House OKs benefit for American World War II Merchant mariners
Merchant mariners who survived Nazi U-boats and lived for 6 decades may finally get a benefit from legislation approved by the House. The measure would give a monthly benefit of $1,000 to those who were in the U.S. Merchant Marine between Dec. 7, 1941, and Dec. 31, 1946. Of the 250,000 WWII merchant mariners, less than 10,000 are still be alive. The merchant mariners carried 95% of the battle tanks, supplies and troops across the Atlantic and Pacific. 1941-1944 enemy forces sank over 800 of their ships. 9,500 merchant mariners were killed or died of wounds, a bigger casualty rate than any of the military services.
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Tribute to Merchant Navy war dead unveiled in Dover
A memorial to mark sailors killed on merchant ships in the Second World War has been unveiled in Dover. The 3m high sculpture was opened in Marine Parade by Winston Spencer Churchill, the grandson of Britain`s wartime PM. 34,000 merchant seamen were killed or accounted missing at sea. Donald Hunter, the founder of the Dover and District Merchant Navy Memorial, collected 46,000 pounds for the sculpture which depicts a merchant seaman. One in three of the merchant seamen who worked during the war never returned and 4,500 ships were lost.
Merchant Marine vets want equal treatment: 1 of every 26 mariners died
In 1942 his mother didn’t want him to become a tail gunner in the Air Force because it was too dangerous. So "Mack" Blevins joined the Merchant Marine, the most dangerous decision he could have made, thinking it was a standard branch of the armed forces. World War II was raging and 16 million people served in the U.S. military, hoping to stop Adolf Hitler, Emperor Hirohito and Benito Mussolini. He couldn’t know that mariners would be fighting decades later because people in the Merchant Marine are civilians, except during war when they are military personnel. Franklin Roosevelt had intended to extend the GI Bill to mariners, but died before he was able to do so.
Coast Guard`s role in World War II: Best unknown secret
Frank Dulong calls the U.S. Coast Guard`s role in WWII the "best unknown secret" of that war. "A lot of people don`t know it," but it was Coast Guard ships that brought tanks, trucks and men to the theaters of war. His World War II experience is part of the newest exhibit at Soldiers & Sailors National Military Museum & Memorial in Oakland, including vintage Coast Guard uniforms, flags, a brass bell and an original miniature model of a ship that participated in the invasion of Normandy. 250,000 Coast Guard members served during World War II, and 574 were killed in action.
Merchant Marines Want Benefits: Branch of the highest casualty rate
They served beside other military branches, they suffered the highest casualty rate of any service branch during WWII. However, Merchant Marine veterans have not gotten the same benefits as other veterans. Some in Congress say it is time to make up for lost benefits with monthly cash compensation. Merchant Marines who served in WWII were not given veteran status until 1988, causing many of them to miss out on earlier veterans benefits.
Eighth medal honour for arctic convoy hero John Burns (Article no longer available from the original source)
An Edinburgh war veteran who battled in Arctic conditions to rescue the bodies of his countrymen was set to be honoured with his eighth medal. John Burns was a young man when he was sent on a rescue mission as a gunner with the Royal Navy`s Russian Arctic Convoy in 1941. In icy weather and high seas, Mr Burns and his crewmen scoured the seas in search of survivors of the PQ17 Merchant Navy convoy, which had been left abandoned by its Royal Navy escort ships following misinterpreted intelligence from their command about an imminent German attack elsewhere. Out of 33 ships left behind, 24 were sunk by German bombers and U-boats.
Russians pay tribute to brave Scots who formed Arctic lifeline
Russia honoured the Scots war heroes who braved the icy Arctic sea to get supplies to the Red Army. The Arctic convoys undertook some of the most dangerous missions as they ferried weapons to the ports of Murmansk and Archangel. More than 3,000 British sailors were killed in the onslaught by U-boats and Luftwaffe bombers. Among those was Jim Osler who was shipwrecked during the disastrous PQ17 convoy. The convoy came under attack when an intelligence error caused its warship escort to scatter amid reports that the battleship Tirpitz was heading their way. Assault from German divebombers and U-boats saw 153 sailors die and only 11 of 37 merchant ships escape.
Painful memories for survivors of the Arctic convoys (Article no longer available from the original source)
Counting the cost: More than 3,000 British men and women died on the convoys which began in 1941. A total of 78 convoys sailed to and from northern Russia during the war. 5,000 tanks and 7,000 aircraft, as well as trucks, ammunition and other supplies were delivered. More than 100 ships were lost to surface, air and submarine attack. In July 1942 only 11 of 39 ships reached the Kola Peninsula. Hundreds died as ships were picked off by German aircraft and U-boats. More than 200 aircraft, 400 tanks and 3,350 other vehicles were lost.