SS Yewdale in 1941

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by temptage, Aug 4, 2019.

  1. temptage

    temptage I thought it would only take a few weeks......

    Could anybody tell me what the SS Yewdale was doing in 1941 please. It was at Dunkirk for the evacuation in 1940, and from the few scant mentions of it, it was quite a large ship. In 1940, she was armed with a single Lewis Gun. On the 3rd Feb 1940 during an attack by German planes her Master was killed, and is now buried in Liverpool. So am I to think right that the ship would have been acquisitioned by the military prior to being used at Dunkirk. If that is so, then is it likely to have remained as an armed vessel between Dunkirk and Normandy?


    It was later sunk on the Normandy beaches.

    I have just found out, as Im typing this that she sunk on 3rd October 1944 with the cause as 'marine damage'. More importantly she is listed on Royal Naval Vessels Lost at Sea as a Collier belonging to the Fleet Supply Vessels.

    Now all this is interesting but its very specifically the post-Dunkirk until the end of 1941 that I need to know what the ship was doing.

    Any help may be very important,

  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Probably being refitted after being battered off Dunkirk

    YEWDALE (2) (1929 - 1944)
    O.N. 160241. 823g. 410n. 195.0 x 31.2 x 11.9 feet
    T.3-cyl. (15”, 25” & 40” x 27”) engine made by J. Abernethy & Company, Aberdeen. 90 rhp
    11.2.1929: Launched by J. Scott & Sons, Bowling (Yard No. 313) for J. Stewart & Company, Glasgow.
    3.1929: Completed.
    1933: Owners restyled as John Stewart & Company Shipping Ltd.
    3.2.1940: Damaged by aircraft bombing and gunfire 4 miles N.N.E. of Scarborough.
    26.5.1940: Damaged by German shore batteries on French coast when in the French Channel coast.
    28.5.1940: Damaged by German shore batteries on French coast when in the French Channel coast and was also attacked by aircraft.
    3.10.1944: Lost in a collision off Arromanches
    24 DECEMBER, 1940
    1 dead and 3 wounded from S.S. “Yewdale”
    HAM. Two laden steamers, the Norwegian
    S.S. Royal and the British S.S. Yewdale, were
    lying off Hartlepool in a very rough sea, with
    a strong easterly wind blowing, and heavy snow
    storms, and the naval authorities wanted
    the steamers in harbour. The life-boat went
    out to pilot them in, but could not find them.
    Later they were able to enter the Tees.-
    Rewards, £18 14s.

  3. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member Patron

    I know you are more interested in 1941, you can get that info by going onto Convoyweb, but I thought you might be interested in a little more about her work at Dunkirk:
    YEWDALE, another small steam coaster, and the motor vessel SEQUACITY, set off from the Downs on 27 May with orders for Dunkirk. During the night YEWDALE picked up five survivors from a raft, who told Captain Jones that Dunkirk had been occupied that morning; because of this and because SEQUACITY needed to make repairs, they returned to England. They were attacked by German aircraft which, though it was seen off by a British aircraft, so damaged the SEQUACITY that she sank at 1030 on the morning of 28 May. . YEWDALE rescued the crew, and took them to Deal. By the evening more than 130 vessels had been assembled to sail for Dunkirk. The Cruiser CALCUTTA, twenty destroyers and an assortment of coasters and many 'little ships' were given the task of loading troops directly from the beach.

    The coaster ABUKIR, managed by the General Steam Navigation Company (GSNC) for the MOWT, had shipped Army stores to Ostend. For the return voyage she embarked a capacity load of over 200 passengers, including women and children, and six priests. After she sailed late on 27 May, she was bombed 'incessantly for one and a half hours,' but was not hit; fire was returned by the ship's sole Lewis gun. At 0115 on 28 May a U-boat fired two torpedoes at the ABUKIR - both missed. The Master attempted to ram the submarine, but his ship lacked sufficient speed. The U-boat fired two more torpedoes. One hit the little ship amidships; she burst into flames, broke in two and sank within a minute, taking many with her. The Germans machine-gunned survivors in the water and 'many were killed including the Chief Officer.'[ii] Captain Rowland Woolfenden was made an MBE; Second Officer Vere Rust was Commended.[iii]

    At Deal the YEWDALE stored and topped up with fresh water. She returned to Dunkirk with the smaller motor ships BEAL and BULLFINCH (GSNC). They anchored off the beach at about 0400 on 29 May and used their lifeboats to ferry troops from the shore. One of the YEWDALE's seamen, George McKenzie, aged 16, did great work teaching the soldiers how to row. Later the Royal Navy helped with the flat-bottomed motor launches that had been transported by CLAN MACALISTER (see below), but George McKenzie 'retained his command.' About 1500 the bombing became serious and at 1600 YEWDALE was ordered to leave; by this time she had taken aboard some 900 troops.

    I think the picture you have may be an earlier Yewdale.

    ABUKIR had been built for GSNC in 1920 and sold onto an Egyptian company, General Steam again managed her.

    [ii]Supplement to the London Gazette 23rd August 1940

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  4. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member Patron

    Sorry the formatting has gone to rats!

    YEWDALE (Br) 823 tons, built 1929

    Tyne, Feb 20, 1940
    FS.101 (Tyne - Southend)
    Southend, Feb 22, 1940
    Tyne, Apr 18, 1940
    FS.149 (Tyne - Southend)
    Southend, Apr 20, 1940
    Tyne, Jun 27, 1940
    FS.206 (Tyne - Southend)
    Southend, Jun 29, 1940
    Southend, Jul 2, 1940
    FN.211 (Southend - Methil)
    Methil, Jul 4, 1940
    Sunderland, Jul 5, 1940
    FS.214 (Tyne - Southend)
    Southend, Jul 6, 1940
    Southend, Jul 11, 1940
    FN.219 (Southend - Methil)
    Blyth, Jul 13, 1940
    Methil, Jul 27, 1940
    FS.234 (Tyne - Southend)
    Southend, Jul 29, 1940
    Southend, Aug 3, 1940
    FN.241 (Southend - Methil)
    Methil, Aug 5, 1940
    Middlesbrough, Aug 13, 1940
    FS.251 (Tyne - Southend)
    Southend, Aug 15, 1940
    Sunderland, Aug 31, 1940
    FS.268 (Tyne - Southend)
    Southend, Sep 2, 1940
    Southend, Sep 13, 1940
    FN.279 (Southend - Methil)
    Blyth, Sep 15, 1940
    Blyth, Sep 20, 1940
    FS.286 (Tyne - Southend)
    Southend, Sep 21, 1940
    Southend, Sep 26, 1940
    FN.291 (Southend - Methil)
    Tyne, Sep 28, 1940
    Southend, Oct 5, 1940
    FN.300 (Southend - Methil)
    Methil, Oct 7, 1940
    Southend, Oct 23, 1940
    FN.316 (Southend - Methil)
    Sunderland, Oct 25, 1940
    Sunderland, Oct 31, 1940
    FS.324 (Methil - Southend)
    Southend, Nov 2, 1940
    Southend, Nov 9, 1940
    FN.330 (Southend - Methil)
    Tyne, Nov 11, 1940
    Tyne, Nov 19, 1940
    FS.339 (Methil - Southend)
    Southend, Nov 21, 1940
    Southend, Nov 24, 1940
    FN.341 (Southend - Methil)
    Immingham, Nov 26, 1940

    FS.347 (Methil - Southend)
    Southend, Nov 29, 1940
    Sunderland, Dec 27, 1940
    FS.373 (Methil - Southend)
    Southend, Dec 29, 1940
    Tyne, Jan 13, 1941
    FS.387 (Methil - Southend)
    Southend, Jan 16, 1941
    Southend, Jan 25, 1941
    FN.391 (Southend - Methil)
    Tyne, Jan 27, 1941
    Methil, Apr 28, 1941
    EC.13SP ( - )
    Inverness, Apr 29, 1941

    EC.51 (Southend - Clyde)
    Sunderland, Jul 28, 1941
    Southend, Aug 2, 1941
    EC.54 (Southend - Clyde)
    Methil, Aug 4, 1941
    Southend, Oct 19, 1941
    EC.88 (Southend - Clyde)
    Methil, Oct 21, 1941
    Methil, Feb 5, 1942
    EN.42 (Methil - Oban)
    Oban, Feb 7, 1942
    Kirkwall, Feb 17, 1942
    WN.246 (Loch Ewe - Methil)
    Methil, Feb 19, 1942
    Portsmouth, Jul 10, 1944
    FTC.32 (Seine Bay - Southend)
    Southend, Jul 11, 1944
    Southend, Jul 21, 1944
    ETC.44 (Southend - Seine Bay)
    Southampton, Jul 22, 1944
    Portsmouth, Jul 26, 1944
    FTC.48 (Seine Bay - Southend)
    Southend, Jul 27, 1944
    Southend, Aug 3, 1944
    ETC.57 (Southend - Seine Bay)
    Portsmouth, Aug 4, 1944
    Solent, Aug 5, 1944
    FBC.45 (Seine Bay - B Channel)
    Dartmouth, Aug 6, 1944
    Barry, Aug 16, 1944
    EBC.74 (Barry - Seine Bay)
    Devonport, Aug 17, 1944
    Barry, Aug 25, 1944
    EBC.83 (Barry - Seine Bay)
    Portsmouth, Aug 27, 1944
    Solent, Sep 8, 1944
    FTC.2A (Seine Bay - Southend)
    Southend, Sep 9, 1944

    Yewdale was lost in the Channel UK on Oct 6, 1944 whilst sailing as a part of convoy IN.PORT.
    Cause of loss: COLLISION.

  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    As the ships official number was 167581, I guess the file below might help - others more Naval minded may be able to advise better

    Reference: BT 381/2155
    167581; 167582; 167583; 167585; 167586
    Date: 1942 Jan 01 - 1942 Dec 31
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew
    Legal status: Public Record(s)
    Closure status: Open Document, Open Description

    or specifically for 1941
    Reference: BT 381/1700
    167577; 167579; 167580; 167581; 167582; 167585; 167586; 167587; 167590; 167591
    Date: 1941 Jan 01 - 1941 Dec 31
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew
    Legal status: Public Record(s)
    Closure status: Open Document, Open Description

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  7. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    The Ship's Movement Card is held at Kew in piece BT 389/32/197
    The files quoted by TD are for the Ship's Official Logbooks including Crew Agreements.

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  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Thanks for putting me back on the straight & narrow Hugh, I knew one of you guys would be along, I guess yours is also a much cheaper and quicker option

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  9. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member Patron

    I attach a picture of a more recent Yewdale. It is possible that this one is postwar, but the Plimsoll Lloyd's Register site is unreachable, and has been for a while, so I can't check

    Attached Files:

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