Appeal for WWI and WWII Medals of Wireless Operator, my Uncle Jeremiah Riney.
Should someone have them? please use email at end of page to contact me. Thanks.
Luck was with Me
For More to Come
Mostly Positive Experience
Now, an email received on March 24, 2009 confirmed installation of this marker. Six months having elapsed since my discovery of my long lost uncle's resting place and now having a headstone for folks to view and to honor a brave uncle thrills me. Twelve months previous to my discovery I would learn where he decided to end his days, in Brisbane, Australia. May he rest in peace. Those who come upon his Nudgee grave will now know some of what he contributed.
My sincere thanks and appreciation goes to Nudgee Catholic Cemetery Management and the workmen (stonemasons) who created such a beautiful memorial on my behalf. Saint Patrick surely had a hand in its completion at the end. My special appreciation goes to Manager David Molloy who from the outset volunteered to help me with the project and going more than the extra mile for me, as a consequence. A thousand thanks are due him. His name will forever be held in my memory on matters dealing with Australia and with Uncle Jerry.
Jeremiah passed on January 22, 1966 and was buried in Nudgee Catholic Cemetery, Brisbane, on January 28, 1966. A copy of seaman's card of his from the National Archives of Australia showing his arrival in Brisbane on the Shell Tanker "Lepton," on January 13, 1948. Jeremiah, signed on as a Steward, which appeared unusual. Possibly a means by which he could be transported to Brisbane where he was desirious of living.
I can imagine how one with nerves stretched to the breaking point as he and shipmates must have felt when crossing and crisscrossing the oceans with u-boats ready to pounce. Brisbane was probably the "laid back" city that he hoped would offer the calm that he sought. I have no way of knowing if Uncle Jerry found the comfort that he yearned for. Having the Queensland Public Curator tend to his affairs at the end does not give me the warm fuzzies that the last eighteen (18) years of his life, as being overly ideal.
Mercant Mariner YearsJeremiah Riney served on Merchant Navy ships for close to thirty years. His maiden voyage, sailing out of Southampton on the "GAIKA" on September 1916 and ending three months later was likely to be to Australia. His last voyage appears to be that of his arrival in Brisbane on January 13, 1948.
Nephew's Two years at SeaMy arrival in the port of NY during the mid 1950s held but a minor concern for me and my shipmates. Just the reminder, not to walk past avenues from the docks at Pier 90 at 50th Street until within a block of Times Square. Such was the advice that rang in Cunard seamen ears. No fear of U-boats then as one was able to utter without fearing that that adage of LOOSE LIPS SINKING SHIPS being a worry.
Times Square was in full illumination such that my eyes beheld advertizing displays, such as the puffing smoke of the Camel cigarette ad. Of course the theaters, movie houses, restaurants, girlie houses, knick knacks that one eagerly availed of to bring back a memento to those dear to us.
Uncle Jeremiah's nigh Thirty Years at SeaMy uncle's experience during his many arrivals into NY Ports during the second world war would be far different from mine. Not sure where his ships docked, some freighters, tankers, munition and troop ships. I'm left to imagine him getting on a bus or subway to visit that exciting crossroads of the world, called Times Square, to catch a little R & R.
If by subway I see him as a tourist in a crowd coming up the stairs from a black and gritty tube onto Times Square. He might be distracted the first time he observed the illuminated Camel cigarette sign of smoke puffing rings and its swish sound that accompanied its blowing six-feet high smoke rings. There he would see RKO, Paramount and such movie houses that ordinarily lit the night skies but who would be now earily dim. At street level Times Square was shuttered tightly to prevent any stray light. This would be something that my uncle would find when visiting exciting tension filled Manhattan. It seems at first New York City did not have a blackout but with Hitler's u-boats operating nigh off of Coney Island and Manhattan skyscrapers lit, enemy submarines could more easily target Allied ships that would thereby be silhouetted against them. It is reported that NYers would observe the flashes from the the u-boat wolf packs as they dispatched ships leaving the NY harbor.
Knowing the Danger & What Befell ManyAn account of u-boats that intercepted a convoy south of Greenland. On three successive nights the U-426 sank the ship ahead of the tanker that they had intentions on. The convoy's destroyer and corvettes went after the U-boats with depth charges, but the convoy being out of air support range, in the middle of the Atlantic and vulnerable; Hitler's wolf pack waited and with the sun up pinned the illusive tanker in its periscope and launced a torpedo. Hitting the tanker's bow where there was a muffled explosion followed by a towering pillar of smoke and flame that billowed up into the sky. The convoy's merchant ships removed themselves from the tanker as quickly as they could. to avoid the inferno. Nothing could be done for the stricken tanker. Oil bursting out bathing it in flames and her crew collected on deck, figures running back and forth, waving and yelling. Then in twos and threes leaping into the clearest patch they could find in the oil clogged sea. Good swimmers would pull out ahead of the flaming oil while others thrashing in their life jackets fell back. The U-pack would surface and U-589 sent a second torpedo into the inferno of the still-afloat tanker causing an explosion that shook the U-boats hulls. The tanker's crewmen swimming for their lives, were not so lucky. The burning oil spread faster than they could swim, One by one they were overtaken, licked by flames, and roasted. Even if they had escaped the flames they had only about twenty minutes to survive in such artic waters.
The wolf pack would dive when the British corvettes circled, dropping depth charges, and later U-426 with batteries low would surface several miles south of where she had done her dirty deed. A black ooze, inches thick broken in places due to wave action but for the most part a foul stinking blanket of at a least a mile is what they got to experience. Best not to mention the state of body parts that were bobbing up and down.
Canadian Merchant Navy AssociationFacts and misconceptions about a pseudo military service that needs to be explained.
Thanks to what I found on a Canadian seafarers web site, a descriptive account of what pertained respecting British Merchant Marine. It also includes Canadian issues.
In 1938 the British Merchant Marine employed over 190,000 seafarers. Of these, over 130,000 were British residents and 50,000 Indians and Chinese. There were relatively few women seafarers. Women were usually employed as stewardesses or children's nurses on passenger liners. Many lost their jobs when these ships were converted to war duties. Some, however, continued to go to sea throughout the war.
The fiercely independent multi-racial body of civilians who sailed under the Red Ensign of the Merchant Navy had a long history of poor pay and working conditions. Even so, in 1939 its members joined the front-line in Britain's struggle for survival.
Up to one third of the ships in British service during the war were owned by other countries. Many ships and seamen from Norway, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Holland, Poland, Russia, Yugoslavia and Free France joined after the Germans invaded their countries. Ships and crews were also often hired from neutral countries such as Sweden.
Merchant Navy ships delivered troops, ammunition, goods, tanks, clothing, boots, bombs, airplanes and their fuel, raw materials, and so on. Some of the Merchant Seamen were only 14 years old, while many were too old for the regular forces. Others joined the Merchant Navy instead of the regular forces and were accused of being draft dodgers. This was a myth. Look at the awful casualty statistics.
If a ship was sunk, the survival rate for the crew was only 50%. One in 7 mariners serving aboard merchant ships in WWII died in the line of duty. The merchant ships faced dangers from U-boats, mines, armed raiders and destroyers, aircraft, and the elements.
The casualty rate for civilian sailors Merchant Seamen was far higher than that of all the armed services combined. In the first two years of the war, merchant seaman deaths (attributed to enemy action) reached a staggering 25,000 mostly British but including Canadian sailors.
There are several other myths about the Merchant Navy: that they earned extravagant wages, that they did not follow strict discipline, that they had the freedom to quit, and so on. None of these are true.
The Merchant Marine in the UK were covered under the Pension (Navy, Army, Air Force and Mercantile Marine) Act right from the very beginning of the war. The Battle of the Atlantic was a battle for control over shipping in the Atlantic Ocean which lasted from September 1939 until May 1945.
During the second year of the war, enemy U-boats were very successful. They sank more ships than were built. On June 15, the Erik Boye, a 2238 gross ton vessel, was the first Canadian Merchant ship to go down as a casualty in The Battle of the Atlantic.
A Canadian Government statement acknowledged that "the Merchant Marine ...is...virtually an arm of our fighting services."
During 1942, there was an average of 33 Allied mercantile ships sunk each week. This was the most successful year in U-boat history with 1200-1600 Allied ships sunk.
Canadian Munitions and Supply Minister, C. D. Howe, forecast in the House of Commons that an all-Canadian Merchant fleet numbering over 200 ships would emerge after the war. A post-war Merchant Navy was seen by many as a source of employment and would be a real benefit to Canadian post-war commerce.
More than one million service men and women were demobilized and benefited in one way or another from the legislation under the Veterans Charter. Benefits were discussed in relation to the Merchant Seamen, but Lionel Chevrier, Minister of Transport, stated that "benefits should not be of a nature which would encourage Seamen to leave the industry at the end of the war to seek employment in other fields as the services of many skilled Seamen will be required if Canada is to maintain a Merchant Marine after the war."
With the war over, all of the Merchant Navy ships were stripped of their military equipment such as guns, ammunition, and so on. They were now to be used for peace-time trade and commerce. During the war, most of the merchant navy was owned by crown corporations like the Park Steamship Company, but after the war, ships were sold to private companies.
In Recognition of ContributionOn January 27, 1942 Winston Churchill would say:
"But for the Merchant Navy who bring food and munitions of war, Britain would be in a perilous state and indeed, without them, the Army, Navy and Air Force could not operate."
Ships and From/To Dates that Uncle Jeremiah Riney had sailed on
NAME OF SHIP Engage/Arr
Union Castle Line
Sep 12, 1916 Jan 22, 1917 Jun.W.O. Official Number 106908
GAIKA was built in 1897 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 6287, a length of 430ft, a beam of 52ft 2in and a service speed of 12.5 knots.
Uncle Jerry's maiden voyage, likely bound for Australia
LORD SEFTON Jan 26, 1917 Oct 20, 1919 Wireless Operator Official Number 124038
Built by A. McMillan & Son Ltd, Dumbarton, Scotland, 1906. 4,331 gross tons; 374 (bp)
feet long; 47 feet wide. Steam triple expansion engine, single screw. Service speed 11 knots.
Built for British owners, British flag, in 1906 and named Lord Sefton. Cardiff, Cuba to New York
cargo service. J. Herron & Co., Liverpool. Sold in 1922 and renamed Essex Abbey.
Scrapped at Bremerhaven in 1934.
Having survived the war she would later be used as a collier, army supply vessel, and coal and
foodstuffs transport for the British and Allied governments.
In 1922 she was sold for the small price of £2.400 to Meldrum and Swinson, who gave her the
name Essex Abbey.
Oct 22, 1919
Mar 19, 1920 1st W.O. Official Number 143084
Registered at London, Greater London , England
Propulsion Steam Schooner tonnage 4984
Date of Wreck 1920-10-30 Location Amet Island
Voyage from Miramichi, New Brunswick , Canada
Voyage to Pictou, Nova Scotia , Canada
White Star Line
Sep 23, 1920
N/A Passenger Jerry appears to have sailed to NY as a passenger - and seeing his British seaman's record of discharge
date of Mar 19, 1920 from "Clare Hugo Stinnes I" an almost four years skip until engaged on "DAYBEAM"
as of Sep 18, 1924. Perhaps he worked on American ships. I must check this out.
Capacity: 2,857 passengers originally; around 2,500 after a refit in 1927 For the 1872 White Star Liner,
see SS Celtic (1872). RMS Celtic was an ocean liner belonging to the
White Star Line. The first ship larger than the SS Great Eastern in gross tonnage,
she was the first of a quartet of ships over 20,000 tons, dubbed The Big Four.
Celtic was launched on 4 April 1901 from the Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast, and set off on her
maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York on 26 July.
At the beginning of the First World War, she was converted into an armed merchant cruiser, but
since she used up too much coal, she was converted into a troop ship in January 1916,
and used to carry soldiers to Egypt. She was put back on the transatlantic route in March.
In 1917, Celtic hit a mine off the Isle of Man. 17 people onboard were killed, but Celtic survived,
was towed to Peel Bay and repaired in Belfast. In March 1918, U-Boat UB-77 torpedoed Celtic
in the Irish Sea. 6 people onboard were killed, but again Celtic did not sink. She was towed to
Liverpool and repaired again.
The Celtic grounded on rocks off Cobh (Queenstown).Early on 10 December 1928, she struck the
Pollock Rock off Cobh. The Ballycotton Lifeboat, along with tugs, a destroyer and local
life-saving teams, rescued all on board. 7,000 tons of cargo were scattered.
She could not be moved or salvaged, and was declared a total loss. She was completely taken apart
for scrap by 1933.
PANAMOLGA Feb 16,1927 N/A Wireless Operator From Glasgow. United Fruit Co. SAN MATEO Oct 19,1927 N/A Wireless Operator San Mateo 1915 1942 commissioned as USS Delphinus, 1946 returned to UFC and scrapped. Tonnage 3,300
Signed on as Workaway - Sarto Barrios, GTM
USS Delphinus (AF-24) was built in 1915 as SS San Mateo by Workman Clark and Co., Ltd., Belfast, Ireland;
acquired by the U.S. Navy 11 August 1942; and commissioned the same day as San Mateo,
Lieutenant O. M. Mikkelsen, USNR, in command. She was assigned the name Delphinus on 22 August 1942.
World War II Pacific operations
Departing San Francisco, California, 12 September 1942, USS Delphinus arrived at Auckland, New Zealand,
4 October. She operated from this base until the end of 1945, carrying chilled and frozen provisions to
forward bases in the South Pacific and to the Society, Fiji, and Samoan Islands.
After calling at Manila in January 1946, USS Delphinus sailed for the west coast, arriving at
San Francisco, California, 23 February. For a brief period she carried cargo along the west coast and
to Pearl Harbor, then sailed to New Orleans, Louisiana.
MIRAFLORES NY Arr
N/A Wireless Operator Miraflores 1921 Atlantic Fruit Co, chartered to UFC, 1935 Standard Fruit Co, chartered to UFC, tonnage 2,158
went missing in WWII.
May 19, 1927, Thursday article
Champagne, whisky and rum, valued at more than $50,000, were found yesterday by Customs officers in an
auxiliary tank aboard the fruit ship Miraflores of the Atlantic Fruit Company at Pier 26, East River.
The Customs men were continuing their search late yesterday afternoon in the belief that they would find another
hidden tank conaining more liquors.
BASSA Feb 29, 1928 Jun 15, 1928 Wireless Operator Official Number 142341
Type: Steam merchant Tonnage 5.267 tons
Completed 1918 - Sir W.G. Armstrong, Whitworth & Co Ltd, Newcastle-upon-Tyne Owner Elder Dempster Lines Ltd, Liverpool Homeport Liverpool
Date of attack 29 Sep, 1940 Nationality: British
Fate Sunk by U-32 (Hans Jenisch) Complement 48 (48 dead - no survivors)
Convoy, Route Liverpool - New York Cargo Ballast
History Built as War Painter for Managers Cairns, Noble & Co, 1919 renamed Bassa
Notes on loss At 00.53 hours on 29 Sep, 1940, the unescorted Bassa (Master George Edward Anderson) was torpedoed and sunk by U-32 southwest of Rockall.
The master and 47 crew members were lost.
PACHECO Oct 13, 1928 Nov 08, 1928 Seaman Official Number 149654
Launched 1927: mv PACHECO
built by Harland & Wolff Ltd Govan, Yard No 743
Last Name: STAR OF MECCA (1961) Previous Names: ABQAIQ (1958)
Port of Registry: London Launched: Thursday, 10/11/1927
Ship Type: Cargo Vessel Tonnage: 1346 grt
Length: 270.1 feet Breadth: 39.1 feet
Owner History: MacAndrews & Co., Liverpool 1958 M.A.Bakhashab, Jeddah
Status: Wrecked - 06/07/1962 Remarks: Aground near Jeddah, total loss
RADNORSHIRE Nov 14, 1928 Feb 25, 1929 Seaman Official Number 143441
Radnorshire (2) 1919 ex- War Diamond, 1920 purchased from the Shipping Controller renamed Radnorshire,
1930 sold to Thomson SS Co., London renamed Sithonia. Tonnage 6,723
BARONESA Mar 12, 1929 Jun 2, 1929 Wireless Operator Official Number 140583
Upwey Grange Dunster Grange El Argentino Hardwicke Grange El Uruguayo 1912, 1937 scrapped. 8,361 tons
NEBRASKA Jun 28, 1928
Jun 29, 1929
Oct 07, 1928
Sep 29, 1929
Wireless Operator Official Number 144628
Seattle manifest shows Jerry arriving Aug 2, 1928 from Vancouver Canada
Type: Steam merchant Tonnage 8.261 tons
Completed Aug 1920 - Workman, Clark & Co Ltd, Belfast
Owner Royal Mail Lines Ltd, London Homeport London
Date of attack 8 Apr, 1944 Nationality: British
Fate Sunk by U-843 (Oskar Herwartz) Complement 68 (2 dead and 66 survivors).
Convoy OS-71 (dispersed) Route Taranto - Gibraltar - Buenos Aires
April from the convoy OS-71, was torpedoed and sunk by U-843 southwest of Ascension Island. Two crew members were lost. The master, 55 crew members, eight gunners and two stowaways were rescued. The boat of the master landed at Bahia, boat of the radio operator with 20 survivors landed at Recife on 22 April and the remaining survivors were picked up by the British merchant Kindat and landed at Freetown.
1944 torpedoed and sunk off Ascension Island.
SEA GLORY May 14, 1930 Aug 07, 1930 Wireless Operator Official Number 137752
ORINOCO UK Arr
Nov 20, 1930
N/A Wireless Operator Orinoco 1928 South America service, 1941 seized by Mexico, renamed Puebla.
NAVASOTA Dec 07, 1930 Mar 30, 1931 Wireless Operator Official Number 135702
Seattle Wash manifest shows Jerry's Jan 15, 1931 arrival there
Type: Steam merchant Tonnage 8.803 tons
Completed 1917 - Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd, Wallsend, Sunderland
Owner Royal Mail Lines Ltd, London Homeport London
Date of attack 5 Dec, 1939 Nationality: British
Fate Sunk by U-47 (GŁnther Prien) Complement 82 (37 dead and 45 survivors).
Convoy OB-46 Route Liverpool - Buenos Aires Cargo Ballast
Notes on loss At 14.40 hours on 5 Dec, 1939, the Navasota (Master Charles Joseph Goble) in convoy OB-46 was hit by one torpedo from U-47 and sank about 150 miles west of Bishop Rock. The master and 36 crew members were lost. 37 crew members were picked up by HMS Escapade (H 17) (Cdr H.R. Graham, RN) and eight crew members by the British steam merchant Clan Farquhar and landed at Capetown.
1939 torpedoed and sunk in North Atlantic; loss of 37 lives.
PRINCESA Apr 11, 1931 Jun 20, 1931 Wireless Operator Official Number 140585
London or Liverpool, Montevideo, Buenos Aires
Upwey Grange Dunster Grange El Argentino Hardwicke Grange
El Paraguayo La Rosarina El Uruguayo 1912, 1937 scrapped. 8,361 tons
CISCAR Jul 10, 1931 Aug 17, 1931 A.B. Official Number 143855
Type: Steam merchant Tonnage 1.809 tons
Completed 1919 - H. & C. Grayson Ltd, Garston, Liverpool
Owner MacAndrews & Co Ltd, London Homeport London
Date of attack 19 Aug, 1941 Nationality: British
Fate Sunk by U-201 (Adalbert Schnee)
Complement 48 (13 dead and 35 survivors). Convoy OG-71
Route Bristol - Gibraltar Cargo 1400 tons of general cargo and government stores
Notes on loss
At 04.06 hours on 19 Aug, 1941, U-201 fired a salvo of four torpedoes at the convoy OG-71 west-southwest of Fastnet Rock and observed two detonations on a tanker and two further detonations on two ships beyond her. Schnee claimed three ships sunk of 20.000 tons, but in fact the Ciscar and Aguila were sunk.
The master, 29 crew members and five gunners from the Ciscar (Master Edward Lenton Hughes) were picked up by the British merchant Petrel and landed at Lisbon. Nine crew members and four gunners were lost.
Four crew members from the Ciscar were later repatriated on the Cervantes, which was sunk by U-124 (Mohr) on 26 September. Three of them were lost.
CAMPEADOR Sep 05, 1931 Oct 09, 1931 Wireless Operator Official Number 109421
CHARGES ITALIANS SANK LOYALIST SHIP;
Captain of Tanker Campeador Tells French That Destroyer Torpedoed His Vessel
August 13, 1937, Friday
Captain Felix Gary of the Spanish Government tanker Campeador reported to French officials tonight his
vessel was torpedoed and sunk by the Italian destroyer Saetta. Twelve members of the tanker's crew were lost,
five of them dying when the first torpedo hit the engine room. Two other torpedoes struck the vessel
ATHELBEACH Oct 24, 1931 Jan 21, 1932 Wireless Operator Official Number 162330
Type: Motor tanker Tonnage 6.568 tons
Completed 1931 - Cammell Laird & Co Ltd, Birkenhead
Owner United Molasses Co Ltd, London Homeport Liverpool
Date of attack 7 Mar, 1941 Nationality: British Fate Sunk by U-99 (Otto Kretschmer) Complement 44 (7 dead and 37 survivors).
Convoy OB-293 Route Greenock - New York Cargo Ballast History Completed in March 1931
Notes on loss On 7 Mar, 1941, U-70 (Matz) attacked the convoy OB-293 southeast of Iceland, but was lost after a second attack at 07.25 hours. The survivors claimed that they had hit three ships in the first attack at 04.45 hours and another in the second. But in fact three ships were damaged: Athelbeach, Delilian and Mijdrecht.
At 06.40 hours on 7 March, U-99 torpedoed the already damaged Athelbeach (Master Malcolm McIntyre) and the crew abandoned ship. At 07.15 hours, the U-boat began to shell the tanker and sank her with a coup de gr‚ce 15 minutes later. The master and six crew members were lost. 37 crew members were picked up by HMS Camellia (K 31) (LtCdr A.E. Willmot, RNR) and landed at Greenock.
LOCH KATRINE Mar 16, 1932 Jun 18, 1932 Wireless Operator Official Number 146228
Type: Motor merchant Tonnage 9.419 tons
Completed 1922 - John Brown & Co Ltd, Clydebank Owner Royal Mail Lines Ltd, London Homeport London
Date of attack 3 Aug, 1942 Nationality: British
Fate Sunk by U-552 (Erich Topp) Complement 90 (9 dead and 81 survivors).
Convoy ON-115 Route Liverpool (23 Jul) - New York - Cargo Ballast
History Completed in January 1922
Notes on loss At 03.05 hours on 3 Aug, 1942, U-552 fired two torpedoes at the convoy ON-115 east of Cape Race and observed a hit aft on a tanker and at the bow of a freighter, both vessels stopped. The G.S. Walden was damaged and the Lochkatrine was sunk.
Eight crew members and one passenger from the Lochkatrine (Master Percy Cooper) were lost. The master, 55 crew members, eight gunners and 17 passengers were picked up by HMCS Hamilton (I 24) (LtCdr N.V. Clark, RCNR) and HMCS Agassiz (K 129) (A/LtCdr B.D.L. Johnson, RCNR) and landed at Halifax.
ERIN Jul 02, 1932 Aug 02, 1932 A.B. Official Number 161884
Erin 1932, 1934 purchased from Erin SS Co, UK, various charters
to Elders & Fyffes, 1939 under control of Ministry of War Transport,
UK, 1947 sold to Elders & Fyffes renamed Manistee. Tonnage 5,739
EL URUGUAYO Dec 15, 1932 Feb 24, 1933 Wireless Operator Official Number 132817
El Uruguayo 1912, 1937 scrapped. 8,361 tons
NARENTA Mar 03, 1933 Jul 19, 1933 A.B. Official Number 144349
NARENTA freighter 8265/1920 in 1933 & mid '30s
(1943 torpedoed) Narenta 1919 1939 sold to Japan,
renamed Kosei Maru. Tonnage 8,266
AVILA STAR Aug 12, 1933
Oct 14, 1933
Dec 11, 1933
Sep 28, 1933
Nov 30, 1933
Feb 01, 1934
Wireless Operator Official Number 149791
Type: Steam passenger ship Tonnage 14.443 tons
Completed 1927 - John Brown & Co Ltd, Clydebank
Owner Blue Star Line Ltd, London Homeport London
Date of attack 6 Jul, 1942 Nationality: British
Fate Sunk by U-201 (Adalbert Schnee) Complement 196 (84 dead and 112 survivors).
Convoy Route Buenos Aires - Freetown (28 Jun) - Liverpool
Cargo 5659 tons of frozen meat
History Completed in March 1927 as Avila, 1929 renamed Avila Star. 1935 lengthened.
Notes on loss At 00.36 hours on 6 Jul, 1942, the unescorted Avila Star (Master John Fisher) was hit on the starboard side by two G7e torpedoes from U-201 90 miles east of San Miguel, Azores. The ship had been chased since 5 hours and only sank capsizing to starboard one hour after being hit amidships by a coup de gr‚ce at 00.58 hours. A first coup de gr‚ce fired at 00.54 hours had been a dud. The master, 66 crew members and 17 passengers were lost, many of them died when the third torpedo detonated beneath a lifeboat that was being lowered and others were lost in another lifeboat that was never seen again. 93 crew members, six gunners and 13 passengers were rescued: The occupants of three lifeboats were picked up on 7/8 July by the Portuguese destroyer Lima (D 333) (Rodriguez) and taken to Ponta Delgada, Azores. Another lifeboat with 39 occupants was not located until 25 July, when 29 survivors were picked up by the Portuguese sloop Pedro Nunes (A 528) after being spotted by Portuguese aircraft two days earlier and landed at Lisbon the next day, but one of them died aboard and two others after reaching a hospital in Lisbon.
TOWER ABBEY Feb 22, 1934 Mar 14, 1934 Wireless Operator Official Number 143446
Built for Elder-Dempster Lines, British flag, in 1919 and named Bata. Liverpool to New York 1920 service. Sold to British owners, British flag, in 1934 and renamed
Tower Abbey. Tower Steamship Co. Sold to Additional Arrivals, in 1935 and renamed Willandra. Sold to Japanese owners, Japanese flag, in 1938 and renamed Uchide Maru. Taihei Kisen Line.
Torpedoed and sunk in 1944.
ARGENTINA NY Arr
Jul 15, 1935
N/A Wireless Operator Crew of all Greeks save for Uncle Jeremiah DISCOVEREE Oct 01, 1935 Oct 08, 1935 Wireless Operator Official Number 135528
MONTCLARE Soton Arr
Feb 16, 1936
N/A Wireless Operator History
On 18 August 1922 Montclare left Liverpool, on her maiden voyage, bound for Quebec and Montreal. Whilst heading for Greenock on 22 March 1931, she ran aground on Little Cumbrae with a number of passengers aboard. She was later refloated and was repaired in Liverpool.
On 28 August 1939 the Montclare was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an Armed Merchant Cruiser being commissioned as such in October 1939. On the 2 June 1942 she was sold to the Admiralty and converted to a Destroyer Depot Ship. Now HMS Montclare she was converted again, in 1944, to a Submarine Depot Ship and based at Rothesay with the 3rd Submarine flotilla.
In October 1954 HMS Montclare was decommissioned, being replaced as the 3rd Submarine Flotilla depot ship by HMS Adamant and laid up on the Gare Loch and then at Portsmouth.
In January 1958 she was sold for scrap to T.W. Ward at Inverkeithing. Arriving there on 2 February, the scrapping commenced the next day.
BURY HILL Jun 15, 1936 Dec 07, 1936 Wireless Operator Official Number 139622
Originally "Cardigan" Built by Richardson, Duck & Co Ltd, Thornaby, England, 1917. 5879 gross tons; 400 (bp)
feet long; 52 feet wide. Steam triple expansion engine, single screw. Service speed 10 knots.
Built for British owners, British flag, in 1917 and named Cardigan. London to New York 1920 service.
Jenkins Bros, owners, Cardiff. Sold to Additional Arrivals, in 1923 and renamed Pensylvanie.
Sold to Additional Arrivals, in 1934 and renamed Bury Hill. Wrecked in 1936.
ADDA Soton Arr
Jan 07, 1937
N/A Wireless Operator Type: Motor passenger ship Tonnage 7.816 tons
Completed 1922 - Harland & Wolff Ltd, Greenock
Owner Elder Dempster Lines Ltd, Liverpool Homeport Liverpool
Date of attack 8 Jun, 1941 Nationality: British
Fate Sunk by U-107 (GŁnter Hessler) Complement 425 (10 dead and 415 survivors).
Convoy OB-323 (dispersed)
Route Liverpool (17 May) - Freetown - Takoradi - Accra - Lagos
Cargo 613 tons of general cargo
History Laid down as Ancobra, completed in November 1922 as Adda.
Notes on loss At 04.42 hours on 8 Jun, 1941, the Adda (Master John Tate Marshall), the ship of the convoy commodore from the dispersed convoy OB-323, was hit aft by a G7a torpedo from U-107 and sank slowly 82 miles west-southwest of Freetown. The commodore (W.H. Kelly, CBE, DSO, RNR, RD), seven crew members and two passengers were lost. The master, 141 crew members, four gunners, five naval staff members and 264 passengers were picked up by HMS Cyclamen (K 83) (Lt H.N. Lawson, RNR) and landed at Freetown on 8 June.
Laurant Meeus 6429ton Belgium Ship launched 5607095 1930 LAURENT MEEUS 1933 Rotterdam DD 161 28.12.29 convoy 65 LAURENT MEEUS (Bel) Ballast Liverpool Curacao Convoy OB.305 Departed Liverpool Wednesday, April 2nd 1941 Dispersed Sunday, April 6th 1941 No. of vessels (Hague) 39 Actual number of vessels 39 + 10 did not sail Vessels lost from convoy
Depart Port Said on 11 December 1943. Arrive Gibraltar on 24 December 1943. Hague's records contain 63 merchants and 6 escorts
Blankaholm Type: Motor merchant Tonnage 2,845 tons
Completed 1930 - Eriksbergs Mekaniske Verkstads A/B, Gothenburg Owner A/B Svenska Amerika-Mexiko Linien, Gothenburg Homeport Gothenburg Date of attack 18 Aug 1942 Nationality: Swedish
Fate Sunk by U-553 ( Karl Thurmann)
Complement 28 (5 dead and 23 survivors). Convoy TAW-13 Route Port of Spain, Trinidad - Key West - Halifax Cargo 4339 tons of bauxite History Completed in May 1930
Notes on loss At 09.13 hours on 18 Aug, 1942, U-553 fired a spread of four bow torpedoes and one stern torpedo at the convoy TAW-13 about 95 miles west of Guantanamo Bay, observed three hits and reported three ships sunk. In fact, the Blankaholm was sunk by two torpedoes and the John Hancock by one.
FIDRA Mar 14, 1940
N/A Radio Oper.
Coming from Nuevitas Cuba
Sold to Finland 1927
Renamed Tambour Type: Steam merchant Tonnage 1.827 tons
Completed 1917 - Fredriksstad Mekaniske Verksted A/S, Fredriksstad Owner Alcoa SS Co, New York Homeport Panama
Date of attack 26 Sep, 1942 Nationality: Panaman
Fate Sunk by U-175 ( Heinrich Bruns)
Complement 32 (8 dead and 24 survivors).
Convoy Route Paramaribo - Trinidad Cargo 2585 tons of bauxite
History Built as Lisa Brodin, 1922 renamed Eidsfos and 1927 sold to Finland and renamed Fidra for Rederi-A/B Europa, Turku.
On 27 Dec, 1941, the Finnish Fidra was seized at St.Thomas, Virgin Islands by the US under an Executive Order and turned over to the US War Shipping Administration (WSA), which renamed the ship Tambour and assigned the Panamanian registered ship to the Alcoa SS Co under a Bareboat Charter on 9 Jan, 1942 and on 2 May on a GAA agreement at Claymont, Delaware.
Notes on loss At 12.25 hours on 26 Sep, 1942, the unescorted Tambour (Master Halfdan Morland) was hit on the starboard side between #3 and #4 hatches by one torpedo from U-175 and sank within one minute. The master and seven crew members were lost. 21 crew members and three armed guards had to abandon ship by jumping overboard and rescued themselves on rafts that floated free. The survivors were picked up the next day by the Norwegian motor merchant Thalatta and landed at Port of Spain on 28 September.
BERGENSFJIORD NY Arr.
Apr 15, 1940
N/A Wireless Operator of Oslo Norway, she had U-Boat exposure this voyage and was serving as a troopship as penned in a later letter by my uncle. POINT LOBOS
Aug 03, 1940
N/A Spelling of Reney
name changed from Ossining later Wagtail 1919 OSSINING, US Shipping Board, Tacoma.
1933 POINT LOBOS, Gulf Pacific Mail Line, San Francisco.
*MOWT Ministry of War Transport
New Name Empire Wagtail
Type: Steam merchant Tonnage 4.893 tons Completed 1919 - Todd Drydock & Construction Corp, Tacoma WA
Owner Smith, Hogg & Co Ltd, West Hartlepool Homeport London
Date of attack 28 Dec, 1942 Nationality: British
Sunk by U-260 ( Hubertus Purkhold)
Complement 39 (39 dead - no survivors) Convoy ONS-154 Route Cardiff - Belfast Lough - Halifax - Boston
Cargo 3857 tons of coal
History Built as American Ossining for US Shipping Board, Tacoma; 1933 renamed Point Lobos for
Gulf Pacific Mail Line, San Francisco. 1941 given to Britain and renamed Empire Wagtail by Ministry of War Transport (MoWT).
Notes on loss At 22.36 and 22.37 hours on 28 Dec, 1942, U-260 fired torpedoes at the convoy ONS-154 about 900 miles west of Cape Finisterre and reported one ship sunk with one torpedo, a second vessel sunk with three and a third ship damaged by one torpedo. However, the only ship hit at this time was the Empire Wagtail (Master Gabriel Almond). The master, 31 crew members and seven gunners were lost.
ALBION STAR Feb 19, 1941 May 27, 1941 Wireless Operator Official Number 143286
Jerry's recorded dates
SOBO Aug 12, 1941 Nov 30, 1941 Wireless Operator Official Number 164319
Jerry's recorded dates
NIKOLINA MATKOVIC Jul 18, 1942 N/A Jery Riney
Type: Motor merchant Tonnage 3.672 tons
Completed 1919 - Long Beach Shipbuilding Co, Long Beach CA Owner Brodarsko Poduzece Eugen Matkovic, Split Homeport Split
Date of attack 14 Oct, 1942 Nationality: Yugoslavian
Fate, Sunk by U-661 (Erich Lilienfeld) Complement 35 (14 dead and 21 survivors).
Convoy SC-104 Route Ciudad Trujillo - New York - Liverpool Cargo Sugar and lumber
History Completed in January 1919 as American steam merchant Magunkook, 1923 converted to motor merchant and renamed Carriso for Griffiths SS Co, Wilmington. 1937 sold to Yugoslavia and renamed Nikolina Matkovic for Brodarsko Poduzece Eugen Matkovic, Split.
Notes on loss About 00.50 hours on 14 Oct, 1942, the Nikolina Matkovic in convoy SC-104 was torpedoed and sunk by U-661, which was herself lost the next day.
THORSHOVDI Oct 04, 1942 N/A Wireless Operator NY manifest of Oct 4, 1942 shows Uncle Jerry having signed on to her in Halifax, NS on August 24, 1942 now discharged in NY. This appeared to be a common practice apparently because of his wireless operator ability and an English speaker. So much mystery surrounds my uncle and the luck that was his. In corresponding with MOWT Cardiff for his medals he described as how being discharged from the Vaalaren in NY she and all aboard would be lost. He knew evidentially that someone was watching over him perhaps the prayers of his blessed mother who lived to be 101.
refer to this site to determine what befell the Thorshovdi in time. http://warsailors.com/singleships/thorshovdi.html#crew
Nov 02, 1942
Dec 28, 1942
Feb 21, 1943
Mar 14, 1943
N/A Wireless Operator
Type: Motor merchant Tonnage 3.406 tons
Completed 1936 - Eriksbergs Mekaniske Verkstads A/B, Gothenburg
Owner Rederi-A/B Transatlantic, Gothenburg Homeport Gothenburg
Cargo 4915 tons of general cargo
Convoy HX-231 (romper) Route New York (25 Mar) - Swansea - Belfast Lough
Date of attack 5 Apr, 1943 Nationality: Swedish
Fate, Sunk by U-229 (Robert Schetelig - Complement 38 (38 dead - no survivors)
Notes on loss At 05.09 hours on 5 Apr, 1943, U-229 torpedoed and sank a single ship reported as a freighter of the Glenearn type. This must have been the Vaalaren, which had left the convoy HX-231 deliberately after the first U-boat attack during the night, together Blitar and Thomas Sumpter but only the latter arrived in the UK.
BRUNSWICK NY Arr
Jun 12, 1943
Jul 26, 1943
N/A Wireless Operator Puzzling birth years of Uncle Jerry's on manifest
BANADEROS Aug 18, 1943 Nov 06, 1943 Wireless Operator BA—ADEROS (1930) passenger capacity Built in Oslo 1930. The first of a series of modern fruit carriers,
Canary Islands - London
In Nov.-1942 some of the survivors from the torpedoed Dutch passenger vessel Zaandam embarked Ban„deros
in Sao Luiz and were transported to Belťm
Depart Boston on 24 September 1943.
Arrive Halifax on 26 September 1943.
BANADEROS (Nor) 2,728 1930 etc. etc.
.... WALTER JENNINGS (US) 9,564 1921
CONVOY FROM CAPE COD BAY
WEST KEENE (US) 5,600 1919
Depart Halifax on 9 September 1943.
Arrive Boston on 10 September 1943.
Hague's records contain 17 merchants and 0 escorts (13 ships TDS) .... etc etc listing of ships
Vessel Pdt. Tons Built Cargo Notes
BAJAMAR (Nor) 2,757 1931
BANADEROS (Nor) 2,728 1930
Depart Reykjavik on 28 October 1943.
Arrive Loch Ewe on 1 November 1943.
L.C.14 Apr 19,1945
Wireless Operator Official Number 165837
L.C.14 of 521 tonnage is a mystery. Having been previously discharged from the Banaderos on Nov 06,1943
and Uncle Jerry not have a sailing recorded until the "L.C.14" engagement of Apr 19,1945.
His not showing up on seaman's records or on ship manifests for the year 1944 bears exploring.
Nov 19, 1947 Jan 13, 1948 Steward Official Number 181572
Departed tanker at Brisbane as "DR" under "conduct" on seaman's card shows.
Email: Denis Riney