On this day in 1944, the 371st Fighter Group arrived in the European Theater of Operations. The trans-Atlantic journey formally began at Camp Shanks, New York, on 25 February 1944, when the group received orders for overseas duty. Late the next day, 26 February, the group, some 940 members strong, left Camp Shanks for the port at New York. The 406th Fighter Squadron, followed by the 405th, the 404th and lastly group headquarters, departed Camp Shanks to board the troopship bound for Great Britain. By 0330 they were all embarked aboard the British transport RMS Mauretania, and on the morning of 28 February the ship departed New York for an independent passage across the Atlantic Ocean.
The Mauretania was a newer vessel, and was the first ship completed for the Cunard White Star Line, being completed in May, 1939. She was designed for the London to New York service and was the largest vessel ever to navigate the River Thames and use the Royal Docks. With a tonnage of 35,739 gross, a length of 772 feet, and a beam of 89 feet she had an exterior design similar to the Queen Elizabeth. Two sets of Parsons single reduction-geared steam turbines powered the ship and generated 42,000 shaft horsepower to drive twin propellers. She had a service speed of 23 knots with a maximum of 26 knots.
Mauretania had only a brief period of commercial operation before World War II began. Wartime duty began in late 1939 and lasted for over six years. During the war Mauretania travelled 540,000 miles and carried over 340,000 troops. She returned to commercial service in 1947 and served until she was retired and sold for scrap in late 1965.
But in early 1944, as the buildup for the cross-channel attack on D-Day was reaching a crescendo, Mauretania was an important troop transport, and brought Frisky across the sea to the fight in Europe. On March 5, 1944, after a seven day passage, land was sighted; by morning on March 6 Mauretania docked at Liverpool. Group HQ and the 404FS disembarked first later in the day and boarded trains taking them to their operational base near Bisterne Hants, England. By 0200 hours the 405 and 406 disembarked and boarded trains for Bisterne. Frisky had arrived in the ETO.
Wikipedia article on RMS Mauretania
World War II Troop Ships, Troop Crossings, 1944, at: