WhiteStarLine Posted 24 November , 2011 Share Posted 24 November , 2011 I'm researching AIF Convoy 31, which was escorted into Plymouth on 19th July 1917. According to a very detailed diary kept by Private William Bowler, AIF, on the 18th, a submarine surfaced between HMAT Shropshire and NZ38 Tofua. 10th and 11th July were fine days, weather getting cooler. One man started a betting book on whether the ships would get torpedoed or not. Betting 3 to I "Shropshire", 4 to 1 "Tofua", 6 to 1 "Benalla", "Ascanius", "Marathon", 10 to 1 "Turakina". Our ship was the favourite for the sinking stakes, she was the largest of the Convoy, and therefore the U boats would know that she would have the largest number of men aboard, and most cargo. The Bookmaker lost. On the 17th, six British destroyers arrived and surrounded the convoy. He wrote: They are all numbered on the bow, and appear to be of the latest class. We could see 85, 56, 48, 62, and 27. On the 18th at 3 p,m, a submarine bobbed up between us and the "Tofua". The N. Zealander let fly with her stern gun, and T.P.D. No 56 turned in her own length, and raced straight at it, doing over 40 knots, and firing her Bow gun. The second shot knocked the top off the Conning tower, and the sub sank. The destroyer circled round the spot for a while, and then signalled to the Convoy to resume zigzagging. When the Sub was first sighted, the starboard convoy turned to Starboard and raced off at 17 knots, we turned to port and did likewise. We don't wonder at the German fleet running away from the British Navy, because we only saw two units using their guns I anger and going at full speed, and if they had been coming at us like that, we would have hopped it and beaten all records over any distance. Soon after we had resumed our stations, we passed floating hatches and wreckage of all kinds. We sighted a floating Lifeboat, and a Destroyer went over and had a look at it. The T.B.D.'s are wonderful little craft, and as handy as a Motor Boat. They are as inquisitive as a monkey, and run about like a dog let off the chain. One minute they will be doing 5 knots, and the next 25, or if they are in a hurry 46 knots. Every diary entry I have been able to cross-check against HMAT Benalla's Officer of the Watch log, the Ascanius record of a death at sea and my grandfather's service record / photographs of Durban, Cape Town, Freetowwn and Plymouth accords with his entries. At midday on the 18th July 1917 the convoy was at latitude 47 degrees 50' longitude 7 12', the second last point on the image. The photo of H48 was taken on the morning on the 19th July. However, there is no record on uboat.net for the day in question, so does anyone have further information on this? Also, what is a T.B.D.? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Create an account or sign in to comment
You need to be a member in order to leave a comment
Create an account
Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!Register a new account
Already have an account? Sign in here.Sign In Now