S.S. Argentina

Bringing the World War II Brides to the United States

 

"Life" magazine, February 18, 1946, printed a story (mostly photos) aboard the S.S. Argentina while she was sailing to New York with the War Brides.  Unfortunately, Getty Images did not grant us permission to upload the photos and Time, Inc., did not give us permission to reprint the entire story.   Below are excerpts taken from that story:

"WAR BRIDES BEGIN ARRIVING IN U.S."

"The voyage, the passengers agreed, was a bit unpleasant.  The third day out of Southampton the 20,600-ton Argentina began to toss and quiver under the Atlantic's wintry buffeting . .  . A baby was pitched from his crib, gashing his head . . . .

"That was how the first contingent in the Army's dependents-transportation program, whereby girls who married U.S. soldiers overseas are being restored to returned husbands, began its voyage to the U.S.  . . . It is estimated the program eventually will add more than 70,000 citizens and citizens-to-be to the U.S. population. 

". . . Then there was time to enjoy the wonderful American meals, to walk on deck and to watch movies that were to acquaint them with their new country (of 'Amazing America,' one of them reported, 'Not very impressed').   There was a baby contest and the wives even put on a show, 'Argentina Antics.' . . . .

"Nine days after embarking, they slipped into New York's ice-clotted harbor, oddly quiet because of the tug strike.  . . . Then came physical examinations, a trip across town and finally, in the Red Cross Chapter House, joyful reunion with ex-GI husbands, some of them slightly unfamiliar in civilian clothes."

Joan S. Stubbs sent us an e-mail with the following facts:

Three days into the voyage turned rough and they were not allowed to go on deck.  They enjoyed the library and other activities.  Their days were kept busy and they had evening movies, shows, and games.  A shipboard newspaper was printed and gave daily news.  Chaplain John M. Eggen broadcast evening vespers at 7:45.

The meals aboard were special because they had not seen such food in years -- eggs in shells, fresh bread and fruit, etc.  Unfortunately many of the wives were unable to enjoy the meals and spent many hours under the weather in their cabins.

The PX was a gold mine with such luxuries as soap, shampoo, chocolates, and stockings.

The first sight of America was at 2:30 a.m., February 4th, 1946, and they all lined the rail to see the Statue of Liberty which was lit up for their arrival.  The bright lights of New York welcomed them.

Their thanks go to Commodore Thomas Simmons and his crew for a safe and pleasant voyage even though it was pretty rough at times with heavy seas washing the decks.

Other staff aboard were:  Col. Lyle, STO Sgt. Jenkins, Lt. James H. Hepburn, Chaplain John M. Eggen, Capt. B. Bress, WAC, Red Cross B. Lincoln, Mary Blake, and Ethel Lord.  And somewhere aboard was Bill Longo one of the many crew who made this crossing on the "Bride ship."

 

 

 

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