Monday, March 7, 2016

S/S Finland

Frank Burglechner, his mother and two sisters emigrated from Germany in 1913. They boarded the S/S Finland in Antwerp, Belgium, on 7 June and arrived in New York City on 18 June. The S/S Finland had an interesting career as an ocean liner.  She was built in 1902 by W. Cramp and Sons in Philadelphia for the Red Star Line, a subsidiary of International Mercantile Marine (IMM). She began plying the Antwerp to New York run after she was launched and remained on it for the next seven years. In November 1907 as the ship neared Antwerp, a gale in the English Channel almost drove S/S Finland ashore. The timely assistance of two tugs kept ship from grounding on the breakwater at Dover, England.

On 19 January 1908 Finland collided with the Greek cargo ship S/S Epirus of Terneuzen, Netherlands, sinking Epirus. A year later she was reflagged as a Belgium ship but stayed on the Antwerp-New York route. Three months later she was chartered by the White Star Line, another IMM subsidiary, for three round-trip voyages between Naples and New York.

On 25 December 1910 Finland rammed and sank the S/S Baltique which was anchored in the Flushing Roads, just off the East River near New York City, sheltering from a storm. Six crew were lost from Baltique.

When the United States declared war on the German Empire in 1917, the United States Army needed ships to transport troops to Europe. S/S Finland entered Army service on 2 June 1917. On 28 October as she was returning to the States in a convoy, she was struck on her starboard side by a torpedo. Nine men died in the attack, but Finland was able to return to Brest, France. On 26 April 1918 she was transferred to the U.S. Navy but little changed in terms of her responsibility for transporting troops. She was decommissioned from naval service on 15 November 1919 and transferred back to the Red Star Line.

Workers pose by the torpedo damage to Finland in drydock at Brest, France;
photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

On 28 April 1928 Finland arrived in Blyth, England, to be scrapped by Hughes Bolckow Shipbreaking, Limited.

'S/S Finland Torpedo Damage,' Wikipedia

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