SS White Clover Mariners Awarded Medals by King George VI for Gallantry
Odlin - Maritime 60
WAR SHIPPING ADMNISTRATION
For Wednesday Afternoon Papers
January 12, 1944
Cleared and Issued
Through Facilities of the
Office of War Information
Super-seamanship, in a grim game of tag with aerial torpedoes, saved the American merchant steamer WHITE CLOVER when it was subjected to mass attack while on convoy to Russia, the War Shipping Administration disclosed today. So brilliant was the winning of the game that four members of the crew and the commander of the Navy armed guard received recognition for gallantry from King George VI of Great Britain.
It was while proceeding from a United Kingdom port to North Russia, reports Captain J. W. Lintlom, whose home is at 5333 Prytania Street, New Orleans, La., that the WHITE CLOVER found itself in the midst of a concentrated attack by Heinckels. Three of the torpedo-shooting planes singled out the 23-year-old American ship as their particular target in the convoy. It escaped some of the missiles by inches.
"The aircraft converged on the vessel from astern," related Captain Lintlom, “flying at an altitude lower than the ship's mast and launching five torpedoes. The torpedoes were first observed approaching from the starboard quarter. The ship was swung 'hard left' rudder sufficiently to clear the first torpedo by 50 feet and the next by a much smaller margin by the stern.
"At this time another torpedo was approaching on the starboard side at a very small angle and two more were observed on the port quarter. Course was altered, to bring the two approaching from the port quarter to starboard and the vessel was steadied up parallel to the track of the torpedoes.
Captain Lintlom said the torpedoes were dropped from 300 to 500 yards distant from the WHITE CLOVER.
The master's report concludes:
"I am proud to report that during this concentrated attack my naval gun crew as well as the ship's personnel, who helped to man the guns, carried on in a manner that would gladden the heart of any old sea-dog. One of the attacking planes unable to veer off or to gain altitude, was compelled to fly between the second and third columns. It was filled so full of lead that the sheer weight of it caused it to drop in flames off our port bow. Another plane veered by the stern, making a sharp bank about 100 feet away. It also was filled with lead and although it managed to keep flying at that time it is very doubtful whether it ever reached home."
The WHITE CLOVER's log shows the ship was under air attack on four other days of that week and in the final onslaught the starboard forward rigging was shot away.
The men whose awards for gallantry and good. services were approved by King George, and their home addresses, were:
- Harley O. Ovens, third mate, of Lemarque, Tex., Distinguished Service Cross.
- Olav T. Odden, able seaman, 14 Willetts Avenue, Hempstead, Long Island, Distinguished Service Medal.
- Vaughn Scott, second assistant engineer, 17 Forrest Street, South Orleans, Mass., "Mention-in-Despatches."
- Jared Scott Smith, radioman, Windblown Farm, Spring Valley, Pa., "Mention-in-Despatches.
- Lieutenant Boyd B. Upchurch, USNR, commander of the armed guard, R.F,D. Route 8, Atlanta., Ga., "Mention-in-Despatches."
The WHITE CLOVER, 5,462 gross tons, freighter, was built in 1920 at the J. F. Duthie shipyard, Seattle, Wash. At the time of its aerial torpedo adventures it was operated for the War Shipping Administration by Lykes Bros. Steamship Company, Inc. of New Orleans.
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