22 May 2009

When Johnny Comes Sailing Home Again


From the St. Petersburg Times of St. Petersburg, Florida, on this day in 1945:

British Liners May Bring U.S. Soldiers Home

     London - (U.P.) - The British ocean giants, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, and Acquitania, may be turned over to the United States for six months to help return American soldiers from Europe, it was stated authoritatively yesterday.
   The three liners probably will sail as soon as Great Britain declares the Atlantic free of the U-boat menace. The Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth could handle about 45,000 troops monthly in three crossings to the United States and the Acquatania another 8,000 monthly. 
     American wounded and sick and combat troops to be used in the Pacific have highest priority for transportation home. The whole redeployment program is expected to require a year. 
     PRESENT PLANS call for handling of more than 1,000,000 every three months, a program which will be fully effective within 60 days. Troop movements will average 250,000 to 350,000 men monthly and may reach a 400,000 peak. 
     American forces probably will return to the United States all equipment useable there, at the rate of 1,000,000 tons a month. The U.S. army has been using British cars for the most part and it was understood they would be returned to England and sent to manufacturers for reconditioning and resale.
     It was also said that the greatest Europe-bound convoy of the war carried more than 78,800 soldiers in 20 troop ships arriving in the British isles [sic] in April, 1944. The peak American troop movement of the war was 110,000 during the period from March 27 to April 8 of last year.
     ONLY TWO large convoys bearing American troops were arriving monthly then. Now it is possible to run a convoy every five days, so the homeward transport may exceed the 1944 high.
     The army has been evacuating about 2,000 wounded and other patients by plane each month from Paris and another 2,500 by plane from the British Isles. Hospital ships, troop ships and the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary have been carrying patients, taking some 28,000 to the United States during March. 

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