|Birth: ||Jun. 22, 1890|
Hordaland fylke, Norway
|Death: ||Dec., 1942|
Mon. Sept. 11, 1944
From Adm. Emory S. Land of the War Shipping Administration, Mrs. Herman N. Olsen of 470 W. Austin St., wife of Captain Herman N. Olsen, has received confirmation of her husband's death and the Mariner's Medal in commemoration of the greatest service anyone can render cause or country.
The accompanying letter read: "Captain Olsen was serving on the SS James McKay which on Dec. 13, 1942, was reported missing with all hands. He was one of those men who today are so gallantly upholding the traditions of those hearty mariners who defied anyone to stop the American flag from sailing the seas in the early days of this republic. He was one of those men upon whom the Nation now depends to keep our ships afloat upon the perilous seas--to transport our troops across those seas; and to carry to them the vitally needed material to keep them fighting until victory is certain and liberty secure.
"Nothing I can do or say will, in any sense, requite the loss of your loved one. He has gone, but he has gone in honor and in the goodly company of patriots. Let me, in this expression of the country's deep sympathy, also express to you its gratitude for his devotion and sacrifice."
Prior to his death in 1942, Captain Olsen served with the Merchant Marines 22 years, and for 15 years was master of his ship with Lykes Brothers Ripley Co., later known as Lykes Brothers Steamship Co.
Mrs. Olsen was notified Jan. 8, 1943 that her husband was missing in action, but not until Aug. 20, 1944 did she receive definite confirmation of his death. All she knows about the sinking of the ship is that it went down somewhere in the North Atlantic. Captain Olsen was born in Bergen Norway, and like many of his countrymen, he had followed the sea since early youth, first coming to American shores when he was about 19 years of age. His home had been in Paris for many years.
The James McKay was an American Steam merchant ship, and Herman N. Olsen was the Master. According to reports it had met the convoy number HX-217 east of Newfoundland, but had fallen out of the convoy on Dec. 6, 1942 for some unknown reason. On Dec. 8, 1942, at 01.37 hours, it was torpedoed by UBoat 600 about 425 miles south of Iceland. Distress signals were sent, and the crew was able to abandon the ship in lifeboats. Two more strikes caused the James McKay to sink. None of the ten officers, 38 crewmen or 14 Armed Guards were ever found. The ship was owned by the Lykes Brothers Co. Inc., New Orleans, La.
Note: The date of the sinking and loss of life is given as both the 8th of December 1942, and the 13th of December 1942.
Note: The date and place of birth for H. N. Olsen was taken from his WWII draft registration.
All hands were lost at sea. The marker in this cemetery is in his memory.
Lelia May Strickland Olsen (1895 - 1988)
Created by: Veterans Researcher
Record added: Oct 19, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 99225607