William McKeon

William "Billy" McKeon





William "Billy" McKeon


William Billy McKeon served in the Naval Armed Guard in WWII. He served on the SS Bushranger and SS Kaimoku. He boarded both by gangplank and left both swimming for his life.

The Gunner - See bottom of page for source


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See Caption in picture below


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Photo of Louis DeGennaro, Hero, with Fan Club Members


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See Caption in picture below


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Picture of PBY picking up survivors


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Picture of survivors inside the PBY. Billy McKeon is the one on the left smiling


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Picture of Armed Guard Crew. Tyndall is at left of the front row with GM 3/C stripes


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Tyndall is also in the picture below


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Tyndall is in the picture below


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Picture of Billy McKeon with his friend, AB Louis V. Cafiero and others.


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Photo of survivors aboard the rescue Corvette Battleford in Convoy SC-94. At left is Naval Armed Guard Louis DeGennaro, who kept wounded gunner William McKeon afloat until picked up by the Battleford.


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Navy and Marine Corps Medal awarded to Naval Armed Guard Louis DeGennaro for keeping wounded gunner William McKeon afloat and saving his life.


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Canadian Corvette, Battleford, WWII, North Atlantic


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Caribbean Sea War - Latest Version - by Louis V Cafiero


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Caribbean Sea War - left half - by Louis V Cafiero


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Caribbean Sea War - Right Half - by Louis V Cafiero


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Sinking Report - SS Kaimoku


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SS BUSHRANGER

Home Port: Panama, R.P.
Company: Alcoa SS Co.
Master: Martin Strandley (Lost) U.S. citizen
Built: Sunderland, England 1922
Gross Tons: 4536
Dimensions: 377' x 53' x 24'
Former Names: (a) STAKESBY: (b) STARCK:
                   (MARIA THORDEN)

The coal burning freighter, SS BUSHRANGER, was seized by the U.S. while
under the Danish flag on June 6, 1941 under an Executive Order.

The SS BUSHRANGER was torpedoed by the German U-107 (Harald Gelhaus) in
position 20-20 N./81-30 W. at 2030 EWT on May 31, 1942 while en route from
a port in Dutch Guiana to Key West for orders via St. Thomas, with a full
cargo of Bauxite. The ship was unescorted although there was a Naval (U.S.)
Armed Guard aboard.

The BUSHRANGER had left New York with a full load of general cargo for
South American ports. She left St. Thomas on May 26th. The date leaving New
York was April 6, 1942.

On board was a complement of 44 men, 37 merchant crew and 6 U.S. Navy Armed
Guard. Seventeen (17) merchant crew were lost, 11 of them were American
citizens. No Navy men were lost.

No boats were launched due to the rapid sinking of the ship. Four rafts
were cut loose. Crew members jumped overboard and got aboard the four
rafts. Six of them clung to a floating vegetable bin which had floated
free. These six eventually climbed on a raft on which was the Chief Mate.
This raft was picked up June 7th by a U.S. Navy Catalina and the survivors
taken to Kingston, Jamaica.

The four rafts stayed together for three days but on the 4th day, the raft
in charge of the Chief Mate disappeared. The other 3 rafts containing 19
survivors were picked up by the USCG NIKE on June 12 in position 21-00
N./83-30 W. and taken to Key West.

Survivors on these three rafts reported that on June 5th at 0200 EWT during
good visibility, a large plane circled three times, dropped a flare and
then disappeared to the west.

The periscope of the sub was first sighted at 1040 EWT but it disappeared.
At 1655 EWT, the tracks of two torpedoes were seen crossing the starboard
bow close to the ship. At this time the Master commenced zigzagging and
sent out three SOS warnings but received no answer.

The U-107 (Fritz) was sunk on August 18, 1944 west of La Rochelle by RAF
Squadron 201. Position 46-46 N./3-39 W. There were no survivors.

AMERICAN MERCHANT SEAMEN LOST

CODY, William             Fireman
CONNON, John Thomas       A.B.
DYKSTRA, Henry              O.S.
HOOPER, Fred                Bosun        Hawthorne, CA
KACHULIS, Peter            Coal Passer
MAXWELL, John A.           Chief Engr.   Brooklyn, NY
MENDEZ, Francisco          Messman
PRESTO, Geacome            A.B.
STRANDLEY, Martin           Master
TIERNEY, Martin            Oiler
VERNON, Robert Louis       Chief Steward

FOREIGN SEAMEN LOST

COLTON, S.H.      3rd Mate                British
de ROSELA, Manuel Fireman                 Portuguese
GUSTIN, Rene    1st Engr.               Belgian
FRENCH, R.        Oiler                   Canadian
MITHUS, Einar    Oiler                   Norwegian
SCOTT, James    2nd Mate                British

AMERICAN MERCHANT SEAMEN SURVIVORS

CERKO, Anthony            Messman
CIERPIESS, Anthony W.    O.S.
COSTELLO, Eugene            Coal Passer
COVELL, Daniel J.       A.B.
ERICSON, Harry              Fireman
MILLER, Vincent F.        Messman
POKORNY, Joseph          2nd Cook
SCHEUERMAN, J. Dean      A.B.
TILLBERG, Joseph T. (40)    Coal Passer

U.S. NAVAL ARMED GUARD SURVIVORS

McKEON, William F.          A.S.
---------------------------------------X
MONARD, Philip F.           A.S.
SMITH, Euzema, Jr.          A.S.
STANTON, Oliver             A.S.
TYNDALL, Edward             A.S.
WILDER, Arthur B.           Cox.

Unfortunately, the crew list does not show the addresses of those listed.
The crew list for this ship was of poor quality, making it very difficult
to decipher the names. This was common with most Panamanian flag ships
during WWII.


Source of Poem, "The Gunner"


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Source of Poem, "The Gunner"


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