Hometown: Worcester, MA Class: 1943
Service: Merchant Marine
Position / Rank: Second Assistant Engineer
Date / Place of death: April 18, 1945 / North
Atlantic, 47-47′ N, 6-26′ W
Date / Place of burial: April 18, 1945 / North Atlantic, 47-47′ N, 6-26′ W / Lost at sea
On January 25, 1945, Herbert E. Anderson, a 1943 graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy signed on as 2nd Assistant Engineer of the Liberty Ship SS Cyrus H. McCormick at New York, NY. Four months later the ship was part of convoy HX-348 bound from New York to England loaded with 8,400 tons of Army engineer equipment, locomotives, cranes and trucks.
On the morning of April 18, 1945, the ship was nearing the English Channel in clear weather with smooth seas. However, U-1107 was on patrol in the area, unseen and undetected by the 79 ship convoy’s escorts. At approximately 1008 GCT, the tanker SS Empire Gold, just astern of the Cyrus H. McCormick, was hit by a torpedo fired by U-1107. The General Quarters alarm was sounded on the Cyrus H. McCormick, and all hands were on the way to battle stations when a second torpedo hit the Empire Gold. Two minutes later, at 1010 GCT the Cyrus H. McCormick itself was struck between the Number 1 and 2 holds on the port side by another of U-1107’s torpedoes. Almost immediately the Captain ordered the engines to be secured and to abandon ship. Within three minutes of the torpedo hitting the ship it was under water.
All lifeboats were manned, but only boats 1 and 3 were lowered to the water, where they capsized almost immediately, leaving the survivors to, as the Armed Guard Commander put it, “shift for themselves”. However, within thirty minutes of hitting the water the first survivors were being picked up by the convoy’s designated “Rescue Ship” SS Gothland. By 1115 all of the survivors were aboard the Gothland which, with the survivors of the Empire Gold, were landed at Gourock, Scotland. Of the total complement of 54, four merchant crew, including the Second Assistant Engineer, Herbert E. Anderson, and two Armed Guard Sailors were missing and presumed drowned in the incident.
Herbert E. Anderson was the youngest of John and Anna M. Anderson’s five children. After entering Kings Point Herbert Anderson sailed as Engine Cadet aboard the SS Samuel Johnston from July 13, 1942 to about December 10, 1942. After graduation Anderson sailed aboard the SS Hall J. Kelley, before signing on aboard the Cyrus H. McCormick in January 1945.
Cadet Midshipman Herbert E. Anderson (Photo)
Based on the above, Herbert E. Anderson would have posthumously been awarded the Mariner’s Medal, Combat Bar, Atlantic War Zone Bar and Presidential Testimonial Letter.
SS Cyrus H. McCormick (Photo)