Demographics of Atlantic Merchant Mariners

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historygeek2021
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Demographics of Atlantic Merchant Mariners

Post by historygeek2021 » 26 Jul 2021 21:44

Does anyone have sources or references on the demographic composition of the merchant mariners who ran the gauntlet of U-boats during the war? I've heard anecdotally that it was a racially diverse mix. But I'm wondering if anyone has details. Thanks.

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henryk
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Re: Demographics of Atlantic Merchant Mariners

Post by henryk » 27 Jul 2021 20:51

Note Norwegians:
viewtopic.php?f=46&t=85219&hilit=norway+merchant+navy

http://www.mil.no/felles/nhm/start/eng/
Norway's Merchant Navy under Allied control
At the beginning of the Second World War Norway's Merchant Navy was the fourth largest in the world, and also the most up-to-date.

http://www.norwayonline.no/?chapter=29&cat=21&disp=31
The role played by this ’’shipping company’’ normally does not receive the recognition it
deserves. It was this modern tonnage, especially Norwegian tankers, that provided succour and supplies to the hard-pressed Britons. Norwegian tankers were reported to have carried nearly one-third of the oil and petrol carried to Britain during the War, occasionally rising to half the total shipments. A grateful parliamentary secretary Philip Noel-Baker was quoted as saying that the Norwegian tanker fleet meant as much to Britain’’s war effort as the legendary Spitfires in 1940’’s Battle of Britain. Allied generals are said to be on record calling the Norwegian merchant navy as ’’a weapon mightier than a million men in the battlefield’’. Then, of course, there was President Franklin D Roosevelt’’s typically American exhortation to ’’Look to Norway!’’

daveshoup2MD
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Re: Demographics of Atlantic Merchant Mariners

Post by daveshoup2MD » 04 Jan 2022 08:49

historygeek2021 wrote:
26 Jul 2021 21:44
Does anyone have sources or references on the demographic composition of the merchant mariners who ran the gauntlet of U-boats during the war? I've heard anecdotally that it was a racially diverse mix. But I'm wondering if anyone has details. Thanks.
It really depends on which country you're looking at, and the question of ship ownership/registration/and charter status, and "when" during the war, but merchant marine manpower pools "usually" reflected the labor pools of their respective country - the UK, the US, France, the Netherlands, etc.

However, at a very general level of abstraction, merchant mariners were a diverse lot, in terms of both nationality and "race" ... along with the manpower pools of the Allied and neutral nations in Europe and the Americas (and, for that matter, "Europeans" from Africa, Asia, and Oceania), the merchant marines of European countries with extensive colonies in Asia almost all had a tradition of recruiting mariners (i.e. "lascars" in British parlance) there, as well (Britain and the Netherlands, for example), largely because they were paid a lot less than (for example) British or Dutch seamen.

Chinese, Egyptian, and other non-"whites" served in their countries' merchant marines, of course, and Chinese nationals often served aboard European-flag ships that traded in Asian waters, and given the course of the war, some of those ended up serving in the Atlantic.

Merchant marine officers, whether deck or engineer, were generally "white," although there were some who were not; but if so, they had to be pretty assimilated in order to earn their licenses.

And with wartime mobilization, a lot of manpower that were, essentially, "hostilities only" found their way into various nations' merchant marines, and these included warm bodies from all over the world, including many who had never seen the ocean before they signed up.

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