Thanks for your inquiry. As it turns out, ANNISTON CITY (note spelling) was not a Liberty ship. Rather it was a general cargo ship built by Chickasaw Shipbuilding and Car Company, Chickasaw, Alabama, in 1921. (Liberty ships were built only between 1941 and 1945 and in nearly all cases were named after a person.) Chickasaw Shipbuilding constructed 14 cargo ships in 1920-1921, all named after cities in the South, most of them cities in Alabama. Seven of those ships were lost in World War II. ANNISTON CITY survived the war, was sold and renamed three times, and was scrapped in 1958, at the elderly age, for a ship, of 37. See http://www.shipbuildinghistory.com/history/shipyards/2large/inactive/chickasaw.htm and scroll to hull number 10. Photographs of the ship are found at http://www.isthmianlines.com/ships/sa_anniston_city.htm and http://www.armed-guard.com/nsjwb.html.
While I cannot confirm the details of the voyage you describe, I found information that may correlate with your story. On or about February 25, 1946, ANNISTON CITY departed New York. On board were Carlton Ray, age 18, and Alton Larson, age 19. Both were oilers, an engine room position, and both had joined the ship as of January 25. The only other descriptive information was that Carlton Ray was 5’11” and 170 lbs., while Alton Larson was 5’7”, 160 lbs. This voyage took the ship to the Panama Canal; Honolulu; Shanghai and Hong Kong, China; Manila, Philippines; and returning to Honolulu, arriving there June 6, 1946. The ship continued to Baltimore, arriving there in late June or early July, then to Newport News, Virginia, in early August. According to the record I found, there were plans for the ship to depart soon thereafter for another voyage to Shanghai.
Both men were aboard ANNISTON CITY for that next voyage, which probably took a route similar to the first, with the ship returning from China to Honolulu on December 1, 1946. On December 25, 1946, she arrived in New Orleans, at which point both Carlton Ray and Alton Larson drew their pay and departed the ship, after serving aboard for ten months. On this voyage, the record indicates that Carlton Ray was from South Dakota and Alton Larson from North Dakota; the other identifying information remained the same.
The records I found for the two voyages had information with respect to the crew only, not to the cargo the ship carried. Additionally the ship may have called in foreign ports other than those I found listed.
Additionally, I found that Carlton Ray served in another ship, WILLIAM PATTERSON, which was a Liberty ship, built in Baltimore in 1942, scrapped in 1972. This ship departed Boston in early October 1945, continued to Philadelphia (where Carlton Ray joined the crew), sailed to Antwerp, Belgium, departing Antwerp on November 10, and arrived in New York on November 28, 1945. On this voyage, which was apparently his very first, Carlton Ray was a fireman-water tender, another engine room position. (Unlike a land-based fireman, who puts out fires, a marine fireman starts and keeps fires going, in the boiler of a ship. A water tender is responsible for maintaining an adequate level of water going to the boiler, lest it boil dry, which would be a catastrophic development.)
I do not find any other records of Carlton Ray or Alton Larson serving in the merchant marine after 1946.
There are several deadly diseases associated with exposure to asbestos, including asbestosis and mesothelioma. The latter disease is nearly unknown among persons never exposed to asbestos, while somewhat common among those so exposed. Indeed there is no other known cause of mesothelioma other than asbestos exposure. It may be dormant for as many as 15-40 years before it develops into an active condition. Occupations such as asbestos mining and shipbuilding are among those in which asbestos exposure could be expected. Working in the engine room of a ship, particularly if the asbestos found there was damaged (thereby releasing asbestos particles into the air) would be another significant source of asbestos exposure.
I hope the above is useful.
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