Biography of Robert George Nassau


     My brother, Robert George Nassau was born 10/2/21. He graduated from James Madison High School in Brooklyn, New York in 1938 and Harvard University in 1942.

       While at Harvard he learned to fly, and joined the Air Force upon his graduation. He trained as a pilot, and flew P38's and B 26's. My mother and I visited him in Sumter, South Carolina in 1943, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in early 1944. He came home in March 1944 for two weeks. He was a lst Lt. when he was killed.

       He went down together with all hands on the Paul Hamilton on April 20, 1944.  The Paul Hamilton was headed to Anzio with a cargo of demolition caps, and soldiers who knew what to do with them, along with the Air Force personnel of which my brother was one. The convoy reached the Med. two days ahead of schedule. The ship was torpedoed 20 miles East of Algiers. There was a huge explosion, and when the smoke cleared, there was no sign of anything left. The sinking is described in the book U.S. Merchant Vessel War Casualties of World War ll, by Robert M. Browning, published by Naval Institute Press, Anapolis. It has a paragraph description of the sinking of the Paul Hamilton, as well as a photo. It struck me that this was perhaps the single worst naval disaster of the war, since all 580 aboard died. 504 of them were Air Force personnel. Perhaps the U.S. is not proud of the fact that they packed this particular Liberty Ship with enough volatile material to cause an explosion so great that the ship sank in less than a minute. Whatever eyewitness reports there are came from men on the Stephen F. Austin which was nearby.

       I would like to hear from anyone who knew Lt Robert George Nassau or has any information on the sinking of the Paul Hamilton.

-----  Paul Nassau



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