** SS Paul Hamilton Personnel Lost at Sea - 20 Apr 1944 **

This roster was complied by the Casualty Branch, the Adjutant General's Office, Washington, DC - List No. 62 to document the "Personnel Lost at Sea as Result of Ship Sinking During World War II of the Liberty Ship SS Paul Hamilton (Hull No. 0227) off the coast of Algiers, North Africa on 20 Apr 1944

The Liberty Ship SS Paul Hamilton was hit by bombs launched from a German Junker JU-88 aircraft causing it to explode with great violance and it sank immediately. This occurred approximately 30 miles off the Coast of Cape Bengut, Algiers, in the Mediterranean Sea. (1)

The sinking of the SS Paul Hamilton became one of the most costly Liberty Ship disaster, in terms of human life, in all of World War II. The ship was making her fifth voyage, as part of a huge Convoy UGS-38, when she was attacked by 23 German JU-88 dive-bombers near sunset on 20 April 1944.

In addition to her load of U.S. Army Air Corps personnel, she carried a cargo of high explosives and bombs. The German JU-88s dive-bombers came in low and the men on the bridge of the British tanker, Athelchie, watched as it went by. The gunners aboard the Athelchie set the JU-88 on fire, but the aircraft had launched its torpedo less than 150 feet from the SS Paul Hamilton. Immediately after the torpedo hit the Hamilton, a violent explosion threw debris and dense black smoke high in the air. When the smoke cleared, there was no sign of the ship.

During this action with the enemy, other ships in the convey were hit or sunk.

The following ships of Convoy UGS-38 were hit:

The following ships of Convoy UGS-38 were sunk:

During the entire time-period of World War II, a total of 413 merchant ships totaling l,740,250 tons, were sunk in the Mediterranean by enemy action.

There were a total of 504 U.S. Army Personnel aboard the Liberty Ship SS Paul Hamilton. There were no survivors. The remains of only one individual, Second Lieutenant (2LT) Austin A. Anderle, were recovered. The remains of 503 were declared "non-recoverable." (1)

In Oct 1941, the U.S. Navy organized an Armed Guard to provide gun crews for duty aboard the country's 1,375 merchant ships, just as it had done in World War I. The first Armed Guard were given their 3 weeks of training at Little Creek, VA and the first trainees and their officers were ready to sail in Nov 1941, when Congress repealed the Neutrality Act. By war's end, Armed Guard training bases were located throughout the country, and over 144,900 men served on over 6,236 American and Allied ships. Nearly 2,000 of these men gave their lives in defense of their country.

There were 154 men were from the 831st Squadron, U.S. Army Air Corps, aboard when the SS Paul Hamilton.

Total Personnel Aboard

Alpha List

To begin your search of the crew list, click on one of the alphabets letters below:

-- A -- -- B -- -- C -- -- D -- -- E --
-- F -- -- G -- -- H -- -- I -- -- J --
-- K -- -- L -- -- M -- -- N -- -- O --
-- P -- -- Q -- -- R -- -- S -- -- T --
-- U -- -- V -- -- W -- -- Y -- -- Z --

-- Abbrevations --

World War II Casualty Files

If you would like to find information on any World War II casualty, you can order a copy of the "Individual Deceased Personnel 293 File" (IDPF/293) from U.S. Total Army Personnel Command Center.

There are IDPF/293 files for EVERY World War II casualty, ALL branches, i.e., U.S. Army, U.S. Army Air Corps, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. For information related to Merchant Marine Casualties during World War II, contact the U.S. Coast Guard.

Click here for a form letter to order a copy of an IDPF/293 file.


(1) Report of Proceedings of a Board of Officers, Headquarters, 9107 TSU-QMC, American Graves Registration Service, Mediterranean Zone, Rome, Italy, on 17 Jun 1949. Board Members: Major Townsend C. Anderson (O-30195), Major William D. Kirkpatrick (O-419138), Captain Samuel F. Fritz (O-410379), Captain Carroll A. Pinner (O-1736493), Captain Richard H. Tuttle (O-56893), First Lieutenant Carl Hunter (O-1322854), and First Lieutenant Anthony J. Daniels (O-420501). Approved 10 Jun 1949 by Colonel Whitfield W. Watson.


Suggested Reading

Browing, Robert M., U.S. Merchant Vessel War Casualties of World War II. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1996.

Dailey, Franklyn E., Jr., Joining the War at Sea 1939-1945. Wilbraham, MA: Dailey International Publishers, 1998.

Lott, Arnold S., Most Dangerous Sea. New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1966.

Moore, Arthur R., A Careless Word -- A Needless Sinking: A History of the Staggering Losses Suffered by the U.S. Merchant Marine, both in ships and personnel during World War II. Kings Point, NY: American Merchant Marine Museum, 1998. [Note: I personally consider this one of the most important reference and resource books available related to Merchant Marine losses during World War II.]

Created: 3 May 2000 -- Revised: 22 July 2009

Please send any list/name corrections or update information to Lynna Kay Shuffield - e-mail

Copyright 20002009 by: Lynna Kay Shuffield
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222