Re: Liberty ship; Richard.V.Oulahan
Posted by Ron Carlson on March 29, 2008, 11:57 pm, in reply to "Liberty ship; Richard.V.Oulahan"
The information I have found on the RICHARD V OULAHAN conflicts with what you state, namely that she sank in a typhoon off Okinawa with the loss of all life. I have found several references in which she was reported as a "total loss" as the result of a typhoon but not specifically described as sunk. The number of deaths in these references is "unknown." One might think that if a ship sank with the loss of all hands there would be a more specific statement to that effect. Also in one reference I found, while she was described as a total loss, it is also mentioned that she was later scrapped and another even more specific reference states, "Ashore and wrecked Okinawa in typhoon. Later reported scrapped China." See http://www.mariners-l.co.uk/LibShipsR.html (scroll down) and http://usmm.org/shipsunkdamaged.html (you will have to follow several different links from the latter page: ships lost by date, ships lost by location and ship name).
Also, on the Armed Guard site I found the name of a man who served on the RICHARD V OULAHAN between 3/21/45 and 11/21/45, which of course includes the date of the typhoon. The same man served on another ship after the OULAHAN so he must have survived whatever she went through in September 1945. See http://www.armed-guard.com/wwww.html and search for the name of the ship; the man's name is George W. Wadie. Interestingly, www.switchboard.com lists a George W. Wadie living at 110 West Comfort Street, Palatine, Illinois 60067, USA, phone (847) 358-6910. The same man? Maybe, maybe not, but if not the same man probably someone related to him.
Note that in a maritime context, "total loss" (or more specifically, "constructive total loss") is a technical terms that means a ship was damaged beyond repair but it does not imply the ship sank. In fact, a "constructive total loss" almost certainly means that the ship did NOT sink (she would have to be afloat in order to make a determination that she cannot be repaired), although I don't know whether "total loss" has the same meaning.
One other thought: a ship caught in a typhoon (or hurricane) may have been ordered to the relative safety of the open sea from wherever she was anchored or docked before the typhoon. In other words, she may not have been on a voyage, in the usual sense, at the time she encountered the typhoon. She might have simply been "at sea."
Can you identify your source of information to the effect that she sank with all hands?
If you follow the suggestion that Rick Pitz made and obtain a ship movement card, that may have definitive information. You might also try to contact Mr. Wadie at the above address to see if he is the former Armed Guard and, if so, what his recollections are.
Ron Carlson, Webmaster
Armed Guard website www.armed-guard.com