SOS for crew
AN?SOS is going out for the crew who raised the USS Potomac out of the Bridgetown Careenage back in 1962.
It’s coming from American William “Bill” Stewart, who intends to write the true history of the vessel.
Stewart wants to find the men with whom he worked to haul up the former coast guard cutter turned presidential yacht, turned commercial vessel, turned museum exhibit.
He told the MIDWEEK NATION yesterday the dedicated men who worked hard on the ship were being left out of history’s pages.
“The Potomac was sitting at the bottom of the Careenage after the people operating it as a passenger ship ran out of money and possibly sank it. It was still listed for sale and as we were interested, we sent someone to haul it up and bought it in a sheriff’s sale [auction],” he said.
Stewart, now 85, said he was working as the treasurer for ferry company Hydro-Capital at the time.
He said there was a book’s worth of trials, tribulations and triumphs involved in getting the ship from Barbados back to America and all the people involved here, both American and Barbadian, deserved their proper credit.
“I am now trying to find the people who had anything to do with the ship while it was here as I am trying to get recognition for those of us who brought the ship back. It is now a museum in the Port of Oakland in California, but the website giving its history only gives us about four inches,” he said.
So far, the search has been fruitless but Stewart, who is staying at the Courtyard by Marriott in Hastings, Christ Church, until the end of the week, is not giving up.
Armed with numerous photos, documents and a wealth of memories, he is determined to ensure the full history of the Potomac becomes a matter of public record.
The history of the vessel includes being owned by Franklin Roosevelt and Elvis Presley, as well as once being used to smuggle marijuana. Stewart said the efforts of the people in Barbados should also be in print as this was only fair.
Some of the people he is looking for include: Wilford “Grimes” Mescall; Albert Marshall; Oscar Hunte; Vernon “Doc” Carmichael; Lionel “Bobbie” Springer; Hazel “George” McKenzie; Theophilus Paul; Rupert Doyle; Mervyn Marshall (possibly of St Vincent) and Ewart Gladstone (possibly from Bequia).
He can be contacted at [email protected]