Ernest Prather, Merchant Marine
Veteran Merchantman Skipper Vacationing at Sulphur City; Was in Famous May Battle govern- 12,000 tires rubber Ernest Prnthcr, veteran merchantman skipper on the hazardous lend-tease supply line to Russia, is spending a brief vacation w i t h his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. K. Praiher at Sulphur City. Understandably, Prather can't divulge anything about his route, destinations, etc., but he doesn't mind reminding one that it's rath_ er an exacting life. He is captain of a medium -sized merchant vessel and has been shipping along the vital U. S. - Russian supply line for several months. His big thrill so far has been the big pitched battle between German attackers and a British convoy force off the coast of Norway in early May this year. Said Prather, "They threw everything they had at us--torpedoes, destroyers, submarines, dive bombers. It looked like everything was all up for awhile but the convoy went through with the loss of only one ship." x x x Was I scared? Not exactly--just worried." News dispatches of May 7 told of the furious battle along thc - l torm tossed Arctic supply lane lo Soviet Russia. The attacks were the E evercst from April 30 through May 2. The British acknowledged that the allies lost four convoyed merchantmen and a 10,000-ton British cruiser (the Edinburgh) but that 00 per cent of thc convoy cargoes got through safely despite plane, warship and U-boat attacks. The British also stated that Germans lost one destroyer and other ships damaged, besides the loss of several divebombcrs. This battle was one of the hardest fought in the far n o r t h In World War II. Prather, a 22-year old veteran the merchant marine, unquestionably, Is filling in on one of the toughest jobs of the war. Merchantmen plying across the Arctic seas lo Murmansk, are forced to run a narrow 200-mile gantlet between the polnr ice packs and the menacing, Nazi-held Norwegian coastline. Submarines, airplanes, destroyers, from the powerful German bases at Trondhcim find all along the coast, carry almost constant attacks to cut down the f l o w of loud-lease to the embattled Soviet Union. Prather, rugged, forceful sort o! character--Just the type you'd expect to sec in a tough job--is spending 12 days In northwest Arkansas and is accompanied Mrs. Prather. Their home Is in Brooklyn, N. Y. They spent last night at the Washington hotel here.