Tybee Island in Chatham County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
The Loss of the HMS Otranto October 1918
On September 19, 1918, 574 Coastal Artillery Corps (CAC) officers and troops from the surrounding Georgia counties, including Chatham, set out by train from Tybee Island to New York under the command of 2nd Lt. Sam Levy. Their destination was the Western European Front and entry into World War I. In New York they boarded the British troopship, HMS Otranto, a converted luxury liner and armed merchant raider. The Otrano was loaded with more than 1,025 British and American servicemen, including 701 US soldiers bound for port in Ireland and ultimately the battlefields of France.
On Sunday, October 6, 1918, while in 40-foot seas, during a sever storm off the Isle of Islay, Scotland, the HMS Otranto collided with another British troopship, the HMS Kashmir. Despite orders to stand clear, multiple rescue attempts were made by the HMS Mounsey under the command of Lieutenant Francis Craven. Lieutenant Craven was able to rescue 590 men, including more than 300 American troops. Many more men attempted rescue only to be washed from the decks of the pitching
The final death toll was 470 US and British servicemen, including one American officer and 357 American enlisted men. It was the single greatest loss of life in troop transport during the war. Of the American casualties, more than 130 were from Georgia. Among the dead were 11 men from Chatham County and dozens more from surrounding counties, especially Screven County and Berrien County.
One month later, on November 11, 1918, the armistice was signed in Paris ending World War I.
(Second row, left to right)
2nd Lt. Samuel E. Levy
Above: Troops drill on Fort Screven's Parade Ground
The burial service
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Disasters • War, World I • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical date for this entry is October 6, 1918.
Location. 32° 1.294′ N, 80° 50.659′ W. Marker is on Tybee Island, Georgia, in Chatham County. Marker can be reached from Meddin Drive north of Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Tybee Island GA 31328, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. H.M.S. Otranto and Fort Screven (here, next to this marker); Henry Sims Morgan (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Henry Sims Morgan (a few steps from this marker); Tybee Island Wade-Ins (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Tybee Island Wade-Ins (a few steps from this marker); Fort Screven (a few steps from this marker); Tybee Island (within shouting distance of this marker); The Middle Passage and Tybee Island, Georgia (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tybee Island.
Also see . . . HMS Otranto. Wikipedia entry on the ill-fated ship, which originally sailed between England and Australia before being pressed into war service. (Submitted on June 18, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.)
Additional keywords. The Loss of the HMS Otranto October 1918
Credits. This page was last revised on June 18, 2022. It was originally submitted on June 18, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 535 times since then and 69 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on June 18, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.