dimension to the unreality. The night seemed endless, both because of our predicament and because of the long darkness of midwinter in the southern hemisphere. The air and water were cold enough to be chilling, but were not freezing . During the night we began talking a little,

between interval s when a man wou ld be washed over the side and had to be helped aboard aga in. Radio Operator Lester Godow n told us that he had sent a number of SSS messages (meaning "Attacked by Submarine"), but had received no response. Ch ief Mate Ernest Chalk , of Bermuda , a retired British merchant master, observed that , due to our change to an easterly course, we were now nearly 200 miles out in the South Atlan ti c, fa r outside coastal shipping lanes . Daybreak , when it came, showed us nothing except the vast rolling seas. There were no lifeboats in sight and we on the raft had no idea of whether any of our other shipmates had surv ived . Early in the morn ing we decided to take stock of our situation. The interior compartment of the raft , in addition to the flotation drums, was supposed to conta in our survival rations. But the wooden keg designed to hold fresh water had coll apsed due to neglected maintenance and was full of sea water. A metal cylinder for food rations contained onl y bulk chocolate which was fou nd to be full of white worms. The balance of the morning was spent in group si lence and private despa ir. Then , at about 1 PM someone on the raft shouted " Look, look, an airplane!" We all looked, and , sure enough, there was an aircraft in the distance. There was an immediate fear that the plane wou ld not see us and simply fl y away. Several men stood up on the crowded raft , wav ing the ir arms and shouting futi lely. But the aircraft did see us¡ and began to fly a w ide circle, gradually dropping to a lower altitude. After a few minutes the plane passed directly over the raft. We cou ld see from its markings that it was a US Navy seaplane of the Mariner class. As it passed over, the co-pilot on the right hand side of the cockpit flashed the " V for Victory " sign in Morse Code w ith a hand-held blinker light . Naturally, a tremendous feel ing of excitement and exhili ration swept through the raft's crew. We didn't know how or when o r even if we wou ld be rescued, but we were greatly reass ured by the knowledge th at Naval au thorities somewhere wo uld soon learn of our plight. During the ens ui ng afternoon and eveni ng, the raft was kept under surveill ance almost continuous ly by Mariners on a seri es of patrols. T he weather had abated somewhat , but the seas were sti ll far too ro ugh for seaplane landings. We aga in became somewhat depressed with the onset of anothe r night , hav ing then go ne more than 24 hours without sleep, food or water. During the night , th e Mariners tried to maintain contact by continuing the patro ls. It was an eerie sensation to hang onto the raft in the darkness and see huge fl ying boats skimming low over the sea with their landing lights turned on, trying to find the raft in the da rkness. Finally, at about 3 AM , we were startled to see a huge searchlight at some distance on the surface, scanning the sea in obvious

Bane of U-boats, th e big Mariner seaplane looked like an angel of rescue to the Gaston's men adrift in th e South Atlantic. Photo, US Na vy.

US Na vy Seaplan e Tender, USS Matagorda, picked up the survivors ofthe William Gaston about 30 hours after the ship we/1/ down.

We had the feeling of being suspended in space... floating somewhere between the dark sky and dark sea.

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985

17


Awnings fend ojfrh e blazing sun in Malaysia, where U-861 arri ved ro deliver machinery and pick up a ca rgo of ra w marerials. Phoro, J. Oesren.

/ search for something. Was it a U-boat or a fri endly vessel? We didn't know. After a few minutes, th e beam located the raft and blinded us in its glare. The vessel moved closer until it reached a distance of perhaps a hundred ya rds. Then a vo ice with an amplifier sang out , "Ahoy there! Stand by to take a line." A line-firin g gun on the deck boomed in our directi on, fir ing a projectile over the raft and dropping a ro pe in the midst of our crew. Several men joined in lashing it to the raft, and the ship, using a deck winch , began to pull us toward the vessel on her lee side. As we approached we could see a nava l vessel about the size of a destroye r with some lights on deck, crew men at the ra il s, and a gangway extending from th e main deck down to the surface of the sea. Although none of our crew was injured or ill , we were weakened and emoti onall y spent and had to be half-ca rried aboard the ship. We we re given water and soup and ass igned to bunks of the ship's crew. We learned th at th e ship was USS Matagorda , a seapl ane tender and fl oating base fo r the Mariners. Her captai n was Commander Andrew Crinkley, USN . She had previously picked up one of William Gaston 's lifeboats, and Captain C rinkl ey had been informed that there could be two more life boats in the area . So Matagorda continued to cruise about , scanning the seas with her searchlight. Peri odi call y, Captain Crinkley ordered lights extinguished and speed stepped up. He did not wish to be unnecessaril y exposed to U-boats, particularl y as the ship carri ed a sizeable crew and a large cargo of anti -submarine bombs and av iation gasoline. Several times during the night I was awakened from a fitful sleep by ship's offi cers seeking my help in determ ining the size

U-861 wasa Type !XD U-boar, 1600 gross rons, builr by A.G. Weser in Bremen, launched /are 1943. Armamenr :four bow and rwo srern rorpedo rubes, srowagefor 24 rorpedos; a 4.1 in deck gun, 2-20mm anriaircraft guns. Speed: 19kr surface, 7kr submerged.

of William Gaston 's crew. I knew there we re Y7 Navy pe rsonnel and I thought 40 in the merchant crew, a total of 67 men . Befo re daybreak, Matagorda located and picked up two more life boats, one carry ing Captain Chase. The boats were destroyed by machine-gun fire as th e other boat and raft had been earlie r. In the mo rning all hands from William Gaston were thrilled to learn th at the entire crew of 67 men had survived and that the re we ren't even any injuries, despite the horrendous circumstances of taking two torpedoes and abandoning ship in a violent sto rm . Matagorda proceeded to F lo rianapolis, Brazil , her temporary operating base, arri ving th ere around midday on Jul y 26. Our crew was turned over to the custody of the US Vice Consul , William Preston Rambo of Hamilton , Ohio. On Jul y 29 the 67 survivors of William Gaston were taken aboard the old Braz ili an passenge r ship ltabera fo r a four-day passage to Rio de Janeiro, where th e merchant and Navy crews were permanently separated and lost track of each othe r.

Part Two : 1984 In 1980, after retiring fro m US business , I undertook a personal research proj ect to determine what lay behind our experiences in 1944. Excellent cooperati on was provided by the US Navy Department , National A rchives, Library of Congress and the FBI , which suppl ied me with copies of scores of declass ified wa rtime documents. Thus, the places, dates and names mentioned in this article are based on official ship's logs, intelligence reports, crew lists, etc., and not just on my own memo ri es 40 years after the events. The first breakth ro ugh came in 1980 from the Naval Histo ri cal Center, which identified William Gaston 's ad versary as German U-boat 861 , Commande r Jurgen Oesten . That agency also gave

U-861 ends her cruise ar Trondh eim, Norway, a few weeks before German surrender makes her voyage moor. Phoro, J. Oesren.


"So we mee1again ' '. .. a111agonis1s McCormick (al left) and Oes1en s/and fora snapshol on 1he wa1erfro111 in Hamburg, Germany in Oc1ober 1983.

me the name and address of a West German Historical Center, through which I was able to reach ex-Commander Oesten, who still lives in Hamburg and with whom I have maintained correspondence for the past four years. From files at the FBI and the National Archives I was able to obtain dozens of declassified documents describing the role of German agents in Argentina during World War II. This was prev iously suspected in a general way, but the documents were very specific. The Germans actuall y had two es pionage agencies operating in Buenos Aires-Abwehr, the intelligence branch of the Wehrmacht (German Armed Forces) which functioned through the German Embassy, and Sicherheitsdienst , known as SD, which was the espionage arm of the Naz i Party and operated in the underground . SD was staffed by agents who had been sent to Argentina as representatives of German firms. The leader of the group was Johannes Siegfried Becker, known as the Haupsturmfuhrer, who was born in Leipzig in 1912 , became a second lieutenant of infa ntry in the German Army, and in 1937 was sent by the Nazis to Buenos A ires as a representati ve of Deutsche Hand werks Gesell schaft of Berlin. Throughout the war SD was reinforced and financed by the Nazi Government, which sent men and material s to Buenos Aires via U-boats and " neut ral" Spanish ships. During 1943-44, SD operated at least nine clandestine shortwave radio stations in and aro und Buenos A ires sending nightly dispatches to Germany regard ing Allied ship movements and other information of milita ry o r political significance. The second m¡a jor breakthrough in my research came in 1981 , when I fo und at the National Archives a copy of a US Naval Intelligence Report from the American Embassy in Buenos Aires , dated July 9, 1944- which was actually while our ship was discharging cargo in Montev ideo, en route to Buenos Aires. This reported the appearance of a new shipping company in Buenos Aires. That firm , Cosi!dex SA , had recently purchased a 25-year old , 200-ton , coal-burning Argentine freighter, renamed it SS Besugo, and equipped it with a radio-telephone! For the past several years I have pursued va ri ous US intelligence sources , trying to establish an identification of Besugo as the small freig hter which followed William Gaston out of Buenos Aires in July 1944. In 1983 the FBI advised me that it had located " 1000 pages of documents bearing on your research," but thus far has released none of them to me, even though I agreed to pay the costs for an official FBI researcher. Meanwhile, I have taken a new approach to the project. In June 1984, I placed an advertisement in the English-language Buenos Aires Herald, seeking a research aide to locate Argentine documents bearing on the subject. I received more than 100 replies from Argentine journalists, histo rians, translators , etc. In late 1984, I was able to reach an ag reement to collaborate on a proposed book with an Argentine journalist-historian who held a sensitive position in Buenos Aires during World War II , who is still acquainted with several of the surviving principals in the story, and who was a guest at our home in Connecticut while on a business trip to New York City in October 1984.

Epilogue Although I have never seen another crew member of William Gaston since 1944, I have kept in touch with our former enemy, Jurgen Oesten. In October 1983 on a trip to Europe, my wife and I were the guests of Oesten and his wife Edith in Hamburg, and we also met several of their children and gra ndchildren . The Oesten family speaks excellent English in addition to German and French . Oesten is an extraordinary man . He was born in Berlin in October 1913, the son of a German sculptor. As a yo ung man he SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985

had an urge to "see the sea ," and , in 193 1, at age 18, secured an appointment to the German Naval Academy at Flensburg . When World War II broke out in September 1939, Oesten, then only 25, was already in command of U-61. Later he commanded U-106 with great distinction , and then served two yea rs ashore on the staff of Admiral Doenitz before being g iven command ofU-861. Oesten was one of the most successfu l U-boat captains, sinking 23 A llied ships and damaging several others, including the British battleship Malaya. His third command , U-861 , was one of the big, 1600-ton, type IXD U-boats, des igned fo r long-ra nge missio ns and also capable offunctioning as an underwater cargo carrier. U-861 , with a crew of 64, sailed from Kiel in April 1944, attacked five Allied ships off Brazil and South Africa , delivered technical equipment to the Japanese in Malaysia , and carried critical raw materials back to orway, arri ving in Ap ri l 1945. She could not return to Germany, since advanci ng British armies had occupied the North Sea Coast. After VE-Day early the fo ll owi ng month , Oesten was o rdered to sail U-861 to Liverpool , England , where the raw materials were di scharged . Later, under orders of the Allied High Command , U-861 and about 100 other captured German U-boats were scuttled in the North Atlantic. After the war, Oesten returned to defeated and destroyed Germany. He eventually formed his own companies to design and install air cond itioni ng systems on ships in Europe and in the Middle East and Far East. He became a very successful businessman and in 1983 retired to li ve very comfortabl y in residential Hamburg. During our visit there he seemed rather reluctant to talk abo ut the war, wh ich holds painful memories for him. He had spent the entire Nazi era in the Kriegs marine, most of the time at sea. He met Adolf Hitler a few times wh ile on Doenitz's staff and described the Fuhrer as " mad , but mes merizing." One of the other ships in this story, USS Matagorda, had an interesting later career in he r own right. After serving for another year as a seaplane tender she was picked in 1945 to be the A llied press ship for the invasion of Japan and was eq uipped with the most modern communication apparatus. That mission was, of course, scrubbed after Hi ros hima and Nagasaki and the surrender of Japan. In 1969 she was designated as a target ship by the US Navy and was sunk in the Central Pacific off Hawaii. Thus, of the four ships which had brief encounters in July 1944, onl y the fa te of the little Argentine steamer Besugo remains a mystery. The others , William Gaston , U-861 and Matagorda, are lying in hundreds of fathoms of water, thousands of miles apart , along with the thousands of other hulks lyi ng on the bottom of the sea as a result of all past naval wars and natural maritime disasters . J,

J,

J,

Harold }. McCormick was born in 1914 in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and was an advertising and public relations executive there before joining the US Naval Reserve in 1942. Now retired from The Sperry and Hutchinson Company of New York, he lives with his wife of 38 years in Stamford, Connecticut. 19


A fighting lady

One of her planes, an SB2C Helldiver, wheels home out of the lonely sky to land on the ship's welcoming decks. This was August 12, 1944. Intrepid has just joined Task Force 38, the main battlefleet in the Pacific, following repairs made necessary by a torpedo hit earlier in the year. Later she'll be hit by three kamikazes, losing lives and planes. But always she comes back. She keeps on hitting.

It's March 18, 1945, offthecoastofJapan. Fighting a determined foe, the great ship narrowly avoids a Japanese kamikaze bomber which crashed into the sea alongside her. Her own planes, hunched down on the flight deck, will survive this moment to take off in operations against the Japanese home islands.


needs your help! USS Intrepid helped us all when we needed her help desperately. Today she needs your help to perform her last, in some ways most vital mission-to tell her own story and that of her people, so that Americans of this generation and generations to come may know how a free people fought and won the greatest sea war in history. How they did it, and what it cost. James Ean, a founder of the Intrepid Aerospace Museum, remembers well his first sight of the great aircraft carrier which houses the museum. The ship lies at quiet moorings today, on Manhattan's West Side just north of 42nd Street. When Jim first saw her, her huge grey bulk loomed over the horizon of the Pacific Ocean where the ship he served in, one of a scratch group of hastily converted aircraft carriers, was operating in the struggle to roll back the Japanese air-sea onslaught of World War II. "She looked beautiful," he recalls. "With that kind of ship we knew we could win." Intrepid was one of five Z7,000-ton Essex class carriers laid down just before American entry into World War II. Completed at Newport News Shipyard in just over a year and a half, she went through the arduous training that welds ship, planes and men into a fighting unit in the fall of 1943, steaming out to join the fleet in the Pacific early in 1944. Her arrival, with her sistersultimately 17 of these great carriers served in World War II-had a decisive effect on the Pacific war, punching great holes in the webbed defenses of the Japanese island empire and reducing the awesome power of the Imperial Japanese Navy to a few shattered hulks still afloat by the war's end. Many of the people who worked to build the ship had never seen the inside of a shipyard before. Many of the people who served in her had never seen a ship before. They learned. And they taught the world how great ships are built-and how they are sailed to victory.

The Intrepid Museum looks back to these lessons of history-hard learned lessons paid for at a high priceand also looks forward to the American adventure in space with the great influence that will have on future history. The ship carries a very important message to the people of New York City and the nation today. We of the New York Council of the Navy League of the United States want to see her strengthened and confirmed in that role. The great ship needs your help! Here's what you can do: • Write Hon. Edward I. Koch, Mayor of the City of New York, City Hall, New York, New York 10007 to tell him why you want to see this ship kept open to the public in New York. There is a good deal that the city can do in reducing rents and other costs, without spending tax dollars. • Send people to the ship! It's a rewarding trip for families, school groups, office pals, golfing buddies ... people of all kinds, sorts and conditions. • Give money to help with the budget, or time to help with volunteer tasks. Write or call Intrepid Museum Foundation, Intrepid Square, West 46th Street & 12th Avenue, New York, NY 10036: tel. 212 245-2533. We of the New York Council of the Navy League are proud to support this important project. We run an active program of talks, lunches, ship visits in the New York area. If you'd like to know more about us, just drop us a line. We'd be glad to welcome you aboard!

NEW YORK COUNCIL NAVY LEAGUE OF THE UNITED STATES 37 West 44th Street • New York, New York 10036 • 212 575-1999


Cadet Midshipman Edwin J. 0 'Hara brings the

Hopkins's fo ur-incher into action singlehanded. Painting by Lt. WN. Wilson, USMS, courtesy US Merchant Marine Academy.

How an Ugly Duckling Fought Back and Sank Her Assailant by Peter Stanford Liberty ships , the mass-produced " ugly duckling" freighters of World War II , were armed to ward off surface attack by submarines , and provide some defense against aircraft. The Liberty Stephen Hopkins , one of the first 20 of the 2 ,750 ultimately built in the US, was launched from Kaiser's yard in Richmond , California in the spring of 1942. She was armed with a 4in gun salvaged from World War I (later Libertys carried a Sin gun and usually a 3in heavy anti-aircraft gun as well) . She also carried 2-37mm anti-aircraft guns and 6 machine guns. Her fourincher threw a 33-pound projectile. So armed , she stumbled on the German auxiliary cruiser Stier and her supply ship Tannenfels , coming out of a rainstorm in the South Atlantic on the morning of September 27, 1942. The Stier carried six 5.9in guns, each firing a shell weighing almost four times the Hopkins 's shell , and directed by sophisticated fire control apparatus. She was nothing to fool around with . One of her sister ships, the auxiliary cruiser Kormoran, got into close action with the regular Australian Navy cruiser Sydney, and sank this first-line warship! The well armed raider opened fire on the hapless Liberty with everything she had , once her skipper Horst Gerlach saw that the Hopkins was not going to stop. (Of the Stier 's previous twenty victims, only one had failed to stop and surrender, immediately. Stier had aboard a crowd of captured merchantman crews.) The Hopkins 's crew rallied as best they could. Ensign Kenneth M. Willett, USNR , in charge of the naval armed guard, was wounded by a shell fragment on his way to the 4in gun. Second Mate Joseph Layman got his 37mm guns into action , hitting the Stier repeatedly with light shot at the close range of 1,000 yards. The Liberty 's machine guns joined in , and soon after Ensign Willett got the four-incher going with a steady, accurate fire. But the German fire was overwhelming, and the whole gun c rew was soon killed or 22

wounded, leaving Willett alone. Finally the magazine blew up, silencing Willett and his gun-but not before the Stier had been badly holed by its fire . Captain Paul Buck of the Hopkins had told his men that he meant to fight if he encountered German raiders , and that is what they had been doing. But now, with e ngine room ablaze, the ship stopped and sinking, with her guns silenced , Buck reluctantly gave the order to abandon ship. ¡ While the men were leaving, they heard the four-incher speak again. Five shots rang out, every one hitting the Stier or Tannenfels. What had happened was this : during the voyage Cadet Midshipman Edwin O ' Hara , at 18 the youngest man aboard, had been practicing at the gun with his friend Ensign Willett. Coming up from the blazing inferno of the engine room to see Willett being carried away, he climbed into the gun tub. There he found five shells, and single-handed he loaded and fired them. With that, the 20-minute fight was over. Rain closed in over the drifting boats and liferafts of the Hopkins. Only after the war was over did the 15 survivors of the ship's complement of 57 learn that the Stier, flooding through many holes punched by the four-incher, had to be abandoned and sunk , her crew and captives taken aboard the Tannenfels. After the Hopkins 's survivors stumbled ashore at a remote Brazilian fishing village, the Navy lieutenant sent to meet them said of them that they " were never for one moment beaten. After thirty days of being battered together on a cramped lifeboat , they were still lavishing praise on one another, helping one another." Cadet O'Hara did not survive the battle. Nor did Captain Buck or Ensign Willett of the gun crew. Later, a building in the US Merchant Marine Academy at King's Point was to be named for O'Hara ; a Liberty ship was named for Buck, and a destroyer escort for Willett . Only one officer survived , 2nd Assistant Engineer George Cronk . He brought the other 14 survivors to safety in Brazil after a 31-day boat journey, as recounted in Ian Millar's report , which speaks volumes for why this crew lived and fought so well together. The Germans were stunned by the loss of their auxiliary cruiser. Captain Gerlach of the Steir refused to be! ieve that the Hopkins had not been secretly rearmed as a cruiser herself. But Ludolf Petersen , another of the Stier 's officers, spoke the true epitaph for the Hopkins and her people: "We could not but feel that we had gone down at the hands of a gallant foe . ... that Liberty ship ended a very successful raiding voyage. We could have sunk many more ships."

"The Type of Man Your Brother Was ..." by Ian A. Millar We tend to look upon the battles as being fought by ships, planes and tanks, and we seem to forget that all of these were manned by people. There is a very serious neglect of the part played by the seamen of the merchant marine. If they receive any credit, it is hard to find. And another aspect of World War II history that seems wrong to me is the good guys versus bad guys type of recollection . All the men who served at sea during the war were doing nothing less than we would expect of our own people. For these reasons I set out some time ago to find out all I could about such actions as the Hopkins-Stier battle. The most important element of my research is the human participant-like 2nd Assistant Engineer George Cronk, whose friend Chief Engineer Rudolf A. Rutz was lost in the battle. Here is what Cronk said about his friend in a letter to Rutz's sister : I arrived at my home here in Bessemer a few days ago and found a letter here from you asking about your brother Rudolph Rutz. Yes, he was on the same ship as me, I was his Second Engineer and his friend as well . He and I were together all the time the battle was going on, carrying wounded men out of the engine room and off the decks and out of their quarters where they were shelled in their beds. When the Abandon Ship signal was given he was putting life preservers on the wounded men. He told me to go to the boat deck and that is the last anyone saw of him. I helped lower the only boat left, then I saw the Captain throw his code book overboard and walk to the other end of the bridge. I went to that side but could not find him and by that time I was trapped by fire started by incendiary shells and had to jump overboard and swim for it. I made the life boat in about 20 minutes and managed to pick up nine men out of the water and off the rafts. I am the only surviving officer. I lost over 40 pounds weight on my twenty-two hundred mile, thirty one day trip to the coast of Brazil but am feeling better now and will be on my way to the Pacific Coast to take out another ship soon. I 'MIIlt to tell you that with the type of men that your brother was this country can never lose a war and you can be very proud of him for he was a square shooter and one of the merriest men I have ever known and here's hoping for you and the rest of his family the very best of luck . I remain your friend , G EORGE S. CRONK

Mr. Millar is founder ofSons and Daughters of US Merchant Marine fleterans of World War 2, 1806 Bantry Trail, Kernersville NC

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SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985


Fast Convoy Duty by Benjamin D. Hyde A fast convoy might consist of 45 to 50 merchant vessels with a front four to six miles wide, containing a variety of high value ships bound for the United Kingdom. Most valuable were, of course, the troop transports, usually converted from fast luxury liners. Of these , not a single one was lost. Fast tankers carried aviation gasoline along with "cocooned" fighter aircraft on their weather decks. Fast merchant ships carried all manner of priority wartime supplies. Although all these ships had a 16 knot, or better capability, the convoy's actual steaming speed seldom exceeded 12 knots. Weather often set the formation 's speed. The closeness of these large merchant ships to each other and the frequent need to make emergency turns on short notice, as well as the use of zig-zag patterns, also limited their speed. The formation's integrity was proven time and again to be all important, and the merchant skippers generally did an outstanding job of keeping station with their hard-to-handle vessels. Failure to do so could endanger the entire formation. By contrast, the escorts in the screen had to actively patrol their assigned sectors in order to preserve the integrity of their sound search patterns. They usually steamed at 15 knots or better and in heavy weather this could put the escort and its people through considerable punishment, with plenty of green water on deck. Perhaps the "feel" of a typical day at sea aboard an ocean escort may best be captu red by extracting an actual day's write-up from the commanding officer 's Night Order Book. Each watch officer would initial that day's page before going on watch. We must be extremely alert tonight since there are two known submarines in our path. Best information says we may be intercepted by them about midnight. Recent operational experience indicates that they might surface within the convoy main body and launch torpedoes. By virtue of our position in the screen w_e would contact them first. Keep your radar operators alert! We haven 't arranged a date with these boys at any particular time; it could happen any time tonight or tomorrow morning. Keep all ready gun crews alert by having the Junior Officer of the Deck check them every half hour. He must also check all watertight doors and ports for proper dogging . Do not relax and become careless. All officers have done a fine job this trip and for this we received an expression of confidence from the Screen Commander this morning. He knows we are here! One must also mention the monotony , for there was really more of this than SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985

anything else . In winter at these high latitudes , the sun was very low on the horizon and only occasionally free of a heavy haze. Some days the sun might appear long enough to permit an indifferent noon navigation sight. Always the northern ocean had that particular slatelike color which told of very low seawater temperatures. On a clear night, the tops of the seas , driven by the strong prevailing westerlies , would show flashing white through the watch officer' s night glasses and the black hulls of the merchantmen in the convoy were barely distinguishable against the dark sea. It was a most dismal business ,

USS Bunch, the author's command, was one ofthe new destroyer escorts thot helped beat down the U-boatsfrom mid-1943 onward.

whether you were among the hapless crew of a torpedoed merchantman thrown into the icy North Atlantic in the middle of the night, or a youthful submariner in a U-boat about to be crushed by depth charges; with no chance of escape, you were surely fin ished and faced certain death. Mr. Hyde left the Naval Reserve in 1946after his wartime service at sea. After a career in engineering research and development he retired in Lincoln, Massachusetts, where he pursues his interest in things naval.

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"What Manner of Men Were They?" A Veteran of the North Atlantic Convoy Escorts Reflects upon the U-Boat Men He Fought... The enemy was seldom seen, though his presence was often evidenced by burning ships, a shadow in the night, a small pip on the radar scope, a returning beep on the underwater Asdic detection gear, or the high-pitched chirp of his radio transmissions. What went on in the U-boats during those nights of fire and blood and terror? Who had fired the torpedoes that blasted a fine ship and 60 men to eternity? What was the reaction of the U-boat crews to our counterattacks as we dropped tons of depth charges that tore the ocean apart while they attempted to evade us 600 feet below the surface? What manner of men were they? During their days of ascendency, the Uboat men were never far from our wakeful thoughts, but at first we knew little of them , and they at times seemed eight feet tall. Later, when the tide had turned and our superiority in weapons, numbers, and tactics had clearly established a mastery that would not again be challenged , we had learned a great deal about them by studying them carefully, as any good hunter studies his quarry. The wet, dazed, and shocked Uboat suvivors fished from the sea were less imposing than we had earlier imagined , yet throughout their terrible two years of agony following their 1943 defeat, the spirit of the Kriegsmarine remained high and until the bitter end they sailed. Their story, as well as that of the escort men who defeated them , deserves to be objectively told. CAPTAIN JOHN M. WATERS, JR . Bloody Winter (Naval Institute Press, Annapolis MD, rev. ed. 1984)

. . .and a U-Boat Skipper Tells What It Was Like The destroyers were signalling to one another. The right-hand one was zig-zagging continually while the left kept to a straight course. I had my periscope up again, hoping it would not be noticeable in the light motion of the sea, when suddenly I saw an aircraft flit past my lens barely 30 meters above the water. At the same moment the locating signals of the enemy Asdic struck the U-boat's side with their horrible pingping-ping-ping, so loud I might have sent them out myself. We had been discovered . Involuntarily everyone held his breath. The left escort, it turned out to be the frigate Exe, was already turning towards us and in a moment was so close I could distinguish details on deck. I intended to fire a spreading salvo of three into the convoy and had already ordered "salvo ready," meaning after previous misses to let the 24

ships come closer, despite the menacing frigate whose sailors I could now see running to and fro. I was still staring obstinately through the periscope when a pattern of ten depth charges exploded with a deafening roar round the boat. We had got into the middle of a carpet. The effect was terrible and is hard to describe. Suddenly everything went black and everything stopped, even the motors. In the whirl of the shock waves the rudderless boat was seized like a cork and thrust upwards . There was a cracking and creaking noise, the world seemed to have come to an end, then crashes and thuds as the boat was thrown onto its side and everything loose came adrift. I managed to grab the steel strop on the periscope, then my legs were pulled from under me. We had collided with the frigate's bottom which was now thrusting away above us, steel against steel. ...The swaying boat reared up, struck the hull of the Exe with its conning tower, and the control room and listening compartment immediately flooded . The water quickly rose above the floor plates. The light of a torch lying on the chart table showed a picture of devastation. All the indicator gear was hanging loose, the glass was splintered, light bulbs had burst. Cable ends spread in bundles through the control room, the emergency lighting accumulators had tom free. Before I even got to the depthkeeping controls the boat was again shaken by the heaviest depth charges. Like a stone we slipped backwards toward the ocean bed which lay 5,000 meters below. From the engine room the hydrostatic external pressure, indicating depth , was passed on from mouth to mouth and the fall of the boat stopped by blowing tbe tanks with compressed air. It rose slowly, then faster and faster until it had to be flooded again so as not to shoot out of the water like an arrow.... Fortunately the switchboard was still dry, there was no short-circuit. We could put back the knife switches which had fallen out and in feverish haste got the electric motors working. Though the noise of the port propeller shaft showed that damage had been caused, its turning again was music in our ears. My log says: " Decide to hold the boat by all possible means and slowly go deeper. Damage very great and cannot yet be assessed." We had ourselves drop from 60 to 140 meters. Meanwhile the entire convoy in its whole length went thumping past us overhead. In such a situation that is about the safest place for a stricken U-boat, particularly as any hydrophone contact is lost in propeller wash. Nothing can touch one, unless perhaps a ship is torpedoed and falls on one's head . But hardly was the mass of the ships past

Four hundred feet below the surface, still under attack, the crew of U 333 work to shore up the starboard diesel, knocked from its mountings by the violence of the first depth-charge attack.

than we were overwhelmed with a drumfire such as I had never yet experienced . And that is saying a lot. It began at mid-day and went on till 2055 like a continuous thunderstorm, now close, now further away, the heavy-sounding depth charges and the lighter Hedgehogs. And each time we thought , "Now there'll be a direct hit." But as the explosions detonated further away, we wiped the cold sweat from our faces. And when finally the torture ended and the great silence began we refused to believe it, but stood there wide-eyed, gasping and struggling for breath, waiting for the next series. Air was running out and it had to be improved with potash cartridges and oxygen. There was a stink of battery gas -the ventilation lines had been broken- and of watery oil. Eventually the fug became chokingly thick, and compressed air was getting short. After nine hours of depth charging which had thoroughly shaken the boat and had necessitated our repeatedly blowing the tanks to maintain station, there was hardly any compressed air left. I had to go up regardless, and so, one hour after the last charge had exploded and the great, perhaps deceptive silence had fallen , I brought U 333 to the surface .... The diesels would not start. Despite repeated blowing , the boat would not stay on the surface but slowly sank downwards by the stern. We had to submerge again so as not to drown on the bridge .... Things were against us-as though a renewed attempt was being made to do away with us. After many experiments we finally got the port diesel going-it began to function "slow ahead" -and eventually the starboard diesel started as well. The ballast tanks were no longer airtight, but with the exhaust gases we blew into them we could roughly keep a balance with the water coming in . But the boat was still more or less unstable and threatened to drop away under our feet. And somewhere water was continually dribbling inboard where we struggled with the damaged pumps. We had no alternative but to move "dynamicall y" and gently get away. Next day already on the way home I wrote in the log : "Surfacing goes better," and the day after, "considerably better, which means I have got accustomed to the condition of slowly sinking." COMMANDER PETER CREMER

U-BoatCommander(Navalinst. Press, '84) SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985


"Be Good Seamen .. !' by Earle P. Weir

On April 10, 1942, just as watchstanders ofthe 4-8AM watch were getting their coffee, the freighter Marilyn, carrying a cargo ofsugar from Jamaica to Baltimore was torpedoed and sunk. A leading seaman named Red began gathering survivors onto his raft, and then ... A searchlight blinked on, starting a slow sweep around the horizon. The beam caught the raft, passed by, stopped , and slowly came back to us again. We stared transfixed, stiff with fear. The U-boat slowly closed with the raft. They had us for sure. Would they ram or machine gun us? Whang! A hatch opened. Then voices. German voices. There was a scurrying and bustling up there. Grinding metallic noises. Three men were securing a machine gun onto the spray shield of the conning tower. "What was the name of your ship? Where were you bound? What cargo were you carrying?" The queries came down in German-accented English. " Keep your goddamn mouths shut," grow led Red. We weren't sure who we feared the most, Red or the Germans. Red had told us to shut up. We didn't talk. A lad of eighteen or so appeared on the conning tower. In a strong German accent he shouted down: " The Captain directs me to tell you he is sorry we had to sink your ship, but it is war. We will not harm your people any further. Do you have water and rations on the raft?" " One man here 'is bare ass ," hollered Red . " The sun will cook him in a day or two." The boy on the conning tower translated to the Captain . Soon a pair of old greasestained pants and dirty shirt were flung onto the raft. The Captain talked to the boy again . " Good sailing," shouted the boy. " Be good seamen , and you will make shore." The U-boat slipped off. We were alone. "All right,you bastards, let's shape up and set watches ," ordered Red. " We' re somewhere between Kingston and Havana . Murph, quit your bitching and check the flashlights and flares . Make sure they're stored dry. Stubby, get a couple of these farmhands , get that sail out, and rigged. The rest of you guys take a snooze until I call you for your watch . When I call you, get your ass in gear. No crap from any of you ."

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SHIP NITTES, SEAPORT & REAR ADMIRAL w ALTERF. SCHLECH,JR., USN (RET.) An Appreciation ofthe Life of Waiter Schlech by His Friend Peter Stanford Rear Admiral Walter F. Schlech, Jr. USN (ret.) died after long illness on January 25 at age 69, leaving his wife Barbara and two sons and two daughters. He had worked with us as Advisor to the South Street Seaporl Museum in the late 1960s, when he was head of Military Sealift Command headquarlered in Brooklyn; he had served as president of the United Seamen's Service, and as chairman of the National Maritime Historical Society, 1972-78. His daughter Kate is a trustee of the United Seamen's Service and Barbara is an active supporler of the National Society, whose work has been published in our pages.

Commander Schlech , very much at home on the bridge of his command, the submarine Tilefish, about 1944 probably in the Bering Sea. Photos, courtesy Barbara Schlech.

Three guys in service under one flag on the bridge of USS Patrick Henry (nuclear submarine): at left Captain Schlech with the boat's two skippers, Captain (later Admiral) R.L.J. Long, and at right Captain (later Admiral) Harold E. Shear, now Federal Maritime Administrator. Both served as pall bearers at their commander's faneral.

26

As the minute guns crashed out in the chill air and a Navy band played , we went to bury Admiral Schlech's remains on a hillside overlooking the grey waters of the Severn River and the chaste Georgian brick buildings of the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Wally lived just across the river, where he could keep an eye on things, as he put it (and where the middies and their dates gather on weekends to celebrate football victories or other events in the life of the Academywhich goes on, though the people change). Wally was proud of his Naval Academy class ring, as he was of his family. Somehow, talking to him , the personal family came to seem part of the larger Navy family. Wally's class, the Class of 1936, suffered heavy losses in World War II, which the United States entered five and a half years after their graduation. Wally very nearly did not come home. As Executive Officer in the old R class submarine Halibut, he helped her skipper sweat through a difficult time when the boat's bow was snagged on the bottom while she was running submerged. The decision had been made to abandon the boat, which would have meant death in the freezing Aleutian waters or at the hands of the Japanese-but Wally urged that the order not be given, and with infinite patience and fortitude of spirit, the submarine was worked free and returned from her mission damaged but safe. In all , he made five war patrols in Halibut, winning the silver star. He won a second star as commanding officer of the Ti.left.sh , which he took into action in fapanese home waters, sinking a patrol boat and destroying small craft by gunfire. He rescued a downed US aviator and brought back a Japanese prisoner. Wally's postwar career took him to Scotland , where he commanded the first Polaris submarine squadron sailing out of Hol y Loch . With patience (and fortitude!) he convinced local inhabitants who had been stirred up by propaganda that he and his men were not ruthless killers determined to plunge the world into nuclear holocaust. The British and American press commented on the success of this quiet-spoken but determined man in making his mission understood and accepted. He enjoyed similar success on a subsequent mission to Turkey, where he headed the Navy aid mission . In these missions and his final naval assignment as Chief of Military Sealift Command (from which he retired in 1971), he was supported by his charming, capable and outgoing wife Barbara. The steadiness, the keeping the eye on the

main purpose, and the patience and kindliness that were hallmarks of Admiral Schlech's style served the Society well in his three terms as Chairman. In this six year period the Society developed SEA HISTORY as its main project, and grew from and few hundred members to over three thousandwell on its way to the major force it is today. Wally's gift for friendship, and his deepseated conviction , led him to sign up many members for the National Society-such members as Edward Beach, author of Run Silent, Run Deep, and Admiral Arleigh ("31-knot") Burke-people who do us proud! He understood that the National Society was made up of people, and their real commitment, and that's what he brought in. He made light of his own problems, though now and then shore life would elicit from him a heartfelt "Oh, to be at sea again! " He never stopped pitching and never lost his good spirit. Writing from the hospital once with a suggestion to ship in some old SEA HISTORYS for naval patients he noted: " I look a little like one of Stephen Decatur's vets of the Barbary wars, but the prognosis is reasonably good." Admiral Burke saw him in hospital and wrote to me of his good spirit. In that sense, the prognosis was good ... always. I remember with laughter and gratitude the day he took the helm, December 8, 1972. I had brought him around to a meeting in Washington at a low point in our affairs. We were in debt, our new projects were all in the dream stage, and , incredibly, our then Treasurer had run away with our check book and records (which we never recovered) . I opened the meeting with this disturbing news and read out the resignations of six trustees-almost half the board. I then introduced Wally to the remaining trustees : "When we have our affairs in order and are back on an even keel , we hope Admiral Schlech will consider joining our board." There was a silence into which the Admiral spoke: " What's wrong with right now?" he said. There was nothing wrong with right now, Wally. And I, for one, will always feel your caring eye on our affairs and will be working to earn your cheery "well done." Norn:The family has suggested that gifts in Admiral Schlech's memory be made to the National Society. Such gifts will go into a fund to build up SEA HISTORY. in whose mission he believed so deeply, and which he helped so greatly to advance. .V SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985


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by Arnold Shrubb Lieutenant-Commander, RN Taking over a new ship is special but it is doubtful if the crew led by Lieutenant Commander Alan B. Roby considered themselves unusual on April 23, 1943 as they commissioned the new Fletcherclass destroyer USS Isaac C Kidd. Nine destroyers had been commissioned already that month and two others the same day. Roby had no idea his ship would be immortal. The importance of the destroyer could be seen from the building rate. Kidd was the 118th new US destroyer since January 1942 , and by 1945 there would be a further 229; 71 never returned home. Kidd and her sisters were designed to go in harm's way. Their 376 1/2 foot, 2050-ton hulls were bristling : five 5-inch guns for surface action and bombardment; five 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft batteries; close-range Oerlikons occupying spare deck space; ten torpedo tubes to threaten the capital ships; and depth charges, on racks and "K guns'', to crush submarines. Twin fire- and engine-rooms drove the ship at 35 knots. Named after the first US Admiral to be killed in action , the ship had an active career. Within six months she was engaged with 54 of her sisters on the assault on the Gilbert Islands and two months later with 83 others on the Marshalls. By the summer of the same year she was fighting (now with 138 other destroyers) in the Marianas. As workhorses of the fleet , destroyers suffered. Kidd came in for her share. Off Okinawa , twelve days short of her second birthday, she was hit by a kamikaze. The aircraft plunged into the starboard side, lodging in the forward fire-room. Men on the upper decks ran to the port side, but the aircraft's bomb passed through the ship and exploded to port . In spite of 93 casualties, Kidd survived and steamed under her own power to Ulithi. Repaired and modernized , she earned her eighth battle star in the Korean War. The Fletcher class has disappeared from the US Navy, but USS Kidd survives. She lies in Baton Rouge, 80 miles upriver from New Orleans. Under Dr. Malcolm Shuman, the ship is now demodernized. Spaces converted for later equipment have reverted to their 1945 roles; hull , original equipment are preserved. She rests, when the river is low, in a specially designed cradle with her sonar dome and propellers visible and floats in the spring and early summer.

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985

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On April 16, 1984, a party representing NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic laid a wreath in the Mississippi and then toured the ship. She was incomplete in .two respects. Neither 20mm Oerlikon guns of the right mark nor " K gun" depth-charge throwers were available in the United States. Fortunately, NATO nations do not all have the same policy for disposal of weapons, and a Dutch officer knew that in a warehouse in Holland were both Oerlikon guns and depth-charge throwers, given to the Dutch Navy by the United States. A message from the US admiral's British deputy received a favorable response from the Dutch CNO. A program-change for the five-nation Standing Naval Force Atlantic was agreed by its German commodore and the Canadian Chief of NATO's WESTLANT Staff, and in November 1984 the Dutch ship HNLMS Zuiderkruis left her escorts and steamed upstream to Baton Rouge to deliver the guns. Appropriately, Rear Admiral Jan J. Leeflang, the Dutch Naval Attache represented his Navy at the ceremony, since it was a former Dutch Naval Attache who left the plans of the Swedish Oerlikon "accidentally" on a Navy Department desk in World War II, enabling the United States to start production. Kidd is the State's official war memorial, so the guns were accepted by the governor of Louisiana. NATO is a military organizaton, but it is also one where people work together in many different ways, and the restoration of a small , but important part of our maritime heritage was a worthy task. ..t

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WILLIAM H. ALBURY on an inter-island adventure. Share good seafaring, food, island life. Ports of call are romantic, historic out island settlements in the Bahamas. From $300 per person. Private groups inquire about sail training program in conjunction with American Sail Training Association.

INTER-ISLAND SCHOONER

Dinner Key Marina, Coconut Grove, Fla. 33133 USA Tel: 305-858-6264

Tl


SS Jeremiah O'Brien

/oboanl Prol'tlt:

SHIP NOTES, SEAPORT Load Wafer Line

!

R.H. JOHN CHART ,AGENcY Salutes the

Galveston Historical Foundation

Elissa

,J

R.H . John , 518 23rd St, Galveston , Texas

,....,.,.,

SAIL AWAY TO YESTERDAY Sail the Maine Coast ... aboard the historic windjamme r

sc hooner Stephe n Taber. Weekly cruises . $425 includes every thin g.

For brochure call 207-236-3520 or write.

Schooner Stephen Taber 70 Elm St. Dra""'r D. Camden, Maine 04843

EXPLORE DIE MAINE COAST Weekly Salling Vllaltion Windjammer "MARY DAY" For Folder Write: Capt. H.S. Hawkins Box 798A Camden , Maine 04843 207-236-2750

THOMAS J. BROWN & SONS, Inc. Established 1929

Marine Towing • River & Harbor • Shoal Water "Our Work Determines Our Value"

698-4600 698-4601 P.O. BOX 52 STATEN ISLAND, NY 103_!0

Was !here a Seafarer in yo ur famil y? Wh y not purcha se a porlrail of hi s \'Csscl. - a fine oil painting using the best of materials. Also, vessel histories researched on request. Reasonable portrait prices. 20" x 24" canvas - SJ()()_Oo For more information & brochure, write:

~.....~-- Capt. Jeff Eldredge, P.O. Box 8, orth Carver, MA 02355

MAINE Windjammer CRUISES

, ' /NU \

I,.

.'

6 Carefree Days! Enjoy the grandeur of the Coastal Islands aboard Manie, Merca ntile o r Mistress. $355 in June & Sept. $395

' : '.

\, i

1

\..

;~~~~~-~ 3 ~~~u~~·i,:or

folde r 1el :

Capt. Les Bex, Box 617H

CAMDEN, MAINE 04843

lanterns

ship wheels

sextants

compasses

whaling items sha rk teeth

MARINE ANTIQUES & SEA SHELLS 10 Fulton Street . New York . N.Y. 10038 South Street Seaport & Fulton Fi sh Market (2 12) 344 -2262

28

Last of the Libertys By William D. Sawyer National Liberty Ship Memorial

Drawing by William D. Sawyer, 1981.

and the barque

A Tough Breed Hangs in There

When the United States entered World War II , President Franklin D . Roosevelt authorized an emergency shipbuilding program, in a race against time , to build new cargo ships faster than enemy submarines could sink them . A design for an emergency cargo ship (EC2-S-CI), capable of carrying over 9 ,000 tons , had already been developed and the first of these " Liberty ships '', the SS Patrick Henry , was launched on September 7, 1941. By the end of 1945 , more than 2,750 Liberty ships had been completed, by far the largest number of a single class of ship ever built. To build these ships required the coordination of dozens of plants throughout the entire country. Eighteen yards on the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Coasts assembled the ships , while engines were manufactu red by 20 different plants , and hundreds of other companies supplied standardized components. Women comprised as much as 30 percent of the shipbuilding force , due to the shortage of male workers, and " Rosie the Riveter" was everywhere. Building times from keel laying to sea trials ranged from 245 days for the Patrick Henry to an average of two months , and a record of eight days was all that was required to build, test and deliver the SS Robert E. Peary at the Kaiser Shipyard in Richmond , California.* Nearly all of these vessels were cargo ships, however , some became colliers, tank transports , aircraft transports, oil tankers , school ships , troop transports and hospital ships . Liberty ships were usually manned by quickly trained merchant seamen. Libertys crossed the Atlantic , the Mediterranean , the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and were on the dreaded run through the northern seas past Norway to Murmansk, Russia . Their slowness made them a ready target , and about 200 were lost through enemy action or storms, but many others survived through the heroism of their crews . One Liberty reached port with her bow out of the water and her stern awash , but with her engine still running, 83 hours after being struck by a torpedo. After the war, Liberty ships carried supplies to rebuild and feed the people in war-torn areas . Many entered private service, and some served in the Korean *This yard built the Stephen Hopkins. Seep. 22 .

War. More were mothballed, and most of these have since been scrapped or sunk for fish reefs. The design of the Liberty ships was limited by the need for minimum cost, speed of construction and simplicity of operation. Therefore , they were patterned after the tried-and-true British tramp steamer, updated by naval architects Gibbs & Cox. Wide use is made of welding and prefabricated units. Five cargo holds are served by steam winches and booms, including one heavy lift boom of 50-ton capacity. A single house amidships, with wheel house, radio room, crew quarters and mess, took care of the crewof44 . Theengine room is also amidships and contains two oil-fired boilers , a triple-expansion steam engine, and auxiliary equipment , generators and pumps.

At last account the Liberty Georgios F. Andreadis (formerly the Michael Casey, built at Richmond, California in 1943) was still hauling cargo in Greek waters-the last Liberty in active trade. Several converted Liberty hulls still breast the seas, in changed configurations for special uses. Of the original wartime breed, only two have survived in operable condition and structurally intact. The first of these, the Jeremiah O'Brien, has been saved by the National Liberty Ship Memorial and is open to the public in San Francisco-across the Bay from the Richmond yard where she was built. (Memorial, GGNRA, Fort Mason, San Francisco CA 94123.) The second is the John W. Brown, built across the country in South Portland, Maine. She served in New York until recently as a maritime trades school; in 1983 she was towed away to join the laid-up reserve fleet in the James River, Virginia. President Reagan has signed into law an act designating her as a museum ship, and in March this year she was placed on the National Register, attesting to her historical importance. The challenge is now to the community to save this ship for posterity. Those interested in supporting this needed act may join the National Society's Project Liberty-$25 for non-members (including membership in the Society) or $5 for existing Society members. They'll receive editor Michael Gillen 's sparkling Liberty Log to be kept in touch. ..ti SEA HIS1DRY, SPRING 1985


& MUSEUM NEWS The schooner Bowdoin arrived in Boston this winter, followin g her long rebuild at the Percy & Small Yard of the Maine Maritime Mu seum. She'll begin the season carrying school groups around Boston Harbor for the Boston Globe Foundation . US Navy ships again have mess decks and gal leys, as of January I, following Secretary of the Navy John Lehman's orders to reinstate nautical terms for the land bound terms ("enlisted dining facility ") that had crept into use during the 1970s.

EXPERIENCE THE THRILL

~ail into Living History

r:.J ail the Maine Coast

of square rig and 7000 ft . of sail. Weekly cruises in the warm waters of Southern New Eng Iand between Long Island and Nantucket aboard 108' square topsail clipper Schooner

on t he Famous F ishing Schooner s out of Gloucester Schooner ADVENTURE immortalized in J oe Garland's new book Queen. of the Windjammers (send for book information). Schooner ROSEWAY, last sailing pilot vessel.

Schooners ADVENTURE & ROSEWAY Box 696SH • Camden, ME 04843 • 207-236-4449 Largest windjammers in the Camden fl eet.

"SHENANDOAH" For color folder & complete information write:

THE COASTWISE PACKET CO., Box 4295

The sail training ship Danmark will visit Washington, DC, April 19- 22 , celebrating the 45th anniversary of her wartime service in US waters . .. this and other ship and museum news will be more fully reported in our next. CONFERENCES: North Atlantic Society for Oceanic History, April 24-26, at Peabody Museum of Salem (Archibald Lewis, Peabody Museum , East India Sq. , Salem MA 01970); Maine Maritime Museum Symposium, May 3-5 (Museum, 963 Washington St. , Bath ME 04530) ; Brendan Conference, September 8-14, Trinity College, Dublin (Brendan, c/o Boole, PO 5, 51 Sandycove Rd. , Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin , Ireland) ; Association for the History ·:of.the Northern Seas, September 16-20 (Sec'y, Dept. of Economic History, University of Exeter, Exeter, Devon , EX4 4RJ, UK .

QUERIES Information on the experiences and subsequent histories of people emigrating through the Port of Liverpool to the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand is needed for a new Museum of Emigration being set up as part of the waterfront maritime museum. Richard Foster, Merseyside County Museums, William Brown St. , L iverpool L3 SEN , UK. Survivors of the steamer Robert E. Lee, sunk by U-boat in the Gu lf of Mex ico on July 30, 1942 , and information on U-boat operations generally in the Gul f are sought by Capt. James E . Wise , Jr., USN (ret.), 6118 Redwood Lane, Alexandria VA 22310. Information on the sinking of the Liberty Ship Stephen Hopkins in the South Atlantic in 1942 (seep. 22) is sought by the daughter of First Ass't Engineer Charles Fitzgerald , who went down with the ship. Jean D. Carlisle, 121 Varennes Alley, Apt. 2R , San Francisco CA 94133.

VINEYARD HAVEN, MASS. 02568 617-693-1 699

'

Sailing Adventures

Lj'.~

SCHOONER HARVEY GAMAGE

'

a 95' windjammer in true "down East" tradition U. S. Coast Guard inspected

'

' ·f ~

,_

Summer months the ship cruises the Maine coas t out of Rockland . .. winter months in the Virgin Islands fr<2.m Charlotte Amalie. Enjoy a week under sail . .. make new fri ends ... relish hearty meals . . . return relaxed, filled with happy memories. Write or phone-

I~

Tel: 203-669-7068

DIRIGO CRUISES Dept. SH,,39Waterside Lane Clinton, Conn. 06413

OWN AND SAIL A SCHOONER Beautifu l o n th e wat er or o n t he ma n tl e, th is scale mo del com es co mpl ete, includ in g, t wo channel radio transmitter a nd servos , read y to sa il. Yo ur ch o ice of sa il colors and hull co lo rs . Built o f stron g fiberg lass with wo o d irim · foam filled , virtuall y unsinkab le.

Call or Write f or Free Brochure

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!st Winner of the A merica's Cup

ANTIQUES & NAUTICAL

In the last century, the Liverpool firm Sandbach Tinne & Co. owned a fleet of sailing ships which voyaged to India and the West Indies in the coolie trades , returning to England with sugar from plantations owned or operated by the Tinne family in Demerrara. Information on these operations, particularly in Demerrara, is sought by Capt. P.M.C. Tinne, 23 Marlborough C lose, Elmfield, Ryde, Isle of Wight P033 !AP, UK .

One of the finest marine antique collections available. Specialists in navigation instruments, w h aling artifacts, ship models, sailors work, telescopes, and the only 19th and early 20th century Marine Art Galle ry on the West Coast .

Hard hat diving helmet aficianados are invited to exchange notes with Ed Fogderud , 75 Monterey Lane, Sierra Madre, CA 91024; tel.: 818 355-1347.

1610 West Coast Highway Newport Beach, CA 92663 Tel: 714-642-7945

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985

SCHOONER YACHT "AMERICA"

43074

ANTIQUES & NAUTICAL

29


SAIL TRAINING

TOWARD THE IDEAL SAIL TRAINING VESSEL: From the Perspective of Three Generations of Experience by B. Barner Jespersen

At left, the author's father, Holger Barner Jespersen in 1917, and, right, the author as cadet in 1950. Daughter Helle Barner Jespersen in 1982.

My connection with the training ship Georg Stage began before I was born , as my father was a trainee in the first Georg Stage in the year 1917. The ship is today called Joseph Conrad and is a part of the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut. It was therefore quite natural that I started my career at sea as a trainee in Georg Stage II in 1950. After several years in the merchant navy I returned to the ship as a mate in 1962 . The training and education on board the vessel at that time was almost the same as in the first vessel in 1882 . The development of the merchant marine since World War II demanded modernization in the program , and that became my task upon my appointment as Master in 1974. Under the motto : "Combine the best of the past with the necessary of the new," unnecessary traditions were replaced with modern educational methods. After a couple of years I decided to resign. For sentimental reasons I chose the ship's centennial in 1982 to be my last cruise with the ship. This was also the year that my daughter Helle was a trainee on board . For the past ten years I had spent a great deal of my vacations helping schools and individuals in Europe and the United States with starting up sail training programs, and it was natural to continue in this line as a free lance consultant. Besides serving as a consultant with InternaAt left, the author with the second Georg Stage in Stockholm , 1979. The Georg Stage, lower left, continues a centuryold Danish tradition of training in full-rigged ships. She replaced the old Georg Stage halfa century ago. (Alan Villiers bought the first Georg Stage renamed her Joseph Conrad , and sailed her around the world with young people in crew.) Georg Stage is 123 ' on the waterline (compared to JOO ' for the Joseph Conrad) and carries 60 cadets. Be lbw, the Creole, built as a yacht, did not succeed as a training ship.

"les, the spirit, the atmosphere, the attitude towards life ... is something that thrives aboard a sailing vessel." tional Tall Ships Training and Rigging (ITSTAR), I have for a couple of short periods been the Chief Mate aboard the Norwegian full-rigged ship Sorlandet and skippered the three-masted schooner Creole on her delivery voyage from Denmark to Monaco. Scandinavia is recognized by many as a sailing ship Mecca . One of the reasons is the large fleet of Baltic trader schooners still sailing after World War II. Another is the fact that for over one hundred years we have educated young seamen in full-rigged sailing vessels , thus maintaining the traditions and skills of sail. Even in Denmark voices have been raised against this form of education for a modern merchant marine. " Why learn to sail with sail today?" The answer is that the sailing in itself is not a goal but a means to attain the results which any school desires: socially functioning youngsters who have an interest and knowledge beyond their own small circle of existence. A sailing ship demands a large crew but has little space for each individual . You are together 24 hours a day without the possibility of walking away-simply placed in a situation where you must work together to survive. Many youngsters today are frustrated because they can't cope with the modern complicated society in which they are raised. A ship is a miniature society with an easy to comprehend structure in which they can see how their own actions, and especially their own non-actions, affect everybody on board . After the cruise students can use their experiences afloat to find their place in the large, more complicated society ashore. In the '70s more and more "experts" began to realize that operational and rational education alone was not enough if the spirit was missing . Yes, the spirit, the atmosphere, the attitude towards life, or whatever you will call it, is something that thrives on board a sailing vessel. These are some of the reasons why the sail training ship is generally seen as a superior educational tool. The idea of combining a museum ship with a sail training ship is attractive, but unfortunately few ships are suitable for this dual purpose. Very often the number of possible trainees will be too small to make the project financially viable. Sailing with trainees also requires modern equipment on board which is unacceptable to the museum people. <t


DAY'S RUN Report of the American Sail Training Assn. In the end , ships built originally as training vessels are most suitable for the purpose. Ironically enough , most of those left are too large. An example is the Norwegian Sorlandet, which stopped seamen's education in 1972 and started in 1980 with shorter training cruises open to everybody. It proved difficult to fill all 70 berths even in the vacation season , and attempts to assemble a joint charter group did not succeed. Several former yachts are also used for sail training. The rig of most yachts is simply inadequate to occupy the trainees , and the accommodations very seldom leave any space for school classes. The Creole, for instance, which in 1978 came under the Danish flag for the purpose of becoming a training vessel, proved a financial and educational failure and has since returned to her earlier status as a private yacht. Many of the restored Baltic traders sail part of the time with charter passengers, and part of the time with trainees . The schooner Elinore for instance runs with passengers in the Carribean in the winter and with trainees from Canada in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in the summer months. The total capacity is 20, of whom only 14 are trainees . Between this size and the Sorlandet 's capacity for some 70 trainees there are very few ships available. For optimum results, you have to construct a new vessel . The choice of the ship's size and type of rig naturally depends upon the kind of school , the number of trainees, and the length of the sailing period. If one wishes to cover the most sailing and educational possibilities , the best choice would be a brig, a brigantine or a barkentine around 150 to 200 tons gross, 100 feet long, with a draft of not more than 11 feet and room for 36 trainees or 24 passengers. With the growing interest all over the world in the restoration of historic vessels, there will soon be very few left to restore. It would be a pity if the new vessels which necessarily must be built will only be occupied part time due to an initial wrong choice of hull and type of rig. For the sake of sail training one could hope for some sort of international cooperation for the exchange of practical information and experience and maybe even a mutual development of a "MultiPurpose Sailing Vessel Project."

Captain Jespersen is director of International Tall Ship Training and Rigging, consultants in "all aspects of the design and operation of sailing ships," Norske Alie 8, DK-2840 Holte, Denmark. SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985

Summer Sail Training Cruises ASTA is pleased to announce that a wide variety of one-week sail training cruise opportunities are available in US waters this summer for interested applicants. These cruises include a wide variety of experiences for the adventurous and the studious, the athletic and the artistic. Living and working conditions on board ship are rugged, but in spite of this , trainees feel a high sense of involvement, satisfaction , and accomplishment upon completion of their time at sea. Shortly after a cadet reports on board , he is assigned to a watch section . Training and most at-sea duties take place within this group. Watch duties may include line hand! ing, lookout duty, work in the galley, general maintenance, basic navigation , furling sails and rope work. The cruise program for the summer of 1985 will include four one-week cruises aboard Windsong (55-foot staysail schooner owned and operated by Captains Colin and Karen Day of Sarasota , Florida) and three aboard Providence (110-foot topsail sloop owned and operated by Seaport '76 of Newport, RI). MARINE EDUCATION CRUISES There will be two marine education cruises on Rachel and Ebenezer sponsored by the University of Rhode Island Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service, in conjunction with Dirigo Cruises, Inc. of Clinton , Connecticut. The Sail and Study program will include a variety of experiments and discussions of the sea and its life, as well as time to learn marlinspike seamanship and enjoy the necessary close teamwork with your shipmates. You wi ll participate as a member of a watch, and as such you will perform regular duties and respond to a variety of sailing situations. Marine education, like other liberal arts programs, will give you specific information and affect your attitudes about yourself, your world, and your fellows. In addition , studying and working aboard a sailing ship creates an emotional commitment to the subject seldom achieved by more traditional academic procedures.

Rachel and Ebenezer is a traditional "down-east" packet schooner, built in Bath , Maine in 1975. She is 65 ' on deck with accommodations for 21 in eight cabins . Each has fresh water, and berths which are furnished with pillows, linen , and blankets. The main saloon is wood-

panelled , and is the principal gathering spot for meals and talks. Dates for the two Sail and Study Cruises are Sunday, June 16 to Saturday, June 22 and Sunday, June 30 to Saturday, July 6. Students will board at Newport , RI and will sail the waters of Cape Cod and the offshore islands. The cost of the cruise is $395, minimum age is 15 years . For information and registration contact ASTA .

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Additional opportunities in the Pacific Northwest and in New England we listed in the cruise brochure. Cruises are generally available to young men and women, 15 to 26 years of age, who seek an adventure at sea offshore under sail-although adults are also welcome on selected cruises. No sea experience is necessary, but all must be swimmers (as evidenced by certification or completion of an organized program , i.e. Scouting, Red Cross , Y's, etc.) . There are limited scholarship funds available for sail training cruises which ASTA will advise applicants of. As Nancy Richardson , Marine Consultant for the Girl Scouts, says, " On a ship at sea , challenges and personal adventure are brought together naturally in a uniquely concentrated setting .... Aboard ships, there's a special spark that rises from horizons of the spirit as well. Indeed in sail training you may set out to become a more skilled sailor but you are bound to come ashore as a better shipmate for our spaceship planet as well." For information on any of the above cruises and a copy of the cruise brochure, write: ASTA , 365 Thames Street, Newport, RI 02840; or call: (401) 846-0884.

1985 DIRECTORY Hot off the press is ASTA's 1985 Edition of the Directory of Sail Training Ships and Programs, which gives a comprehensive listing of over 150 Western Hemisphere ships, with close-ups on many. Also included is an overview of European and Asian square-riggers and sail training programs. Edited by Ms. Nancy Richardson, this valuable resource book is avai lable at a cost of $5.00, which includes postage and handling. Writeincluding prepayment-to ASTA , 365 Thames Street, Newport, RI 02840.

31


Sailing with the Last Sailors: Part I by Neil Hollander & Harald Mertes

When you set out on a strange trail, you can't predict what you will find-all you know is that you will find things, and things will happen, that you would not otherwise have encountered. This trail leads out right round the world, and across millenial exerience. It originated in the Society's late-blooming interest in primitive navigation-an interest to which the maritime musuem world is only just beginning to awaken. Philip Teuscher contributed his experience seeking out the surviving remnants of the once-proud Carib canoe fleets, Terry Linehan actually led a Society-sponsored expedition to build-and sail-a Papuan New Guinea canoe, the master builder dying while the boat was a-building (but not before he had passed on his secrets, with great pride, to his young assistants). And finally, Neil Hollander happened to us-a fellow who sailed around the world with a friend to get to know the ships and people ofthe last sailing trades. I say "happened to us" because we met him through his film -a remarkable hauntingly memorable testament to the long difficult experience of man's venture sailing on the wind across wide and narrow waters (see SH32:47). It will go on happening to us, because with our help, Neil intends to establish a live Museum of Traditional Sail in New York. Times are changing rapidly for the man who hoists sail and sets out to gain his livelihood from the sea. Slowly and inevitably, he is being left in the wake of technology, for neither he, nor his craft , has a place in the new world of micro-chips and macroeconomics. It is perhaps surprising to find that the traditional sailor is still there, quietly straining a living from the sea. After all , the Age of Steam has come and gone. Yet in some of the world's backwaters, men still brave the seas in wooden sailing ships just as they always have. "The Last Sailors" are the oldest caste of seaman , a vanishing breed that will soon die out . Three yearsago we set out to record this final chapter of working sail. We travelled to South America , Africa and Asia , sailed on more than two dozen different craft , and whenever possible, we worked on board as well. We tried to meet the crews as fellow sailors-to let them know we were eager to learn and always ready to sail. Although the task these sailors perform are often the samefishing or transporting cargo-the men and the seas change radically from place to place. Each community of sailors has found a unique way of adapting to their environment, and each craft has passed through its own process of evolution until it has become the best possible solution to the triangle: man-seaand sail. Some of the boats are tied together, others nailed , stapled or even sewn, and the hulls are narrow as a tree-trunk or wide as a small freighter. The sails can be square, rectangular, or just tatters without symmetry, made from whatever is on hand, cotton, flax or needs. There seem to be no limits to the ingenious ways by which sailors meet the seas. Our trip began on the northeastern coast of Brazil where fishermen still use a simple sailing raft called the jangada. It resembles what a castaway might hastily build to escape from a wreck orcannibals,just the bare essentials one needs to go to sea: a raft , a sail and a steering oar. Easily, one pictures Robinson Crusoe or the survivors of the "Medusa" clinging to its mast. Aside from a knife and a few fishhooks , not a single piece of iron or steel can be found on board . Despite four centuries of European contact, not a nail or a bolt is used in its construction. The dipper that wets the sail is hand-carved, the basket which holds the catch, hand-woven , and the cord that supports the mast and trims the sail , hand-twisted . Thejangadas which sail today 32

are virtually identical to those which were built 400 yea rs ago when the Portuguese arrived in Brazil. Thejangadiero, or fisherman , who stands on the stern at the steering oar is also not really a part of this century. More than likely he cannot read . He wears no watch. His clothes are often homemade, his home a palm thatched hut and the furthest he has ventured from it , is to the fishing grounds , some 20 or 30 miles offshore. His dail y routine is always the same, a logical , undulating rhythm guided by the wind , and we easily adjusted to it. In the early hours of the morning, while it is still dark , the rafts leave with the offshore breeze and sail to the limits of the continental shelf. The jangadieros fish with Jines, four for the hands, and two for the feet ,, or if they can afford it, a buoyed net. One man marks his fish by cutting off half the tail , another by cutting a fin. Only the captain's fish go into the basket whole. Mast down and fishing , ajangada has a stark , forlorn appearance, and when seen from a distance, silhouetted against the sky, the men on board can easily look more like shipwrecked sailors than working fishermen . Confusion is almost inevitable., As we were fishing one day, well out of sight of land , ajangadiero told us how many years ago in the same waters he had watched a large freighter change course and sail towards him . " It stopped when it was close and lowered a boat ," he said. " Six or seven men rowed over. They waved and shouted a lot , but I couldn't figure out what they wanted. Finally, the man in the bow pointed to his mouth. I thought he was hungry, so I took a big cavalo we had just caught and threw it to him . He laughed , and threw me some cigarettes. In a few minutes they had all our fish and we had all their cigarettes. That was the best catch we've ever had." But thejangadiero's basket is becoming empty. Along several hundred miles of coastline we heard the same complaint: there are fewer fish in the ocean . As a result , there are fewer jangadas. " The jangadiero's are like Indians," an official told us. " They don't belong in the modern Brazil ." On the other side of the continent in southern Chile, where the land mass ends and the islands begin , the sailing conditions are among the world's worst-a rocky, jagged coast, high tides, and a severe, inhospitable climate. "Cold , squalls, and fog ,'' is the normal forecast , like London in the winter. The Chileans who sailed these waters are engaged in one of the oldest windjammer businesses , the lumber trade. From isolated fjords at the base of the Andes they ferry planks, shingles and firewood to the markets of Puerto Montt. Their sloops are homemade, rough in appearance, and lacking in symmetry. No measurements are ever taken and seldom do part and starboard halves match. Given the implacable climate and the unpredictable seas, every sailor knows that sooner or later trouble will come in an unexpected storm that will leave him dismasted , holed, aground, or at best with a wild improbable yarn . While twisting through the islands we heard more stories of shipwreck than in any other place we sailed. When disaster strikes , the one thing a sailor can count on , is the help of anyone nearby, at sea or ashore, for the code of mutual aid is still strong and sacred. " If the weather's bad ," one captain told us, you never know who is going to knock at your door. If he's a sailor, then he's welcome, whether you know him or not. Whatever he needs, you give it to him. Tomorrow you may be knocking on his door." The lumber trade which supports the region is fueled solely by wind and muscle. On densely wooded islands , or the slopes of the mountains, families work together to fell the trees and saw them into planks or firewood . Everyone takes part, from chi!SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985


''Just beyond his sight, hidden in the dark, cold waters, lives a vast pantheon of gods, witches, sirens and giant serpents and sea horses ...."

The Brazilian jangada is bare basics-a raft, a sail and a steering oarand on it the jangadieros fish out of sight of land.

The lancha chilotafrom southern Chile is homemade and roughly fin ished, built without plans , or even a sketch. Often sailcloth and nails are the only items purchased for construction. Metal fittings , and sometimes even the rope, are handmade.

The soaring ya rds ofthe Egyptian aiyassa carry a near ton ofsail. It can take anhourforfour menat the winch to raise a main yard, sail and boom.


"When disaster strikes , the one thing a sailor can count on is the help of anyone nearby."

"Nothing ever arri ves on an aiyassa gleaming with polish and smelling ofpacking."

"It resembles what a castaway might build. "

dren to grandparents , and to assemble a whole cargo may require weeks of dawn to dusk labor. Lumber and firewood are still very much in demand in southern Chile, and the trade thrives as perhaps never before. But it is only a question of time until men with power saws, tractors and motor launches invade the islands and mechanize the industry. For the moment the bad weather protects the traditional sailor and he has come to expect help from the elements, for he believes them to be controlled by a race of supernatural beings. Just beyond his sight, hidden in the dark, cold waters, lives a vast pantheon of gods, witches, sirens and giant serpents and sea horses, so many, in fact, that no one knows their number, nor all their names . Naturally these deities are constantly fighting with one another, engaged in a timeless struggle which has become the basis of an enormous body of folklore. In most of the tales , man-an amphibian , part farmer, part sailor, and always feeble and fallible-is usually caught somewhere in the middle, both protected and preyed upon. No matter where he sails, the south Chilean sailor is never alone.

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Working sail may well have made its first appearance on the Nile, and today the placid river is one of its last strongholds. One can stand almost anywhere on its banks and see the graceful , swallow-wing sail of an aiyassa . However, its elegance is deceptive: a barge-like craft with a snub bow, it is a nautical boxcar usually loaded to the brim with limestone, bricks or clay pots. As we watched them sail past Giza, we wished to picture in our mind's eye the way the river was in the past, perhaps filled with similar craft carrying men and stone to the pyramids. But we knew this would be a mistake. No Pharaonic sailor ever stepped on board an aiyassa, nor indeed any boat like it. The aiyassa is an import, and arelatively modern one. Its distinctive hull was copied from the Spanish galleass and the lateen sail is thought to have originated in the Arabian Gulf. On board , the concepts of newness and permanence are un34

known . Nothing ever arrives on an aiyassa gleaming with polish and smelling of packing. Instead, all gear goes through an endless cycle of breakage and repair. The first time we hauled in the anchor, for example, the stock broke in two. Filled with guilt, we looked at the captain. " God willed it," he said cheerfully, as he threw the rusted pieces into the hold on top of some other broken fittings . The pile grew during the voyage and eventually it would be sold, traded or welded into some new device, undoubtedly as flawed as the previous ones. Maneuvering an aiyassa under sail is like a workout in a gym . Nearly every muscle is called into play. Despite the tiller's long leverage the rudder is difficult to turn , and one usually must brace his feet against slats nailed to the deck and push with all his weight and strength . To go from full port to full starboard , the ¡ helmsman must push or pull the tiller across the entire beam of the boat. At night everyone sleeps on the remnants of old sails which are heaped on deck like a giant canvas nest. We always slept uneasily because at dusk the real owners of the aiyassa arrived , an army of rats who noisily fought over any bits of bread that were caught in the folds. Thousands of aiyassas still ply the Nile, for it is Egypt's natural highway. The river flows from south to north , and the winds blow from north to south . It is an unusual gift of nature, a ready made system of transportation, known and exploited since the days of the Pharoahs. But the diesel engine is faster than' either the wind or current , thus the number of aiyassas is diminishing rapidly. Everyday in salvage yards of Cairo, sails come down which will never be hoisted again. One captain with whom we sailed made no secret of his bitterness . "In the old days," he said , "before an aiyassa made her maiden voyage, the captain took his knife and drove it deep into her stem to kill any evil that might be on board . Now whatever they launch is made from steel. There is evil in every one of those boats." '1t SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985


MARINE ART NEWS

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"Trawlers leaving Brixham ," by Capr. Roger Fish er. There is a shipshape, workaday look ro rhe vessel in rhe foreground as she leads rhe fl eer our ro sea under clearing skies.

The RSMA Annual Exhibition-1984 by Alex A. Hurst

"Evening in Woolwich Reach ," by Rodn ey J. K. Charman. Th e qui er dignify ofrhe incoming deepwarerman , al/ended by herfussy tug, resonates againsr the throbbing life of the great city with its lights just coming on , and ah ead a Thames barge stands downstream as if in welcome.

Mr. Hurst, veteran seaman and head of the renowned Teredo Press in England, which does so much to keep seafaring discourse and seamanly ways alive, has commented in the past in our pages on the excessive parochialism of the American Society of Marine Artists. Here, while paying tribute to the work of a few British artists of outstanding merit, he expresses some grave reservations as to the present course of the Royal Society of Marine Artists, which served in loco parentis to the American Society. We agree with him on both counts. We'd better. Once when we had a disagreement, Mr. Hurst threatened to have your editor thrown in jail_..!'gaol," as he persists in spelling it-though with unusual conditions that would have made the whole thing more agreeable than it may sound. The 1983 RSMA exhibition had reached a low ebb, most people felt , and it was pleasant , therefore, to find the general standard in 1984 somewhat improved. This was thanks to the efforts of a relatively small number of the ex hibitors . There is little doubt , however, th at the Society is in need of a considerable change in its outlook: a fact which is worth reco rding if o nl y as a warning to its co unterpart in the United States . In the first place, one ex pects marine artists , in a marine art exhibition , to produce pictures of this gen re. One picture which co nfro nted me showed a man , a woman and two children in their bathing costumes aga inst a yellow background w hi ch was presumably mea nt to be sa nd . From the lack of water it might have been th e Sahara , though reference to the

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SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985


"Th e Smacks Telegraph and Stormy Petrel competing at th e Cain e Match , 22 September 1984," by Frank J. H. Ga rdiner. Wh o wouldn't sell a farm ro sail our into this sunlit world of slanring decks and straining canvas ?

"The Survey Ship Endurance in the Ice," by Wi lliam H. Bishop. The stark world of deathly cold water and rorrured ice shapes is challenged by the presence of a vessel clearly equipped to take it on.

catalogue pinpoi nted the scene (rather imag inatively) as a British seas ide resort. One could go on with such examples ad nauseam. The onl y valid concl us ion to be draw n was that the hanging committee needed to have their collecti ve heads banged together. And that's only one pro blem . T here had been a high rejection rate of almost five in six a nd , of 337 exhibits, just over 48 percent were exhibited by full members, who are each entitled to hang up to six pictures w hich do not have to pass the selection committee. I ventu re to submi t that many of these wo uld not (o r certainly should not) have been hung had they had to undergo this test . Many were uninspired , technicall y inaccurate and with ships (where we we re lucky enough to see them at all ) with a poor seat in the water. The fact is that the full membe rs represent a fo rm of closed SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985

37


"Polychrome Conrrejour," by Carlos Perot.

"7h.e Escape of th e Calliope," by Mark Myers. The ship's struggle to get to sea fo r safety is well expressed by a crackerjack seaman who knows the feel of wind-hounded seas and 1he awful anger of a hurricane sky.

sho p, not only hanging the ir own pictures without question and selecting other peo ple's pictures in a most haphazard ma nner, but also e lecting new full me mbers without reference to a nyone else. Some artists , who had submitted, say, four pictures, had had two accepted and two rejected , but remained bewildered , as their best were rejected and their worst accepted. Of course, not everyo ne would ag ree with their assessments, but I can vouch for several, whi ch I had seen myself. Such things wi ll continu e to be said so long as such appa rent lunacy atte nds the hanging selection. They do the Society no good. Nor do the lay members, who support the Society in its promotio n of marine art, appreciate comi ng to an exhib ition of which a large proportio n of the exhibits do not fall into that catego ry at all . Perhaps the hang ing committee should include some lay me mbe rs, and all pictures should be submitted. This may not be the correct answer, but it is certain that some radical reform is needed , si nce the Society should be as far re moved from suspicio n as Caesa r's w ife.

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The first picture to strike the eye o n enteri ng was by the President , John Worsley, depicting w hat at first sight seemed to be a yacht sailed by wasps with human heads from outer space. It proved to be of the Ame ri ca's Cup contender Victory '83 with the c rew members individually portrayed wearing shirts of dark blue and yellow stripes. If indeed they affected this extraordinary garb, I am sure the picture was ve ry acc urate, if inevitabl y di spleasing. The same artist had two other large canvases of the America's Cup but , si nce I cons ider that this event reached the nadir of sheer futility some years ago, I passed them by. Nearby were some large canvases by Ke ith Shackleton. One of Cape Ho rn a nd , as usual , birds , penguins a nd ice, but his masses are so great that they lose aestheti c a ppeal, and a smalle r picture of the Endurance in the ice by William Bishop was infinitely more satisfying. Britain boasts few marine arti sts who ca n claim to be in the first flight today, but three of th ose who must so quali fy were

38

fort un ately represe nted. D erek Gardner exhibited four magni ficent canvases, well hung, which were each memorable" The Victory, Thunderer, Ajax and Euryalus proceeding to join the fleet off C adiz in September 1805," A Bark Coming up to Her Tug," and two others. Mark Myers also su bmitted fo ur. Three we re quite remarkab le, particularly an impressio n of the Calliope fighting her way to sea during the famous typhoon which did so much damage to the othe r warships in Apia in 1889. I doubted she would reall y have had her boats g riped outboard , but on being challenged Myers was able to produce evide nce for it! It was a dramatic painting, accepting that , in such co nditio ns, the lower part of the ship would have been virtually obscured to view by solid , blown spume.(Howeve r, a picture of a virtually invisible ship clearly would no t do!) His rendering of the Clan Graham maki ng sail outward bound after sunset was a maste rp iece, w hile he had another of a subj ect so neglected by marine artists, namely: one of the g reat merchant convoys under sail. John G roves had submitted six works . One, e ntitled " Fres he ning Breeze,'' was predictably sold within minutes . His other five were unusual , being sea battles, but having myself asked him to produce them, I must declare an interest and refrain from comment . Fo r the rest , Frank J.H . Gardiner had a sple ndid view of two smac ks racing in the Caine, w hich was also snapped up at the o utset, while Paul Wright had produced an extremely striking picture of a lifeboat at the moment of launching . Slightly photographic, it was neverthe less a tour de force in its treatment of wate r. Three pictures I liked particularly, though each contained a flaw. [n the first , using as a title Masefield 's words " these splend id ships,' ' A. Kennedy had produced a really live ly picture of a full -rigger running befo re a gale, the whole with a feeling of the power of both wind and ship. Unfortunately, close inspecti o n of the bow revealed the name Halloween-a vessel which the ship in the pic ture was not! Masters such as SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985


MARINE ART Somerscales seldom named the ir vessels, thereby avoiding such sniping remarks! T he second picture, by D.J . H anceri , well known in the fi eld of Thames barge pai ntings had a composition I li ked well. Entitled " Follow me," we fo und ourselves looking at a barge in an East Coast ri ve r saili ng in the sun and framed by the curve of the staysail and bow of another barge astern , the deck of which fo rmed the viewpo int. It was a nice piece of composition, though when the penny d ropped and I rea lized that the barges we re on the same course, but that one had the wind on the starboard side and the othe r on the port , I did fin d myself slightl y bemused! The third picture evo ked pe rsonal memories as it showed a wa rtime convoy, with a corvette and loaded merchant ships, the nearest of which was d ipping to the sea on a typical, grey winte r's day. I contend that, had the merchant ship had any boot-topping at all , it could not have shown in that momentary condition. Yet Cdr. Rex Philips had caught the essence of the scene marvelously. Roger Dessoutter, Stuart Beck, Capt . Roger Fisher and others had pictures which one e njoyed . One excellent , if not ve ry nautical, scene reminded me of G ravesend Reach, in the T hames, on a raw November day. The man next to me att ributed it to his nati ve Mersey, but it proved to be Venice.

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The RSMA is ri cher these days fro m the sale of Charles Pear's pictures left to them fo r thi s purpose, but if it still wants its lay members, it must ensure their support . The cri tical remarks with which I opened this report may seem harsh, but it is time something was said . The RSMA is ru nning off course. J,

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MODELMAKER'S CORNER

A Royal Navy Veteran Depicts the Capture of U-505

Photos courtesy United States Naval Academy

In the long, grim war against the U-boat , it remained an elusive dream to capture one. Sometimes mortally injured boats would surface, but they sank-or were sunk by their crews-before boarding parties could seize them . Eventually, specially trained crews were developed aboard escort ships, to seize the opportunity if offered. And one sunny morning in June 1944 off West Africa , the opportunity offered! U-505 was spotted by Wildcat planes from an escort carrier and was forced to the surface by hedgehogs fired by a couple of US Navy destroyer escorts. Lieutenant (jg) Albert L. David , USNR led a boarding party from the destroyer escort Pillsbury, which succeeded in salvaging the submarine despite her crew's efforts to sink her. The gripping authenticity of this diorama of the capture of U-505 is owed to modelmaker Robert Mouat's wartime convoy experience in the Royal Navy. Only one who has been there would catch the floundering look of the U-boat in the ocean surge, and the slow roll of her captor, USS Pillsbury, DE 133, her rail lined by anxious and incredulous men as the Navy crew sets about salvaging the damaged submarinewhile the escort carrier USS Guadalcanal keeps a watchful eye on the proceedings from the background. The U-505 was sucessfully recovered and is on exhibition outside the Science Museum in Chicago. The Naval Academy class of 1962 commissioned this depiction of the memorable occasion of her capture as one of four dioramas presented as a gift to the Academy; ultimately they'll be installed as permanent exhibits in Memorial Hall. Carl Evers of Connecticut (whose SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985

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work is featured in SH31) collaborated in the construction of the diorama, and plans for the Pillsbury were provided by Thomas Walkowiak, Exhibit Supervisor for the Intrepid Sea/Air/Space Museum in New York . One of the next dioramas to be built shows the USS Intrepid in February, 1804, going into Tripoli to blow up the captured US frigate Philadelphia. The Intrepid had been a Turkish ketch , taken by the Americans in 1803-a vessel of some 60-70 tons , about 60 feet long. She was sent in again in September 1804 to raid the port as an explosive fire ship-but this time she blew up with the loss of all her brave crew. Mouat earnestly seeks any scrap of information regarding her appearance, of which virtually nothing is known. PS

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by Michael Gillen Those interested in the role of the US merchant marine in World War II have been hard-pressed in recent years to find good books (or even bad books, for that matter) about the merchant seamen and ships that supplied the battlefronts of the world from Murmansk to Okinawa. Finding a book about a standard merchant ship type of the period, or a history of the sea war from the merchant marine perspective has been , well, a frustrating if not a futile endeavor for many. But this year offers some reward for those who continue the search for books focusing on the tremendously significant yet often overlooked contributions and sacrifices of the US merchant marine in the war effort . Three excellent books are- or will soon beavailable for purchase through the mail if not from local bookstores . The books, and the particulars on them , are as follows :

A Careless Word ... A Needless Sinking, by Captain Arthur R. Moore. This large, well illustrated and researched "history of the tremendous losses in ships and men suffered by the U.S. merchant marine during World War II , 1941-1945" was compiled by a 1944 graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy and veteran of service in World War II . It includes a complete listing of American merchant ship circumstances of the ship losses. A special section includes the recollections of merchant seamen who survived ship sinkings. Now available in a revised edition , with additional pages (a total of 560) and illustrations, A Careless Word may be purchased from Granite Hill Corp. , RFD 1, Box 210, Hallowell ME 04347. The price is $57.25, which includes postage. The fine reproduction of an Anton Otto Fischer poster on the cover is backed up, in these pages, by the truth of the experience Fischer so dramatically depicted.

Liberty Ships: The Ugly Ducklings of World War II, by John Gorley Bunker. Originally published in 1972 , this book is once again available in reprint after a long absence from bookstores . Written by a veteran journalist and maritime historian who sailed in Liberty Ships during World War II , Liberty Ships tells the story of the standard ship type from the ways to the various theaters of war in which they made their presence known. This book puts emphasis on the human factor, incorporating recollections of merchant seamen interviewed by the author, as well as material obtained from the log books of many Libertys. Illus-

trated, and with a complete alphabetical listing of the more than 2,700 Liberty ships built, Bunker's book is now available from The Ayer Co., Publishers, Inc., 47 Pelham Road, PO Box 958, Salem NH 03079 for $28.50.

The Liberty Ships by L.A. Sawyer and W.H. Mitchell. This extremely useful reference book on the Liberty Ships has been missing from bookstores in recent years, but it will soon be available once again after its scheduled spring 1985 republication by Lloyd 's of London Press Ltd . Originally published in 1970, The Liberty Ships gives a yard-by-yard history of the Liberty ship construction program , and individual brief histories of each ship built. The new version will contain much new material, more illustrations, and updates on the fates of many more Liberty ships. It will also have special coverage of the two Liberty ship preservation efforts (Jeremiah O'Brien and John W Brown). Lloyd's reports that the book will be published in hardcover in England , and also in softcover especially for the American market. The softcover edition , we are told, will sell for about $15.00. Information can be obtained from Lloyd's by writing to its Books Manager at Sheepen Place, Colchester, Essex C03 3LP in England . Mr. Gillen , a former merchant seaman and member of the Seafarer's International Union is currently studying for his doctorate in history at New York University. He is co-chairman of Project liberty, sponsored by the National Society.

HAMMS: A Rare Example of What Government-and Perhaps Only Government-Can Do When It Has a Mind To The Historic American Merchant Marine Survey, Works Progress Administration , Federal Project No. 6. Melvin H. Jackson , editor (Ayer Co., Salem NH 1984, 7 vols. , each 23in x 18in , 1009 scale drawings, 198 photos, 49 sketches, $3,000) . In the Historic Sites Act of 1935, Congress declared : " It is a national Policy to preserve for public use historic sites, buildings and objects of national significance for the inspiration and benefit of the people of the United States,'' and authorized the National Park Service to " Secure, collate and preserve drawings, plans, pihotographs and other data" of such site:s, buildings and objects. Since SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985


1933 the Park Service had been operating a Historic American Buildings Survey with Federal relief funds, in cooperation with the American Institute of Architects, which helped assemble the personnel , and the Library of Congress, which had agreed to serve as recipient of the material collected. Around the same time, Eric J. Steinlein approached the Maryland Historical Society with a project to record surviving wooden vessels of the Chesapeake Bay region. The Society had no funds available, but suggested that he might take his proposal to the Works Progress Administration for support similar to that being given to the Historic American Buildings Survey. Steinlein, who had begun recording wooden vessels on his own while travelling throughout the eastern United States in the 1920s as a book salesman, was not unhappy when the Federal agency required that the scope of the survey be enlarged to cover the entire nation. Their other requirement was a sponsoring organization. With the help of Frank A. Taylor, then a curator in the Division of Engineering, Steinlein was able to get the Smithsonian Institution to be the sponsor, and to agree to receive the collected material. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt heard of the project he endorsed it enthusiastically. The survey was initiated in March 1936, with Eric J. Steinlein as its director and Frank A. Taylor as his assistant. Eight regional offices were set up around the country, and around 100 naval architects, marine historians, and model builders were put to work gathering information . Hull lines were taken from collections of builders' half models, original builders' plans were transcribed , and where possible, actual vessels were recorded in complete detail. Of the vessels involved, hardly one survives today. Unfortunately, the project only lasted eighteen months before it fell victim to cutbacks in Federal programs in October 1937. Many craft remained to be recorded, but the Survey's accomplishments in that brief period are impressive: 426 different vessels had been documented in 1044 drawings and 550 photographs. Since 1937 this material has been preserved in the Department of Marine Transportation of the Smithsonian. A catalog was published in 1938, and copies of individual drawings or photographs have been offered at cost to researchers . Following the founding of the Council of American Maritime Museums in 1974, Melvin H. Jackson, then Curator of Marine Transportation at the Smithsonian, proposed publication of the entire SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985

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NAVAL INSTITUTE PRESS ANTI- SUBMARINE WARFARE By Rear Ad111irnl /. R. Hill, RN (Rct.) In this remarkabl y co nciSL' yL'I comp rehensive study, thL' a u thor emp loys a \'vidL' variet y of source material to summa ri ze all that is cu rrentl v known about the anti-submarine forces of th~¡ Soviet Union, United States, and NATO countrit.?s. After thoroughly exam inin g the hardware, strategies. and tact ics of rnod ern ASW fleets, Admiral Hill puts it all toget her by demonstrating how NATO might fi g ht an anti-s u bmari ne bait IL' in the case of Soviet attack in Eu rope. 112 pages/121 pho tos/ 19 line drawings/ Bibliog.

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Th is ch ill ing story of the All ies' narrow esca pe from defeat at the hand s o f Nazi sub marines docur1""tents the most critica l mont hs in th e Battle of the Atl an tic; th e wi nter and sp ring of 1942- 43. The autho r, an active participa nt in four key battles, desc ribes the valia nt day-to-day efforts of the co nvoys a nd tells the equally fascina ting story of th e U-boats. 312 pages/ 60 photos/ Apps./ lndex # 091-2 . . . . $14.95

Anatomy of the Ship : THE TYPE VII U-BOAT

ALLIED LANDING CRAFT OF WORLD WAR TWO Prepared by the U. S. Navy Department

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THE GRAND SCUTTLE : The Sinking of the German Fleet at Scapa Flow in 1919

By Dan van der Vat Th e aut hor gives a fuJI. account of the Ge rma n flee t from its creat io n by Ti rp itz to its complete frus trati on in war, its disgrace by mutiny, an d the sa lvat ion of its morale by an un para ll e led act of se lf- d estru cti on. The book prese nts in deta il the Anglo-German nava l arms race, th e battle of Jutlan d and the U-boat campa ign, th e internme nt o f th e Ge rm an fl eet, th e ord er to sc uttle, and th e un matched sa lvage ope ration that is s ti ll go in g on today. 235 pages/ Illus./ Apps./ Notes/ lndex # 225- 7 . . . . . . . ........... . . $16.95

WITNESS TO POWER : The Life of Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy

By Henry H. Adams He re is th e fi rs t fu ll-sca le po rt ra it o f F.D.R.'s top military adviso r by the acclai m ed biog rap he r o f Harry Hopkin s. Adams s hows how Lea hy, as Roosevelt's co n fi d ant, att ended th e wart im e con fe rences at Tehe ran, Ya lta, and Po tsda m and ad vised the p residen t on both mi li tary and dip lo mati c matters. Th is biog rap hy is equ all y revea li ng of hi s ea rl ier years o f serv ice to the gover n me nt, incl uding hi s tenu re as ch ief of nava l ope rat ions, governo r of Pu ert o Rico, and ambassador to Vich y Fra nce. 400 pages/ 36 ill us./ App./Bibl iog./lndex #338 - 5 . . . .. $22.95

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Survey as a project of that organization. The members of the Council were enthusiastic about seeing the material reproduced , but no funds were immediately available for this purpose. While investigating the costs of publication, Jackson had made contact with Arnold Zohn, founder of Arno Press, and then President of the Ayer Company. When no financial backing for the project materialized , Zohn decided to publish the Survey himself. Melvin H. Jackson served as editor of the publication, and both editor and publisher insisted on the very highest standard, including full-sized reproduction of the drawings, and archival quality paper. A limited edition of 300 sets was offered by the Ayer Company in 1984, at $3,000 per set. Each set consists of seven hard cover volumes measuring 23 inches by 18 inches. Many of the plans fold out to 36 inches. Four of the volumes cover East Coast vessels, one covers Great Lakes vessels, and two cover West Coast vessels. Ships are arranged according to the region in which they were built, rather than the region in which they happened to be recorded. In this fashion, 360 ships are dealt with, illustrated by 1009 drawings, 198 photographs, and 49 sketches. The remaining material from the original survey was felt to be either redundant, or too poor in quality to be reproduced. The vast majority of vessels recorded were wooden-hulled. However, a handful of plans of European iron and steel sailing ships are included , most of them in the final West Coast volume. Powered vessels were recorded as well as sail. In the Great Lakes and West Coast regions they are about half the total, but in the East Coast volumes they are outnumbered around five to one by sail , and only appear in the fourth volume. Unfortunately, by 1937 there were very few American-built ships or barks still around to be recorded . If the Survey had been given more time, we should at least have had detailed plans of the down easters St. Paul, then lying at Seattle, and Benjamin F Packard at Rye, New York . There is one excellent set of plans in Volume I of the bark Emily F Whitney, built at Boston, recorded in San Francisco Bay. Some regions of the country are missing because offices had not yet been established in them when the Survey was closed down. There are a few paddlewheel steamboats from rivers in Florida, but nothing to represent the entire Mississippi-Missouri-Ohio River system. There are few canal boats, and no canal or harbor barges. Lines taken from half models should always be treated with some skepticism, SEA HIS1DRY, SPRING 1985


Rare and Out-of-Print Books

as Norman Rubin demonstrates in an article in the American Neptune (July 1(}77, p. 164). And even builders' plans should be compared with actual photos of the ship where this is possible. By far the greatest value of the Survey lies in the recording that was done on actual vessels. This goes beyond the hull form , deck layout and sail plan , to include the least frequently recorded feature of historic ships, their internal hull construction . The price places the seven-volume set well beyond the reach of most collectors of marine books. But ifthe majority of the 300 sets printed end up in marine reference libraries around the country and around the world, a very useful end will have been achieved . The publishers originally planned to sell only complete sets, but both the Ayer Company, and Saga Press of Sagaponak, New York, are now offering sets of plans of individual vessels for prices ranging from $15 to around $200. And there is nothing to prevent a publisher from eventually producing a smaller format edition of the material affordable by a wider market. By far the best result that could come out of the publication of this material would be a renewed interest in recording historic ships and ultimately a reestablishment of the Survey itself. The Historic American Buildings Survey is still very active, as is the Historic American Engineering Record, created in the 1960s, which concerns itself with industrial , civil engineering and land transportation sites and artifacts. However, as Eric Steinlein, now retired and living in Maryland, pointed out in the introduction of the original HAMMS catalog, there is nothing to prevent interested people from doing their own recording of important vessels they encounter, and forwarding the results to be added to the HAMMS file in the keeping of the Department of Marine Transportation of the Smithsonian Institution . NORMAN J. BROUWER Mr.Brouwer is Curator of Ships at South Street Seaport Museum in New York.

Axis Submarine Successes, 1939-1945, by Juergen Rohwer (Patrick Stephens Ltd ., Bar Hill , Cambridge, CB3 8EL, England , 1983, 386pp, index , ÂŁ17.95) . In no aspect of sea warfare is the fog of war so hard to penetrate as in the submarine battles of World War II. Wolf-pack tactics meant that torpedoes were often running from several directions at once and vigorous counter-attacks by escorts and aircraft added noise and confusion to the battle and SEA HISffiRY, SPRING 1985

made accurate attack assessment almost impossible for the submarine. Until recently, Allied war records and the products of the secret decoding Ultra teams were classified . As a result , too little is known of the successes of that relatively small force of Axis submarines which came close to defeating the biggest maritime force the world had ever seen . Juergen Rohwer has set out to right this situation. He devoted 20 years of research to an earlier 1968 German edition, of this authoritative study of Axis submarine attacks, and this has since been updated by inclusion of Allied records. The result is a definitive record of German and Italian actions, and as accurate a record as the more sketchy Japanese records will allow. Only in the case of Soviet ships attacked has Rohwer been unable to produce such a high degree of confidence. In the main text, each claimed sinking is analyzed for each theaterof war in chronological order. For each attack, the first seven columns are taken from submarine reports. They list the date, time and place of the first shot, the submarine name or number, the captain's name and his estimate of the type and tonnage of the target and report of the weapon employed . The next seven columns are from Allied records and give convoy designations , nationality, name, type and tonnage of the victim (if any) and the geographical position. The last column adds explanatory details referring to a comprehensive series of footnotes. It is these notes which bring the book alive for the informed reader, making it much more than .a document for research . In clinical language, all the horror and confusion of submarine battle emerges. Moments of heroic success mix with times of despair and doubt, all now clarified by the relentless researches of the author. The book is completed by a series of indices of submarines , their captains, allied convoys and ships attacked, adding yet more detail to the information contained in the main text, and charts of the German geographical grid system. ERIC J. BERRYMAN Lieutenant Commander, USNR Dr. Berryman is presently serving with the Navy at Saclant headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia. He is Secretary of the American Ship Trust. '1i

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Delivering the Goods to the Normandy Beaches in 1944 By Frank F. Farrar Captain Farrar began some time back to recall the actualities of his time at sea. Pre-eminent among his memories is his time as Chief Mate of the Liberty ship Cyrus J.K. Curtis, chartered to the British Ministry of War Transport in World War II. He remembered particularly the first of several trips his ship made to the invasion beaches at Normandy, in France, where a huge armada of all sorts and conditions of ships brought Allied armies of British, Canadian, and American troops ashore (with a sprinkling of exiled Poles, and others exiled by the Nazi occupation) to liberate the Continent of Europe. '?ls this undertaking was probably the highpoint in my seagoing career, memories of those days are indelibly imprinted on my mind," he notes-and what memories they are! They give a vivid sense of camaraderie and the independent ways of these merchant mariners, and their feeling for the cargo they carried, the young men (and not-so-young Colonel) whom they would unload on the beaches, and who would go on to win the war in Europe. The old man and I were sitting in the saloon right after lunch speculating on our destination. " Norway," I insisted , " Bunk," he snorted. " South of France, I know what I'm talking about. Every piece of evidence points directly to the South of France." " What evidence? Nobody in this country will even tell you what day it is." "Nonsense," he shouted , " I know!" Before we could settle this matter we were interrupted by the entrance of a distinguished, commanding figure in immaculate British Army uniform . " Captain McGirr, I presume. I'm Colonel Grey, in command of the troops just now embarking on your fine ship." The Captain shook hands with him and introduced me. "Right-0, Mister Mate." We sat down , ordered tea, of course, and the Old Man , about as subtle as a Sherman tank, started to pry about our destination . Real sneaky, he took the indirect route. "South of France, of course, right , Colonel?" No dice. The Colonel deftly fended off our questions with one answer--''All in good time, chaps." I went out on deck , midships, by the gangway. British troops in full battle dress and full packs were streaming up, heading fore and aft. Directing them was an enormous soldier roaring out orders. As each trooper passed him they instinctively ducked. I said , " Hello Sergeant." " Sergeant Major," he shot back. " Yes sir," I squeaked. He looked and acted just like Victor McGlaughlin, only bigger and uglier. I learned later that a Sergeant Major in the British Army was far more important in the scheme of things than a whole squad of Generals. The invasion had to be the best kept secret of the century. The longshoremen weren't even allowed to go home. Shortly, a British pilot came aboard in full uniform and again the familiar " Fore and aft, all hands" echoed through the ship. The pilot backed the ship out of her berth and down the river we went. When we got down to the mouth we anchored right off the seaside resort town of Southend. We lay there all day, the troops cooking tea and pissing over the side. Sometime about midday swarms of planes started passing overhead , all heading east. Flying Forts they were. They passed in the hundreds, and still they kept coming. I'm not exaggerating, the sky was black with them. All afternoon and far into the night they never stopped. Somebody was sure catching hell. 46

Colonel Grey was taking his meals with us in the officers' saloon . During supper he said that he could now tell us the plans and suggested I summon all the officers. When I returned with the Engineers , three Radio Officers, Purser and Gunnery Officer, the Colonel had set up a large detailed map of the Baie de La Seine, which stretched from Le Havre, on the left, to Cherburg, on the right. With a pointer he ticked off the code names of the assault landing beaches: Sword, Gold and Juno for the British forces; then down near Cherbourg, Omaha and Utah for the Americans. Pointing to a seaside village in the Sword area called Gray Sur Mer, he said , " That's where we go ashore. You, Captain , will anchor your vessel as close ashore as depth of water permits. I have proper navigational charts for you and your officers to study." At last we had " the Word" ! Norway, South of France indeed! Then the Colonel got down to details , displaying the charts that showed the narrow mine swept channels down the coast of England to a point off the Cliffs of Dover where we would turn left and head across the Dover Straits to the French Coast, then left again, parallel to the coast to Sword . He emphasized that we would be in company of twenty-odd ships in columns of two down to Dover, then in single column going across . This was because the swept channel was very narrow. Going back to my cabin I reflected on all I had heard. The constant roar of those Flying Forts still passing in the hundreds gave me a great deal of comfort. Our schedule was such that we were to be crossing the Straits of Dover during the dark hours and arrive off the beach shortly after daylight . This time there was no feeling of elation as I engaged the windlass and heaved up the anchor. Down the Coast we steamed in two columns abreast. I assumed that we were all bound for Sword but never found out. I remember watching a ship in the next column through the binoculars . The jerry cans of gas stored on her forward deck were afire. It was blazing all around the vehicles, and I was concerned that their ammo might blow. She very quickly dropped out of line and disappeared astern. We never heard what became of her. Soon enough we were down to Dover and started over in single file led by a little minesweeper. There were minesweepers on each side of us, too; chugging along sweeping as they went. While they had their big sweeps out they couldn 't make much speed, so we had to slow down to their speed . Damned if the little temporary marker buoys didn 't have dim lights on them! These Limeys had really done some fine planning for this show . The slow dark hours crept by and the tension increased . I stayed on the bridge with the Old Man as the watches changed through the night. It being the month of June dawn came early. Four o'clock in the morning, and the sky was just beginning to lighten. Gradually the scene around us took shape. I looked out of the wheelhouse window , and never have I seen, or expect to see again , such a sight! From one horizon to the other; in front , astern, on both beams , the sea was packed with ships-thousands of them . I hadn't realized that our column wasn ' t the only one. They stretched on both sides of us for miles, all steaming east, each with its minesweeper escorts. We were all dumbfounded, as the vast scope of this undertaking at last sank in. Blinker lights were flashing on every side. It seemed like utter chaos, but there was order to it all. Ships' masters had done their homework well. On and on we steamed. With the coming of daylight that old feeling of being naked and exposed swept over us. What about enemy planes? E-boats? Mines? They were the worst. Hit a SEA HIS1DRY, SPRING 1985


I looked out the wheelhouse window, and never have I seen, or expect to see again, such a sight! mine and your bottom would blow out . But nothing happened. We turned left and headed up towards Sword. Out on the port bridge wing we had a British plane spotter. These men were civilian volunteers who had gone to a school where they watched films of both Allied and German aircraft. They kept running the film faster and faster as they became more and more adept. Our guy could catch a split second glimpse of a wing ducking out of a cloud and sing out the type of plane. We called him " Teeth " (he was a dentist) and he was very, very good at his job. The English are to be admired. During these days , with their very existence threatened , every man, woman, and child was doing his share. During our conversion in Leith a rather crude sort of radio had been installed on a bulkhead in the wheelhouse. It had no switches or knobs . It was on all the time . It was fo rever squawking " Yellow Alert ." "Expect Red momentarily, " "Negative Red ." " Now Green. " It went on so incessantly that we wound up paying no attention to it. Slowly we crept towards the beach, sti ll following our little minesweeper. At last he swung away. I was on the bow as usual, standing by the anchor. The Old Man was on the bridge, conning her in . The Second Mate was in the chart room calling out the depth. Old faithfu l Tim* was standi ng by the engine room telegraph . Before I expected it , the Old Man hollered ; "Let go, Mister. " Down rattled the starboard anchor. We were on the Normandy Beach faci ng a determined enemy. As soon as she fetc hed up I headed midships. Colonel Grey was waiting for me . " Where's that stevedore ship?" There were ships off in the distance a mile or two . Some were anchored, some still steaming about, but none of them heading our way. " Mr. Mate , they 've got fifteen minutes. If they don't show up , you'll have to offload my chaps and their gear." I immediately sent Tim to break out all hands . Assembling them on the forward deck , I made a little speech. I told them they 'd all be assigned jobs. The deck crew would handle the winches , two oilers would keep them running . The Second Mate and I would run the winches at the fifty ton derrick at #2 hatch from where I could see the forward deck. The Bos'n and Carpenter would handle the fifty ton guy ropes which were rove through snatch blocks to the anchor windlass. These guys would pull the big derrick out over the side as soon as the lift cleared the hatch coaming. As I wouldn 't be able to see the after deck with its two hatches and fifteen ton boom at #4, I put Tim in charge of the after deck. Ordinarily this might have caused some resentment; a kid in charge , but it didn't. The whole crew knew he was as good a seaman as any of them. The Colonel then dropped a beaut on me. He announced that he was sending all his men into the holds where they were to take their places in their vehicles; the same for the vehicles on deck. They would release the las hings and rig the hoisting slings. " My God, Colonel, you want me to hoist this stuff through the air and over the side with men sitti ng in them? What if we drop one, or a sling breaks?" "So what? My men are valuable and I don't want to lose a one, but we've got a job to do over on that beach , and we're going to it." " But Colonel , they'll be sitting in those vehicles for hours with nothing to eat or drink . Let me rig the scramble nets." " No, besides a stomach wound on an empty stomach has a far better chance of healing! " This man was one tough critter. Guess that's why he had the job. First, we had to unload the deck cargo. I was running the topping lift winch and Ommendson was on the Starboard , *Tim Pouch , US Merchant Marine Academy cadet, now NMHS Trustee .

SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1985

hoisting winch. The Limeys had furnished us with tin helmets of the same flat type that our troops wore in World War One. Bill looked so ridiculous with that silly tin hat perched on his big, square head. Mine kept fal ling down over my eyes, so I flung it overboard. We hooked onto the big duck* right abreast of the hatch. up she swung, with fifteen or more men in her, all loaded down with rifles, grenades, machine guns, draped all over with belts of ammo. As soon as she cleared the bulwarks I blew my whistle and the Bos'n up on the windlass flung three turns of guy line on the spinning nigger head , and over the side she swung. I stopped my topping lift winch and ran over to the rail where I could see and signaled Bill to lower away. The big duck splashed into the water and away she went. Troops pushed the next one down the deck , and the whole process was repeated till the forward deck was cleared. The same thing was taking place on the after deck. All the while this was going on the poor soldiers were sweating it out down in the lower holds . The Old Man was keeping the bridge, hollering orders through a megaphone to Tim and me. We couldn't hear him , anyways, so we just kept going, hour after hour. The Belly Robber, God bless his miserable soul , kept sending sandwiches and coffee which we gulped down while the winches were running. At last, late in the night we could do no more. Darkness was setting in and the ship was completely blacked out. I got in a big argument with the Colonel but he finally gave in. I told him that we couldn't see to work, and it was suicide to continue. It was impossible to see down into the holds while hoisting, and if a lift got caught on a 'tween deck hatch coaming, we'd not only lose the lift and kill his men, we'd also probably pull the booms down and kill ourselves. Reluctantly, he ag reed when I assured him that we'd resume at first light. Bill and I stretched out on the steam guard and dozed . It seemed just minutes later when somebody kicked me. I forgot where I was and rolled off the stem guard onto the deck. I looked up and there were the Old Man and The Colonel. " What the hell are you doing laying on the deck?" growled the Skipper. "Let's get at it! The quicker we get rid of these damned passengers the quicker we can get away from this damned beach. If we hang around here we could get ourselves killed ." Up spoke the Colonel , with the upper class English drawl : " I say, Mr. Mate, I've brought you a spot of tea. Drink it quickly; there's a good chap, and give it another go." Wearily, we dragged ourselves back to the windlass and resumed hoisting. As the lifts came up out of the hatches, the poor soldiers looked wan and gray. I thought to myself, " Here they should be fit as fiddles ; alert and ready to take on anything the Germans had to offer. Instead they are a sleepy, hungry and bedraggled group of men." My heart really went out to them . We'd be heading to London , shortly while their moment of truth was right in front of them . *DUKW- an amphibious troop carrier.

.t .t .t From experience as a teenager in pre-World War II steamer forecastles , to the dangers and monotony of wartime convoys, to navigation in thick ice and jungle river sands that both threaten to entrap his ship, Captain Farrar has recorded the ways of his ships and shipmates in a remarkable volume. The National Society hopes to make these memoirs of a lustilylived, carefully observed life at sea available at modest cost. Interested members of the Society should let us know if they would be interested in acquiring this projected volume.

47


NATIONAL MARITIME HISTORICAL SOCIETY

SPONSORS AMERICAN CONSERVATION A SSOCIATION ANNENBERG F UND APEX MA CHlNE CORPORATION JACK R. ARON VINCENT ASTOR FOUNDATI ON ATLANTIC MARITIME ENTERPRISES

HARRY BARON BEEFEATER FOUNDATION ALLEN G. BERRIEN

BOWNE & Co .• INC . C ITICORP EDNA M CCONNELL CL.A RK FOUNDATION DAVE CLARKE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSAC HUSETTS REBEKAH T . DALLAS LOIS DARLING }AMES R . DONALDSON EUREKA C HEMICAL Co. EVA GEBHARD-GOURGAUD F DTN.

W . R . GRACE FOUNDATION HAI GHT, GARDNER. POOR & HA VENS MR . & MRS. THOMAS HALE CAPT. & MRS. PAUL R. HENRY ELISABETH S. H OOPER FDTN.

CECIL HOWARD C HARITABLE TRUST ALAN HUTCHISON

L CDR. ROBERT IRV ING (USN RET.)

c.

R. JEFFERSON BARBARA JOHNSON C HRISTIAN A. JOHNSON ENDEAVOR F ON . (RVINC JOHNSON HARRIS KEMPNER A. ATWATER KENT. JR. DAVID H. KOLLOCK H . R . LOGAN JAMES A . MACDONALD F ON. MARINE SOCIETY, PORT Ot' NY MRS. EWCE MCDONAL D. JR . MILFORD BOAT W ORK S. I NC. RADM EDMOND J. M ORAN

USNR (RET.) NATIONAL ENDOWMENT fOR THE H UMANITIES NAUTILUS FOUNDATION NEW YORK COUNC IL. NAVY LEAGUE OF THE UN ITED STATES MICHAEL O'BRIEN RICHARD K. PAGE' MICHAEL PLATZER A . T . POUCH , JR.

RCA THOR RAM SING MR . & MRS. JOSEPH G. SAWTELLE H ELEN MARSHALL SCHOLZ MR . & MRS. PETER SEEGER SIRI US BROKERS H OWARD SLOTN ICK A. MACY SMI TH JEAN S. SMITH SETH SPRAGUE FOUNDATION NORMA & PETER STANFORD EDMUND A. STANLEY, JR. CORNELIUS VANDERSTAR HENRY PENN WENGER MR . & MRS. WILLIAM T. WHITE

DONORS MEL CARLIN Dow CORNING CORP . EDSON CORP. PETER GOLDSTEIN CAPT. WIWAM LARSON MIDLAND INSURANCE Co. E . A. POSUNIAK HOWARD SLOTNICK

PATRONS JAMES D. ABELES C. F . ADAMS RAYMOND AKER L . H . ALBERTS ALCO MARINE AGENTS P. M . ALDRICH THOMAS ROY ALLEN AMERI CAN BUREAU OF S HIPPING AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF MERCHANT S HIPPING AMERI CAN PRESIDENT LINES. LTD . ROBERT AMORY, JR . C HARLES ANDERSON MR . & MRS. WALTER ANDER SON ANDRE M. ARMBRU STER LAURENCE H . ARMOUR. JR . JACK ARON PETER ARON RI CHARD A SHERMAN BILL A UBRY ARTHUR B . BAER HARRY K . BAILEY KEN BAILEY JOHN B. BALCH B . A . BALDWlN, JR . ROBERT BALY B . DEVEREUX BARKER FRANK BARKER JAMES BARKER JEFFREY BARLOW PETER BARLOW IRA M . BAROCUS

J. H . BASCOM DAVID SASSING R . S. B AUER H OBEY BAUHAN BENJ AMI N B AXTER BAY REt'RACTORY BAYOU MARINE CONSULTANTS WALTER BELL JAMES BENNETI C HARLES A. BENORE HAROLD P. BERNSTEIN R . M . BIRM INGHAM ARTHUR BIRNEY W OODEN BOAT JAN BJORN-HANSEN CARROLL N. 8JURNSON ARTHUR BLACKETI DANA PAUL M . BLOOM B LOOMJNGDALES KARL B OLLMAN JESSE BOMTECOU R . A. BOWLING BARRY L. B OYER J. W. B OYLE ARTHUR E. BRACY CAPTAIN ROBERT G. BRA UN ERNEST S. BREED FREDERICK BREWSTER LAWRENCE BREWSTER K .L. BRIEL PAUL H. BRIGER S. R . BROSS. JR . NORMAN J . BROUWER JAMES C. BROWN RAYM OND G. BROWN STEVEN W. BRUMMEL WM . F . B UC KLEY . JR. JOHN S. BULL JOHN BUNKER AGA BURDOX ADM. ARLEIGH B URKE

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USN (RET.) ROBERT J. BURKE CRAIG BURT, JR . JAY G. BURWELL STEVEN B UTTERWORTH THOMAS P . BYRNES JOHN CADDELL JAM ES R . C ADY BOYD W . CA FFEY JOHN CALDER H ARRIET C AMPBELL, INC. 0. CAREY DAVID C ARNAHAN MRS. JOSEPH R . CARTER HAROLD J . CASEY CENTRAL GULF LINES H UMBERTO J. CEPEDA C. A . C HAPIN JAMES E. C HAPMAN LIN C HAPMAN JOHN CH ICHESTER ALAN G. CHOATE ERBERT C ICENIA MARTIN E . C ITRIN ALBERT C . CIZAUSKAS, JR . MR. & MRS. C. THOS. CLAGETT. JR. A. J. CLARK JAM ES L. CLARK HERBERT A. CLASS GEORGE F . CLEMENTS ARTHUR C LEVELAND FERNANDO TORRES CLOTE J. E . COBERLY JOHN COEN E DWARD COLLINS F . S. COLLINS J. F ERRELL COL TON WILLIAM COMBS TREVOR CONSTABLE L. CDR. MICHAEL CORDASCO THE CORINTHIANS, PHILADELPHIA FLEET HENRY A. CORREA RI CHARD C. CORRELL JAMES W . C OULTER COUNCIL OF MASTER MARINERS RI CHARD S. CO WEN DAVID Cox C APT . ALAN B . CRABTREE BEN & SALLY CRANE WALTER C RONKITE C RUCIBLE STEEL CASTING COMPANY S. H . CUMMINGS CAPT. N.M. CURRIER JOHN CURRY ALBERT L. CUSICK CUTTY SARK SCOTS WHI SKY ALI CE DADOURIAN MORGAN DALY F . BRIGGS DAUELL PETER T . DAMON CDR. W . H . DARTNELL }AMES K . DAVIDSON JOAN DAVIDSON F . KELSO DAVIS JOHN G. DAYHUFF P. S. OE BEAUMONT C APT. J. E . DECASTRO, USNR Rose DEGNON EDWARD A . DELMAN J. A . DE L UCE PAUL DEMPSTER JOSEPH DE PAUL & SONS ROHIT M . DESAI HIRAM DEXTER MALCOLM DICK

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JAMES D ICKMAN JOSEPH DIRSA A. J. DOBLER DO LPHIN BOOK CLUB JOSEPH DOYLE R . L . OOXSEE JEREMIAH T . DRISCOLL DRYBULK C HARTERING J. O'NEILL DUFFY R. }. D UNPHY E. L LOYD E CCLESTON£, JR . H OWARD H. EDDY PHILIP EGERT CAPT. RAYMONDT. EISENBERG DAVID B. ELLIOTT }AM ES EL\iER, JR . GEORGE F . EMERY D AMON L . ENGLE EPIROTIKI LINES ULF ERIKSEN CDR. L .F . ESTES WILLIAM EVERDELL JOHN & CAROL EWALD EYEVIEW FIL\.15 HENRY EYL JIM FABER JOHN HENRY FALK JAMES P . FARLEY CAPT. JOSEPH FARR R OBERTS. FELNER MR. & MRS. STEPHEN M. FENTON MRS. JEAN FIN'DLAY } . E. FLANNIGAN C HARLES FLEISHMANN MR. & MRS. BENJAMIN FOGLER JAMES FOLEY ALANSON FORD F . S. FORD, JR . HENRY FORSYTH C HARLES F ORTES MEMORIAL F UND JOHN FOSTER M I SS HAzEL ANN Fox MARBURY B. F ox FRED FREEMAN C HARLES M. FREY J.E. FRICKER BENNO FRIEDMAN DR. HARRY FRIEDMAN FRIENDS OF THE HIST ORIC SHIPS FRI TZSCHE , DODGE & OLCOTT , INC. R . A. F ULTON C HARLES GALLAGHER RI CHARD GALLANT ROBERT GARVIN B. GATES WALTER GATES JOSEPH A. GEMMA GEORGE ENGINE COM PANY E . NORMAN GEORGE H . E . GERHARD NORMAN G. GERMANY J. T. GILBRIDE WILLIAM GILKERSON ROGER GILM.AN ATWELL & CLARE GLASSELL BERNARD DAVID GLASSER }AMES E. GOLDEN PRODUCTIONS PETER GOLDSTEIN OLIVER R . GRACE R. A. GRANT JIM G RAY MASON GRAY GREAT OUT MYSTIC SC HOONER FLEET OR . ROBERT W. GREENLEAF ROBERT H. GREGORY D. GREIMAN HENRY F . GREINER ROLAND D. GRIMM C HARLES GULDEN MICHAEL I. GULDEN GULF STATES PAPER CORP . R.H . GULI..AGE L CDR EMIL GUSTAFSON HADLEY EXHIBITS, INC. WALTER A. HAGSTROM C HARLES W. H ALL MORTIMER HALL JOHN R. HAMILTON ROBERT K . HANSEN CAPT. WILLIA.~ C. HANSEN CDR. W . H. HAMILTON S. HANSEN-BURBAN K CO., LTD. CAPT. ROBERT HART USN (RET .) WILLIAM HAYDEN JOHN G. HAYHUFF C HRISTOPHER HEG C APT. JAM ES E. HEG THOMA HENRY W . J. h .:.NTSC HEL HAROLD HERBER W . R. HERVEY HERBERT HEWITT ROY HEWSON CARL W . HEXAMER A . E. HEYDENREICH C HARLES HILL NEAL 0. HINES JOHNSON PEDERSON HINRICHS ALBERT L . HOFFMAN R . A . HOFFMAN RICHARD HOK.IN B . H . HOOPER T OWN SEND HORNOR C APT. M. F . HORVATH GODFREY G. HOWARD CAPT. DREW 8. HOWES THOMAS H OYNE. Ill

PER H U FFELDT H UGHES BROS. INC. WILLIAM H UGHES. SR. WILLJAM H ULICK III ALAND. HUTCHINSON IMPERIAL CUP CORP I NDUSTRIAL FABRICATING KAZ INOUYE INTERNAT IONAL O RGAN IZATION OF MASTERS, MATES & P ILOTS I OT CORPORATION JAKOB ISBRAN DTSEN GEORGE I VEY JACKSON & Co. J. S. JACOX CAPT. GEORGE W. }AllN COL. GEORGE M. }AMES PA UL C. JAMISON RAPHAEL }ANER BovoJEwETT C HARLES W. JEFF RAS ARNOLD JONASSE R.H . JOHN C HART AGENC..:Y NEILS W. JOHNSON ALAN JONES J. B. JONES W.J.JOVAN W. H ADDON JUDSON NORMAN KAMERMAN N NEIL KEATING M . W . KEELIN G J. KELLY C APT . JOHN M . KENNADAY JOHN KENNEY G. W . R . K ENRIC K KIDDER, PEABODY WILLARD A . KI GG INS JIM & PEGGY KIN GSBURY JOHN KINNEY DONALD P . KIPP S. L . KITTERMAN NORMAN KJELD SEN CDR. M . S. KLEIN. USN W . KLEINDIEN ST , MD R.}. KNEELAND ELIOT KNOWLES HARRY KNOX K OBI ENTERPRISES KOBRAND CORPORATION ARTHUR KOELLER BETTY KOHAREK EDITH KOONTZ W ILLIAM H . KRAMER ANDREW KRA VIC GEORGE P. KROii C. SCOTT KULICKE S. ANDREW K UUN DANIEL LADD N ORTON LAIRD FON. ANTHONY LAMARCO GEORGE R. LAMB CHARLES LAUTERMILCH KEVIN LEARY CLARK LEE W. C. LEN Z PHILIP LEON ARD MR . & MRS. T . E. LEONARD RICK LEVINE PRODUCTIONS DAVID LEVITT PAULS. LEWIS, JR. R UTHERFORD P. LI LLEY LlNCOLN SAVINGS BANK LINDENMEYR PAPER CO. CAPT. L. M . L OGAN JEFF L OVINGER KLAUS L UC KA CHARLES LUNDGREN JOHN E . L UNDIN Ross MACDU FFIE CAPTAIN WILLIAM H . MACF ADDEN M. 0. MACPHERSON ALEN MACWEENEY, INC. JOHN MAGUIRE CLIFFORD 0. MALLORY PETER MANIGAULT }AMES PEARSON MARENAKOS JOSEPH A . M AN LEY ANTHONY MARQUES ELISABETH M . MARTELL THOMAS F . MASON ROBERT M ASTROG IOVANN! MARTIN MATHEWS PHILIP MATTINGLY PETER MAX JAMES MCAWSTER JOHN G. M CC ARTHY HAROLD J. M CCORMI CK DOROTHY S. M CCONNELL DONALD M CCULLOUGH HAROLD J. MCCORMICK CAPT. E . C. M CDONALD JEROME MCGLYNN R. M . M CI NTOSH NOEL 8. M CLEAN JAMES M CNAMARA ROBERT MCVITTIE MEBA DISTRICT 2 ANTHONY MEDEIRO S CAPT. FRANK MEDEIROS RICHARD A . MELLA SCHUYLER MEYER , JR. J. PAUL MICHIE JOHN MILLER STUART MILLER R . KENT MITCHELL CHESTER MIZE CAPT. PHILIP MOHUN M ONOMY FUND J . R . MORRISSEY

ANGUS C . MORRISON MR . & MRS. EMIL MOSBACHER . JR . FRANK MOSC ATI , INC. RI CHARD MOSES DR. & MRS. J. M ULL E JAMES MURRAY WILLIAM G. M ULLER MYERS & GRI NER/CUESTA MYSTIC WHALER NAT'L HISTORICAL SOC. NATIONA L MARJTIME UNION ERIC NELSON HARRY L. NELSON, JR . FR. EARLE NEWMAN NEW YORK AIR NY SmPPING A ssoc. NEW YORK TELEPHONE Co. GEORGE N IC HOLS ROBERT A . N!CllOLS JOHN NOBLE DAVID} . NOLAN CAPT. WM . J. NOONAN J. A. NORTON M ILTON G. NOTTINGHAM D . G. OBER OCEANIC NAVIGATION RESEARCH SOCI ETY C LIFFORD B. O' H ARA T . MORGAN O'HORA JAMES O'KEEFE KALEVI A. 0LKIO DENNIS O'MALLEY B.J. O'NEILL H OWARD ()TWAY PACIFJC·GULF M ARINE, INC. RI CHARD K . PAGE WALTER PAGE ALLAN 0. PARKER S.T. PARK S JOHN N . PEARSON MRS. G. J. PEUSSERO A. A. PENDLETON PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOLSH IP ASSN. CAPT. O.E. PERKINS MILES A . N. PETERLE GUNNAR PETERSON DONALD W . PETIT } . C. L . PETLER STEPHEN PFOt.:TS WALTER PliARR V INCENT J. PIECYK ADM . T . R . POLLACK GARY POLI.ARD THEODORE PRATT PRINCE HENRY COLLEGE FRANK C. PRlf\DLE R. S. P ULBO THOR H . RAM SING RI CHARD RATfl ARVIE . RATY JIM H . REED CO L. ALFRED J. REESE JOHN REILLY FREDERICK REMINGTON P. R . ] . REYNOLDS D ONALD RICE PETER PEIRCE RICE R USS RIEMANN E DWARD Rl1TENHOUSE E. D. ROBBINS, MD C HARLES R . ROBINSON PETER ROBINSON VI CENTE RODRIQUEZ HAVEN ROOSEVELT DANIEL RO SE FREDERICK ROSE DAVID ROSEN A .B . ROSENBERG M . ROSENBLATT P HILIP Ross }AMES \V . ROYLE, JR . DAVID F . RYAN M . J . RYAN C HARLES )RA SACHS D. R . SAGARINO SAIL ST. JOE M INERALS JOHN F . SALISBURY JAMES M . SALTER III C REW OF TllE SSBT SAN D IEGO SAN DIEGO YACHT CLUB A . HERBERT SANOWEN SANDY HOOK PILOTS A SSOC. JAMES G. SARGENT W . B . H . SAWYER FRANK SCAVO R. SC HAEFER DAVID & BARBARA SCHEL L RADM . WALTER F. SCHLECH. JR. JOYCE SCHOBRICH AUSTIN SCOTT SEA HA WK INTERNATIONAL SEAM EN' S CHURCH INSTITUTE DIELLE FLEISHMAN SEIGNIOUS M ICHAEL SERENSON W ILLIAM A. SHEEHAN ROBERT V. SHEEN. JR. RICHARD A. S HERMAN KENNETH W. SHEETS, JR . S HIPS OF THE SEA M USEUM CAPT. H . H. SHUFELDT 0 . W. S IMPSON GEORGE StMPSON ROBERT SI NCERBEAUX FRANCJS 0. SKELLEY 0 . L . SL.ADE E. KEITH SLINGSBY _H .F. SMITH

J.

MELBOURNE S MITH E. P . SNYDER MR . & MRS. VAN A. SM ITH SONAT MARINE. I NC. CONWAY 8 . SONNE THOM AS SOU LES SOUNDINGS EDWARD SPADAFORA T . S PIGELMJRE JOHNS. W . SPOFFORD MANLEY SPRINGS BRIAN STARER PHILIP STENGER SUSIE STEN llOUSE EDNA & ISAAC STERN FDTN . W. T . STEVENS J. T. STILLMAN JOHN STOBART JAMES ] . STORROW HARLEY STOWELL WILLIAM C. STUTT FRANK SUCCOP DANIEL R . SUK.I S BRUCE SULLIVAN CAPT. JOHN 0 . SVENSSON RICHARD SWAN J. C. SYNNOTT SUMNER B. TILTON, JR. SUN REFINING & MKTG. Co. SUN SHIP, INC. ROBERT H . S WAIN S wi ss AMERICAN SECURITIES I NC. R . S. SYMON G H . TABER S. THOMPSON JOHN THURMAN L UIGI TIBALDI ROBERT TICE DOUGLAS A. TILDEN WILLIAM E. TINNEY ROBERT TISHMAN TOAD PRODUCTION GEORGE F. TOLLEFSEN SKIP & ROGER TOLLEFSON MR. & MRS. ALLEN W . L . TOPPING ANTH ONY TRALLA JAM ES 0 . TURNER THOMAS TURNER UNION DRY DOCK UNIVERSAL MARITIME SERVICES CORPORATION U.S. NAVIGATION CO.

U.S. LINES RENAUD VALENTIN CAPT. R OBERT D. VALENTINE VANGUARD FOUNDATION JOHN D . VAN I TALLIE VAN 0MMEREN SHIPPING BLAIR VEDDER, JR . FRANZ VON ZIEGESAR JOHN VREELAND }AMES WADATZ SHANNON WALL ALEXANDER J . WALLACE RAYMONDE. WALLACE E. R. WALLENBERG TERRY WALTON PATER M . WARD ALEXANDER WATSON DAVID WATSON N. W. WATSON MRS . ELIZABETH WEEDON RAYNER WEIR ARTHUR 0. WELLMAN THOMAS WELLS W. S. WELLS L. HERNDON WERTH M ICHAEL WESTBROOK WESTLAND FOUNDATION JOHN WESTREM JOHN ROBERT W HITE RAYMOND 0. WHITE G. G. WHITNEY, JR . FR. JAMES WHITTEM ORE LAURENCE WHITTEMORE ANTHONY WIDMAN CAPT. HAROLD 8. W ILDER CAPT . & MRS. JOHN M . WILL. JR . H . SEWALL W I LLIAM S STAN W I LLIAMS P. J . W ILLIAMSON STEPHEN J . W ILLIG HAROLD 0. WILLIS JAMES H. WILLIS MALCOLM WILSON SUZANNE C . WILSON JOHN F. W ING SIDNEY WINTON L AURENCE F. WITTEMOKE WOMENS PROPELLER CLUB, PORT OF BOSTON WOMENS PROPELLER CLUB , PORT OF JACKSONVILLE JEFF WOODS EUGENE Was DORAN R. WRIGHT THOMAS H . WRIGHT W ILLIAM C . WYGANT YACHTING }AMES H . YOCUM ALEN SANDS YORK JOHN YOUELL HENRY A . YOUMAN S ANNE YOUNG RANDOLPH S . YOUNG W. } . YUENGLING CHARLES ZEISN EDWARD G . ZELINSKY

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Engineering 1b01orrow's Sea History


The Dredge Wheeler, o ne of the Army Corps of Engineers hopper dredges operating o ut of the New Orleans District is manned by MM&P deck officers

This is MM&P Country The Army Corps of Engineers Dredge Wheeler is but one of the workhorse vessels needed to keep the harbors and rivers open for smooth operation of the nation's commerce. These vessels are the nucleus of the dredge fleet -" operated for defense purposes under the national agreement signed between the Army Corps of Engineers and the Masters , Mates and Pilots. MITAGS, where MM&P deck officers go to sharpen-their skills, is the result of a close and profitable collaboration between MM&P and American flag shipping companies.

ROBERT J. LOWEN

LLOYD M. MARTIN

International President

International Secretary-Treasurer

International Organization of

Masters, Mates & Pilots 700 Maritime Boulevard , Linthicum Heights, MD 21090 •Tel : (301) 850-8700 •Cable: BRIDGEDECK, Washington, DC• Telex: 750831

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Sea History 035 - Spring 1985  

7 NMHS PROJECTS: THE RONSON SHIP, Warren Riess & Sheli O. Smith • 10 IN CLIO'S CAUSE: MISSING WITHOUT TRACE?, Charles Dana Gibson • 12 SEA...

Sea History 035 - Spring 1985  

7 NMHS PROJECTS: THE RONSON SHIP, Warren Riess & Sheli O. Smith • 10 IN CLIO'S CAUSE: MISSING WITHOUT TRACE?, Charles Dana Gibson • 12 SEA...