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Military History/USAT Uruguay 12 Feb 1942


QUESTION: Dear Mr. Horrell,
I have questions regarding the USAT Uruguay and her passage from the USA to North Africa in February through March of 1943.

My father was on board the Uruguay as a member of the US Army,302nd Ordnance Battalion.

I am aware of the collision with the USS Salamonie on 12 February 1943 and the limping to Bermuda for repairs.  Dad had stories of the collision, photos, postcards, military leave papers, and souvenirs from Bermuda for the right dates. I have found good information regarding the collision online.

Do you find any record that shows whether USAT Uruguay sailed from
Hampton roads, VA or New York on 8 February 1943?
Hampton Roads, VA seems more likely as dad was last based at Camp Picket, Blackstone, VA.  I do have letters from Camp Picket but none from NY.

Do you show any record that confirms that USAT Uruguay went on to Casablanca, Morocco after the repair in Bermuda, rather than back to NY or VA.  I assume the troops went on to North Africa on the Uruguay but I suppose they could have been transferred to a different ship at Bermuda for the Africa passage.

I show dad was in Bermuda as late as 14 March and was in North Africa by 15 April 1943.

Thank You

ANSWER: Dear Sir,
       Thank you for your question.  Also, THANK YOU for referring to me as "Mr. Horrell".  Good manners NEVER go out of style.
       In your question you typed "Did you find any record that shows whether USAT Uruguay sailed from Hampton roads, VA or New York on 8 February 1943?"  That is a question that I, myself, have been researching for two years.  Convoy UGF.5 departed the New York Port of Embarkation on February 8, 1943.  However, that does not mean every ship in Convoy UGF.5 departed the New York Port of Embarkation.  Convoy UGF.5 was a LARGE, troop transport convoy, so the odds are the troops ships sailed from both the NY P of E & the Hampton Roads, VA P of E.  
       In your question you typed "Hampton Roads, VA seems more likely as dad was last based at Camp Picket [sic], Blackstone, VA.  I do have letters from Camp Picket [sic] but none from NY."  That is good evidence to lean toward the Hampton Roads P of E.  However, I know of units (small ones) at Camp Pickett, waiting to depart from the Hampton Roads P of E, that at the last minute were ordered onto a troop train to the New York P of E so that they could board another troop transport ship.  Wound up in the same convoy, but a different troop ship.
       In your question you typed "Do you show any record that confirms that USAT Uruguay went on to Casablanca, Morocco".  Yes.  What I would be VERY interested in are the first set of dates, horizontally, in Box #36 on page two of your father's Discharge Documents.  By the way, elements of the 6th General Hospital were also onboard the SS Uruguay.
       My apology for not providing you with the answers to my satisfaction.  But there are now at least two of us researching for these FACTS, so maybe we will get to the bottom of this yet!  LOL

   Richard V. Horrell
    WW 2 Connections
     211 Union St.   #611
      Nashville   TN   37201-1502

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello Mr. Horrell,

The information from box 36 is as follows:
Date of Departure, 8 Feb 43
Destination, EAMET
Date of Arrival, 18 Mar 43

Date of Departure, 4 Oct 45
Destination, USA
Date of Arrival, 12 Oct 45

The 18 March 43 arrival date at what I believe to be the port at Casablanca, Morocco, seems to match some arrival dates I have seen online, but it does make me question my two telegrams that feel sure must have come from Bermuda just before my father left Bermuda.

Perhaps you can shed some light on these telegrams.  

The first has a stamped date of 1943 MAR 13 AM 10 28.
The first line of the data contained on the strips of paper,(which I think has to do with the sending location) is: DK71 (27 61 44) CABLE=AMAGUG.

The second telegram has a stamped date of 1943 MAR AM 2 48.
The first line of data on the strips is:  NA55 (71 16 32) CABLE=AMAGUG NFD.

Both were sent to my mother in Dallas, TX by my father, from an unknown location. I have researched online but have been unable to find the coded location or acronym AMAGUG.

The reason the dates trouble me is that the four days between 14-18 March is insufficient time for the passage from Bermuda to Casablanca.
I wonder if the dates on the telegrams have to do with the date of delivery in Dallas and if there might have been a built-in delay of several days due to the war time conditions.

I have found information online that seems to indicate that the Uruguay was one of the ships in Convoy UGF.5 that sailed from New York rather than Virginia. The information is found in a section of the webpage about the 6th General hospital, "Movement Overseas & Staging".

"Late afternoon the groups embarked from Pier No. 13 on six different ships of a convoy of 50 carrying over 50,000 people preparing to sail. Destination was unknown, but a likely guess was either Great Britain or North Africa. The journey at sea was relatively unexciting, except for a group of 4 Officers and 24 Nurses aboard the USAT “Uruguay” which was involved in a collision with the USS “Salamonie” (Tanker AO-26) at 0102 hours, 12 February, and had to return to St. George, Bermuda, for repairs – they only rejoined the 6th GH on 18 March."

Among my father's USAT Uruguay items is an old yellowed paper on which is printed the poem "Convoy" by Cynthia Holt. Cynthia was an Army nurse who was also on-board the USAT Uruguay.  Her name is found in a list of nurses further down in the unit history.  

A recent obituary for Cynthia (Holt)Cummings tells a little more about her experience on the Uruguay.
She is also said to have discussed the Uruguay in her book of poetry "Christmas Treasure".  I have just purchased the book on-line and should have it in a week or so.

There is also another account of medical personnel moving from Camp Pickett to the staging area at Camp Kilmer, Stelton, New Jersey and on the New York Port of Embarkation.  This movement might have been the same as my father's unit experienced.

Thank you for your help!


Dear Sir,
       Thank you for your follow-up.  As to your father's return to the USA in October 1945:

Departure Date:   October 4, 1945
Departure Location:   Marseilles, France
Troop Ship:   USS General M.C. Meigs  AP-116
Arrival Date:   October 12, 1945
Arrival Location:   Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation
    via the Straits of Gibraltar

       As to the March 18, 1943 date for the SS Uruguay arriving at Casablanca, Morocco.  I can find nothing else to confirm the date, but I do not doubt its accuracy.  I just like to double & triple check.
       I have no knowledge as to the acronym "AMAGUG".  The rest of the content of your follow-up indicates you are at the same place as I am with my research, you may be a bit beyond me.  You are to be commended.
       If you are ever able to confirm the date & location the SS Uruguay arrived at a port on the North African continent, P-L-E-A-S-E share the FACTS with me?

   Richard V. Horrell
    WW 2 Connections
     211 Union St.   #611
      Nashville   TN   37201-1502  

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Richard V. Horrell


Can answer: World War Two. Specifically, the troop transport ships that took US Military Personnel overseas & returned them to the US, 1941-47. Also, unit history of US Army QM, Signal, MP, Ordnance, Medical, Transportation & Engineer units that served during WW 2. The more obscure units are my specialty. If you have the APO that a Veteran sent letters from or received letters at, I can look up the history of that APO.


A lifelong study of WW 2, including participation as a WW 2 Re-enactor, 1980-2002. Also, interviewing over 400 WW 2 Veterans about their role in WW 2.

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Over 800 Profiles that I have written for client's about their loved one's role in WW 2.

BA, History & Political Science (19th & 20th Century European History) Webster University, Webster Groves, MO.

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Assisting the National Archives on numerous occasions during the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of WW 2, 1991-95.

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