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Sen. Brewster Observes 68th Anniversary of the Sinking of the S.S. McKeesport
On April 27, 2011
HARRISBURG, April 27, 2011 — The state Senate today unanimously adopted Sen. Jim Brewster’s resolution recognizing the 68th anniversary of the sinking of the S.S. McKeesport.
Nazi submarines torpedoed and sank the freighter on its return trip to America on April 29, 1943. The sinking launched one of the most violent North Atlantic battles of World War II.
The ship’s crew stood by their guns until ordered to abandon ship. One crewman died. The sinking launched a sea battle that lasted several weeks and in which 47 German U-boats were sunk. It marked the first victory of military convoy escorts over U-boats.
“The S.S. McKeesport will always be a great source of pride to McKeesport residents – and all Americans,” Brewster said. “It is important to continue to recognize the S.S. McKeesport and its contributions during World War II.”
There is a memorial to the ship located at McKees Point Marina on 5th Avenue and Water Streets across from the Palisades. A rededication ceremony has been scheduled for this Friday, April 29, at 11 a.m.
The freighter, first launched in 1919, was pressed into military service during World War II. The ship had its finest moment in 1940 when it was used to deliver $1 million in emergency food supplies to refugees who had fled the advancing German army in Marseilles, France. The delivery prevented more than one million people from starving to death.
The Brewster resolution recognizes the sinking, those who served on board and those who bravely took part in the rescue mission.
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