For the last seven years I have been searching for my grandfather's brother, my great uncle Forrest. Finally, I have found him, perseverance has paid off.
Forrest was 5'8" tall. He lived at one time with his wife Marie on 31 Jefferson Road, Scarsdale, NY. It appears that he and Marie had no children. In 1938 at the age of 37 Forrest, listed as a widower, joined the Merchant Marines. In 1943 he became a seaman on the SS John Catron, a Liberty Ship, working as a wiper right until 1955 to the age of 54 when this search ends.
A wiper is the most junior crew member in the engine room of a ship. The role of a wiper consists of cleaning the engine spaces and machinery, and assisting the engineers as directed.
The SS Catron ship construction began on September 3, 1942 and launched on July 11 1943. Its' fate was to be scrapped in 1972.
Liberty Ship Construction began in 1936
In 1936, the American Merchant Marine Act was passed to subsidize the annual construction of 50 commercial merchant vessels to be used in wartime by the United States Navy as naval auxiliaries. The number was doubled in 1939 and again in 1940 to 200 ships a year.
Merchant Marine Act of 1936 The Merchant Marine Act of 1936, provided for establishment of Federal training for merchant marine officers. The U.S. Merchant Marine Cadet Corps was officially founded March 15, 1938 under the auspices of the U.S. Maritime Commission, chaired by Joseph P. Kennedy (father of President John F. Kennedy), a position taken over by Admiral Emory Scott Land.
Initially, training of cadets was given aboard government-subsidized ships under the direction of shore-based Port Inspector-Instructors. In February 1942, administration of the training program was turned over to the Coast Guard, but in July 1942 it was given to the War Shipping Administration.
In 1941, the requirements for appointment as cadet were:
American citizen between 18 and 25
Good moral character, unmarried
Between 5'4" and 6'4," in height
Meet Navy physical requirements
Meet requirements for sight, color perception, speech and hearing
At least 15 high school credits
Good teeth, good feet, good posture
The U.S. Merchant Marines are made up of individuals who work on U.S. civilian-owned American flagged vessels that are responsible for transporting services, goods and people to markets outside the country, for the purposes of commerce.
An ordinary seaman works two four hour watches a day, seven days a week. His duties include the following:
Upkeep — Painting, cleaning, and polishing of ship bright work; the collection and disposal of garbage; maintenance and repair of various types of equipment
Cargo — Handling ropes and wires; storing and securing of items; assisting with the movement of cargo on and off the ship.
Lookout — Standing watch both in port and at sea.Other Duties — Assisting with any aspect of the ship's operation and maintenance that the superior Seamen or Officers feel is necessary.
In the United States Merchant Marine, in order to be occupied as a wiper a person has to have a Merchant Mariner's Document and STCW certificate issued by the United States Coast Guard. Because of international conventions and agreements, all wipers who sail internationally are similarly documented by their respective countries.
Never willing to give up, I will continue my search to discover the rest of his life.