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SS President Grant-Circa 1942

January 21 2012 at 4:45 AM
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Bob Burns  (no login)

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

She was a passenger-cargo vessel, displacing 21,000 tons, speed 14 knots. The vessel was owned by the American President Lines operating under a bare boat charter issued to the Maritime Commission and chartered by the War Shipping Administration. She was built in 1920-21, class XAP, DWT. 13050, and she was severally damaged when she ran aground on ULAMA reef near Sydney, Feb. 22, 1944.

"She was one of the three transports escorted by the HMS Leander as part of convoy F.P.1 from Auckland to Noumea; departing 0801 Nov 3 and arriving 1700 Nov 6, 1942."

There were at least four, similar vessels named the SS PRESIENT GRANT yet I am not sure which one traveled with the F.P.1. convoy of November 3-6, 1942 from NZ to NC, maybe someone on this forum knows and may have a photograph of this vessel.

Thanks,
Bob

 
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Warren
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Re: SS President Grant-Circa 1942

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January 21 2012, 8:57 PM 

There are deatails and a photo of PRESIDENT GRANT herehttp://www.pacificwrecks.com/ships/usn/president_grant.html

 
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Nelson
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the coincidences of war

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January 22 2012, 9:21 AM 

Clicking on the URL appearing in the previous post, one reads among other things:

> Prior to the start of the war, [SS President Grant] departed San Francisco on November 9, 1941, under the command of Captain W. S. Tyrrell, stopping briefly at Honolulu, Hawaii, and then arrived at Manila on December 6th, the day before the Japanese attack on the Philippines. >

Indeed President Grant was part of the last USN cruiser-escorted convoy to make it safely through to the Philippines before the outbreak of war, and all of the merchant ships--the others being SS John Lykes, SS Cape Fairweather, SS American Leader, and SS Doña Nati--were still at Manila when the war suddenly erupted. The convoy, escorted by the light cruiser Boise (CL 47), left Oahu on November 18, 1941, and unlike the larger Pensacola convoy that followed it, the Boise convoy sailed directly west through the Mandates. On two successive nights, November 27 and 28, 1941, the convoy was shadowed and mildly challenged by one or two (not clear if the same ship on both nights) IJN training cruisers of the Katori class (2 x 2 140mm/50cal main guns), likely either or both Katori and Kashima (but definitely not Kashii, which was then in the south). On the 29th, the convoy passed 20 nm from Guam, but did not stop there; on December 4, Boise at least reached Manila Bay. The above website claims President Grant arrived there two days later, which may or may not be true, but it was common prewar practice for the escort to release the convoy to independent sailing once reaching the safe waters of the Philippines or the northern NEI.

Three of the vessels--American Leader, Cape Fairweather, and John Lykes--were brand new or at least rather recently built U.S. Maritime Commission C1-B merchant ships, powered either by steam geared turbines or diesel engines. In addition to President Grant's loss after running aground in 1944, two other ships that had taken part in the convoy would suffer grievous damage or loss not long in the future. Convoy escort Boise would go aground in the waters of NEI on January 21, 1942, suffering heavy bottom damage, which resulted in the almost immediate relief of her captain, Stephen Boutwell Robinson, and the warship's withdrawal from the campaign in the SW Pacific. SS American Leader would fall prey in the South Atlantic to the German raider Michel on September 10, 1942. After being transferred to the IJA, her crewmen would find themselves prisoners of war in the same camp that held members of 2nd Battalion, 131st Field Artillery, captured on Java, and a few crewmen from heavy cruiser Houston (CA 30).

Not a few naval historians whose expertise covers this period of the war consider that the interference--although that is almost certainly exaggerated--by the IJN while the convoy was still east of Guam heavily impacted on the revised route of the immediately following Pensacola convoy, south and west through Torres Strait and then north through the NEI to Manila Bay. IF war had not started on December 7-8, 1941, that round-about and far longer route could not have long been sustained. The American and Philippine armies were still woefully underequipped and time was critical if they were to be brought up to armed strength before war broke out.....and time of course ran out.

One last coincidence and another couple of ifs: IF one or two mischievous Japanese training cruisers had not done such a good job in snooping out the Boise convoy on two successive nights (them excellent IJN night optics, don't ya know) and IF the Pensacola convoy as well had ploughed on through the Mandates, being in the middle of them when war visited Oahu and Luzon, my guess is that would have been seriously bad cess for the Pensacola convoy.

Nelson

 
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Nelson
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there was a good luck ship in the convoy, too

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January 22 2012, 10:29 AM 

To be sure, I should have mentioned as well another alumnus of the Boise convoy that enjoyed extraordinarily good luck a bit later on. SS Doña Nati was one of three sizable merchant ships that were successful blockade runners, getting various supplies and materiel from Australian ports to major islands of the Philippines south of Luzon. Leaving first, on February 16, 1942, ex-Pensacola convoy vessel Coast Farmer ran her cargo up to Gingoog Bay in northern Mindanao, followed two days later by Philippine registered Doña Nati, which reached Cebu City. The last was British registry Anhui, also getting to and back from Cebu City, All of them experienced wild adventures and hair-raising close calls in their undertakings. Other chartered vessels, such as Florence D. and Don Isidro, sunk or burned by IJN aircraft north of Darwin, and numerous interisland steamers, to which the goods had been transferred for the final run to Luzon, were far less lucky. Luck at last ran out for Coast Farmer, too, being torpedoed and sunk off the Australian coast just a few months later, on July 20, 1942.

Nelson

 
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Bob Burns
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SS President Grant-Circa 1942

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January 22 2012, 10:33 PM 

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, although as Nelson may agree these docs were destroyed by the military in the 50s for chartered merchant ships-Armed Guard ships (USAT's). I did acquire the U.S.S. Lamson War Diary for November 1942 which confirms her meeting up with the convoy on Nov. 5, a day prior to the convoys arrival Noumea, New Caledonia as anti-submarine escort.

I did acquire a copy of an Armed Guard Report, Fourteenth Naval District, Pearl Harbour, reporting on the SS President Grant movement Noumea, New Caledonia to Honolulu, T.H. (Nov. 9 to Nov. 28, 1942), dated Nov. 23, 1942 and signed by Lt. Harold H. Abrams (I believe he was a junior officer of the ship). It does contain a list of 22 Armed Guard personnel, by name aboard.

I also have a similar report copy describing the SS Tabinta and SS President Grant, movement, dated October 23, 1942. Excerpts from report-Underway from SF at 1500 hours October 1, 1942 with five other vessels and light cruiser as escort-This vessel carried the Commodore-Boschfontein broke down returned to port-convoy turned back to meet Boschfontein - 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.
Unfortunately for me these documents cover the period before and after convoy F.P.1 took aboard the 214th CA (AA) and landed them on Noumea, NC.
Thanks,
Bob

 
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Nelson
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SS President Grant-Circa 1942

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January 23 2012, 7:28 PM 

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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Bob Burns
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SS President Grant-Circa 1942

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January 24 2012, 8:02 PM 

Has anyone located a photograph of the PRESIDENT GRANT I am looking for? I only know of the Pacific Wrecks website photo circa 1943.

The 'Ship Movement Card' for the PRESIDENT GRANT has "P-10" typed on the bottom of the movement cards. For example: On the bottom of each card from left to right, it reads: "Name, No., Gross Tons, Speed, Built, ect... Info filled out reads in this order; "President Grant,P-10, Dwt. 13050, 14, 21... Owner-American President Lines (APL), and Operator-Army, Nationality-US, Home Port-SP 02413-1848 and radio call-KDRL." What does P-10 stand for?

Bob

 
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Nelson
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Re: SS President Grant-Circa 1942

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January 24 2012, 10:48 PM 

> What does P-10 stand for? >

As "P-10" appears amidst data specific to President Grant (Dwt, etc.), is it an alphanumeric identifier for the ship bestowed by APL? We know it is not the construction class for this 1921-built ship, which would be a 502/522 class vessel (502 feet between perpendiculars; 522 feet, 8 inches length overall). A reasonable guess, but a guess nonetheless.

Nelson

 
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Bob Burns
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SS President Grant-Circa 1942

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January 25 2012, 3:45 AM 

I do not know if the P-10 is related to APL in some way. You are right the Ship class is 502 (length of ship). A veteran of the 214th CA (AA) aboard one of the Dutch transports included in the FP1 Convoy (Tabinta and Boschfontein) November 3-6, 1942 and referred to the PRESIDENT GRANT as the "Smoker." When the USS Lamson on Nov. 5 was searching for the convoy, they spotted smoke at a distance, which turned out to be the PRESIDENT GRANT and the convoy. I am surprised she lasted as long as she did.

One more question; does the "FP1" Convoy designation mean anything? It appears on the movement cards.

Nelson, what do you do? Are you a history professor, publisher, Author?

By the way my veteran retired COl. Adams of the 214th CA(AA) still holds that there were dummy INJ AA gun (of singapore origin) emplaced around the Guadalcanal airfield-(Fighter Strip I)in January 1943.

Bob

 
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Nelson
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some comments, answers

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January 25 2012, 8:04 AM 

> I do not know if the P-10 is related to APL in some way. You are right the Ship class is 502 (length of ship). >

Post-WWI, in the early 1920s, pursuant to plans from the U.S. Shipping Board, two classes of merchant ships were built that would have a sizable impact on American shipping lines between the wars. There was, however, inconsistency in the manner in which they were designated: the longer 535 Class, which were 535 feet in length overall, AND 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. The shorter 502/522 Class were powered by old-fashioned triple expansion, reciprocating steam engines, whereas the longer 535 Class were powered by more modern geared steam turbines. There was a similar dichotomy in the WWII Liberty and Victory ships: the former powered by triple expansion engines, using either coal-fired (British) or oil-fired (American) boilers, and the latter by geared turbines or diesel engines. 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. It may have simply been her age and the state of her propulsion system.

> One more question; does the "FP1" Convoy designation mean anything? It appears on the movement cards. >

In the most general terms, the convoy coding included letters denoting origin and destination, e.g., see

http://www.netherlandsnavy.nl/Singapore.html

One problem is that in the SW Pacific and the Indian Ocean, there were numerous ports with identical first letters, e.g., B as in Batavia, Bombay, Brisbane; C as in Calcutta, Capetown, Ceylon/Colombo; D as in Darwin, Durban; M as in Malaya, Melbourne, Mombasa; S as in Singapore, Soerabaja, Sydney; etc., so substitute letters had to be devised for many of these origins and destinations. I THINK as time went on, although the double letter-cardinal number convoy designations persisted, the letters diverged from their actual names, so the route could not be as easily identified. That said, I don't know what FP-1 meant. Do you know if Auckland was the actual origin and Noumea was the final destination of this convoy?

> By the way my veteran retired COl. Adams of the 214th CA(AA) still holds that there were dummy INJ AA gun (of singapore origin) emplaced around the Guadalcanal airfield-(Fighter Strip I)in January 1943. >

Okay, but I don't think either the marines or the army strolled onto Henderson Field, to discover 40mm AA guns already emplaced there (Merillat's The Island and numerous other sources report only larger caliber AA guns--75mm--and MGs in place). The 40mm guns, apparently with their Indian gun crews, were brought in by the IJA rather later. I suppose some were captured in early 1943, put onto landing craft, and re-emplaced around Henderson. Sure as heck the guns in the photos that drew heated discussion awhile back were NOT British-made or captured from the Japanese. They were American-made pieces, without doubt.

> Are you a history professor, publisher, author? >

Not a history professor, but much of my professional life was in academia. In getting my B.S. (biology), I had a split major in mathematics and history. Have a Ph.D. in cell biology and electron microscopy (worked on the ultrastructure and biochemistry of cyanobacteria, a.k.a. blue-green algae). There is a connection between my past and present lives: blue-greens synthesize a unique (and weird) protein composed of only two amino acids, on which I wrote a tongue-in-cheek essay that won a prize and reinvigorated my writing career (longish story, won't bore). I've written two newspaper columns, numerous magazine articles, one book (so far), often coupling my writings with photography, as well as been an editor, deliver lectures on various topics, largely historical nowadays, etc. Militarily, I must stay constantly and sharply alert lest my lurking kitty kat ambush me. The little devil does give me lots of ideas, I'll give him that.

Nelson

 
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Nelson
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hrrrrmph

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January 25 2012, 8:18 AM 

Bob,

In describing getting my baccalaureate, I shoulda writ "a split MINOR in mathematics and history." Fiddlesticks.

Nelson

 
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Keith Allen
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SS President Grant-Circa 1942

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January 25 2012, 9:50 AM 

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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Jacques
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... yet another PRESIDENT GRANT!

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January 25 2012, 10:44 AM 

Me thinks that the picture of SS PRESIDENT GRANT on the Pacific Wrecks site is the wrong one! Notice the hull number "2"? This picture is actually that of USS HARRIS (APA-2) taken sometime after February 1943 when she was reclassified from AP-8 to APA-2. This is the one that was originally named SS PINE TREE STATE when she was launched in 1921, renamed SS PRESIDENT GRANT in 1922, taken over by the US Navy in 1940 and again renamed USS HARRIS (AP-8). She saw out WW2 and was finally renamed SS PRESIDENT GRANT(2nd) in 1946 and scrapped 2 years later. See:

http://www.navsource.org/archives/10/03/03002.htm

A nice port-quarter view of this ship arriving at Olongapo P.I. May 4, 1927 can be found on The China Marines website at:

http://chinamarine.org/Tientsin/ButlersExpedition/GoingChinaSide.aspx

Two other sites also have it wrong. The website armedguard.com features this "USAT PRESIDENT GRANT" and another site has the same picture as "USAT President Grant. The troopship that returned Canberra survivors to Australia".

[linked image]

Also see:

http://ahoy.tk-jk.net/Savo/SavoSurvivorPix.html

The picture is that of yet another PRESIDENT GRANT, this one a Type C3 cargo vessel with only limited passenger or troop carrying capacity whereas we know that the SS PRESIDENT GRANT which hit the reef near Milne Bay was a 1920's 502/522 class, passenger carrying vessel with a 153 person capacity, employed as a troopship (around 1 500 troop capacity). The GRANT in the picture is clearly the SS PRESIDENT GRANT (3rd) built as SEA BEAVER during 1945. She is described as a standard C3 freighter (C3-S-A4) on the APL website. See:

http://www.apl.com/history/timeline/stat5.htm#pgr1

Unfortunately the only known picture of the "true" PRESIDENT GRANT is that of PRESIDENT ADAMS before she became GRANT. At first glance this ship is very similar in appearance to the one which became USS HARRIS. Both had straight stems, cruiser sterns, a large single funnel and "goal post" masts. The only clear distinguishing feature being the continues superstructure whereas HARRIS had a break just abaft the bridge with a pair of derricks serving a cargo hatch. See:

http://www.apl.com/history/html/timeline_statistics.html#adams

The same (correct) picture appears on Wrecksite:

http://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?31968

Regards,
Jacques


 
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Bob Burns
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SS President Grant-Circa 1942

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January 25 2012, 7:19 PM 

Great Job everyone,especially Keith Allen and Jacques. you nailed down the correct PRESIDENT GRANT Photo, previously the (PRESIDENT ADAMS (1).) Even the call sign list on the wreks site given matches teh call sign (KDRL)on the Ship Movement Cards.

Keith Allen wrote:
(American Merchant Marine Museum,1996).>

Keith do you have a copy of this book and if so what does it say if anything about the President Grant and convoy FP1?

Thanks,
Bob

 
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Nelson
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Re: SS President Grant-Circa 1942

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January 25 2012, 9:28 PM 

Keith,

I wrote,

>> There was, however, inconsistency in the manner in which they were designated: the longer 535 Class, which were 535 feet in length overall, AND 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. >> [I have added the italics.]

You replied,

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

I agree with the "generally", but emphatically disagree with the "always". Of the two classes of early 1920s USSB vessel types, the shorter was the 502 Class, which I concede is usually how this class is designated, and for certain, that refers to the LBP of 502+ feet. The longer type was the 535 Class, which refers to the LOA, because the LBP was 518 feet. Now whereas the longer is ALWAYS the 535 Class (NEVER the 518 Class*), the shorter is sometimes designated the 522 Class, obviously to achieve some consistency in their designations, in this case in the direction of the LOA. Thus my statement that the original designations--LBP versus LOA, one class versus the other--afford a confusing distinction.

See

http://www.apl.com/history/timeline/stat5.htm

for APL confirmation of these two types and yet another prewar photo of SS President Adams (1st)/SS President Grant (2nd).

*Okay, okay, NEVER write NEVER, but at least this usually observant reader has not seen a 518 Class.

Nelson

 
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Melmoth the Wanderer (dmk)
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Great thread; informative, useful & very funny, too! N/T

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January 25 2012, 9:54 PM 


 
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Keith Allen
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Re: SS President Grant-Circa 1942

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January 26 2012, 2:37 AM 

Nelson--

I checked my sources and you are indeed correct; the 535s were 535-ft overall, not between perpendiculars. Mea culpa.

Keith Allen

 
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Keith Allen
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SS President Grant-Circa 1942

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January 26 2012, 2:47 AM 

I'm afraid the book is quite vague about this period and does not say anything specifically about the convoy,

 
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Jacques
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Pacific Convoys 1942-4

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January 26 2012, 11:14 AM 

Tell you what's really funny - I checked out the Ship Movement Card (Australian Navy site) for PRESIDENT GRANT, hoping to clear up the "P-10" and convoy designation matter, and as luck would have it, found at the bottom, almost as Bob Burns described it, the hand-written letters "PTO", which could have been read as P-10! Of course I am very bright and know that PTO stands for "please turn over", had a good giggle and was just about to respond in a sarcastic/witty manner with scant regard for personal feelings, when I realised that Bob is referring to some other set of movement cards, not the Aussie ones.

Can these (US Navy?) Ship Movement Cards be viewed on-line like on the Australian Navy website? My suggestion to Bob is to compare a few of these cards to see if he can decipher the P-10 "alphanumeric identifier." It is more likely that, whoever maintained the cards would have used a numbering system and not the owners/operators - American President Lines.

The convoy designation FP-1 is a real head scratcher. This "FP" designation was used for a number of routes in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean but not anywhere in the Pacific. But then again, how official were the designations? Who was in charge of convoys? Did the US use the same system as the British, with ports and routes receiving letter designations? What I do know, is that for San Francisco to the South West Pacific, (Noumea, Wellington, Brisbane, Townsville etc.) the convoy designation was "PW" followed by 4 digits. This designation was in use before and after the voyage in question, so the "FP" does not make sense. Was it perhaps a special convoy with a stopover in French Polynesia (FP?)- that continued on to New Zealand and New Caledonia?

From Arnold Hague's Convoy Database, these are the movements that I have for SS PRESIDENT GRANT from 23 December 1941 to 26 February 1944 (date of her grounding):

PRESIDENT GRANT departed Darwin Dec. 23, 1941. Sailed independently and arrived Thursday Island Christmas Day, departed Dec. 27, arriving Brisbane Dec. 31, 1941 and departing Jan. 2, 1942 to arrive Sydney, Jan. 4, 1942.

Sailed independently from Sydney Jan. 12 to arrive Wellington, Jan. 17, 1942.
Departed San Francisco, Jul. 21 1942 with convoy PW.2111, consisting of BOSCHFONTEIN, DELBRASIL, POELAU LAUT, PRESIDENT GRANT, PRESIDENT POLK, SANTA ANA, TABINTA, USS WHARTON. Left the convoy to sail independently to Sydney, arriving Aug. 2, 1942, rejoined convoy PW.2111 to arrive New Caledonia, Aug. 11 1942.

Then the voyage in question:
Departed San Francisco, Oct. 1 1942, ESCORTED, (no convoy designation) and again departed Noumea Nov. 8, 1942 (No arrival date given and nothing about any stopovers). Sailed independently for San Francisco to arrive Nov. 28, 1942.

Departed Honolulu, Dec. 6 and sailed escorted to San Francisco (no dates of arrival).

Departed San Francisco, Feb. 26, 1943 with convoy PW.2211 consisting of JAMES B FRANCIS, JANE ADDAMS, JOHN B FLOYD, PRESIDENT GRANT, PRESIDENT JOHNSON, REPUBLIC, ROBERT STUART and arrived Brisbane, Mar. 22, 1943.

Departed Port Moresby (no arrival date given), Apr. 3, 1943 with convoy NT.9 (DUNTROON, PRESIDENT GRANT and escorted by HMAS's VENDETTA and WARRAMUNGA) to arrive Townsville, Apr. 5 , 1943. Left the same day with convoy TS.22/1 (CHARON, DUNTROON,PRESIDENT GRANT escorted by HMAS's GEELONG and SHEPPARTON),to arrive Sydney, Apr. 9, 1943.

Sailed independently from San Francisco, May 22, 1943 and arrived Noumea, Jun. 7, 1943. Departed on Jun. 16 and sailed independently for San Francisco.

Departed San Francisco, Aug. 28, 1943 with convoy PW.2293 consisting of KOTA AGOENG, LST-456, PRESIDENT GRANT and arrived Brisbane, Sep. 23, 1943.

Departed Caloundra, Sep. 24, 1943 with convoy QL.14A (CAPE CRIAG, PRESIDENT GRANT) arrive Townsville, Sep. 27, 1943.

Departed Townsville, Oct. 5, 1943, independently for Brisbane.

Departed Brisbane, Oct. 11, 1943 (unknown if independent or escorted) and arrived San Francisco, Nov. 2, 1943.

Departed San Francisco, Dec. 1, 1943 (unknown if independent or escorted)and arrived Brisbane, Dec. 23, 1943.

Departed Brisbane, Dec. 30, 1943 (unknown if independent or escorted) and arrived San Francisco, Jan. 21, 1944.

Departed San Francisco, Feb. 2, 1944, sailed independently but ran aground near Milne Bay, Feb. 26 1944.


Arnold Hagues site have record of the following PW (San Francisco to SW Pacific) convoys:

PW.2095, San Francisco to Melbourne, Depart 23/06/1942 Arrive 17/07/1942
BARNETT, CAPE FLATTERY, JOHN ERICSSON, KLIPFONTEIN, MARSONIA, PELIAS, TORRENS, USS JUPITER
PW.2095A, Suva to Wellington, Depart 10/07/1942, Arrive 14/07/1942
KLIPFONTEIN
PW.2111, San Francisco to Noumea, Depart 21/07/1942, Arrive 11/08/1942
BOSCHFONTEIN, DELBRASIL, POELAU LAUT, PRESIDENT GRANT, PRESIDENT POLK, SANTA ANA, TABINTA, USS WHARTON
PW.2132, San Francisco to Noumea, Depart 03/09/1942, Arrive 21/09/1942
KLIPFONTEIN, NOORDAM, TJISADANE, TORRENS
PW.2136, San Francisco to Noumea, Depart 18/09/1942, Arrive 30/09/1942
MANOERAN, SOMMELSDIJK
PW.2157, San Francisco to Brisbane, Depart 03/11/1942, Arrive ?
CAPE FLATTERY, KLIPFONTEIN, MORMACSEA, PENNANT, TJISADANE, USS ALTAMAHA, USS PRESIDENT MONROE, WELTEVREDEN
PW.2179, San Francisco to Townsville, Depart 31/12/1942, Arrive ?
MAUI, ROCHAMBEAU, SEA WITCH
PW.2179A, Balbao to Brisbane, Depart 06/01/1943, Arrive 31/01/1943
ARCTURUS, HERMITAGE, JOSEPH T DICKMAN, THOMAS JEFFERSON
PW.2211, San Francisco to Brisbane, Depart 26/02/1943, Arrive 22/03/1942
JAMES B FRANCIS, JANE ADDAMS, JOHN B FLOYD, PRESIDENT GRANT, PRESIDENT JOHNSON, REPUBLIC, ROBERT STUART
PW.2218, San Francisco to Wellington, Depart 22/03/1943, Arrive ?
LST 455, LST 457, LST 458, LST 459, WICHITA FALLS
PW.2293, San Francisco to Brisbane, Depart 28/08/1943, Arrive 23/09/1943
KOTA AGOENG, LST 456, PRESIDENT GRANT

Well, thats my 2 cents worth, hope you find the answers, Bob.

Regards,
Jacques

P.S. A correction to my last post: "continues superstructure" should have read "continuous superstructure" (before Nelson reminds me!)

 
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Nelson
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Re: Pacific Convoys 1942-44

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January 26 2012, 8:25 PM 

Jacques:

> It is more likely that, whoever maintained the cards would have used a numbering system and not the owners/operators - American President Lines. >

If this is so, that IF "P-10" is little more than a numbering or filing notation, then it would logically have appeared on the top center of the card, or on one of the upper corners, rather than a part of the linear array of data specific to SS President Grant, n'est-ce pas? I do agree with you, however, that Bob should at once examine that putative "P-10" with a magnifying glass--I assume Bob has a photocopy of the genuine article--to see IF indeed that is what the notation actually reads. (On taking that advice myself, read below.)

> The convoy designation FP-1 is a real head scratcher. This "FP" designation was used for a number of routes in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean but not anywhere in the Pacific. But then again, how official were the designations? Who was in charge of convoys? Did the US use the same system as the British, with ports and routes receiving letter designations? >

The convoy designation "FP-1" is definitely NOT U.S. Navy in origin, but rather British and British Commonwealth convention (although the USN certainly did conform to that practice when escorting such convoys or joining pre-existing convoys as originated by a Commonwealth ally). Now the question does quite legitimately remain, having had a Convoy FP-1 between Scotland and Norway back in 1940, would that coding have been repeated a year or two later, this time in the SW Pacific? To be sure, the earlier one may have been overlooked or forgotten, OR it could have been supposed there was no chance of any spatial or temporal ambiguity in the two convoys, but my expertise does not extend that far, and I can only raise the question. Again, Bob, I would apply the magnifying glass to determine if "FP-1" is indeed FP-1.

To my own example, I've long had a photocopy of indeterminate generation (i.e., a photocopy of a photocopy of a.....) of a splendid hand-drawn route of the Pensacola convoy as projected onto a flat grid map of the Pacific Ocean, including the Australian continent. Next to the drawn lines are a few periodic locations given, latitude and longitude, and only one is dated, namely "12/7", which makes sense given the gravity of the date......OR so I thought. To be perfectly honest, something has been naggling--Nelson combo of nagging and niggling--at the back of my skull for awhile, so I finally took your own best advice and got out my mag glass....and lo, the date is almost certainly now 12/9--the faint forward loop of the 9 is obscured by a vertical grid line--with a new estimation of where the Pensacola convoy would have been had it pushed on directly west toward the Mandates. I shall prepare a post--later today--on more thoughts and details on that by now famous convoy, but as a deservedly new thread.

> A correction to my last post: "continues superstructure" should have read "continuous superstructure" (before Nelson reminds me!) >

NOT guilty as charged! I make enuff of my own typos and careless inputs, e.g., my befuddlement on what I majored in as an undergraduate (something my father had his own misgivings about, but let's not get into that).

Nelson

 
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