SEAMAN FIRST CLASS GEORGE W. DEMAREST, of Second Avenue near W. Park Avenue, Lindenwold NJ was killed while serving with the United States Navy in August of 1943. On his last voyage, he was assigned to a gun crew serving as the naval Armed Guard aboard the tanker J.H. Senior, operated under the Panamanian Flag by the Panama Transport Company, which was controlled by the Standard Oil Company, better known then as ESSO, and known today as EXXON.
His ship, the Panamanian flag tanker, J. H. Senior, On a voyage from New York to Mersey in convoy HX 252, in thick fog, was involved in a collision with the Liberty Ship SS J. Pinckney Henderson while in convoy in the North Atlantic on August 19, 1943. The J.H. Senior, was one of five sister tankers which had been built by the Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG, Nordseewewrke, at Emden, Germany. The J.H. Senior first went to sea in 1931. On her final trip, she was carrying aviation fuel to England, and a deck cargo of airplanes.
Between the collision with the SS J. Pinckney Henderson and ensuing fire, both ships were lost. The J.H. Senior lost 40 of her crew, and 27 of her naval Armed Guard. Only six of the crew and Armed Guard aboard the Senior survived. The SS J. Pinckney Henderson fared little better, losing at least 34 of her crew and 25 of her Armed Guard.
Canadian River-class frigate in escort, HMCS
Hallowell, under the command of Lieutenant Alfred William Bett,
Royal Canadian Naval Reserve, of Toronto, Canada, pulled along side the
burning J.H. Senior, and, with a volunteer crew, managed to
extinguish the blaze, and save the ship. For this act Lieutenant Bett
was awarded the George Medal.
After salvage the J.H. Senior was laid up in New York at November 14, 1943.
George W. Demarest was reported missing in action in the Camden Courier-Post on September 20, 1943 edition. He was survived by his parents, William and Alverna E. Demarest, a sister, also named Alverna, and six brothers, John, Edward, William Jr., Howard, Alvin, and Craig. John was serving in the Army, and Edward in the Navy, during WWII.
|Hole in the side of the tanker J. H. Senior after collision, and Deck view of havoc wrought by fire which swept the J. H. Senior. Also deck cargo of planes was destroyed.|
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