by Ken Wales and David Poling
A novel, based on the true WWII story of the four chaplains and the USAT Dorchester.
In the early morning hours of February 3, 1943, a German submarine torpedoes the American troop ship Dorchester en route to a top secret radar installation in Greenland. The four Army chaplains on board could scarcely be more different from each other: Methodist pastor and war veteran George Fox; intellectual and athletic Rabbi Alex Goode; scholar, poet, and Dutch Reformed minister Clark Poling; baseball fan and “regular guy” Father John Washington. Yet in the terror and confusion following the attack by a deadly U-boat wolfpack, the chaplains unite in a final triumphant sacrifice that transforms the life of every survivor who lives to tell of it.
Ken Wales is a film and TV industry veteran whose credits include The Tamarind Seed, John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, and the acclaimed CBS series Christy.
David Poling is the first cousin of Chaplain Clark Poling, who perished board the Dorchester. He is also the author of Schweitzer and Why Billy Graham?
Four chaplains–one a wounded WWI soldier, one a rabbi, one Irish Catholic who could play boogie woogie on the piano, and a Yale Divinity grad–were assigned the War Shipping Administration Troop ship Dorchester, which was on a secret mission and forbidden to call for help or send up flares.
In order to break the tension for the 902 passengers, when they stopped at Nova Scotia, those chaplains organized a St. John’s Deep Freeze Baseball Tournament.
The ship was torpedoed while in the North Atlantic, heading to Greenland to build, operate, and defend a major airfield there. Sleet had frozen the riggings to many of the lifeboats, so it was a miracle that 230 men survived the sinking of the ship.
The four chaplains were not among them, but had selflessly helped others escape their sinking ship. May they always be remembered.
Both authors wrote Afterwords and extensive Acknowledgements.
A very poignant chapter of World War II story.