old radio mic

Ray O'MalleyRay O'Malley of the cutter Escanaba

Ray was born and raised in Chicago. The Escanaba was launched in Bay City, MI and destroyed near Greenland with 101 lives lost in 1943. Ray died in 2007, and his ashes were carried out to sea by the USS Escanaba III (WMEC 907).
USCG Hamilton
Luck seemed to follow O'Malley during his Coast Guard assignments. He was transfered off the cutter Hamilton when he was promoted from fireman. The Hamilton was later torpedoed by U-boat 132, hit in the engineroom where 20 men were instantly killed. Six more would die due to burns. The ship was scuttled by US forces, the first US warship casualty in the Atlantic.
download Ray talks about the Hamilton.
Ray was ordered to 'zigzag' his course on the Escanaba. This was to thwart a close range U-boat attack. download
uscg Escanaba
Escanaba is among the most famous of rescue ships during World War II. It saved 39 when the Cherokee was torpedoed, and 130 more when the Dorchester was attacked. 101 of the Esky's crew were lost when it exploded in June of 1943.
Only two eyewitnesses survived the sinking, and their testimony led most to believe it was a Nazi torpedo that sank the Escanaba. Some historians argue that most Uboats were called away from Greenland, and that it could have been a Allied mine that destroyed the cutter.download
No Uboat ever took credit for the sinking of the cutter. It was evident that the enemy knew of the troopship Fairfax and the convoy, as a propaganda broadcast announced that the Fairfax would be hunted only a day before it left port.
It's doubtful that a sub would have targeted the 160' cutter, as it was one of the smallest ships in the convoy. Ray still wondered who the target was. download

Len GabrysiakLen Gabrysiak of the M/V Cedarville

Len was born and raised in Rogers City, Michigan- homeport of the Cedarville. Len also sailed on the Carl D. Bradley, which was lost in 1958. He was to sail as third officer on the ship, but a new third mate came aboard, bumping Len back to Wheelsman.
Len is bumped from 3rd Mate download
Cedarville was originally launched as the AF Harvey near Detroit in 1927. It was converted into a self-unloader in Bay City in 1957.
Cedarville headed full steam towards the Mackinac Bridge, using radar to avoid converging traffic in the thick fog. Capt. Joppich misjudged a 'mystery' blip's course, and the two ships converged in the fog download
The mystery ship turned out to be the Topdaslfjord, a Norwegian freighter. This photo shows the damage sustained to its bow in the collision. Cedarville had a huge gash cut in its side, and the captain dropped anchor to assess damage. He called the main office to report the accident. Len knew the ship was in trouble and asked if he could leave the wheel and get life jackets.
Nearby, the German freighter Weissenburg was manning lifeboats to help. Capt. Joppich first refused, but put out a mayday when the bow of the ship started slipping beneath the water.
Len had latched the two pilothouse doors open and dashed for the door when the ship sank. He was thrown into the lines of the crane just before he hit the icy Straits. download
Ten crewmen lost their lives in the accident, including the man that had replaced Len. Charlie Cook's body was never recovered.

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