Memories & Photos


Captain Edward Barrett on the S.S. Brazil Captain Sadler on the S.S. Brazil

Captain Edward G. Barrett before World War II.  Note the funnel represents American Republics Line which was managed by Moore-McCormack Lines.  This was most likely the trip in December 1941 when Captain Sadler was taking vacation with his family.

Captain Harry N. Sadler after World War II began. Note the funnel now represents Moore-McCormack Lines.


Captain's Dinner

Captain's Dinner

December 9, 1941 -- Captain's Dinner.  Captain Barrett asked Eleanor to sit in his seat because he was unable to attend the dinner.  The ship was completely blacked out for the first time and they were sailing into the night without a glimmer of light showing.

December 11, 1941 -- Captain's Dinner.  Captain Barrett stayed for a very short time just to meet people.  Eleanor was seated at his left and sat in for him for dinner.   This was the day the passengers were told over the mike that the United States was at war with Germany and Italy.  Note the American flag now in the background.


Eleanor with a ship's officer, Clipper.



Wartime Conditions on S.S. Brazil

The S.S. BRAZIL, Moore-McCormack liner, docked at the North Basin promptly at midnight. Despite this unusual hour for the arrival of the liner, Custom House officials worked conscientiously to assure the quick dispatch of passengers by revising their luggage in the minimum of time.

With her funnel painted a dull grey and parts of her superstructure the same tone and minus the usual American flags painted on her sides, the Brazil, under the command of Captain Edward G. Barrett, came with well over 150 passengers and mails and general cargo.

Captain Barrett, who is well known in the River Plate, is succeeding Captain Harry Sadler, who is on vacation, spending Christmas with his family.

The S.S. Brazil sailed from New York on December 6, and shortly before the Japanese attack against the United States. Less than forty-eight hours later she was blacked out and remained so for the entire trip to Buenos Aires.

Ports were coated with black paint and all, with their deadlights, were closed from sundown until eight o'clock the following morning for the journey to the River Plate. Black in the night with only running lights showing (and sometimes not even these), the liner was a real ghost ship during the tropic nights.

Boat drills were frequent and attended in a spirit of calm determination by passengers and crew.

British authorities, during the voyage, removed five Japanese Government officials from the ship and, it was reported, they were sent by plane to Trinidad for internment.

With no night life on the dark decks, social activities centered in the public rooms of the Brazil.

Dances, horse racing and the other usual forms of entertainment continued as on ordinary voyages. An important notice posted on board the vessel during the trip, notified passengers that in order to ensure the safety of the travelers and the crew, and of the vessel itself, it would be necessary to enforce a complete black-out at night.

Among the travelers to land was Mr. Thurman C. Tejan, a journalist of the International News service and who will, after spending a few days in Argentina, proceed to Montevideo. He intends to write a series of articles during his stay in South America. Another journalist who arrived by the vessel is Mr. Bernard Fitzpatrick, who is going to Tucuman to study the sugar plantations and type of machinery used there for a report to a trade magazine.

Passengers included many business men and their wives and a number of tourists who are returning by the same vessel.

The artists for the Tabaris who landed are Miss Mayara, contralto, Jack Barry, baritone, and Emily Darrow and Bill Dutton modern ballroom dancers. 


S.S. Brazil being made ready for war time


S.S. Brazil being made ready for war time


December 17 - December 25, 1941 -- Crew members camouflaged the ship using grey paint.  The crew blotted out the Stars and Stripes from her flanks in Rio, then covered her funnel near Montevideo as they were cruising down the coast to Buenos Aires.  During Christmas Day in Buenos Aires the ship was completely transformed into a "dull, shapeless hull." 




The impressions of a woman cruise director aboard a big passenger liner en route to South America when war broke out, were related in a letter Mrs. Nugent A. Freeman of 225 Park Avenue, Nutley, has received from her sister, Miss Eleanor M. Britton, formerly of the Roseville section of Newark.

Miss Britton three years ago became a hostess on the steamship Brazil of the American Republics Line (Moore-McCormack Lines) and later became cruise director. She has made 26 consecutive 40-day trips with the mileage equivalent to 13 times around the world.

In her letter, Miss Britton told of the blackouts and excitement that followed America's entry into the war when the Brazil was two days out of New York.

Spirits High

She wrote: "At first the passengers were terribly 'down' but they have picked up to the extreme. They are gayer than ever. The masquerade was the best ever, over half of the people dressed .... Every day is full of excitement and rumors. The story came up they had put our chef in the brig for flashing a spotlight out on deck, but the next day he was walking around, so I don't know what it was.

"Last night was the danger zone at Pernambuco and every one was on edge. Took a walk on deck after the movies and some one flashed a spotlight--claimed it was accidental--but that is almost unforgivable in these days. Then we thought we spotted a light on the horizon. We reported it to the bridge and they must have spotted it, too, as they immediately closed all the water tight doors.

Fan Sounded Like Plane

"They must have been scared to death and I couldn't get to sleep until 5 A.M. I put on my fan to drown the noise outside my window, but the fan kept sounding like a plane so I was worse off.

"When we left New York we had five Japs on board (all diplomats) and after war was declared things certainly were tense. Was so afraid some of the young men (150 on board) going to the army base at ____________ would get one cocktail too many and toss one of the little guys overboard. Fortunately, the Japs were taken off at Barbados. It was most uncomfortable to see them around and they seemed in unusually high spirits and kept in the limelight all the time."

‡ ‡ ‡

Eleanor Britton, was hired as a Hostess in 1939 on the Moore-McCormack Lines. She later became a Cruise Director until the sale of the ships in 1969.  She was  John-Paul DeRosa's beloved great-aunt.  John-Paul has preserved the memorabilia she collected over the years.  Some photos and stories for the ships are from Eleanor Britton's collection.


S.S. Brazil - "Ghost Ship"

S.S. Brazil

"GHOST SHIP" -- The S.S. Brazil as she appeared on Christmas Day in 1941 after being painted grey in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Naval photo of the ship in San Francisco Cira 1945-1946. (Courtesy of Bill Longo)


1940s -- King Neptune's Celebration (crossing the Equator).  This is when Father Neptune and Davy Jones come aboard in Lat. 0 degrees, 0 minutes, 0 seconds to initiate the landlubbers among the crew and passengers.


Eleanor Britton and Admiral William "Bull" Halsey

Eleanor Britton and Admiral William "Bull" Halsey.  Admiral Halsey commanded the South Pacific Area in 1942 and was promoted to Commander-in-Chief of the Third Fleet in 1944. He provided support for General Douglas MacArthur's invasion of the Philippines in 1944. The Japanese surrender in World War II took place on his flagship, the battleship U.S.S. Missouri, in Tokyo Bay.


James Farley and Eleanor Britton

April 15, 1951 -- James A. Farley and Eleanor Britton.  We believe the woman to Mr. Farley's right is his wife, Margaret.  President Roosevelt appointed Mr. Farley as U.S. Postmaster General in 1933.  In 1940 Mr. Farley opposed President Roosevelt's third term of Presidency and he was mentioned as a possible nominee for President, but a Catholic was never President before.  Resigning from his post in 1940, Mr. Farley became Chairman of the Board of Coca-Cola Export Corporation of New York, retiring in 1973.  (Note:  Good advertising -- They're all proudly holding Coca-Cola bottles in their hands.)


Scene in the S.S. Brazil's dining room at luncheon for His Excellency, Hon. João Fernandes de Campos Café Filho, President of the Republic of Brasil.  The President is holding a cigarette and is sitting across the table from Captain Sadler.


S.S. Brazil

S.S. Brazil


(Courtesy of Harold Vanderploeg)


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