SS A. Frank Lever

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The SS A. Frank Lever was a Liberty ship, Maritime Commission hull number 1072, built during World War II and named for United States Senator and Clemson Life Trustee, Asbury Francis Lever, who died on April 28, 1940.

Liberty ships were a mass-produced wartime design. Eighteen American shipyards built 2,751 Libertys between 1941 and 1945, easily the largest number of ships produced to a single design. Originally a British design, the U.S. version was designated 'EC2-S-C1': 'EC' for Emergency Cargo, '2' for a ship between 400 and 450 feet (120 and 140 m) long (Load Waterline Length), 'S' for steam engines, and 'C1' for design C1. The new design replaced much riveting, which accounted for one-third of the labor costs, with welding, and featured oil-fired boilers.

The first of these new ships was launched on September 27, 1941. It was named the SS Patrick Henry after the American Revolutionary War patriot who had famously declared, "Give me liberty, or give me death." Consequently, all the EC2 type of emergency cargo ships came to be known as Liberty ships.

The cargo vessel SS A. Frank Lever, was constructed at the yards of the Southeastern Shipbuilding Corporation, Savannah, Georgia, one of 88 Libertys the yard built. Laid down on Way number 2 with Yard number 34, on October 29, 1943, at 12 a.m., it was launched on December 7, 1943, at 3:35 p.m. Mrs. A. Frank Lever was sponsor for the new ship. The new vessel was delivered on December 21, 1943 at 3 p.m.

Designed to be turned out at utmost speed, the Kaiser Permanente Metals Corp. No. 2 Yard in Richmond, California, set the record for constructing a Liberty ship when it built the SS Robert E. Peary, from keel laying to launching, in 4 days 15 hours and 30 minutes, November 8-12, 1942. The Peary was then outfitted, painted, taken on sea trials, and the vessel fully loaded with 10,000 tons of cargo. The Peary sailed seven days after her keel was laid. (Reference: More than 2,400 Liberty ships survived the war, only 196 having been lost in combat. Of these, 835 made up the postwar cargo fleet. Greek entrepreneurs bought 526 ships and Italian ones bought 98.

In 1943, the new vessel operated with the War Shipping Administration (States Marine Corp., New York). She was one of 51 ships in "Convoy HX-278" that departed New York, on February 5, 1944, arriving in Liverpool on February 20, 1944. Her cargo was listed as "General". In May-June 1944, she was part of the vast fleet of vessels assembled (6,939 ships, boats and amphibious craft) for "Operation Neptune", the maritime portion of "Operation Overlord", the June 6, 1944, D-Day invasion of Occupied France. This will likely remain the greatest number of vessels ever assembled.

Post-war, the SS A. Frank Lever was sold abroad in 1947, being renamed Brott, Skibs A/S Vard (Jacobsen & Salvesen, Oslo), and reflagged for Norway. She went to Henriksens Rederi A/S (Dagfin Hendriksen, Oslo) in 1948. She was renamed Finnborg, operated by A/S Norfinn (Jorgen Krag, Oslo) in 1951. Sold to Liberian interests in 1954, she was renamed Archanax, by Liberian Sea Transport Corp, Liberia (G.M.Livanos, New York). In 1967 she became the Mistral with Delta Marine Corp, Liberia (Scio Shipping Inc, New York). The former SS A. Frank Lever was scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, in 1968.

Only two operational Liberty ships, the SS John W. Brown and the Jeremiah O'Brien, remain. The John Brown has had a long career as a school ship and many internal modifications, while the Jeremiah O'Brien remains largely in its original condition. Both are museum ships that still put out to sea regularly. In 1994, the O'Brien steamed from San Francisco to England and France for the 50th anniversary of D-Day, the only large ship from the original Overlord fleet to participate in the anniversary. In 2008, the Arthur M. Huddell was transferred to Greece and was converted to a floating museum dedicated to the history of the Greek merchant marine; however, while missing major components were restored, this ship is no longer operational. This article contains material from the mainside Wikipedia.

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