Into the Open Sea

June 4, 1918. New York Harbor. Nine vessels loaded with American troops set sail for England. George English, a member of the 89th Division and also its historian, described the event in his 1920 History of the 89th Division, U.S.A.

“In the blazing light of a midday of June, the vessels forming the convoy swung out from the various docks, steamed down the harbor of New York and took up their voyage to those lands towards which the Goddess of Liberty from her pedestal seemed to turn a wistful gaze. Nine great vessels, striped with the bizarre patterns of their camouflage, crowded with those fighting men who formed part of the hope of civilization, swept down the channel and, without pause, into the open sea.” (p. 39)

Grandpa sailed in the Caronia. I found this picture and a page of the ship’s manifest on ancestry. com.

6:4 ship

6:4 manifest

Some of the members of Grandpa’s group, Company C, 356th Infantry, 89th Division.

English continued his description:

“The course taken was far to the north of the usual lines of ocean travel. On approaching the danger zone off the coast of Ireland, a number of British torpedo boats appeared to escort the convoy and the habitual course of the ships became a series of sharp zigzags. No submarine attack occurred and the convoy reached Liverpool safely on the 16th of June, twelve days out of New York.” (p. 40)


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