SS Clara Barton

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Name: SS Clara Barton
Namesake: Clara Barton
Laid down: 19 July 1942
Launched: 25 August 1942
Fate: Scrapped, 1970
General characteristics
Type: Liberty ship
Tonnage: 7,000 long tons deadweight (DWT)
Length: 441 ft 6 in (134.57 m)
Beam: 56 ft 11 in (17.35 m)
Draft: 27 ft 10 in (8.48 m)
Propulsion: 2 oil-fired boilers
Triple expansion steam engine
single screw
2,500 hp (1,864 kW)
Speed: 11.5 knots (21.3 km/h; 13.2 mph)
Capacity: 9,140 tons cargo
Complement: 41
Armament: • 1 × 4 in (100 mm) stern-mounted deck gun
• Variety of anti-aircraft guns

SS Clara Barton (Hull Number 636) was a Type EC2-S-C1 Liberty ship built by the California Shipbuilding Corporation, Terminal Island, for the United States Maritime Commission during World War II.[1] She was named after Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross.

The ship was laid down on 19 July 1942, then launched on 25 August 1942. The ship survived the war only to suffer the same fate as nearly all other Liberty ships that survived did; she was scrapped in 1970.

Service history

Clara Barton was chartered to the Army Transportation Service and participated in the Normandy Invasion on D-Day and made many trips from the UK to various ports on the continent as the invasion progressed.

On D-Day the ship was hit by a tank shell which passed clear through the ship with minimal damage before detonating.

On one of her trips as the invasion progressed the Clara Barton blew a major packing in her main engine and limped back to port through U-boat infested waters powered by the jacking engine, a small engine intended only to get the main engine off dead center.

On a subsequent trip the same packing blew again and then the jacking engine failed, leaving her dead in the water again in U-boat infested waters. After an anxious wait she was safely towed back to port.[2]


  1. "Liberty ships built by California Shipbuilding, Terminal Island, CA". Retrieved 2009-08-29. 
  2. The previous three paragraphs are oral history from John Robert "Bob" Lowther who was a fireman and watertender on the Clara Barton.