SS William A. Graham

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Liberty ship at sea
A Liberty ship at sea
United States
Name: SS William A. Graham
Namesake: William Alexander Graham
Builder: North Carolina Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, North Carolina
Yard number: 16
Way number: 4
Laid down: 1 June 1942
Launched: 26 July 1942
Completed: 15 August 1942
In service: 1942
Out of service: 1952
Fate: Scrapped, 1972
General characteristics
Class and type: Type EC2-S-C1 Liberty ship
Displacement: 14,245 long tons (14,474 t)[1]
  • 441 ft 6 in (134.57 m) o/a
  • 417 ft 9 in (127.33 m) p/p
  • 427 ft (130 m) w/l[1]
Beam: 57 ft (17 m)[1]
Draft: 27 ft 9 in (8.46 m)[1]
Speed: 11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph)[1]
Range: 20,000 nmi (37,000 km; 23,000 mi)
Capacity: 10,856 t (10,685 long tons) deadweight (DWT)[1]
Crew: 81[1]

SS William A. Graham (MC hull number 160) was a Liberty ship built by the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company of Wilmington, North Carolina, and launched on 26 July 1942.[2] One of 2,700 cargo ships produced during an emergency shipbuilding program, the Graham was named for William Alexander Graham, a 19th-century governor of North Carolina and a U.S. Secretary of the Navy.

Constructed in eight weeks, the 441-foot steamship was operated by J.H. Winchester & Co. of New York. On her maiden voyage carrying Lend-Lease supplies to Karachi, the Graham narrowly evaded a wolf pack of German submarines off Cape Town in October 1942. The ship had a second close encounter with the enemy in June 1944, when German bombers attacked the harbor at Anzio where the Graham lay at anchor with six other merchantmen.

A record of the Graham’s maiden voyage is preserved in the diary of the ship’s first assistant engineer, Everett S. Ransom. Copies of the diary have been donated to nearly 30 libraries and museums around the United States, including the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society, the North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill, and the Nimitz Library of the United States Naval Academy.

After the war, the Graham carried cargo under different operators until being mothballed in 1952 in a reserve fleet in Mobile, Alabama. In 1972, the ship was purchased for scrap and dismantled by the Union Minerals and Alloys Corporation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Davies, James (2012). "Liberty Cargo Ships" (PDF). p. 23. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Liberty Ships built by North Carolina Shipbuilding". 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  • Ransom, Everett S. (2005) To Karachi and Back on the William A. Graham: The Wartime Writings of a Merchant Mariner, 1942-43. LCCN 2004094916
  • North Carolina Shipbuilding Company (1946). Five Years of North Carolina Shipbuilding
  • Lane, Frederic C. Ships for Victory: A History of Shipbuilding under the U.S. Maritime Commission in World War II. ISBN 0-8018-6752-5