A Friday the 13th Story

Posted: September 14, 2013 in creative writing, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Friday the 13th!

Friday the 13th always reminds me of this story. During World War II my father worked on what they called “defense work”. He built military training camps and airfields, such as Camp Crowder and Fort Leonard Wood and often told me this tale.

In 1942, during World War II, war production  to supply the Allies efforts were ramping up amazingly. All efforts were going into the production of military products from can-openers to airplanes to war ships. But there was one major problem in the shipyards, maritime superstitions were holding up warship production.

The problem was the maritime belief to never start anything on a Friday, it was bad luck. Nothing new in connection with the building of a ship was started on Friday. No keels were laid, no new decks were started, no engines were first ran,  no ships were launched on a Friday. Consequently production was lost because of this superstition. It doesn’t take an efficiency expert to compute one seventh of production being lost.

The military decided the superstition had to be stemmed. So they started Project Friday. They determined to best quell the belief was to prove the belief untrue by building a new ship as an example. All aspects of the ship were to be started on a Friday. Any hint of a superstition would be trampled during it’s build.

Only carefully screened men were accepted as workers on this project in order to suppress sabotage. The ship’s keel was laid on a Friday, new decks were began on Friday, all engines were started on a Friday, pay was raised on Friday and not one day was lost in the production of this ship, not one man’s life was lost. It had a stellar production history. When she was finished, they even promoted a Captain by the name of Friday. Never had the Friday family name ever been given that opportunity.

Of course the day of its launching and first shakedown cruise was on a Friday.  On Friday November 13th 1942, she was christened, HMS Friday. Everyone involved in the project was thrilled with it’s success. Nothing like proving a long held superstition as untrue!

But on that rainy day in November, the third Friday the 13th of the year 1942,  the superstition was not trampled, no beliefs were let go of and production would remain one seventh less. For on that day after the great HMS Friday steamed from harbor, sounding her mighty horn made by the Friday and Son’s Klaxon Company, she disappeared over the horizon. Really disappeared, for after the last sight of Her bellowing black smoke in the distance, she was never seen or heard from again. And there is no official record that she was ever built.






  1. Anonymous says:

    My eldest son was born on November 13, 1972 (Monday), so we’ve seen our share of Friday 13th birthdays. Great story.


  2. […] And now, a link to DSS’s yearly Friday the 13th story. […]


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