Further to your specific questions, the Liberty ship SOLOMON JUNEAU apparently was one of some 200 Liberty ships (out of a total Liberty ship fleet of 2,700+ ships)that served as a troop ship. (Most Liberty ships carried cargo only.) However a troop ship would not have been designated "TS." If a merchant ship, as was SOLOMON JUNEAU, she would have been designated "SS" for steam ship but with no further designation as a troop ship. If a commissioned naval vessel a ship would have been "USS" for United States Ship. And many large, purpose-built troops ships were designated "USAT," for US Army Transport. (The Army actually had more vessels in World War II than did the Navy, but most Army vessels were non-combatants.) So I cannot conclusively interpret "204 TS Solomon." It is possible there is a link with SOLOMON JUNEAU although I would be inclined to think the full name of the ship would have been used rather than a partial name, particularly just a "first" name so to speak. It is also conceivable that Armed Guard sailors on troop ships might have been issued submachine guns for some reason. But that also seems a reach since the only time Armed Guard personnel would have used smaller weapons was for gangway or anchor watch, for which rifles or revolvers would have served.
A final speculative thought: a few troop ships, including Liberty troop ships, carried German or Italian POWs on voyages from Europe back to the US; I have no idea whether SOLOMON JUNEAU served in that capacity. For those vessels there would have been a need for more serious ship-board security and thus perhaps for more serious weapons. Most POWs were probably quite happy to be out of the war and likely not inclined to violence, but ya never know.
That's the best I can offer.
Ron Carlson, Webmaster
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