Disaster struck in the early morning hours of October 31, "The Sinking of the Reuben James" is a song by Woody Guthrie about the sinking of the U. S. convoy escort USS Reuben James, which was the first U. S. naval ship sunk by German U-boats in World War II. - Johnny Horton Makes History - on COLUMBIA Records in 1960. Gone in an instant,” recalled electrician’s mate Thomas Turnbull. On February 16, 1804, James, a boatswain’s mate, stood on the deck of the USS Philadelphia in Tripoli as Barbary pirates struck. G C G Then a whine and a rock and a great explosion roared G D G And they laid the Reuben James … The ship named for James, the USS Reuben James, was a four-stack destroyer, commissioned in 1920. After John Ryan, 43, joined the Navy after his son, John Jr., died on the Reuben James. There are moments in military history that forever alter the flow of human events. There have been countless thousands of published works devoted to all or of it. Fast-emerging British singer, songwriter and pianist Reuben James’ virtuoso jazz techniques and soulful, evocative voice have led him to be widely regarded as one the most exciting and creatively assured artists to have emerged in recent years. The ship was escorting an allied convoy near Iceland. (The Reuben James was the first U.S. naval ship sunk by German U-boats in World War II.) This page has photos and a slideshow of the USS Reuben James DD-245 and German U-552 that sunk her. In Boston harbor, the Navy held a memorial service on the deck of the USS Constitution (“Old Ironsides”), a ship well known to sailor Reuben James, as the families of the lost seamen looked on with “tear-stained, tight-lipped faces.” Six women, led by Almeda Edwards, “tossed flowers on the ebbing tide and even as they did the sun broke through the thick clouds and bathed the wreaths in its pale light,” the Associated Press reported. There have been countless thousands of published works devoted to all or of it. Although the United States was still offi- cially neutral, Congress had enacted the Lend-Lease Act in March 1941 to help Great Britain survive. “Choking on oil and water, they are like small animals caught in molasses,” artist Coale wrote. Although not the first U.S. Navy ship torpedoed before the war, the Reuben James was the first one lost. U.S. Navy ships helped escort the convoys bringing Lend-Lease goods to England. The Reuben James was one of five destroyers escorting the convoy’s more than 50 merchant ships, many of which flew the Union Jack. The Sinking Of The Reuben James Words and Music by Woody Guthrie. The act permitted President Franklin D. Roosevelt to sell, lend, or lease munitions, aircraft, weapons, and military supplies to “the government of any country whose defense the President deems vital to the defense of the United States.” Great Britain was one of those countries. The Sinking Of The Reuben James:Johnny Horton. Others were torn apart.”. #1. To her crew, she was affectionately known as “Ol’ Rube.”. Convoy duty was hazardous and becoming more so by the day. Aboard USS Reuben James (DD 245) when hit on 31 Oct 1941 Some did rally to the flag, however. In Portland, Maine, where about half the crew lived, the wives of 40 crew members—“red-eyed and listless, after hours of vigil with little sleep”— awaited news of their husbands. When the destroyer USS Reuben James (DD-245) was assigned to convoy duty in the North Atlantic in the autumn of 1941, its crew had a sense of foreboding and feared the worst. Woody Guthrie had started to write a song including each name on the casualty list of the sinking. some American sailors, World War II began before December 7, 1941. Reuben James (FFG-57), an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate There are two songs with the title Reuben James: 1. It changed the world more than any other single event in history. When a sword-wielding pirate attacked Lieutenant Stephen Decatur, James is said to have jumped in front of Decatur and taken the blow meant for him. WWII Quarterly, the hardcover journal of the Second World War that is not available in bookstores or on newsstands, and can only be obtained and collected through a personal subscription through the mail. The Reuben James appeared in The Hunt For Red October, and the Reuben James was the first ship to find Soviet Submarine Captain Marko Raimius and his crew of defectors. A New York Times editorial said that the sinking “brushes away the last possible doubt that the United States and Germany are now at open war in the Atlantic.” “Worse than piracy,” proclaimed Navy Secretary Frank Knox, and Senator Alben Barkley of Kentucky accused the Germans of trying “to drive us off the seas, and I don’t believe the American people are ready to be driven off.” Senator George Aiken of Vermont, however, said that Roosevelt was “personally responsible for whatever lives may have been lost” because he had ordered convoy duty. We also have a detailed page on the American destroyer USS Reuben James (DD 245).. bound for Great Britain carrying war materials from our "Arsenal of Democracy." On April 2, 1942, the same U-boat—U-552— sank the SS David H. Atwater, an unescorted collier, off the coast of Virginia. My two Uncles died on board when the ship was sunk. When Neda Boyd, wife of machinist’s mate Solon Boyd, heard the news on the radio, she “froze in the chair.” She felt a sense of doom because, when last home, her husband had told her, “I’m afraid we won’t be back this time.” Their six-year-old daughter heard the name of her dad’s ship on the radio and wept inconsolably. AUTHOR: Words: Woody Guthrie & Pete Seeger w. the Almanac Singers EARLIEST DATE: November, 1941 The USS Reuben James was a battleship that was torpedoed by a German submarine on Halloween of 1941, becoming the first US ship sunk in World War II. Reuben James (DD-245), a four-stack Clemson-class destroyer 2. 1941. She flew the Stars and Stripes of the land of the free But tonight she's in her grave at the bottom of the sea Her skipper was Lt. Cmdr. Word of the Reuben James sinking quickly reached the United States, but details were few. James was torpedoed and sunk with the loss of 115 of 160 crewmen, Woody Guthrie had started to write a song including each name on the casualty list of the sinking. D C G Did you have a friend on that good Reuben James Verse 3 G G D G It was there in the dark of that uncertain night G D G That we watched for the U-boats and waited for the fight. Like many others, she received the dreaded news through a telegram from “C.W. It is considered the first American naval casualty of WWII. On November 2, Almeda Edwards, wife of Lt. Cmdr. Roosevelt’s logic was simple: “If you see a rattlesnake poised to strike, you do not wait until he has struck before you crush him.”. Germany defended the attack. (Luckily, Boyd survived). I love that song! On October 17, 1941, a U-boat torpedoed the USS Kearny (DD-432) as she escorted a 50-ship convoy. The United States was still neutral, at least officially, but neutrality offered little solace—or protection. This song is about the Reuben James, an American destroyer that was sunk by a German U-Boat in October 1941, two months before the US joined the war. “You can’t expect to walk into a barroom brawl and hope to stay out of the fight,” he said. The aft part of the ship remained afloat for about five minutes. But there’s NEVER been anything like THIS before. INTRO: D G What were their names, tell me, what were their E names? She flew the Stars and Stripes of the land of the free But tonight she's in her grave at the bottom of the sea. Patrick Reuben James (* um 1776 in Sleaford; 3. "shooting war.". Coordinates. One had been demolished by the torpedo; the other could not be lowered into the water because of the steep angle of the sinking ship. the latter part of 1941, U.S. Navy ships provided escorts for convoys A D Did you have a friend on the Good Reuben James? Chorus: "What were their names, tell me what were their names/Did you have a friend on the good Reuben James?" Because German U-boats (submarines) considered all ships in the convoys My analysis was of the song “The Sinking of the Reuben James” by Woody Guthrie. Three warships of the Navy have been named Reuben James in his honor: As a result, several of us local boys enlisted in the Navy,” said Farris Burton, one of those who joined up. U-boat U-552 fired a torpedo at the ammunition ship, and inadvertently hit the Reuben James, sinking the US ship with the loss of 100 of the 144 men aboard the ship. Now the USS Reuben James became the first United States warship to be sunk as a result of hostile action in World War II. The presence of the escort destroyers may have saved the crew of the Reuben James from even greater casualties. “The incident stirred up emotions in our hometown. “Some were knocked unconscious. The Royal Canadian Navy escorted the convoys to a point off Newfoundland. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill cabled Roosevelt that he “grieved at the loss of life you have suffered with Reuben James.” In her daily newspaper column, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt wrote that she could not “help but think of every one of the 120 men and their families, who are anxiously awaiting news.” The Russian newspaper Pravda praised the United States for having “taken its fighting post,” and the London Daily Mail predicted that the United States was “marching down the last mile to a declaration of war.”. Reuben After the news of the sinking reached America, many concerned people wrote letters to the Navy to find out the fate of friends or loved ones. He said he was “itching to get a crack at” the German Navy. While on leave, boatswain’s mate Frederick Post had a drink with a friend and predicted it would be the last drink they would ever have together. Sadly, most of the country ignored the sinking. Young men in Logan County, West Virginia, home of lost sailor George Woody, sought revenge. In connection with the list of the survivors and the list of those lost on the Reuben James, which was recently forwarded, all survivors of the Reuben James disaster have reported to this Receiving Ship with the exception of THOMPSON, James C., Sea.2c., USN, 300-43-32, and TURNBULL, Thomas P., E.M.2c., USN, 223-53-96, both of whom were seriously injured. The Sinking of the Reuben James is a folk song written by Woody Guthrie about the ship Reuben James (DD-245) and her sinking while on convoy duty shortly before the U.S. entered World Wa… Reuben James (DE-153), a Buckley-class destroyer escort 3. "The Sinking Of The Reuben James" Have you heard of a ship called the good Reuben James Manned by hard fighting men both of honor and fame? Acting with “cold precision,” the ships and their crews rescued the few survivors. before the war, the Reuben James was the first one lost. Germany and Great Britain had been at war for two years. The Kearny, a modern ship commissioned in 1940, survived the attack and reached port, but 11 sailors were killed and 22 more were injured. As dawn broke on the 31st she was torpedoed by U-552 commanded by Erich Topp, who was to become the third most successful U Boat captain of the war. In response, Roosevelt ordered the Navy to shoot on sight any Axis warship found in waters “the protection of which is necessary for American defense.” The North Atlantic came within the scope of this order. As the crew abandoned ship, U-552 raked them with machine-gun fire, killing all but three of the 27 men. The pretext was that the Navy was helping to supply American troops stationed in Iceland. Nearby ships rushed in to save the survivors. “I know I got picked up pretty quick,” said William Bergstresser, a chief machinist’s mate. Of course, the Soviet Sailors who stood on her Foc'sle were'nt really Soviets, they were Reuben James crewmembers. The target – Reuben James – was decommissioned in 2013 after 27 years of service, which included convoy duty during the Iran-Iraq War and a nine month deployment in 2002 and 2003. XHTML: You can use these tags:
. Times when the very landscape appears to shift. Japanese officials were strangely silent. Nimitz, Chief of Bureau of Navigation.”. She was 314 feet long, 30 feet in the beam, and capable of speeds of up to 33 knots. On the Reuben James, torpedoman Robert Howard recalled, “All you had was a pair of binoculars and a rubber ear to press against the skin of the ship to listen for [submarine] screw noises.”. She was armed with four 4-inch guns in her main battery, torpedo tubes, depth charges, and numerous antiaircraft weapons. On September 4, 1941, a German U- boat attacked the destroyer USS Greer (DD-145) as she steamed alone toward Iceland. Sadly, most of the country ignored the sinking. She was armed with four 4-inch guns in her main battery, torpedo tubes, depth charges, and numerous antiaircraft weapons. As for a declaration of war, the New York Times noted, “The people, their Representatives in Congress and even many high officials of the government are deeply divided on the subject.” Rather than spark enlistments, Navy enlistments declined 15 percent in November 1941, something officials attributed to the loss of life on the Reuben James. Corbin Dyson and Charles Harris. At daybreak, she was about 600 miles west of Ireland and “blacked out to avoid reflection in the inquisitive monocles of U-boat periscopes,” as Newsweek put it. On October 23, 1941, U.S. Navy destroyer USS Reuben James left Newfoundland to escort a convoy bound for Britain. Have you heard of a ship called the good Reuben James Manned by hard fighting men both of honor and fame? The Reuben James carried only two lifeboats and they were now useless. Those who survived the blast jumped into the frigid water. Kingston Trio - Sinking of the Reuben James Lyrics. Rescuers heard “cursing, praying, and hoarse shouts for help” from sailors struggling to stay alive. This is a listing of people associated with this ship. As the survivors struggled to stay afloat, unsecured depth charges from the Reuben James hit the water as the ship sank. World events soon pushed the Reuben James to the side. of friends or loved ones. Although not the first U.S. Navy ship torpedoed It appears it was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Country Music. Five weeks later, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Congress declared war on Japan, and Germany declared war on the United States. This subterfuge was necessary because of isolationist sentiment in Congress, but it fooled few, least of all the German Navy. Heywood L. “Tex” Edwards, a 1926 Naval Academy graduate and a member of the 1928 U.S. Olympic wrestling team. But it didn’t seem quick. By escorting British ships, a German official said, the Reuben James became fair game: “Anybody walking along the railroad tracks at night should not be surprised if they get run over by an express train.” Senator Gerald P. Nye of North Dakota seemed to agree. “The water was so cold it would kill you in no time. In the annals of military history magazines, this is one of those moments. Forty-three years earlier, the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana harbor had led to an outcry for war, but the sinking of the Reuben James did not spark the same reaction. While news of the sinking arrived quickly, word on the fate of the crew took several days longer. song immediately after the incident: Tell me, what were their names? Edwards, wrote to her husband, “It has been two days and still no one has told me that you are coming back to me. Have you heard of the ship, called the good Reuben James Run by hard fighting men, both of honor and fame She flew the stars and stripes for to the Navy to find out the fate “If it hadn’t been for those depth charges, we probably would have had another 40 or 50 survivors,” recalled Fireman Second Class George Giehrl. “Hitler’s torpedo,” Roosevelt said, “was directed at every American,” but America did not go to war over this act of war. Roosevelt did not break off diplomatic relations with Germany, and he stayed away from the bellicose rhetoric he had used after the Greer and Kearny attacks. Reuben James was torpedoed by the Nazis off the coast of Iceland in late October , killing 86 and wounding 44, Woody was inspired to write a ballad about the incident. Deadly German U-boats were prowling the North Atlantic and feasting on Allied shipping. "Sinking Of The Reuben James" What were their names, tell me what were their names Did you have a friend on the Good Reuben James Have you heard of a ship called that good Reuben James Stand by hard fighting men both of honor and fame She flew the stars and stripes of the land of the free "The Sinking of the Reuben James" is a song by Woody Guthrie about the sinking of the U.S. convoy escort USS Reuben James, which was the first U.S. naval ship sunk by German U-boats in World War II. During Have you heard of a ship called the good Reuben James Manned by hard fighting men both of honor and fame? including all officers. Lyrics to 'The Sinking Of The Reuben James' by Woody Guthrie. The Greer dodged two torpedoes and counterattacked with depth charges. Dezember 1838 in Washington, D.C.) war ein Boatswain's mate der United States Navy, der für eine angebliche oder tatsächliche Heldentat im Amerikanisch-Tripolitanischen Krieg berühmt wurde. U-boats had already torpedoed several merchant ships in this convoy and a burning ship had silhouetted the Kearny, making her an easy target. For I know you will though….” Before she could mail her letter, however, she learned that her husband would not return. For gunner’s mate Walter Sorensen, his main wish was to come home on leave just once more, “even if it is only for a few days.” “Ol’ Rube” was not as rugged or in the same class as modern destroyers like the Kearny, but “in an emergency … these craft must be used as found,” retired Admiral William V. Pratt told Newsweek magazine. While escorting convoy HX-156, the American destroyer U.S.S. Survivors on the Reuben James saw the instantaneous damage. “With a terrific roar a column of orange flame towers high into the night as her magazines go up,” recalled Griffith Baily Coale, a naval artist sailing with the convoy. 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