Tuesday, February 12, 2019
S.S. Lurline-- Part 3: Troop and Supply Transport During War
While en route to San Francisco from Pearl Harbor before the attack, the Lurline allegedly got radio signals from the Japanese fleet and this became part of the Pearl Harbor Advance-Knowledge Conspiracy Theory. The Lurline made her arrival safely traveling at maximum speed. She soon returned to Hawaii with her sister ships the Mariposa and Monterey as part of a convoy loaded with troops and supplies.
She spent the war doing similar service, often going to Australia, and once transported the Australian Prime Minister John Curtin to America to confer with President Roosevelt.
This was very dangerous service because of Japanese submarines.
One Royal Australian Air Force trainee pilot named Arthur Harrison remembered being put on watch without adequate training. He looked off in the distance and saw: "A straight line of bubbles extending from away out on the starboard side of the ship to across the bow. I had never seen anything quite like it, but it reminded me of the bubbles behind a motorboat. I called to a lad on watch on the next gun forward. A few seconds later the ship went into a hard 90 degree turn to port. We RAAF trainees received a severe reprimand from the captain for not reporting the torpedo. Anyway, it was a bad mess."
The Lurline was returned to the Matson Line in 1946 and soon returned to its pre-war status as the top liner in the Pacific Ocean. However, later competition from jet airliners spelled the end of its usefulness. It was scrapped in Taiwan in 1987.