Messages 125-149

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July 20, 2010

I appreciate your web site and also for keeping the memory of the 1% of US Naval personnel that were submariners!  My grandfather served on the USS Billfish on her 6, 7, 8th war patrols during the Pacific theater.  His name is Charlie Sissian, TM 3/C and I am very proud of him! Thank you to all our veterans then and now!

Karen Manna

May 30, 2010

I just wanted to thank you and your team for all the diligent work you do all year around, not just on this most important holiday.

Thanks again,

May 23, 2010

I encountered your extremely interesting site only today, but be sure it will be put on the top sites list of my pc. My warm congratulation for your great work!

Guido Antonaci
Belluno, Italy

May 8, 2010

I love your site.

Samuel Birtwell

Apr. 26, 2010

Can I say the site is just out of this world. I just can not put it into words to say how much work and time has gone into putting this site together.

Mr. Alan Poole
Tyne & Wear, England

Mar. 27, 2010

I came across your website as part of some research into my Martin family routes. An Alexander Bannerman Martin was lost on the H M S Viknor in 1915. I passed a few pleasant moments poking around your site looking to see what is there so far. In particular I was looking for some of the ships lost off Newfoundland that were particular disasters for the Newfoundland people. I could not find mention of the SS Newfoundland, the SS Southern Cross or the SS Florizel. The latter ship was captained by William Martin. I am researching to see if there is any family connection at the moment. The SS Stephano is also mentioned in the notes I sent you. My grandfather on mother's side used to take this ship to New York but was not on it for it's last voyage.

Geoff Martin,
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Mar. 13, 2010

This is a terrific web site. I'll look through all of the emails to see if I can find anyone connected to the Cromarty family. I am 3rd cousin once removed (3C1R) to Colin George Cromarty 3rd Officer SS Benvrackie (Leith) died 13/05/1941- descendants of the Bruce/Stewart/Cromarty families of Sarclet and Wick, Caithness, SCT.
My connection is to Grace Livingstone Stewart whose Mother Elizabeth Downie was my great great great Aunt.
The casualty details on Tower Hill Memorial are incorrect. I have been unable to trace CG's birth but his father died 1 November 1918 and is remembered on the Portsmouth War Memorial-details; IMO Engine Room Artificer George Neil Stewart Cromarty, DSM-1559/EA H.M. S/m "G7" RNR who died age 28 on 01 November 1918, son of Ben and Grace LS Cromarty 14 Hawthornbank Terrace, Leith, husband of Catherine Margaret Cromarty,
Native of Wick. Can a correction be made to CG's age, please? If you need confirmation of this I can have an email sent to you by another cousin in Melbourne,Vic, Aus.

Thank you
Carol Martin nee Bruc
Horsley, NSW, Australia

Feb. 13, 2010

I made dizzy heights of naval airman  3 badgeman. It wasn't what you were but who you were.  Joined 1964, demob 1976, faa. Did  HMS Ganges, HMS Seahawk, HMS Eagle 2 commissions did HMS Bulwark and a couple years landside at naval air stations Yeovilton and Lossiemouth. Would do it all again, good times and bad.

Regards to all I met and knew,
Len Pearton

Feb. 13, 2010

My father, Alan Lawrence Taylor, served on Benvrackie when it was hit and sunk in 1941.  Dad never spoke much about it but he was one of those rescued from the lifeboat in May, 1941.  I'd like to learn more about the incident if anyone can add more than what I learned from the World at War episode. 

Joyce Taylor Dawson
(See MaritimeQuest Daily Event May 13, 2009 and Benvrackie Builder's Data and Roll of Honour)

Reply 1
Aug. 16, 2010

I must say straight away that I am no researcher or historian but served in the RN 1943 - 1957 and have limited access to the Merchant Navy Book of Remembrance of World War II from which the extract below has been taken.


Dry Cargo of Leith. Capt W.E.R. Eyton-Jones.

Ben Line Steamers Ltd.

SS Benvrackie sailed on the 20th April 1941 from Loch Ewe (Scotland) on passage to Table Bay and Beira in convoy OB 312 with 5,500 ton general cargo. On 26th April convoy dispersed. 13th May 1941 torpedoed in No. 4 & 5 holds and sunk by German submarine U-105 in Atlantic, 630 miles SW of Freetown, 12 crew and 15 survivors from SS Lassell lost. Vessel sank in two minutes and only one lifeboat got away. 26th May 1941, 59 survivors rescued by British ship Oxfordshire after 14 days in lifeboat and landed at Freetown.

I trust this may be helpful to the enquirer.

Les Willis

Dec. 19, 2009

I am really just chucking a stone in the pond seeking information. I own an ex Royal Navy lightweight Land Rover, reg63 RN 68 circa 1975 and the E.M.L.R.A. members I have consulted suggest that by the reg number the vehicle almost certainly served at some time on an aircraft carrier. I write in the hope that you may be able to at least point me in the right direction. Thanks in anticipation.

Fred Greaves

Dec. 7, 2009

What can you tell me about the small German freighter ORESTES that left the small port of Saßnitz on the island of Rügen sometime in April 1945 (maybe May 45) and arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark in early May 1945 (around May 5th, 45).

I was one of the many German refugees on that freighter. The Orestes may have been the last ship to leave  Saßnitz and the last ship to  have been accepted by Denmark. The ship's captain had to negotiate in civilian clothes, for food for us, and for us to be allowed to enter Denmark.

I had typhus; many people on the Orestes died of typhus. People were also starving. My oldest brother told me that when we were allowed to land, he looked for food and stole and ate raw potatoes. I would like to know who that captain was? What became of him? I would like a description of the ship. Where did the Orestes come from prior to landing in  Saßnitz? Was there a list of passengers? How long did the voyage take?

If you do not have this information can you direct me to an appropriate Archive or other resource please?

Sieglinde Stieda
born in Stettin May 9th, 1942
(Presumably Red Cross) Number in Denmark  G 02 237 072

Now living in Mission, British Columbia, Canada

Dec. 4, 2009

Below please find all the information I have on my friends grandfather:
Captain William John Hughes, Moelfre, Anglesey
Joined Royal Naval Reserve August 1940 Sailed on :

1) Princes Margaret Rose.
2) HMS BARHEAD (Sept 1941) Flower Class Corvette, Leuitenant Commander? Iceland - Russian convoys.
3) 1942 - Scapa Flow,
Cape Trafalgar, Princess Margret Rose (again) Mine sweeping?
4) October 1945;
Sheerness, HMS Wildfire (Captain?) Mine sweeping (Thames).
5) January 1944;
HMS Laomedon, Leuitenant Commander? The Captain was Wilson. Bombay voyages.
Demobed November 2nd 1945.

It would be a fantastic gift to my friend if I was able with your kind assistance be able to add further information to his grandfathers records..

Regards and Best Wishes,
Mici Plwm, esq.

Nov. 21, 2009

A snippet of information. I am now 60 years old but as a boy of 15, I was in  the English Army Cadets, we had an annual camp at Leigh on Solent when USS Randolph put into Gosport (Near Portsmouth/Southampton, England). The practice in those years was to have an open day. Gosport having a reputation of being the home of ladies of ill repute, we were banned form seeing around the Randolph. Ignoring this order (guilty as charged) a number of us visited the Randolph and we were royal treated by the American sailors onboard. Cigarettes, as many as we could smoke plus food etc. The hospitality shown us was superb...all in all a brilliant day for us. If any surviving crew members read this well... thanks again!!!

Kind regards,
Peter Kirkham
P.S. Guilty as charged ment that a number of us had to peel potatos for the next regimental dinner. By hand !!!!

Nov. 16, 2009

I am trying to get in touch with CPO Shawn Taylor who I knew when I served on HMCS Saskatchewan. We went through Cornwallis together and were room mates at Nellie's block at CFB Esquimalt. I was saddened to see Huron go down.

Phil Staines
London, England

Sept. 2, 2009
Subject: World War II Monopoly

I realize this is a little "off topic" but I thought it might be of interest to visitors the this site.

In the Second World War, an increasing number of shot-down British airmen found themselves as the involuntary guests of the Third Reich, and the Military bosses were looking hard at ways and means to
facilitate their escape.

Now obviously, one of the most helpful aids is a map, showing the locations of 'safe houses' where a POW on-the-lam could go for food and shelter. Paper maps had some real drawbacks -- they make a lot of noise when you open and fold them, they wear out rapidly, and if they get wet, they turn into mush.

Someone in MI-5 got the idea of printing escape maps on silk. It's durable, can be scrunched-up into tiny wads, and unfolded as many times as needed, and makes no noise whatsoever. At that time, there was only one manufacturer in Great Britain that had perfected the technology of printing on silk, and that was John Waddington Ltd. When approached by the government, the firm was only too happy to do its bit for the war effort.

By pure coincidence, Waddington was also the U.K. Licensee for the popular board game, Monopoly. As it happened, 'games and pastimes' was a category of item qualified for insertion into 'CARE packages', dispatched by the International Red Cross to prisoners of war.

Under the strictest of secrecy, in a securely guarded and inaccessible old workshop on the grounds of Waddington's, a group of sworn-to-secrecy employees began mass-producing escape maps, keyed to each region of Germany or Italy where Allied POW camps were. When processed, these maps could be folded into such tiny dots that they would actually fit inside a Monopoly playing piece. While they were at it, the clever workmen at Waddington's also managed to add:
1. A playing token, containing a small magnetic compass.
2. A two-part metal file that could easily be screwed together.
3. Useful amounts of genuine high-denomination German, Italian, and French currency, hidden within the piles of Monopoly money!

British, Canadian and American air crews were advised, before taking off on their first mission, how to identify a 'rigged' Monopoly set -- by means of a tiny red dot, cleverly rigged to look like an ordinary printing glitch, located in the corner of the Free Parking square.

Of the estimated 35,000 Allied POWS who successfully escaped, one-third were aided in their flight by the rigged Monopoly sets. Everyone who did so was sworn to secrecy indefinitely, since the British Government might want to use this highly successful ruse in still another, future war.

The story wasn't de-classified until 2007, when the surviving craftsmen from Waddington's, as well as the firm itself, were finally honored in a public ceremony. (It's always nice when you can play that 'Get Out of Jail Free' card! )
-Author unknown

Sandra Meacock

Aug. 30, 2009

Great site, really enjoy all the pix's. I'm one of those Korean war vets.  US Navy Aug 1950-May1954. VR22 NAS Norfolk, USS Midway, USS Wasp, USS Wright (Operation Main brace- TBM convert to: Mail, personnel,etc. Sept 1953-May 1954 aboard USS DES MOINES CA134.

Keep up the good work,
Thank You,
Bob Niewoonder

July 15, 2009

I have been researching my Grandfather's navy career with Ellerman's/Hall Line since 1914. He was Frederick Emmerson. I managed with help to gain his service record and movement cards to enable me to claim the medals he did not manage to get in his lifetime. He spent a lifetime at sea, as so many did in those days, was torpedoed on the City of Bath and eventually retired as Chief Engineer in 1951. It has been fascinating getting to know someone through their records and fitting the stories that my father told me about their "adventures". I have still to find the second ship that he was torpedoed on... it could have been in between 1914- 1917 before he was posted to Mesopotamia in the Royal engineers Inland Water Transport. the Royal Engineers Museum is kindly delving into the information for me. You have a great site thank you and hope this may be of interest.

Kind Regards,
Kathleen Dobson

June 17, 2009

My father in law John Irvine served on the HMS Grey Goose 1942 to 1945. He is now 86 years young and very fit and well. He remembers a very good friend 'Spud' Murphy who was from Liverpool unfortunately after the war they lost contact. John (Johnny) lives in Belfast Northern Ireland and would love to hear any news of his fellow crew members of the HMS Grey Goose.


Reply 1
Jan. 20, 2010

My grandfather is Peter Desmond Murphy (variously called 'Spud' or 'Pat' Murphy). I know he was active in the Royal Navy and based in liverpool at this time. He was a bugle-boy at the D-Day landings, and would himself be in his mid eighties today were he still alive. Could this be the same? In case it is, I will tell you what became of him. He went on to join 41 Independent Commando and fought in various engagements, including the Chosin reservoir in Korea where he was captured. He was a POW for 3 years and repatriated, then moving with his wife to Australia to become a prison guard. He died in 1987 from various complications stemming from his poor treatment in the camp. I hope this is the right lead for your father in law. It would be good for me to know he served on the HMS Grey Goose, because I don't know much about his early life.

Simon Murphy

June 4, 2009

Just found your site today and wish I'd found it last year when I was painting 1/6000 scale merchant ships. I've added it to my book marks for future use. Thanks for posting all the great data.


June 1, 2009

Was looking up some info for a friend when I came across your treasure trove of information. Needless to say I found what I was looking for. Many thanks.

Matt Manzie
Plymouth, Devon, England

May 24, 2009

I have a brass ship's bell that my father gave to me in the mid 1960s. He got it from a friend in San Francisco who was in the shipping business. I would like to know if there is a way to get information of what ship it might have been on. It says on the inside - Greenberg, SF CAL The size is approximately: 13" tall by 18" wide. It is hanging from a brass fixture. Please let me know your thoughts ! Thank you !

Mara Hunter Redden

May 17, 2009

We regret to announce the death of one of our brothers. Paul Sartwell, 94, died of a heart attack on 6 May 2009 in Kerrville, Texas. Paul, who served in World War II in Okinawa and then in China, was in the Inchon landing in 1950. He was seriously wounded in the battle for Seoul and spent the remainder of the war in hospitals in Japan and Bremerton, Washington.

A member of the federal Bureau of Prisons, he retired as Warden of the prison in Milan, Michigan, and moved to Kerrville in 1990. According to his son Craig, he spent his final 21 months at the Kerrville Veterans Hospital. He was extremely proud of his time in the US Marine Corps and talked often about his life-long friendships in Dog Seven. 

Jim Rattray
Secretary, Dog Seven Association

Mar. 28, 2009

Very great job congratulations. Photographs are very interesting. I found information about a Russian DDG 650 and I have found what I wanted. Regarding the French Navy I am looking for photographs of a destroyer called "DUPERRE" D633 this is a T53 Class.

Best regards,
Patrick Lariviere

Mar. 13, 2009

What a great job! Your site is an extraordinary library of the sea, with amazing pictures. But I can't find some passenger ships ... What about Cunard's Berengaria (formerly built as Imperator)? And what about US Line's Leviathan (formerly built as Vaterland) and United States I found no datas about this large and quite famous liners.

Best Regards,
Régis Joly
Nyon, Switzerland

Reply: The answer to your question is an easy one, I do have photos of these and thousands of other ships,
but only one person (me) works on building the site and there are only so many hours in the day. Fear not
someday I will get to them.
Michael W. Pocock (webmaster)

Feb. 28, 2009

Amazing pictures! Absolutely stunning. What a great work of history. Keep up the good work. Wishing you well.

Holly Stewart
Hudson, Indiana

Messages 125-149