On April 20, 1957, after more than two years of fundraising, shipbuilding and preparation, Mayflower II set sail from Brixham, England en route to Plymouth, Massachusetts. The ship, a reproduction of the square-rigged vessel that brought the Pilgrims to America in 1620, was the dream of Warwick Charlton, a public relations executive who wanted to commemorate the lasting cooperation between the United States and Great Britain during and after World War II.
Sailing across the Atlantic in much the same way the original Mayflower had, Mayflower II took on a crew of 34 men – from experienced square-rigged sailors like Captain Alan Villiers to teenage cabin boys like Graham Nunn and Joseph Meany. Many of these crewmen kept journals of their time at sea and record frightening storms, chance meetings with other ships, and heartwarming stories of camaraderie around moldy bread, canned peaches and Joe Meany’s high school graduation. When Mayflower II arrived in Plymouth on June 13, 1957, it seemed as if the entire town had taken the day off to cheer its new ship into Plymouth Harbor.
As you enjoy these stories, please remember that when the crewmembers write about “the Mayflower,” they are referring to Mayflower II.
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