Born: September 23, 1918
Hometown: Atlantic Beach, NY
Service: Merchant Marine
Position / Rank: Deck Cadet
Date / Place of death: February 21, 1943 / 50-30
N, 24-38 W
Date / Place of burial: February 21, 1943 / Lost
at Sea – 50-30N, 24-38W
Maxwell Hollander signed on as Deck Cadet aboard the SS Rosario, a World War I-era freighter, on September 27, 1943 at the Port of New York. He joined Cadet-Midshipman Edward F. Welch, the ship’s Deck Cadet. The ship sailed a few days later for England, discharged its cargo and sailed for New York in ballast from Avonmouth, England on February 9, joining Convoy ON 167 which sailed from Liverpool on February 14.
On the evening of February 21, when the convoy was approximately 550 miles west of Fastnet, Ireland, it was located by U-664. After making its approach on a dark calm night, at 2035 GMT the U-664 fired four torpedoes at the convoy. Two of the torpedoes struck the Rosario’s starboard side at the Number 2 and Number 5 holds blowing their hatch covers off and throwing their sand and slag ballast into the air. Cadet-Midshipman Edward Welch, who was on watch on the bridge at the time, saw no signs of the torpedoes before the impact. Within three minutes of the explosions the ship was listing over 45 degrees to starboard. The ship sank so quickly that the crew was unable to launch the lifeboats leaving the survivors no choice but to jump into the frigid water clinging to what wreckage they could find. Fortunately, two of the ship’s life rafts had floated free. One Armed Guard Sailor, Seaman First Class Clarence J. Bennett, USNR, distinguished himself by climbing aboard one raft and pulling ten men from the water onto the raft who might otherwise have perished. When that raft was full he then swam to the other raft and rescued several other men.
After almost 2 hours in the water, the survivors were picked up by lifeboats from the other ship torpedoed by U-644, the tanker H.H. Rogers, and the convoy’s rescue ship, SS Rathlin. The Rathlin landed its human cargo at Halifax,Nova Scotia, on March 6,1943. Of the sixty-three men aboard the Rosario, thirty of its crew, including Cadet-Midshipman Maxwell Hollander and all but one of the officers, and three Armed Guard Sailors perished.
Cadet-Midshipman Maxwell Hollander was posthumously awarded the Combat Bar with star, the Mariners Medal, the Victory Medal, and the Presidential Testimonial Letter.
Maxwell Hollander was the youngest son of Harry Hollander and Hazel Hollander. Harry Hollander was an oral surgeon on Long Island. His older Brother James survived World War II and retired as a Captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve. Maxwell had an older sister Augusta and a younger sister Gloria.
Photo of SS Rosario