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Wendell R. Benson

S.S. Steel Advocate
Bay of Bengal, India, 1952

Note... The following is a personal account of sailing aboard the S.S. Steel Advocate:
I first joined her on 2/28/52. President Truman had called me to active duty in the NAVY even tho I was in the inactive reserve from Oct 50 thru Jan 52 because of the Korean War. One month after my Naval discharge I was able to get assigned to this ship.

The ship was owned by the United States Steel Corp. There were approximately 24 ships in the fleet and all names started with "Steel" The divisions actual name was "Isthmian Steamship Corp"

If you look around the internet you can probably find info about the ships which were all "C3" type. We started World War II with the Liberty ships, then Victory ships, C1, C2, C3, and C4 classes of vessels. C3 type vessels were well liked because of their size, quality of shipboard amenities and speed which was generally 16 knots as opposed to the slow (7.5 knot) Liberty type ships. I left this ship for the final time 6/26/56. I sometimes would take a trip off (approximately 4 months) and sometimes just for the amount of time the ship would spend discharging and reloading for another trip along the USA coast.

My mother passed away in Sept 52 as we started our homebound trip from Calcutta and we were in the Bay of Bengal en route to Colombo Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and I took a trip off when we arrived in the states and I also took another trip off in 55 when I got married.

Another time we had a good 70 day run between the gulf and east coast USA to Hawaii spending 14 days in Hawaii each trip. Unfortunately this came to an end when another company ship broke down and we had to take its "slot" whose trip was scheduled for India.

This photo was taken in the 50's on one of our trips. It was taken by a professional photographer and the original is 7 1/2 x 9 1/2. Location was "Visakhapatnam" India which if you look in an atlas is on the Bay of Bengal midway between Madras and Calcutta.

Wendell Benson
Note... During World War II, Wendell spent 3 years and 2 months in the US Navy, mostly assigned to the Naval Armed Guard as radio operator on civilian merchant ships.

The information and photos on this page are courtesy of Wendell R. Benson 2004.
All rights reserved.

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