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The sea was his grave

The sea was his grave

My Great Grandmother's second son who was lost along with 32 of his crew on the 1st. of March 1941 while in command of the cargo steamer Effna of 6500 tons.Loaded up in Baltimore with a cargo of steel and trucks they sailed to Halifax where they joined the Liverpool bound convoy HX 109.Bad weather separated them from the convoy and they were torpedoed by U 108 only two days from home.

    Oct 23 2008 07:57 AM
    the boys like this on boats that carried the deadweight cargo`s stood no chance. as soon as they were torpedoed the boat left them like a stone-most of the time before they could get the life boats away from the davit tackles-as equally a dangerous cargo as  petrol-these men were the unsung and real hero`s of ww2- that fought in the hardest and most drawn out battle of ww2- the battle of the atlantic-that lasted from the first day of the war to the last day. often britain teetered on the brink of loosing through the u boats strangling the supply line and it was only the supreme bravery of the merchant men that often sailed on top of near suicidal cargos that ultimately swung the war-a very poignant picture of one of many as para handy would say-brutains hardy sons.

    Oct 23 2008 09:26 AM
    "EFFNA"-built 1919 skinner and eddy corp, seattle, washington.

    owned by-campbell brothers and company,newcastle, tyne and weir.

    operated under ministry of war transport (MOWT)

    sank while travelling unescorted N61.30 W15.45.

    U108- launched by ag wesser,bremen. (11 patrols)

    scuttled 1945.

    commander;-korvettenkapitan klaus scholtz 2flottille. (died 1981)

    young ronnie
    Oct 23 2008 11:11 AM
    Thanks for that bit of information Frank,much obliged.I suppose Great Granny got off lightly compared to some poor mothers as she had seven sons and two daughters in the Services and got them all back bar one.Many a family paid a far higher price than ours.God rest them each and every one,their sacrifice was not in vain.
    My late Dad served in the Glenstrae in WW2, mostly on the Australian multi-port service and Atlantic route to New York. Launched 1920 but not delivered until 1922 due to a shortage of materials. Built by Harland & Wolf Glasgow at Govan. 9640 grt. She hit the dock wall in Gladstone Dock, Liverpool, in 1952 and was scrapped at Briton Ferry the same year. 12.5 knots is quoted as her service speed but made probably half that in convoy!
    He also served on ss Bloomfield, ex Empire Marvell, a tanker carrying petrol. Sunderland built in 1942 9812 grt, scrapped in Vigo 1961.
    The crew always slept with internal doors open in case of torpedo attack when in convoy but he said it was just superstition. No hope of getting out. Brave, brave men indeed.

    Oct 23 2008 04:39 PM
    just in reply to the family loss ronnie-just had the old lad in and questioned him properly about this story-he was in shetland at the gutting and they were sent down to aultbea in loch ewe-i managed to figure out the year as 1953 through google as he said it was the year hms vanguard came in. anyway there was a wee admiralty mfv there that used now and again run to stornoway with supplies and they got to know her skipper quite well (he used feed them-everything was still rationed!) one day the old fella innocently commented about the nice handy job he had-when he heard the cost he was sorry he asked.
      he came from a family of five all brothers all in the services and his brothers were all killed-he was pulled out of the service he was in to spare his mother and was put as far away from the fighting as possible. one of the original saving private ryan storys.

    young ronnie
    Oct 23 2008 05:47 PM
    Aye,you can only heap so much grief on a family Frank. On a lighter note,My Great Granny named him after her brother Robert Penney who was later killed in the First War,and I have the same names as my middle names (Ronnie was my old man's name).I didn't fancy going to war myself,given the track record of the "Robert Penney"...not a good omen lol

    Oct 23 2008 06:17 PM
    a wee story from here with a happy ending- was an old lad here who has now passed away-lived not far from the graveyard where the servicemen were buried called andy mc gonagle-he was an irish guard in the B.E.F. he volunteered to be left behind to provide the cover at dunkirk for the rest of the B.E.F. they were to try and slow down the advance of the wermacht and buy time from the attack-that luckily enough never came. anyway he was captured by an ss panzer division and became a pow.
      for two years he was missing in action and given up as dead till one day in the post office in kincasslagh a red cross telegram came in informing his next of kin he was a prisoner and alive- the postman got that excited with the news that he forgot his bicycle and ran the three mile to the house with the good news!-by volunteering to be left behind probably saved his life as he spent the war safe in a pow camp

    young ronnie
    Oct 23 2008 06:28 PM
    Lucky lad indeed,or as lucky as you could be after being banged up for five years.I would imagine the happiness in that household would be great when he walked back in the door. Out of all the heartache comes a moment of joy.The expression "fighting for peace" must rank among the most contradictory of them all when you think about it.

    quiet waters
    Nov 28 2008 12:24 AM
    those are the stories you never hear about, when i was a kid the couple who lived next door to my grany used to babysit for us, the gentleman of the house had been the same, he was in a tank crew who were captured at dunkirk and sent to a pow camp, he escaped but was recaptured, he escaped again along with several other lads who came from CN, he was originally from helensburgh or somewhere? they hid under a bridge for six days because there was a guard on it and they were afraid to move in case they got spotted, in the end he volunteered and sneaked up onto the bridge at night and strangled the guard with his bare hands, he was eventually captured and spent the rest of the war in colditz, a quieter man you would never meet, a real old skool gentleman, i can recall the horror of new years eve 1969 in our house when he collapsed with a heart attack, the house full of fishermen, cecil finn, billy wareham, davie leggie the next door neighbour bill stewart and cubby galbraith among others, i was only seven and thought he was just drunk like the rest, til the ambulance arrived, luckily he lived another thirty years almost, his son iain is the fishsalesman in lochinver having previously been a bank manager, one of his grandsons is sean lamont the rugby player.