Stowaway found on Ship
On April 5, 1941, the American-West African Line freighter
West Lashaway docked in Boston after arriving from Free-
town, Sierra Leone with a load of cocoa beans. When the hold
was opened more than cocoa beans where found down below.
A female Basenji was discovered half-starved after surviving
twenty-one days in the hold.
According to the ship's crew, while they were loading cocoa
beans in Monrovia, Liberia two barkless dogs played about the
ship. The crew thought all the animals had been chased down
the loading runways. Apparently, she had stowed away in the
hold of the ship and when the hatches were battened down
could not escape. During the rest of the journey the hatches
were not removed. She was able to get water by licking conden-
sation and some food by nibbling on cocoa beans.
Boston Animal Rescue League Called
Animal Rescue agent Archie McDonald was sent to investi-
gate. He found a sharp-eared dog shivering with fright in the
hold of the ship and in critical condition. Because of her critical
condition, Agent McDonald was able to get permission from
customs officers to remove her from the ship and take to the
Boston Animal Rescue League. When she was weighed she
was found to be only nine pounds. Through feeding of special
solution and placement in a heated box , doctors at the Animal
Rescue League successfully saved her life. Vets estimated that
she was nine to ten months old. She was docile and evidently
pleased to see humans. According to the League this was the
first Basenji to be treated by them. She was given the name
Malnutrition and homesickness are her troubles, says Joseph
Connaughton of the Animal Rescue
League about the barkless
Basenji, a West African stowaway.1
held by Fred Barrett of the Animal Rescue League)
Congo Finds a Home
Following press coverage of the story, Mr. Alexander
Phemister, a noted Obedience trainer, went to see her. She was
almost all-white, with brindle on her ears, a brindle patch on
right side and a docked tail, but he pronounced her to be a
Basenji. The natives in Gambia and Sierra Leone used to dock
their Basenjis' tails so that their prey, gorillas, could not get a
hold on the dog and rip them apart.2 She was adopted by the
Phemisters who continued nursing her. Later she was bred
and produced a litter. Because of Congo, the Phemisters went
on to be one of the earliest Basenji breeders in the United
The West Lashaway was sunk by the German
U-boat U-66 on August 30, 1942 in the Atlantic
off South America with 38 lives lost.
STOWAWAY- Joe Williams, fireman aboard steamer West Lashaway, now at
Army Base, with "Congo," a stowaway found on ship en route here from
Passengers Report Nazi Activity
Mr. Harry M. Wright, member of the Christ-
ian and Missionary Alliance of NY, who with
his wife arrived on the ship, said that reports
of the sinking of a British convoy reached the
West Lashaway a day after she had left Free-
town. Had she sailed a day early she would
have been in the vicinity of the convoy. While
off Dakar, Africa, a bomber flew over and circl-
ed the ship, then flew off. The following night,
he said, a big cruiser of unknown nationality
came abreast of the ship and played spotlights
on her, and seeing she was an American
vessel, left immediately.
West Lashaway, Freetown, West Africa.
Docks forenoon, Berth 4, Army Base, South
Primo, (Nor.), Puerto Tarafa, Cuba. Docks
American Sugar Refinery, South Boston.
Yarmouth, St. John, N. B., and Yarmouth,
N. S. with passengers. Docks 8 a. m., India
City of Montgomery, Savannah, via New
York. Docks 7 a. m., pier 42, Hoosac.
Gulftide, Port Arthur, Tex. Docks Socony
Vacuum plant, East Boston.
R. W. Gallagher, Baton Rouge, La. Docks
Colonial Beacon Refinery, Everett.
Lemuel Burrows, Norfolk. Docks Everett
Hampden, Newport News. Docks Mystic
Coal Pier, later shifts to Sprague's, South
New York, New York, with passengers.
Docks 8 a. m., India Wharf.
African Line freighter
West Lashaway 4