EASTER GREETINGS FROM GUNNERY OFFICER TO MEMBERS OF GUN CREW S.S. BARBARA FRITCHIE ON THIS EASTER SUNDAY, I EXTEND YOU GREETINGS! NEARLY 20 CENTURIES AGO, ON THE FIRST EASTER MORNING, THE PRINCE OF PEACE ROSE FROM THE DEAD. WITH THE DAWN OF THAT DAY A WORLD OF DESPAIR WAS GIVEN NEW HOPE. THE CHRIST WHO HAD SUFFERED AND ENDURED UNTOLD TORTURES AND HARDSHIPS, PRIVATIONS AND PERSECUTIONS, FOR THE REDEMPTION OF MANKIND, HAD BROUGHT A RESURRECTION OF CONFIDENCE IN THE FUTURE. ON THIS SACRED DAY I THINK OF YOU, IN A VERY SMALL WAY, AS EPITOMIZING THAT SAME SPIRIT. YOU ARE A NAVY GUN CREW THAT HAS KEPT THE FAITH. YOU HAVE WITH FORTITUDE STOOD YOUR GUNS THROUGH LONG FRIGID HOURS AS THE ENEMY LURKED ONLY A FEW CABLES AWAY, READY TO STRIKE HIS PREY WITH VICIOUS WEAPONS OF DESTRUCTION. DESTRUCTION FROM UNDER THE SEAS; FROM THROUGH THE CLOUDS; OR FROM CAPITAL SURFACE MEN-OF-WAR, SUCH AS THE "VON TERPITZ" WHICH OUR SUPPORTING GROUPS ATTACKED S0 MAGNIFICENTLY AND HEROICLY. YOU HAVE BRAVED THE STORMS OF THE ARTIC OCEAN AND THE BARENTS SEA AS OUR HEAVILY LADEN SHIP HAS PLIED THE TREACHEROUS ICE FIELDS WHERE VIKINGS OF OLD AND COUNTLESS OTHER BOLD SEAMEN OF MORE ADVENTUROUS NATURE THAN YOURS, BUT NONE THE LESS DARING, HAVE LOST THEIR LIVES. BUT YOU HAVE SUCCEEDED, UNDER ALL THE WORST OF NAZI OPPOSITION, OVER THE MOST HAZARDOUS SUPPLY ROUTE IN ALL HISTORY, IN BRINGING TO THE GALLANT AND FREEDOM LOVING RUSSIAN PEOPLE THINGS NEEDED TO CARRY ON THE FIGHT AGAINST DESPOT|SM AND TYRANNY, AND ALL THOSE OTHER ATTRIBUTES OF SIN THAT CHRIST CAME TO THE WORLD TO CONDEMN. AND AS WE SPEND THIS EASTER SUNDAY ON THE BLEAK MURUANSK COAST OF RUSSIAN LAPLAND AND ENROUTE TO A SOVIET CITY FARTHER TO THE EAST LET US MEDITATE THAT THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD IS IN REALITY THE STORY OF TEARS TRANSFORMED INTO TRIUMPHS. YOUR DISCOMFORTS AND HARDSHIPS, ALONG WITH THOSE OF YOUR ASSOCIATES IN ARMS, MAKE POSSIBLE A RESURRECTION OF A NEW, A BRIGHT, HAPPY WORLD, AND MY PRAYER IS THAT YOU MAY SEE THIS WORLD LIVE AGAIN, REDEEMED AND AT PEACE. LT. NORMAN MEANS WILKINSON COMMANDING OFFICER (NOW DECEASED)
Information - Our purpose is to locate World War II veterans who served in the US Naval Armed Guard as gunners, signalmen and radiomen aboard merchant ships, and to add them to our database and give them newsletters and shipmate listings and other services at no cost.
The US Navy Armed Guard WWII Veterans Association was formed by C.A. Lloyd, who became Chairman of the organization. Mr. Lloyd continues to be Chairman to this date. The Association issues a quarterly newsletter called "The Pointer." Reunions are held periodically.
If you were in the US Navy during World War II and served aboard a merchant ship as a gunner, radioman, signalman or perhaps even as a coxswain or boatswain, please read this. If you have a friend or relative in the above category, please contact him and come back and provide the data requested.
The Armed Guard was established to protect merchant ships from enemy submarines, ships and aircraft. The Armed Guard totalled 144,970 men during World War II. They served on 6,236 merchant ships, of which 710 were sunk and many, many more damaged. More than 80,000 Armed Guards served in the fleet as the war slowed down, manning guns on LSTs, LCIs, etc.
Many Armed Guards were killed outright or died from exposure in lifeboats, freezing water or blistering sun. Many members, perhaps most, had never seen an ocean before joining the Navy and being assigned to the Armed Guard. They had to be in excellent health to be accepted as almost none of their ships had doctors aboard. They stood watches four hours on and four hours off around the clock and some of the off time was spent maintaining weapons, painting, cleaning, etc.
We have accumulated a database of about 13,000, including some merchant mariners who were interested. We have a list of ships served on by many of those veterans and we have a computer program that will search the database and print a report showing matches of your ships with all other ships in the database. The report is free and may be requested as frequently as you want it.
Contact information for the Chairman:
Chairman, US Navy Armed Guard Veterans
115 Wall Creek Drive
Rolesville, NC 27571
This is the information needed on Armed Guard veterans:
Phone Number, including area code
List of ships served on, if known
Dates served aboard each ship, if known
Navy Service Number, if known
If you have e-mail access, click on the envelope above and send a message with the information included. If not, send mail to Mr. Lloyd or just call him. If you do not remember your ship names or dates served aboard, no problem. We can provide forms you can send to the National Archives in St. Louis and they will send you complete data on every ship you served aboard. They will also send you a set of any medals you earned during the war.
Come on folks - if you are an Armed Guard veteran, join today. If you know someone you think may be an Armed Guard veteran, contact them and get them to send the data to us. It will be nice to get a list of names and addresses of people who may have been a shipmate - someone you have not seen for more than 60 years. We have been instrumental in getting people together many, many times - and they had a real ball!