Daily Event for May 12, 2010

Built in 1941 at Welding Shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia the tanker Virginia was the first ship built from the keel up at that yard, previous to the Virginia Welding had been converting old World War 1 era cargo ships into tankers for the current war. Virginia however had a very short career. She was owned by National Bulk Carriers in New York and in 1942 was under charter to Standard Oil of New Jersey plying the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

On May 12, 1942 she was taking on a pilot less than two miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River when several torpedoes were fired by U-507. One torpedo went under the Virginia and the pilot boat and exploded on a jetty, but at least two, maybe three slammed into the Virginia setting her cargo of 180,000 barrels of gasoline ablaze. The fuel poured into the sea and soon there was a tremendous amount of fire on the leeward side of the Virginia.

The forty man crew had no time to launch a lifeboat as the attack against their ship came without warning so they had to jump into the sea. Those who jumped off the starboard side were the only ones who survived as the flames on the port side were so great and spread so fast that the men who jumped to port could not swim fast enough to escape. Of the fourteen who did survive one later died from burns while at least two others were seriously injured.
© 2010 Michael W. Pocock

Roll of Honor
In memory of those who lost their lives in SS Virginia
"As long as we embrace them in our memory, their spirit will always be with us"

Benedict, Harry W.
3rd Mate
Boudreaux, Joseph A.
Able Seaman
Burk, Gale
Ordinary Seaman
Cannatella, Victor B.
Christoferson, Hjalmer J.
2nd Mate
Clark, James
Radio Officer
Collins, Thomas C.
Able Seaman
Davidson, William C.
Able Seaman
Davis, Mark A.
Deal, Thomas E.
Fireman / Watertender
Del Rio, Salvador M.
Garcia, John "Joe" V.
Gillum, Myron W.
Gluck, John I.
1st Engineer
Greichek, Bernard L.
Able Seaman
Jordan, Percival H.
Chief Engineer
Kadau, John A.
Larsen, Einar H.
Chief Mate
Larson, Bengt H.
Marshall, George E.
McDowell, Bert E.
Montemayor, Magno D.
Nicolai, Walter M.
Able Seaman
Richmond, Oscar
Shea, Thomas J.
Able Seaman
Smith, Alonzo
Able Seaman
White, Merritt F.

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