Ships of the U.S. Merchant Marine, 1940-1945
SS Paul Hamilton
- Liberty Ship:
- Displacement: 14,250 tons (full load)
- Length: 441'7"
- Beam: 56'11"
- Draft: 27'7"
- Speed: 11 knots
- Cruising radius 17,000 miles
- Armament: 1 5"; 1 3"; 8 20mm
- Complement: 8 officers, 39 men; 29 Naval Armed Guards
- Cargo: Explosives, 500 troops
- Steam reciprocating engines; 2,500 hp
- Built at _____, and commissioned in 1942
- Owned by War Shipping Administration; operated by Black Diamond SS Co.
On 3 April 1944, the Paul Hamilton sailed from Hampton Roads, Virginia, for Italy via Bizerte, Tunisia, in Convoy UGS-38. As the Liberty ships steamed in convoy station #66 or #76, German torpedo planes attacked the convoy. A torpedo struck the Hamilton, and she suffered a tremendous explosion as the cargo detonated. Flames from the blast reached almost 1,000 feet into the air. The remnants of the ship sank in thirty seconds. On board were 8 officers, 39 men, 29 armed guards, and 504 troops. None of these men survived the violent explosion.
Paul Hamilton's tragic end after an aerial torpedo struck her cargo of explosive.
Note the splashes from the debris in the water.
Ships of the U.S. Merchant Marine, 1940-45
HyperWar: The Hypertext History of World War II
April 13, 1998