Posted by Ron Carlson on November 4, 2016, 1:32 pm, in reply to "Re: November muster"
Thank you for your inquiry. I have found information about your father that may be of interest.
I found your father, Pasquale Paolella, as part of the Navy Armed Guard crew aboard not one but two ships, including the one you identify. Here’s a brief summary of the voyages of the two ships while he was aboard.
The first ship on which I found him was SS EDMUND F. DICKINS. That ship departed New York on February 9, 1944, and proceeded to Hampton Roads (i.e., Norfolk, Virginia area). There the ship joined convoy UGS-33 which departed on February 13, 1944, destination Port Said, Egypt, arriving on March 12. Port Said is the northern terminus of the Suez Canal, through which the ship apparently transited because I find her in two convoys going as far as Bandar Abbas, Iraq, on the Persian Gulf. Convoy AP-65 departed Aden, Yemen, on March 20 and arrived in Bandar Abbas on March 27. The ship departed Bandar Abbas on April 18, reaching Aden again on April 25. She again transited the Suez Canal to Port Said, where she joined convoy GUS-39 to Hampton Roads on May 29. The ship continued on to New York where she finally returned on May 30.
I next found your father aboard SS GEORGE E. BADGER. In this record his name is misspelled as Pasquale Paplella; I suspect that last name has been misspelled more than once. The ship departed New York on October 26, 1944, destination Antofagasta, Chile. Apparently the ship sailed independently, meaning not in convoy and without warship escort, for which I can offer an explanation. Chile is on the west coast of South America and German U-boats and Japanese submarines did not operate in the Pacific Ocean as far east as South America. So it was a good bet that any ship sailing along the west coast of South America would not be subject to submarine attack. The voyage between New York and the Caribbean would have been more dangerous, although few if any U-boats operated in the Caribbean later than August 1943. The ship arrived in Antofagasta on an unspecified date, departed Antofagasta on November 26, and arrived back in New York on December 15, 1944.
As you can see, there is a nearly five-month gap in the record between the time your father arrived in New York aboard EDMUND F. DICKINS and departed New York on GEORGE E. BADGER. That would have been enough time for at least one additional voyage, and possibly two, aboard EDMUND F. DICKINS or some other ship. (He was not aboard GEORGE E. BADGER earlier than October 26, since that ship departed New York on its previous voyage while your father was still aboard EDMUND F. DICKINS.) Indeed, EDMUND F. DICKINS made a voyage from New York to Britain and return in June-August 1944 and made another voyage from New York to Algiers, Algeria, and return in August-October 1944. I cannot determine whether your father was aboard for either voyage. Likewise there was at least eight months from the time your father returned to New York in December 1944 until the end of World War II during which your father may have served in one or more other vessels.
FYI, most of the information I have found comes from the subscription website Ancestry.com (http://home.ancestry.com/), which is more commonly used for genealogical research. I have discovered, however, that Ancestry.com includes databases of the names of crew and passengers who arrive at certain U.S. ports of entry following a foreign voyage. Records for the port of New York are particularly extensive but limited for some other ports. Additionally, the source of the information about convoys comes from ConvoyWeb (http://convoyweb.org.uk/hague/index.html), which lists the convoys in which ships sailed during World War II, the originating and destination ports, applicable dates, and sometimes brief additional information about a ship such as the fate of a ship in a convoy or the cargo carried by a ship. There is no information on the crew of a ship.
Since your father served in at least two ships (very typical for an Armed Guard sailor) and possibly more, you may wish to request a copy of your father's official service record, which could provide a additional degree of detail about his wartime service, including the ships in which he served plus training, shore-side assignments, injuries or illnesses, decorations earned, etc. See this page within the Armed Guard website that I manage, http://armed-guard.com/searchmil.html. In particular, see section II.A.1 - Records of Individuals, Military, for instructions on requesting a copy of his records. You will have to contact the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO, and provide as much identifying information as you have (name, date and place of birth, date and place of death, Social Security Number, military ID number ["serial number"], etc.). The page has links to all of the information you will need to request his records, including a required form. There will be a fee for researching, photocopying and mailing the records but the Records Center staff will alert you to the cost before beginning work.
As to the two ships identified above, both were Liberty ship, which was the most common type of merchant vessel built and used during World War II. More than 2,700 Liberty ship were constructed before, during and immediately after the war, and some continued in private shipping service into the 1970s. Only two operational Liberty ships still exist, JEREMIAH O’BRIEN in San Francisco and JOHN W. BROWN in Baltimore. I am a volunteer crewman aboard JOHN W. BROWN and also serve on the Board of Directors of Project Liberty Ship, which owns and operates the vessel. If you are ever in the vicinity, stop by for a visit. I’ll give you a personal tour.
EDMUND F. DICKINS was built in just 22 days (not a record by the way) by the Oregon Shipbuilding Company, Portland, Oregon, in September 1943. She struck a mine off Manila, Philippines, on May 5, 1945, was repaired and laid up in the James River, Virginia, before finally being scrapped in 1947 in Baltimore. See http://shipbuildinghistory.com/shipyards/emergencylarge/koregon.htm and scroll to hull number 765. Also see http://www.mariners-l.co.uk/LibShipsE.html and scroll to the name of the ship. Edmund Finley Dickins (1848-1923) was a noted ship’s captain for U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.
GEORGE E. BADGER was constructed by the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, NC, in 41 days between December 1942 and February 1943. After the war she too was laid up in the James River until being scrapped in Alicante, Spain, in 1972. See http://shipbuildinghistory.com/shipyards/emergencylarge/northcarolina.htm and scroll to hull number 62. Also see http://www.mariners-l.co.uk/LibShipsG.html and scroll to the name of the ship. George Edmund Badger (1795-1866) was briefly the Secretary of the Navy in 1841 and later was a U.S. Senator from North Carolina, 1846-1855.
You can read a rather ribald tale of a merchant seaman who sailed in GEORGE E. BADGER (but probably typical of any number of tale from any number of ships) prior to your father’s service at https://dippelhistory.wordpress.com/category/10-the-cruise-of-the-badger/.
I hope this is useful.
Ron Carlson, Webmaster
Armed Guard / Merchant Marine website