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Thursday, 19 April 2018

US Liberty Ships and RNZN.

Just a little  research about a ship (or ships) that brought Troops and Hardware to NZ from the US and Australia.  There are some facts I wasn't aware off including (click on link here) and not totally to do with the subject but!!

So what of these Merchant Marine Liberty Ships?  2,710 Liberty Ships were built in WWII (solely on US shores) and as of now (19/4/2018) 3 still exist  Yup a similar fate with one of their cargoes, HDML's.

USS John W Brown - Museum -a typical Liberty Ship

Yes it's type visited NZ many times but the lasting image for us Navy Types is the fact that 16 HDML's were delivered in 1943, on top of their other duties.

Q1187 (Tarapunga) offloading from Liberty Ship at Devonport Naval Base in 1943. (research suggests they were not offloaded in Devonport but either Wellington or Lyttelton - to be confirmed)

Wikipedia's write up on Liberty Ships. (Click Here)

Article on US Shipping during WWII. (Click Here)

This image of Liberty Ships alongside Aotea Quay, Port Nicholson (Whanganui - a - Tara) in October/November 1943 courtesy NZ Ship and Marine Society website (see the link above this entry)

Three of the ships have names, Left is USS Crator (AK70), then behind her is USS Harwood and then USS Libra.

Interesting thought - researching these Liberty Ships I found a reference to ML's conducting seatrials in Marlborough Sounds which meant that these delivery ships from The US either disembarked their cargoes in Port Nicholson or Lyttelton as the image of Q1187 being shipped ashore by a Floating Crane  (Hikitia Steam Crane - Wellington or Rapaki Steam Crane - Lyttelton)

Found this data.(posted too in ML's Blog)

USS Frank Joseph Irwin - Q1183 and Q1184 arived Wellington NZ 18 January 1943
USS Pere Marquette - Q1185 and Q1186 arriving Wellington 5 April  1943
USS Kootenay Park - Q1187 to Q1190  arriving Wellington 30 April 1943
USS Mount Robson Park Q1191 - Q1194 arriving in Auckland 25 August 1943
and ML's Q1348 to Q1351 arrived 28 February 1944 but no shipping details.

Click here for Hikitia video.

This article I found researching Liberty ships pertaining to the USS Legion, a Liberty ship that played a role around New Zealand but details an account of the Paekakariki drownings (WWII Marines)  Click Here.

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