From an article in the “Savannah Morning News” dated September 15, 1945 (transcribed by Charles E. Varner)


To view a scanned image of the original SMN article containing a photo of the christening, though it will be less legible, click below:







As the last Liberty ship was launched by the Southeastern Shipbuilding Corporation this morning, leaving all six ways at the corporation’s yards for construction of smaller coast-wise cargo vessels, Charles S. Atwell, executive vice president, thanked the shipyard workers for their splendid co-operation during the Liberty ship program.

Just before the S. S.  Thomas W. Murray, Southeastern’s eighty-eighth and last hull moved down the ways, Mr. Atwell reminded that “It will be up to every employee to show we can do the job of completing our new contract just as successfully.”

Five of the coast-wise vessels are already under construction, the shipyard official stated, and the sixth keel was laid today shortly after the last Liberty ship christened ni the presence of a large number of guests who stood in a snapping wind to witness the ceremonies.

The S. S. Thomas W. Murray was sponsored by Mrs. Dorothy Murray of 216 West Waldburg street, widow of the merchant seaman for whom the ship was named.  He was badly burned with the S. S. William McTarnahan was torpedoed on May 16, 1941, and died of his injuries on June 8, 1942, in a Louisiana hospital.

Sergt. Cecile Bordelon, who was chosen “GI Jane” of Hunter Field by popular vote, was Mrs. Murray’s maid of honor.  Fifteen other WACs from Hunter Field, under the command of Lieut. Janet Stahl, formed an honor guard.

Today’s launching ceremonies, which opened with an invocation by Maj. Alfred Williams, wing chaplain at Hunter Field, occurred just a few days before the third anniversary of the signing of Sotutheastern’s first contract with the U. S. Maritime Commission for Liberty ships.  The contract was signed three years ago Sunday.

Robert E. Banks, the shipbuilding corporation’s industrial relations counsel, acted as master of ceremonies and spoke briefly about Thomas W. Murray, whose tiny son and daughter were among the launching guests.  Others included Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Frame, Buckhill Plantation; Mr. and Mrs. R. H. Jack, Buckhill Plantation; Mr. and Mrs. Heyward Taylor, Ridgeland, S. C; Lieut. Col. And Mrs. Lester G. Orcutt of Hunter Field, and several prominent Savannahians.