Re: VICTORY SHIP: RALPH W EMERSON
Posted by Ron Carlson on May 13, 2013, 7:59 am, in reply to "VICTORY SHIP: RALPH W EMERSON"
The full name of the ship was RALPH WALDO EMERSON and she was a Liberty ship, not a Victory ship. The Victory ship class was the successor to the Liberty ship class, with Victory ships being slightly larger and much faster than Liberty ships. About 2,700 Liberty ships were built, and about 530 Victory ships. Most Victory ships had the word VICTORY as part of their name (for example AMERICAN VICTORY, now a museum ship in Tampa, Florida) while most Liberty ships were named after prominent persons in American history.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON was constructed in 78 days by the Oregon Shipbuilding Company, Portland, Oregon, between February and May 1942. She survived the war and was scrapped in 1960 in Philadelphia. See http://shipbuildinghistory.com/history/shipyards/4emergencylarge/wwtwo/koregon.htm and scroll to hull number 198. Also see http://www.mariners-l.co.uk/LibShipsR.html and scroll to the name of the ship.
Her wartime career was relatively uneventful. I can find indications that she made at least one trip to Murmansk, Russia, over the northern end of Norway, probably the most dreaded voyage of the war. She also served elsewhere in the North Atlantic, in the Mediterranean and in the Pacific. The only even remotely notable event I could find was that she went aground on a muddy shoal off the Philippine island of Mindanao, without serious damage, on Oct 25, 1945, which was actually after the end of the war. She may never have sailed again after her return to the U.S. following that incident.
Interestingly I found records of two men with the last name Twarkins aboard RALPH WALDO EMERSON on a voyage that began in New York City on August 16, 1944, to Oban, Scotland, departed Southend, England, on November 10 and arrived in New York on November 24, 1944. The two men were Stephen A. Twarkins, an able seaman, age 28, and Adam F. Twarkins, an ordinary seaman, age 20. Was one your father and the other an uncle?
If you're interested in obtaining a photograph of RALPH WALDO EMERSON, please see this web page for sources of photographs of World War II-era merchant ships: http://www.usmm.org/photosource.html. Your best bet would be Mr. William Hultgren, whose photographic collection concentrates on Liberty ships. I know enough about his collection to know that Mr. Hultgren apparently has an image of RALPH WALDO EMERSON. Mr. Hultgren is quite elderly but at last report was actively managing his collection. There will be a charge for a copy but I don't know the amount.
Ron Carlson, Webmaster
Armed Guard/Merchant Marine website