Some did rally to the flag, however. 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 Among the sailors lost were Alton Cousins, who never reclaimed his gold watch, Frederick Post, who never had another drink with his friend, and Walter Sorensen, who never got his wished-for last visit home. Merchant ships of other nations, such as Great Britain, were free to tag along, and these “hitchhikers” got U.S. Navy protection. Corbin Dyson and Charles Harris. 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. Patrick Reuben James (* um 1776 in Sleaford; 3. Germany defended the attack. It seemed like a long time.”. 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. Japanese officials were strangely silent. the news of the sinking reached America, many concerned people wrote letters 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. When chief machinist’s mate Alton Cousins visited his family that fall, he left his gold watch behind. We also have a detailed page on the American destroyer USS Reuben James (DD 245).. The ship named for James, the USS Reuben James, was a four-stack destroyer, commissioned in 1920. U.S. Navy ships helped escort the convoys bringing Lend-Lease goods to England. She was 314 feet long, 30 feet in the beam, and capable of speeds of up to 33 knots. Heywood L. “Tex” Edwards, a 1926 Naval Academy graduate and a member of the 1928 U.S. Olympic wrestling team. “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. The pretext was that the Navy was helping to supply American troops stationed in Iceland. Found on more albums: This page has photos and a slideshow of the USS Reuben James DD-245 and German U-552 that sunk her. Reuben James was torpedoed by the Nazis off the coast of Iceland in late October [1941], killing 86 and wounding 44, Woody was inspired to write a ballad about the incident. One who did not was folk singer Woody Guthrie, who wrote his now famous Woody Guthrie had started to write a song including each name on the casualty list of the sinking. Nimitz, Chief of Bureau of Navigation.”. Tell me, what were their names? The Reuben James carried only two lifeboats and they were now useless. While news of the sinking arrived quickly, word on the fate of the crew took several days longer. 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.”. As the survivors struggled to stay afloat, unsecured depth charges from the Reuben James hit the water as the ship sank. G C G Then a whine and a rock and a great explosion roared G D G And they laid the Reuben James … Lyrics to 'The Sinking Of The Reuben James' by Woody Guthrie. 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.”. Have you heard of a ship called the good Reuben James Manned by hard fighting men both of honor and fame? Germany and Great Britain had been at war for two years. 1 . The U.S. Navy picked the convoys up there, escorted them out into the Atlantic, and handed them over to the British Royal Navy at a mid-ocean meeting point. Kingston Trio - Sinking of the Reuben James Lyrics. A D Did you have a friend on the Good Reuben James? There have been countless thousands of published works devoted to all or of it. For The sinking of the Reuben James contributed to the American war sentiment, and the U.S. and Germany went to war six weeks later. Gone in an instant,” recalled electrician’s mate Thomas Turnbull. Now the USS Reuben James became the first United States warship to be sunk as a result of hostile action in World War II. song immediately after the incident: Tell me, what were their names? Sadly, most of the country ignored the sinking. 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 On April 2, 1942, the same U-boat—U-552— sank the SS David H. Atwater, an unescorted collier, off the coast of Virginia. Reuben James (DE-153), a Buckley-class destroyer escort 3. In the annals of military history magazines, this is one of those moments. 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. Disaster struck in the early morning hours of October 31, Did you have a friend on the good Reuben James. Nearby ships rushed in to save the survivors. Edwards, wrote to her husband, “It has been two days and still no one has told me that you are coming back to me. The aft part of the ship remained afloat for about five minutes. It changed the world more than any other single event in history. 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. USS Reuben James (DD-245)—- a post-World War I, four-funnel Clemson-class destroyer—- was the first United States Navy ship named for Boatswain's Mate Reuben James (c. 1776 –1838), who distinguished himself fighting in the First Barbary War, and the first sunk by hostile action in the European theater of World War II. On February 16, 1804, James, a boatswain’s mate, stood on the deck of the USS Philadelphia in Tripoli as Barbary pirates struck. 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. Did you have a friend on the good Reuben James?”. The Navy performed these duties while the United States maintained its official neutrality. Others were torn apart.”. 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. I love that song! (Luckily, Boyd survived). Writing ‘The Sinking of the Reuben James’ “When the U.S.S. The Greer dodged two torpedoes and counterattacked with depth charges. Three warships of the Navy have been named Reuben Jamesin his honor: 1. Dezember 1838 in Washington, D.C.) war ein Boatswain's mate[1] der United States Navy, der für eine angebliche oder tatsächliche Heldentat im Amerikanisch-Tripolitanischen Krieg berühmt wurde. On November 2, Almeda Edwards, wife of Lt. Cmdr. (The Reuben James was the first U.S. naval ship sunk by German U-boats in World War II.) Aboard USS Reuben James (DD 245) when hit on 31 Oct 1941 World events soon pushed the Reuben James to the side. “Midships was now the bow” is how fireman Norman Hingula described it. It changed the world more than any other single event in history. Acting with “cold precision,” the ships and their crews rescued the few survivors. 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. 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. 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. 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. Of course, the Soviet Sailors who stood on her Foc'sle were'nt really Soviets, they were Reuben James crewmembers. But it didn’t seem quick. Terrified sailors heard the depth charges arm themselves, and then the charges exploded, hurling debris and men into the air. It also includes photos of DE-153 and Guided Missile Frigate Reuben James FFG-57. 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. This subterfuge was necessary because of isolationist sentiment in Congress, but it fooled few, least of all the German Navy. “Hitler’s torpedo,” Roosevelt said, “was directed at every American,” but America did not go to war over this act of war. During While escorting convoy HX-156, the American destroyer U.S.S. - Johnny Horton Makes History - on COLUMBIA Records in 1960. U-boats had already torpedoed several merchant ships in this convoy and a burning ship had silhouetted the Kearny, making her an easy target. 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. 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. #1. “Choking on oil and water, they are like small animals caught in molasses,” artist Coale wrote. A torpedo fired by U-552 hit her on the port side, ignited her forward magazine, and blew her in half. "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. The escalating danger worried the crew of the Reuben James. Reuben James (FFG-57), an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate There are two songs with the title Reuben James: 1. XHTML: You can use these tags:
. 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. 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. to the Navy to find out the fate On October 31, 1941, the USS Reuben James became one of America’s first casualties of war—even before war was declared. It is considered the first American naval casualty of WWII. Those who survived the blast jumped into the frigid water. 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. They had no choice. "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 She was 314 feet long, 30 feet in the beam, and capable of speeds of up to 33 knots. After The Sinking Of The Reuben James Words and Music by Woody Guthrie. Deadly German U-boats were prowling the North Atlantic and feasting on Allied shipping. the latter part of 1941, U.S. Navy ships provided escorts for convoys Although not the first U.S. Navy ship torpedoed Five weeks later, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Congress declared war on Japan, and Germany declared war on the United States. “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. "shooting war.". They listened to the radio, read the newspapers, and knew the score. The ship named for James, the USS Reuben James, was a four-stack destroyer, commissioned in 1920. Did you have a friend on the good Reuben James It was there in the dark of that uncertain night That we watched for the you-boats and waited for a fight Then a whine and a rock and a great explosion roared And they laid the Reuben James on that cold ocean floor Tell me what were their names, tell me what were their names 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. Rescuers heard “cursing, praying, and hoarse shouts for help” from sailors struggling to stay alive. Woody Guthrie had started to write a song including each name on the casualty list of the sinking. “Some were knocked unconscious. Her mission, seaman James Thompson wrote to his parents, was to “see who is raising hell with our ships.”, Only one destroyer in the convoy—the USS Niblack (DD-424)—had radar. The Reuben James, however, was not forgotten, thanks in large part to folksinger Woody Guthrie’s ballad about the sinking: “Tell me what were their names. Chorus: "What were their names, tell me what were their names/Did you have a friend on the good Reuben James?" 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. As the crew abandoned ship, U-552 raked them with machine-gun fire, killing all but three of the 27 men. “The whole front of the ship lifted up and it was gone. “It’s not going down with me,” he told his wife. The Sinking Of The Reuben James:Johnny Horton. My analysis was of the song “The Sinking of the Reuben James” by Woody Guthrie. On September 4, 1941, a German U- boat attacked the destroyer USS Greer (DD-145) as she steamed alone toward Iceland. He said he was “itching to get a crack at” the German Navy. I know you will though….” Before she could mail her letter, however, she learned that her husband would not return. The Reuben James’ last day was October 31, 1941. Like many others, she received the dreaded news through a telegram from “C.W. 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. before the war, the Reuben James was the first one lost. Her skipper was Lt. Cmdr. On October 17, 1941, a U-boat torpedoed the USS Kearny (DD-432) as she escorted a 50-ship convoy. But there’s NEVER been anything like THIS before. 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. On October 23, 1941, U.S. Navy destroyer USS Reuben James left Newfoundland to escort a convoy bound for Britain. The United States was still neutral, at least officially, but neutrality offered little solace—or protection. There have been countless thousands of published works devoted to all or of it. Reuben James DESCRIPTION: Describes the sinking of the destroyer "Reuben James" by submarines off the coast of Iceland, the loss of 100 men [and the rescue of 44]. Convoy duty was hazardous and becoming more so by the day. 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. “I know I got picked up pretty quick,” said William Bergstresser, a chief machinist’s mate. The Royal Canadian Navy escorted the convoys to a point off Newfoundland. 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. Reuben James (DD-245), a four-stack Clemson-class destroyer 2. The Sinking Of The Reuben James Lyrics The Sinking Of The Reuben James is found on the album This Land Is Your Land: The Asch Recordings, Vol. The Kearny, a modern ship commissioned in 1940, survived the attack and reached port, but 11 sailors were killed and 22 more were injured. 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. This is a listing of people associated with this ship. The USS Reuben James DD-245 was sunk by a German U-Boat five full weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Young men in Logan County, West Virginia, home of lost sailor George Woody, sought revenge. Of the ship’s crew, only 45 were saved; 99 sailors perished, including all seven of the ship’s officers. I knew I had read the backstory somewhere not too long ago. The sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 contributed to U.S. war sentiment, and America entered the war in early 1917, almost two years later. 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… 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.”. Reuben Tell me what were their names. Sadly, most of the country ignored the sinking. 1941. It is accompanied by Woody Guthrie's song written shortly after the sinking of the USS Reuben James DD … including all officers. She was armed with four 4-inch guns in her main battery, torpedo tubes, depth charges, and numerous antiaircraft weapons. “You can’t expect to walk into a barroom brawl and hope to stay out of the fight,” he said. John Ryan, 43, joined the Navy after his son, John Jr., died on the Reuben James. The Reuben James was one of five destroyers escorting the convoy’s more than 50 merchant ships, many of which flew the Union Jack. As a result, several of us local boys enlisted in the Navy,” said Farris Burton, one of those who joined up. My two Uncles died on board when the ship was sunk. Word of the Reuben James sinking quickly reached the United States, but details were few. To her crew, she was affectionately known as “Ol’ Rube.”. Survivors on the Reuben James saw the instantaneous damage. Because German U-boats (submarines) considered all ships in the convoys Have you heard of a ship called the good Reuben James Manned by hard fighting men both of honor and fame? Times when the very landscape appears to shift. The ship was escorting an allied convoy near Iceland. 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. “The incident stirred up emotions in our hometown. 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. Woody Guthrie was staying at the Almanac House in Greenwich Village when he wrote this song. Coordinates. Three warships of the Navy have been named Reuben James in his honor: fair game, it was only a matter of time before we became involved in a There are moments in military history that forever alter the flow of human events. Although not the first U.S. Navy ship torpedoed before the war, the Reuben James was the first one lost. 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. She was armed with four 4-inch guns in her main battery, torpedo tubes, depth charges, and numerous antiaircraft weapons. bound for Great Britain carrying war materials from our "Arsenal of Democracy." INTRO: D G What were their names, tell me, what were their E names? some American sailors, World War II began before December 7, 1941. James was torpedoed and sunk with the loss of 115 of 160 crewmen, 6731 Whittier Avenue, Suite C-100 McLean, VA 22101, From Tolkien to Hitler: Famous Soldiers of World War I, The Battle for Omaha Beach: The Men of the D-Day Invasion, Napoleon Bonaparte’s Last Campaign: The Battle of Waterloo, Operation Barbarossa: World War II’s Eastern Front, The Battle of Gettysburg: Turning Point of the American Civil War, What Made the German Luger the Most Famous Pistol in Modern Warfare, The Essential Role of Navy PBR Boats in the Vietnam War, The Real Story of General George Patton, Jr’s Death & Final Days, Colonel William O. Darby and the U.S. Army Rangers, Operation Frantic On Eastern Front: Preview Of the Cold War. "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. of friends or loved ones. "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? 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. Reuben James is a name rich in Navy lore. The presence of the escort destroyers may have saved the crew of the Reuben James from even greater casualties. AUTHOR: Words: Woody Guthrie & Pete Seeger w. the Almanac Singers EARLIEST DATE: November, 1941 “The water was so cold it would kill you in no time. But there’s NEVER been anything like THIS before. Although the United States was still offi- cially neutral, Congress had enacted the Lend-Lease Act in March 1941 to help Great Britain survive. It appears it was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Country Music. 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