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Last Voyage of the SS Henry Bacon, The

Last Voyage of the SS Henry Bacon, The
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Index , Appendix , Photos
$24.95 (18.71)

Highly Recommended
A deadly and harrowing true story filled with heroic sacrifice and sad tribute, The Last Voyage of the SS Henry Bacon is highly recommended reading for anyone with a strong interest in naval history and a unique contribution to personal, academic, and community library World War II studies collection.—The Bookwatch, March, 2002.

Real dangers of a liberty ship
…brings to life the real dangers of a liberty ship crew in the Artic Sea north of Russia during World War II.…a gripping tale of brave men at sea in the service of their country, working valiantly for the war effort and being ignored by their own government when medals were handed round.—Mike Ramsey in The Roanoke Times, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2002.

Far more than an ordinary story
...Far more than an ordinary story as the narrative includes the American Merchant Marine, US Navy Armed Guard, Norwegian civilians and their daring rescue by Royal Navy destroyers, voyages to Russia, life in Murmansk and finally Convoy RA.64. All these ingredients have been woven into the meticulously researched account by the authors who were determined that this little known story of tragedy and heroism should be made known in its entirety.... A highly recommended readable book and a fine example of thorough research.—Richard Cornish, The Review, a quarterly journal of the Naval Historical Collectors and Research Association

A gripping sea story
“The authors transport the reader back to 1945 and the situation that the participants faced in that bleak Arctic Sea, through the use of oral histories, personnel interviews, and official reports. The Last Voyage of the SS Henry Bacon is a gripping sea story and conveys the imagery of what it was like to be merchant sailors and civilians caught up in the horror of the Second World War.”—Professor Salvatore R. Mercogliano, Department of History, Methodist College

I would would unreservedly recommend the book
“This book is easily read and understood by the general public, while much of its content is of interest to the serious scholar as well. Ethnographically, it maintains a standard of excellence not often found in such an accessible form.... I would...unreservedly recommend the book to those with a casual or personal interest in the events of the period and...to those whose personal libraries cover the subjects of Liberty ships, convoys, and merchant shipping in World War II.”—Morgiana P. Halley, Ph.D., Maritime Ethnographer and Folklorist

A story of heroic courage, valor, and self sacrifice
The Last Voyage of the SS Henry Bacon is a story of heroic courage and valor and self sacrifice. The last voyage of the Liberty ship SS Henry Bacon saw the crew put the lives of 19 Norwegian refugees above their own lives. The Bacon was the last Liberty ship to be sunk by the German Lufwaffe on the Murmansk Run—from Scotland to Murmansk, Russia. The ship fought valiantly against superior forces, and downed more German planes than any other Liberty ship. The SS Henry Bacon was born, lived and died in war; born November 11, 1942; died February 23, 1945. When the ship went down, her proud captain and chief engineer were standing at the helm. This is her story.

Well written and documented
The Last Voyage of the SS Henry Bacon is filled with touching personal episodes, well written and documented, drawn from conversation and correspondence with the surviving merchant seamen and Navy gunners. Their accounts have been verified by declassified Navy and Maritime Commission records.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Women on the SS Henry Bacon
Chapter 2: The Birth of the Henry Bacon
Chapter 3: The Shakedown
Chapter 4: The Skipper
Chapter 5: The Crew
Chapter 6: Sørøya: Hidden Behind the Pages of History
Chapter 7: Operation “Open Door”
Chapter 8: Refugees to the Bacon
Chapter 9: Rest and Recreation in Murmansk
Chapter Ten: Leaving Murmansk
Chapter 11: The Tempest
Chapter 12: “Wind Force 12”
Chapter 13: “A Swarm of Bees”
Chapter 14: “Abandon Ship”
Chapter 15: Take to the Water
Chapter 16: Rescue
Chapter 17: The Way Home
Chapter 18: After Action Report
Selected Bibliography
Photo Gallery
Roster of Crew Members
Officers of HMS Opportune, HMS Zambesi, HMS Zealous, HMS Zest, HMCS Sioux
Composition of Convoy RA 64
Norwegian Survivors

DONALD R. FOXVOG has been writing all his life. Before his retirement, he worked for United Press, the Congressional Quarterly, and at several newspapers. Foxvog has served as a Congressional speech writer and performed freelance writing jobs for government agencies.

DR. ROBERT I. ALOTTA has been writing and getting published since the age of 14. He has written countless articles for academic journals and major and minor newspapers and magazines. Additionally, he has authored nine historical non-fiction works. His doctorate is in American military history. Dr. Alotta currently teaches history at Blue Ridge Community College, Weyers Cave, VA. He is also the director of education and information services for the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office and their webmaster.



Co-author Donald Foxvog passed away in 2009 and co-author Robert Alotta in 2012. On August 20, 2019, Paragon House received this letter providing a few more details about the story:


I am a retired Norwegian writing local history. After reading the book The Last Voyage of the SS Henry Bacon, I have some new facts about one of the crew. Able-bodied Seaman Robert Lorenzo lost his life, and in the book, the fate is "lost," page 247, and on page 158 I read he was the last man jumping into the sea from the ship. This is what happened afterwords:

My uncle and aunt found his body March 16, 1945, in the seaweed on an inlet next to Hillesoy island, 60 km from Tromsø city in North Norway/North of Senja. He was buried at our local cemetery, Hillesoy Kirkegard March 17, 1945. The local People made a coffin and wrapped him in a sail. They even sang a psalm at his grave, and the oldest said when they lowered the coffin into the grave: Thank you, young man, for what you have done for our country. Rest in Peace. But Robert did not rest in Peace in Our soil. After the war, the Americans came and brought him to the US. He is buried at Brooklyn Heights Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio. I am in contact With Robert's Family. The widow of his brother, 93 years old, told me they for years had been searching for his grave. And they did not know he had been in a grave in Norway.

If you have any questions or comment, feel free to answer this email.

Sorry, I forgot to write that The Norwegian Defense Minstry has confirmed that Able Seaman Robert L. Cramer was awarded the Norwegian War Medal post mortem 4. January 1946 by His Majesty King Haakon VII of Norway. He and the crew of SS Henry Bacon rescued 19 Norwegian refugees from Soroya, Norway when German aircrafts bombed the ship in Norwegian Sea February 23, 1945.

Best wishes Svein Ludvigsen

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Customer Reviews

  • Author: Gordon Anderson
    This book has been highly recommended by Bookwatch, and praised by newpaper reviewers and World War II naval historians. It is a well-written and gripping true life story of heroism and courage of a Liberty ship that rescued stranded Norwegians and later sunk by the German Lufwaffe.
  • Author: Greg Gerold
    My father was a member of the Armed Guard contingent on the Henry Bacon. Having read the book and discussing it with him, he told me that the book is as true to the actual events as he remembers them. Not only historicaly accurrate, this is a simply an amazing story that could serve as the plot line for a successful action film or popular novel!
  • Author: Charles A. Lloyd
    I am Chairman of the USN Armed Guard WW II Veterans and looking for any AG or Merchant Marine of WW II. I have located over 22,000 over the last 30 yrs.
    Web Site:www.armed-guard.com
    calloyd clloyd@nc.rr.com
    Greg, contact me
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