Launched on February 21 1931 by the widow of the 30th President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, she was the largest and finest merchant ship ever built by an American shipyard with an LOA of 654 ft and a GRT of 21,936 tons. In 1941, with the likelihood of America entering the European War, the Coolidge went into service with the American Army as a transport ship for reinforcing Pacific garrisons. On the morning of 26th October 1942, an explosion struck the aft fire room - an explosion from a mine, one of many scattered in a deadly mine field across the channel. Thirty seconds later a second explosion hit the engine room - the ship was mortally wounded. Immediately, life boats and nets, Jacob's ladders and ropes were lowered and the abandon ship order issued. Fifty five minutes after the ship was beached, at 10:55, the great vessel gave a shuddering lurch and slid backwards into the oily water, disappearing to her grave at the edge of the Segond Channel.