Merchant Navy - Unsung Heroes of the Sea. Ships/Crews/Dangers.

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by spidge, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    The Japanese have been portrayed as merciless in their treatment of Military POW's and civilians so it is not unusual that they treated Merchant Navy/Mariners any different. Their atrocities just kept on coming throughout the war.

    From: American Merchant Marine in World War 2

    The Massacre of the SS Jean Nicolet
    The Liberty ship SS Jean Nicolet was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine on July 2, 1944, off Ceylon (Sri Lanka). She had a 41-man crew, plus 28 Armed Guard, 30 passengers and an Army medic. All survived the explosion. They were taken aboard the sub and their lifeboats and rafts were sunk. With their hands tied behind their backs they were forced to sit on deck. Japanese sailors massacred many with bayonets and rifle butts. Thirty survivors were still on deck with their hands tied when a British plane appeared. The sub crash-dived, washing the survivors into the sea. Only 23 were rescued.

    Another report on this atrocity!

    from: More Maritime Disasters of WWII 1944, 1945

    SS JEAN NICOLET (July 2, 1944)
    Liberty ship, torpedoed and then shelled and set on fire off Ceylon by the Japanese submarine I-8. On board were 41 crew plus 28 US Armed Guards and 31 passengers. All were taken on board the submarine and with hands tied behind their backs, were forced to sit on deck while the Japanese sailors systematically killed most of them with bayonets and spanners used as clubs. With the last 30 survivors still on deck the submarine crashed dived when an enemy plane was spotted. The 30 survivors were left struggling in the water. A few managed to swim back to the burning hulk of the Jean Nicolet and launched a raft before the ship sank. Luckily, 23 of them survived to be picked up by the Indian Navy trawler 'Hoxa'. The I-8s captain ordered that three survivors be retained as POWs. Sadly, only one survived the war.
     
  2. Billy McGee

    Billy McGee Senior Member

    Three hundred and seventy two British Merchant Seamen were executed by machine gun, others beheaded by the Japanese from the ships Behar, Daisy Moller, British Chivalry, Sutlej, Ascol, Nancey Moller & Nellore.

    Officers, Crew & Passenger executed onboard Japanese Cruiser Tone 18/19th March 1944.(Including those killed in the shelling, died in captivity or disappeared)

    British Executed

    ANDERSON, Third Officer, JAMES SMITH, M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 23.

    BROWN, 6th Engineer, JOHN, M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 21. Son of John and Anne Brown, of Glasgow.

    CAMPBELL, Third Engineer Officer, EAN NIGEL MACCAILEN, M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 44.

    CRAIG, Fourth Engineer Officer, JOSEPH ROBERTSON, M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 45.

    CUMMING, Third Radio Officer, HENRY GORDON, M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 23.

    LOVE, Fifth Engineer Officer, PETER BROWN, M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 27. Son of Peter Brown Love and Jeannie Love; husband of Marion Ritchie Love, of Airdrie, Lanarkshire.

    MARTIN, Engineer Officer (Seventh), THOMAS, M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 23. Son of Daniel and Janet Martin, of Glasgow.

    MATTHEWS, Apprentice, DENYS JAMES, M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 17. Son of Jasper Heros Matthews and Mary Christine Matthews, of Rumney, Cardiff.

    MOORE, Apprentice, ALAN CHARLES, M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 18.

    McGINNES, Second Engineer Officer, EDWARD, M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 28.

    ROBERTSON, Fourth Officer, JOHN, M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 35. Son of John and Eliza B. Robertson, of Bo'ness, West Lothian.

    ROWLANDSON, Second Officer, GORDON RUTHERFORD, M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 30. Husband of Olive Kendall Rowlandson, of Chingford, Essex.

    SMITH, Engineer Officer (Eighth), ROBERT, M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 23. Son of Robert and Margaret Smith; husband of Winifred Smith.

    SMYTH, Second Radio Officer, JAMES HAMILTON, M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 18. Son of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Smyth, of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

    DEMS Gunners/Naval Staff Executed

    CUTHBERT, Leading Seaman, LEONARD ALEXANDER, C/JX 249947, M.V. Behar, Royal Navy. 19 March 1944. Age 27. Son of Frederick and Marian. Cuthbert; husband of Lily Gertrude Cuthbert, of Deptford, London.

    BOWERS, Bombardier, ARTHUR, 6290844. 4 Maritime Regt. Royal Artillery. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 23.

    BRINE, Able Seaman, DONALD GILBERT MACKENZIE, P/JX 312434. H.M.S. President III. Royal Navy. 19th March 1944. Age 22. Son of Robert Burd Brine and Kate Brine, of Southwick, Wiltshire.

    BRODIE, Bombardier, NEIL, 3326794. 1 Maritime Regt. Royal Artillery. 18th March 1944. Age 33. Son of Neil and Jessie Brown Brodie; husband of Margaret R. Brodie, of Campbeltown, Argyllshire.

    COOKE, Able Seaman, KENNETH, D/JX 444481. H.M.S. President III. Royal Navy. lost in M.V. Behar. 19th March 1944. Age 19. Son of Thomas and Elizabeth Ann Cooke, of Higher Openshaw, Manchester.

    ENOCH, Able Seaman, STANLEY, D/JX 393587. H.M.S. President III. Royal Navy. 19th March 1944. Age 20. Son of Stanley and Dorothy M. Enoch, of Caerau, Maesteg, Glamorgan.

    HOPE, Able Seaman, JACK STEELE, D/JX 550913. H.M.S. President III. Royal Navy. lost in M.V. Behar. 9th March 1944. Age 20. (Statement made by Behar Chief Officer states Hope was not killed on the 9th March in the attack as he was seen onboard the Cruiser Tone on the 16th at Tandjong Priok along with other prisoners later executed.

    PYECROFT, Gunner, STANLEY, 11416381. 4 Maritime Regt. Royal Artillery. 9th March 1944. Age 21. Son of Frank and Letitia Pycroft, of Nottingham. (Died during shelling of the Behar)

    RATCLIFFE, Serjeant, CHARLIE, 3441983. 1 Maritime Regt. Royal Artillery. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 37. Son of Ernest and Elizabeth Ratdiffe; husband of Nancy Ratcliffe, of Hollinwood, Lancashire.

    ROBINSON, Able Seaman, THOMAS, C/JX 248976. H.M.S. President III. Royal Navy. lost in M.V. Behar. 9th March 1944. (Died during shelling of the Behar)

    RODNEY, Gunner, ALEXANDER, 1656736. 1 Maritime Regt. Royal Artillery. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 37. Son of Joseph and Bethia Rodney, of Greenock, Renfrewshire.

    SAUL, Able Seaman, THOMAS GEORGE, C/JX 235844. H.M.S. President III. Royal Navy. lost in M.V. Behar. 19th March 1944. Age 23. Son of Thomas and Beatrice M. Saul; husband of Maude Saul, of Shotton, Co. Durham.

    STREET, Gunner, ALFRED, 11259712. 4 Maritime Regt. Royal Artillery. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 34.

    WILLIAMS, Able Seaman, ROBERT IDRIS, D/SSX 35901. H.M.S. President III. Royal Navy. 19th March 1944. Age 22. Son of Morris and Jane Williams, of Dyffryn, Merionethshire.

    Passenger Executed

    MacGregor, Retired Bank Manager, DUNCAN. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 54. Son of John and Mary Macgregor, of Lochgilphead, Argyllshire; husband of Ruby Macgregor, of 14 Netherway Street, Burwood, Victoria, Australia.

    Indian Crew Executed

    MAHOMED, Tindel (Bosun’s Mate), ABBA. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 50.

    NALLA Seacunny, (Quartermaster) ESMAIL. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 34.

    HOOSEIN, Seacunny (Quartermaster), ESMAIL. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 31.

    BEELAL, Lascar, DAWOODJEE. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 31.

    MOOSSA, Lascar, YACOOB. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 45.

    GOOLAB, Lascar, CASSAM. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 30.

    HOOSEIN, Lascar, PEERAN. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 37.

    EUSOOF, Lascar, MANJEE. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 43.

    ADAM, Lascar, ABAJEE. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 55.

    DAWOOD, Lascar, AHMED. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 49.

    JEEWA, Lascar, AHMED. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 29.

    DAWOOD, Lascar, TAJA. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 40.

    ADAM, Lascar, DAWOOD. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 57.

    SULLYMAN, Lascar, AMONJEE. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 26.

    CASSAM, Lascar, MAHOMED. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 27.

    HAJI, Lascar, ADAM. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 36.

    DAWOOD, Lascar, CASSAM. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 36.

    BELAL, Lascar, MAHOMED. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 21.

    MAHOMED, Lascar Boy, AMONJEE. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 20.

    BABOO, Bhandary (Cook), RAMJAM. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 43.

    MOHAMED, 1st Paniwalla, KHAN GOOLAB. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 53.

    ZARIF, 1st Paniwalla, KHAN KHOOSHAL. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 58.

    BARAM, 1st Paniwalla, GOOL AKMAD. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 49.

    MAHOMED, 2nd Paniwalla, AMZULLA. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 45.

    HOOSEIN, 3rd Paniwalla, KHAN KHAIRULLA KHAN. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 43.

    MIRZADA, Tindel (Bosun’s Mate), KOSHAL. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 23.

    NABIULLA, Fireman, AMIRULLA. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 31.

    HAZARATDEEN, Engine Bhandry (Cook), OOMERDEEN. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 51.

    EMAD, 2nd Paniwalla, NOOR KHAN. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 9th March 1944. Age 55. (Died during shelling of the Behar).

    Chinese Crew Executed

    AH TANG, Carpenter, M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 30.

    WONG CHAK, Fitter, M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 28. Husband of Wong.

    Goanese Crew Executed

    SANTAN, Chief Cook, VIEGAS. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 45.

    JOHN, Baker, DE SOUZA. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 28.

    JOAQUIM, Pantryman, S. CONTINHO. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 57.

    JOAQUIM, G.S. X. DE SOUVA. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 53.

    LONSADO, G.S. DIAS. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 26.

    NICOLAO, G.S. VALLES. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 45.

    GLORIA, G.S. DIAS. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 24.

    BENJAMIN, G.S. ALMEIDA. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 51.

    FULARIAN, G.S. SILVA. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 23.

    SEBASTIAO, G.S. VAZ. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age. 46.

    VINCENT, Topass (Apprentice), DENIZ. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 45.

    JOAO, Topass (Apprentice), BARRETTO. M.V. Behar (London). Merchant Navy. 18th - 19th March 1944. Age 45.

    Died/Disappeared in Captivity

    HOOEIN, Deck Serang (Bosun), BEELAL. Died of dysentery Del Rosea Hospital 27th May 1944. Age 35.

    JOOMA, Fireman, KHAN KAMROODEEN. Died of dysentery 21st May 1944. Age 31.

    JOAO, Butler (2nd Steward), SANTAN CONTINHO. Taken from Naval Barracks in Batavia May 1944 in dying condition. Never seen again. Age 63.

    LAI, Doctor of Agriculture, YUNG LI. Removed by Japanese from PoW camp in June 1944 and was never seen again.
     
  3. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Thanks for posting Billy.

    I was sure you or someone would have some further atrocities committed against Merchant Navy/Mariners as they were murdering bastards. A strong fighting foe outweighed by their acts of cowardice to those who were unarmed.

    Cheers

    Geoff
     
  4. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by spidge [​IMG]
    The Japanese have been portrayed as merciless in their treatment of Military POW's and civilians so it is not unusual that they treated Merchant Navy/Mariners any different. Their atrocities just kept on coming throughout the war.

    From: American Merchant Marine in World War 2

    The Massacre of the SS Jean Nicolet
    The Liberty ship SS Jean Nicolet was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine on July 2, 1944, off Ceylon (Sri Lanka). She had a 41-man crew, plus 28 Armed Guard, 30 passengers and an Army medic. All survived the explosion. They were taken aboard the sub and their lifeboats and rafts were sunk. With their hands tied behind their backs they were forced to sit on deck. Japanese sailors massacred many with bayonets and rifle butts. Thirty survivors were still on deck with their hands tied when a British plane appeared. The sub crash-dived, washing the survivors into the sea. Only 23 were rescued.

    Another report on this atrocity!

    from: More Maritime Disasters of WWII 1944, 1945

    [/QUOTE] SS JEAN NICOLET (July 2, 1944)
    Liberty ship, torpedoed and then shelled and set on fire off Ceylon by the Japanese submarine I-8. On board were 41 crew plus 28 US Armed Guards and 31 passengers. All were taken on board the submarine and with hands tied behind their backs, were forced to sit on deck while the Japanese sailors systematically killed most of them with bayonets and spanners used as clubs. With the last 30 survivors still on deck the submarine crashed dived when an enemy plane was spotted. The 30 survivors were left struggling in the water. A few managed to swim back to the burning hulk of the Jean Nicolet and launched a raft before the ship sank. Luckily, 23 of them survived to be picked up by the Indian Navy trawler 'Hoxa'. The I-8s captain ordered that three survivors be retained as POWs. Sadly, only one survived the war. [/QUOTE]

    Further on this atrocity:

    From: Terrorism and Atrocity

     
  5. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    In reference to post #22.

    From: Terrorism and Atrocity

    9Mar44. Commerce raider Tone sank the British freighter SS Behar, taking aboard 108 survivors. Two days after arrival in the Netherlands East Indies, RAdm Sakonjo ordered the prisoners be “disposed of”, and they were taken out to sea and beheaded.
     
  6. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Another sometimes forgotten group of Merchant Navy/American N.A,F.T.S.who literally saved thousands of lives.

    Peter Clare started a thread here:
    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/war-sea/8835-deep-sea-rescue-tugs.html#post79313

    Thought I would include it in this thread as well.


    From: More Maritime Disasters of WWII 1944, 1945
    DEEP SEA RESCUE TUGS (D.S.R.T)
    Thousands of seamen of all nationalities owe their lives to the brave men who manned the Deep Sea Rescue Tugs. Introduced in September, 1939, they were manned by volunteers from the Merchant Navy and from the Fishing Fleets. All came under the authority of the Royal Navy. A base facility was set up at Campbeltown on the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland and named HMS Minona. As the war progressed, the tugs were based at Loch Ewe, Oban and Londonderry in Northern Ireland and even at a base in Iceland. Later on in the war, the Deep Sea Rescue Tugs were based at ports around the Mediterranean. As more tugs became available, they even accompanied the slower convoys across the Atlantic and were responsible for saving hundreds of ships that were towed to safety after being torpedoed or bombed. On and after D-Day about 160 of these tugs were deployed in the transportation of the Mulberry Harbour across the English Channel to the Normandy beaches. The 59 merchant ships, used to form the breakwater, were also towed across to be sunk. The huge drums containing the Pluto pipeline, which supplied 1.25 million gallons of fuel every day to the Allied armies, were also towed across the Channel by these tugs. In all, 41 Deep Sea Rescue Tugs were lost during WWII. The American equivalent is the N.A.F.T.S. (National Association of Fleet Tug Sailors)
     
  7. Billy McGee

    Billy McGee Senior Member

    During the war years the Deep SeaRescue Tugs were responsible for saving, excluding fishing vessels and ships under 500grt, 750 British & Commonwealth, 140 American, and 245 allied and neutral Merchant ships, saving three million tonnes of supplies and equipment as well as 254 allied Warships. To try and put this in to some perspective, the tanker Athelviscount was towed 750 miles in ten days with the whole of her aft end blown away, was rebuilt and traded for another 15 years which would of been impossible without the work of these men and ships.

    British Deep Sea Rescue Tugs lost WWII


    Adept
    Adherent
    Alliance
    Assurance
    Athelete
    Captive
    Caroline Moller
    Coringa
    Daisy
    Englishman
    Fairplay II
    Guardsman
    Hellespont
    Hesperia
    Horsa
    Indira
    Muria
    Napia
    Neptuna
    Peuplier
    Roode Zee
    St Abbs
    Sir Bevois
    St Breok
    St Cyrus
    St Dominic
    St Fagan
    St Issey
    St Just
    St Olaves
    St Samson
    Salvage King
    Saucy I
    Sesame
    Sea Gem
    Tien Hsing
    Twente
    West Cocker
    West Dean
    Wo Kwang
    Yin Ping
     
  8. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Great information. - Thanks Billy.
     
  9. Billy McGee

    Billy McGee Senior Member

    'SAN DEMETRIO', British Tanker. Eagle Oil & Shipping Co. 8073 tons. Built in 1938.
    Attacked by the German Pocket Battleship 'ADMIRAL SCHEER' and damaged in the North Atlantic on 5th November 1940. Torpedoed by U-404 and sunk off the East Coast of the USA on 17th March 1942.

    London Gazette 4 February 1941 - For services when the ship was attacked and damaged, in re-boarding the ship after abandonment and raising steam.

    Hawkins, Arthur Godfrey Naunton - Second Officer - OBE(Civ)
    Pollard, Charles - Chief Engineer - OBE(Civ)
    Willey, George Pears - Third Engineer - MBE(Civ)
    Davies, John - Storekeeper - BEM(Civ)
    Fletcher, Walter - Boatswain - BEM(Civ)
    Preston, Oswald - Seaman - BEM(Civ)
    Boyle, John - Greaser - Posthumous Commendation

    Regards
    Hugh

    Sadly Chief Engineer Pollard would die in 1946. His death must have been partially due to the injuries he sustained in the San Demetrio incident as he is buried ashore with full war grave status.

    POLLARD, Chief Engineer Officer, CHARLES, O B E, M.V. San Demetrio (London). Merchant Navy. 10th September 1946. Age 59. Son of Harry and Mary Pollard; husband of Catherine Ann Pollard, of Port Talbot. Awarded Lloyd's Medal for bravery at sea. Buried Port Talbot (Holy Cross) Churchyard Mountain Side. Row 17. Grave 19.
     
  10. amsheppard6

    amsheppard6 Junior Member

    I am so happy to have found this website. My mother whose name was Joan Trestrail at the time, was on the Simon Bolivar when it went down in the North Sea. She had all her newspaper clippings from this event and has misplaced them. I have been trying to find whatever I can for her. She is 90 years old now. This photo you have of her was in one of the newspapers at the time, and I have been looking for it. Thank you.

    Maureen Sheppard
     
  11. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    I am so happy to have found this website. My mother whose name was Joan Trestrail at the time, was on the Simon Bolivar when it went down in the North Sea. She had all her newspaper clippings from this event and has misplaced them. I have been trying to find whatever I can for her. She is 90 years old now. This photo you have of her was in one of the newspapers at the time, and I have been looking for it. Thank you.

    Maureen Sheppard

    You're welcome.

    It's not often we can post a piece with a photo that relates to a living person, glad it was of help to you.

    Regards
    Hugh
     
  12. Bernard85

    Bernard85 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    good day spidge.posted17august 2011 08:56am.re:your reply to this topic,in your quote:you mention t124x and t124.agreements,you say they received naval pay rates.the uniform discipline are correct.but paywise.i was in the t124x i signed on at the dock street pool/London.received m.n. pay.24pounds 10 shillings a month.when demobbed back to m.n same pay.i am not sure if I have posted this thread before,tell me if I have,you were correct about pay stoping when you lost your ship.the owners got there lot from the insurance.the insurance got it back from the government.and the m/n/ got nothing.bless those who did not make it home.stay well.bernard85
     
  13. spitsortie

    spitsortie Member

    I am writing a book for Fonthill Media called 'Voices of the Arctic Convoys' which, as the title suggests, is a collection of stories from ex-servicemen of the convoys from the Royal Navy, Merchant Navy, and Fleet Air Arm.
    If you know anyone who would be willing to come on board with this project please let me know.
    Thank you

    spitsortie
     
  14. Combover

    Combover Guest

    An emminantly pointless contribution to this thread but I shall relate it regardless.

    Growing up in a cul-de-sac, I was surrounded by veterans. Immediatley next door to my right was a Bristol Beaufighter piolt who flew from Malta, across the road was an SOE agent, who dropped into France. Around the corner was my own Grandfather who was a Bren Gunner with the 2nd Essex and immediately next door to my left was a Merchant Navy Captain, Mr MaCreth.

    Out of them all, Mr MaCreth suffered more personal 'defeats' at the hands of the enemy than the others, being Torpedoed 7 times, druing the course of the war.

    It was a terrible war all round (including for my beloved and much missed Grandfather), but let nobody say that the Merchant Navy didn't stand and be counted.
     
  15. hutt

    hutt Member

    A brief story to add to the thread.
    One of my uncles was on a Tanker torpedoes south of Iceland.
    The ship, the Franche Compte, was part of convoy HX-112 sailing from Canada to England in March 1941 which was attacked south of Iceland by a large U Boat pack. The Franche Compte was hit by a torpedo fired from U-99 captained by the renowned ace Otto Kretschmer. It was one of his last successful attacks before himself sinking a day or so later but he survived with most of his crew!
    The tanker caught fire and was abandoned but with the flames subsiding, a decision was taken to attempt a return and a call for volunteers was made, my uncle among them. With the fire miraculously out (probably because the ship had settled so far in the water and as it was heavy oil rather than petrol) the engines were restarted and the boat limped on to Scotland.
    Despite it being in the early part of the war (1941) and the outcome by no means decided, the admiralty and various trade boards carried out a very thorough investigation into the validity of the abandonment and subsequent re boarding (had they been cowards had even been suggested!) and whether the crew who bought her back to England were entitled to any salvage claim (which they were making). Ultimately their claim was upheld and the volunteer crew received what was in those days quite a significant amount.
    There is a file at Kew, MT59/2120 containing about 170 pages of correspondence and detail statements from the captain and some of the crew including my uncle. I also have some very poor photos showing the ship off the Clyde with the huge gash in its side quite visible. Apparently the ship twisted so much as it steamed slowly back from south of Iceland that rivets were being ejected from the deck plates like bullets!
     
  16. spitsortie

    spitsortie Member

    Do you have a photo of your uncle around the time he was in service?
    How 'poor' are the shots you have of the Franche Compte off the Clyde?
    If you'd like to add your uncle's notes to the project please let me know here or at my email address (spitsortiesites@yahoo.co.uk)

    Thanking you
    spitsortie
     
  17. spitsortie

    spitsortie Member

    When did your grandfather serve with the 2nd Essex?
     
  18. Bernard85

    Bernard85 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    good day combover,posted yesterday.03:00pm.re:pointless.i must tell you your input is far from pointless.you are fortunate.to be surrounded by these war heroes.thank you for posting sorry about your grandfather.it would be good for history if you recorded there story's..have a good day.bernard85.
     
  19. spitsortie

    spitsortie Member

    I quite agree. I have one veteran from HMS Sheffield living a few doors away; a chap who served on minesweepers (walks with a frame - the legacy of his vessel hitting a mine while he was in the galley) nearby, and an ex-617 Squadron Navigator (he joined the squadron just after the Dambuster raids) a few roads away... everything you can record from these chaps will give our future generations some idea of what conditions were like.
     
  20. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    I've been working on my granddad's stuff off and on for a couple of decades now but put it mostly aside to work on my dad's (Chindit) project so I only get the chance to dip in every so often - I've discussed him and his connections to the MN Memorial in London on another post some time back but it's the Commerce Raiders that have an interest to me as he was Boson on the Cambridge, mentioned by Spidge much earlier in the thread, when she was sunk by mines iirc were lain across the Bass Straits by the Passat, which in itself had been captured and converted to a Commerce Raider by the Pinguin...

    There is an irony here that the SS Cambridge was a WWI war-reparations vessel and was sunk by a German mine... the greatest irony about the loss of this vessel was the death of the ship's carpenter (J Kinnear) , who returned (or attempted) to his cabin to retrieve his wallet - it was thought he was in one of the three lifeboats when he was spotted still aboard - one of the boats tried to get back along side but the ship (hit astern) was sinking rapidly and they could not reach him and he was never seen again - the only loss of crew... I can only presume that he could not swim... as daft as this might sound my dad told me that he (his dad) never learnt to swim, in all his years by and upon the sea, at least fifty years serving with the MN or RNR... there was a logic to this... in those days there was no global communication system, no means of calling for help, and if you ended up in the water when you were in "deep" water, you were in "God's hands"... a quick death was (possibly?) considered a kinder death...?

    There is one image on the AWM that shows the crew being recovered by HMAS Arora the next day, and there's my granddad, holding the guide rope as the crew prepares to go up the scramble net.

    The Cambridge lies in about 60m of water and is classed as an historic wreck so is not a dive for the un-initiated - I've found a few pics of the wreck over the years... if I could, it would be one of only two ships he served on that I could "visit" - the only other one is a minesweeper he served on in WWI that was sunk by a German torpedo...
     

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