Daily Event for January 19

The loss of the anti-submarine trawler HMS Rosemonde seems to be less a mystery than story of confused
sources. The 364 ton trawler was built at Smith's Drydock Co. in Middlesbrough, England for a French owner.
She was homeported in Boulogne and changed hands at least once. It seems that the French navy took over the
Rosemonde and converted her into a minesweeper early in the war. She got out of France before the German invasion in May 1940 and was seized by the British at Southampton in July of that year.

She was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted into an anti-submarine trawler and used as an escort.
The HMS Rosemonde apparently operated in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean until her loss, what happened
to her is where the story gets confused.

Sources differ on who sank her and where she was sunk, even the exact date is in question. One version goes
like this, she was escorting two cargo ships en route to Alexandria, Egypt. The ships were expected to arrive in
the Azores on Jan. 19., when she failed to arrive as scheduled she was reported as missing. The merchant ships had not seen her since Jan. 15 when they were separated during a storm. The U-581 reported an attack against a corvette on Jan. 19, 1942 and claimed sinking it, it is thought that this was the Rosemonde, if this is true it was the only combat victory for the U-581, she was sunk on Feb. 2, 1942 southwest of the Azores.

The other version is that she was sunk by the U-203 near Cape Race on Jan. 22, 1942. In this version the
U-203 fires a spread of torpedoes and sinks an unidentified ship which was passing between the torpedo and the merchant ship which was the actual target.

These two versions are very much at odds with each other, if she sailed from New York, Halifax or Iceland
bound for Alexandria and was due in the Azores on the 19th it is impossible that she was sunk on the 22nd
near Cape Race. If the Jan. 22 date is correct than all the other information is wrong. So many years after the
war many different sources record this information. This demonstrates a problem with printed sources, once
they are in print they can't be changed and if the information is incorrect than every time it is copied or
referenced the error continues. Of course most of the time it is just that, an error. There have been cases of
deliberate misinformation when a vessel was involved in some devious activity that the government does not
want known, but this is not the case with the Rosemonde

Sometimes a ship's name causes the confusion, two ships with similar names get mixed up in different sources
and this further muddles the actual story. This does not seem to be the case here, so what is the cause. Well I
don't know for sure, my guess is that the original source was in error and that new research has come to light
about where the ship was and where she was going. Of course not all the other sources are aware of this or
were printed before the new research was discovered. My conclusion is that it is most likely that the HMS
Rosemonde, if torpedoed, was sunk by the U-581 on Jan. 19, 1942, however the accidental loss during the
storm on the 15th can not be ruled out.

Only the twenty-five men on board really know what happened, since none of them survived we will never

© 2008 Michael W. Pocock

Roll of Honour
In memory of those who lost their lives on HMS Rosemonde
"Heroes all of them"

Booth, Eldred
Stoker (RNPS)
Carter, George H.
Stoker 2nd Class (RNPS)
Cox, Thomas G.
Leading Steward (RNPS)
Cresswell, Lawrence S.
Seaman (RNPS)
Currie, Thomas W.
Seaman (RNPS)
Dungar, Ronald A. I.
Leading Seaman (RNPS)
Farquharson, Douglas
Engineman (RNPS)
Galteland, Kristian
Lieutenant (RNR)
Garven, John W.
Wireman (RN)
Ghest, William C.
Ordinary Telegraphist (RN)
Gooding, Ernest A.
Assistant Cook (RNPS)
Gray, John T.
Second Hand (RNPS)
Groves, Frederick J.
Seaman (RNPS)
Handy, Robert P.
Stoker (RNPS)
Head, George N.
Sub-Lieutenant (RNVR)
Hoole, Louis
Engineman (RNPS)
McWilten, John
Ordinary Signalman (RN)
Owen, Charles
Ordinary Seaman (RNPS)
Paton, George
Stoker 2nd Class (RNPS)
Pearson, Stanley R.
Seaman (RNPS)
Sims-Hilditch, Tom
Sub-Lieutenant (RNVR)
Somerfield, Eric T.
Seaman (RNPS)
Spouse, Robert
Seaman (RNPS)
Woodhouse, William
Engineman (RNPS)
Young, Leo J.
Ordinary Seaman (RNPS)

2005 Daily Event