Re: in what african ports did the SS Jedediah S. Smith stop
Posted by Ron Carlson on July 19, 2013, 8:41 pm, in reply to "in what african ports did the SS Jedediah S. Smith stop"
While I cannot be certain that my information is comprehensive, I have been able to find something useful.
I have searched the subscription website Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com), a site most commonly used for genealogical research. However I have found that Ancestry.com has databases listing the names of crew members and passengers aboard merchant vessels that arrived in certain U.S. ports of entry following a foreign voyage. Information on the port of New York is especially extensive.
I found a Richard Winkler, age 17, a U.S. Navy Armed Guard gunner aboard SS JEDEDIAH S. SMITH, on a voyage that began in Los Angeles in late May 1943 and ended in New York on December 6, 1943. This was more than likely the ship's maiden voyage as her construction was completed in May 1943.
The information is in the form of images of the crew manifest for that ship and voyage. On several pages one can see the stamp/seal of U.S. Consulate officials as they apparently inspected the ship's papers in various ports. While some of the seals are illegible I was able to find the following sequence of ports visited, per consulate seals:
Calcutta, India Sept 8, 1943
Columbo, Ceylon Sept 18
Mombasa, Kenya Sept 28
Cape Town, S Africa Oct 25
The nearly month-long hiatus between Mombasa and Cape Town suggests to me the ship was in port in one location or another for a lengthy period, rather than visiting other intermediate locations. (If the latter presumably there would have been additional consulate seals.) Elsewhere in the record there is an indication that the ship actually departed Mombasa on Oct 17. Whether she was taking on fuel, stores, cargo, undergoing repair or something else I can't say from the record I found.
I cannot find any evidence of a visit to another port or ports on the west coast of Africa. My guess is that from Cape Town the ship proceeded across the Atlantic. There might have been a stop in South America or the Caribbean for provisions or fuel but again there is no indication in the record. She may have proceeded directly to New York from Cape Town.
So one can conclude with confidence that at least Mombasa and Cape Town were on the ship's itinerary.
Ancestry.com often has a subscription offer of a free 14-day trial, during which you could attempt the same search that I did. See the Ancestry.com home page for subscription details.
Ron Carlson, Webmaster
Armed Guard / Merchant Marine website