Morris D Farmer

Morris D. Farmer

In Honor of Morris D. Farmer

Morris D Farmer served in the WWII US Navy Armed Guard as a gunner. He was
well liked and respected by his fellow crew members and by his Gunnery Officer.
Morris passed away 12 December 2000. If you knew Morris you can contact his
son at:

Morris (Moffee) Farmer left High School in Southern Illinois midway through
his senior year and headed for the Navy.  After boot camp at Great Lakes,
Gunnery school, and Armed Guard training in New Orleans, he reported for
duty in October 1944 to the oil tanker S.S. OSCAR F. BARRETT.

He served aboard the BARRETT for three months ferrying oil from Aruba or
Caracas, Venezuela, through the Panama canal to an oil depot on the Pacific
side of the canal, traversing the canal six times.

From March through July 1945, he was assigned to the cargo ship S.S.
BENJAMIN H. LATROBE. Most of that time was spent attached to a convoy that
intended to cruise around the world to demonstrate our supremacy on the

They went from Perth Amboy, NJ, across the North Atlantic to the UK.  Then
through the Straights of Gibraltar, across the Mediterranean, through the
Suez Canal, and into the Indian Ocean. They made several ports of call in
India and as far east as Rangoon.  However, sabotage and the Japanese
threat caused the rest of the circumnavigation to be aborted. 

They came back west across the Indian ocean, passed Madagascar and made
port in Portuguese East Africa, a neutral port. Here, they tied up directly
behind a German Navy Ship that had sought out the neutral location to spend
the duration of the war.

Continuing south and rounding the cape of South Africa, Farmer rode out his
second hurricane! In this one, the LATROBE faced into the wind with all
engines ahead full, for more than 24 hours, yet made zero headway! The
LATROBE returned to Perth Amboy in late July, allowing Farmer to be part of
the celebration in Times Square, New York on VJ-Day.

So, what was the mission-critical cargo carried by the LATROBE? They had
left Perth Amboy with 10,000 tons of beer destined for war-weary US troops
around the world.

From August 1945 until his discharge in April 1946, Farmer was at west
tried to get sea duty in the Pacific, but the Navy said he "just wanted to
go for a joy ride" and never assigned him to another ship.

Farmer had been in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, the
Mediterranean Sea, traversed both the Panama and Suez canals, crossed the
equator and rounded the Cape of Africa.  Yet he rarely spoke of the combat,
saying only that he manned a 20MM, usually alone, and that the worst of it
was in the Atlantic around the UK. 

Picture of Morris D. Farmer


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