US WWII Merchant Seamen Want Recognition - Ships Nostalgia

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US WWII Merchant Seamen Want Recognition

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Old 9th July 2009, 20:57
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shamrock shamrock is offline  
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US WWII Merchant Seamen Want Recognition

SEATTLE -- Some had tattoos on their forearms. Some had brought along pictures of themselves from more than six decades ago.

That would have been during World War II. The pictures showed skinny guys, heads full of hair, with unlined faces looking to the future.

They had been Merchant mariners, young and sailing the world in their cargo ships that ferried troops and war cargo.

Now all that exploring is done.

Now they're in their 80s - some past 90 - and along with the tattoos a good portion wear hearings aids. They sport white hair - if hair at all - and walk stooped.

Now what matters to them is a battle they have been fighting since the end of World War II. ....cont../..
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Old 10th July 2009, 00:58
Klaatu83 Klaatu83 is offline  
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You'd be surprised how many of 'em are still out there. On my last voyage (2005) I sailed with an 80-year-old seaman who started going to sea at the age of 18. He said he first shipped out during World War II, on an old Hog Islander. He insisted that he was going to continue shipping out as long as he could pass the physical and the union allow it. I was also on a freighter carrying ammo to the Persian Gulf during the 1991 Gulf War, the crew of which included a 76-year-old A.B. He told us that he had been torpedoed TWICE during World War II. After that he quit the Merchant Marine, joined the Army and became a paratrooper, where he he believed he stood a better chance of surviving the war!

The best story I heard was from an old A.B. with Lykes Lines. He told me that after his ship was torpedoed he and the other survivors were picked up by the British, who then placed them in an internment camp until they could prove that they were bona fide survivors and not German spies! Eventually they were released but, because they were not military personnel, they were not repatriated. The survivors had to live from hand to mouth in Britain until they managed to secure jobs on other merchant ships heading back to the States. He also told me that, in those days, a seaman's pay stopped once his ship was sunk, and the company took no further interest in him. In addition, he said, if a seaman did finish a voyage he got 30 days leave, and if he hadn't shipped out by the 30th day, he received his draft notice on the 31st day!

Last edited by Klaatu83; 10th July 2009 at 01:01..
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Old 10th July 2009, 01:06
sparkie2182 sparkie2182 is offline  
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British Merchant Seamen were treated like cr*p also,Klaatu.

It wasn't personal.

At the same time, these posters were displayed all over the U.K....................ironic eh?
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Last edited by sparkie2182; 10th July 2009 at 01:11..
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