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Bunch of Merchant Marine stuff

Article about: So, were Merchant Mariners given weapons? How did they defend themselves? I recall reading somewhere that their ships were crewed by the mariners, but defended by armed Navy personnel. As I

  1. #11

    Default Re: Bunch of Merchant Marine stuff

    So, were Merchant Mariners given weapons? How did they defend themselves? I recall reading somewhere that their ships were crewed by the mariners, but defended by armed Navy personnel.

    As I mentioned before, my great-grandfather was a merchant mariner. It's actually kind of a strange thing, because he has an enlistment record (drafted into the Army in 1942), but the photo we have of him in his uniform portrays him in a merchant marine uniform! I will have to scan that photo next time I am at my grandmother's house.

    I have a lot of respect for the mariners. I recall reading that Reagan granted them veteran status during his presidency. Unfortunately, that was pretty late...

  2. #12

    Default Re: Bunch of Merchant Marine stuff

    Yes, it was a shameful thing, in my opinion, that the MM sailors had to wait until 1988 for veteran status to be awarded to them for their wartime service. By then, many of them were long dead or nearly so. The MM servicemen were a kind of "gray area" ,with them being trained by the Navy to man guns on armed merchant ships, etc but when the war ended, they were basically told "thanks for everything and see you later". Nearly 10,000 MM died during the WWII conflict as a direct result of enemy action. Their casualty rate was actually higher than Any other branch(es) of the Service-including Army and Marines.
    A good website to peruse for basic facts on them and their service is : http://www.usmm.org/faq.html It should give you a pretty decent start on their wartime training, duties, casualties and more. The MM's, even today, are a little known or researched bunch-which is a shame, as they Should be.
    William

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

  3. #13

    Default Re: Bunch of Merchant Marine stuff

    Thanks, William. I went and read the link inside and out.

    I will be at my grandmother's house in North Carolina this Thanksgiving, so I will get a photo of my great-grandfather. On the website you provided, there is a section about the relationship between the Army and the Merchant Marine:

    "Merchant mariners were subject to the draft if they took more than 30 days shore leave. Experienced mariners who had been drafted were released by the Army to serve in the Merchant Marine. Harold Harper "dodged" the draft by being torpedoed 6 times. Nick Hoogendam, who was too young for the Army or Navy, spent 83 days on a liferaft drinking rainwater and eating "sushi." John Stanizewski, a mariner in WWI and WWII, had 10 ships knocked out from under him. Michael Horodysky was classified 4F in the draft due to a bad heart and sailed the dangerous Murmansk run and took part in the North African invasion. The Chief Engineer of the SS Peter Kerr, sunk in Convoy PQ17, had a wooden leg. Harold "Bud" Schmidt joined the Merchant Marine as one-eyed 16-year-old kid."

    So, according to my great-grandfather's enlistment record, he was drafted by the Army in April of 1942. However, like I said, the photo we have of him (as well as oral legacy) shows that he was a Merchant Mariner. So, does that mean that he was probably released by the Army for the MM's? The odd thing is that he worked in a coal mine for most of his life, and probably never once saw the ocean until the war. Perhaps he was drafted into the Army, later found to be 4F, and joined the Merchant Marines instead?

  4. #14

    Default Re: Bunch of Merchant Marine stuff

    The blue cap (I showed)is linked to thise ship;
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Leopoldville_(1929)
    Always looking for Belgian Congo stuff!
    cheers
    |<ris

  5. #15

    Default Re: Bunch of Merchant Marine stuff

    That's amazing! I wonder if the cap came from a survivor?

  6. #16

    Default Re: Bunch of Merchant Marine stuff

    I know he sailed /served on that ship, but I don't know if he was on the ship when it was sunked...
    |<
    Always looking for Belgian Congo stuff!
    cheers
    |<ris

  7. #17

    Default Re: Bunch of Merchant Marine stuff

    I got the stuff today! The jackets fit me like a glove!

    Is there any way to research the writing on the collar of the summer jacket? 'N.A. Jones 4004'

  8. #18

    Default Re: Bunch of Merchant Marine stuff

    Quote by ObKrieger View Post
    I got the stuff today! The jackets fit me like a glove!

    .....
    That could change over a couple of years!! ;-)
    I have no idea about where you could start a research...
    Have a look at;
    http://www.jkmilitaria.com/Belgium.html
    They have a very rare cap insigna, when you scroll about 1/4 down the page!
    That insigna is older then 1910! And being merchant marine; that makes it very rare.
    The difference is the little yellow star in the upper left corner!
    cheers
    |<
    Always looking for Belgian Congo stuff!
    cheers
    |<ris

  9. #19

    Default Re: Bunch of Merchant Marine stuff

    My great grandfather, Kermit Dotson.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #20

    Default Re: Bunch of Merchant Marine stuff

    Great! You got the picture!
    Well done.
    |<
    Always looking for Belgian Congo stuff!
    cheers
    |<ris

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