I write regarding Roland J Barton’s excellent article ‘Safmarine Memories’ in the July 2018 issue of Sea Breezes.
I don’t know the date of Mr Barton’s visit to Kobe, but I would think it may have been around the late fifties.
I remember seeing the General William O Darby in the Solent having just sailed from Southampton in the early sixties. There were two classes of American Troop Ships, the P2 S2 R2 all named after Generals. Eleven ships with a displacement of 11,450 tons 573’(wl) 622’ oa 2 shaft geared turbines SHP 17,000 for a speed of 20.6 knots.
I have found one, the AP117 General W H Gordon that is shown as Mercantile 1946-1951 and the AP118, the General W P Richardson which became the mercantile La Guardia 1949 and then Leilani 1956 and finally the President Roosevelt of American President Lines in 1961. The class were all built by Federal (Kearney) and could carry 5,650 troops.
The other class were all originally Admirals, but renamed Generals in 1946. These ships were 12,650 tons displacement 573’wl 609’oa 76’beam with a 29’draft. Powered by turbo electrics 18000shp for 19 knots. Type P2 SE2 R1 as built all ships carried 4 x 5’ inch guns and 8x40mm guns.
The Admiral D W Taylor was completed as the President Cleveland and the Admiral F B Upham was completed as the President Wilson both for American President Lines. This class was all built by Bethlehem (Alameda). General William O Darby was of this class. She was originally the Admiral W S Sims. A good standard reference book for the war years is Paul H Silverstone’s US Warships of World War 2.