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Geo H. Jones - (1941-1942)
SS Geo. H. Jones
IN July of 1941, eighteen tankers of the Panama Transport Company's fleet were turned over to the United States Maritime
Commission at the Commission's request. Three of the vessels-the T. J. JiVilliams, W. C. Teagle, and Ceo. H. Jones were
selected for operation by the Anglo-American Oil Company and, as of August, 1941, were provisionally British registered
and British flag tankers. The T. J. Williams and W. C. Teagle were lost as a result of enemy action on September 19 and
October 16, 1941, respectively.
On :May 5, 1942, the Geo. H . .Jones left Aruba with 60,901 barrels of fuel oil for the United Kingdom. She was armed and
had a British complement of 45, including British naval and military gunners. On or about May 22, the vessel, proceeding  singly, reached Freetown, West Africa, and on the 24th sailed in convoy for the United Kingdom .
On June 9, the Geo. H . Jones developed engine trouble and had to drop out of the convoy. She was under way again, unescorted, when torpedoed by a submarine on June 11, 1942. Her position when attacked was approximately 480 miles northeast of the Azores at Latitude 45°30' North, Longitude 22°40' West. About an hour later she sank.

Had British Crew
Two lifeboats, reported as containing 43 survivors, all British citizens, were picked up by two different vessels, which landed
one group about June 22 at a United Kingdom port, and the other about June 29 at Freetown. Some of the crew were probably lost and injured, but as all survivors were taken in hand by the British authorities, the Company's records do not have com-plete information.

The SS Geo. H. Jones was built in 1919 by the Sun Shipbuilding Company at Chester, Penna. She was a sistership of the
S. B. Hunt, Dean Emery, Elisha Walker,  I. C. White, and .Joseph Seep.
A single-screw vessel of 11,205 deadweight tons capacity on international summer draft of 26 feet, 8 1/4 inches, the Geo. H. Jones had an overall length of 445 feet, 1 inch, and a length between perpendiculars of 430 feet. Her moulded breadth was 59 feet and her depth moulded, 33 feet, 3 inches. With a cargo carrying capacity of 81,070 barrels, she had an assigned pumping rate of 4,000 barrels an hour.
Her triple expansion engine, supplied with steam by three Scotch boilers, developed 3,000 indicated horsepower and gave
her a classification certified speed of 10.3 knots.

On September 3, 1939, when Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain told the British they were at war, the Geo. H. Jones was
tied up in the Patuxent River, Md. On the 12th, with Captain Patrick J. Reidy in command and Chief Engineer Robert S. Brod
in charge of the engineroom, the ship left Baltimore for Baytown and on October 6 returned to Norfolk with 66,104 barrels of special Navy fuel. After completing a voyage to Cartagena, the Geo. H. Jones was sold by the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey to the Panama Transport Company on October 30 at Montreal.

Under English Flag
Between then and July, 1940, the tanker was manned by Canadian crews and made her voyages, with one exception, in the
Caribbean-Canadian United Kingdom service. During this period the Geo. H. Jones transported six cargoes, including one
from Tripoli, Lebanon, to Le Havre, France.
After repairs at Baltimore in July, August, and September, 1940, the Panama Transport Company tanker was manned by
Americans again until August of 1941, when she was transferred from Panamanian to provisional British registry. From the
time she left Baltimore on November 2, 1940, until August 29, 1941, the Geo. H . Jones carried fifteen cargoes, consisting
mainly of crude and fuel oils. All but three of these fifteen voyages were coastwise and Caribbean. The three exceptions were trips to Teneriffe, in the Canary Islands off West Africa, with one cargo from Aruba and two from Caripito .
At New York in August, 1941, a crew was recruited from the British Merchant Seamen's Pool in accordance with a manning
schedule which had been obtained by the ship's agents in London from the British Admiralty. Subsequently, in the latter part
of 1941, the Geo. H. Jones carried two cargoes-one of Pool heavy fuel oil, the other of Pool marine Diesel -from Halifax to
the United Kingdom. In 1942 she completed one voyage before proceeding to Aruba to load the cargo which was lost as a
result of enemy action.

The wartime transportation record of the Ceo. H. Jones until March 31, 1942, when she discharged at Milford Haven, England, was in summary as follows:

Voyages (Cargoes)

The American masters of the Geo. H. Jones during the War were Captains Patrick J. Reidy, Harold G. McAvenia, Frank E. Wirtanen, and Ivar Boklund.
Associated with them were Chief Engineers Robert S. Brod, Aksel E. Lundin, William F. Kronisch, and Paul Christ.

In a deposition of August 6, 1942 to the Receiver of Wrecks, London, the British master of the Geo. H. Jones, Captain Frederick J. Hewlett, described the tanker's last voyage:
"During the passage to Freetown, when the vessel was rolling rather heavily, the spar that held No.3 lifeboat to the davit snapped and, in swinging with the motion of the ship, broke the propeller of the lifeboat's motor.
"Right after midnight on June 9, the Geo. H. Jones, owing to engine trouble, dropped out of the convoy which she had join-ed at Freetown, but after about 6 1/2 hours was able to proceed on convoy course unescorted. On June 10, underwireless order from the Admiralty, the vessel altered course and headed toward the Azores.  

Saw Wake of Torpedo
"On June 11, 1942 at 1:30 a.m., ship's time, the Geo. H. Jones was torpedoed without warning on the starboard side in way of Nos. 3 and 4 tanks, under and slightly forward of the bridge. The weather was fine and clear, the wind light, the sea smooth, and the swell moderate. The second officer, who was on watch with the helmsman, a lookout man, and an antiaircraft gunner, saw the wake of the torpedo just before it struck and barely had time to throw himself on the deck for protection. A dull explosion occurred, followed immediately by a sheet of flame across the bridge.
"The fire apparently came from the explosion and not from the cargo. The gunner and the lookout man are believed to have been killed instantly, as nothing was seen of them. The second officer was slightly burned.
"When the torpedo struck I was resting in my room.  It became filled with smoke and I at once attempted to go up to the brid-ge by the enclosed companion ladder. However, I was driven back by smoke and flame at both the starboard and port doors of the captain's cross alleyway and was therefore compelled to go down by the companion ladder into the officers' accommodation.

Midship Lifeboats Afire
"There I met the second officer and the helmsman.  The former reported the midship lifeboats to be on fire and I ordered
him to get the after boats cleared away. The engine had already been stopped by the engineers; under the circumstances,
no order could be issued from the bridge.
"After sending the second officer aft, I made a tour of the midship accommodation, including the wireless room, which was afire. The radio operators had successfully escaped aft. I later ascertained that there had been no opportunity to send a wireless message.
"Having satisfied myself that everyone amidships was clear, I went aft. The Geo. H. Jones was settling by the head.
Lifeboat No.4 was in the water and No. 3 boat, which I entered, was being lowered. As the ship was sinking deeper by the head, I ordered the lifeboats to get away and remain in the vicinity. This was about 2 a.m.  As we rowed clear of the vessel, a spotlight was seen playing on the ship's bow, presumably from the submarine in an attempt to read the tanker's name.
"At about 2:30 a.m. the Geo. H. Jones stood upright, bow under, and sank. Around 10 the same morning the lifeboat crews were distributed-22 in No. 4 boat, with the chief officer in charge, and 21 in No.3 boat, under my direction. As previously stat-ed, the propeller for the motor of my lifeboat was broken.
"No. 4 boat had a receiving and transmitting radio set which had been installed by the owners at Newport News in January, 1942. I attribute the rescue of the two lifeboats to this installation, which was permanently fitted into the boat, was completely watertight, and powered by a hand generator. Also, though the set was designed to transmit approximately 150 miles by Morse code and 75 miles by phone, its Morse messages were received at Valencia, Spain, about 600 miles away.
"I also learned later that the messages from No. 4 lifeboat were intercepted by a ship in an outward bound convoy about 150 miles distant. The escort vessel which was detailed to pick up our lifeboats was able to take direction finding bearings on the distress frequency of 500 kilocycles and thereby steer a direct course to the boats.
"At about 8:30 p.m. on June 16, HMS Lulworth, which was seeking the two lifeboats, was sighted. She was firing rockets to attract attention. I burned red flares and smoke floats and at 9 p.m. my boat, with 21 in it, was picked up."

(No official crew list of the Geo. H. Jones was available for this history.  Below is the list of survivors as compiled from payroll records supplied by the owners London agents.)

Survivors of the "Geo. H. Jones"- June 11, 1942 ;

Frederick J. Hewlett
J. D. Elder
Ch. Off.
E. P. Smith
2nd Off.
P. T. Yeandle
3rd Off.
G. Forster
Ch. Engr.
T. F. Thompson
2nd Engr.
S. Tennant
3rd Engr.
E. Buchan
4th Engr.
A. Paulls
5th Engr.
A. M. Arthurs
1st Radio Op.
J. A. McDowall
2nd Radio Op.
A. Gegg
3rd Radio Op.
H. Hicks
Ch. Steward
J. Rogers
Ship' s Cook
F. Taylor
A. Kennedy
G. Evans
D. G. Davies
W. T. Evans
R. Noyes
D. Colman
D. S. Davies
H. C. Lowe
Pump Greaser
D. Haley
C. Wade
 A. Slee
A. McGee
A. Mason
W. Allcroft
H. W. Holford
2nd Steward
S. Jones
2nd Cook
E. R. Vaughan
Deck Hand
H. Waffington
Deck Hand
P. L. Wraight
Deck Hand
J. Nelld
Deck Hand
F. T. Hiscox
Deck Hand
R. Calvert
Deck Hand
F. Pine
Messroom Boy
B. O. Thomas
Cabin Boy
J. D. Sweeney
G. D. Lewis
G. Rowlands
T. B. Williams