Photo of the Week
June 16, 2018

I recently came into the possession of a large collection of 35mm slides that were shot in the early 1950s in Panama and the Canal Zone.  I don't know much about the man who took all these photos, but his name was Don Scheltmeyer.  I am going to be posting many of these photos in the next few weeks.  

I had a lot of fun going through these photos and I was very pleased with much of the subject matter.  The slide scan above jolted me when I first saw it as the ship is the Andrea Doria a very famous Italian Line passenger ship.  The Andrea Doria went on a Caribbean cruise in early 1953 visiting many of the island frequented today by cruise liners and of course, she had to visit Panama.  This photo was taken at Cristobal on February 9, 1953.  Another photo of the Andrea Doria from the Italian Liner website below was also taken that day in Cristobal.  The bottom photo is of the Andrea Doria's stern flag which is known as the  Italian Navy Flag taken by Don that day.  He must have been allowed to board the ship to take the photo.  I was hoping so much that there were more photos of this ship, but these were the only two in the collection.

The Andrea Doria's glory days ended with a tragic accident in 1956 and is now resting on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

From Wikipedia: On July 25, 1956, while Andrea Doria was approaching the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, bound for New York City, the eastbound MS Stockholm of the Swedish American Line collided with it in one of history's most infamous maritime disasters. Struck in the side, the top-heavy Andrea Doria immediately started to list severely to starboard, which left half of its lifeboats unusable. The consequent shortage of lifeboats could have resulted in significant loss of life, but the efficiency of the ship's technical design allowed it to stay afloat for over 11 hours after the ramming. The good behavior of the crew, improvements in communications, and the rapid response of other ships averted a disaster similar in scale to that of Titanic in 1912. While 1,660 passengers and crew were rescued and survived, 46 people died with the ship as a consequence of the collision. The evacuated luxury liner capsized and sank the following morning. This accident remains the worst maritime disaster to occur in United States waters since the sinking of the SS Eastland in 1915.

Postscript:  I received a most welcome email from Fred Sill after posting this photo of the week and he shared some very interesting memories.

"Fred Sill here,  emailing from Rio de Janeiro.  

Your "Photos of the Week" are always great, but the shots of the "Andrea Doria" really hit me.

After a year studying at the University of Madrid (1955/56) I was booked to sail on the "Andrea Doria" on its Atlantic next crossing.  I was on my way to Genoa that word came of it's sinking.  The Italian Line urgently pulled the veteran "Conte Biancamano" from it's South America run to stand in for it.  

All of Genoa was in a state of shock.  I was in cinema where a newsreel of the sinking was screened.  The audience wailed.  

On our final night at sea before docking in New York, we passed the spot where the beautiful ship had sunk, marked by a bouy.  The captain shined a spotlight on it.  It was an emotional moment."




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