Joseph Freer and Raymond Trumpe Papers, 1927-1988 (bulk 1939-1943): Finding Aid
Published in December 2013
- Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
- Publisher Address:
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
- Call number: MS 244
- Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
- Title: Joseph Freer and Raymond Trumpe Papers
- Dates: 1927-1988
- Bulk Dates: 1939-1943
- Size: 1.6 linear feet (1 manuscript box and 2 flat boxes)
- Creator: Freer, Joseph M.
- Language(s) of material: English
- Abstract: Joseph M. Freer and Raymond Franklin Trumpe were stewards for the United States Lines before and during World War II who sailed aboard the S.S. City of Flint. The Joseph Freer and Raymond Trumpe Papers focus primarily on the cruises of the freighter City of Flint during 1939 and 1940, which included her rescue of the passengers and crew of the Athenia and her later capture by German forces.
Biography of Joseph M. Freer and Raymond Franklin Trumpe
Joseph M. Freer and Raymond Franklin Trumpe were both stewards for the United States Lines before and during World War II who sailed aboard the S.S. City of Flint. Both hail from South Baltimore and were related by marriage, as Freer became the stepfather of Trumpe after marrying Trumpe's mother, Cyrilla.
On September 3, 1939, the British passenger ship Athenia was torpedoed by a German submarine off the north coast of Ireland. The American freighter City of Flint, captained by Joseph Gainard, came to the Athenia's rescue, taking aboard 236 survivors.
All but six of the Athenia's survivors disembarked at Halifax, Nova Scotia on September 13, 1939. The City of Flint then traveled on to New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, reaching its final port of call, Norfolk, Virginia, on September 23, 1939.
Less than a month after returning from rescuing the Athenia, the 4,963 ton City of Flint sailed from New York for England. On October 9, 1939, the City of Flint was stopped by the German pocket battleship Deutschland. The freighter's cargo, which included lubricating oil, was declared war contraband by the Germans, who then claimed the ship as a prize of war. The City of Flint, the first U.S. ship to be so captured by the Germans became a subject of diplomatic dispute.
An armed German prize crew was placed aboard the City of Flint, while thirty-eight British seamen, survivors of the British ship Stonegate were transferred aboard City of Flint for transport to a Norwegian port. During its journey, City of Flint stopped at several Norwegian ports, as well as Murmansk, Russia. On November 3, the Germans brought City of Flint into the port of Haugesund, Norway.
At 11:45 p.m. on November 3, an armed party from the Norwegian Navy boarded the City of Flint and informed the ship's captors that they had forfeited their rights by anchoring in violation of Norway's neutrality laws. The Germans were removed and the liberated vessel sailed on November 4 for Bergen, Norway for consultation with the American consul. The City of Flint departed Narvik, Norway on January 7, 1940 and returned to America, docking in Baltimore on January 27.
Description of Contents
The Joseph Freer and Raymond Trumpe Papers, comprising 1.6 linear feet of documentation, span from 1927 to 1988. The papers focus primarily on the cruises of the freighter City of Flint during 1939 and 1940, which included her rescue of the passengers and crew of the Athenia and her later capture by German forces.
Included in the papers are newspapers, pamphlets, a book, a scrapbook, an audiocassette, photographs, photocopies, and artifacts.
The papers primarily focus on ordeals encountered by the United States Line freighter City of Flint and two of her seaman; stewards Joseph M. Freer and Raymond F. Trumpe. In addition to materials on the sinking of the British ship Athenia and the capture and release of City of Flint, the papers offer details of Freer and Trumpe's maritime careers, the sinking of other American freighters and British Naval vessels in the early days of World War II, and events at the Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard in Baltimore. The artifacts in the collection include personal effects of Freer's, as well as several items bearing the crests of H.M.S. Dragon and H.M.S. Norfolk.
The Joseph Freer and Raymond Trumpe Papers are arranged alphabetically by document type and topic into a single series with no subdivisions.
Access and Use
Access is unrestricted.
Copyright and Permission
The Joseph Freer and Raymond Trumpe Papers are the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.
It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information.
Acquisition and Appraisal
Provenance and Acquisition
Gifts of Raymond Franklin Trumpe in August 1985 and June 1989. Accession Nos. 85-34 and 89-22.
Related Archival Material
There are no other known collections of papers of Joseph M. Freer or Raymond Franklin Trumpe.
Materials Cataloged Separately
Photographs of the ships Admiral Graf Spee (German battleship), Bibb (Coast Guard gunboat : WPG-31), Campbell (Coast Guard gunboat : WPG-32), and Deutschland (German armored ship) were removed from this collection and placed in the Special Collections Picture File at the time of accessioning.
Processing and Other Information
Joseph Freer and Raymond Trumpe Papers, MS 244
Special Collections & Archives Department
United States Naval Academy
This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in December 2013. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in December 2013, adapted from a guide by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1990.
These materials have been indexed in the Naval Academy Library online catalog using the following terms. Those seeking related materials should search under these terms.
Name and Subject Terms
- Athenia (Steamship)
- City of Flint (Ship)
- Freer, Cyrilla
- Freer, Joseph M.
- Gainard, Joseph A
- Merchant marine -- United States -- History -- World War, 1939-1945
- Trumpe, Raymond F.
- Trumpe, Raymond F.
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Atlantic Ocean
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Naval operations, German
- Clippings (information artifacts)
Contains newspaper clippings, photographs, correspondence, envelopes, a cap ribbon and Joseph M. Freer's account of the capture of the S.S. City of Flint. Covers the rescue of the crew of S.S. Athenia, German threats against S.S. Iroquois, and the capture and return of S.S. City of Flint.