The War Offshore - Merchant Ships and the Men Who Sailed Them
Chatham Marconi Maritime Center welcomes author William Geroux to its virtual Speaker Series on December 2 at 7:00 PM
From the late 1930s to 1945, virtually all the fuel, food and munitions that sustainedthe Allies in Europe traveled not via the Navy but in merchant ships. After PearlHarbor, those unprotected ships instantly became the U-boats’ prime targets. Andthey were easy targets—the Navy lacked the inclination or resources to defendthem until the beginning of 1943. Hitler was determined that his U-boats should sinkevery American ship they could find, sometimes within sight of tourist beaches, andto kill as many mariners as possible, in order to frighten their shipmates into stayingashore.
When America entered World War II, we were unprepared for the attack by German U-boats on vital shipping along our East Coast and Gulf Coast. The nation managed to find its footing only after a slaughter of near-defenseless merchant ships and the men who sailed them. Bill Geroux will discuss the vital and heroic role played by the U.S. Merchant Marines during WWII. These civilian sailors delivered hundreds of millions of tons of cargo across the globe during the war, on vulnerable, often unescorted ships, and their actions are largely overlooked in histories of the war.
About Our Speaker
William Geroux wrote for the Richmond Times-Dispatch for twenty-five years. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Associated Press, and various regional magazines. His previous book is The Mathews Men. A native of Washington, DC, and a graduate of the College of William and Mary, he lives in Virginia Beach, VA. He has written two books about the World War II convoys and the merchant marines who sailed in them: “The Mathews Men” and “The Ghost Ships of Archangel”. “The Mathews Men” was chosen by Amazon.com as one of the Best Books of 2016, making the overall top 100 list as well as the top 20 list in the Biography and Memoir category.
About the Chatham Marconi Speaker Series
Programs are presented on Thursday evenings during the Summer, and on the first Thursday of each month from October through May. Subjects are drawn from the resources of the Marconi-RCA Wireless Museum, the STEM After Hours program, or member-suggested topics related to its mission. For the foreseeable future the series will be presented virtually, or if conditions permit in a hybrid format with a limited live audience.