I have no information about your father but here are details about each of his ships.
SS JOHN T HOLT, a Liberty cargo ship, was built by Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyards in Baltimore, designated as yard hull number 2206 (the 2,206th ship built by the yard) and Maritime Commission (MC) hull number 1758 (the 1,758th ship ordered by the Maritime Commission). Her keel was laid 30 June 1943, she was launched 29 July 1943, and delivered for service on 9 August 1943, 40 days after keel-laying. She apparently had a relatively uneventful World War II sailing career as the next entry in her record is that of being scrapped in 1962. Between 1945 and 1962 she was probably assigned to the reserve fleet (mothballed) in one of several locations around the country, most likely on the East Coast, either in the Hudson River or the James River. See http://www.shipbuildinghistory.com/history/shipyards/4emergency/bethfairfield.htm.
The website Warsailors.com (http://www.warsailors.com/) has numerous records of the HOLT sailing in the convoys below; another website, http://timetraces.com/nene/george_devonshire/#p24, records her presence in convoy RA 59. Doubtlessly she was in other convoys not recorded online. One of her convoys made the infamous "Murmansk run" to northern Russia over the northern tip of Norway.
Convoy HX 281, Halifax, Nova Scotia to Liverpool, February 1944*
Convoy HX 283, Halifax to Liverpool, March 1944
Convoy JW 58, Loch Ewe, Scotland to northern Russia, March 1944
Convoy RA 59, northern Russia to Loch Ewe, April 1944
Convoy GUS 46, Casablanca to Delaware Capes (Philadelphia?), July-August 1944
Convoy HX 305, New York to Liverpool, August-September 1944
Convoy HX 307, New York to Liverpool, September 1944**
Convoy ON 270, England to New York, December 1944
Convoy HX 332, New York to Liverpool, January 1945
Convoy ON 283, England to New York, February 1945
* HOLT left HX 281 and returned to Halifax for reasons not stated in record; later sailed in HX 283
** Probably misidentified as being in convoy HX 307 which left New York September 6, 1944, since she was also recorded as being in convoy HX 305 which arrived in Liverpool September 10, 1944. Convoys typically took about two weeks to make this crossing. The Liberty ship JOSEPH HOLT may have been the ship in HX 307.
SS SAMUEL NELSON, also a Liberty cargo ship, was built by California Shipbuilding Corporation, Los Angeles, California, designated as yard hull number 87 and Maritime Commission (MC) hull number 662. Her keel was laid 27 September 1942, she was launched 30 October 1942, and delivered for service 17 November 1942, 51 days after keel-laying. Her wartime service likewise was unremarkable and she was scrapped in 1964, presumably after being in the reserve fleet for most of the time after the war. See http://www.shipbuildinghistory.com/history/shipyards/4emergency/california.htm
Interior and deck photographs of the NELSON under construction are available at http://www.mdhs.org/library/collections/hughesstudio/viewimage.asp?DigitalImage=http://mdhsimage.mdhs.org/Library/Images/HughesImages/access/29/418-48i.jpg&Box=29&Folder=148&Target=Folder&Display= Since I am a volunteer crewman on one of two surviving Liberty ships, the SS JOHN W BROWN (see www.liberty-ship.com) I recognize the likely locations of some of these photographs.
Warsailors.com lists the SAMUEL NELSON in the following convoys:
Convoy HX 248, New York to Liverpool, July 1943 (carried cargo of sulphur and cotton to Manchester)
Convoy HX 256, New York to Liverpool, September 1943 (scheduled to sail with this convoy but apparently did not)
Convoy ON 207, England to St Johns, Newfoundland, October 1943
Convoy ON 219, England to Halifax, Nova Scotia, January 1944
Convoy HX 278 or HX 279, Halifax to Liverpool, February 1944 (cargo of grain, scheduled to sail but did not, sailed instead with Convoy HX 280 [date not specified])
Convoy HX 290, New York to Liverpool, May 1944
Convoy ON 240 Liverpool to New York, June 1944
Convoy HX 300, New York to Liverpool, July 1944
Convoy HX 321, New York to Liverpool, November 1944 (cargo of explosives)
Convoy HX 338, New York to Liverpool, February 1945 (ship continued on to Antwerp)
The Armed Guard website lists an Allan R. Lepp as serving on the SAMUEL NELSON November 1944 to August 1945. Switchboard.com has an Allan R. Lepp living at 480 Fisher Road, Fitchburg, MA 01420, phone (978) 345-0000. If your father's service on the NELSON corresponds with that of Mr. Lepp, you may want to try to contact this Allan Lepp to see whether he is the same man.
USAT GEORGE WASHINGTON was a former German ocean liner, built in 1908, seized by the United States in World War I, and operated as a troopship in both World War I and World War II. She was named the USS CATLIN in 1941-1942 then resumed her former name in 1943. She was damaged in a fire in 1951 and sold for scrap. Information about USAT GEORGE WASHINGTON can be found at the following web pages:
http://475thmpeg.memorieshop.com/CHAPTERS/FOUR/Chapter4.html (scroll down)
USS YORKTOWN was the name of two famous World War II aircraft carriers. The first sank at the Battle of Midway in June 1942. Her successor of the same name was launched in January 1943, commissioned April 1943, and served until decommissioned in January 1947. She was recommissioned in January 1953 and served until June 1970. She is now a museum ship at Patriot's Point, South Carolina. The web sites about the two ships are too numerous to list but are easily found with a Google search.
USS BARATARIA was a seaplane tender, commissioned in August 1944 and decommissioned in July 1946 after duty in the Pacific. From September 1948 through August 1969 she was a Coast Guard cutter, finally being sold for scrap in September 1970. See
http://www.pby.com/Archives.nsf/AVP33WarHistory (this page has links containing JPG images of reports of BARATARIA’s activities from her commissioning in August 1944 through September 1945.)
Other information is easily found by searching Google.
Ron Carlson, Webmaster
Armed Guard website