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Jacksonville Beach in Duval County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

SS Gulfamerica

 
 
SS Gulfamerica Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, July 10, 2012
1. SS Gulfamerica Marker
Inscription. This marker commemorates the attack on the USS Gulfamerica on April 10, 1942, during World War II (1941-1945) by a German U-boat just off the coast of Jacksonville Beach. The Gulfamerica, a merchant marine vessel, was on her maiden voyage from Port Arthur, Texas to New York carrying 90,000 barrels of fuel oil. It was one of the first merchant vessels to be fitted with weapons and carried seven naval armed guards in addition to its crew of 41 men. German U-boat, U-123, first fired a torpedo, striking the Gulfamerica on her starboard side; then maneuvered between the vessel and the shore to shell the tanker with its deck gun in full view of spectators on the boardwalk in Jacksonville Beach. Captain Oscar Anderson of the Gulfamerica ordered the ship to be abandoned. There was great confusion while loading the lifeboats and 19 men were killed, by drowning or from shellfire. The Gulfamerica and its cargo of oil burned for several days before sinking. Today the wreck sits in 60 feet of water, 4 ½ miles from the Jacksonville Beach coastline. In response to the sinking of the Gulfamerica , Florida Governor Spessard Holland declared a blackout of coastal areas to prevent the silhouetting of passing ships.
 
Erected 2005 by A Florida Heritage Landmark Sponsored
SS Gulfamerica Marker, looking south along Oceanfront sidewalk image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, July 10, 2012
2. SS Gulfamerica Marker, looking south along Oceanfront sidewalk
by the City of Jacksonville Beach and the Florida Department of State. (Marker Number F-541.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the US Navy Armed Guard marker series.
 
Location. 30° 17.593′ N, 81° 23.389′ W. Marker is in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, in Duval County. Marker is on 4th Avenue N near Ocean Front N, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Located at the 4th Avenue N terminus parking lot and Oceanfront sidewalk. Marker is in this post office area: Jacksonville Beach FL 32250, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. American Red Cross Volunteer Life Saving Corps and Station (approx. 0.3 miles away); Pablo Beach Post Office (approx. 0.4 miles away); Beaches Museum Chapel (approx. 0.4 miles away); Mayport Depot (approx. 0.4 miles away); First Settlers At Ruby, Florida (approx. 0.4 miles away); Porter Wood Burning Locomotive (approx. 0.4 miles away); Pablo Beach FEC Foreman's House (approx. 0.4 miles away); Doolittle's 1922 Record Flight (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jacksonville Beach.
 
Regarding SS Gulfamerica. Gulfamerica, American Steam tanker At 04.22 hours on 11 Apr, 1942, the unescorted Gulfamerica (Master Oscar Anderson) on her maiden
SS Gulfamerica Marker, at the eastern terminus of 4th Avenue North image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, July 10, 2012
3. SS Gulfamerica Marker, at the eastern terminus of 4th Avenue North
A parking lot repair project was underway at the time of this photo.
voyage was hit by one G7e torpedo from U-123 about five miles off Jacksonville, Florida. Illuminated by the lights of the Jacksonville Beach resort, the tanker had stopped steaming a zigzag course only 20 minutes before the attack. The torpedo struck at the #7 tank on the starboard side and caused a tremendous explosion and fire. The master ordered the engines stopped and the ship abandoned as the radio operator sent distress calls. The armed guards manned the 4 in. after gun (the ship was also armed with two .50 cal guns), but did not fire on the U-boat. The eight officers, 33 crewmen and seven armed guards began abandoning the ship in an orderly manner, but the U-123 tried to bring down the radio antenna with the AA gun and fired about 12 shells from the deck gun into the engine room on the port side. In the resulting confusion, a lifeboat capsized, while another with the master and ten crewmen got away in ten minutes. Ten minutes later another boat with only three men left and three others abandoned ship on a liferaft, later they picked up two men from the water. Five men had been killed by the torpedo blast or the machine gun fire and 14 men drowned after jumping overboard. A total of two officers, two armed guards and 15 crewmen perished. The survivors were all rescued by US Coast Guard patrol boats and taken to Mayport, Florida. The tanker settled by the stern with about
SS Gulfamerica Marker, northern view along Oceanfront sidewalk image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, July 10, 2012
4. SS Gulfamerica Marker, northern view along Oceanfront sidewalk
a 40 list to starboard but did not sink until 16 April. (Uboat.net)

After sinking Gulfamerica the boat (U-123) was located in shallow waters by an aircraft which directed a destroyer to the position. At 09.17 hours six depth charges were dropped on U-123 moving over the bottom at a depth of 20 m and badly damaged her. The boat played "dead man" and despite air bubbles escaping from damaged valves no more depth charges were dropped by the destroyer which left after one hour. Most of the damage could be repaired by the crew and the boat continued the patrol. (Sources: KTB U-123)
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
 
Also see . . .
1. SS Gulfamerica, from Wikipedia,. The SS Gulfamerica was an American steam tanker built by Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyards Inc, of Sparrow's Point, Maryland and completed in March 1942. She was operated by the Gulf Oil Company of New York and homeported in Philadelphia. (Submitted on July 21, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.) 

2. German submarine U-123 (1940). On the night of 8 April 1942, U-123 was positioned off the shores of St. Simons Island, Georgia and damaged the tankers Oklahoma and Esso Baton Rouge; twenty-two seamen were killed. The following day, 9 April, the freighter Esparta was sunk by U-123. On the night of 10 April 1942, U-123 torpedoed and sank SS Gulfamerica about two miles off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida. Gulfamerica was on its maiden voyage
Ninth Sailing - active patrol
U-123 departed under Reinhard Hardegen from Lorient (France) on 2nd Mar 1942 for operations off the US East coast and arrived back at Lorient more than eight weeks later on 2nd May 1942. Reinhard Hardegen hit eleven ships on this patrol.
On 22nd Mar 1942 he sank the American 7,034 ton Muskogee.
On 24th Mar 1942 he sank the British 8,138 ton Empire Steel.
On 27th Mar 1942 he sank the American 3,209 ton USS Atik.
On 2nd Apr 1942 he damaged the American 7,057 ton Liebre.
On 8th Apr 1942 he damaged the American 9,264 ton Oklahoma.
On 8th Apr 1942 he damaged the American 7,989 ton Esso Baton Rouge.
On 9th Apr 1942 he sank the American 3,365 ton Esparta.
On 11th Apr 1942 he sank the American 8,081 ton Gulfamerica.
On 13th Apr 1942 he sank the American 2,609 ton Leslie.
On 13th Apr 1942 he sank the Swedish 2,647 ton Korsholm.
On 17th Apr 1942 he sank the American 4,834 ton Alcoa Guide.
U-123 had one crewman killed during an artillery exchange with the USN 'Q-Ship' Atik. (Submitted on July 21, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.) 

3. ShipwreckExpo FLORIDA East Coast Shipwrecks GulfAmerica Wreck Jacksonville. ...445 feet long, had a 64 foot beam, displaced 8,081 tons and was powered by a 583 nhp turbine engine. ... (Submitted on July 24, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.) 
 
Categories. War, World IIWaterways & Vessels
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 1, 2017. This page originally submitted on July 21, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 1,223 times since then and 160 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 23, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.
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