Help with missing officer of the RAOC

Discussion in 'REME/RAOC' started by jjrc1991, Jul 8, 2014.

  1. jjrc1991

    jjrc1991 Junior Member


    I'm hoping someone may be able to help. I am researching the men on my local war memorial and one of them served with the RAOC. Unfortunately I have been unable to find anything out about him.

    Captain Patrick John Phillips, 228829. Commissioned 14th March 1942. Died when the ship he was on (believed to have been the El Madina) was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine (RO-111), 16th March 1944. The ship was, at the time, en-route from Calcutta to Chittagong. Patrick Phillips is today remembered on the Rangoon Memorial.

    Other then the above I know nothing about Patrick Phillips's military service. Please help!


  2. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Jeff,

    I do not have any thing new for you, other than a file reference at the National Archives in regard to the missing aboard the 'El Madina'. See link below.

    It has just suddenly occurred to me that this is probably where you found the information you already have, but just in case.
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    WO 361/497 Casualties at sea, Indian Ocean: El Madina, sunk en route from Calcutta to Chittagong, 16 March 1944

    Beat me to it.

    The file will 99% contain a nominal roll of passengers. It may list his unit other than RAOC assuming he was on board. Unless all hands were lost it may also contain a witness statements saying where he was last seen just prior to his death.

    Skoyen89 likes this.
  4. RemeDesertRat

    RemeDesertRat Very Senior Member

    Copied from

    From: CALCUTTA Thursday, 16 March 1944. To: CHITTAGONG Friday, 17 March 1944.
    Official number of ships = 5 (TDS) Vessel Flag Tons Built Pdt. Cargo Notes
    EL MADINA Br 3,962 1937 1161 TROOPS. SUNK BY Ro 111. JALAGANGA Br 4,981 1936 JALAGOPAL Br 5,284 1911 LOVSTAD Nor 3,246 1921 RISALDAR Br 5,407 1940
  5. jjrc1991

    jjrc1991 Junior Member

    Thanks for the information guys. Really appreciated. Another trip to Kew looks likely!
  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    16 March 1944:
    Bay of Bengal. LtCdr Nakamura attacks convoy HC-44 enroute from Calcutta to Colombo, Ceylon. RO-111 torpedoes 3,962-ton Indian armed troopship EL MADINA at 20-54N, 89-36E. She flies HC-44's vice-commodore’s flag. EL MADINA breaks in two and her stern sinks in minutes. The rest of the convoy, including all escorts, leaves the area. British-flagged Norwegian merchant LOVSTAD stops her engines and picks up 814 survivors. A total of 380 men, most of them Hindu and African troops, are lost.


    El Madina SS was a Indian Passenger/Cargo Vessel of 3,962 tons built in 1937 by Barclay Curle & Company, Glasgow, Yard No 666 for the Scindia Line, India as the EL MADINA SS. She was powered by a steam, triple expansion engine of 916nhp.

    On the 16th March 1944 she was toprpedoed by the Japanese submarine RO-111, whilst sailing from Calcutta to Chittagong with troops. Ten crew, six gunners and 364 soldiers perished.

    Via Ancestry I have found a members report on the event:

    Løvstad had departed Calcutta on March 16-1944 bound for Chittagong (India) with a cargo of coal and war materials. She sailed as No. 4 in the middle column of Convoy HC 44 (external link) consisting of 10 cargo and troop ships in 3 columns. That same day, the Vice Commodore ship, the Indian El Madina, No. 3 in the middle column (in other words, right in front of Løvstad) was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine Ro-111 (Nakamura) in position 20 54N 89 36E, broke in two and sank. From various sources I do not get the impression that Løvstad was originally assigned as rescue vessel, but according to a report written by the 3rd mate several years later the Commodore signalled "you are the rescue ship" to them before the convoy and the 4 escorting British warships continued on, leaving Løvstad alone with the sinking troop ship.
    El Madina, which had more than 1000 people on board, had immediately started to sink by the stern, but the rest of her remained afloat for a while. Those on board managed to launch 3 lifeboats before she sank, while a 4th remained hanging in one of the tackles so that all those in it fell in the water from a great height. The area was full of debris and people, dead and alive - a terrible sight.
    Løvstad stopped and launched the lifeboats and for 4 hours her men worked to rescue Indian and African soldiers from the debris. As soon as a boat was full, they took it back to the ship, then returned to pick up more. Lines were rigged up from bow to stern on both sides so that those who were able to reach them had something to hold on to until they could get pulled on board. The gangway was also put out. All guns on Løvstad were manned while this was going on. When done, Løvstad had 789 people on board (number varies according to source) in addition to her own complement. Among the shipwrecked men were several doctors who took care of the injured. All of Løvstad's sheets were torn up for bandages and all medicines on board were used up.
    Towards the end of the rescue operation, the motor in Løvstad's lifeboat had broken down, so the 3rd mate transferred to one of El Madina's lifeboats and continued the rescue work, picking up another 25. By then it had started to turn dark and the lifeboat was quite a distance away from Løvstad. One of the escorts, which had returned to search for the sub, was asked to tow the lifeboat back to the Norwegian ship. The 25 rescued men were taken on board the escort, as was the lifeboat crew while towing. However, shortly afterwards the lifeboat was let go, and the 3rd mate and the others were left without means to get back to their ship. The commander of the escort had been ordered to patrol the area, and they ended up having to stay on board through the night. The 3rd mate, who was the only radio operator on Løvstad was none too pleased, but they were taken back to Løvstad again early the next morning, off Chittagong, while the 25 rescued men stayed on the escort. Ten crew, six gunners and 364 troops were lost from El Madina, Løvstad's men had rescued a total of 814.
    When she arrived the pilot station at Chittagong where the British escorts were, a rare occurrence took place; every one of the warships greeted the little merchantman with the White Ensign, an act which was against the regular rules which said that merchant ships were to greet the warships first. Upon arrival Calcutta (see Page 3), more tributes were paid in the shape of thank you notes from the Indian government, the Ministry of War Transport and several other institutions.
    1st mate was Håkon Jølle Hansen, 2nd Mate Hans E. Olsen, 3rd mate/radio operator was Syvert Vindheim (all of them stayed on board all through the war). 1st Engineer was Karsten Hansen, 2nd Engineer David Davidsen. I believe the majority of the crew were foreign (Chinese).

  7. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Capt. Patrick John Phillips RAOC.

    Service number: 228829.
    Date of death: 16th March 1944.
    Age: 27.
    Memorial: Face 18, Rangoon Memorial, Myanmar, formerly Burma.
    Son of: Percy John and Eva Phillips.
    Husband of: Marjory Ellis Phillips of Croxley Green, Hertfordshire.

    UK, Army Roll of Honour, 1939-1945 about Patrick Phillips
    Name: Patrick Phillips
    Given Initials: P J
    Rank: Captain
    Death Date: 16 Mar 1944
    Number: 228829
    Birth Place: Surrey
    Residence: Oxfordshire
    Branch at Enlistment: Other Corps
    Theatre of War: At sea
    Regiment at Death: Royal Army Ordnance Corps
    Branch at Death: Other Corps

  8. jjrc1991

    jjrc1991 Junior Member

    Appreciated. Thanks very much.
  9. misemici

    misemici New Member

    Jeff, Capt. Phillips is a relative of mine. His mother, Eva McLoughlin Phillips, was my great grandfather's sister. The above information has been helpful to me researching his family. I'd love to know more about your local war memorial and perhaps see a photo. You can reach me at misemici (at) sbcglobal (dot) net.
    Skoyen89 likes this.
  10. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Another who I believe Died on the El Madina. George Piff is commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial in the UK, although it seems the Indian and African Casualties are commemorated on the Bombay/Chittagong Memorial: Cemetery Details | CWGC

    George Piff was with the 1st Bn Lincolnshire Regiment and seems to be the only casualty from that unit on the ship so I wonder if he was a reinforcement or a gunner on the ship?

    N Wales Weekly News 6 Dec 1945 Piff Casualty 1944 Drowned.JPG
  11. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    I have some more info on the fate of Capt Phillips from the Kew file if ljcr1991 or misemici are still following this thread.

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