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Dear Mr. Allan,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
We searched the National Archives Catalog and located a series titled Armed Guard Files, 1934 - 1946 in the Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (Record Group 38) that includes a file unit titled John Whiteaker 02/17/43 - 12/03/43. We also located a series titled Central Correspondence Files, 1936 - 1950 in the Records of the U.S. Maritime Commission (Record Group 178) that includes a file unit titled 901-10034 John Whiteaker (SS) (MCE #1590). Plus, we located Armed Guard Logs, 1943 - 1945 in the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel (Record Group 24) that includes logs of the John Whiteaker for 16 September 1943 to 27 November 1943. For access and/or copies of these records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We were unable to locate records of a ship named John B. Whittaker.
For records of the HMS Whitaker, we suggest you contact The National Archives of the United Kingdom, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU, United Kingdom. The website is http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ or the National Archives of Australia for information about your father’s military service records and naval unit records.
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!
Many thanks for your efforts in trying to track down the mysterious John D. Whittaker. You've come to the same conclusion as me, in that no ship seems to exist by that name. It's a phantom!
I've checked UK and Australian sources and now the US, and it seems likely to me that the hand written entry on my father's war record was incorrect and in all likelihood, probably should've read John Whiteaker.
As per your suggestion, I'll now follow up your lead.
Thanks again. And have a great Chrissie & NY!