Edited by board administrator February 16, 2016, 7:53 pm
I found seagoing information about your father aboard three vessels between June 1944 and August 1945. There may have been other ships and voyages. Following in date order are the ships in which he served and information about the voyage(s) he made in each.
Signed on 06/08/44; departed New York 06/17/44 in convoy HX-296, destination Belfast, Northern Ireland; departed Belfast 08/18/44 in convoy ON-249; arrived New York 09/02/44. On this voyage, possibly his first, he served as a utilityman, which is an entry-level position in the steward’s department of a merchant ship. He is described as being age 18, 5’10” tall and 150 pounds. His physical description includes “both thumbs mashed.”
Voyage #1. Signed on 11/03/44, departed New York 11/22/44 in convoy CU-48, destination Cardiff, Wales; departed Cardiff December 15 or 16, 1944 in convoy UC-49A; arrived New York 12/27/44. On this voyage he served as a messman, another steward’s department position. Details include that his age was 19, other details as above.
Voyage #2. Signed on 12/29/44; departed New York 01/02/45, destination Jucaro, Cuba (south coast of Cuba); departed Jucaro 01/11/45; arrived New York 01/17/45. His personal details are as above.
Signed on 03/04/45; departed Portsmouth, NH, unspecified date; destination Canal Zone, Panama via Newport, RI; arrived San Francisco, CA 04/16/45; continued to Eniwetok, Marshall Islands; arrived San Francisco 08/14/45. On this voyage he served as an ordinary seaman (OS), the entry-level position in the deck department. He is described as age 19 with no other information. By the time he returned to San Francisco in August 1945, World War II was over.
A merchant ship typically has three “departments” or shipboard personnel organizations: the deck department or deck crew, the engine department (engine crew) and the steward’s department. The steward’s department was responsible for the “hotel” operations of the ship, primarily planning, preparing, serving and cleaning up after meals. Utility men are the most junior in the steward’s department, messmen are somewhat more senior and experienced. In the deck department, ordinary seamen will perform many tasks on deck, including handling mooring and tow lines, standing lookout, and steering the ship. Their more senior and experienced counterparts are able seamen.
NICHOLAS BIDDLE was a Liberty ship, one of more than 2,700 vessels of that type constructed immediately before, during and immediately after World War II, the largest single class of vessels in history. NICHOLAS BIDDLE was constructed in 50 days 50 days in August-September 1942, by the Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard, Baltimore, Maryland. She survived the war and was scrapped in 1963 in Beaumont, Texas. See http://www.shipbuildinghistory.com/history/shipyards/4emergencylarge/wwtwo/bethfairfield.htm, and scroll to hull number 2067. Also see http://www.mariners-l.co.uk/LibShipsN.html and scroll to the name of the ship. http://www.armed-guard.com/luik04.jpg has a poor-quality photograph of the ship.
CAPE CORWIN was a type C1-A cargo ship, constructed by the Pusey & Jones shipyard in Wilmington, Delaware, completed in March 1943. She was scrapped in 1974 in Beaumont, TX. See http://www.shipbuildinghistory.com/history/shipyards/2large/inactive/pusey.htm, and scroll to hull number 1087. See http://digital.hagley.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p268001coll9/id/632/rec/16 and http://cdm16038.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p268001coll9/id/854/rec/11 for photographs of the ship at the time of her launch.
YAQUINA HEAD was a type V-4 seagoing tugboat. She was constructed by Froemming Bros. shipyard in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, completed in August 1943. She was scrapped in 1971. See http://shipbuildinghistory.com/history/shipyards/4emergencylarge/wwtwo/froemming.htm, and scroll to hull number 6. Also see www.towingline.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/V4-M-A1.pdf, scroll to page 11; a photograph of V-4 type tug (unidentified) is on page 3 of the same document. Based on the otherwise cryptic title of your post, you may have already found this information.
If you want to pursue additional information about your father, you may be able to obtain a copy of his merchant marine service record, by contacting the U.S. Coast Guard. See this web page from the website I manage: http://armed-guard.com/searchmil.html. In particular see section A.2. Records of Individuals – Merchant Marine. You will have to contact the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center in Martinsburg, West Virginia. The Coast Guard was and is responsible for issuing certain documents ("seaman's papers") and officers’ licenses to U.S. merchant mariners, so they may have information about your father. His record would likely include information on training, the ships to which he was assigned, any serious injuries or illnesses, applicable dates, etc. You will need to provide as much identifying information as possible about your father. There may be a fee for this service but I expect the Coast Guard would not begin work without informing you of any charges.
Ron Carlson, Webmaster
Armed Guard / Merchant Marine website