S.S. Hahira photographed, February 1, 1942
This photograph was obtained from the STEAMSHIP HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA archives at the University Of Baltimore Library 1420 Maryland Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21201-5770
Owner: Atlantic Refining Co. Philadelphia, PA. (Atlantic Richfield Corp.)
Home Port: Philadelphia, PA
Built: 1920 Sparrows Point, MD
Gross Tons: 6855
Torpedoed and sunk: November 3, 1942 by German Submarine U-521
(Bargsten) Crew of 38 Merchant seaman and 18 Naval Personel aboard.
Two crew members and one Naval guard lost in explosion
Master: James B. Elliott
S.S. Hahira WW II
I would like to contact survivors of the SS Hahira which was torpedoed on Nov 3 1942 in the north Atlantic. My father, Preston Fontenot and his three cousins, Lee and Howard Fontenot and Ed Chapman, were all on this vessel. Lee was lost at sea. The last they saw of him he was still clinging to a piece of debris. I have read the account in Capt. Moore's book etc, but he does not list Lee as a casualty. If anyone has any info on this I would appreciate contact. I cannot understand why he is not listed. Where can I get an official list of the casualties and also a list of those who served? I know he was not a Navy gaurd -- he joined the merchant marines around Sept 1942 through Port Arthur TX. Thanks for any info. Cindy P.
Sent: Sunday, November 14, 1999 5:02 PM
Subject: S.S. Hahira
Just ran across your posting requesting information about the S.S. Hahira . Any information you have about the vessel I would appreciate if you would share it. There is a picture of the vessel and what information I have been able to obtain on the Hahira web site at http://www.hahira.ga.us/SS_HAHIRA.htm I'm looking forward to your reply. With your permission I would like to add your request for information to our site.
John F. Adams
Sent: Monday, November 15, 1999 8:47 AM
Subject: RE: S.S. Hahira
Thank you for responding to my post. I have found most of what I was searching for. Matty Loughran of the North Atlantic Chapter of the MM helped me out. He sent me excerpts from the book by Capt. Arthur R. Moore: "A Careless Word, A Needless Sinking". It lists the ships and the casualties and bits of info. I believe there is also copies from another book "US Merchant Vessel War Casualties of WW II" by Robert Browning Jr. Not sure what more I could tell you. I know that some of the survivors of the Hahira were picked up by the Parismina, which was struck 11/18/42 and 3 of the casualties of THAT sinking were actually survivors of the Hahira sinking.
As for my story, well, I got some of it straight. My father and his 3 cousins went off together and were all assigned to the Hahira. Well they got into a barroom brawl the night before they were due to leave, and two of them were moved to the Winkler. It was on that ship that cousin Lee did not survive. He was lost at sea. However the time line from the records does not agree with what my surviving cousin (and the family story) state. The Winkler did not go down until Feb of '43 and according to my other cousin, Lee was lost at sea about 2 weeks after the sinking of the Hahira, in about the same area. I thought maybe he had been on the Parismina but he is listed as on the Winkler. Anyway, I found out most of the story and sort of left it at that. (In case you are confused, my dad and one cousin were aboard the Hahira; the other 2 cousins were on the Winkler . Both ships ended up being torpedoed and sunk. I wonder if ANY of them were not (hit?)
I don't think I have much more to offer. As for documents, all I have are the two letters my mother received when my dad was missing for a time --- one from Atlantic Refining Co and one from the Coast Gaurd. They do not mention the ship's names --- I found that on an old allotment note I found in some old papers.
I checked out your site. I'm really glad you have a picture of the Hahira --- I can print a copy of it and it will add much to my research. If I can help you with more info, just let me know.