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Employees launch the cargo vessel Nancy Lykes

Employees launch the cargo vessel Nancy Lykes

July 14, 1942: Employees conduct the launching ceremonies for the cargo vessel Nancy Lykes at the Consolidated Steel Corp. shipyards in Wilmington.

As reported in the July 15, 1942, Los Angeles Times, shipyard employees — not company executives — conducted the ceremonies:

A shipfitter’s helper gave the invocation.

The wife of a welder sponsored and christened the cargo vessel.

A girl from the blueprint department of the engineering office was maid of honor.

And the workers, 7500 strong, last night launched the S.S. Nancy Lykes which they built at the Consolidated Steel Corp. yards in Wilmington.

Gerald R. Furman, minister who took a furlough from preaching the gospel to turn his hand to building ships as a shipfitter’s helper, blessed the vessel and prayed for her safety and the safety of the men who sail her.

Mrs. Katherine Ealy, wife of Bert Ealy, a welder, smacked the bottle of champagne across the ship’s bow while Miss Jocelyn Anderson, employed in the blueprint shop, was her maid of honor.

The launching followed a talk by Frank Caffray, one of the stockroom gang. He was introduced by Jay Reeves, employed in the production control department.

The employees sang during the ceremony. Officials of the company stood around as spectators while their employees staged the launching.

The ship is 417 feet long, displacing 12, 900 tons, capable of carrying a cargo of 9000 tones. She was the seventh ship of the C-1 type launched at the Consolidated yard since May 11.

This was the second Nancy Lykes launched in 1942. The first Nancy Lykes, launched on Feb. 5, 1942, at the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. in Hoboken, N.J., was soon purchased by the U.S. Navy and renamed the Pollux.

The second Nancy Lykes survived the war and was scrapped in 1972 at Panama City, Panama. The Lykes Bros. Steamship Co. operated this cargo vessel and more than 100 other ships during World War II for the War Shipping Administration.

A third Nancy Lykes was built in 1961 for Lykes Bros. Steamship Co. and scrapped in 1993.

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