Remembering the Sun Oil Tankermen Who Lost Their Lives in World War II

The Sun Seamen's Memorial in Marcus Hook.
Image via
The Sun Seamen's Memorial in Marcus Hook.

There’s a monument at the former Sun Oil Co. refinery in Marcus Hook dedicated to Sun Oil tanker crewmen who lost their lives in World War II, writes Pete Bannan for the Daily Times.

The Sun fleet ships, many built at Sun Ship in Chester, transported 41,000,000 barrels of petroleum during the war. They were vulnerable to attack by German U-boats.

On Feb 21, 1942, the SS J.N. Pew was struck on the port side by a torpedo off Aruba and sunk.

Thirty-three sailors died.

Surviving sailors escaped in two lifeboats. One made it to Venezuela. The second one with 11 men drifted at sea for 21 days before a patrol plane spotted it. Only one sailor, 17-year-old Robert Kelly, was rescued.

Over the next four years, 141 Sun ship sailors died.

At the 1949 monument dedication, Colonel Joseph K. Carson Jr. of the U.S. Maritime Commission paid tribute.

 “We of the commission,” he said, “know full well that had it not been for the fortitude, bravery and patriotism of those living and dead who manned the tanker vessels, World War II probably would have been lost and civilization plunged into an era of darkness and despair.”

Read more at the Daily Times about the Sun Oil Company tankers.

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