Daily Event for December 31, 2009


Dec. 31, 1942 the old cargo ship Maiden Creek sank in the North Atlantic fifty or so miles south of Montauk, New York. The ship was a Hog Islander built in 1919 and was en route from Botwood, Newfoundland to New York when she ran into a violent storm. The sea battered the ship until it's cargo of ore shifted causing a bad list, it was bad enough to cause the captain, G. R. Cook, to order the ship abandoned. The sinking ship and the rough seas made getting off extremely difficult, sadly two of the crew perished just trying, but two boats were launched. Just getting into the lifeboats was no guarantee of survival, in fact one of the boats with eighteen men was never found.

The other boat with thirty-one men was sighted on Jan. 3 by Lt. Norman E. Purdy, USAAF while on an anti-submarine patrol. Purdy signaled back to his base and the Army sent out another aircraft, the navy sent a Catalina PBY piloted by Lt. Commander Delos C. Wait, USN in the hope he could set down and rescue the survivors. On arriving Wait realized that landing was impossible, even if the PBY survived the landing the sea would destroy his aircraft. He must have felt helpless, being able to see these poor men and not being able to help, they must have been equally distraught, looking at possible rescue knowing the plane could not land. Wait did the next best thing, he flew low over the lifeboat while his crew dropped bundles of food, clothes, water, blankets and other survival gear. He also stayed in the area until he saw all the material was recovered by the men in the lifeboat.

The Army found them, the Navy tried to rescue them, but the Coast Guard arranged their pick up. Lt. Edwin B. Ing, USCG, was also trying to help, he scouted the area and found a freighter fifteen miles from the lifeboat, flying low, a signal lamp was used to notify the ship of the drama that was playing out just miles away. The ship made her best speed to the scene and finally pulled the men out of the sea to safety. All thirty-one survived thanks to the combined efforts of the Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine.
© 2009 Michael W. Pocock
MaritimeQuest.com




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

Name
Rate
Ackerlind, Edward J.
Engine Cadet
Alexander, Harry
Fireman / Watertender
Carriere, Warren B.
Deck Cadet
Crawford, Thomas
Able Seaman
Degennaro, Louis
Fireman / Watertender
Ellse, Theodore W.
Messman
Johnson, Fred
1st Engineer
Keane, Edward W.
Messman
MacKesy, Anthony
Oiler
McClain, Grady C.
2nd Engineer
Murray, Thomas F.
Messman
Pas, Herman
Cook
Perez, Marcelino
Wiper
Petitti, Charles T.
Able Seaman
Ray, Norman A.
2nd Mate
Smith, Montgomery
3rd Engineer
Squires, Joseph
Able Seaman
Wagner, Harold B.
Seaman 1st Class (USNR)
Armed Guard
Waters, Raymond
Oiler
Whitney, Harold E.
Deck Engineer


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