The Immortal Chaplains: 1943

Stained glass window, Pentagon. Wikipedia image.

  Stained glass window, Pentagon. Wikipedia image.

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the sinking of the troop carrier SS Dorchester, February 3, 1943.

The ship, constructed in 1926, originally carried cargo and passengers between Miami and Boston. She was put into wartime service in 1942 and was converted to a troop carrier. In January 1943, she left New York in convoy bound for Narsarsuak, Greenland. She was torpedoed in the early morning hours of February 3 by a German submarine, which caused severe damage, and the ship sank in about 20 minutes.  672 died, many of hypothermia.

Sinking of the Dorchester. Wikipedia image.

Sinking of the Dorchester. Wikipedia image.

Four relatively new Army chaplains were aboard, First Liuetenants Reverend George L. Fox (Methodist), Reform Rabbi Alexander D. Goode, Roman Catholic priest Father John P. Washington, and Reformed Church in America minister the Reverend Clark V. Poling.  Collectively, they came to be known as the Immortal Chaplains.

As the ship was going down, they helped other soldiers board lifeboats. When the supply of life jackets ran out, they gave up their own. They joined arms, said prayers, and sang hymns as they went down with the ship.220px-Four_Chaplains_stamp1

 



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