Schuster, Samuel

Samuel Schuster

Born: February 19, 1923
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Class: 1943
Service: Merchant Marine
Position / Rank: Deck Cadet
Date / Place of death: October 9, 1942 / 34-52S, 18-30E
Date / Place of burial: October 9, 1942 / Lost at Sea –
34-52S, 18-30E
Age: 19

War I “Hog Islander” at New York, NY on May 22, 1942. He was joined by Cadet-
Midshipman Bernard W. Spillman who signed on as Engine Cadet. On October 9,
1942 the ship was traveling unescorted and not zig-zagging, about 50 miles south of
the Cape of Good Hope bound from Colombo, Ceylon to Cape Town, South Africa
loaded with a cargo of chrome ore, jute and hemp. According to a report submitted by
the Commanding Officer of the ship’s Naval Armed Guard, at 0148 local time on
October 9, 1942 the ship was hit by a torpedo on the starboard side at the bulkhead
between the Fire Room and Engine Room. Post-war reports identify the submarine that
fired the torpedo as U-68. The torpedo explosion immediately disabled the engines and
the ship sank in minutes.

Of the 51 merchant crew and Naval Armed Guard, 43 succeeded in getting into two of
the lifeboats. Three more men died either during the launching or immediately
afterward. Cadet-Midshipman Samuel Schuster was one of the eleven men that did not
get safely away from the Examelia.

Although the forty survivors were rescued by the SS John Lykes about twelve hours
later, this was not the end of their misfortunes. On October 21, 1942 the Examelia’s
survivors sailed aboard the Dutch passenger ship Zaandam for return to the United
States. However, the Zaandam was torpedoed on November 2, 1942, killing 21 of the
Examelia’s survivors. Of the nineteen men who survived the second sinking, three
more died before they could be rescued. Among the dead from the sinking of the
Zaandam was Cadet-Midshipman Bernard W. Spillman.

Cadet-Midshipman Samuel Schuster was posthumously awarded the Mariners Medal,
Combat Bar with star, Atlantic War Zone Bar, the Mediterranean-Middle East War Zone
Bar, the Victory Medal, and the Presidential Testimonial Letter.

Samuel Schuster was the son of Morris Schuster and Pauline Schuster. No further
information about his family could be located.

Although Samuel Schuster was a “Kings Pointer” he had previously attended the
Pennsylvania Nautical School. It is interesting to note the relationship between Kings
Point and the Pennsylvania Nautical School (PNS). Administration of the Pennsylvania
Nautical School was transferred to the U.S. Maritime Commission in 1940 and renamed
the Pennsylvania Maritime Academy. In March 1942 the Maritime Commission ended
its administration of the Pennsylvania Maritime Academy, closing the school. The
school ship Seneca, a former Coast Guard Cutter, was assigned to other duties. All of
the cadets and their instructors were sent to Kings Point to complete their training.
However, in September 1942 the Pennsylvania Maritime Academy re-opened under
state control. The Seneca was returned to the Pennsylvania Maritime Academy and
renamed “Keystone State”. At Kings Point, the former Pennsylvania Maritime Academy
instructors and cadets that desired to return to Pennsylvania Maritime Academy were
allowed to do so, while some remained at Kings Point. Although the official name of the
institution from 1940 onward was Pennsylvania Maritime Academy, the name change
did not seem to “stick” and the institution was commonly referred to as the
Pennsylvania Nautical School.

4 thoughts on “Schuster, Samuel

  1. Sam was my grandfather’s first cousin. They were very close and the family was devastated when they learned of his death. My grandfather told me Sam was a great guy, a leader, someone he looked up to. May his soul be bound in the bond of life.

    • Thank you for past comments about your cousin Sam and the men who served our nation during WWII. We have raised some money to send the book Braving the Wartime Seas to the relatives of the men in the Merchant Marine from the Maritime Commission programs who died during the war. Please send me your postal mail address and another for another member of the family if they would like a book, and I will send each of you a book in 3-4 weeks. My e mail is Again thanks. George

  2. Sam was my grandfather’s youngest brother. As Marcus said, he was very dear to our family. When I was little, I remember my great grandparents lovingly showing me pictures and mementos of Sam. We named one of our sons Samuel in his honor.

    • Thank you for your wonderful reflection on one of the men we honor at the USMMA; so glad that your son proudly carries his name.. As I mentioned to Marcus, we have raised some money to send the book Braving the Wartime Seas to the relatives of the men in the Merchant Marine from the Maritime Commission programs who died during the war. Please send me your postal mail address and I will send you a book in week or so week. My e mail is You can also get the book from amazon, Barnes and Noble or Xlibris. Again thanks. George

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