26 October 2009

Mountainous Mine-Strewn Seas

From the Deseret News on this day in 1945

Queen Mary Caught in Storm

LONDON - (AP) - The great liner Queen Mary, with 1000 passengers aboard, rolled at anchor off the Isle of Wight in mountainous, mine-strewn seas today in the fourth day of gales which wrecked four small vessels with an indicated loss of 14 seamen.

For the second day the Queen Mary was unable to proceed into her dock at Southampton because of waves 50 feet high in England's worst storm in 20 years.

Countless thousands of mines were reported in the raging seas and the waves were breaking up minefields planted in the war. The admiralty said 65,000 mines were sewn in fishing waters of the east coast alone and only 6500 had been cleared.

The violent gales, sometimes reaching 90 miles an hour, tossed at least 40 ships like barks perilously close to shore in the Straits of Dover.

The 10,000-ton U.S. hospital ship John J. Meany ran wild during the night in the Straits of Dover slewing broadside down a narrow lane of tossing ships.

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