When we started this project, we had photographs with minimal information, and no way to fill in the gaps. This left us with images like this one, whose inscription was only “Close view of stack with three swastikas”. They looked like tallies, and given that they lacked the plane painted over them that the Louisa May Alcott had, we could not even be certain they were from shooting down planes. That’s all we had, until the 8 x 10 inventory, which provided a new source of information.
Given the size differences between a 4 x 5 print and an 8 x 10, you expect more details on the larger prints, but we didn’t know to expect as much as we got — not just the name of the ship (Samuel Livermore) but the casualties (Three German JU-88s), the location (the Mediterranean) and the men who did the shooting — Ennis Quinn of Milledgeville, GA, William C. Watson of Detroit, Marshall Sells of Landis, NC, and Glenn Pringle of Oskaloosa, IA. That’s a pretty decent haul for one extra source!
And the ship herself? The Samuel Livermore was a standard Liberty Ship, built in 1942 by Houston Shipbuilding Co, owned by the War Shipping Administration, operated by Stockard S. B. Co., and named for Samuel Livermore, a politician from New Hampshire. The Samuel Livermore was scrapped in 1959.