Not many people associate Enos Mills with the Second World War. I certainly didn’t until I ran across some notes my grandfather had taken in the seventies, twenty years before his death.There was a liberty ship with the name SS Enos A Mills. For those of you unfamiliar with liberty ships, they were hastily constructed cargo vessels built entirely for the purpose of sending supplies and materiel to the troops overseas. They hauled food, munitions, vehicles, whatever the troops needed to continue the fight, or sometimes simply stay alive. They were absolutely crucial to the war effort, and their construction pioneered new shipbuilding technologies.
Liberty ships were built so quickly that in four years of the United States at war, seventeen shipyards cranked out 2,751 liberty ships. On average, ships were being launched at the rate of two per day.
My grandfather, Robert H. Kiley, served as a radio man on the U.S.S. Boise (CL-47), mostly in the Pacific theater. Apparently he had seen the SS Enos A Mills during his time on the Boise. My grandfather had yet to meet my grandmother, Enos’ daughter, Enda, but had read Enos’ books in school as a child and recognized his name.
I found some specs on the SS Enos A Mills:
- Registry number 2537, Official Number: 244319.
- Laid Down 15 Nov. 1943. Launched 4 Dec. 1943.
- Liberty Ship EC2-S-C1Type: Emergency Cargo, 2 meant between 400 and 450 feet in length, S for Steam Engine, C1 for design C1.
- Built by Oregon Shipbuilding Company in Portland, Oregon.
- Carried a crew of 44 people.
- Its Signal and Radio-call letters were KVIG.
- Gross tonnage: 7,176, Net tonnage: 4,380. Deadweight tons: 10,480.
- Length: 422.8 feet, breadth: 57 feet, depth: 34.8 feet.
- Its steam engines produced 2500 horsepower.
- The SS Enos A Mills was scrapped in 1961 in Tampa, Florida.
SS John W. Brown was a like model. It is one of the last two operational liberty ships afloat, and you can learn more about the SS John W. Brown at their website, where you can also take virtual 306-degree tours of various parts of the ship (which is pretty cool!) : http://www.ssjohnwbrown.org