The United States Merchant Marine in World War I: Ships, Crews, Shipbuilders and Operators
During World War I, the American Merchant Marine meant dangerous duty. Sailors on cargo ships faced the daily threat of enemy submarines, along with the usual hazards of life at sea, and help was rarely close enough for swift rescues. Pre-war shipping in America depended mainly on foreign vessels, but with the outbreak of war these were no longer available. Construction began quickly on new ships, most of which were not completed until long after the end of the war. Drawing on contemporary newspapers, magazines and trade publications, and Shipping Board, Department of Commerce and Coast Guard records, this book provides the first complete overview of the American Merchant Marine during World War I. Detailed accounts cover the expansion of trans–Atlantic shipping, shipbuilding records 1914–1918, operating companies, ship losses from enemy action, the role of the Naval Overseas Transportation Service and mariner experiences.
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I'll have to read this book - it sounds great and will explain a great deal about my grandfather's life.
But I must correct the account of the sinking of the "Colombian," and subsequently the "Balto, the "Fordalen," and later the Varingen.
The crew of the "Colombian" was allowed to abandon ship and transferred to the other ships, abandoning them in sequence as they were bombed and sunk. From "Varingen," the crew "left at 5AM in lifeboats on 10 Nov and rowed 6 1/2 hours to shore, without food or water. The crew reached Camarinas, SPAIN at 11.30AM. No telephone or telegraph or railroad there. Left for Coruna at 8AM on 13 Nov and rowed 8 hours to get there." (words from my grandfather's, Richard H. Richardson, journal. He was 3rd Engineer aboard the "Colombian.")