Sunday, April 7, 2013

Maritime Monday: Leslie returns to the sea...

Welcome to part two of the story of my husband's grandfather, Leslie Gordon Mood. Missed part one? Check it out here.

And, so, "the day that will live in infamy," arrived on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. America was plunged into war, ultimately, on two fronts, Europe and the Pacific.

By 1943 Leslie had traded his job in painting railroad cars for life on the sea again. Leslie's name begins to show up on crew lists for the USAT (United States Army Transport) Belle Isle along with his uncle, Norman Smith in May 1943. As members of the Merchant Marines, Leslie and his uncle, Norman Smith moved cargo from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and New York aboard the Belle Isle which had been requisitioned by the United States for war time use.  Leslie served as a 2nd officer on the Belle Isle.

On May 1, 1944 Leslie's name appears on a crew list for the USAT Cristobal, another commercial vessel which was requisitioned by the United States War Shipping Department.  The itenerary indicated that the voyage began in New York with the destination being Scotland. It was his first voyage on the Cristobal. The Cristobal delivered troops to Normandy in June 1944 as part of the D-Day invasion. There are no records that show Leslie on this particular voyage but it takes place just one month after he first signed on with the Cristobal.  Who knows, maybe he was there!

On August 8, 1944 a United States Naturalization record appears for Leslie who provided the address 14 Albion Street in Medford, Massachusetts.  It was often noted on crew lists in the early 1900s that Leslie was "naturalized through his father" when asked about citizenship. Maybe the time had come where that was not quite enough!

Leslie continued to serve as a Merchant Marine in 1945 aboard the S.S. John Milledge, yet another Liberty Ship. Again, the ship was a commercial vessel (owned by the South Atlantic Steamship Company) that had been requisitioned by the War Shipping Administration. Records indicate that the Milledge moved cargo and up to 550 troops between New York and ports in England and France. The vessel also carried Naval Armed Guard Personnel on most of its crossings of the Atlantic.

From The Navy Department Library, regarding the Naval Armed Guard Service and the Merchant Marines during World War II:
"Given such a crucial situation, the problem of moving vast numbers of men and vast supplies of material across submarine infested waters and against land based aircraft became as difficult as the problem of training men and producing the weapons of war. Upon the success or failure of our efforts to move men and goods across the oceans hinged the destiny of the nation. The Chairman of the Maritime Commission has said that the merchant marine did not win the war, but that without merchant shipping the Allies would have lost. If the war gave merchant ships their greatest role in history, it also gave the men who defended these ships against submarines and planes a mission of supreme importance."

Left: Technical Sergeant. Charles Gordon Mood, USMC
Right: Lieutenant. Leslie G. Mood, USMS
January 1945
Including Leslie, three members of the Mood family were participating in the war effort. Leslie's sons, Charles Gordon Mood enlisted in the United State Marine Corps on February 9, 1942 at the age of 19 and Robert Lindsey Mood enlisted in the United States Navy on August 29, 1942, at the age of 17 and served on the U.S.S. Baatan. Harold Emmet Mood enlisted in the United States Army, Army Air Corps on November 16, 1945, at the age of 18, just weeks after the end of the war.

Leslie Gordon Mood and his siblings.
Nellie, Leslie, Josie, Norma, Nettie, Edward, Kempton, and Norman

Phyllis Mood, Charles Gordon Mood, Gertrude Eileen Griffiths (Mood),
Leslie Gordon Mood, and Donna Louise Spinos (Snowball)

Leslie Gordon Mood died in 1954 at the age of 53 and is buried at Oak Grove Cemetery in Medford, Massachusetts.

Oh, and, I am pretty confident that the aunt that Leslie was sent too in December 1916 (see part one) was Lavinia Morrisey Larkin who was his grandmother's sister. I love you, with a little detective work and some random queries there she was!

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