Moore-McCormack

Mormacsea

 

 

To the left is a 1935 One Dollar Silver Certificate which was signed by the crew of the Mormacsea on the occasion of their having crossed the Equator on March 30, 1943.

If anyone knows the whereabouts of Captain Ralph F. Tracy or any family member of Captain Tracy's, please contact us.  John Bellusci  would like to give this 1935 One Dollar Silver Certificate to the family.

Also, we would like to hear from Shellback Short Snorter-Bucky.

(Courtesy of John Bellusci.)

 

Captain William A. McHale

April 25, 1940, New York.  Captain William A. McHale, bringing in his ship, Mormacsea, to New York from Norway.  Upon his arrival in New York he spoke to newsmen about the Mormacsea being tied up in the Norwegian port of Trondheim when the Germans took over.  There was $4,500,000 in Swedish gold in  Mormacsea's hold and the Germans asked to use the ship as a bridge in transferring troops and supplies from their ships to shore.  Captain McHale refused. 

Read more in The Company > Newcomen Address by Admiral Lee and in Cargo Liners > Timeline.

 

The crew wears life vests as they depart Trondheim, Norway.

RAFT O' TROUBLE -- Fresh from the mine-infested waters off Norway, members of the crew wave a salute from a raft they fashioned for safety's sake.

Mormacsea

Manila 1945

 

"Catholic New York," 1011 First Avenue, New York, NY 10022, August 2005

A War Story By JIM DOYLE

(Reprinted with permission of Jim Doyle)

This is a small World War II  story, triggered by an inquiry from a veteran in Oregon about those old days, fleshed out by a modern-day Internet web site in New York and bounded ‘round by some memories I’d like to share.

The Oregon gentleman is an alumnus of the University of Portland, a fine institution operated out there by the Congregation of the Holy Cross.  He was at a University reunion a few months back and walked up to talk to our son, Brian, who is editor of Portland, the University magazine.

“Wasn’t your Dad on the Mormacsea?” the man asked.  “Yup,” replied Brian, and the man handed him a note that said:  “History?  What happened to it?  Should be burned to the water’s edge!”    The Mormacsea was a WWII troop ship, and the man knew about my connection to it because Brian had written a piece about me once in the magazine.

The Oregon veteran had obviously not been a happy camper on the Mormacsea.   He recalled his voyage on the ship as “probably the most miserable trip I’ve ever taken.  . . . We spent a lot of time locked in the bow of that ship, which was actually a converted Victory Ship, below the water line, with temperatures around 100 degrees +.”   He spent 19 days on the ship, he said, going from Pittsburg, California, to Brisbane, Australia.  “We sure were happy to get off in Brisbane,” he wrote.

I don’t recall my trip to the Pacific on the Mormacsea as quite that bad.  Hot, yes, and uncomfortable, yes, and long.   I don’t think we were locked in the hold, but it took 30 days or so, as I recall, as the ship zigzagged across the Pacific -- to avoid Japanese submarines, we were told.  Eventually, my trip on the Mormacsea ended at Guadalcanal Island, after the big battle there, and after some delay our unit continued on the ship up to Bougainville Island, where we joined the Army’s Americal Division.

Anyway, Brian sent me the man’s note and I decided to try to answer his question.  Seemed like a good idea to learn what did happen to that old tub on which we and thousands of other soldiers went to war in the Pacific.

And thanks to my computer and the wonderful world of the Internet, I learned a lot.  I found a useful website for the Moore-McCormack Steamship Co., which built and owned the ship, and in that website, an e-mail address for “Friends of Moore-McCormack.

I asked them about the Mormacsea and got, promptly, a wonderfully helpful response from Bill Vinson there at Friends of Moore-McCormack.

“There were three Mormacsea ships,” he wrote.  The one you sailed on during World War II was built in 1941.  Sold in 196l as ‘Jacqueline Somack’ and sold again in 1964 as ‘National Seafarer.’  She was scrapped in 1968. . . .  You might want to read about (on another website) how the Mormacsea brought $4,500,000 in gold from Norway at the start of the war.”

I would, and I will someday soon check out that story.  But in the meantime, I have sent all this information about the old Mormacsea to the veteran in Oregon.   She wasn’t burned to the water’s edge, I said, but she was eventually scrapped.  That may make him a bit happier in his memories of that trip and time.  I haven’t heard back from him yet.  We shall see.

As for me, I am happy to have this information, but a little sad to know that the old ship is no longer sailing.  She was a strong and brave vessel doing great work in the noble struggle we all went through in those years – part of a unique time and our unique World War II generation.    There’s never been anything quite like it, or us.

                                                                  Copyright 2005 by James A. Doyle 

 

Mormacsea is the Cape Juby now and is laid up in the James River and is being used for parts for the Empire State (ex Mormactide).

 

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