Return to Index  

Responding to "Nelson"

March 19 2013 at 7:45 PM
No score for this post
W. Matthew Hart  (no login)
from IP address

Response to Question about the USS El Cano

Good afternoon Nelson:

Yes, there was more than one El Cano. but only one USS El Cano (IX-79) during WWII and it was a schooner. This schooner was named after a U.S. gun boat from WWI USS El Cano (PG-38). I found and purchased a copy of the 474 page "Over Seas" by Charles Dana Gibson, E. Kay Gibson and it is being mailed to me

My grandfather Walter Matthews Hart was in the U.S. Merchant Marines and he was the captain on the former S.S. Deepwater during the 1930's (then it was renamed the S.S. Lemuel Burrows) when it was torpedoed by a German submarine on March 3, 1942 off of New Jersey. He was the second in command of the MV City of Rayville when it hit a German mine (News Story below) and it immediately sank on August 11, 1940 off of Hobart, Australia. This was the first U.S. vessel lost in World War II. Captain Hart was then commander of one or two other supply ships in the South Pacific before he became captain of the USS El Cano (SY Pioneer). I've included my SY Pioneer information "A Tale of Two Sisters" as an attachment.

Because my grandfather, father and his two brothers are deceased I'm having difficulty finding information about the ships he commanded from August 1940 until August 1942; but I was told years ago they were Merchant Marine supply ships in the South Pacific during that time in history


Probe Sinking of Freighter Floating Mine Is Believed Responsible Nationality of Weapon Still In Doubt
Washington, Nov. 9 (AP)-The United States Government sought further information Saturday on the sinking of the American Freighter City of Rayville before considering whether to take any action. The 5.883-ton freighter, owned by the Maritime Commission and leased by the United States Lines, was blasted by an explosion about ten miles off the Australian coast Friday night while en route from Adelaide to Melbourne. All of the crew except the third engineer succeeded in escaping in lifeboats.

U.S. Secretary Hull told a press conference that preliminary information indicated the vessel had struck a floating mine, but that there was as yet no knowledge of the nationality of the mine.

The German Department admitted that it was mining Australian waters. Under international law, a belligerent is obligated to notify neutral nations when waters are dangerous because of mines. The Secretary of State said there had been no consideration of the advisability of extending the neutrality law and forbidding American ship-- to visit Australian waters.

At Sydney, Naval Minister William Hughes said the sinking probably was caused by a mine, a cause also blamed for the sinking less than twenty-four hours earlier of an unidentified British freighter in Australian waters. Experts looked for a possible clue to the nationality of the mine in fragments of metal found in the Rayville's lifeboats after they had cleared the sinking ship. Should examination show the mine to be of German or Italian origin it would indicate the presence of a raider in Southern Pacific waters.

Walter Hart, chief mate on the freighter City of Rayville, which sank near Melbourne after an explosion Friday night The chief mate said then he expected no "trouble" on this trip, but "its wartime and you never can tell." The elder Hart was making his third voyage with the ship, a slow craft which until this trip was engaged in the China trade.

"Rough water makes better sailors."

W. Matthew "Matt" Hart
2 Samoset Road Harwich, MA 02645 USA
Cell Ph. 508-432-8063

Scoring disabled. You must be logged in to score posts.Respond to this message   

Find more forums on Network54Create your own forum at Network54
 Copyright © 1999-2018 Network54. All rights reserved.   Terms of Use   Privacy Statement