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Remembering World War II
Fred Knickle
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Name: Fred Knickle Rank: Able Seaman Service: SS Ramapo, Merchant Navy Date of Birth: August 1903 Place of Birth: Lunenburg, Nova Scotia Marital Status: Married Date of Death: February 16, 1942 Age: 39 Fred Knickle was the son of Alexander Knickle (1861-1955) Sarah Emilina Knickle. His father was born in Blue Rocks, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia. He was the brother of John Greville (1909-1922), Frank Conrad, Harry Alexander, and Carrie Magdelena (1889-1963). He was married with two children Prior to serving on the merchant steamship SS Ramapo, Fred served aboard the Empire Condor travelling from Calcutta, India to New York, New York and arriving in port October 18, 1941. The SS Ramapo originally sailed as an Italian freighter, the SS Santa Rosa and was taken over by the US on July 25, 1941 at the port of Philadelphia. The ship was turned over to the War Shipping Administration (WSA) for operation at that time. On September 19, 1941 the registry of the ship was changed to Panamanian and the name changed to Ramapo. The WSA assigned the ship to the Waterman SS Company on October 28, 1941. The SS Ramapo departed London for Bermuda with arrival scheduled on or about February 12, 1942. Its final destination was to be Philadelphia. At 3:56 pm on February 16, 1942 the unescorted Ramapo was hit on port side amidships by one torpedo from the enemy submarine U-108. The ship broke in two after a boiler explosion and sank eleven minutes later about 180 miles north of Bermuda. The U-boat surfaced and questioned 34 men in lifeboats, but the survivors were never found. The master, thirty-seven crew members and two gunners were lost.