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Mathews WWII mariner’s story told in magazine

The story of a Mathews County seaman in World War II is told in the summer/fall issue of Pipeline, a publication of Vane Brothers.

JimmyJohn Hunley, captain of the Vane Brothers’ tug “Hudson,” tells about the experiences of his father, Capt. James Wilber “Will” Hunley, on his first command aboard the Commercial Trader.

Sailing in September 1942, the 29-year-old newly-minted captain was navigating near Trinidad when the torpedo from a German U-boat struck. “The blast blew him right out of his pants,” said his son, retelling the story.

With that ship sinking, the elder Hunley, who died in 1984, became the latest merchant mariner from Mathews County to fall victim to the torpedo war. Writer William Geroux immortalized their stories in his 2016 book, “The Mathews Men.”

JimmyJohn Hunley said his father piloted a lifeboat to a beach on Tobago where an islander met him with a bottle of rum. Capt. Will Hunley was a cousin of the seven H...

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