Maher, Daniel J.

Daniel Joseph Maher

Born: July 17, 1923
Hometown: East Boston, MA
Class: 1944
Service: Merchant Marine
Position / Rank: Engine Cadet
Date / Place of death: March 2, 1943 / 62-10N, 28-25W
Date / Place of burial: March 2, 1943 / Lost at Sea —
62-10N, 28-25W
Age: 19

 

 

Daniel J. Maher signed on aboard the SS Meriwether Lewis as Engine Cadet on
October 15, 1942 at New York, NY. Cadet-Midshipman Walter E. Johnson had signed
on a few days earlier as Engine Cadet. The ship’s two Deck Cadets were Cadet-
Midshipmen Randall Bourell and Alan Clarke . After an uneventful voyage to
Casablanca, French Morocco the ship returned to New York on January 10, 1943.
Walter Johnson was replaced by Francis McCann around January 25, 1943. On
February 18, 1943 the Meriwether Lewis with its four Kings Point cadets sailed from
New York as part of convoy HX-227 bound for the United Kingdom and then to
Murmansk, Russia. The ship was loaded with a cargo of vehicle tires, ammunition, and
according to some references, a deck cargo of PT Boats.

According to German Navy records, the Meriwether Lewis was identified as a straggler
from a convoy, and unsuccessfully attacked, by U-759 in the early morning of March 2.
The submarine was unable to re-attack the Meriwether Lewis due to problems with its
engines, but it was able to contact U-634 and lead it to the straggler. The U-634 fired
four torpedoes at the Meriwether Lewis, hitting it with one of them. The damage was
apparently sufficient to stop the ship, but did not sink it. The submarine hit the
Meriwether Lewis with two more torpedoes, the last of which detonated the ship’s
ammunition cargo. Although there was plenty of time to abandon ship, the USCGC
Ingham (WPG 35) found only a 30-mile line of floating tires during its two day long
search for the SS Meriwether Lewis and crew. Thus, the ship’s entire crew of 44,
including four Kings Point Cadets, and 28 members of the Naval Armed Guard perished
in the sinking.

Cadet-Midshipman Daniel J. Maher was posthumously awarded the Mariners Medal,
Combat Bar with star, Atlantic War Zone Bar, the Victory Medal, and the Presidential
Testimonial Letter. He had previously earned the Pacific War Zone Bar for service

aboard the SS Charles Kurz and SS Argentina. Crew lists on file in New York indicate
that he had signed on aboard the SS Argentina as a Fireman at San Francisco on April
15, 1942.

Daniel J. Maher, known to his family as “Danny”, was the youngest of Capt. Daniel J.
Maher and Annie M. J. Maher’s three children. The oldest child was Dannie’s big sister Rita, who, according to the 1940 U.S. Census, worked in a hospital. The middle child was
Dannie’s brother William who was working in a fish processing and cold storage plant in 1940.
Dannie’s father was captain of the trawler MV Foam. On May 17, 1942 the Foam was sunk
by a German submarine off the coast of Nova Scotia, the first in World War II. Danny
graduated from Tilton Parochial School and East Boston High School, in 1941. He was an
active member of the Sea Scouts, and was remembered by his sister Rita for his excellent character, his love of life and for the sea.

Photo Danny Maher (age 8) and Father call home on his first voyage to sea

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