The Liberty Ships of World War II Turned the Tides of Fate
The Liberty Ships of World War II Turned the Tides of Fate

The Liberty Ships of World War II Turned the Tides of Fate

Larry Holzwarth - May 15, 2021

The Liberty Ships of World War II Turned the Tides of Fate
A Liberty ship disposed of by sale to Greek shipping magnates following the Second World War. Wikimedia

20. There are still some Liberty ships afloat, though only two are operational

In the spring of 1994, the SS Jeremiah O’Brien departed San Francisco and steamed via the Panama Canal to Great Britain. It had made the journey before. During World War II the Liberty ship made four round-trip crossings of the Atlantic in convoy, before remaining in British waters as part of the invasion of Normandy in 1944. The 1994 voyage was to commemorate the invasion, and Jeremiah O’Brien served as the only vessel present during the actual invasion and the 50th anniversary celebration of the landings. Following D-Day the ship made 11 cross channel trips, delivering supplies and equipment to the beacheads. It later served in the invasion of Southern France. It completed its war service in the Pacific and Indian Ocean theaters. Mothballed after the war, the ship sat idle for decades.

In 1979 the National Liberty Ship Memorial purchased the vessel and restored it to its World War II configuration. Since the 1980s the ship has been based in San Francisco, and offers both tours of San Francisco Bay as well as ocean-going excursions to Pacific ports such as Seattle. The ship also offers dockside tours, with nearly all areas of the vessel open for public viewing and inspection. Another Liberty ship, SS John W. Brown, offers similar tours in the Chesapeake Bay region, operating from Baltimore. Together, John W. Brown and Jeremiah O’Brien are all that remain in operation, of the more than 2,700 Liberty ships built during the Second World War.

 

Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“World War Two Produced Shipbuilding Revolution”. Peter M. Tirschwell, The Journal of Commerce Online. June 2, 1994

“Liberty Ship”. Article, National Museum of the US Navy. Online

“Hugh Malzac: Captain, Victim, Survivor”. Philip Quarles, New York Public Radio. July 20, 2017. Online

“The Battle of the North Atlantic 1939-1943”. Samuel Eliot Morrison. 1947

“Savannah, Brunswick played an important role in Liberty ship construction”. Article, Georgia Ports. August 25, 2020. Online

“The Permanente Richmond Field Hospital”. Lincoln Cushing, Aboutkaiserpermanente.org. February 22, 2021.

“Liberty Ships”. Jim Fowlkes, NCPedia. 2006

“Troopships of World War Two”. Roland W. Charles. 1947

“Liberty ship SS Robert E. Peary built in 4 days, 15 hours, 29 minutes”. Article, USMM.org. Online

“Liberty Ships and Victory Ships, America’s Lifeline in War”. Article, National Public Service. December 1943

“Liberty Ship”. Historic Landmark Designation, American Society of Mechanical Engineers. September 18, 1984

“The Merchant Marine Were the Unsung Heroes of World War II”. William Geroux, Smithsonian Magazine. May 27, 2016

“Port Chicago Naval Magazine Explosion”. Article, Naval History and Heritage Command. Online

“Liberty Ships: World War II’s Beasts of Burden”. Jeff Markell, Professional Mariner Journal. February 28, 2007

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