S.S. Schoharie #217799
A HOG ISLAND ship
In recent letters to the Editor (Allen Thronson)
there have been
calls for articles on tankers and I agree but have you ever loved one
ship more than others.'? Liberty ships, tankers, C-class ships, Victory
ships-- but my love has been reserved for an ugly-beautiful Hog
Islander: The S.S. Schoharie.
Schoharie (Sko-harry) was launched in 1919 and
sailed the seas as a deluxe small class of cargo and passenger carrying
ocean liner for years before being assigned to war time cargo carrying
duties. She, and I say that with reverence, took cargo to Murmansk and
was wounded on her return QP18); she carried war material to Marseille,
France and then in late August 1944, she came home and was assigned to
her as Signalman.
The name Schoharie derives from Indians of upstate
New York and
today there is a beautiful valley near Albany in Schoharie County and
within the count), a lovely, tranquil village -- Schoharieville. The
people there are so proud of their ancestors' role in the Revolutionary
War and again in the Civil War, in World War I and World War II; in
short, they are very proud Americans and the ship which carried their
name was a source of immense pride during World War II.
Schoharie was built to serve in World War I but
fortunately the war
ended sooner than the launching and this beautiful ship sailed forth in
peace. She wasn't very big-- only 389 feet in length and 54 feet at the
beam and weighed a mere 3,070 net tons. But, oh! she was lovely and she
moved along with the grace of a greyhound at about 10 knots. Her port of
registry was Savannah, Georgia. She was armed with the usual guns: 3"50
foreward, 8 20roms. and a 4"50 aft. There was a compliment of 46 seamen
and 26 Armed Guardsmen. The Captain was a young fellow (I was 18!) named
A. Hamann who piloted the Schoharie with the brilliance of a true
maritime skipper. Our Chief Mate was Marshall Christy. The Armed Guard
Gunnery Officer was Lt. Og) Minor H. Watterson.
Captain Hamann took us to Ireland and Scotland and
on down to
Mumbles, near Liverpool and to the isle of Wight. We took our cargo of
ammunition and jerry cans of gasoline to Lc Havre and then up to Rouen,
when the battle of the Bulge began and the Luftwaffe threatened Le
Havre. We then shuttled back and forth across the channel to Plymouth
and Cherbourg and finally on to Southampton and to Antwerp. V-l's
exploded around us, within 25 yards, causing some percussion but no
damages. March 1945 came in like the proverbial lion but we left Antwerp
and headed home safely to New York.
Later, we took Schoharie to Guantanamo Bay with the
European phase of the war ended while there (May 8th) and to Georgetown.
British Guiana for Bauxite which was then delivered to Portland, Maine.
She was later sold to Argentine Company and was
renamed "Mission" and was then scrapped in 1956. (The Hog Islanders #513)
Any of you "Hog Islanders" want to add to or comment
on the pleasure of sailing these wonderfully gallant "little" ships,
please write me c/o the "Anchor Light" or e-mail me.
U. S. Navy Armed Guard
Seal Beach, CA 90740-4657
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