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SS Strathnaver and SS John Ericsson

KeithnRita

Deckhand
I posted this on another site a few years ago in the "Famous Ships From The Past" section. I'm reposting it here and I hope you enjoy the read.
My late father's first "cruise" was on these two ships. He was one of the original members of the Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne when it was formed in 1942. He was a member of company "F" of the 502 Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st. After extensive training they shipped off to England in September 1943 on the SS Strathnaver.
The voyage was soon aborted, with the ship setting in to port at Newfoundland after discovering salt water in the ship's fresh water tanks. After the ship attempted to set sail once again it struck rocks in the harbor and returned back to port. Soon after the SS John Ericsson ship was arranged which transported his regiment the rest of the way to England. After more extensive training in the English countryside, the 502 finally received its orders for the D-day Invasion. They were among the first of the parachute regiments to depart from Membury and Greenham Common. Their primarily adjective was to secure the two northerly causeways across swampy ground, behind Utah Beach.

Six days after jumping into Normandy the night before the D-day landing he was badly wounded and taken prisoner. He spent the remainder of the war at Stalag 4B, Mulhberg, which was mainly a POW camp for British Airmen.
He passed away in 1987. He would be shocked to find books about his companies' exploits in WW2 and would be further shocked to see a video game named after his company. He hardly ever talked about the war and his experiences except to say he would take parachuting under fire any day over traveling again on an ocean liner!
I started doing research on him and his unit a few years ago. This research led me to a website dedicated to the 101st were I made contact with a nephew of one of the soldiers in my father's company who was killed on D-day. This led me to another member of his company who filled me in on some of the units history. He knew my father very well and sent me a photo he took of him at Fort Bragg in 1942 when he was only 18. He was surprised to learn my father survived the war. When the unit returned to England in July, 1944 to wait for their next assignment and he was not with them, he just assumed he had been killed.

If anyone has any further info on these two ships please post it here. The info would be greatly appreciated.
 

Ally

Deckhand
Strathnaver is featured here, with much of her history along with technical details. The website also covers her sister Strathaird...

http://www.poships.co.uk/thewhitesisters.html

John Ericsson is featured on a troop ship site a few times, carrying POW's, injured soldiers. The entries have contact information to those who survived the war and who travelled aboard her. She is first listed on April 13, 1945 sailing from Camp Lucky Strike to New York, arriving there on April 28, 1945 with POW's soldiers on rotation and patients on litters...the contact on that voyage was in the 106th Infantry who had been a POW.

Ericsson then returned to Le Havre from New York around early May 1945, the contact there being a crewman on board.

The same crewman is a contact for the crossing from Le Harve back to New York carrying soldiers, some having embarked in Southampton.

Her next recorded crossing was from Le Havre on July 2, 1945 with soldiers of the 104th Infantry on board, arriving in New York on July 11, 1945. There is a contact for that crossing too.

She doesn't get mentioned again and the website is quite old, but the contacts available against the above voyages might still be able to fill in with information for you, Keith.

http://www.skylighters.org/troopships/1945.html

The site lists alot of the ships that made crossings during the entire war, both Atlantic and Pacific routes. Quite a fascinating site for researching.
 

Ally

Deckhand
In 1943 Ericsson sailed from New York to Casablanca on March 3 with army, navy and nurses aboard.

Her last entry is in 1946...

From Bremerhaven to New York on January 3 with soldiers from the 29th Infantry, 115th Infantry, 104th Medical & 121st Engineers.
 

Neil

Deckhand
I worked on the 1931 built ' RMS Strathnaver ' in 1955, following her refit after service in the 2nd world war.

I had also sailed on her 1931 built sister ship ' RMS Strathaird ' in 1954, while it was still a two class ship.

I also sailed on the two later built P & O passenger ships ' RMS Stratheden (1937) ' and ' RMS Strathmore (1935 ) ' which had also seen 2nd world war service as troop ships .

The ' Strathaird ' and ' Strathnaver ' were sold for breaking in Hong Kong, by the then British owned P & O company, and the later built ships ' Stratheden ' and Strathmore ' were sold by P & O to John Latsis, the greek ship owner, for use as pilgrim ships.

Picture shows the ' RMS Strathmore ' .
 

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