Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mystery Ship

Who am I?

This is a special Mystery Ship. David, who I believe is from Ohio, sent this photo taken by his father. David states that family legend seems to indicate that his father took a lake freighter, possibly the Richard V. Lindabury, to France during World War II. To my knowledge, this cannot be possible as ships were unable to leave the Great Lakes until 1959 when the St. Lawrence Seaway was built. If anyone can identify the ship, location or shed some light on the possibility or impossibility of David's tale, it would be greatly appreciated!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe it was a vessel used during / in service in -- WWII and then transported to the Lakes? See this from wikipedia:
"Following World War II, several ocean freighters and tankers were transported to the Great Lakes and converted to Bulk carriers as a way to acquire ships cheaply. Several of them served well in the role and continue to sail today (American Victory (fmr. Middletown), Lee A, Tregurtha, and a few others)."

February 13, 2008 12:58 PM  
Anonymous the rock said...

I just don't see how a Great Lakes freighter like the Lindabury or any of those other lakers were ever or could ever be utilized/adapted to carry troops over to France during the War.
The Lindabury spent her entire career on the Lakes.
Surprisingly, however,this former Pittsburger, ended her days as a Kinsman vessel and was towed oversees and scrapped in Aliaga,
Turkey. Even then,(1988), for the trip across, she would have been under tow. No crew aboard. So many of those lakers were taken under tow across the pond for scrapping in foreign lands, and so many of them never made it.True "Lakers" were not designed for nor meant to sail the oceans.
Surprisingly, again, if you Google, "Lindabury, troop ship," you get WWII Flickr photos of a David Foster, but I don't see a Lindabury vessel among them.

February 16, 2008 9:13 AM  
Blogger Ookpik said...

Hi Rock,

You are a pretty good investigator, David Foster is exactly who I have been corresponding with! He contacted me about his dad taking the Richard V. Lindabury to Europe for World War II. I told him that was pretty much impossible. David’s father is long deceased and I believe the family story got a bit scrambled. What I think may have happened is that his father was on a ship in Europe and then that ship eventually showed up in the Great Lakes. This happened with great frequency after the St. Lawrence Seaway was built. A lot of the Salties, as I’m sure you know, were onetime warships during World War II.

February 16, 2008 10:19 AM  
Anonymous the rock said...

Actually, a fair number of World War II Liberty ships, following their careers as Liberty ships, were converted to cargo vessels and made their way into the Great Lakes. Somewhere I have an old issue of Telescope that has pictures of a few of them.

February 17, 2008 7:41 AM  
Anonymous Eric H said...

Plenty of Lakers left the inland seas and served on the oceans during the World Wars. They were all on the small side, however, since they had to fit through the pre-Seaway locks and canals that connected the Great Lakes to the Atlantic via the St. Lawrence River. Pre-Seaway lock dimensions limited vessel size to about 259' x 49'. There was a huge fleet of Canadian "canallers" of this size and many of them were tapped for ocean service during WWI and WWII. Some slightly larger ships were cut in half and towed in two pieces down the old St. Lawrence canals and reassembled on the lower St. Lawrence before continuing out to sea. Some of those ships may have been able to transit the Chicago Sanitary canal and down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico, but they would have to have been cut down to a low vertical clearance to make it under the low bridges on the inland river system.

Great Lakes shipyards also built hundreds of oceangoing vessels (cargo carriers, patrol vessels, minesweepers, etc.) for the war effort, especially during WWII, and sent them either out the St. Lawrence or down the Mississippi. Any of these routes could be what David's father is talking about, but a big 600' ore carrier like the Richard V. Lindabury would most certainly not have been one of the ships taken off the lakes. She would've been too narrow and shallow for safe ocean service and was of much more valuable carrying an absolutely vital cargo, iron ore, on the Lakes.

As to the location of the photo, the big rig in the center looks like the railcar-to-ship coal loaders once common on the U.S. side of Lake Erie (there may have been a few on Lake Ontario as well). The combination of the coal loader, the apparently extensive dockage space for ships, the flat landscape, and the large collection of refinery/industrial stacks in the distance immediately brings Toledo, Ohio to mind, although I'm not certain.

February 25, 2008 10:31 PM  
Blogger Ookpik said...


Very interesting comments!
I will pass them on to David.

February 25, 2008 11:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I came across this old discussion and thought I'd add a couple of comments. 1. Several boats left the Lakes for ocean service in WWI and WWII. In WWI, they actually cut the boats in half, towed each half down the Seaway, and then welded the halves back together for ocean service. Also, several (3 - 5 ?) lake boats were torpedoed in the Atlantic during WWII. These boats were generally shuttling cargo up and down the East coast and not crossing the Atlantic. 2. Having said that, the Lindabury never left the Lakes except for her final tow to the scrap yard. There is a photo and some basic information on the Lindabury at the following site: http://ul.bgsu.edu/cgi-bin/xvsl2.cgi 3. The boat in the photo is definately not the Richard Lindabury. The Lindabury was a Pittsburgh boat and had a silver stack with a black band at the top. The boat in the photo has a white "H" on a black stack. That suggests it was either a Hutchinson or a Pioneer boat. 4. The coal loaders shown were relatively common at Lake Erie ports. From the open water in from of the loader, my first guess would be Sandusky, O. but other possibilities are Toledo, O. or Erie, PA.

August 09, 2008 8:26 PM  
Anonymous TWilush said...

No, the Lindabury did not and would not have been able to leave the Great Lakes at that time unless via a major production through the Mississippi. Purpose built lake freighters are unable to operate deep sea, their construction characteristics and length beam ratio make them extremely vulnerable to break up in ocean swells. The Lindabury is not in the photo in question, as mentioned above that is a Hutchinson vessel.

January 11, 2013 10:47 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home