Docks at War -
Two of the largest vessels ever to have entered the Port of Swansea were the American troopships ss ‘Edmund B Alexander’ and ss ‘Brazil’, which docked on the a.m. tide of Thursday, 2nd November 1944. Both ships were berthed at No. 4 Quay, Kings Dock, where they disembarked a total of 10,363 US military personnel bound for the battlefields of Europe.
The larger of the two steamers was the ‘Edmund B Alexander’ (formerly the s.s. ‘America’) with a gross tonnage of 21,329 tons, a length of 687’, a beam of 74’, and a draught upon arrival of 31’3”. She carried 255 officers and 4,964 other ranks – 5,219 men in total. The slightly smaller ‘Brazil’ had a gross tonnage of 20,614 tons, a length of 586’, a beam of 80’, and a draught upon arrival of 27’6”. On board were 271 officers and 4,873 other ranks – a total of 5,144 men.
Twenty-five trains were required to transport the troops from Swansea Docks – an operation that continued until 2.15 a.m. on Saturday, 4th November. Five trains then arrived at the port to embark a total of 1,351 men who were returning to the USA. These included 153 officers, 560 other ranks, 545 injured, and 93 US prisoners. Embarkation was completed around 7 p.m. on Sunday, 5th November, and the ‘Edmund B Alexander sailed on that evening’s tide. The ‘Brazil’ departed the following morning at 9.30 a.m.