Re: U.S Jonathan Elmer
Posted by Ron Carlson on December 12, 2013, 2:52 pm, in reply to "U.S Jonathan Elmer"
The correct designation for this ship is SS JONATHAN ELMER, rather than "US" JONATHAN ELMER or, what you probably meant, "USS" JONATHAN ELMER. USS means United States Ship and refers to commissioned vessels in the United States Navy. JONATHAN ELMER was never a part of the Navy or the Coast Guard. Rather she was a civilian merchant ship, operated by civilian merchant mariners, at the direction of the U.S. government. SS means steamship and is an appropriate description of the ship.
I have no personal connection with JONATHAN ELMER but I can provide some information. She was named for Jonathan Elmer (1745-1817) a member of the Continental Congress and later a Senator from New Jersey (1789-1791). JONATHAN ELMER was built in 65 days by the Bethlehem Fairfield Shipyard in Baltimore in July-September 1942. She survived the war and was scrapped in 1960, also in Baltimore.
(Interestingly, at least to me, while she was being built, another Liberty ship, SS JOHN W BROWN, was being constructed on a neighboring way. The two ships were completed within a few days of each other in September 1942. JOHN W BROWN survives to this day as an operational museum ship in Baltimore. I am a volunteer crewman aboard JOHN W BROWN. If you live anywhere close to Baltimore, be sure to visit the ship someday. See http://www.shipbuildinghistory.com/history/shipyards/4emergencylarge/wwtwo/bethfairfield.htm and scroll to hull number 2058 and 2062.)
JONATHAN ELMER sailed in convoys between 1942 and 1945; she may never have sailed between the end of the war and her scrapping. I found some 22 records of convoys in which she sailed, in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and the North Sea. You can find the same information by doing a SHIP SEARCH at ConvoyWeb (http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/hague/index.html). Similar but less comprehensive information (eight convoys) is also available at warsailors.com (http://www.warsailors.com/search.html).
If you want to obtain a photograph of JONATHAN ELMER, see http://www.usmm.org/photosource.html for sources of photographs of World War II-era merchant ships. Your best bet is Mr. Hultgren, second on the list, since his collection focuses on Liberty ships. I know enough about his collection to know that he apparently has an image of the ship. Mr. Hultgren is quite elderly but at last report he was still actively managing his collection. I understand he charges $10 for an 8x10 print.
I hope the above information is useful.
Ron Carlson, Webmaster
Armed Guard / Merchant Marine website