Richard Lowe's WWII Naval Armed Guard Experiences
SHIPS RICHARD LOWE SAILED ON
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SS William Moultrie
SS William Moultrie

S.S. William MoultrieJune 8, 1942December 29, 1943                                        

 

I boarded the S. S. William Moultrie in Wilmington, North Carolina. The Moultrie was a brand new Liberty Ship made at a Wilmington shipyard.  This was my first voyage and one I will never forget. I was headed to Murmansk, Russia with ammo and supplies for the Russian government.  The weather and the eight day battle we went through were unimaginable.   It was a battle that will forever be noted in history, a battle that I received a medal for running the German blockage to Murmansk, Russia.  I also received a“Letter of Commendation” from the U.S. Chief of Naval Personnel, a “Letter of Congratulations” from the British Admiralty and Prime Minister, and a “Letter of Recognition” and a medal from Vladimir P. Lukin on behalf of President Boris Yeltsin and the entire Russian nation.  Also, our ship the S. S. William Moultrie, received the “Gallant Ship Award” and the entire crew received the “Gallant Ship Citation”.  The S. S. William Moultrie was only 1 of 9 ships during WWII to receive this Gallant Ship Award.

                                        

 

USAT Henry Gibbins
USAT Henry Gibbins

 USAT Henry GibbinsFebruary 24, 1943September 28, 1943                                                                                         

 

 I boarded the Henry Gibbins in Pascagoula, Mississippi.  I sailed 3 different voyages on this ship.  The first time on the Henry Gibbins we sailed to Oran, Algeria in North Africa, second to Port Moresby, New Guinea, and third again to Oran, Algeria in North Africa.  Our loads consisted of mostly personnel –Army troops, nurses, prisoners, supplies, etc.  Once we were loading prisoners on board while docked in Oran, North Africa.  The prisoners were lined up in a straight line when an air raid sounded and bombing began.  The prisoners scattered trying to find some protection.  After the bombing stopped and the all clear was sounded, the prisoners voluntarily returned to the line to board the ship.  They actually were excited to go to the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SS Frederick Bartholdi

     S.S. Frederick Bartholdi – November 16, 1943December 25, 1943                                                                                                           

                                                     

I boarded the S. S. Bartholdi in Brunswick, Georgia not knowing at the time that I was headed to Murmansk, Russian again with ammo and supplies.  The Bartholdi was another Liberty Ship made at a shipyard in Brunswick, Georgia.  I left New York for Scotland on December 9, 1943.  It was on Christmas Day, in the Irish Sea, that the S. S. Bartholdi was sunk.  I'm not sure whether we were torpedoed or ran aground.  I was below when it happened.  I asked some other sailors, but no one seemed to know.  Men began to abandon ship, leaping into the water.  The Armed Guard crew still had to man their stations to protect the men from attack.  I was one of the last men off, but before I jumped, I ran into the kitchen of the ship and stuffed a cooked turkey into my pillow case.  As I was being pulled out of the sea by a British trawler, a British fellow asked me what I had stuffed in the pillow case.  I replied, “A cooked turkey”.  “We were about to have Christmas dinner”.  The British sailor commented, “You Americans may have been sunk, but you still eat better than we do.”  The survivors were put ashore in Lock Ewe, Scotland and then sent by bus to Glasgow, Scotland, finally arriving in Londonderry, North Ireland at a survivor’s camp. When I arrived the doctors wanted to amputate my fingers due to frost bite, but I wouldn’t let them.  I stayed in Londonderry from December 29, 1943 to May 4, 1944 when I then left for Swansea, Wales.  Even though I experienced the fear of my ship being sunk, I had a inner peace just knowing that I wasn’t headed to Murmansk, Russia again.

 

 

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SS Markay

        SS MarkayMay 5, 1944May 27, 1944                                      

 

I boarded the Markay, which was an oil tanker at this time, in Swansea, Wales.  It was headed back to the states.  If I had known that the old oil tanker didn’t have a bottom, I might have waited for another ride home.  I looked through the large hole in the deck and could see the ocean below.  I slept on the deck with a life jacket on the entire trip.  I feared that we could sink any minute.

 

 

 

 

SS Robert Morris
SS Robert Morris

     SS Robert Morris - October  4, 1944  -   March 7, 1945                            

 

I boarded the SS Robert Morris in New Orleans, Louisiana.   The ship sailed to the Panama Canal, several ports in New Guinea, the Philippine Islands, and then on to Manus Island in the Admiralty Islands before heading back to San Francisco, California.  While I was at the Panama Canal, I saw my brother, Milfred Lowe.  His ship, the Yorktown, was passing through the Panama Canal at the same time as the Robert Morris.

 

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