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Arthur's Page
USS Laramie AO-16
USS Relief AH-1
Accounts of others


Another Arthur's Page
Supporting Greenland
Photos from Arthur Altvater's USS Laramie (AO-16) Album (ca. 1942-1943)
Text by Ramon Jackson
Click Here

More links discovered by Ramon
Text By Ramon, has the
information on vessels of both sides.  Eleven subs, one unknown, took part
in the campaign and U-165, under Kapitšnleutnant Eberhard Hoffmann, is
credited with attacks on Laramie, Aeas, Raccoon, Meadcliffe Hall, Essex
Lance and Joannis. The museum page shows the attack on Arlyn as being on
August 7, but that does not agree with the Coast Guard data and other
sources. I suspect it is a typo with the "2" missing. In fact they have
Laramie on the 28th, perhaps a reversal of the 27/28 on the Coast Guard list.

U-517 and U-165 were operating together. The Veteran Affairs Canada Site has a detailed account at
. The key paragraph:

"The next day the U-boat duo struck at SG-6 again. U-165 torpedoed the
merchant ship Laramie, while U-517 accosted the US-registered Arlyn. The
Laramie survived to limp back to Sydney, Nova Scotia, but Arlyn and nine of
her crew found their last resting places deep in the Strait of Belle Isle."

The list at
/shipslost shows U-517 was very busy with eight sinkings. U-165 was
apparently less efficient--and for that Art and others may have
survived--with only three sinkings.

The web page
has several other references to the general situation in the area.

Another USCGC Mohawk page,, has
an extended account from the escort's view.



You can shout down my ventilator
anytime at:


The USS Laramie - My Story



The USS Laramie - Starboard View



The USS Laramie - Port View


The USS Laramie - Ship Characteristics


AO-16 USS Laramie
Kaweah class Fleet Oiler:
Displacement: 14,500 tons
Length: 446'
Beam: 58'
Draft: 27'6"
Speed: 10.5 knots (max); 10 knots (econ)
Armament: 2 5"/38 DP, 4x2 40mm, 4x2 20mm
Complement: 107
Reciprocating engines, single screw, 2,800 hp.
Built at William Cramp & Sons and commissioned 28 Dec 1921


First - The Official Account


Now - Mine


I Enlisted in the Navy in 1942 in Baltimore Md.

I then went to Boot Camp in Newport R.I and after Six Weeks of training I received orders to report to the U.S.S. Laramie a navy oil tanker.I remember standind on the dock and looking up at the Laramie and thinking O'Boy what am i in for now.After getting settled in and getting squared away everthing turned in to being routine.All of the crew and officers were really great. Duty on board a tanker is great as far as the food is concerened. We had a baker that made the best pies,we called him Dough Head. The crew sat down to meals at long tables and the mess cooks (me being the new kid on the block was one of the mess cooks) severing tables that were assinged to me. What I liked about that was a tip bowl was put at the end of the table and the shipmates would tip us. I saved my tips for going on liberty.Like I said all was routine, chipping paint, applying red lead and of course lots swabbing decks. The mess cooks had to keep the dining area clean. On the 26th of Aug we got underway and left Boston Harbour with our cargo of high test aviation gas and depth charges heading for the Air Force Base in Greenland. None of the crew seemed unduly alarmed about the threat of Enemy Subs. However that compliaancy was soon put to rest for on the evening of the 27th we were torpedoed in the Belle Isle straights off the coast of Newfoundland. I was on watch on #1-5 inch gun when we were hit,the fish hit in the food locker compartment and the crews quarters, it ruptured the bulkheads and killed four of my shipmates.The damage control gang are credited for saving the ship along with the Skipper using evasion manuvers.Why the ship didn`t blow us all to kingdom come is one of the miracles of war. My next watch was on the port side of the bridge as lookout. Well that was that night and after everything settled down we buried my shipmates at sea on Sept 2nd. That was the saddest monument of my life having to watch them go overboard.

After all this happened we went to Boston for repairs.We were given leave and i went home to Baltimoe after only being in the navy for six weeks. Had a nice leave and returned to the Laramie and contiued my duties.

The life on board was good during the summer months,however winter time was something else.The Atlantic in the winter is nasty. At times the ship looked like an iceberg. Here`s where I really learned about chipping ice. Had to wear really heavy foul weather gear.

When not on duty you could find me in the after steering room playing poker, we had to go there it was a good place to hide, the bosun mate played also. This is where some of my tip money that I got for waiting tables went, I hardly ever won. I think that is why they invited me to play.

Moral was for the most part always good. We had movies from time to time. Lke I said, all was pretty routine, making trips back and fourth to Greenland, standing watches, and general shipboard duties.

After awhile I wanted to strike for something. My preference was bosun, but there was no opening. There was one for Hospital Corpsman which I grabbed. So on the 13th of Aug 1943, I graduated from Hospital Corps School in Norfolk Naval Hospital, Portsmouth Va. as Hospital apprentice first class. From there I was ordered to the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth New Hampshire. From there bumped around and finally wound up on the U.S.S. Relief, a beautiful Ship. You will find her story in this history of Art`s Page below.

Thanks to Bob Mills, who says:
Hi Guys,
Yes, I too was on the "Galloping Goose" when she was T-boned 08-27-42. I had just hit the rack ( forward crews quarters beside the ladder ) after securing from sunset general quarters. I heard the ship on our port beam get hit, so I hauled out of there. I was standing by the gunwal tying my life jacket when the fish hit us. I was washed down the deck until I hit the mess hall bulkhead. By the way, the forward fuel tank was ruptured and lost the fuel on the forward tank. I could taste it when I was washed down the deck.. If we had been a Fleet oiler we would have been long gone. The laramie was an auxiliary oiler ( hence the AO ) with store rooms on both sides of the tanks. That's what saved us. Fleet oilers are all tanks.
Thanks for listen.
Bob Mills

You can email Bob at:


Click On Photo To Enlarge

Thanks to Rod Keller, who says:
"I hope it's OK to send this picture to all of you. It's about 78K, which you can resize if you need a smaller image for a web page. I don't know anything about it, other than it was in my grandfather's pictures from the Navy. It says on the back in his writing:
"U.S.S. Laramie tanker, torpedoed in Belle Isle Strait, 1943, got back to Boston with a loss of four lives"

Subsequent comments by Arthur...can't shut the guy up:
"I guess ROD sent U this picture.There are a few dates & info incorrect.We were torpedoed on Aug 27th 1942 & besides the 4 shipmates we put overboard 5 other shipmates were lost.
Glad this picture showed up,been wondering all these years if someone took a picture. Look at the gun turret & thats where I was on watch when we got hit. Hell of a noise HA. Where the hole is thats the crews quarters."



Art's Other Account At Ramon's Site


Where This Took Place - Maps



Ice Berg



The Mysterious Thing On The Foremast



Start Up Email


-----Original Message-----
From: arthur altvater <>
Date: Friday, June 16, 2000 1:22 PM
Subject: Re: Laramie (AO-16) (

Hi Carlos,Thanks for the attachment on the Laramie,sure brought back
some good & some rather sad memories.

I was one of the seamen that put the bodies of my 4 shipmates in canvas
body bags for burial at sea. that were killed when we were
torpedoed.The good LORD was with me that night,I was on watch on
#1gun,my bunk was right over top of the guy`s that were killed.I have
pictures of the burial at sea and sometime i will send you a picture if
you would like to have it.

Thanks for the Info and maybe some of your puter buddies will have some
more info.

Again THANKS Waiting to hear from you.
I Remain Art  PHM2c.


Hi CAROS,read your mail to RAMON and i don`t know who who wrote that article about the LARAMIE but here` the straight scoop.
I was on watch on #1 Gun when the fish hit and there was no Fuel splashing around in the gun turret,the fish hit the food locker and ruptured the bulkheads in that compartment.We were really lucky that night,When the fish hit i was on the phones and i looked down at the water & saw another fish pass right in front and go on by.My bunk was right over top of the 4 shipmates that were killed,so if i didn`t belive in guardian angles i sure did after that night.This happened to me after only 6 weeks in the navy at age17,I am now 75 years old and i can still hear that explosion.Had 4 weeks of boot camp. & on the 6th week i was home on leave from being torpedoed..
We had a great damage control team and they are the one`s that saved our ship that night.
Again there was no fuel sloushing around where i wa on #1 gun other place i can recall.
If you get a chance write me back,sure would like to know of any shipmates that might still be alive and were there that night.


Hi Carlos,Got your mail on the offer to make a special page on the Laramie I will be sending you some photos along with some captions for each one.I am on webtv and i have to take a picture of the ones i want to send you. with my camcorder and then i have to transfer it to my e-mail.Is that ok with you?I can only send one picture at a time.
Now I would like to clear up all the scuttle-butt About all the fuel oil and gasoline sloushing around,Like I said before there was none in the gun turret where i was on watch,and there was none anyplace else.My land don`t these guys know that if there had of been I wouldn`t be writting to you ,If all that fuel was loose that ship would have been blown to kingdom come.
Carlos thanks for the e-mail and thanks for the offer.
Carlos one more ?Can you track another ship I was on in the south pacfic.It was the USS Relief A hospital ship.This is also an interesting story. Me and some of the Pharmacist and some of the ships crew went and took the wounded off the BIG E the night she got hit.
I have a whole journal on her.


Hi CAROS,I am sending this to you,I wrote this chap after you gave me that link to The Laramie
You nkw i don`t recall anything he is telling us here..It was night time when we got hit and evening & dark and i don`t remember anyone going overboard with the damage-control crew trying to save the ship & the Skipper using evasive action also to save the ship.However this could have been i just have any recall of it.
By the way I went thru my photos and came up with a picture of the Laramie,the wife is going to have it blown up(No pun here) and will get the picture to you.
See YA Art
-----Original Message-----
From: arthur altvater
Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2000 10:49 AM
Subject: Laramie

Hi Harold,I was stationed aboard the Laramie & she was my first ship after i got out of boot camp, and we were torpedoed going thru the Belle Isle straits newfoundland.That was Aug 27th 1942 at 21:31 hours.Four of my shipmates were killed & we buried them at sea on Sept 2nd.
When were you aboard her?
Write ack when you can.
Art ,PHM2nd class

Wow what a surprise! (I am writing for Harold he is blind, his wife Agnes) I too went on the Laramie as my first ship out of boot at Great Lakes. I was definitely on there when we were torpedoed I was blown off the ship and remember when they picked me up took me to sick bay and gave me a shot of whiskey to warm me up. After we returned to the states when we went for repairs I was transfered to the Lackawanna also a tanker and that is where I spent my Navy time in the So Pac I was transfered in 45 to Phila to W/T school and after that the war was ending and because I was reg. Navy got out. After all the years finally we started a reunion of the AO 40 in 85 and have attended everyone As the years went by and we found more guys there was Arthur Wainz and Herman White that had also been on the Laramie and transfered at the same time I was. I lived in Calif. from 48 to 84 and worked for the Santa Fe RR then retired to Az. Great hearing from you.
Write anytime Harold Williams
PS both men mentioned are deceased now



USS Relief AH-1 - Another ship I served on.



Photo at: has a mention by a nurse who was aboard during the last days of the war. This is one I did for them and I remember the Relief bit about Magic Carpet and China in particular. There is lots more, but the internal search engine is into some strange tail eating game and truncates 119 entries to 10 for one query.
You can also see quite a few of those personal recollections I mentioned before at:
For some reason the official DANFS entry hasn't been put up. Art, I'd be interested in your take on that after the clear correction for Laramie. It might be some time, but I can scan it and send it along.



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