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Alex Smart 23rd October 2019 04:07

SS. Samuel J.Tilden, December 2nd, 1943

Seeking names of the 27 lost with the SS.Samuel J.Tilden on December 2nd, 1943.
10 crew. [ full crew were 41 ].
14 US Servicemen
3 UK Servicemen.

So far I have -
Chernick, Peter A. - 3rd Engineer - Z-407179.
Boczek, John J. Fireman/Waterman - Z-355356.
Aponte, Juan E. 1st Engineer - Z-090017.
Alvarado, Delfin 2nd Engineer - Z-055700.
Allison, Orin C. Fireman/Waterman - Z-302265.
Brown, Fred W. Newsman - Z-007702.
Tone, Francis B. - Engineer Cadet.
Not 100% certain but the Crew number losses is 10.

Perhaps the remaining three Crewmen are in the following list -
Sicily-Rome American Cemetery,
US Merchant Marine.
Couillard, Joseph P - Merchant Seaman - Z-096606.
Dickinson, William C. - Merchant Seaman - Z-191481.
Fontnette, Richard (NMI) - Merchant Seaman - Z-167381.
Gagliardi, Joseph (NMI) - Merchant Seaman - Z-153385.
Gillette, Robert M. - Merchant Seaman - Z-054167.
Holland, Donald H. - Merchant Seaman - O-147865.
Mauricio, Eugenio - Merchant Seaman - Z-168195.
Misinonile, Louis J. - Merchant Seaman - Z-375236.
O'Brien, Patrick (NMI) - Merchant Seaman - Z-069546.
Otremba, Frank J. - Merchant Seaman - Z-042641.

14 US Servicemen
Have 4 USAAF - 2 are certain, with 2 others, 99% sure.
DiMaggio, Donato (NMI) - Sgt - 32197392 - (99%).
Eslich, John M. - M/Sgt - 07025856 - (100%).
Murrell, Oscar H. - M/Sgt - 5081644 - (100%).
Schuster, Francis B. Jr - S/Sgt - 11046248 - (99%).
Do not know if the others were also USAAF or Army or Navy.

3 UK Servicemen
There are some possibilities, two groups of 3 but can see no connection to a ship ?

Thanks for any help

Leendert 23rd October 2019 19:59

Re: SS. Samuel J.Tilden, December 2nd, 1943
You can (also) find most of the names of the Merchant Marine men here:


Leendert 23rd October 2019 20:05

Re: SS. Samuel J.Tilden, December 2nd, 1943
On this list no USN casualties linked to SS Samuel J. Tilden:


Alex Smart 24th October 2019 01:42

Re: SS. Samuel J.Tilden, December 2nd, 1943
Hello Leendert,

Not all the crew names or ship's name seem to be in the list's?
Six names of ten given in one list but nil in the other as far as I could see.
Thanks though saved my trawling through (slow machine) the lists.
Thank you,

RSwank 29th October 2019 12:34

Re: SS. Samuel J.Tilden, December 2nd, 1943

This link gives the name of Francis Bernard Tone as being lost on the "Samuel J Tilden".

With your list of six this would apparently be a 7th casualty.

Here is a complete story:

Alex Smart 29th October 2019 14:34

Re: SS. Samuel J.Tilden, December 2nd, 1943
Thank you Rolland,

Your link gives a survivors name , so 12 of the 41 crew now known :) Captain was Joseph L. Blair.
Adds another name, three lost crewmen still to find.
Also More US servicemen and the three British Servicemen .
Some 200 "passengers" were on board . So the losses were thankfully few .


Leendert 11th November 2019 16:56

Re: SS. Samuel J.Tilden, December 2nd, 1943
On the DPAA Missing Lists you can find additional names for US Army and USAAF soldiers.


Alex Smart 30th November 2019 03:13

Re: SS. Samuel J.Tilden, December 2nd, 1943
Hello Patricia,
Many thanks for your information. It is of great help.
I am trying to assertain the names of all who were lost . The reason is that my interest is those US Airmen who were on board, also the British servicemen who were lost. Of all passengers, it would look like not all of the US Airmen on board were killed. Only reference to the British was that three were killed. Total British on board would also be a great find.
Sadly I am not an author so no book from me but I could not agree more, the story of this loss should be made known as it looks like a bit of a "fowl up" by all accounts :(
Thank you for contacting me, Your help is much appreciated.

For some reason,unknown to me I was unable to respond to your private message, so posted my reply here.
Again my thanks.

Darius 21st February 2020 10:07

Re: SS. Samuel J.Tilden, December 2nd, 1943
US Merchant Vessel War Casualities Of World War II gives:
Crew: 8 officers, 3 men
armed guards: 28 men
passengers: 209 troops.

crew: 3 officers, 7 men
passengers: 17.



Darius 21st February 2020 10:22

Re: SS. Samuel J.Tilden, December 2nd, 1943
Maybe of interest:

[...] The Samuel J. Tilden was not as fortunate as the Louis Hennepin. Captain Blair and his crew had done everything they could to save the bombed merchant ship, but it was not enough. The Samuel J. Tilden had been anchored approxi- mately two miles out in the harbor, since she had arrived from Taranto, Italy, carrying U.S. and British military passen- gers and loaded with supplies shortly before the German bombers struck. Fly, the technical sergeant assigned to the 376th Bomb Group personnel being transported to Bari by the Samuel J. Tilden, had been watching C-47s make their landing approaches directly over the ship ever since they had arrived in the harbor so it was quite a shock when the Ju-88s began dropping bombs. He had thought the roar of their engines indicated more C-47s heading for the Bari airport at the outskirts of the city. So did most of the personnel of the Twenty-six General Hospital who were aboard the ship. Lieutenant John H. Adamson, Jr., heard the engines and turned to Leo Kaczmarczyk.[...]



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