USS Henry R. Mallory
SS Henry R. Mallory

A photo of the Henry R. Mallory along side the docks in New York during WWI.

Launching, Service During WWI, and the 20’s and 30’s

The SS Henry R. Mallory was a cargo ship of 6,442 gross tons owned by the Clyde Mallory Lines for the United Fruit Company Steamship Service. She was built by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Virginia in 1916. On August 19, 1916 Arthur W. Pye, Passenger Traffic Manager of the Mallory Line announced to the public that the newest ship of the Mallory Line will be launched from the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. At 1 o’clock in the afternoon of August 21 Mrs. Henry Mallory of New York bestowed the name of Henry R. Mallory on the new ship as she slid into the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Until that time, she was known as Hull No. 193 by the Newport News Shipbuilding Company. The Henry R. Mallory was the third large passenger/freight steamship build for the Mallory Lines in the last two years.

Charles Mallory built his first ship in 1837 at Mystic, Connecticut, which was an American Clipper ship used for trading with China and Japan. From the early successes of the Mallory Company in Connecticut, they have moved their operations to New York City. The former Hull No. 193 now known as the SS Henry R. Mallory is 439 feet in length and has a beam of 54 feet. She carries a draft of 34 feet and has accommodations for 100 first-class and 100 third-class passengers. She was envisioned as a semi-tropical trans-Atlantic liner, with trading routes between Galveston, Texas and New York. Mallory Line President H. H. Raymond planned her cabins, heating, lighting and ventilating systems for warm weather sailing and she was expected to be completed and brought to New York in October of 1916, with a planned maiden voyage to Galveston by November of 1916. When her builders delivered the SS Henry R. Mallory in October of 1916 her cost of construction was $950,000 (in 1916 dollars).

The Mallory was the newest ship in the Mallory Line and as such the most senior Mallory Line Company Captain was given the honor of commanding the pride of the Mallory Line. When the SS Henry R. Mallory made her maiden voyage Captain Henry Wilson Barstow was her first Master. Captain Barstow was also the Commodore of the Mallory line. In preparation for her first trip the Mallory on October 21, 1916 left Newport News, VA for New York with the Mallory Company President H. H. Raymond and other executives along with officials of the Newport News Ship Building on board for her trial trip. Captain Barstow took the Mallory from Hampton Roads to Cape Hatteras and back with a light load of fuel oil and water as ballast; notwithstanding heavy seas and winds of almost hurricane force they managed a speed of 18-knots. The next day on the 22nd of October after having passed her shake down cruise with flying colors, she left Hampton Roads for New York where she would start her maiden voyage. On the trip up to New York she set a record in covering the distance in 15-hours and 51-minutes.

Leaving New York bound for Galveston on October 26, 1916, Captain Barstow took the new ship south for the first time. On board the Mallory that first trip were two detachments of US Army troops bound for Mexican Border service, another company of 69 Army troops bound for Laredo and a second company of troops bound for El Paso duty. The balance of the staterooms was sold out for the first trip. Starting her first return trip north from Galveston, Texas she reached Key West, Florida at 7:30 in the morning on November 7, 1916.

Once America declared war in April of 1917, the United States Army started to seek out ship transportation to Europe in order to take the vast ammounts of men, material and animals to the fight on the Eurpean Continent. As such the Army created a select committee of American shipping industry executives known as the United States Shipping Board (USSB), to seek out appropriate ships to be used by the army. The USSB in short order selected fourteen American-Flagged ships that met the following criteria; 1) That were sufficiently fast, 2) could carry enough fuel in their bumkers for transatlantic crossings, 3) were either in port or not far out at sea. The Henry R. Mallory was selected among the 14 ships, and orders were given to the Mallory Steamship Company and in turn Captain Barstow was ordered to head to port as soon as her last laod of passengers and cargo were discharged and offloaded. Her official date she was handed over for Army service was May 24, 1917, making the Mallory one of the first three ships acquired for this service.

But before troops could be taken aboard these ships had to be refitted. Ten of the fourteen ships were designated for troopships, and the other four would be for animal transportation only. The Mallory was among the ten ships set aside for the troops. Of the ten ships that would carry troops they were very quickly refitted with expanded cooking and toilet faciltties in order to handle the vast number of troops they would soon be asked to carry. In addition, berthing spaces were added where ever space would allow. Each of the ten ships also had gun platforms installed for submarine defenses. Then each of the ten ships made their way, one by one, to the Brooklyn Navy Yard where the guns would be bolted to the gun platforms, and certified to work correctly.

But at the time the civilian merchant crews were still left aboard and Captain Barstow still was master of the Mallory after her refit for Army service. The Navy did however, place aboard each ship two U. S. Navy officers, a Naval Armed Guard crew to man the guns, a Quartermaster, Signalman and a Wireless Radio operator. In the event of an attack the plan was for the senior Navy officer to take control of the ship from the civilian Master. At the time this seemed like a good plan, and that was how the Mallory began her wartime service, with Captain Barstow as Master, and a small contingent of U. S. Navy men aboard, who would take control if they were attacked. But Merchant seamen were not polished and expected to follow orders like the Navy men were, and there would come a time when the Navy was forced to re-think this policy.

The Mallory had now been modified to carry up to 2,200 troops per passage and took part in the very first U.S. troop convoy to France in the early summer of 1917. Those who sailed on the H. R. Mallory had affectionately coined another name for the ship... the Hell Rolling Mallory, no doubt for obvious reasons.

The first American troop convoy to sail across the Atlantic during WWI consisted of 4 groups of transport ships. In each group, there were 3 or 4 troopships escorted by 5 or 6 U.S. Navy warships. The SS Henry R. Mallory sailed in the first convoy with group number 3.

Group 3 consisted of the troopships:
USS Henry R. Mallory Commanded by Lt. Commander G. P. Chase
USS Finland commanded by Commander S. V. Graham
USS San Jacinto commanded by Lt. Commander S. L. H. Hazard

Their escorts were:
The Protected Cruiser USS Charleston, Commander E. H. Campbell
The Armed Collier USS Cyclops, Lt. Commander George Worley
The Destroyer USS Allen, Lt. Commander S. W. Bryant
Destroyer USS McCall, Lt. Commander L. M. Stewart
The Destroyer USS Preston, Lt. jg C. W. Magruder

All together convoy Number One consisted of 14 troopships and 23-armed escorts. On June 7, 1917 Admiral Gleaves gave secret orders for all 14 ships of the first convoy to assemble in the North River and in the anchorage of Tompkinsville, on Staten Island New York. At sunrise on a very foggy morning on the 14th of June 1917 the convoy hoisted anchor and began its voyage across the submarine infested waters of the Atlantic. Each of the 4 groups sailed at intervals of 2 hours from the Ambrose Light Ship but the last group was delayed 24 hours. The Mallory sailing in the 3rd group steamed along at 13 knots on her way to France.

It was just eight days into the voyage that the first attack came. The morning of the 22nd of June brought a torpedo attack on the first group but no damage was done and all ships escaped from the U-boat. The second group was attacked on the 26th and the 4th group was attacked on the 29th of June. The third group in which the Mallory was traveling did not sustain an attack during the voyage. Their destination was the harbor at St. Nazaire, France and on July 2, 1917 the convoy arrived there to find a very crowded harbor. Plans were lacking as to how to handle the large number of vessels in the harbor at once and much confusion was the order of the day. But in due time all troops and material was disembarked and 12 days later on the 14th of July 1917, the Mallory made her return trip back across the dangerous waters of the Atlantic. This she would do a total of 6 times before November 11th 1918. She would carry a total of 9,756 men to France before the Armistice would be signed and after the 11th of November she would make another 7 turn around trips bringing back 12,143 men and 2,371 sick and wounded men from the war in France. Mallory would make her final trip arriving in the States on August 29th 1919. She was on the following day returned to her former owners the Mallory Steam Ship Company and later was acquired by Agwilines, Inc., of New York.

In October of 1917 two events would occur on two different merchant ships that would change this plan of having civilian crews aboard the troopships for the rest of the war.

The first event took place on October 17, 1917 when the SS Antilles, one of the 14-ships selected to carry troops with the Mallory, was torpedoed three-days west of Saint Nazaire, France. The German U-boat U-62 had caught the Antilles steaming in a convoy of three westbound ships escorted by 4 Navy escorts, and slipped a torpedo into her side. It was 06:45 in the morning when a course change had occoured with the small convoy and that was when the U-62 fired his torpedo. The Antilles sheered out of formation and settled quickly by the stern, and in under 10-minutes the Antilles was gone from the surface of the sea. There were 118 survivors, but 67 souls were lost that day.

The second event which was related in part to the Antilles sinking took place on October 28, 1917. The SS Finland was leaving the French coast bound west for America and had aboard many of the Antilles survivors. At 09:27on the morning of October 28 when the Finland was about 150-miles west of the French coast the German U-boat U-93 launched a torpedo at the Finland. The torpedo hit the starboard side of the Finland and opened a hole in her side. Now the civilian crew and passengers from the Antilles aboard the Finland had been in two torpedo attacks in 11-days, and this caused a general panic aboard the Finland. Lifeboats were launched without any orders from Commander Graham the master of the Finland, and to top that off the engine and boiler room men all left their posts against the orders at hand. It was only by the efforts of the U.S. Navy officer aboard the Finland armed with a revolver and a wooden mallet, that he was able to get the men back to their duty stations. The torpedo damaged just one cargo hold and the engineroom spaces were dry and not affected. The Finland did take on a lsit and Commander Graham was able to get her back to Brest, France and saved the ship and passengers. The men who had abandoned the Finland in the lifeboats were left at sea but were rescued by one of the escorting navy ships.

These two events caused the U. S. Navy brass to re-evaluate this use of civilian officers and crews on its fleet of transport ships. Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves led the recommendation with his comments of the events. He stated that many of the merchant crews were “ignorant and unreliable men” who in Gleaves words were “the sweepings of the docks.” Harsh words for sure, but Gleaves had a job to do that envolved the transportation of a million men to France. Admiral Gleaves insisted that all troop transport ship be manned entirely by U. S. Navy personnel. This was accomplished across the fleet of merchant ships within a short time.

Aboard the Henry R. Mallory Captain Barstow had to give up his ship, and Lt. Commander Gilbert Paul Chase, USN was given command of the Mallory. Captain Barstow did however, join the United States Naval Reserve Force as a Lt. Commander, and was assigned duty as the officer in charge of the American transport terminals in St. Nazaire, France. He had a very important duty in organizing and seeing that the vast amount of shipping came into and left this busy military port in France on time. After the end of the war he was transferred back to his beloved ship the SS Henry R. Mallory as her Master once again.

At the same time that Captain Barstow left the Mallory her civilian merchant crew was replaced with a United States Navy crew for the duration of the war, and being that she was a fully commissioned U. S. Naval vessel she now carried the USS Henry R. Mallory designation in place of her civilian designation of SS Henry R Mallory.

During her time on the Atlantic when she was threatened by U-boats we know of at least two attacks that she was involved in. One was on April 4, 1918 at 11:45 in the morning on a return trip from France. Mallory was steaming in convoy and a U-boat made its attack, but was sighted by the Mallory and USS Mercury and USS Tenadores. These three ships opened fire with their deck guns, which appeared to have scored hits on the German. The U-boat submerged and was not seen again, and it was surmised that they had sunk the German. Several depth charges were dropped on the U-boats last position with unknown results. But it was through quick maneuvering by the skippers of the three ships and by accurate fire from the armed guard gun crews that the U-boat attack was defeated.

The second attack that was known happened on August 11, 1918 at 3:05 in the afternoon when the Mallory was attacked by an unknown German U-boat. The U-boat fired one torpedo and missed the Mallory. In a report filed by the USS Conner, one of the escorting vessels this is what happened.

The Mallory was traveling in a convoy of 8 ships and 10 escorts. The 8 ships were the USS Henry R. Mallory, SS Calamares, USS Maui, USS Siboney, USS Tenadores, and the Italian ship Re D'Italia, SS Orizaba and the SS America Italian. The USS Siboney was flagship for this convoy. The escorts were the USS Conner, USS Winslow, USS Dayton, USS Porter, USS Warrington, USS McDougal, USS Fanning, USS Roe, USS Ericsson and the USS Tucker.

That day August 11, 1918 the weather was misty the sea was smooth and visibility was 7,000 yards. The convoy was traveling on a base course of 108° and had just changed course 45° to port on account of the destroyers were dropping depth charges off the starboard side of the convoy. At 3:08 in the afternoon a torpedo track in the water was sighted off the port side of the Mallory. The torpedo missed ahead of the Mallory. Two minutes after that a periscope was sighted by one of the other ships in the convoy. The USS Maui fired one shot at the sub from her port side deck gun. The escorting destroyers USS Fanning, Ericsson, and Roe searched the spot where the sub was spotted and the convoy disappeared off into the mist. The Fanning dropped 14 depth charges, Ericsson dropped 8 depth charges and the Roe dropped 5 depth charges on the U-boats reported position.

From the attack report of the USS Conner this was the Narrative of the Attack from the Conner's point of view. At 14:25 hours, Latitude 48-09 N Long. 9-30 W, the destroyers on the starboard flank signaled "Submarine to Starboard" and commenced dropping depth charges on an oil slick. The Conner and McDougal eased over to starboard around the bow of the convoy to cover the vacated flank. The convoy changed course 45° to port. At 15:05 the Maui fired a shot to port, which splashed only about 500 to 800 yards away from her. At 15:08 a track of a torpedo passed under the Fanning bubbles coming up under the bridge. It came from about 30° true (1 point forward of the beam of former base course 108°). The Fanning sighted an oil slick at end of the torpedo track, turned to port and headed for it. Torpedo seemed deflected a little to the left eastward after passing under the Fanning. Convoy changed course 45° to starboard and the Conner sighted a periscope from this moving slowly to westward about 500 to 800 yards away near the end of the torpedo track. Torpedo track was about 1500 yards from original position of the Fanning. Found distinct zigzag oil wake, which faded out, the Conner circled about the end of it and dropping 14 depth charges. The Ericsson dropped 8 depth charges close to the western side of the Fanning's circle. The Roe dropped 5 depth Charges to the southeast. The Conner searched the vicinity until the convoy disappeared into the mist, but could not have search much longer on account of lack of oil.
Below is a map of the attack on 11 August, 1918

After the fighting had ended in Europe American troops would need to be returned to the States, and just as the Mallory had brought over her share of the troops she was once again asked to bring these troops home. The Mallory made several more trips across the Atlantic bringing troops and wounded men back to the States. This duty would last into late 1919.

The Mallory came to the assistance of another transport ship the USS Northern Pacific that had grounded in a shoal just off Fire Island, New York. On January 1, 1919 at 2:00 in the morning the Northern Pacific grounded with troops aboard in windy weather. An emergency ad hock fleet of 23 vessels came to the assistance of the grounded Northern Pacific. Among the 23 vessels were, the hospital ship Solace, the cruisers Columbia and Des Moines, and the transport USS Henry R. Mallory. All night long these ships kept their searchlight trained onto the Northern Pacific and rendered assistance as they could. Many of the soldiers aboard the Northern Pacific were taken aboard the Mallory and Solace that had been standing near the grounded ship on January 3 where they were unloaded in Hoboken a short time later.

On January 21, 1919 Captain Chase has the Mallory standing up the Gironde River at the docks at Bassens, France where they took aboard the 327th Field Artillery who were returning to the States. They set out for the Azores Islands and re-fuel. The trip across the Atlantic turns out to be frought with rough weather and the troops aboard have to endure the rolling Mallory until February 4, 1919 when they dock at Pier #2 at Hoboken where solid ground is once again under the feet of the army troops.

By April of 1919 Lt. Commander Chase had been replaced as commanding officer of the Mallory and Commander Charles C. Moses, USN had taken command of the ship. As of April 1, 1919 officers serving aboard the Mallory under Captain Moses were:

Lt. CMDR Charles P. Burt, USNRF
Lt. CMDR William W. Verner, Medical Corps, USN
Lt. Edward W. Lotz, USNRF
Lt. Luke W. Kuebler, Pay Corps, USNRF
Lt. John B. Healy, Medical Corps, USN
Lt. Horace L. Hall, USNRF
Lt. Donald R. Davidson, Medical Corps, USN
Lt. Stanley J. Kinkaid, Medical Corps, USN
Lt. Wilson D. I. Domer, Pay Corps, USN
Lt (jg) A. McBurr, USNRF
Lt. (jg) Theodore Kaiser, USNRF
Ensign Clarence F. Huntington, USNRF
Ensign (T) Anthony P. Throm, USN
Ensign Elmer Olcott Davis, USNRF
Ensign Albert M. Catherwood, USNRF
Ensign Lewis Compton,
Ensign Frank B. Lukens, Pay Corps, USNRF
Ensign (T) Lester B. Karelle, Pay Corps, USN
Ensign Edwin Ferguson, USNRF
Ensign William A. Dobson, USNRF
Ensign (T) I. Steger, USN
Ensign Raymond T. Gibbs, USNRF
Ensign Eugene F. Grossman, USNRF
Ensign Richard Saltonstall, USNRF
Ensign Edgar N. Bowne, USNRF
Ensign Lawerence J. Cross, USNRF
Boswain (T) Clarence E. McBride, USN
Carpenter (T) Ernest E. Nelson, USN

Captain Moses made his first complete trip as skipper of the Mallory where he on April 21, 1919 loaded the 11th, 20th and 96th Air Squadrons aboard in France and set out westbound across the Atlantic where they arrived in New York on May 1, 1919 to off load his passengers. By July 19, the Mallory had returned back to New York with another load of troops. On Saturday July 19, she returned with the 13th Evacuation Hospital with men from the 5th Division. These men were in the thick of the fighting during the Muse-Argonne operations and the 5th Division had taken nearly 9,000 casualties, which was about 25 percent.

After her service during WWI the Mallory returned to her owners the Clyde Mallory Line, and resumed passenger and freight transportation runs. She was no longer a U. S. Navy vessel and her crew was once again merchant seamen. Her name reverted back to SS Henry R. Mallory, in place of “USS Henry R. Mallory.” Also, being that she was not a commissioned Naval vessel anymore, command passed once again to her former civilian Master before the war, Captain Henry W. Barstow, who was once again Master of the Mallory.

Now back under ownership of the Clyde Mallory Line, the Mallory was put on the New York to Naples, Italy route for a time bringing paying customers to and from New York and Mediterranean ports where she was under contract to the Ward Line Company. But it seems that not all her passengers were paying customers. According to and article in the March 10, 1920 edition of the Nautical Gazette, in the personal sections, there was a story of a Mr. J. F. Chapman who made special arrangements for payment of his fare. Chapman was the proprietor of the J. F. Chapman and Company, Importers of 120 Broadway Street in New York. It seems that Mr. Chapman had been in several Eastern-Mediterranean ports and had tried to travel in the country of Rumania looking for items and goods for his import business. But Things did not go so well for him and while in Rumania he found it impossible to get accommodations and decided to return home. Out of money and no way to get back to New York he found his way to Constantinople, Turkey where he found the Henry R. Mallory as she was in port at the time. Somehow Mr. Chapman worked out a deal with the Captain of the Mallory where he could work the westbound passage as Fourth Engineer to pay for his fare home. On March 3, 1920, the Mallory and her new Fourth Engineer-passenger arrived in New York, completing a once in a lifetime trip for Mr. Chapman.

On the next round trip from Italy the Mallory brought back a group of repatriated Italian-Americans. These were men who had at the beginning of the First World War desired to leave America and go and join the Italian army and fight for their former country. Once the war was over and the Italian Army discharged these men they were returned to America where their homes and families were. Two Italian officers, Colonel Vittorio Arpa, and Captain Guido Magnoni of the Italian Royal Army Medical Corps escorted the group of men on the trip back to America on the Mallory.

While still on the New York to Mediterranean route the Mallory on October 2, 1920 reported as she arrived in Havana, Cuba, that she had one case of smallpox aboard. The Mallory had steamed to Havana from Vigo, Spain where she left that port on September 19. A local Cuban Health official took custody of the person with the smallpox and quarantined the ship, but the ship was released when no other cases developed.

The Ward Line saw that the New York-Havana-Spain routes were profitable for the company. In the December 4, 1920 edition of the Nauticus, which was a journal of shipping, insurance, investments and engineering, the Ward Line ran an advertisement in the journal, for this route. The ad read that the SS Henry R. Mallory would be leaving New York on December 18, 1920 on a special voyage to Havana, Cuba and then on to Vigo and Santander Spain. Vigo and Santander were port cities along Spain’s northern coastline and were hot spots of trade and winter vacation travel for the well to do at the time. Fare for the voyage was $300 for First-Class, and $83 for Steerage.

Once she returned from this December voyage she once again steamed from New York bound for Naples, Italy. According to a notation in the January 25, 1921 edition of the American Shipping, Volume 13, the Mallory unexpectantly put in at Gibralter on January 10, 1921 due to a mechanical breakdown. Once repairs were completed she steamed on to Naples.

On Ellis Island during February of 1921 there was suspicions of typhus and conditions on Ellis Island were being investigated. The local health officials in and around New York harbor were a bit on edge to say the least because of the many immigrants flooding into the city. On Friday February 18, 1921, a second suspected case of typhus was thought to be aboard the SS Henry R. Mallory then berthed at Pier 45 on the North River in Hoboken. A man aboard the Mallory who was suspected of having typhus was escorted from the ship and taken to the William Parker Hospital. The following day on Saturday, Dr. William L. Somerset determined that this diagnosis of typhus was not correct.

It was not all passengers that the Mallory was bringing to New York from the Mediterranean and Cuban ports; she also brought cargo of all sorts of goods. In the June 29, 1921 publication “Leather and Shoes” under the section of Hide and Skin Markets, the Mallory reported she had delivered in New York 250 bundles of hides and 500 bundles of green salted hides from Havana, Cuba.

Due to her wartime service and almost constantly being at sea the Mallory was in need of some major repairs by the late summer of 1921. In October of 1921 her owners had placed a contract with the Todd Shipyard Corporation of Hoboken, NJ where the Tietjent Lang Company bid $45,740 for work on the Mallory. The work to be undertaken consisted of removing her main engines, rebuilding newly designed engine foundations, then reinstalling the engines on the new foundations. Also, there was a considerable amount of repair work on her machinery and other minor repairs. Once the repairs were completed she was ready for years of service again.

On the morning of December 23, 1921, the Mallory was steaming in the Hudson River just off Rector Street, the weather at the time was very foggy and was snowing with the Hudson running with a heavy tide at the time. The usual morning commuter traffic of New York was in full swing that morning and the ferryboat Cranford owned by the Central Railroad of New Jersey had just taken on passengers at the Communipaw Pier. At 9:15 the Cranford pulled out into the Hudson River with the Cranford’s pilot giving the usual three blasts of the whistle giving notice he was leaving the pier. As the Cranford reached the center of the river the stern of the Mallory broke through the thick fog. The Cranford’s pilot shocked at seeing the Mallory gave a blast of his whistle and threw his helm hard over so as to make the looming collision as easy as could be. The Cranford struck the Mallory’s great stern, which resulted in much crashing of glass and smashing of timbers. Part of the superstructure of the Cranford was smashed in and nearly 100 passengers, whom were in the upper cabins at the time, were frightened beyond belief. Fearing that the Cranford was going down, about 50 or so passengers started to swarm up the side of the Mallory on ladders and ropes. There was a rush of panic by the Cranford’s passengers but the officers of the ferryboat restored order in a short time. The Cranford however was not in a mortal situation as the passengers thought she might have been and she broke away from the Mallory and was able to make her slip at Liberty Street where she off loaded at least 300 remaining passengers. The Mallory escaped with only slight damage and transferred the 50 passengers that made it aboard the Mallory to a harbor tug where they eventually were dropped off on the other side of the river. The heavy tide at the time was said to have slowed the progress of the Mallory, but likely it was due to the fog and snow that camouflaged the Mallory from the Cranford’s pilot. The accident was said to have tied up river traffic for over an hour that morning.

The Mallory was on the New York-Key West-Galveston run and had been for the last two years, and the beginning of her third year on this run began like any other on a cargo-passenger liner. The relentless schedules to keep, in port for just a short time, cargo to unload and then cargo to load onboard, passengers coming and going, and then back out to sea again. At least during the winter months on the southbound leg of the run the crew could look forward to the nice Florida and Gulf of Mexico weather.

The Mallory arrived in port at Key West, Florida on Saturday November 3, 1923. She was southbound from New York and would then steam on to Galveston, Texas, to finish her outbound leg of the trip. Anytime a passenger liner comes into port in Key West it was a big deal as it was a source of excitement to the remote island culture.

Aboard the Mallory were 110 passengers with several who were booked from New York to Key West. Among the several passengers who debarked at Key West there were a few who were listed on Page 5 in the “Personal Mention” column of the Monday, November 5th edition of The Key West Citizen, which was the local newspaper in Key West.

Miss M. C. Whalton, A. C. Clark, Mr. And Mrs. E. S. Brown and a Mr. D. E. Roberts were among the passengers who had been in New York and arrived in Key West aboard the Mallory on Saturday. Captain A. M. Scott also was aboard the Mallory from New York on a several days vacation.

C. Newton Munson was among the several who debarked in Key West. Munson was at the time living in New York and had come back to visit Key West, where he had previously lived before moving to New York. After his stay in Key West it was said that he was looking to purchase a home along Florida’s East Coast to make a home. C. Newton Munson was likely Charles Newton Munson who was born on October 2, 1878. He and his wife Ada lived at 194 Clinton Street in Brooklyn, NY. Munson was a fisherman and a fish broker.

Beryl Ralph Pinder and his wife Ivadell were in the group of the passengers who got off in Key West. Pinder was the current Chief of the Key West Fire Department, and he and his wife were in New York attending a Fire Chief’s convention that was held in Virginia, and after the convention went up to New York City for several days. In 1920 Pinder worked as a barber at the U. S. Naval Station, Key West. The Chief and his wife Ivadell lived on Simonton Street and had two children, Florance and Ralph Beryl.

Chief Beryl Ralph Pinder, Key West Fire Chief, shown in an undated photo with his chief’s hat on.

The trips from New York to Galveston had by 1924 become routine for the crew of Captain Barstow’s crew aboard the Mallory, broken only by the rare events of another ship at sea in distress. On January 16, 1924 navy radio stations picked up an SOS call at 05:30 in the evening. The distress call had come from the Danish steamer Normannia saying she had sprung a leak in her engine room and was then 20-miles southeast by east of the Frying Pan Lightship and was in need of immiediate assistance. The Coast Guard Cutter Yamacraw was dispatched to her SOS call.

The Normannia within a short time sent out a second and third radio message stating she was sinking fast. At 7:30 on the evening of the 16th of January Captain Barstow aboard the Mallory picked up her SOS message. Barstow and the Mallory were then at the time 10-miles northeast of the Normannia’s position. Captain Barstow replied back to the sinking Normannia that he was changing course and coming fast and would be along side the stricken vessel in under an hour. Once the Mallory’s navigator reported they should be on top of her reported position they could not see the freighter and circled with the Mallory’s lights searching for a sign of the Normannia.

About that time one of Captain Barstow’s lookouts called out he had seen a light flashing off the starboard side. Barstow then sent a message by blinker light asking for the Normannia to send up two rockets, which she did. Captain Barstow then moved the Mallory to within a quarter of a mile from the sinking Normannia. The time was now about 8:30 in the evening and the Normannia’s Second Mate Iwulhman Hansen and three seamen came along side the Mallory in one of their whaleboats stating they were bound from Jamaica for Charleston with a load of Mahogany. The hold and engine room was flooded and Second Mate Hansen asked Captain Barstow for a tow.

Captain Barstow told Hansen he would take the crew but would not tow the Normannia. The Normannia crew then began to transfer to the Mallory and radio messages were sent. Captain Barstow then sent his Second Officer, W. P. Decker with a small crew in a lifeboat to bring the remainder of the Normannia’s crew aboard. This took the better part of four hours time to accomplish. Captain Christian Blom of the Normannia had aboard his wife Anna, and she was being a bit stubborn and did not want to leave her husband. It was said that Captain Blom stated to her if she did not leave and go to the Mallory that he would drop her over the side of the Normannia into the lifeboat himself. Mrs Blom took her two dogs and managed to gather some tobacco and cigarettes for the men and some clothing for herself before she left the Normannia. Only Captain Blom and six of his crew remained aboard the Normannia. The next day Captain Barstow on the Mallory receives a radio message stating that Captain Blom and the six crewmen were safe aboard the tanker Charles Harwood. The Normannia finally sank in 100-feet of water off the North Carolina coast.

Later Captain Barstow was awarded with a Gold Medal from the Life Saving Benevolent Association of New York for his action in saving the crew of the Normannia on January 16, 1924. Second officer Decker also receives a Gold Medal, and the four men who manned the lifeboat each received bronze medals and $25 in Gold. Captain Henry W. Barstow would then retire from active service with the Mallory Line on October 12, 1924.

It was reported in The Miami News that in early October of 1929 that the Clyde Mallory Line had put the Mallory back on her winter scheduled route of New York-Miami-Galveston. She would be making stops in Miami every other Tuesday. At the time the Mallory’s Master was Captain Edgar D. Johnstone, who had more than 30-years of service to the Mallory Line as Master.

October 29, 1930 the crew of the Mallory rescued six survivors of the 92-ton steam yacht Barbados. There was a crew of 14 aboard the Barbados but only nine escaped the sinking ship on October 27. The Barbados took down with her four men and a woman off the lower New Jersey coast. Of the nine, who escaped, three later died while at sea and the remaining 6 survivors drifted in the lifeboat for 69 hours.

Captain Louis Hough, master of the Barbados started out from New York bound for the Barbados Islands but when they passed the Scotland Lightship they ran into bad weather. Captain Hough remarked after the rescue “I figured we could ride it out, but toward morning on Saturday it grew worse, with a northeasterly gale and things began to look bad. We couldn’t call for help because we had no radio.” Hough continued, “By then the ship was unmanageable. When I was up to my waist in water, I gave the orders to abandon ship. But while we were launching our lifeboat, the ship abandoned us.” Sixty-nine hours later the lifeboat with the six remaining men from the Barbados were sighted by the SS Henry R. Mallory and brought aboard. Most were too weak to climb aboard by their self and were helped aboard the Mallory, a few were delirious but all six men survived the ordeal.

Four of the six survivors of the small freighter Barbados, shown on the deck of the Henry R. Mallory, after they had been picked up at sea off the lower New Jersey coast and brought into New York City. When the Barbados sank, early in the morning of October 27, it carried down 4 men and a woman. Three members of the crew who managed to escape died later in the lifeboat, and it was 69 hours before the 6 who remained were picked up. 2 of them were given hospital treatment after their arrival in New York. Left to right, John Slaney, Chief Chief Steward of the Henry R. Mallory, Henry Pfeiffer, First Mate of the Barbados, Seaman HL Lawrence, Barbados Second Mate Joe Valverde, and Captain LW Hough Master of the Barbados.

Many of the crew of the Mallory and as a matter of fact almost any ship of the time period contained men who made life behind the mast a career. One such man was the Mallory’s Chief Steward John N. Slaney, shown in the photograph with the survivors of the Barbados sinking in October of 1930. John N. Slaney was born on March 1, 1871 in Canada and was of Irish heritage. He in search of a better life saw the opportunities in America as that better place. At the age of 20-years, in March of 1891, John N. Slaney arrived in Boston, MA and likely began working for a steamship company. John Slaney married a woman named Harriet who was also born in Canada about 1901 and he gained his citizenship on April 8 of 1905. The following year in 1906 he and Harriet brought into the world a baby girl whos name was Mary, being born in Boston. John was in the spring of 1910 working as a Chief Steward aboard a steamship. It is not known what steamship but it is likely it was for the Mallory Line and may already have been the Henry R. Mallory. Harriet and Mary lived in a home located at number 25 Nelson Street in Boston. Mary would be John and Harriet’s only child and by 1920 the Slaney’s had moved from Boston to Brooklyn, NY where at the beginning of 1920 they lived in a rented apartment on 59th Street. Young Mary grew up the daughter of a seafarer and chose the career of a schoolteacher. At the age of 23-years in 1930, Mary was a single woman still living with her mother Harriet and father John, when he was home, still in the apartment on 59th Street. John Slaney was married to two women, his wife Harriet and the sea. He loved both almost as much as the other. Like so many of the men of John Slaney’s time who called the sea their home, there is not a record of his last days to tell the rest of his story. In the end, all that can be said is that every day he went down to the sea the family would part and say until we meet again, always hoping to meet again for when men go down to the sea they can never be sure if they would ever return. Just as John came to America for a better life he and his wife created that better place for Mary their daughter who in turn taught many new American students in her school.

As the years of the 1930’s ground on for the Mallory and the never-ending trips from New York to ports south grew into the repetition of one trip feeling just like each previous trip, but there would however be the occasional cargo that sparked some curiosity in the Mallory’s crew. Such was the case on an early November 1933 trip. The Mallory had on November 3, 1933, just arrived in Key West, Florida from Galveston, Texas. The Mallory arrived late that evening at 11:30 PM and off loaded her passengers and cargo. By 5:50 AM the next morning the Captain had the Mallory with steam up and pulling out of Key West for Charleston, SC and New York. During the night, they had loaded in the Mallory’s holds crates of sponges and cigars, a cargo likely they had taken aboard many times before, but the real cargo of interest that trip was a live turtle. Likely at least once during the trip north each of the crew had to take a look at the Mallory’s unusual cargo, or rather passenger.

In the late fall of 1934 the 30-foot Yacht Departure was sailing outbound from New York bound for the West Indies. The three who were aboard the Departure were New York artist, Leslie Ragan and his wife and Robert Velie of Chicago, also an artist. On November 12, 1934, they were just off Cape Romain, South Carolina when the Departure hit something in the water. This damaged her hull and the Departure began to sink. Ragan and Velie sent up distress flares from the sinking Departure, which were seen by the SS Henry R. Mallory.

Captain Joseph E. Wood the current Master of the Mallory brought his ship along side of the Departure keeping her against the Mallory’s lee side to protect her from the wind. Ragan and his wife along with Velie climbed up through the sails to the safety of the Mallory’s deck. Once aboard the Mallory Ragan had stated “We had hoped to put Mrs. Ragan on the Mallory and then try to beach and save the Departure, but when we were alongside the sea carried us against the Mallory’s hull and further damaged the Departure. So, we had to abandon her and the complete new artist’s outfit aboard.”

About 1940 or 1941 a change of Masters took place on the Mallory. Captain Sigurd Severin Staalesen took over after Captain Wood left the ship. Staalesen was a Norwegian by birth and had served before the mast nearly his entire life. Staalesen would be the Master of the Mallory through early 1942 when Captain John Lawrence Mobley, Jr. took over. Staalesen, while Master of the Mallory made at least 1 trip and possibly more to South America with the Mallory. In October 1941 Staalesen took the Mallory down to Brazil and returned to New York on November 13, 1941.

John Lawrence Mobley, Jr. was the Master of the SS Henry R. Mallory just before the Second World War and was in command until he left the ship in late January of 1943. Captain Mobley held a Masters license and had worked for the Clyde-Mallory Line, which was a subsidiary of the AGWI (Atlantic, Gulf & West Indies) Steam Ship Company for many years.

In the very early days of America’s involvement in the Second World War the Mallory began to carry cargo and troops for the Army. She had under the command of Captain Mobley, sailed on at least one eastbound convoy, SC110, which sailed on November 17, 1942 from Boston to Iceland. Captain Mobley’s last trip as Master of the Mallory was on the return convoy ON 152, which left Iceland on December 10, 1942. Captain Mobley’s First Officer was Horace Rudolf Weaver who would take over as Master of the Mallory once Captain Mobley left when they returned to Boston.

In June of 1942 Captain Mobley and the crew of the Mallory rescued several men from the torpedoed merchant ship SS Westmorland. On April 26, 1942, the 9,512-ton SS Westmoreland under command of Captain Ernst Arthur Burton, set sail from Wellington, New Zealand bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia where she would join a eastbound convoy for Liverpool, England. She transited the Panama Canal May 22-25, 1942 and was steaming in Caribbean waters. On the morning of June 1, 1942, the Westmoreland is 215-miles north northeast of Bermuda when the ship was attacked by a German U-boat. Captain Burton seeing that his ship was mortally wounded sounded abandon ship and 65 men left the ship alive in three lifeboats, while two men died during the attack.

The Westmoreland stayed afloat for nearly 3-hours, and the German U-boat surfaced and shelled the ship until she sank. For a time, all three lifeboats kept together but due to rough weather became separated. On the sixth day after the sinking of his ship the SS Henry R. Mallory rescued Captain Burton’s lifeboat on June 6, 1942.

The Mallory was then steaming north to New York and had came upon Captain Burton and the 19 men in his lifeboat. The men in the lifeboat had a red sail flying and Captain Mobley aboard the Mallory was a bit suspicious of the lone lifeboat. Thinking it was a German trick to lure unsuspecting merchantmen into a kill, Captain Mobley took the better part of a half hour to investigate the lifeboat and only after he was satisfied that it was not a German trap approached the lifeboat. Likely due to the mid-day sun the lookouts aboard the Mallory could not see the red flag the men in Captain Burton’s lifeboat were waving. As easy as parking a taxi Captain Mobley parked the Mallory along side the Westmoreland’s lifeboat and took the 19-men and Captain Burton aboard the Mallory. The men were a bit sunburned but otherwise in good shape. By June 8 the Mallory with the 20 men from the Westmoreland arrived safely in New York harbor.

Early in 1942 when America began its movement of troops to Europe many ships like the Mallory were pressed into service to be used as troopships just has had been done during the First World War. It was determined that troopships coming from America would land in Newport, Wales, and one of the first ships across was the SS Cathy. She landed her load of troops in Newport on May 14, 1942 and this marked the beginning of the American troops arriving in the United Kingdom leading to the build up and eventual invasion of France in 1944. As much as the American’s wanted her English cousins to see that they were up to the task at hand there was an event in Newport that had everyone wondering if the American’s were really up to it.

On July 24, 1942 Captain Mobley has the Mallory steaming just outside the entrance to Newport Harbor. As they enter the channel and approach the inner dock and its protective gate somehow the orders from Captain Mobley and the engine room get misinterpreted. Down in the engine room they put the engines at full speed ahead as they understood the order, which causes the Mallory to lurch forward. This resulted in the Mallory ramming into the gate of the inner dock. This accident effectively puts the harbor of Newport out of commission for the better part of a month. If the English did not know the American’s had arrived they certinally did now.

Mobley left the Mallory in December of 1942 and his First Officer Horace Weaver took over as Master of the Mallory. Horace Weaver rose through the ranks of the Mallory Line until he gained his Masters Certificate. When America was drawn into the Second World War, Weaver was serving as the First Officer aboard the SS Henry R. Mallory. In Late December 1942 after the Mallory had returned from her last Reykjavik, Iceland to Boston run, her current Master, J. L. Mobley and a good share of her crew were transferred off the ship. First Officer Horace Weaver was given command of the Mallory and she was Weaver’s first ship he was Master of.  Weaver would also be the Mallory’s last master whe she was sunk on February 7, 1943.

The Mallory Again Serves Her Country During WWII

Assembled here is a collection of eyewitness stories of men who were on board the Mallory on her final trip across the Atlantic during WWII. These stories have been shared with me personally by the survivors or by the survivor’s families. These stories are very valuable for us to read as they give the readers a feeling of how it really was during those dark and uncertain times of WWII when the balance of power was still waning from one side to the other. There were some significant things about the Mallory sinking. It was one of the biggest convoy battles of the war, the loss of lives was one of the largest of any ship sinking, and it happened during what the German U-boat commanders called "The Happy Times", when they enjoyed many successes against Allied convoys. This also happened before the turning point, which came in June of 1944, after the capture of the German U-boat U-505, along with her precious enigma coding machines. And so here is one of the untold and largely unknown but heroic stories of the battle of the Atlantic.

The Mallory was torpedoed in the Atlantic on 7 February 1943 by U-402 one of 20 U-boats that converged on convoy SC-118. The convoy had 61 ships sailing and their escorts consisted of 8 ships. Of the total of 69 ships sailing in convoy SC-118 the U-boats sunk 11 ships and of the 20 attacking U-boats 3 were sunk. The sinking of the Mallory by the U-boat U-402 commanded by Kapitänleutnant Siegfried von Forstner was one of the heaviest losses of life during the Atlantic Merchant Marine crossings of WWII.

The same day the Mallory went down the USCGC Ingham also rescued survivors from the SS Robert E. Hopkins a 6,625 ton US ship sunk by U-402 and the SS West Portal a 5,376 ton US ship sunk by U-413. The attack took place 600 miles SSW of Iceland (55.18 North/26.29 West) while en route from New York to Reykjavik, Iceland via Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The Mallory was sailing in Convoy SC-118 (#33) with a cargo of clothing, food, trucks, cigarettes, and 610 bags of mail and 383 passengers. Her passengers were 136 U.S. Army personnel, 72 Marine Corps personnel, 173 Navy personnel and 2 civilians. In addition to the passengers, the ship carried a crew of 77 and an Armed Guard of 34. There were 270 men lost and 224 were saved. It is definitely known that 39 of her crew were lost.

USS Henry R. Mallory - November 1942 to February 1943

Written by Edward T. Doyle, Jr, PhD, son of Mallory Armed Guard Edward Thomas "Ducky" Doyle

The Mallory - Boston to Reykjavik - November 1942

On November 11, 1942, Captain Milne USN (Ret), Port Director, N.T.S., Boston, Massachusetts requested from the Commanding Officer, U.S. Naval Armed Guard Center, Brooklyn, New York, twenty three Armed Guard personnel for the SS Henry R. Mallory. The request was for a Boatswain Mate 2/C, twenty Seamen, and two Signalmen, all outfitted with regular winter clothing, be sent to the Port Director, First Naval District, Boston, not later than 15:00 hours on Friday, November 13, 1942, for duty with the Armed Guard Unit attached to the SS Henry R. Mallory, armed with 1 - 4”/50 gun, 2 – 3”/50 guns and 8 - 20MM guns. The Mallory was then under the direction of the U. S. Army but was still a civilian vessel with a civilian merchant crew. Her desigination during WWII was SS Henry R. Mallory unlike during WWI when she was a U. S. Navy Commissioned vessel.

Based on that request, the following 21 Armed Guard personnel were “Put Aboard” the Mallory:

Ciganek, Peter Paul, Coxswain USNR
Howard, Lewis James, Jr., S1c USNR
Doyle, Edward Thomas, S1c USNR
Donaghue, Robert Alexander, S1c USNR
Dixon, John James, S1c USNR
Capabianco, Girard Anthony, S1c USNR
Campbell, Edward Sanford, S1c USNR
Campagnone, Domenic, S1c USNR
Bryne, Edward Robert, S1c USNR
Buffett, Sydney Carroll, S1c USNR
Bozak, Joseph Daniel, S1c USNR
Bigwood, Robert James, S1c USNR
Bicknell, Clinton Edward, S1c USNR
Harris, Paul Brown, S1c USNR
Clark, Victor Duane, S1c USNR
Kenton, Robert Harold, S1c USNR
Duwel, Edward Carl, S1c USNR
Dinges, John Donald, S1c USNR
Wolf, Alfred, S1c USNR
Lofaro, Luke Ernest, S1c USNR
Jenkins, James Joseph, S1c USNR 

In addition, two Communications personnel were “Put Aboard”:

Laird, William Robert, SM3c USN
Connelly, James Hubert, Jr., S1c USN Signalman

On November 13, 1942, military personnel including 19 Army Officers, 5 Navy Officers, and 17 enlisted Navy personnel came aboard. At 13:15 on November 14th, the Mallory departed for Providence, Rhode Island, arriving at Field’s Point at 07:15 the following day. At 10:00, 10 Navy Officers and 03:10 Navy Construction battalion enlisted personnel came aboard. At 17:15, the Mallory departed for New York City arriving at 12:30, anchoring in the Hudson River and moving later to anchorage at Stapleton, Staten Island.

On November 17th at 04:10, the Mallory departed for Convoy SC110 with 38 ships bound for Reykjavik, Iceland making 7.5 knots with 5 escorts.

On November 19th Armed Guard Commanding Officer Lieut. (jg) J. L. Rohr, Jr. USNR, reported satisfactory test firing of the new 3” 50-cal. guns and the new 20 MM guns. On the 24th he reported very rough seas at 24:10 resulting in the Mallory being separated from the convoy and not rejoining the larger section of the convoy (some 17 vessels) until 13:30 on November 27th. It was not until 09:00 on the 28th before the convoy rejoined—33 ships with 4 still missing. One ship had been torpedoed and one had sunk by collision during the storm. The fate of the others vessels was unknown.

Lieut. Rohr reported on the 28th at 11:55, a flag hoist noted “Submarines are known to be operating in these waters”. On the 29th at 16:00, gun fire and depth charges were fired from escort vessels outside of the convoy while on the 29th at 12:00 the Mallory executed a 45° Starboard emergency change of course while depth charges were heard from escorts first ahead and then astern of the convoy. Destroyers moved down columns of the convoy.

Probably to the relief of all, on December 2nd at 09:00, the Mallory along with four other ships and three escorts departed the main convoy on an established Emergency Turn approximately two days (330 miles) from the Irish coast. The Mallory tied up to North Key, Reykjavik, at 16:00 on December 4, 1942.

The Mallory - Reykjavik to Boston - December 1942

On December 10th before departing for Boston an issue arose on the Mallory when the Master and Lieut. Rohr refused to take custody of a Merchant Seaman named Lambert who was under arrest after being taken off his vessel in Murmansk, Russia. The Mallory was being requested to accept custody of the Merchant Seaman without a written order. Since all reports show Lambert charges were pending it is not known the exact circumstance of his arrest. After a series of phone calls and a visit to the Mallory, the seaman was taken into custody and a guard posted over him for his return to the States.

On December 11th at 06:00, the Mallory was underway with eight ships and three escort vessels at 7.5 knots to join Convoy ON 152. Though this would not last long, on December 15th the Mallory joined the main convoy of fifteen ships. The early hours of December 16th brought the start of a gale after calm seas on the 15th. The gale started at 10:00 and by 16:00 the Mallory was headed into the wind to avoid damage and by 01:00 on the 17th was separated from the convoy. Conditions worsened and on the 18th of December, waves reported to be 50-60 feet high with 100 knots winds.

By 13:00 hrs. on the 19th the Mallory rejoined a now smaller convoy of sixteen ships and three escorts as the gale subsided. Again on the 22nd the Mallory was separated from the convoy, which at this time had only one escort, as another gale arrived. On the 23rd at 08:00 the Mallory sighted five other ships but no escorts. At this time the Master, J. L. Mobley, was requested to become the Convoy Commodore which he accepted.

On December 24th at 09:00 the Master, Chief Mate, and Chief Engineer had a conference to discuss going into St. John’s, Newfoundland, since there were no escorts, no convoy in sight and the other ships were averaging about 6 knots. At 11:45 it was decided by the Captain to head to St. John’s. The Mallory had one ship alongside and three on the horizon.

At 12:00 the Mallory headed to St. John’s at 13 knots and started zigzaging at 22:00. The Mallory arrived at St. John’s on Christmas Day at 15:15, tying up along other ships midstream.

The Mallory anchored at St. John’s until January 2, 1943, when it departed for Boston with two other merchant ships and two American Destroyers, the USS Dallas and USS Bernadeau both of which had been detailed as escorts. Records show only one unusual happening while in St. John’s. On December 31st a civilian passenger off the SS Dorchester fell between the Mallory and the Dorchester. Lieut. Rohr credited quick thinking on the part the Gun Crew on Watch in “locating a Bum Boat to come under counter of the Dorchester” as “undoubtedly saving the lives of the man who fell and another man who went down after him.”

The Dorchester, a US troop transport ship, will always be remembered for its tragic sinking after being torpedoed on February 3, 1943 just a few hours from its destination on the coast of Greenland. The sinking was an unforgettable episode of World War II as four U.S. Army chaplains were passengers along with 902 other GIs. According to survivors of that night of terror, the Chaplains helped others into lifeboats and assisted with the distribution of life jackets. When there were no more life jackets the Chaplains took it upon themselves to give their own life jackets to four servicemen so they could live. According to some accounts, the Chaplains were last seen with arms linked and their heads bowed in prayer as the ship went down. The four Chaplains—George George Fox (Methodist), Clark Poling (Dutch Reformed), Alex Goode (Jewish Rabbi) and John Washington (Catholic)—had spent only a few weeks together on the ship, but they were nearly always together.

On January 3rd at 16:00 the USS Yukon joined the ships. However, needing oil, the Mallory departed Halifax with the USD Bernadeau and the Belle Isle arriving in Halifax on January 6th at 02:00. On the same day at 11:00 the Halifax convoy departed to join ON-154. After bunkering, the Mallory departed Halifax unescorted at 14:45 to locate the Halifax convoy. Working for two days, the Mallory was unable to locate the convoy even after arriving at the rendezvous point on the 7th and following the convoy course into the 8th when the Master decided, with no convoy in site, to change course and head to Boston according to directions for stragglers. The Mallory arrived in Boston at 15:40 on January 9th.

A footnote to the passage was recorded by Lieut. Rohr. He wrote that he “appreciated the fact that there is not a sufficient number of escort vessels and that the scope of his observations is limited. Nevertheless, as was the case in Convoy SC-110, it was his conviction that fully loaded troop ships of 13 knots or better should not be placed in 7 knot convoys. In this particular case, the Chateau Thierry and the Henry R. Mallory were carrying a total of approximately 1,800 troops.”

(Lieut. Joseph Lay Rohr was reported missing on the 7 February 1943 sinking of the Mallory.)

Source: Report of Voyage of S.S. Henry R. Mallory, J.L. Rohr, Jr. Lieut. (jg) USNR, Commanding Officer, Naval Armed Guard, S.S. Henry Mallory, January 9, 1943.

Excerpts from the sinking report of the SS Henry R. Mallory

Master: Horace Rudolph Weaver (lost during the sinking on 7 Feb. '43)
Gross Tons: 6442
Built: 1916 at Newport News, Virginia.
Dimensions: 424' Length 54' Beam 22' Draft

At 0538 GCT, a torpedo struck on the starboard side at Number 3 hold. After being hit, the ship did not list, or settle in the water. The main steam lines let go and the engines were secured. There was no fire and no radio damage but it was firmly believed the ship would stay afloat for some time. Two of the after lifeboats were damaged when the hatch covers from Number 4 hold blew off and landed on them. Number 9 life raft was blown out of its chocks and Number 10 was damaged.

All of a sudden, the ship started to go down with the stern awash and a port list. Within 30 minutes after the attack the Mallory was gone. When the ship started to list and go down by the stern, the abandonment of the vessel began. The only boat to get away safely from the starboard side was Number 5, and it was fully loaded. Number 1 and Number 3 lifeboats capsized when they hit the water.

On the port side, Number 6 and Number 8 boats were the only ones to get away. Number 2 and Number 4 capsized when lowered. The majority of the men on board jumped overboard and climbed aboard rafts. Some life rafts were tied down with one-inch lines and could not be cut or untied in time so these went down with the ship.

The survivors were not sighted until 4 hours after the attack. No one in the convoy or in the 11 escort vessels knew the Mallory had been hit. The skipper of the USS Schenck (DD-159) who was sweeping well astern of the convoy for survivors from the British ship SS Toward saw lights in the distance and started to head in that direction. When he requested permission to investigate the lights, it was denied and he was informed the H.M.S. Lobella would recover the survivors. This decision cost the lives of scores of men struggling in the ice-cold water.

About 4 hours after the attack, the USCGC Bibb found a boat with survivors from the Mallory and it was only then that it was discovered the Mallory had been hit. The Bibb picked up 205 survivors, three of whom died on board after being rescued. The USCGC Ingham picked up 22 more survivors, two of whom died aboard the cutter. The lifeboats that did get away from the Mallory were dangerously overloaded with 70-75 men. The bilge pumps failed to work so they bailed with their caps, cans or anything that would hold water. The men who were scantily clad died. Men on box-type rafts were better in condition than those recovered from the donut-type raft. Many were sighted within the donut rafts already dead from exposure and constant immersion in the very cold water.

Meanwhile on board the USCGC Bibb Commander Roy Raney's crew, was over the side on cargo nets moving through the floating mass of bodies. Many of the Bibb's crewmen leapt into the water to assist the nearly frozen survivors, and the cutter Ingham assisted. They were taking precious time pulling bodies out of the 50° water and risking the Bibb with a torpedo from a U-boat. CDR. Raney after learning that two men had died while being hauled up on deck had to give the horrible order to concentrate only on the men who at least could pass a line under their arms on their own strength. It must have been hard for Raney to give that order but one that had to be done under the circumstances at the time

One of the Ingham's crew described the scene, a dreadfully common one along the North Atlantic that year:  "I never saw anything like it, wood all over the place and bodies in life jackets ... never saw so many dead fellows in my whole life. Saw lots of mail bags, boxes, wood, wood splinters, empty life jackets, oars, upturned boats, empty life rafts, bodies, parts of bodies, clothes, cork, and a million other things that ships have in them. I hope I never see another drowned man as long as I live."

Although many of the Mallory's 494 passengers and crew died from hypothermia, the Bibb's crew pulled 205 survivors from the frigid water, while the Ingham's crew saved 22. The Bibb rescued 33 more people from the nearby torpedoed freighter S.S. Kalliopi before returning to the convoy.

The Fate of U-402

The fate of U-402 and her captain, Kapitänleutnant Siegfried von Forstner, ended when she was bombed and sunk in Mid Atlantic by aircraft from the USS Card (CVE-11) on October 13, 1943. There were no survivors and the U-402 joined the Mallory on the bottom of the Atlantic for eternity.

This photo was taken on February 23, 1943, sixteen days after the sinking of the Mallory. It shows the conning tower of the U-402 as they enter La Pallice, France, and the ship tonnage sunk can be seen on the side of the conning tower. The Henry R. Mallory's blood was part of that tonnage number. Kapitänleutnant Sigfried von Forstner commanding officer of the U-402. Forstner was the boats only commanding officer during her existence and they claimed 14 merchant ships sunk, one warship sunk and damaged three other ships. Forstner was awarded the German Navy Knight’s Cross. Above is a photo of U-402 under attack by aircraft from USS Card (CVE-11), on October 13, 1943. The photo of U-402 was taken from LCDR Avery's TBF during his first pass. LCDR Avery believed U-402 was submerging and intended to drop his MK-24 torpedo but the boat remained on the surface. It was too late to break of the pass so LCDR Avery strafed the conning tower with his .50 cal. wing guns. In just mere moments Forstner and his crew would pay with their lives for the sinking of the SS Henry R. Mallory eight months previously.

The Rescue From a Prospective of one of the Bibb's Crew

Ted Narring Recounts the Rescue

Ted Narring was a crewman of the USCGC Bibb the day they rescued the men from the sunken troopship SS Henry R. Mallory on 7 February 1943. The following was written from notes taken during a phone interview conducted on 13 June 2007, and is Ted’s perspective of the Mallory rescue from the deck of the Bibb.

On the evening of 6 February 1943 Ted Narring, who was a gunner on board the USCGC Bibb was already at General Quarters as they were most nights. It was common practice for the gun crews to be at their guns during the night and would be so till daylight. They were trying to catch a German U-boat on the surface recharging their batteries. The early morning of 7 February Narring was still at the guns on the Bibb as the orders were given to stay at the guns past daybreak and he remembers that morning they did not get to eat breakfast.

Narring related that along about 10:30 on the morning of the 7th the men on the Bibb began to see debris floating on the surface of the pitching seas. At the time the men of the Bibb did not realize that they were seeing parts of what was left of the Mallory that had been sunk some five hours ago. And then someone on the Bibb saw a life-ring with the name of Henry R. Mallory on it. It was then that Roy Raney, the Captain of the Bibb realized he had happened upon the wreckage of the Mallory and she was gone. Raney told his men they were going to pick up survivors. It would not be until 5 O’clock that evening, some 12 hours after the Mallory went down that the last man was rescued.

Ted Narring remembers making ready the rescue lines and when they happened upon the main body of those men in the water that 3 or 4 men would be hauled in on each line. Captain Raney gave orders to his crew not to jump into the water as U-boats were known to be in the area and he had to be ready to maneuver in a hurry if required to. That morning the seas were rough making rescue that much more difficult. Ted Narring remembers as he was standing at the rails, and the Bibb rose and fell with the peaks and troughs of the sea he just missed grabbing a man as he bobbed close by the deck of the Bibb. Narring tried to grab him by the hair but missed. Narring remembers he had red hair and looked so young. Finally Narring got a grip on the man and pulled him onto the Bibb.

When the rescued men were brought aboard they were taken below and given hot coffee, dry clothes and bunks from the Bibb’s crew. Narring recalls he gave up his bunk and that they had men from several ships on board. Narring recalls there were Greeks, Army and Navy and Marine men on board that they had rescued. The clothes of the survivors were taken and cleaned and when dry were dumped in one big pile. The rescued men grabbed what they could and uniforms were mixed making for a motley looking bunch. Narring remembers that the Greek survivors liked the Marine uniforms the best and were grabbing them whenever they could.

During a phone interview I conducted with Ted Narring he related to me about the last man rescued from the Mallory. Narring now 83 years old, as he recounted this story his voice quivered and struggled as he told me that after all these years this man still upset him to this day. At about 5 O’clock in the afternoon of the 7th, a man was spotted in a lifeboat and the Bibb started to rescue the man. Narring struggling to hold back the tears, told me that as they drew near the man, who was yelling “save me... save me” the Bibb broke away from him and left him on the sea alone. Seeing this man alone effected Narring greatly as he steamed away from him on the Bibb. Narring felt so horrible that they were not able to save the man. But up on the bridge of the Bibb Captain Raney had to give the difficult order to break off the rescue as a sub was spotted. Raney had to think of the safety of his ship, his men and those who he had rescued over the lonely man in the lifeboat. Not an easy order to give but give it he did. Narring did say that the man was then later rescued by another ship.

Bibb crewmen rescuing survivors from the Henry Mallory.

Below is a transcribed document obtained from the National Archives and is signed by the 3 Army officers who survived and were picked up by the USCGC Ingham.

The S.S. Henry R. Mallory carrying some military personnel, a general cargo, and while with a convoy, was torpedoed at approximately 0400 on 7 February, 1943 without warning, and sank approximately one hour later.

The ship was struck by a torpedo just aft amidships on the starboard side. The ship immediately started to list to the port side, and settled by the stern. There was a wind striking the ship from the starboard side and the sea was quite choppy. At the time of the sinking it was dark and the personnel assigned to the lifeboats were at their assigned positions excepting those that were trapped by the explosion. Due to the faulty lowering of No. 1 lifeboat, it capsized and none of the personnel assigned to this boat were able to use it. No. 2 lifeboat was lowered with injured men in it, but it capsized when it hit the water. No. 3 lifeboat was only partially loaded. No 5 lifeboat was lowered and swamped with water. No. 7 lifeboat sank. No. 9 lifeboat was destroyed by the force of the explosion. No knowledge of other boats. Loss of boats may be attributed to insufficient handling and general panic among crew members, who were responsible for proper operation.

Liferafts were fastened to the ship with one inch lines, and some of them went down with the ship, it being impossible to cut the lines. The boats that did get away did not wait until they were fully loaded, having been manned by crew members. Only a few of the personnel were able to get away in the boats. Due to the fact that the lifeboats were mishandled, a large number of the men had to jump into the sea.

After the ship sank we floated around on capsized boats, liferafts, and odd debris until picked up by the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham between the hours of 1300 and 1500, 7 February, 1943.

2nd Lieut. Signal Corps,
Army of the U.S.

2nd Lieut. Signal Corps,
Army of the U.S.

2nd Lieut. F.A., O.R.C.
Army of the U.S.

K.O.A. Zittel Comdr., USCG

The Story of the USCGC Bibb's Great Rescue

A Camera Records Faces and Attitudes of Men Just Released from Death

 [The following is a transcript of a newspaper article. The name and date of the newspaper is not known however]

These are pictures of what the U. S. Coast Guard has called "one of the greatest rescues at sea by a single vessel under wartime conditions." They were taken by an anonymous Coast Guard combat photographer aboard the USS Bibb - a bouncing 327-foot cutter which the rescued men said looked to them like "the most beautiful ship in the world."

The rescued men, more than 200 of them, were from a torpedoed U. S. transport which had been known in peacetime as the liner Henry R. Mallory. A German torpedo rammed into the Mallory's side one stormy, snow whipped night, and it was not until many hours later that the surviving crewmen and passengers were picked up.

The transport was torpedoed in the middle of the night without warning. Survivors said the crew and passengers had little time after the roar of the explosion to take to life rafts before the vessel went under. It was five hours before the survivors saw the "most beautiful ship in the world" bearing in their direction. The question was, "Will she be able to pick us up?"

From that moment, it was seven perilous hours, seven hours in which the Bibb fought huge, heaving seas, frothing, wind-driven spray, and enemy subs, before the rescue was accomplished.

Under severe weather conditions, and Navy man knows that only half of a rescue is accomplished when a rescue ship approaches a stricken vessel, or its survivors, at sea. There have been many occasions when rescue vessels have been utterly helpless, unable because of high seas, to lend assistance. To come too close to a tossing lifeboat at such a time is to risk smashing it. Many a seaman has died within speaking distance of the ship, which came to his assistance.

"But the Bibb's skipper, Captain Roy L. Raney, put that cutter alongside of our boat in that heavy sea just like a cab driver parks a cab," said the Mallory's cook, George K. Dunningham, of Winthrop, MA.

The Bibb had been protecting a fleet of ships on the night the Mallory was sunk. Early next day she sighted flares fired by the survivors. As the cutter neared the scene, lifeboats and rafts seemed to be all around the horizon. It was evident to the Coast Guardsmen that the U-boat wolf pack had had a good night's hunting. Even as they reached the scene they saw half-frozen survivors fall off rafts and slip into the sea. Men could be seen dying and falling, with safety so near. On smaller rafts were corpses. Cook Dunningham's lifeboat, containing 50 shocked and shivering men, was the first one reached.

"They had lines over the side and ready before they got to us," Dunningham said. "The waves were so high that I was able to step right onto the deck of the cutter when a wave lifted our lifeboat. As soon as the 50-odd of us got aboard they gave us dry clothing, food, hot coffee and cigarettes, and put us to bed in their own bunks. Many of us needed hospital attention. They were swell."

"Then the cutter started to cruise in search of more survivors. We were the first to be picked up although we were the last boat to leave the transport."

Half and hour later the Bibb came upon a number of rafts all grouped together. Some men were over the side in the water, clinging to the rafts. Some were too weak to grasp the lines thrown to them. Knowing there was no time to lose, Coast Guardsmen aboard the Bibb promptly dived in and swam to the men, tied lines to them and saw them hauled safely aboard.

During the seven hours of rescue work, the Bibb's crew were at their battle stations, manning the guns and fire control stations at all times. For the Bibb herself could have been easy prey for U-boats. At times the Bibb was forced to leave the rescue job to hunt for subs, dropping patterns of depth charges. Four times, the escort commander of the unit to which the Bibb belonged messaged the cutter to break off rescue operations, but each time Captain Raney declined and continued the job. The Bibb had saved 202 of the Mallory's men when she headed away from the scene of the tragedy. And two hours later the crew of another ship had reason to be thankful that the Bibb had been in the vicinity. Thirty-five men from another torpedoed ship, a smaller United Nations merchantman, were picked up in a lifeboat.

It was seven days before the Bibb, thumping through wintery seas with her own crew's and officer's quarters jammed with survivors, reached a United Nations port where the rescued men could be put ashore for the attention they needed.

Fatigue is written in the faces in this picture. Two rafts and their load of survivors are close alongside the ship in the early morning. Note exhausted man in foreground. Rafts appear to be on crest of wave which has lifted them close to the level of ship's deck. Camera did not stop the twisting motion of rope. Medical attention was waiting for these exhausted men when their wave-tossed reft was picked up by the USCGC Bibb.
Torture of a night adrift on the freezing, gale-swept Atlantic registers in the expressions of these two castaways
as lines are lowered from the Bibb pull their tiny, tossing raft to safety.
Soaked, tired and half-frozen, survivors lean against the mast of their lifeboat as lines are passed from the Bibb to hold them alongside. It took the Bibb many hours to complete its rescue job. In September of 2009 Thomas A. Hebenton, a survivor of the Mallory sinking identified himself in this photo. He is the man standing on the right side of the mast in the lifeboat. He has on his Oilskins, life jacket and watch cap, which he credits as saving his life. Able Seaman Hebenton was the last man to leave lifeboat No. 4

Below is a list of survivors picked up by ship on February 7, 1943

Each man with a link has a detailed story on page two of the Mallory's History.
Please follow them to read and see each man's personal and moving
stories of the events of that terrible day. If you have a family member or know of someone
who was on the Mallory Please email me and I will add their story with their shipmates.

These stories have grown and I now have them seperated into 4 sections;
Army Stories, USMC Stories, US Navy Stories and US Merchant Marine Stories

Those men picked by the USCGC Ingham

Name Service            Service No. Rank
Applegate, Lee C.  U.S. Army (39311482) PFC
Campbell, John W. U.S. Army (37427273) PFC
Clayton, Lawerence D. U.S. Army (37217273) PFC
Cozine, Alfred L. U.S. Army (10040604) Corporal
Labrozzi, Albert U.S. Army (32502741) PFC
Rinehimer, Edgar W. U.S. Army  (O-1639551) 2nd Lt. Signal Corps.
Rothbauer, Robert W. U.S. Army (17051631) Corporal
Swan, Garth V. U.S. Army (O-393943) 2nd Lt. Field Arty.
Van Dalsem, Donald R. U.S. Army (O-1639759) 2nd Lt. Signal Corps.
Zulkibwicz, Joseph U.S. Army (33351918) PFC
Anderson, William P. U.S. Navy (R) (624-71-62) MM2c
Cox, Edward R.  U.S. Navy (R) (614-89-08) F3c
Deyak, William F. U.S. Navy (R) (639001-81) MoMM2c
Dunckel, F. J. U.S. Navy (R) (628-20424) MoMM2c
Durch, George F. U.S. Navy (R) (669-36-68) MM2c
Hunkins, Robert H. U.S. Navy (R) (573-01-88) SC3c
Jenkins, James J.  U.S. Navy (R) Died on board the Ingham after rescue
Kallansa, Virgil L. U.S. Navy (R) (669-26-04) CM3c
Lauback, Thomas H. U.S. Navy (R) Died on board the Ingham after rescue
Pacifico, C. C. U.S. Navy (R) (639-31-89) S2c
Bogus, Tony Merchant Marine Butcher
Liscombe, James S. Merchant Marine Crew Mess

Those men picked by the USCGC Bibb (incomplete list)

Name Service Name Service Name Service Name Service
John Tokarchick
USMC USS Mallory's cooks dog named "Ricky" Honorary US Navy Cadet Midshipman Robert E. Helling Merchant Marine Pvt. William J. Henn, Jr. U.S. Army Air Corps
Clair R. Stratton
USMC CM1c James Krohl US Navy Cadet Midshipman Frank Roberts Merchant Marine Pvt. John P. McNally U.S. Army, Coast Artillery Corps
Carl D. Miller
USMC Edward T. Doyle USNRF Cadet Midshipmen Joseph F. Best, Jr. Merchant Marine Captain, Ira A. Bentley U.S. Army Chaplain Corps
Charles T. Calhoun
USMC William H. Mayer USNRF Leon C. Prevatt, Jr. 3rd Engineer Merchant Marine Father Gerald J. Whelan U.S. Army Chaplain Corps
Stanley A. Pansinski
USMC Fremont Lee Goza US Navy Thomas A. Hebenton, Able Seaman Merchant Marine 2nd Lt. Arthur Shanks US Army
John E. Stott.
USMC Jacob St. Clair, MM2c US Navy George K. Dunningham Merchant Marine Pvt. Thomas M. Humphreys U.S. Army, Coast Artillery Corps
George G. Miller
USMC Ed Byrne US Navy Isaac F. J. Ennis, Boatswain Merchant Marine
Paul Cernansky
USMC Bob Fenton US Navy
Nicolas J. Yannuzzi
USMC Luke Lofaro US Navy
Chester S. Penko
USMC. Frank A. Merhaut US Navy
Adolph C. Mattes
USMC Seaman William C. Hodge US Navy
Joseph J. Bucheck
USMC SF3, Cyril P. Hessler USNRF
Joseph I. McMillen
USMC Sydney C. Buffett US Navy
Marvin E. Muehl USMC EM2c Earle Cooper USNRF
Ralph C. Welliver, Jr. USMC Edward L. Ramsay, CM2c US Navy
Emil S. Ellefsen, Pvt USMC
Cpl. Henry F. "Pop" Filippone USMC
Private, John Behun USMC
Joseph J. Biedenbach
Robert James Smallwood USMC
Thomas Sullivan USMC
Pvt. Donald R. Gross USMC
Pvt. Gerald E. Moyer USMC

Those men picked by the HMS Campanula

Name Service No Branch
Pvt. Louis Strauss 32359571 US Army
Thomas Hamilton Taylor, Shipfitter 1/C 105-14-02 US Navy

Lists of men who did not survive the sinking and were lost at sea on 7 February, 1943

Incomplete List of US Army Troops Lost:

Name and Rank
Service Branch
US Army, Medical Administration Corps
US Army, Chaplain Corps
US Army, Chaplain Corps
PFC Everett T. Baker US Army, Ordnance Department
Pvt. William A. Smith US Army, Coast Artillery Corps
1st Lt. Horace E. Gravely US Army, Chaplain Corps
1st Lt. James M. Liston US Army, Chaplain Corps
Capt. David H. Youngdahl US Army, Chaplain Corps
PFC Blaine H. Anderson US Army, Ordnance Department
2nd Lt. William Gordon Van Braak U. S. Army, Signal Corps
PFC Frederick A. Hornbussel US Army, Ordnance Department

Incomplete List of US Marine Corps Lost:

Name and Rank
Service Branch
1st Lt. Paul Wilson Wolfe
United States Marine Corps
2nd Lt. Harry M. Hobbins, Jr.
United States Marine Corps
Sgt. George Andrew Yanek
United States Marine Corps
Corporal Floyd W. Jerkins United States Marine Corps
Private, Martin C. Finn United States Marine Corps
Private, Joseph A. Buono United States Marine Corps
Private, Arthur A. Bennett United States Marine Corps
Private, John W. Miller, Jr. United States Marine Corps
Private First Class, Willie E. Jenkins United States Marine Corps
Private, Joseph Ahart United States Marine Corps
Private, Roscoe Albaugh United States Marine Corps
Private, Edward Charles Cobb United States Marine Corps
Private, George Donald Dunfee United States Marine Corps
Private, Melville Bates Eaton United States Marine Corps
Private, Elmer Munice Frye United States Marine Corps
Private, Harry Eugene Gehret United States Marine Corps
Private Boyd W. Heckathorn United States Marine Corps
Private, Edwin Lester Hunt United States Marine Corps
Private, James R. Jennings United States Marine Corps
Private, Robert David King United States Marine Corps
Private, Alvin Laibman United States Marine Corps
Private, Lawrence Allen Lott United States Marine Corps
Private Joseph Henry Maujer United States Marine Corps
Private, William R. Potts United States Marine Corps
Private, William R. Roach United States Marine Corps
Private, Harry John Rogowski United States Marine Corps
Private, John Frederick Sopp United States Marine Corps
Private, Stephen A. Surina United States Marine Corps
Private, David McClain Weaver United States Marine Corps
Private, Lawrence W. Famularo United States Marine Corps

List of United States Merchant Marines Lost:

Last Name
First Name
Home State
Alley John Wilbur 1st Engineer Boston, MA
Biber Sol Utility Brooklyn, NY
Blanco Binito Fireman Watertender New York, NY
Brockett Richard Carleton Messman Roxbury, MA
Broderson William Martin Chief Mate Rochester, NY
Chandler Samuel Oiler New Orleans, LA
Colleton Francis John Fireman Watertender Bronx, NY
Daniels Roland Francis 2nd Mate Chester, NH
De Pina Antonio Cook Vineyard Haven, MA
De Cruz Joseph Cook New Bedford, MA
Ferreia Walter Utility Sommerville, MA
Gorman Edward Aloysius, Jr. Jr. 3rd Mate Saugus, MA
Grabenstein Dr. Joseph Ships Surgeon of the Mallory Woodside, NY
Hammershoy Jay Arthur Engineer Cadet Glenbrook, CT
Holland Richard Edmund Deck Cadet Scranton, PA
Driggers Haven La Rue 2nd Engineer Jackson Heights, NY
Lawless Olon Newman Utility New York, NY
Leahan John Paul Radio Officer Baltimore, MD
Leamon Lestor W. 2nd Mate Unknown
Lintz Emory Simon Chief Engineer Jamaica Plain, NY
Marcolongo Michael Salvatore Messman Cambridge, MA
Mathews Francis Joseph Ordinary Seaman Malden, MA
McCaffery Robert Emmet Fireman Watertender East Pittsburgh, PA
McCarthy Thomas John Messman Revre, MA
McLaughlin Philip Joseph Waiter Jamaica Plain, NY
Mihalik Stephen Fireman Watertender Pittsburgh, PA
Montanez Ramon Utility New York, NY
Nicholson George Utility Roxbury, MA
O’Brien John Oiler Windsor, ONT, Canada
Race George Robert Engineer Cadet Schenectady, NY
Reynolds Hayes Seibert Oiler Superior, WI
Roth William Roberts Oiler Solon, OH
Schilling Edward John Purser Jamaica Plain, NY
Soto Peter Carpenter New York, NY
Stephens John Edward Messman Harvard, MA
Tangen Arnold Leon Radio Officer Grand Forks, ND
Thomas John Robert Cook South Boston, MA
Weaver Horace Rudolph Master, Captain of the Mallory Flushing, NY
Williams David Robert Waiter Roxbury, MA
Zornow Otto Max Heinrich Chief Mate Newport, RI

List of US Navy Sailors Lost:

Last Name
First Name
Home State
Anderson Norman E. S2c WI
Arason Gamaliel T. AS ND
Austin Lorein D. S2c CA
Ayer Elven S. S2c TN
Ballerino Alfonso P. SF3 CA
Barrows Ernest M. F2 MA
Bennett Arthur L. S2c CA
Beresford Floyd B. MM3 CO
Benge Norman M. S2c CA
Bigwood Robert J. S1c MA
Bills Wayne W. S2c UT
Branagan James S. SF3 LA
Brown Robert S. M2 MA
Bryant Edgar M. ML1 ME
Buechner William A. F2 NJ
Burns John W. F2 RI
Cairns Jack A. RM3c NY
Campagnone Domenic S1c RI
Caustic Michael AS PA
Conley Charles H. MM2 NH
Connolly James B. S2c GA
Cook Edwin W. S2c GA
Davis Harold E. S2c KY
Dennis David D. SF3 CA
Dixon John J. S1c PA
Donaghue Robert A. S1c PA
Dugan Richard D. Ensign NY
Duwell Edward C. S1c OH
Eisermann Kenneth R. F2 IA
Eldred Wilson E. MM2 IL
Ernst Paul W. RM3c PA
Ervine Stanford L. SF3 CA
Fields Carl M. AS OH
Fischer Arnold F. S2c NY
Fisher Carroll V. F2 IA
Glynn Matthew F. S2c MA
Golubich John M. S1c PA
Grace Harry I. CM3 NY
Haab George F. jr. S2c VA
Hartman Marcy Lt. jg. FL
Hoban Richard T. S3c IN
Hofeldt Vernon A. Cm3 SD
Howard Lewis J. jr. S1c MD
Hurt Charles E. EM3 WV
Jehling William G. jr. SF3 MO
Jenkins James Joseph S1c NJ
Kane Thomas V. SF3 NJ
Kijek Frank J. AS CT
Kress Robert E. SPM3 NY
Laird William R. SM3c OK
Last Name
First Name
Home State
Laubach Thomas Nelson AS PA
Martin Raymond J. EM3 VA
Mintz Aleck S. M2 MA
Murphey Matthew CBM CA
Newman John W. jr. CM3 MA
Orb Henry F. HA1 PA
Paton John J. S2c NY
Peoples Donald C. SF3 PA
Perricone Sam J. SF3 PA
Pietruszkiewicz Leonard S2c MI
Pollard Wade H. jr. HA2 SC
Reid James A. HA2 PA
Roell Walter P. MM1 NY
Rohr Joseph L. jr. Lt. jg WI
Ruffice Joseph Peter HA1 IL
Rule Walter L. jr. AS CA
Russell George L. CM3 NY
Ryder Howard Perkins GM3 CT
Schuck Jerome W. AS MN
Segal Samuel M. SF3 PA
Senter Lewis D. SM2 MO
Shea Leo J. RM2 MO
Shepherd Howard T. Sf3 Unknown
Silvoy Stephen A. AS PA
Simons Austin H. AS PA
Sloan Frederick M. SF3 CA
Smith Ad. P. AS LA
Smith Benjamine H. AS CA
Sobkowiak Leonard L. AS MN
Solin Earl A. AS WI
Stamand Paul N. F2 RI
Stark Samuel F3 NJ
Stover Harrison Y. CM3 PA
Swanson John E. jr. PTR3 MA
Taylor Alexander P. PTR2 NY
Turner Curtis W. S1c TX
Walbring Norman L. SF3 IL
Wallace Robert E. CM3 MN
Walter Francis A. SF3 MO
Watson Martin E. CM3 PA
Watts George T. SF3 PA
Wilson Thomas E. BK3c OH
Winter Richard H. MM2 OH
Wisniewski Joseph S. MM3 MI
Wojciechowski Thomas F1 NY
Wolf Alfred S1c NY
Wolvin Charles W. MM3 NJ
Wright John E. MM2 TX

Relics of the Mallory

The Key to State Room No. 45

The brass key and leather fob to stateroom 45 aboard the Henry R Mallory. On the leather key fob it states, “Mallory S. S. Co. Pier 36 N. R. New York, NY. Drop in any mail box we guarantee postage.”

The backside of the key showing the name of the ship stamped
clearly “H. R. Mallory

One of the very few remaining relics of the Mallory is this brass stateroom key. It is the key to room No. 45, which would have been on the starboard side aft. Likely it is to one of the First class cabins. The chances that this key was on the Mallory when she was sunk is remote because from the printing on the leather key fob that stated “Drop in any mail box, we guarantee postage,” it was likely taken off the ship by a passenger during a voyage prior to the sinking in 1943 and was never returned to the company at Pier 36 on the North River in New York.

We will never know who was in stateroom 45 on that last voyage, on that last day on February 7, 1943, but maybe it was the cabin where the Army Chaplains were quartered. We can only imagine what happened in that room on that fateful hour at 03:58 in the morning. At the moment of the explosion Father Whelan was startled and awoke immediately. Knowing full well what had just taken place, his first action in his room was to make an act of Contrition and gave General Absolution to all aboard. And then Chaplain Ira Bentley leaped out of his bunk in a big panic. Father Whelan the ranking Chaplain grabbed Bentley and asked him where he was going. Bentley bluntly commented, “I want to get off the ship” but Father Whelan yelled back at him, “Wait you’ll be drowned.” Of the seven chaplains aboard only Chaplain Bentley and Father Whelan would survive.

Seventy-one years after the sinking of the Mallory this brass key was sold on ebay for fifty dollars. I was the one and only bidder and likely one of the few alive today to know what story this key could unlock. One might say fifty dollars is a lot to pay for a key to a cabin that lies on the bottom of the Atlantic ocean, but to me it was well worth it because of the story it has unlocked for us all to learn from.

A Lifeboat Compass

Above is a photo of a lifeboat compass in its wooden case from the SS Henry R. Mallory.
The brass compass is mounted on a gimble inside the wooden case.

The compass was made by the John Bliss & Company, New York
On the bottom side of the case is enscribed with a knife, “USS H. R. Mallory Lifeboat Torpedoed Feb. 7, 1943”

The above wooden cased lifeboat compass is from one of the lifeboats that successfully got away from the sinking Mallory on the morning of February 7, 1943. It is a brass gimble compass encased in a wooden box to protect it made by John Bliss & Company from New York.

The John Bliss Company made nautical navigation equipment and it was likely this compass was made at the factory when it was located at 128 Front Street in New York from 1881-1929. It is possible this compass was made under contract for the Mallory Steamship Company in 1916 when the Mallory was being built. This compass was one of the lifeboat compasses, which would have been part of each lifeboat’s survival equipment. It is not known which lifeboat this was from but it is fare to say that who ever brought it out of the lifeboat felt that it was one of the factors that saved their lives that day.

It may have been aboard one of the rescuing ships like the USCGC Bibb that an unknown Mallory survivor carved the letters on the bottom of the case. Possibly this survivor alone and quiet in the bunk aboard the Bibb took a pen knife and carved the letters into the bottom of the case, as he reflected on the events he had just came through and thanked God that he had been saved. It may have even been someone like Joe Reilly who was in the lifeboat with Father Whelan.

Father Whelan described his ordeal of getting into the boat and away from the sinking Mallory. “I knew he [Joe Reilly] would know how to run a boat because every mother who gives birth to a boy in Gloucester takes him down to the sea immediately and gives him oarlocks. I said he would run the boat and the rest of us would take orders from him. He found the sea anchor, which helped keep our boat into the seas. He closed the seacock, which had been letting in water by the bucketfuls. We also had two poor Marines, legs broken, their faces damaged badly. How they got into the boat I don’t know, but someone should have gotten the Soldier’s Medal for their rescue. I said ‘Joe, lets you and me start saying a rosary, we need help! I don’t know whether you guys have ever heard of the Blessed Mother of Christ, but Reilly and I have and some of you guys are Catholics. I can’t make you out in the darkness, but if you’ll be quiet and join in with us, and promise to change your lives if they need changing, we will be picked up.” So for the next four and a half hours Father Whelan and the men in his boat said rosary until the USCGC Bibb picked them up.

Or it could have been in the overcrowded lifeboat No. 4 with Able Seaman Thomas Hebenton, who was dressed for the cold weather with his watch cap, oilskins and lifejacket because he had been on duty at General Quarters in the hours before the attack. Hebenton was one of the few men in that lifeboat who knew how to handle the boat and he would have known that the compass in the boat would have been one of the most important things they would need in order to be rescued. It may have been Hebenton who as the last man to leave lifeboat No. 4 for the safety of the deck of the Bibb felt he needed to save that compass.

In the end we will never know who saved this compass, but from the carving on the bottom of the case we can understand that this man felt this was his proof to say he was there and had survived that horrible day.

Images of the Mallory During WWI

A boxing match held on deck during WWI. This may have been on a return trip as all the men around the ring are navy men and no army personel are present. Boxing on ships was and still is a popular way to pass the time and let off some steam. By the expression on the faces of the men there must have been a good right hook thrown by one of the boxers. Mallory in convoy with at least 7 other transports during WWI. Of special note is her Dazzle Paint she is wearing. Other ships in nthis convoy are also painted in the Dazzle scheme, suggesting this is a photo taken in late 1917 or early 1918 as it was known that she went back to her navy grey color later in 1919.
Jewish Welfare Board Post Card from her days as a WWI Troopship. Here she is shown in her post-war colors, solid navy grey. 5-inch 40 calabre (12.7 cm) deck gun aboard USS Henry R. Mallory 1918-1919

Known Atlantic Crossing of the Mallory 1917-1919

Sailing Date Units Carried on Board
Enlisted Men
13 June 1917 Casuals
27 July 1917 6th Feild Artillery
7 September 1917 101st Infantry
(Sailing to St. Nazaire, France) Casuals
Feild Hospital #1
Mdical Department
18 October 1917 166th Infantry
Sailed at 3:05 pm Casuals
Field Clerks
26 November 1917 Casuals
Sailed at 3:50 pm Sig. Corps Pigeon Intel Service
Sig. Corps Stenographic Detail
Sig. Corps 116th Field Sig Bn
116th Engineers, 41st Div.
20 January 1918 58th Aero Squadron
59th Aero Squadron
60th Aero Squadron
61st Aero Squadron
63rd Aero Squadron
64th Aero Squadron
66th Aero Squadron
67th Aero Squadron
14 March 1918 1st Provisional Ordnance Bn
Motorcycle Co. No. 303
Fire Hose and Truck Co. 317, 318, 319
Engineer Replacements
Medical Dept. Replacements
29 April 1918 Bty E-F, 18th Field Arty, 3rd Div.
Hospital TN No. 33
Casuals Sig. Corps
Casuals Ordnance Dept
Casuals Infantry
Casuals Quartermaster Corps
Replacements, Infantry
26 May 1918 Motor truck Co. 411-415
Feild Arty Automatic Replacement Drafts
Infantry Automatic Replacement Drafts
Coast Arty Corps Automatic Replacement Drafts
Ordnance Dept. Automatic Replacement Drafts
Medical Automatic Replacement Drafts
Casuals Medical Dept
Casual Engineers
Casual Ordnance Dept
Casual Coast Artillery Corps
Casual Field Clerks
Casual field Artillery
RRTC Casuals
Casual Chaplains
30 June 1918 318th Labor Bn, Quartermaster Corps
Casual Quartermaster Corps
Casual Engineers
Casual Medical Dept
Casual Infantry
18 May 1919 Ambulance section 502, 505, 506, 562, Parc C
(Sailed from Brest, France)

Skipper of the Mallory During WWI
Lt. Commander Gilbert Chase

During World War One the Commanding Officer of the transport ship USS Henry R. Mallory was Lt. Commander Gilbert Chase. Once the United States Shipping Board took over the Mallory from her civilian owners in early 1917 she was commissioned into the navy where she would need a naval line officer as her skipper, and Lt. Cmdr. Gilbert P. Chase was placed in command. Captain Chase would take the Mallory across the Atlantic in the very first troop convoy of WWI sailing on June 14, 1917.

Gilbert Paul Chase was born in Virginia on September 20, 1873, and he entered the United States Naval Academy on September 6, 1893. Chase after receiving his commission as a Line Officer had spent about 11 years at sea when on July 1, 1909 he was advanced in grade to Lt. Commander. Later that year on November 24, 1909 he was assigned duty on the USS Vermont where he served until at least through 1912.

About 1905 the then Lt. Gilbert Chase took a wife who's first name was Edelmeria. She was a Cuban woman born about 1886 in Cuba. Her father was from Denmark and her mother was Cuban. By September of 1920 Gilbert Chase was retired from the navy and he and Edelmeria were then living in New Jersey. Chase and his wife had at least one son named Gilbert Jr. who was born in Pittsburgh, PA about 1906.

It is not known when Lt. Commander Gilbert Chase Passed away, but his son Gilbert Chase Jr. may have followed his father’s footsteps into the navy.  There is a minor child of Commander Gilbert Paul Chase USN named Mary Chase buried in section 15, site 482 of Arlington National Cemetery, with a date of death of April 25, 1944.

This page was first up-loaded on 10 October, 2000 and last modified on: April 4, 2019
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