Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, November 15, 1989
During World War II, a massive ship building effort took place to help with the war and meet military needs. The Bethlehem-Fairfield shipyard in Baltimore, Maryland built over 400 ships during the war. One of these ships was named after our community: the S. S. Albion Victory.
The Albion Victory was launched on January 5, 1945 at the shipbuilders site on the Patapsck River, and was immediately put into action. The Albion Victory operated continuously on military missions in Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, and western Pacific until December 12, 1946 at which time she was placed in the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Wilmington, North Carolina.
The ship took 55 days to build, and was 455 feet long with a capacity of 10,700 deadweight tons. Mayor and Mrs. W. Clark Dean were the guests of honor at the christening ceremony on January 15, 1945, and Mate Dean had the honor of smashing the champagne bottle against the prow of the ship. We have this bottle in its original case in the archives at the Gardner House Museum. From the archives this week we present a beautiful photograph of the Albion Victory on its initial voyage. In addition to the normal equipment found on the ship, the City of Albion donated $250 worth of books for the passengers and soldiers to read. The Albion Victory carried a crew of 80 men, including an armed guard of 20 to 30 men.
Mayor and Mrs. W. Clark Dean
The ship was Albion’s pride during the final months of World War II, and was used for humanitarian purposes by transporting refugees in the few years that followed. The November 18, 1946 edition of the Detroit News shows a three year old boy from Romania, Leon Padureleanu, who arrived in Boston on the S. S. Albion Victory. The caption states, “With a winning smile for his new country, Leon Padureleanu from Romania with his mother, an American citizen. They will make their home in Detroit.” Our final photograph shows Albion Mayor W. Clark Dean and his wife Mate, posing before launching the Albion Victory on January 5, 1945.
What happened to the Albion Victory? According to an article published in the late 1950’s, the Albion Victory was called into action during the Korean War on February 6, 1951, performing primarily military missions for the Military Sea Transportation Service. This work was completed in August 1953, and in September that same year the Albion Victory was placed in the National Defense Reserve fleet in the Hudson River, New York.
The ship was again put to use in April, 1957 as a bare boat charter to the Prudential Steamship Company and operated from the East Coast of the United States to the Mediterranean area.
One day in 1946, Albion Mayor W. Clark Dean received a telephone call from New York from a sailor. He said “I just wanted to talk to the Mayor of Albion. I have just completed my duty aboard the S. S. Albion Victory, and know that Albion must be a fine town, she’s such a good ship.” The mayor invited the sailor to come visit Albion, which he did in February, 1946.
The Albion Victory Ship
All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic