Merchant Navy Day

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bokkatankie

Guest
#4
My Fathers family lost 3 members in MN in 1940:

HM Trawler Argyllshire (Armed Trawler) (RNPS), sunk with all hands, by S Boat E34 off Dunkirk, 1 June 1940. Lowestoft RNPS Memorial
SS Mill Hill (Merchantman) torpedoed, sunk with all hands, by U32, North Atlantic, 30 August 1940, Tower Hill, MN, Memorial
HMS Jervis Bay (Armed Merchantman) sunk, 62 survivors, by Pocket Battleship Admiral Scheer, Capt. Fogarty Fegan was awarded posthumous VC, 5 November 1940, MN, Liverpool Memorial.

All 3 lost at sea with their ships. They were all MN but were taken up with their ships into Royal Navy (except SS Mill Hill).


Thank you for the reminder of Merchant Navy Day.
 

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#5
On the first day of war, all 93 of British Petroleum's tankers were chartered for the duration, 44 would be sunk with the loss of 657 crew.
Bloody grim odds, all volunteers, and when your ship was sunk, if you survived, your pay stopped.
 
#6
When I was at sea in the 1970's there were still a few of the WWII old boys arround. They were a tough bunch. I heard quite a few interesting tales on long quiet bridge watches.
 
#7
On the first day of war, all 93 of British Petroleum's tankers were chartered for the duration, 44 would be sunk with the loss of 657 crew.
Bloody grim odds, all volunteers, and when your ship was sunk, if you survived, your pay stopped.
And if you were taken prisoner, you were treated as a civilian with a lot worse conditions than Service PoW's
 
#8
When I was at sea in the 1970's there were still a few of the WWII old boys arround. They were a tough bunch. I heard quite a few interesting tales on long quiet bridge watches.

They were that, a Chief Engineer of my acquaintance from back in the day, a very dour old Jock,

Were you ever torpedoed Chief?
Aye…
Must have been hard abandoning a torpedoed ship?
Nay lad, it was easy, just wait a while and the water always come up to meet you.

Tough old bugger had 3 tankers torpedoed out from under him and kept going back.





My Great Grandfather and his son

WALL, CHRISTOPHER Master 05/06/1917 62 Mercantile Marine United Kingdom TOWER HILL MEMORIAL

WALL, CHRISTOPHER Master 29/03/1917 22 Mercantile Marine United Kingdom TOWER HILL MEMORIAL
 
#9
My first job had an ol' MN fella working there, remarkable in that he needed a bottle of whisky a day to get by.
Up to and including the single bottle the chap was compos mentis, as soon as he had a swig over that he was falling down drunk.
 
#11
Marc_St_Hilaire:4598811 said:
On the first day of war, all 93 of British Petroleum's tankers were chartered for the duration, 44 would be sunk with the loss of 657 crew.
Bloody grim odds, all volunteers, and when your ship was sunk, if you survived, your pay stopped.
And if you were taken prisoner, you were treated as a civilian with a lot worse conditions than Service PoW's

Never knew that - bad deal
 
#12
For All Seafarers

Even in peace, scant quiet is at sea;

In war, each revolution of the screw,

Each breath of air that blows the colours free,

May be the last life movement known to you.


Death, thrusting up or down, may disunite

Spirit from body, purpose from the hull,

with thunder, bringing leaving of the light,

With lightning letting nothingness annul.


No rock, no danger, bears a warning sign,

No lighthouse scatters welcome through the dark;

Above the sea, the bomb; afloat the mine;

Beneath, the gangs of torpedo-shark.


Year after year, with insufficient guard,

Often with none, you have adventured thus;

Some, reaching harbour, maimed and battle-scarred,

Some, never more returning, lost to us.


But, if you 'scape, tomorrow, you will steer

to peril once again, to bring us bread,

To dare again, beneath the sky of fear,

The moon moved graveyard of your brothers dead,


You were salvation to the army lost,

Trapped, but for you, upon the Dunkirk beach;

Death barred the way to Russia, but you crosst;

To Crete and Malta, but you succoured each.


Unrecognized, you put us in your debt;

Unthanked, you enter, or escape, the grave;

Whether your land remember or forget

You saved the land, or died to try to save.


John Masefield
 
#13
My Fathers family lost 3 members in MN in 1940:

HM Trawler Argyllshire (Armed Trawler) (RNPS), sunk with all hands, by S Boat E34 off Dunkirk, 1 June 1940. Lowestoft RNPS Memorial
SS Mill Hill (Merchantman) torpedoed, sunk with all hands, by U32, North Atlantic, 30 August 1940, Tower Hill, MN, Memorial
HMS Jervis Bay (Armed Merchantman) sunk, 62 survivors, by Pocket Battleship Admiral Scheer, Capt. Fogarty Fegan was awarded posthumous VC, 5 November 1940, MN, Liverpool Memorial.

All 3 lost at sea with their ships. They were all MN but were taken up with their ships into Royal Navy (except SS Mill Hill).


Thank you for the reminder of Merchant Navy Day.
Also not forgetting AMC "Rawalpindi" sunk by "Scharnhorst"
 
#15
As I roved by the dockside one evening so fair
To view the salt waters and take in the salt air
I heard an old fisherman singing a song
Oh, take me away boys me time is not long

Wrap me up in me oilskin and blankets
No more on the docks I'll be seen
Just tell me old shipmates, I'm taking a trip mates
And I'll see you someday on Fiddlers Green

Now Fiddler's Green is a place I've heard tell
Where the fishermen go if they don't go to hell
Where the weather is fair and the dolphins do play
And the cold coast of Greenland is far, far away

Now when you're in dock and the long trip is through
There's pubs and there's clubs and there's lassies there too
And the girls are all pretty and the beer is all free
And there's bottles of rum growing on every tree.

Where the skies are all clear and there's never a gail
And the fish jump on board with one swish on their tail
Where you lie at your leisure, there's no work to do
And the skipper's below making tea for the crew

Now I don't want a harp nor a halo, not me
Just give me a breeze and a good rolling sea
I'll play me old squeeze-box as we sail along
With the wind in the riggin to sing me a song

John Conolly
 
B

bokkatankie

Guest
#16
Also not forgetting AMC "Rawalpindi" sunk by "Scharnhorst"
They were both used by Alastair Maclean in his research for the book HMS Ulysses as examples of going it alone against a German Battleship and thus saving the convoy. Have just got a copy of the book If the Gods Are Good, the Sacrifice of HMS Jervis Bay, from Amazon last week.

My relation was an assistant cook aged 23, I am hoping on reading to try and work out where his action station would have been. His brother was 18 when he went down on the Mill Hill and his sisters husband was 27 (luckily he left 2 children) when he went down with HMS Argyllshire.
 
#17
And if you were taken prisoner, you were treated as a civilian with a lot worse conditions than Service PoW's
Not forgetting also that Merchant Seamen had their pay stopped the minute the ship sank!!
I lost a 15 year old cousin torpedoed & drowned in the first year of the war. A couple of Uncles and near neighbours also served in the MN, all of whom were torpedoed at least once!
 
#19
My Godfather, (I called him Uncle Smudge) was an 18 year old deck cadet when the tanker he was on was torpedoed. He had to drag himself through crude oil on the surface of the sea to reach a raft and then spent several days drifting often within sight of other ships which daren't stop because of the risk. The oil burnt off most of the skin on his arms but he looked on the bright side that it would have burnt off the tattoos he'd got in the States so his Mum probably wasn't going to kill him if the sea didn't. When he got to Liverpool he was sent on leave but was regularly humiliated for being out of uniform and, far worse, the skin on his arms healed and the tatoos were bright as day – his Mum never forgave him.
 

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