Warren Benjamin Carriere
Born: August 14, 1919
Hometown: New Orleans, LA
Service: Merchant Marine
Position / Rank: Deck Cadet
Date / Place of death: December 31, 1942 /
East Coast United States, 40-10’N, 72-02′ W
(65 miles south of Montauk Pt)
Date / Place of burial: December 31, 1942 /
East Coast United States, 40-10’N, 72-02′ W
(65 miles south of Montauk Pt) – Lost at sea
Warren B. Carriere signed on aboard his first ship, the SS Maiden Creek, as Deck
Cadet at Mobile, AL on June 29, 1942 after completing his initial training at the New Orleans, LA, Basic School. His classmate, Engine Cadet Edward Ackerlind signed on a week later. The Maiden Creek, a World War I “Hog Islander” built in 1919, was owned by the Waterman Steamship Company.
On November 11, 1942 the SS Maiden Creek sailed from New York with a cargo of
aviation gasoline in drums for the Army Air Corps airfield designated Bluie West Eight
(later Sondrestrom AFB). For its return trip it was to load a cargo of ore concentrates.
After completing loading of its return cargo the Maiden Creek sailed from Botwood,
Newfoundland on December 15 to meet a convoy bound for New York. However, the
old ship could not keep up with the convoy in the heavy seas it encountered. On
December 19, the Maiden Creek diverted to Halifax, Nova Scotia. When the ship
arrived on December 22 inspection of the ship found that the ship’s chain locker, fore
peak and #1 Hold were flooded due to the heavy seas. Although the fore peak and
chain locker were secured and pumped out, the water in #1 Hold could not be pumped
out because of the characteristics of the cargo.
On December 27, despite having significantly reduced freeboard forward due to the
flooded #1 Hold, the Maiden Creek sailed from Halifax on December 27 with eleven
other ships and three escorts. The ships joined convoy ON-152, bound for New York,
the next day. On December 30, as the convoy was nearing New York, the heavy
weather resumed. By the afternoon of December 31, the hatch cover for the #1 Hold
was leaking again and the hatch cover for the #2 Hold had begun leaking. The water in
the Maiden Creek’s holds eventually brought the propeller and rudder out of the water.
With the ship adrift in heavy seas about seventy miles south of Block Island, the
Captain ordered the radio operator to send out an SOS. T he Captain then called
together the officers and informed them that they would have to abandon the ship.
At about 1700 #3 Lifeboat was launched with eighteen crew members, including the two
Cadet-Midshipmen, and five Armed Guard Sailors. A second lifeboat was launched at
about thirty minutes later with all but two of the remaining crew and Armed Guard
Sailors aboard, a total of 31 men. Two men had to remain aboard because lowering a
boat from the Maiden Creek’s antiquated lifeboat davits could only be done manually.
The two Able Bodied seamen attempted to climb down the falls to the boat but the
rough seas carried the boat away before the men could get aboard. One man fell into
the water and, despite attempts to pull him aboard, was lost. The other seaman
climbed back on board the Maiden Creek and eventually went down with the vessel.
In heavy seas and growing darkness the two lifeboats soon lost sight of each other.
The lifeboat with 31 men aboard was spotted by Army, Navy and Coast Guard patrol
planes in the ensuing days. However, it was not until January 3 that a patrol plane was
able to transmit the position of the lifeboat to a ship close enough to effect a rescue. At
about 1840 that day the MS Staghound rescued the men in the Maiden Creek’s
lifeboat. The 23 men aboard the first lifeboat, including Cadet-Midshipmen Carriere
and Ackerlind, were never seen again.
Cadet-Midshipman Warren B. Carriere was posthumously awarded the Atlantic War Zone Bar, the Victory Medal, and the Presidential Testimonial Letter.
Warren B. Carriere, known as “Benny” by his family, was the tenth of eleven children born to Charles Pierre Carriere and Lydia Marie Guibert Carriere. He is recalled by his niece, Sister Mary Carriere Daniel, a Dominican nun, who he nicknamed “Tweedles”, as the linchpin of his family. Sister Daniel also recalls that Benny’s sister Lydia loved him dearly and spoke of him with great affection. Lydia recalled one of the last times Warren B. Carriere she saw Benny. She had planned to make him a special breakfast but was delayed in getting home for some reason. When she got home she found Benny making the eggs for breakfast but was thoughtfully substituting milk for some of the eggs. Sister Daniel describes Benny as being a thoughtful son with a droll sense of humor, and a person who never met anyone he didn’t like. During the war, Benny had four brothers in the service, all stationed in Europe.
Photo of SS Maiden Creek
Photo of Warren in front row with some of his family
Photo of Warren B. Carriere as young boy
Photo of “Benny” as a child