JUNE 1951

Stories contained herein were published by and for Mooremack Employees Ashore and Afloat.


The Korean Evacuation

The evacuation of 14,000 Korean refugees from Hungnam to Pusan by the Moore-McCormack liner Meredith Victory, which was discussed in some detail in the March issue of "The Mooremack News," has grown in magnitude as an epic of the merchant marine, and bids fair to grow even beyond its present stature.

As we go to press, the "Reader's Digest," one of the nation's highest-circulation publications, is planning for its August issue a feature article based upon that incident, tying in other maritime exploits at Korea, including those of the Mormacmoon and the Hunter Victory, also of the Moore-McCormack fleet.

A striking gesture which attracted the attention of the shipping world was made by Senator Herbert R. O'Conor of Maryland on April 9 when he rose in the Senate and said:

"Mr. President, the question has been raised more than once, in connection with the proposed legislation to aid the United States merchant marine, 'Why a merchant marine?'

"An article in 'The Mooremack News' for March 1951, entitled 'Korean Epic' and an editorial entitled 'Why a Merchant Marine?' give very persuasive answers to the question as to the need of maintaining and supporting a merchant marine whose first loyalty and efforts will be devoted to the interests of the United States in war as well as in peace.

"I ask unanimous consent that the article and editorial be printed in the Appendix of the Congressional Record."

There being no objection, the article and editorial were ordered to be printed in the Record, in full.  Several thousand copies of the reprint have since been distributed by the offices of Moore-McCormack Lines throughout the world, by the National Federation of American Shipping, the Propeller Club of the United States, the Kiwanis Club of New York City and other groups which saw in the articles an opportunity to spread the word of our maritime achievement in war time.

Meanwhile the National Federation of American Shipping has produced a motion picture "Cargo to Korea" which tells of the Meredith Victory and her companion merchant ships in their great contribution to the Korean fighting.  Several shipping operators, including Mooremack, have purchased copies of this film and will make it available to television stations and groups.

In the various addresses delivered on the observance of Maritime Day, on May 22, the Meredith Victory's feat of moving 14,000 refugees to an area of safety was cited time and time again as an example of the merchant marine's role as an arm of our national defense.Deck of the Meredith Victory, photographed by John Brady, ship's engineer

Despite this, the men who made possible the success of the operation have retained their customary modesty.  Captain Philip B. Atkinson, master of the Mormacmoon, which carried some 2,400 refugees, brought his ship into New York late in May, loaded for South America, and sailed her away.  "The Mooremack News" tried to wangle an interview from the captain during her visit to port but he brushed it off with, "Oh, that took place months ago.  People aren't interested any more."  It was the Mormacmoon's first visit to the East Coast in nearly two years.

Also Captain L. P. LaRue, of the Meredith Victory, arrived in Seattle with ship for a brief respite, then sailed back to the Korean area.  He talked by trans-continental phone with the "Reader's Digest" man who is preparing the article, and filled in some details of his historic trip.

Captain LaRue sent on a copy of his personal memoir on the Hungnam trip, and set the "News" editor's mouth watering.  As one read the story, its epic proportions became the more obvious.  Somewhere, perhaps, a medium may be found for the publication of the story.  It is an unusually fine bit of writing.




A. V. Moore watches as Frank Wellock protects the pigeons.


Spare Those Pigeons!

The telephones were ringing, "A World-Telegram photographer wants a shot at the birds."  Then it was the "Journal-American," then the "Mirror."  So it went all through the day.  And that evening, a two-column photo on Page 1 in the "Telly," another shot on Page 2 of the "Journal," with next morning a Page 3 story in the "Herald Tribune" and finally, miracle of miracles, an editorial, no less, in the "New York Times."  [See editorial below.]

Overnight brought respite, then started the letters, and follow-up pieces in papers like the "New York Journal of Commerce," and crowds that jammed the sidewalk at 5 Broadway to see the photo layout of the guests that had started all the excitement.  In the Passenger Department a book "made" by opportunistic Ted Plummer on the departure date of the guests.  In neighbors‘ offices the question, "Why can‘t we have pigeons like Mooremack?"

All this – and plenty more – because of a simple press release telling a simple story, running as follows: --

"The big green flag with the red M on white circle, that identifies the executive offices of Moore-McCormack Lines at 5 Broadway was absent from its pole yesterday.  And all because of three pigeons.

One day it was suddenly noted that a pigeon had been building her nest on a balcony near the base of the pole from which the flag flies.  Then it was noted she had become the mother of two.  Came the building attendant next morning to hang out the flag, as per daily schedule.

Mr. Moore and Mr. McCormack, whose offices adjoin the balcony watched while the attendant made his preparations.  Then, unanimously and without hesitation they gave their decision – No flag.  The nest of the pigeon and her young was in danger, they ruled.  The flag would disturb it, and the birds were too young to be moved.

So, until the young pigeons are strong enough to follow their mother into the coffee-scented air of lower Manhattan the world must beat its way to the Mooremack offices without the guidance of the flag that through the years has served as a landmark of the shipping district."

*   *   *   *

The "New York Times" Editorial:

"Not A Sparrow Falleth"

"In the shipping news of this newspaper yesterday appeared a little story about a pigeon that chose to build its nest not in a corner of the back porch or in the branches of a tree in Central Park but on a stone cliff in lower Broadway.  It seems that when an attendant started to hang out the house flag that has flown for years from the balcony of the Moore-McCormack Lines the owners noticed a mother pigeon and the two fledglings in a nest that would be jarred out of place if the banner were hoisted.  So they decided not to disturb the little family.  There is nothing out of the way about such small acts of human kindness; they happen every day.  But this was 'Wall Street,' remember, and the two gentlemen who tiptoed around the nest and ordered their flag to remain unfurled until two baby pigeons are strong enough to fly are supposed to represent Big Business.  In these days of purges and concentration camps, when it seems sometimes that cruelty is exalted into a form of government, it is heartening to live in a town, a country and a world where people still take thought for the sparrow and are ready to interrupt business as usual to care for helpless things."




New Hotel in Manaus

The newest addition to Brasil's hotel facilities, the Amazonas, was opened April 7th, in the city of Manaus, on the Amazon River, a thousand miles in from the Atlantic Ocean, with Mrs. Barbara Moore Mattmann, daughter of Albert V. Moore, president of Moore-McCormack Lines, serving as sponsor.

The new hotel, which will be air-conditioned thoughout, has 49 suits, a modernistic dining room equipped to serve the delicacies native to the Amazon area, and the facilities to give the visitor the utmost of comfort despite its location far from the beaten track of ordinary travel.  Moore-McCormack Lines operates ships to Manaus twice a month.

The construction of the new hotel has aroused widespread attention in the travel world, largely because of the colorful history of the city, once the center of Brasil's rubber industry.  The opera house in its prime was especially beautiful.

In a cablegram to the management of the hotel at its formal opening Mr. Moore expressed his appreciation of the selection of his daughter as its sponsor and added:  "Establishment of this luxurious hotel is evidence of efforts of Brasilians in providing superior hotel accommodations.  It will stimulate desire of many North Americans to visit Manaus, enhancing our cordial economic and cultural relations.  My sincere wishes for great success."

Mrs. Mattmann is the wife of Charles Mattmann, a member of the executive staff of Moore-McCormack Lines who was recently assigned to the company's organization at São Paulo, Brasil.  He and Mrs. Mattmann had previously spent 14 months in Buenos Aires.



Captain Spaulding Retires

The retirement of Captain Albert P. Spaulding, master of the Moore-McCormack liner Uruguay, senior master of the company’s staff, was announced this monthCaptain Albert P. Splaulding.

Captain Spaulding plans to devote his time to his farm at Kimberton, Pennsylvania, which he has worked as a hobby in the past during his leaves ashore.

At the same time it was announced that Captain Howard F. Lane would succeed Captain Spaulding.  Captain Lane, who took the ship in May to South America, is a native of Boston, a graduate of Boston High School and the Massachusetts Nautical School, Class of '17.

A native of Seattle, Washington, veteran of two wars, holder of the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal, Captain Spaulding is one of the best known and most widely experienced skippers in all the merchant marine.

Captain Spaulding’s service with Moore-McCormack goes back to 1926 when he joined the company as master of the cargo vessel Commercial Pilot, then operating in the company’s Mooremack Gulf service.  But he had been trained in advance, in both the Army and the Navy.  He became chief officer of the Army mine layer Ringgold in 1917, and master of the mine layer Armistead the following year.  He served then on several Navy ships and in 1919 joined the United States Shipping Board as master, and commanded four ships before joining the old American Republics Line and then C. R. Nelson Company.

Captain Spaulding’s list of commands of Moore-McCormack ships is extensive, involving all of the company’s services, in the coastwise and inter-coastal trades, South America and Scandinavia.  He has commanded ships of all sizes and types for the company, including the Donald McKay, which was the first ship launched in 1939 under the provisions of the famous Merchant Marine Act of 1936.

Captain Spaulding commanded all three of the Good Neighbor Liners—The S.S. Brazil, S.S. Uruguay and S.S. Argentina—in the course of his career, and he was appointed master of the Uruguay in September of 1941, making one trip to South America as her master prior to the entry of the U.S. into the war.

Captain Spaulding commanded the Uruguay throughout the war, starting with her departure March 4, 1942, from New York for Melbourne, Australia by way of the Panama Canal.  On the second sailing, from San Francisco with 4,500 troops, officers and nurses, she carried the first U.S. troops to land in New Zealand during the war.  In mid-Summer of 1942 his ship was assigned to the Atlantic.  In October of 1942 she sailed from Gourock, Scotland, with 6,000 troops and participated in the invasion of Africa, going into Oran with her sister ships, the Brazil and the Argentina, in line.  It was on her third Atlantic crossing that the Uruguay was rammed in fantastic fashion.

This was the highlight of Captain Spaulding's seagoing experience, and resulted in the award to him of the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal.  The incident occurred in 1944 when the Uruguay, a unit of a North Atlantic convoy was rammed by a tanker which was also part of the convoy.  The Uruguay at the time was carrying 4,700 troops.  The bow of the tanker penetrated 38 feet into the Uruguay, creating a gaping hole 70 feet wide and from her keel to her A Deck.  Thirteen soldiers were killed in the crash and more than fifty injured were trapped in the wreckage.

The almost unbelievable phase of the accident developed after the ships had been separated and the Uruguay arrived in Bermuda for repairs.  Then it was found that an Army sergeant in the Uruguay's sick bay had been lifted from his bed by the impact and tossed to the deck of the tanker.  When the tanker withdrew from the Uruguay the soldier found he had been transferred, unharmed, from one ship to the other.

The citation by President Roosevelt describes the situation as follows:

"Captain Spaulding and his First Officer, with complete disregard for their own safety, descended into the damaged area, and, with the exercise of high courage and resourcefulness, succeeded in extricating and rescuing the injured and trapped men.  This action, carried out only with the aid of flashlights, involved constant and grave danger of being washed overboard through the gaping hole in the ship's side, injuries from the jagged edges of the torn plates of bulkheads and decks, and electrocution from exposed live wires.

"After all the injured were removed from the wreckage, a temporary bulkhead was constructed to cover the hole in the ship's side.  On one occasion, a particularly heavy sea tore out this temporary bulkhead, but a new one was quickly rebuilt.  Three days after the collision, he brought his ship into a safe harbor without further casualties.

"Captain Spaulding's calm and capable handling of a situation of extreme danger undoubtedly was instrumental in the saving of many lives, his ship, and her valuable cargo of war materiel.  His courage and resourcefulness were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine."

The Uruguay then made two trips to India via Australia, and another to Australia, sailing each time from U.S. Pacific Coast ports.  Reassigned to the Atlantic, she carried troops to Europe for fifteen months, these including the Fighting 79th and the 56th Anti-Aircraft Brigade.  Late in 1944 the Uruguay was selected to carry cadets from West Point to Baltimore on an indoctrination trip, becoming the largest ship to sail to the Point or to enter the port of Baltimore.

In May of 1945, the Uruguay sailed with the first contingent of redeployment troops from Leghorn, Italy, to Manila via the Panama Canal, and returned to San Francisco.  In September of that year she sailed from San Francisco for Manila, with troops, returning to Los Angeles with the famous 38th, "Avengers of Bataan."  She operated in the Atlantic run until June 1946.

Captain Lane, the Uruguay's new master, went to sea in October 1927 as third officer of the Union Sulphur Company ship H. D. Whiton, sailed transatlantic and intercoastal, and came to Moore-McCormack in January 1939, as first officer of the Brazil.  He stayed with that ship until July 1942, served briefly as assistant port captain, assumed command of the cargo ship Mount Evans, in August 1942, then the Mormachawk, Sweepstakes, Mormacsun, Mormacdawn.

When the Brazil returned after the war Captain Lane sailed as staff captain, was later master of the Mormacpenn, staff captain of the Brazil.  He commanded the company's tanker, the Mormacfuel, took the Brazil as master for another voyage, commanded the Mormacsea and returned to the Mormacfuel until his recent assignment to the Uruguay for the May sailing.

He lives in Teaneck, N.J. and is the father of three children.






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