S.S. ZamZam Collection

1936, 1941-1942
Manuscript Collection #906
Creator(s)
Hocutt, David
Physical description
1.81 Cubic Feet, 3 containers, 419 items , scrapbook
Preferred Citation
S.S. ZamZam Collection (#906), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
Repository
ECU Manuscript Collection
Access
No restrictions

Collection (1941-1942) consisting of a photograph album of the S.S. ZamZam, an Egyptian-owned ship, its crew and passengers, including 120 American missionaries (from 21 different denominations), tobacco buyers and other passengers traveling from New York to Alexandria, Egypt, via Capetown, South Africa, who survived sinking by the German raider Tamesis 17 April 1941, including newspaper and magazine clippings, photographs, periodicals, correspondence, and photocopies of an autobiographical account.


Biographical/historical information

S.S. ZamZam underwent many changes in ownership and naming during its lifetime. Originally named Leicestershire, the ship, a Bibby Line freighter, was built in 1909 by Harland and Wolf in Belfast, Ireland. Leicestershire was requisitioned in August 1914 by the Indian colonial government for troop transport. The British government once again requisitioned the ship in November 1917. Under their control, the ship conveyed troops between multiple ports in England, India, Russia, and Australia. At the end of the First World War in 1918, the ship was returned to the original owners, who took steps to modernize the vessel, including converting from coal burning to marine fuel oil propulsion and increasing the ship's hauling capacity by turning the coal bunker into cargo space. In 1930, Leicestershire changed ownership when it was purchased by the British National Expedition Company, Ltd. and renamed British Exhibitor. In 1933, the company went bankrupt and the ship was sold to the Egyptian Company for Travel and Navigation, who renamed it ZamZam.

The ship's final change of ownership was in May 1934 when ZamZam was transferred to Societe Misr de Navigation (MISR Line) of Alexandria, Egypt. In 1939, while laid up in Alexandria for scheduled maintenance and repairs, an Italian air raid caused damage to the ship's stack, captain's quarters, and pilot house. By December 1940, ZamZam was repaired and able to resume service. Under Captain William Gray Smith, the ship transported passengers and cargo on the Alexandria-Cape Town-New York route via the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, South Atlantic, and Caribbean Sea in order to avoid military conflict.

In March 1941, after a brief delay, ZamZam departed Hoboken, New Jersey for Alexandria with projected stops in Baltimore, Maryland; Trinidad; Recife, Brazil; Cape Town, South Africa; and Mombasa, Kenya. Though the exact numbers of passengers and crew often differ, one count has 141 crewmembers and 202 passengers, including 137 Catholic and Protestant missionaries with their families, 6 North Carolina tobacco buyers, 24 men of the British-American Ambulance Corps, several Royal Air Force wives, and British, American, and Canadian businessmen. Along the journey, the ship received orders from the British Admiralty to sail a pre-set course from Recife to Cape Town. Despite protests from the captain, ZamZam was ordered to travel under blacked-out conditions and thus departed from Recife on April 9 sailing without lights or national ensign and in radio silence. In the early morning hours of April 17, the German raider Atlantis, disguised as the freighter Tamesis, began shelling the S.S. ZamZam. Passengers and crew quickly rushed to the lifeboats and ultimately all were taken aboard the German raider. After removing any useful supplies, the Germans placed time bombs aboard ZamZam and sank the ship.

Sources:

Ephemera of the ZamZam Incident, Collection 624, at the Billy Graham Center, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.

Carpenter, S.D.M. Resurrection of Antimony. Bloomington: AuthorHouse, 2009.


Scope and arrangement

The original scrapbook was compiled by David Hocutt, and presented to Rosa Hocutt Powell in commemoration of the shelling and sinking of S.S. ZamZam. Formerly a Muslim Pilgrim ship, ZamZam was named for a holy well in Mecca. The scrapbook documents the ZamZam's voyage and the American passengers that were aboard through newspaper headlines and clippings. An in-depth compilation of the ship's journey is found in the June 23, 1941 issue of Life Magazine.

S.S. ZamZam left Baltimore, Maryland on 23 March 1941 with 120 missionaries, two Life Magazine staff, six Wilson, North Carolina tobacco buyers, twenty-four British-American Corp ambulance drivers, twenty-six Canadians, twenty-five British, five South Africans, four Belgians, one Italian, one Norwegian, two Greek nurses, and 129 ship's crew. They were scheduled to travel to Alexandria, Egypt via the Cape of Good Hope. In the beginning, the trip went smoothly. However, the ship sailed with no flag, no lights, no identifying marks and in radio silence. The ship was spotted while crossing the Atlantic by an Italian plane, who then notified the German Nazi Party.

On 14 April 1941, ZamZam heard radio communication from a Norwegian ship, Tai-Yin, that it was being attacked by a German raider. ZamZam quickly changed course and sailed on. On 17 April 1941, ZamZam was shelled for 10 minutes by the German raider, Tamesis. After realizing their mistake, the Germans immediately stopped firing and proceeded to rescue the passengers and crew of ZamZam. The next day the survivors were transferred to a larger German ship, Dresden.

Dresden then headed north, taking the survivors to Bordeaux, France, where they landed on 20 March 1941. The survivors were questioned, and many of the missionaries were immediately released to return home to America. However, some of the ambulance men were held for further questioning. The Americans were then transferred to Lisbon, Portugal and prepared for their journey home. They departed on 6 June 1941 but bad weather forced the planes to turn around. Weather subsiding, the planes left for America once again, and the surviving Americans arrived back home on 10 June 1941.

After the sinking, the whereabouts of S.S. ZamZam were unknown until the Germans released the survivors to Lisbon, Portugal. The American public speculated widely and newspapers repeatedly reported on the whereabouts and condition of the Americans that were on the ship. Many major newspapers covered the ship's voyage through report, some of which are contained in the collection.

Also included in the collection is a large clipping from The Duplin Times (Kenansville, North Carolina) dated September 17, 1936, about the Centennial and Homecoming at Johnson's Baptist Church.


Administrative information
Custodial History

March 11, 2003 1 container, 0.21 cubic feet, 78 pages, 1 volume; Collection (1941-1942) consisting of a photograph album of the S.S. ZamZam, an Egyptian-owned ship, its crew and passengers, including 120 American missionaries (from 21 different denominations), tobacco buyers and other passengers traveling from New York to Alexandria, Egypt, via Capetown, South Africa, who survived sinking by the German raider Tamesis 17 April 1941, including newspaper and magazine clippings, photographs, periodicals, correspondence, and photocopies of an autobiographical account. Also includes a clipping from The Duplin Times (Kenansville, North Carolina) dated September 17, 1936, about the Centennial and Homecoming at Johnson's Baptist Church. Donor: Mary Hester Powell.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mary Hester Powell

Processing information

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Processed by Christine Mayo, April 2003

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.


Related material

Ephemera of the ZamZam Incident, Collection 624, at the Billy Graham Center, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.

The ZamZam Story


Key terms
Corporate Names
Zamzam (Ship)--Photographs
Topical
Passenger ships--Egypt
World War, 1939-1945--Naval operations, German

Container list
Box 1 Folder a Introduction from the collaborator of the scrapbook to readers (7/3/1941). Scrapbook page 2
Box 1 Folder a Inscription and photograph of Rev. J. Carlyle Powell (n.d.). Scrapbook page 4
Box 1 Folder a Inscription and photograph of Mrs. Rosa Powell (n.d.). Scrapbook page 5
Box 1 Folder a Newspaper clipping. The NY Times (3/20/1941). Scrapbook page 6
Box 1 Folder a Newspaper clipping. The Duplin Times (n.d.). Scrapbook pages 6-7
Box 1 Folder a Newspaper clippings. Listed as Newspaper Unknown. Contains newspaper clipping from: The New York Daily News, The New York Times, The Duplin Herald, The New York Post, and The News and Observer (n.d.). Scrapbook pages 6-7
Box 1 Folder a Newspaper clipping. The News and Observer (5/24/1941). Scrapbook pages 6-7
Box 1 Folder a Newspaper clipping. The News and Observer (6/27/1941). Scrapbook pages 6-7
Box 1 Folder a Newspaper clipping. The News and Observer (5/20/1941). Scrapbook pages 6-7
Box 1 Folder a Newspaper clipping. The Duplin Times (6/26/1941). Scrapbook pages 6-7
Box 1 Folder a Newspaper clipping. The New York Daily News (5/19/1941). Scrapbook pages 6-7
Box 1 Folder a Newspaper clipping. The New York Times (5/19/1941). Scrapbook page 8
Box 1 Folder a Newspaper clipping. The New York Herald (5/19/1941). Scrapbook page 9
Box 1 Folder a Newspaper clipping. The Brooklyn Eagle (5/19/1941). Scrapbook page 10
Box 1 Folder b Newspaper clipping. The New York Journal American (5/19/1941). Scrapbook page 11
Box 1 Folder b Newspaper clipping. The New York Journal American (5/19/1941). Scrapbook page 12
Box 1 Folder b Newspaper clipping. The New York Journal American (5/19/1941). Scrapbook page 13
Box 1 Folder b Newspaper clipping. The New York Journal American (n.d.). Scrapbook page 14
Box 1 Folder b Newspaper clippings. Newspaper unknown (5/19/1941). Scrapbook page 14
Box 1 Folder b Newspaper clipping. The New York World Telegram (5/19/1941). Scrapbook page 15
Box 1 Folder b Newspaper clipping. Newspaper unknown (n.d.). Scrapbook page 16
Box 1 Folder b Newspaper clipping. Newspaper unknown (n.d.). Scrapbook page 17
Box 1 Folder b Newspaper clipping. Newspaper unknown (5/19/1941). Scrapbook page 18
Box 1 Folder b Newspaper clipping. The New York Post (5/19/1941). Scrapbook page 19
Box 1 Folder c Newspaper clipping. The New York Post (5/19/1941). Scrapbook page 20
Box 1 Folder c Newspaper clipping. The New York Post (5/19/1941). Scrapbook page 21
Box 1 Folder c Newspaper clipping. The New York Sun (5/19/1941). Scrapbook page 22-23
Box 1 Folder c Newspaper clipping. The New York Sun (5/19/1941). Scrapbook page 24
Box 1 Folder c Newspaper clipping. The New York Daily News (5/20/1941). Scrapbook page 25
Box 1 Folder c Newspaper clipping. The New York Daily News (5/20/1941). Scrapbook page 26
Box 1 Folder c Newspaper clipping. The New York Daily News (5/20/1941). Scrapbook page 27
Box 1 Folder c Newspaper clipping. The New York Daily News (5/20/1941). Scrapbook page 28
Box 1 Folder c Newspaper clipping. The New York Daily Mirror (5/20/1941). Scrapbook page 29
Box 1 Folder d Newspaper clipping. The New York Daily Mirror (5/20/1941). Scrapbook page 30
Box 1 Folder d Newspaper clipping. The New York Daily Mirror (5/20/1941). Scrapbook page 31
Box 1 Folder d Newspaper clipping. The New York Daily Mirror (5/20/1941). Scrapbook page 32
Box 1 Folder d Newspaper clipping. The New York Herald (5/20/1941). Scrapbook page 33
Box 1 Folder d Newspaper clipping. The New York Herald (5/20/1941). Scrapbook page 34
Box 1 Folder d Newspaper clipping. The New York Herald (5/20/1941). Scrapbook page 35
Box 1 Folder d Newspaper clipping. The New York Herald (5/20/1941). Scrapbook page 36
Box 1 Folder d Newspaper clipping. The New York Times PM Edition (5/20/1941). Scrapbook page 37
Box 1 Folder d Newspaper clipping. The New York Post (5/20/1941). Scrapbook page 38
Box 1 Folder d Newspaper clipping. The Brooklyn Eagle (5/20/1941). Scrapbook page 39
Box 1 Folder d Newspaper clipping. The New York Post (5/20/1941). Scrapbook page 39
Box 1 Folder e Newspaper clipping. Newspaper unknown (5/20/1941). Scrapbook page 40
Box 1 Folder e Newspaper clipping. The New York Journal American (5/20/1941). Scrapbook page 40
Box 1 Folder e Newspaper clipping. The New York Sun PM Edition (5/20/1941). Scrapbook page 41
Box 1 Folder e Newspaper clipping. The New York Sun (5/20/1941). Scrapbook page 42
Box 1 Folder e Newspaper clipping. Newspaper unknown (n.d.). Scrapbook page 43
Box 1 Folder e Newspaper clipping. The New York World Telegram (5/20/1941). Scrapbook page 43
Box 1 Folder e Newspaper clipping. The New York Daily News (5/21/1941). Scrapbook page 44
Box 1 Folder e Newspaper clipping. The New York Daily News (5/21/1941). Scrapbook page 45
Box 1 Folder e Newspaper clipping. Newspaper unknown (5/21/1941). Scrapbook page 45
Box 1 Folder e Newspaper clipping. The New York Times (5/21/1941). Scrapbook page 46
Box 1 Folder e Newspaper clipping. The New York Daily Telegraph (5/21/1941). Scrapbook page 47
Box 1 Folder e Newspaper clipping. The New York Times (5/21/1941). Scrapbook page 47
Box 1 Folder e Newspaper clipping. The New York Sun (5/21/1941). Scrapbook page 47
Box 1 Folder e Newspaper clipping. The New York Daily Telegraph (5/21/1941). Scrapbook page 47
Box 1 Folder e Newspaper clipping. The New York Daily Journal (5/21/1941). Scrapbook page 48
Box 1 Folder e Newspaper clipping. The New York Pos (5/21/1941). Scrapbook page 48-49
Box 1 Folder e Newspaper clipping. The New York Post PM Edition (5/21/1941). Scrapbook page 48-49
Box 1 Folder e Newspaper clipping. The New York Daily Mirror (5/21/1941). Scrapbook page 48-49
Box 1 Folder e Newspaper clipping. Newspaper unknown. Newspaper listed are: The New York Post, The New York Journal American, and The New York Times (5/21/1941 - 5/22/1941). Scrapbook page 48-49
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. The New York Times (5/22/1941). Scrapbook page 50
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. The New York Sun (5/22/1941). Scrapbook page 50
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. The New York World Telegram (5/22/1941). Scrapbook page 50
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. Newspaper Unknown (5/22/1941). Scrapbook page 50
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. The New York Sun (5/23/1941). Scrapbook page 51
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. The New York Daily Mirror (5/23/1941). Scrapbook page 51
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. The New York Tribune (5/23/1941). Scrapbook page 51
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. The New York Journal American (5/23/1941). Scrapbook page 51
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. Newspaper unknown (5/23/1941). Scrapbook page 51
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. The New York Daily Mirror (5/24/1941). Scrapbook pages 52-53
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. The New York Post (5/24/1941). Scrapbook pages 52-53
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. Newspaper unknown. Newspaper listed are: The New York Daily News, The New York Sun, and The New York Times (5/24/1941). Scrapbook pages 52-53
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. Newspaper Unknown (5/25/1941). Scrapbook page 54
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. The New York Sun PM Edition (5/25/1941). Scrapbook page 54
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. The New York Daily Mirror (5/25/1941). Scrapbook pages 54
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. Newspaper unknown (5/25/1941). Scrapbook pages 54-55
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. The New York Daily Mirror (5/26/1941). Scrapbook page 55
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. The New York Daily News (5/25/2941). Scrapbook page 55
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. The New York Sun PM Edition (5/26/1941). Scrapbook page 56
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. The New York Sun (5/26/1941). Scrapbook page 56
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. Newspaper unknown (5/26/1941). Scrapbook page 56
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clippings. Newspaper unknown. Newspapers listed: The New York Times AM and PM, The New York Journal, The New York Telegram, The New York Sun, and The New York Daily Mirror 5/26/1941 - 5/27/1941. Scrapbook pages 56-57
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. The New York Telegram (5/27/1941). Scrapbook page 57
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. Newspaper unknown (5/27/1941). Scrapbook page 57
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. The New York Telegram (5/31/1941). Scrapbook page 58
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. Newspaper unknown. Newspaper Listed: The New York Post, The New York Daily News, and The New York Telegram (5/31/1941). Scrapbook page 58
Box 1 Folder f Newspaper clipping. The New York Times (6/1/1941). Scrapbook page 59
Box 1 Folder g Newspaper clipping. The New York Sun (6/6/1941). Scrapbook page 60
Box 1 Folder g Newspaper clipping. The New York Sun (6/7/1941). Scrapbook page 60
Box 1 Folder g Newspaper clipping. The New York Times (6/4/1941). Scrapbook pages 60-61
Box 1 Folder g Newspaper clipping. The New York Times (6/10/1941). Scrapbook pages 60-61
Box 1 Folder g Newspaper clippings. Newspaper unknown (6/7/1941). Scrapbook pages 60-61
Box 1 Folder g Newspaper clipping. Newspaper unknown (n.d.). Scrapbook page 61
Box 1 Folder g Newspaper clipping. The New York Daily Mirror (6/14/1941). Scrapbook page 62
Box 1 Folder g Newspaper clipping. The New York Herald Tribune (6/18/1941). Scrapbook page 63
Box 1 Folder g Western Union telegram (6/21/1941. Scrapbook page 64
Box 1 Folder g Personal Inscription (n.d.). Scrapbook page 64
Box 1 Folder g Newspaper clipping. The New York Tribune (6/19/1941). Scrapbook pages 64-65
Box 1 Folder g Newspaper clipping. Newspaper unknown. Newspaper listed: The New York Tribune and The New York Times (6/19/1941 - 6/21/1941). Scrapbook pages 64-65
Box 1 Folder g Newspaper clippings. The New York Times. June 22, 1941. Scrapbook page 66
Box 1 Folder h Periodical. Life Magazine (6/23/1941). Vol 10 Num 25. Pages 21-27, 70-74, 77-79. Scrapbook pages 67-74
Box 1 Folder i Newspaper clipping. The New York Tribune (6/24/1941). Scrapbook page 75
Box 1 Folder i Newspaper clipping. The New York Times (6/24/1941). Scrapbook page 75
Box 1 Folder i Newspaper clipping. The New York Tribune (6/25/1941). Scrapbook page 75
Box 1 Folder i Newspaper clippings. Newspaper unknown. Newspapers listed: The New York Times, The New York Tribune, The New York Daily Mirror, and The New York Daily Telegram (6/25/1941, 7/11/1941, 7/25/1941, 8/10/1941). Scrapbook pages 76-77
Box 1 Folder i Newspaper clipping. The New York Telegram (9/11/1941). Scrapbook page 77
Box 1 Folder i Newspaper clipping. The New York Post (9/27/1941). Scrapbook page 78
Box 2 Folder b Foreign Mission Letters (5/27/1941, 6/5/1941, 6/9/1941, 6/12/1941, 6/14/1941, 6/19/1941). Scrapbook no page
Box 2 Folder c Western Union telegrams (3/3/1941, 5/19 - 5/21/1941, 5/23 - 5/24/1941, 6/10/1941, 6/21/1941, 9/10/1941, n.d.). Scrapbook no page
Box 2 Folder d Misc. Items (n.d.): Transfer slips, bank notes, and hotel bills. Scrapbook no page
Box 2 Folder e The Presbyterian Survey. September 1941. Pages 416-420
Box 2 Folder e Periodical unknown. (n.d.) Pages 10-11. Scrapbook no page
Box 2 Folder e The Pentecostal Evangel. (7/19/1941) Number 1419. Pages 1 and 11. Scrapbook no page
Box 2 Folder e The Commission. June 1941, Vol. 4, No. 6
Box 2 Folder e The Commission, "Aboard the ZamZam." September 1941, Vol. 4, No. 9. Pages 233-234. Scrapbook no page
Box 2 Folder e Life Magazine, ca. 1941. Scrapbook no page
Box 2 Folder f Photographs, n.d
Box 2 Folder g The Story of the Strange Fate of the ZamZam - The Miracle Ship and The Miraculous Rescue of the One Hundred Twenty Missionariesby Slyvia M. Oiness. 1942. Osterous Publishing Company, MN. Scrapbook no page
Box 2 Folder h Photocopy (n.d.) of the passenger and personnel list of the SS ZamZam. Scrapbook no page
Box 2 Folder h Detailed passenger list (n.d.) photocopied, of the SS ZamZam. Contains names, birthdates, occupation, and state or nationality of residence. Scrapbook no page
Box 2 Folder i The Ashville Times, May 20, 1941. Photocopy
Box 2 Folder i The Duplin Times. September 17, 1936. Photocopy. Scrapbook, no page
Folder os1 Periodical. Life Magazine. June 23, 1941. Vol 10 Num 25. Oversized items
Folder os1 Periodical. Life Magazine. (ca. 1941). Oversized items
Folder os1 Cover of scrapbook (ca. 1941) Oversized items
Folder os1 Page 1- personal inscription. July 3, 1942. Oversized items