Re: Earnest Boudreaux US Navy and his Brother Clarence J Boudreaux
Posted by Ron Carlson on October 21, 2013, 3:34 pm, in reply to "Earnest Boudreaux US Navy and his Brother Clarence J Boudreaux"
Edited by board administrator October 23, 2013, 8:57 am
Here is information I was able to find about the six ships you identify as being among those in which your grandfather sailed.
GEO. H. JONES - British tanker, built 1919. Sunk June 11, 1942, off the Azore Islands by U-455. 39 survivors, two deaths. One lifeboat was rescued after two days at sea. See http://www.wwwmp.co.uk/ceredigion/aberystwyth-st-michael-s-church/, scroll down to "George Daniel Lewis" for a brief account of the loss. Also see http://www.independent.ie/regionals/kerryman/lifestyle/shipwreck-survivor-says-thanks-to-rescuer-27398443.html, which reports that one lifeboat was at sea for seven days. Also see http://uboat.net/allies/merchants/ships/1787.html, which says 20 survivors rather than 39. A photograph of the ship appears at the latter page. I have found information that Clarence Boudreaux sailed in this ship in 1930.
JOHN WORTHINGTON - U.S. tanker, built 1920. Torpedoed and damaged May 27, 1943, off Brazil by U-154. 56 survivors, no casualties. Despite extensive damage, the crew sailed the ship first to Trinidad, then to Galveston, Texas, where it was determined she was damaged beyond repair. The ship was eventually allowed to sink near Corpus Christi, Texas. See http://www.aukevisser.nl/inter/id114.htm for information and photographs. I have found information that Clarence Boudreaux sailed in this ship in 1930. Later he was reported as having deserted this ship in Baltimore in February 1931.
CACIQUE - U.S. cargo ship, built 1918 under a different name, renamed CACIQUE in 1935, survived the war, scrapped in 1946. There were a number of ships named CACIQUE (hence possibly the reference to CACIQUE "3") but this seems the best match. Cacique means "chieftain" in Spanish.
RIO MENDOZA - This was a Danish merchant ship, built in 1936 and named BRAZILIAN REEFER, which was in port in Buenos Aires, Argentina, when Denmark surrendered to the Germans in early 1940. (A ship with "reefer" in the name suggests a refrigerated food transport vessel.) The Argentine government interned the ship and later purchased it from its Danish owners, renaming her RIO MENDOZA. Although Argentina was neutral for most of World War II, it is possible that non-Argentine seamen sailed in her during the war. She survived the war and was scrapped in 1976. See http://www.histarmar.com.ar/BuquesMercantes/ListadoR2/Rio-Mendoza-1941.htm (which is in Spanish) for photographs. You could copy and paste the text at www.translate.google.com to translate.
SIEUR DE LA SALLE - U.S. Liberty ship (cargo ship), built 1944. Survived the war and was scrapped in 1966.
SEBASTIAN VIZCAINO - U.S. Liberty ship, built 1942. Survived the war and was scrapped in 1961. Note correct spelling, although there is conflicting evidence that she may have been named SEBASTIAN VISCAINO.
I cannot verify your grandfather's information that he survived the sinking of two ships, if those incidents were among the ships you name. Considering the above ships, at most he may have survived one sinking (GEO. H. JONES) and one other attack in which the ship was not sunk (JOHN WORTHINGTON). But even with those two ships, I have serious doubts that he was aboard either ship at the times they were attacked. He sailed in those two ships in the 1930s from information I found. It is very typical for merchant sailors to sail aboard multiple ships over time and not necessarily remain on a single vessel for repeated voyages. It would be somewhat more unlikely, from what I have seen, for a seaman to return to a ship in which he had sailed earlier, particularly during the war during which there were so many available ships. It seems to me the odds would be against his later chancing to find positions on two ships in which he had sailed 10-12 years earlier, although not impossible.
From records I have been able to find, Clarence J Boudreaux may have begun sailing as early as 1924. His record from 1930 aboard JOHN WORTHINGTON indicated he had six years of sailing experience at the time, and I found him aboard SIEUR DE LA SALLE in late 1944. So he may have sailed as much as 20 years. In that time I would expect he might have been aboard many more ships than the six you identify, and perhaps among those other ships were the two incidents of being adrift after the loss of his ships.
So I would suggest a way to find additional information is to contact the United States Coast Guard to request your grandfather's merchant marine service record. The Coast Guard was and is responsible for maintaining records on U.S. merchant mariners, including the ships in which they served. Therefore, see this page of the Armed Guard / Merchant Marine website that I manage for information on contacting the Coast Guard's National Maritime Center: http://armed-guard.com/searchmil.html. In particular see section A.2. Records of Individuals - Merchant Marine. You will need to provide as much identifying information as you have.
Be aware that since you are not next of kin to your grandfather, it is possible that not all portions of his service record will be available to you. Therefore if someone who is next of kin is still living (presumably your father or another child of your grandfather), that person should make the request rather than you. Of course you can do the legwork but the next of kin should actually sign the request. If there is nobody still living who is next of kin to your grandfather (next of kin = parent, spouse, sibling, child), go ahead and make a request on your own and hope for the best.
Good luck and I hope the above information is useful.
Ron Carlson, Webmaster
Armed Guard / Merchant Marine website