Launch Liberty Ship In Hopedale Boy's Memory
HOPEDALE, May 2 (1945) - The New England Shipbuilding Corp, South Portland, Me., today launched a
liberty ship named the Frederick Austin, in honor of a former Hopedale boy who lost his life in the service
of his country in July 1942.
There have been 100 Liberty ships named in honor of merchant men who lost their lives as a result of
direct enemy action, the names being selected by the Seamen's Service Award committee of the War
Shipping Administration, from the official casualty list of 722 names.
Mr. Austin attended the Hopedale schools, and later graduated with top honors from the Massachusetts
Nautical Training school. He was for years employed by the Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey, and at the
time of his death was a licensed first mate.
He was the son of Mrs. Mary E. Austin, formerly of Milford, brother of Mrs. W. Donald Barnard of Waban,
and nephew of James Sails of Milford.
The ship was launched under the sponsorship of Mrs. Frederick Austin (widow) and Mary Elizabeth
Austin (daughter) of Elizabeth, N.J. Mrs. W. Donald Barnard and daughter, Donna, of Waban attended the
launching. Milford Daily News.
Liberty Ships built by the United States Maritime Commission in World War II
"Liberty ship" was the name given to the EC2 type ship designed for "Emergency" construction by the
United States Maritime Commission in World War II. Liberty ships were nicknamed "ugly ducklings" by
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The first of the 2,751 Liberty ships was the SS Patrick Henry, launched on Sept. 27, 1941, and built to a
standardized, mass produced design. The 250,000 parts were pre-fabricated throughout the country in
250-ton sections and welded together in about 70 days. One Liberty ship, the SS Robert E. Peary was
built in four and a half days. A Liberty cost under $2,000,000.
The Liberty was 441 feet long and 56 feet wide. Her three-cylinder, reciprocating steam engine, fed by two
oil-burning boilers produced 2,500 hp and a speed of 11 knots. Her 5 holds could carry over 9,000 tons of
cargo, plus airplanes, tanks, and locomotives lashed to its deck. A Liberty could carry 2,840 jeeps, 440
tanks, or 230 million rounds of rifle ammunition.
Liberty ships were named after prominent (deceased) Americans, starting with Patrick Henry and the
signers of the Declaration of Independence. 18 that were named for outstanding African-Americans.
Any group which raised $2 million dollars in War Bonds could suggest a name for a Liberty ship, thus,
one is named for the founder of the 4-H movement in Kansas, the first Ukrainian immigrant to America, an
organizer for the International Ladies Garment Union, and the woman who suggested the poppy as a
symbol of American soldiers who died in World War I. The Francis J. O'Gara was named after a mariner
who was presumed dead, but who in fact, was a Prisoner of War. He was the only person to visit a Liberty
ship named in his honor. American Merchant Marine at War http://www.usmm.org/libertyships.html
War Veterans' Menu HOME
I usually crop out unrelated articles, but I thought in this case they would be of
interest to some. I looked through Hopedale street listing books for Austin's
parents, but only found his mother. She was listed as "housekeeper, and was
only in the books for 1921 through 1924. In 1921 through 1923 she was at 155
Main Street. That name continued for some years after the separation from
Milford in 1886, and was eventually changed to Mendon Street. 155 Main Street
may have been the Walker estate. In 1924 she was at 17 Daniels Street, and
also listed as a housekeeper. It seems likely that she was a widow and,
although listed as a nurse in the article above, was working as a maid, with
possibly some private nursing duties for the family she was living with.