Military History/Troop ship inquiry.

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Question
Hi Richard,

I stumbled onto this site after trying to find some kind of personal write ups about life aboard a troop ship. I've been doing research on a fighter pilot Lt.Leonard B. Fuller. I have almost all of his letters from the time he enlisted in Oct. of 1942 until his death on 7 July 1944. They read like a diary and are extremely interesting. I'd eventually like to put together some kind of book but that is a long way off. I'm transcribing and sharing with the family as I go along. I'm trying to fill in a few holes about his history. His letters are censored in the week or so before he embarks so I'm not quite sure where he is but I believe it's in NY. (An easy drive home he tells his parents but they won't write him a pass)....His obit. says that he sailed for England on 29 Feb. 1944. Also the 1st letter in England is dated 14 March 1944. Last letter written in the States is 25 Feb. 1944. I read that records for the troop ships were destroyed. Is this true? I would love to know what ship he sailed on. I have a letter on the 25 Jan that says 42nd Fighter Squadron on the return address although later one's don't have this detail listed....(He ended up with the 355FG 357FS stationed at Steeple Morden) Any help or advice would be appreciated. I admire what you are doing and am looking forward to checking this site out further...Thanks! Donna

Answer
Dear Ms. _?__?__?_,
       
       Thank you for your question.  In it you typed "His obit. says that he sailed for England on 29 Feb. 1944."  With all due respect, obituaries are notoriously inaccurate.  What is the source for "29 Feb. 1944"?  The level of grief & sorrow at the time the obituary was compiled?  Having typed that, based upon what you have provided, I have no FACTS as per troop ships departing the New York Port of Embarkation on February 29, 1944.  Based upon sailing date of the troop ship (not when "he sailed for England") the following are the potential voyages:

Departure Date:   March 1, 1944
Departure Location:   New York Port of Embarkation
Troop Ship:   RMS Queen Mary
Arrival Date:   March 7, 1944
Arrival Location:   Gourock, Scotland

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Departure Date:   March 1, 1944
Departure Location:   New York Port of Embarkation
Troop Ships:   RMS Arawa
         SS Santa Cecilia
Arrival Date:   March 12, 1944
Arrival Location:   Liverpool, England

       In your question you typed "the 1st letter in England is dated 14 March 1944."  In my OPINION, based upon what you have typed, the Veteran was a passenger upon either the RMS Arawa or the SS Santa Cecilia.  You indicated that he was a prolific letter writer, arrival date of March 12, 1944, "1st letter from England is dated 14 March 1944."  You also typed that "His obit. says that he sailed for England".  Liverpool is in England, Gourock is in Scotland.  I am a literal type of person.
       In your question you typed "Last letter written in the States is 25 Feb. 1944."  I acknowledge what you have typed.
       In your question you typed "I read that records for the troop ships were destroyed.  Is this true?"  Based upon the way you have typed your question, it is not true.  The record for each individual voyage by a troop ship exist, although not the easiest FACT to obtain.  I have researched off & on, mid 1970's-2008, and on a daily basis 2008 to the present, & I have the FACTS for over 12,400 voyages.  An example, the three voyages I provided you FACTS about in this reply.  What were destroyed were the manifests, indicating what unit &/or individual on each voyage.  The unit portion of what is missing is something I am also researching, with moderate results.
       In your question you typed "He ended up with the 355FG 357FS stationed at Steeple Morden".  Yes, the 357th Fighter Squadron was an organic component to the 355th Fighter Group, 1942-1946.  The 355th Fighter Group, 8th Army Air Force, was stationed at Steeple Morden, England, July 9, 1943-July 2, 1945.  Since the Veteran did not arrived in "England" until March, 1944, he was a replacement to the 355th Fighter Group.  This is not good nor bad, just a simple FACT of history.
       Good Luck with your quest.

  Respectfully,
   Richard V. Horrell
    WW 2 Connections  

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Richard V. Horrell

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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.

Experience

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.

Organizations
AASLH, Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society

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

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

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

Past/Present Clients
Respectfully, I do not disclose the names of the clients I deal with. I have a confidentially agreement with them.

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