Author: Howard A. Ellis
I can’t help wondering if any of your readers remember this ship which meant so much to those of us who sailed aboard her to various ports in war theaters. The former S.S. Manhattan in 1941 shortly after her conversion to U.S.S. Wakefield (AP21) and service as a World War II Troopship voyaging from USA to Great Britain and back.
In 1943, I believe, while USA bound with full complement of crew and civilian workers/military personnel, The Wakefield caught fire and was almost destroyed. Other ships in convoy surrounded her and rescued Every Man Jack aboard. No fatalities, no injuries. The hulk, still smoking, was tugged to port and underwent total restoration as Troop Ship.
In July 1945, having completed my WW2 service in the European Theater of Operations (ETO), I and my company (877th Signal Service Co., 16th Tactical Air Depot, 16th Air Depot Group) boarded her for the voyage home from La Havre, France, to Boston, Massachusetts) where we were bused to Camp Miles Standish for processing and furloughs home before reporting to duty at Laredo, Texas.
Japan surrendered while we were on furlough in August 45, so we reported to Laredo Air Force Base to be processed back into civilian life.
Howard A. Ellis, (then) SSGT., US Army Air Force, 1942-1945
Published in U S Legacies Magazine in August 2005