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Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Lecturer
Please Note: All ssmaritime as well as my other related maritime & cruise sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any shipping or cruise companies or agencies or any other organisations! The author has been in the passenger shipping industry since May 1960, but although retired and unwell, I occasionally attempt to write an article now and then, in order to bring enjoyment and pleasure to ship enthusiasts past passengers and crew.
U.S.S. Costa Rica Victory
U.S.S. Costa Rica Victory
She later became the S.S. Groote Beer
And the …
Military Personnel Officer - then Chief Warrant Officer
Photograph provided by
Photographs on this page are from the ssmaritime collection, unless otherwise noted
The S.S. Costa Rica Victoria was constructed,
together with many other Victory class ships, by the Permanente Metals
A the as yet unnamed ship was about to be constructed, she was given a hull number 529, which remained her name until launching, and her keel was laid with steel plate number 529 on March 22, 1944. But what was so amazing is the absolute speed that she was built, regardless of the speed, there was no doubt that the quality and their hull strength was beyond perfection! She was officially named Costa Rica Victory and launched on June 17, being less than three months after her keel was laid. She was towed to her Fit-Out berth where she was rapidly completed and was delivered to the “American-Hawaiian Steam Ship Company,” on August 21, 1944, who operated her for the government.
U.S.S. Costa Rica Victory is seen at sea steaming homeward to
still beyond comprehension that from laying her keel in March to her completion
and delivery in August in 1944 took just five months and that was to build a
ten thousand ton ship that could transport almost 1,600 people anywhere in the
world! But we need to remember, these yards were almost like an automated
assembly line as these Victory and C3 ships were being built in massive numbers
during the war, in fact at total of 413 Victory ships were built in
She was the standard wartime “Victory” class ship of 9,140 GRT (Gross Registered Tons) with her specifications being as follows; Length 138.7m - 455.3ft, beam 18.9m - 62.1ft, she had tall slim one funnel, three masts, Propulsion: Geared Steam Turbines that operated a single screw and her service speed was 15 knots, with a maximum of 17 knots. She was completed to carry up to 1,597 troops. Bunks were installed in the ‘t’ween decks, and the galleys, washrooms, hospital facilities and a few public rooms were also added. All the accommodation areas were fitted with ventilation and a heating system for comfort.
Part One ~ My Father by
Then in February 1940,
Prior to arriving in Normandy, Frank
participated in all the 9th.Division campaigns
and thus he boarded a C3 class ship the U.S.S. Florence Nightingale (AP-70) and
departed the US and sailed to Morocco where his Division was involved
invasion of Moroccoas well as having seen action in Algeria and Tunisia. All this was followed by the invasion of
we see the U.S.S. Florence Nightingale steaming at full speed bound for
After all that, his unit was
rested at Camp Barton Stacy in
One of the many troopships that would be in
port to return across the
Part Two ~ The Dairy by
The dairy commences six days before
All photographs were taken by
September 1, 1945 to September 14, 1945
September 1, 1945
I didn’t get up for breakfast but got up about 7:30 a.m. and took a shower. I rounded up the morning reports, which depended upon the Public Address system to get the last two. I hung around in the morning. I watched the various sports being played and the airplanes. I talked with various people. I washed my soiled clothes and rested.
After supper I went to the show and then went to bed.
September 2, 1945
I got up about 7:30 a.m. and had breakfast. I rounded together as many of the morning reports as I could. There were about six missing at the appointed hour. I checked some more, and found four. I left the remaining two up to the Public Address system.
It is Sunday. I went to Mass in the double squad tent at 11 a.m.
We got corned beef for Sunday dinner, as they ran out of chicken. After dinner I watched the men play ball, watched the airplanes, did a few odds and ends, and rested.
After supper I went to the show, talked with people, and took a short walk toward the beach. I went to bed early.
September 3, 1945
I got up at 7:30
a.m. and ate breakfast. Afterwards I sat in the Colonel’s tent and
collected morning reports. I rounded up a table and two chairs for the tent. I
I hung around until dinner. In the afternoon I rested and then did a little typing for the Colonel. It rained in the late afternoon.
September 4, 1945
I got up for
breakfast. They had fresh eggs flown in from
I read all evening in the reading room.
September 5, 1945
I got up for
breakfast and they had fresh bananas no less. They must be flying them in from
I rounded up the morning reports and then
rested for a while. I washed a few things. I watched a German helicopter come
in. The British are taking it to
In the evening I hung around.
September 6, 1945
I didn’t sleep well at all and the rest didn’t either. We actually were chilly even with blankets. After breakfast we all got our things together. We hung around waiting.
We ate dinner at 1000 hours, gathered up our stuff, and joined our respective groups. It had been drizzling all morning. Our group was the first on the trucks. We loaded on semi-trailers; there were 60 of us with our equipment. The fellows on the trucks, as they went along, yelled at the girls and Military Police, as all are happy. We passed pillboxes and cement fortifications, they are all over the beaches, docks, and hillsides. The dock area is leveled of buildings.
We saw our ship, the Costa Rica Victory, and
it looks fairly large. The
We were given coffee and doughnuts and we were the first group to go aboard. The fellows from the 16th Reinforcement Depot are already on as they came from another camp. All the Lieutenants and Warrant Officers are in the forward hold. I got a top bunk and we then watched others come aboard, even some from the Air Corps. The Air Corps were overloaded with equipment and liquor. The G.I.s kidded them. Some fell down and got a big cheer.
The Officers have a card game going already. I took a shower and shaved. There are about 225 Officers in this forward hold. We waited quite some time for supper but it was worth the wait. I came back to my bunk, read, wrote, and then retired.
Please Note: Photographs below were taken by the late
September 7, 1945
I awoke after a good night’s sleep. It was warm sleeping. We had breakfast at 8:10 am. The food was good.
We all were on deck. The ship finally left the dock at 9:30 am. We pulled out into the stream. They opened the lock ahead and we steamed out about 10 o’clock. La Havre soon faded from view.
Decided to spend some time out on deck, as did everyone else!
There wasn’t anything to be seen. We are traveling right along. It is a great day. I retired early in the evening.
September 8, 1945
I had a good night’s sleep and got up early for breakfast. It was a wonderful day out. The water was a pretty blue. I took in the sun and read and talked. We passed a couple of ships. We are making good time. I went to bed early.
September 9, 1945
I slept well and got up for breakfast. It is a little rough out and the weather is poor.
After breakfast I went up on deck for a while. It was rough and sprinkling. I came back to the hold and slept.
I didn’t get up for the usual noonday snack. I am feeling the weather.
I didn’t get up for supper and I am now getting sick, no less. It is terribly rough now and many are sick. The huge waves hit the hull with a resounding smash. The prow seems to raise 15 feet and then fall with a thud. This is too much for my stomach. I rose up, grabbed a towel, and started for the head. I threw up at the foot of the ladder. I went to the latrine and threw up some more, even threw up some blood. I noticed many lying all around, sick. I came back to the hold for a while, as I feel better after throwing up. I got sick again. This time I took a blanket and went to the point that I figured was the center of the ship. I figured there would be less pitch fore and aft and sideways. I spread the blanket on the corridor and lied down with the rest of the guys. It was hard to find any space as all you could see were bodies laying on the floor. I feel better.
September 10, 1945
I got out of the aisle and made my way back to the hold. I feel good after a good night’s sleep. I ate breakfast and there weren’t many there.
I went on deck and there aren’t many there either. Most of the people are still sick. It is still rough and stormy. I stayed on deck all day. There are birds flying around. I went to bed early in my regular place, the forward hold.
September 11, 1945
I got up for breakfast. I had slept in my clothes last night. I was afraid it might get rough and I would have to hustle to the latrine.
It was a little rough during the day. Later it
began to get foggy and the water calmed down. The sick began to appear. The
September 12, 1945
I got up for breakfast. I stayed on deck all day. Most of the sick came out today, as it is fairly calm and clearing. The sun broke through about 1 pm and it turned into a great day. The crapshooters and card players have been busy during the whole trip.
Above & below: Although we had quarters below, but the decks offered fresh air and
sunshine and we enjoyed each others company there, playing cards and just spending time talking
September 13, 1945
Enroute to the
I got up early and had breakfast.
I went on deck. It was raining but fairly smooth. Soon the sun came out and it turned into a great day. We ran in and out of fog banks.
seventh day at sea and as
“It was raining but fairly smooth. Soon the sun came out and it turned into a great day.”
(Obviously the photograph above was taken when the sun had come out
and every one was on deck enjoying the fresh air and the sun!)
We land tomorrow. I read and talked all day. More than one person told me that they never want to set their foot on another ship for the rest of their life. I wrote and read in the evening.
September 14, 1945
Enroute to the
I got up early, shaved, and then ate. I got
all my things ready, so I could be on deck and watch the arrival. We will dock
We saw fishermen. It is a bit hazy and we just coasted along. The water is as placid as a pond. Everyone is on deck. I stood on the prow and we could see the fins of sharks. Then we saw some whales, they sure are huge. We saw more fishermen. They blew their whistle and waved. The fellows have climbed up and are all over the rigging.
Above & below: Excitement spreads around the ship as the coastline comes into sight
Next there are fishing boats and the tugs arrive on the scene ready to take us to our berth
About 12:30 pm we saw the dim outline of land,
what a thrill after three years. We could see some boats as we neared it. The lands
we can see are the islands in
A tug, with a band and Woman’s Army Corp (WACs) aboard, came along side. The band was playing and everybody was yelling and waving. We came in to the Army Base. The workers all lined the dock. The soldiers lined the rail, shouting and throwing coins. There was a band playing, WACs, and newspapermen. What a thrill, I almost felt like crying.
Above & below: We really know that we are home as we berth, the band is playing
But all we can think about is get off the ship and then I would really know I was home!
group was the first ones off and I fell on the gangplank and got a big round of
cheers and yells. The reporters crowded around and were taking names. A little
later we were given a little snack and milk.
Our group was the first ones off and I fell on the gangplank and got a big round of cheers and yells. The reporters crowded around and were taking names. A little later we were given a little snack and milk.
We took a troop train to Camp Myles Standish,
After we arrived we were oriented and billeted. I took a bath, called home, and retired.
Part Three ~ Frank’s Life After the War
Please Note:This final Part was written by the author of ssMaritime from material provided by
Having arrived and disembarked Frank was taken
with his Battalion to the Army Camp at Taunton, Massachusetts, but he was soon
released and he was able to go home to Boston and enjoy home cooked food and
some real and normal life. Of course that would include going out some nights
for he loved to go dancing. It would be around a month after he had returned
home for in October
delightful wedding photograph of the very happy
They made their home
photograph was taken in 1961 in the yard of our
Mum and Dad, in front is left to right:
in 1962 the family moved to West Roxbury in
Slowly as the years advanced,
This concludes the Frank Lovell Story, a man
who sailed on one amazing ships, for she became one of three well known ship
owned by the Dutch and they would take countless thousands from the Netherlands
to the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The S.S. Costa Rica
Victory was rebuilt into the migrant ship the
The S.S. Costa Rica Victory was extensively
rebuilt into a humble Passenger/Migrant liner and was renamed
The photograph above was taken by
The other two ships were the S.S. Cranston
Victory, which was rebuilt to become the
If you would like to read more about these three amazing “Victory
Class” ships and the full history of the
Dutch Victory Trio INDEX:
… The history of these three ships.
… Ships – General Photo Album.
List for the
… Here is
another passenger list, but this time for the
… Passenger Dr.
is the story of soldier Frank Lovell who finally returned home, having fought
so many battles during WW2 throughout many parts of Europe on the S.S. Costa
Rica Victory, (later the Groote Beer) in September 1945. The three parts are by
“Blue Water Liners sailing to the distant shores.
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.”
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The Author has been in Passenger Shipping & the Cruise Industry for over 60 years!
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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are: by the author or from the author’s private collection. In addition there are some images that have been provided by Shipping Companies and private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided to me without details regarding the photographer/owner concerned. I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me (my email address may be found on www.ssmaritime.com only), in order that due credit may be given.
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