SEAMAN SECOND CLASS FRANK
MASTANTUANO, 18, of 3506 Westfield Avenue, Camden NJ, was lost while
serving aboard a destroyer in the North Atlantic, near Greenland. As a
youth, he attended Cramer Junior High School, in Camden, and the Camden
County Vocational & Technical School in Pennsauken NJ. He worked as
an usher at the Broadway Theater in Camden, and at the Philadelphia Navy
Yard prior to enlisting in the Navy on March 30, of 1944. After
completing his basic training he was assigned to a corvette, U.S.S.
Saucy PG-65, joining the ship's crew on August 18, 1944.
USS Saucy began her career in the Royal Navy as HMS Arabis, a Flower-class corvette. Originally ordered for the French Navy in the early days of the war, the ship was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Arabis. She was transferred to the United States Navy in 1942, serving as USS Saucy. Returned to the United Kingdom in 1945, she was recommissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Snapdragon.
Arabis was built at Harland & Wolff, Belfast, as part of the 1939 War Emergency Programme for the Royal Navy. One of the early Flower class corvettes, she was ordered on September 19, 1939, and laid down a month later. She was launched on February 14, 1940 and completed on April 5, 1940.
After working up, Arabis was assigned to the Western Approaches Escort Force for service as a convoy escort. In this role Arabis was engaged in all the duties performed by escort ships; protecting convoys, searching for and attacking U-boats which attacked ships in convoy, and rescuing survivors. During this period she fought in several convoy battles. In September 1940 Arabis was part of the force escorting convoy OB 216, which lost four ships and in October with OB 229 which lost two. The same month she was with the ill-fated HX 79 which lost twelve ships in a matter of hours. In May 1941 Arabis was part of the force escorting HX 126, which lost seven ships sunk, and in June with HX 133 which saw six ships sunk and one U-boat destroyed.
During her two years service in the Battle of the Atlantic Arabis escorted 47 Atlantic and 11 Gibraltar convoys, assisting in the safe passage of over 2,000 ships, though some were subsequently lost.
Whilst at Belfast in April 1942 she was transferred to the United States Navy under Reverse Lend Lease, one of ten Flower-class corvettes to be so transferred during 1942. After escorting a convoy to Halifax, Nova Scotia she sailed to Boston for refitting. Following this she escorted ships between Trinidad and Barbados. In September was transferred to the Trinidad-Guantanamo Bay convoy route and in January 1943 was changed again, to the Trinidad-Recife, route. She returned to North Atlantic convoy duties in March 1944 and was decommissioned from the United States Navy at Chatham, England in August 1945.Recommissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Snapdragon, she was sold in 1946
Second Class Mastantuano was lost overboard in the performance of his
duties and through no fault of his own on February 26, 1945. His body
was not recovered. He was survived by his mother, Mrs.
Catherine Mastantuano .