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SS President Grant-Circa 1942

January 25 2012 at 9:50 AM
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Keith Allen  (Login keacla1)
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Response to SS President Grant-Circa 1942

A few comments--

Bob Burns wrote:

""I am looking for a photograph for the Armed Guard Unit, SS PRESIDENT GRANT circa November 1942."

There is a detailed history of the ship, and a number of photos of her in her prewar guise as PRESIDENT ADAMS, in Mark Goldberg's "The Stately President Liners--American Passenger Liners of the Interwar Years--Part I--The 502s"
(American Merchant Marine Museum,1996).

"Warren and Nelson- Thank you. I am still looking for details of convoy F.P.1 daily movements (Boschfontein, Tabinta, Pres. Grant, HMNZS Leander) War Diarys or deck logs..."

Bob, I'm not sure exactly what details you're looking for. You obviously have the basics--that the convoy left Auckland 3 November and arrived at Noumea on 6 November. For what it's worth, the New Zealand Navy official history says that LEANDER "left Espiritu Santo on 10 October for a rendezvous east of Fiji, to meet a convoy of six ships from the United States which she escorted to Auckland. She afterwards took three of them to Noumea, where they arrived on 6 November." There might be something in the South Pacific Force records at NARA College Park; I will take a look next time I'm there. College Park also has Armed Guard files; there might be some for that convoy.

"Oct. 3 with the Boschfontein resume course to designation- Oct. 15 escort relieved by New Zealand cruiser (maybe HMNZS Leander?)-Oct. 22 moored at pier Auckland, New Zealand."

The cruiser was definitely LEANDER. Not only does the official history confirm that, but she is the only candidate. The only other New Zealand cruiser, ACHILLES, was in refit at the time.

Nelson wrote:

"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."

PRESIDENT GRANT's logs might well have gone to American President Lines, as she remained in APL ownership (APL does still exist, incidentally, as a subsidiary of Neptune Orient Lines). But most of the wartime U.S. merchant ships, especially those built under the wartime programs, were actually owned by the War Shipping Administration, and assigned to shipping lines as operating agents. I don't know what happened to the logs of those ships.

"the 502 or 522 Class, 502 feet in length between perpendiculars (LBP) and 522 feet in length overall (LOA). Why this confusing distinction in determining class length, I dunno. "

Merchant ships were generally referred to by length between perpendiculars, and the Shipping Board types were always referred to that way.

"My point here is that the smoky ol' Centennial State/President Adams/President Grant may have been a coal-burner, but I'm not certain."

The 502s were oil-burners.

I'm afraid I can't help on the "P-10" notation or the "F.P. 1" convoy designation. I've checked several lists of Allied convoy designations and the only "FP" listed is for troop convoys to Norway in 1940, which isn't too helpful.

Keith Allen

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