Memorial Day May 30 2020

Gloucester June 003

Today, May 30, is considered now to be “traditional” Memorial Day. As I am a traditional kind of girl, I consider May 30 to be the “real” Memorial Day so I’d like to pay another tribute to a Gloucester man killed in action during World War II at the tender age of 19.

Gordon A. Tyne, son of Everett and Mary Ambrose Tyne, joined the Merchant Marines in June of 1942 as was a Deck Cadet aboard the MS American Leader. The ship was carrying “general cargo of war” and was sailing from New York to the Persian Gulf for Russia.

According to the Kings Pointers of World War II website: At about 1930 on September 10th, the American Leader ran afoul of the German Navy commerce raider, Michel, a converted merchant ship that had been operating in the South Atlantic. The Michel, disguised as a neutral merchant ship, fired on the American Leader, with deck guns and then launched two torpedoes. The Michel’s crew managed to destroy two of the lifeboats as the crew attempted to launch them, forcing the crew to abandon in life rafts. The American Leader sank in about 25 minutes, and ten crew members, including Deck Cadet Gordon Tyne and Engine Cadet Joseph C. DiCicco, were killed in the attack and went down with the ship. The 39 crew members and nine Naval Armed Guard who survived the sinking were taken prisoner by the Michel.

Gordon Tyne was a member of the Class of 43 at Kings Point but sadly prior to then when he was only 19 years old.


The story of the MS American Leader is a pretty interesting read and you can find an account here by its Captain George Duffy. The POW tales seem particularly grim.

It’s interesting to note that Gordon Tyne was a cousin to Jeffrey Gordon Tyne, whom I profiled in this post for Monday’s Memorial Day observation. Since Gordon died in 1942, and Jeffrey was born in 1945, I can only imagine his middle name was to honor his cousin.  This is one Gloucester family that paid a very high price in service to country.  I am pleased to share his story and honor his memory.

The story of Gordon Tyne, the MS American Leader and other Merchant Marines who died during World War II  is told in the book Braving the Wartime Seas:  A Tribute to the Cadets and Graduates of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and Cadet Corps Who Died During World War II by the American Maritime History Project is available at Amazon if you are interested. Book cover image borrowed from Amazon.



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