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SS President Grant-Circa 1942

January 23 2012 at 7:28 PM
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Nelson  (no login)


Response to SS President Grant-Circa 1942

 
Bob,

To iterate what I've written in the past and what I know for certain, just so there is no error in understanding by any reader:

1. The deck logs of United States Army transports from the World War II period have been destroyed in their entirety.

2. The deck logs of U.S. Army transports from the 1920s and general interwar period may still be found--I THINK down at Archives I in Washington, DC--but they are sporadic. What they gots is what ya gets.

3. The deck logs of U.S. Army transports that were transferred for some finite wartime period to the U.S. Navy and thus became commissioned naval vessels, e.g., USS U.S. Grant (AP 29), USS Republic (AP 33), etc., survive for that period of naval "guardianship". Thus the sooner that naval service began and the later it ended, the longer the period a researcher may peruse the log contents.

4. The deck logs of American merchant vessels engaged in wartime shipping reverted to the ownership of the various commercial companies postwar. Virtually all of these companies went out of business, so draw your own conclusions, although some of these logs do survive in local and regional maritime museums or collections.

5. I cannot speak authoritatively on the war diaries of U.S. Army transports. I suspect all or the vast majority of them accompanied the deck logs to destruction. One should pursue the matter, however, for one never knows what luck he'll have.

In your prefatory statement, you did remind the readership that several ships of that period did bear the name President Grant or some variation thereon (e.g., U.S. Grant). By another of those coincidences I alluded to earlier in this thread, one of the vessels renamed SS President Grant in 1907 became USAT Republic in 1919 and again in 1931, and then a decade later, USS Republic (AP 33) of Pensacola convoy fame. In an oddly almost parallel backstory, SS Konig Wilhelm II, launched in 1907, was similarly taken over as a war prize by the United States in 1917 and became naval transport Madawaska. The army got her in 1922 and renamed her USAT U.S. Grant. She was commissioned USS U.S. Grant (AP 29) in June 1941, one month before USS Republic was. Now then, two ships launched in the early 1920s were christened Centennial State and Pine Tree State, the former soon becoming the Dollar Line's President Adams and the latter its President Grant....and it only gets better (= worse). In 1937, the Dollar Steamship Company went bust, and for all intents was taken over by the U.S. government and transformed into the American Presidents Line (APL). In 1940, SS President Grant passed into navy hands and commissioned USS Harris (AP 8), and thereupon SS President Adams was renamed SS President Grant. Although the website Warren recommended claims that President Grant (ex-President Adams) was also transferred to the U.S. Navy, that did not happen and she remained SS President Grant until she went to her destruction on Uluma Reef in 1944. Certainly President Ulysses S. Grant was the eponym for a lot of ships, quite an irony when you think about it, because when he left office in 1877, for most Americans one President Grant was more than enough. Ain't history FUN!

Nelson

 
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  • SS President Grant-Circa 1942 - Bob Burns on Jan 24, 2012, 8:02 PM
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