|Introduction||Early Years||World War I|
|World Travels||People/Events||Ships At Sea|
|World War II||Family||Service Record|
William "Bill" Allen spent most of his life at sea. Armed with only about an eighth grade education, Bill rose from the position of seaman on a fishing schooner, to the rank of Master of Mates with the National Maritime Service. He sailed the Atlantic through two world wars, rode heavy seas, and visited hundreds of ports around the world.
Bill's interests were not confined to the sea. In addition to possessing a deep appreciation for books, art and music, he was an avid photographer. It is impossible to determine how many photographs Bill took, during his lifetime, but the number undoubtedly rose into the thousands. The photos, on these pages,are representative of several hundred that have survived.
Unfortunately, Bill frequently neglected to identify the photographs,
so many are impossible to identify. However, the subject of many photos
is obvious, and notations were made on others. Sometimes it is possible
to identify the era by the type of paper, etc.
On these pages, captions that are enclosed in quotation marks are verbatim notations made by Bill, on the original photographs.
Bill's life ended on March 7, 1957 when he perished in a ship collision that occurred on the Delaware River. It is fitting, then, that we celebrate Bill's forty years at sea on this, the fortieth anniversary of his passing.
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. EARLY YEARS .William Charles "Bill" Shroh was born in New York City in 1901, the only child of Agnes McCabe and John Shroh. Both parents were first-generation Americans. Agnes, the daughter of Felix McCabe and Catherine Gallagher, was born in Holyoke, MA. William, a salesman, was born in New York City to German immigrants John Shroh and Catherine Weiner.
Eventually, Bill quit school and left home, at an early age, to avoid harsh treatment by his father. It has been told that Bill joined the Army, and although no proof of that has yet been found, it is known that in 1918, Bill was aboard a troop transport vessel, destination France. It is not known whether he was aboard ship as a soldier, or as a civilian mariner. .
From July 1 to mid-September, 1919, Bill was employed as a fisherman and sea mariner on a fishing schooner operating out of Pensacola, FL. The certificate of employment, from this fishing company, is in the name of Allen, and is the earliest known document that shows Bill's name-change from Shroh, to Allen.
. Bill in Seaman's uniform. Ca. 1920, Age 19..
It is thought that by 1920, Bill had made the decision to become a Merchant Mariner. In all probability, he attended some sort of school, but no proof of that has yet been found. Over the years, Bill studied at home under a skylight, or in his spare time during the long months at sea. He earned a number of licenses and certificates. .
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Copyright 1997 by Ellen Pack
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