Cover image for Liberty : the ships that won the war
Liberty : the ships that won the war
Elphick, Peter.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Annapolis, Md. : Naval Institute Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
512 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Electronic Access:
Table of contents
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D773 .E47 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This stirring tribute tells the complete story of the renowned Liberty ships, from their design concept and production through their war service and post war careers. Designed for speed and ease of production, Liberty ships were turned out at American shipyards so rapidly that the Allies were able to replace thousands of ships lost to U-boats and keep the vital transatlantic supply routes open. Filled with firsthand accounts, the book brings to life the amazing industrial effort and sacrifice and heroism of the men who sailed the ships in every theater of the war. The construction of the Robert E. Perry in a record-breaking five days and ongoing efforts to preserve the last surviving ships are just two of the many stories illuminating this overlooked part of World War II. Essential reading for historians and naval enthusiasts, this book is a fascinating account of one of the great achievements in maritime history.

Author Notes

Peter Elphick is a retired Master Mariner who, after spending many years in the South China Seas, worked as a port and shipping specialist. A member of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners and a Fellow of the Nautical Institute, he is also a Trustee of the World Ship Trust and was onetime editor of that organisation's Review

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. 6
Acknowledgementsp. 7
Introductionp. 12
Part I In the Beginning
1. The Parentage of the Liberty Shipp. 23
2. The British Shipbuilding Mission to the United Statesp. 34
3. Birth of the Liberty Shipp. 53
4. The Shipyards and their Workersp. 80
5. The Naming Gamep. 102
6. The Wartime Liberty Crewsp. 110
7. Close to Calamity: the Structural Failure Problemp. 143
Part II The Liberty at War
8. Ubiquityp. 179
9. A Liberty versus a German Raiderp. 189
10. The North Atlanticp. 203
11. Liberty Ships and the Northern Route to Russiap. 222
12. Liberties and Operation 'Torch'p. 244
13. Liberties as Troopships and Animal Transportsp. 252
14. Liberties in the Mediterraneanp. 273
15. The Poison Gas Disaster at Barip. 282
16. Liberties and the Allied Salvage Servicesp. 297
17. Normandy and the Campaign in Europep. 310
18. 'Let Sleeping Wrecks Lie': The On-going Saga of the Richard Montgomeryp. 326
19. Liberties in the Indian Oceanp. 343
20. Liberties in the Pacificp. 363
21. The Other Allied Libertiesp. 383
Part III After the War
22. The Liberty Ship's Role in Peacetimep. 399
23. Tragedy off Porthcawl: The Loss of the Samtampap. 413
24. Lost without Tracep. 423
25. More Post-war Disasters, Trials and Tribulationsp. 435
26. The Last Years of the Trading Libertiesp. 446
27. Treasure Huntp. 457
28. The Surviving Libertiesp. 466
Appendicesp. 478
Bibliographyp. 490
Abbreviationsp. 498
Indexp. 499