On this day: The Four Chaplains

On this day in 1943 the USAT Dorchester was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat.

The ship, carrying American soldiers to England, went down 90 miles west of Greenland. Of the 904 men aboard, 674 died, including the Four Chaplains: "George Fox, a former Methodist circuit riding preacher; David Goode, a rabbi from York, Pennsylvania; Clark Poling, a Yale Divinity School graduate and a pastor from Schenectady, New York; and John Washington, a Catholic priest serving a parish in Arlington, New Jersey."

-- NPR

"The torpedo knocked out the Dorchester's electrical system, leaving the ship dark. Panic set in among the men on board, many of them trapped below decks. The chaplains sought to calm the men and organize an orderly evacuation of the ship, and helped guide wounded men to safety. As life jackets were passed out to the men, the supply ran out before each man had one. The chaplains removed their own life jackets and gave them to others. They helped as many men as they could into lifeboats, and then linked arms and, saying prayers and singing hymns, went down with the ship."


No Greater Glory: The Four Immortal Chaplains and the Sinking of the Dorchester in World War II, by Dan Kurzman, Random House, 2004, tells their story.

A YouTube account of the sinking of the Dorchester is narrated by the nephew of Rev. Fox.

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