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SS Arthur M Huddell with pipe handling gear for the Normandy landings in holds 4 and 5.
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Class: YAG 55 (YAG 55)
Design: MC EC2-S-C1
Displacement (tons): 3,900 light, 13,710 full
Dimensions (feet): 442' oa, 416' pp x 57' e/wl x 28' max nav
Armament: none
Accommodations: unk.
Speed (kts.): 11
Propulsion (HP): 2,500
Machinery: Steam triple expansion reciprocating, 2 boilers (220psi/450deg), 1 screw

55YAG 55 (ex-ARTHUR M HUDDELL)1956St Johns River SB25 Oct 19437 Dec 1943COM/SRV

YAGNameTInactStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale

Class Notes:
The attribution of the designator IX 55 to the specially-fitted Liberty ship Arthur M Huddell has been found in only one secondary source, www.navsource.org, but it is consistent with the way the YAG designator was then being used and the timing is right.

During the summer of 1944 Arthur M Huddell was modified with number 4 and 5 holds converted to carry coiled pipe for the construction of a fuel pipeline under the English Channel as part of Operation PLUTO supporting the Normandy landings. She departed New York, 22 September 1944 carrying 70 mi (110 km) of pipe and general cargo. She then spent 84 days in London unloading 17 mi (27 km) of pipe into a cable laying ship and unloading the remainder at the dock.

As the ship’s pipe and cable-handling fittings had been left intact when she was laid up at the end of the war she was bareboat chartered from the MA James River reserve fleet by AT&T on 23 February 1956 and used to transport undersea telephone and communication cables that were to be laid between the US mainland, Hawaii and Alaska in support of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line. On completion of this activity the ship was transferred to the MARAD Reserve Fleet at Astoria, Oregon, on 11 October 1957. This is the period during which she would have been designated YAG 55 for record purposes within the Navy, although the Navy did not acquire her.

Arthur M Huddell was transferred to the Navy on 8 Dec 1977 and the navy took physical delivery of the ship at Suisun Bay on 13 December 1977. After her propeller, lifeboats and most of her equipment was removed, she was converted to a barge in July 1978 by Todd Shipyards at Alameda, Calif., for use in supporting cable operations for the Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS). Two years later, following the loading of cables from the Simplex Wire & Cable Company pier in Newington, NH, the vessel was again employed in cable transport operations, this time in conjunction with the cable ship Long Lines. In 1982, Arthur M Huddell was used in US Navy cable-laying operations in the Pacific. The Navy returned her on 22 Aug 1983 to MARAD and she was laid up in the James River.

Her special cable transport fittings kept her off the Liberty Ship disposal lists with the result that by the end of the 20th century Arthur M Huddell was one of only three Liberty ships remaining afloat, the others being John W Brown and Jeremiah O'Brien, both of which had been restored as fully operational museum ships. On 30 June 2008 an agreement was signed between MARAD and Greece gifting the ship to Greece, where she is now the fully restored stationary memorial ship Hellas Liberty at Piraeus.

Ship Notes:
55YAG 55 (ex-ARTHUR M HUDDELL)1215(ex-ARTHUR M HUDDELL, compl. 18 Dec 1943). Given to Greece as merchant marine memorial 30 Jun 2008.

Page Notes:
Compiled: 20 Oct 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021