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Remembered Today:

HT LEASOWE CASTLE


nicktamarensis
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Hello,

In researching further info on the war dead of my local village (North Hill, Cornwall) I have found one serviceman (Claude SNELL, (34)14693.Corporal RE) who was lost without trace after the sinking of this vessel off Alexandria on 27 May 1918. I would appreciate any info on the ship, the circumstances and the rescue operations if possible.

Many, many thanks in advance.

Nick Deacon.

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Nick,

There have been several threads on this topic, if you put Leasowe Castle in the search facility box you will get plenty of info.

Terry

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Hi Nick,

the ship was an armed troop transport. UB 51 (Krafft) launched two torpedoes of which one struck the ship after running 4,500 metres!!! This was a lucky shot indeed. The ship went down abt. 90 minutes after the hit. 92 of 2,900 soldiers for the Flanders front and 9 crew fell victim to this sinking.

Best wishes,

Simon S.

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  • 4 years later...

Postcards of the ship and rafts full of survivors.....from my husband's photo collection of his service in the Warwicks Yeomanry 1917-18, Palestine campaign

AG Hanson - HMS Leasowe Castle transport ship 1917.jpg

AG Hanson - Lifeboats from torpedoed ship, HMS Leasowe Castle - 27 May 2018.jpg

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  • 4 years later...

To Nick Deacon. Need info on Claude Snell as does not show on casualties list at the moment. Please supply his regiment if possible. I am compiling full list. Much info to share in return. Thanks 

can contact John Creedy on LinkedIn. 

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31 minutes ago, JCCambridge said:

Please supply his regiment if possible. 

OP states Royal Engineers (Corporal Claude Snell 14693).

MB

https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/1439113/claude-snell/

Edited by KizmeRD
CWGC ref.
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Thanks so much...so fasssst! I am compiling full details of Leasowe Castle casualties for a project...I have to date a total of 99 names including ship's company with Captain E J Holl (and now with Claude Snell) and I am aware of some more as yet unnamed, perhaps 3 or 4 maybe more. Trying to discover them. Some RAF apparently but Snell comes out of the blue to all my military archive sources, so thanks for this. Any help welcome.

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To KizmeRD...Is there a way to generate a list of all CWGC records for a specific date like 27th May 1918 Chatby Memorial Egypt? Then can cross check maybe? Thanks again.

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  • Admin

Thanks so mich Michelle. Are you with CWGC or just able to guide me. This has saved loads of time and effort. Brilliant. J

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  • Admin

No connection to the CWGC, I’ve just searched this way a few times. 
Michelle 

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This lists just military casualties due to my description. Is there a way to include the merchant marine crew of the Leasowe Castle casualties? There are at least 8 including Captain Edward John Holl. Same day. Same event. Thanks for your help. J

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That’s a fantastic link. Thanks so much. 
I want to follow up Captain Holl’s history and find he was Master of HMHS Gloucester in 1917 when he beached her on IOW following torpedo attack by submarine. On that occasion he saved over 600 casualties with loss of just 3 persons and was awarded the DSC in recognition. 
I have some information on this but would value more including maybe the Admiralty Enquiry. Can anyone help me here. 
Thanks to you all for extremely helpful and productive engagement. John 

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Was there likely to have existed a passenger list for Leasowe Castle on its troopship activities? That would be amazing to find. Especially on that fateful trip in May 1918. Thanks for any input. John

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Question for wightspirit …

are you familiar with torpedoing of HMHS Gloucester in 1917? Of so I am keen to discover as much about this as possible. Thanks. John

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1 hour ago, JCCambridge said:

are you familiar with torpedoing of HMHS Gloucester in 1917

 

John - best avoid mixing up the name of the ship that you are interested in.

GLOUCESTER CASTLE was the hospital ship

GLOUCESTER was a light cruiser

MB

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You are completely correct...I just forgot to type in the word "Castle"...I DO mean HMHS Gloucester Castle...thanks.

It gets even more interesting when I discovered that Edward Holl (born 1868) was 18 year old apprentice on the Dunnottar Castle in 1886 and adrift in an open boat for 58 days after foundering on a desert atoll in the Pacific. Survived to work way up to Master in Union Castle Line and Master of several ships including both above ships when torpedoed in 1917 and 1918, finally losing his life in 1918 when he went down with his ship (aged 50, not 58 as stated elsewhere) after saving about 3000 troops. Makes fascinating reading and is the subject of my efforts to research details.

Do you or anyone have more on the torpedoing of the HMHS Gloucester Castle? That would really be very helpful. I am happy to share the results of my findings.

Thanks so much for your input. JC

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These are links to The National Archives holdings for the Hospital Ship Gloucester Castle:

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_p=1900&_q="Gloucester+Castle"+"hospital+ship"

NB HS is a better abbreviation than HMHS, as she wasn't commissioned into the Royal Navy.

Torpedoing: https://uboat.net/wwi/ships_hit/2552.html

Regards

sJ

 

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Thanks for this link and also the corrected ship’s title.
 

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1030009390

I took my own HMHS from the iwm website see here and others who refer to her being commissioned as a Hospital Ship in 1914 and subsequently referred to as HMHS. 
It is important to get this confirmed if possible. Are you sure she was not HMHS?  
I try to be absolutely correct on such details but I am learning myself and new to such detailed research. I try to piece together a remarkable story and need all the help I can get. So thanks again. 
Please help if you can. John

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29 minutes ago, JCCambridge said:

Are you sure she was not HMHS?  

99.9% certain: 1. she was taken up from trade 2. She was carrying Army Medical Service staff, not RN Medical Service 3. The Journal of the RNMS consistently uses Hospital Ship for hospital ships in use by the RN.

It's one of those things where a usage has escaped into the wild and been dispersed to the point where the original cannot now be identified.

(I hope @horatio2agrees with me, but there remains the possibility that I'm wrong.)

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JCCambridge. The relevant documents for the Gloucester Castle covering the date she was damaged, held in the UK National Archives, are as follows:

ADM137/1293. English Channel, German Submarines.

ADM137/3984. Enemy Submarines; Particulars of attacks on Merchant Vessels.

ADM137/595. Auxiliary Patrol Weekly Reports.

ADM137/393. Home Waters Telegrams.

ADM53/34973. Log of HMS Beaver.

 

Dave W

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To the best of my knowledge there were no hospital ships  commissioned into the Royal Navy in WW1, so none meriting the prefix "His Majesty's ..." The HMHS prefix, if it means anything, is best rendered as "Hired Military Hospital Ship".

Ditmarr and Colledge list fifteen naval-manned hospital ships with the Footnote "BERBICE was the only vessel of this group [Hospital Ships - Hired Vessels] to fly the Blue Ensign (from 1919) [i.e. as a Royal Fleet Auxiliary]. All others were Red Ensign naval hospital ships."

Edited by horatio2
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Just to throw another spanner in the works - examination of the war diary of the hospital ship Gloucester Castle reveals the wording ‘H.M. Ambulance Transport Gloucester Castle’ in official usage. This is the exact wording as written next to the RAMC troop commander’s signature, and its also how the ship is referred to in all correspondence with the war office (As h2 says, she was never a commissioned Royal Navy vessel). The ship’s rubber stamp also simply states Ambulance Transport ‘Gloucester Castle’.

Its possible that TNA has been responsible for the common mis-accreditation of all hospital ships as ‘HMHS’ - as that appears to be the general acronym that they've been using for archiving all hospital ship papers.

MB

Edited by KizmeRD
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On 03/03/2016 at 15:15, Old Cove said:

A recent thread about the correct prefix for hospital ships ventured into some interesting byways which included debate about the ensign flown by hospital ships. It was pointed out that hospital ships were not commissioned into the Royal Navy and therefore would not have flown the white ensign, and that all warrants to fly the plain blue ensign were cancelled in August 1914, so the choice was between the red ensign and a blue ensign defaced with a horizontal anchor, sometimes known as the Admiralty Ensign. For anyone interested in this debate, I have just come across a 1917 HMSO pamphlet entitled 'Correspondence with the German Government regarding the Alleged Misuse of British Hospital Ships' which, as well as being an interesting read, seems to resolve the ensign question.

The pamphlet contains memoranda from the German Government (delivered via United States embassies) documenting the allegations of misuse and advising Britain that it intends as a consequence to treat as belligerent any hospital ship encountered in the southern North Sea, the English Channel and parts of the Mediterranean. The pamphlet also contains the British Government's detailed rebuttals to each of the allegations. One of these contains the sentence (p 12), 'All British hospital ships have their names painted distinctly on them in the usual place, and all fly the Red Cross flag and the British defaced Blue Ensign worn by transports.' This seems both authoritative and definitive - at least to me! The pamphlet can be downloaded from the Internet Archive here.

 

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