Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

kenora

SS Transylvania

Recommended Posts

Stuart T

I understand that two or three families may be represented in Savona on 4 May.  Meanwhile, an interesting point has come up.  Was the ship sailing for Alexandria as Wikipedia says and as is intimated above or was she bound for the "Salonika" Theatre as per CWGC main page on Savona Town Cemetery?

http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/70401/SAVONA TOWN CEMETERY

 

Or maybe Alex was en route to Salonika?  Any ideas?  TNA has no log books for this vessel to check previous trips.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David Porter
1 hour ago, Stuart T said:

Was the ship sailing for Alexandria as Wikipedia says and as is intimated above or was she bound for the "Salonika"

 

It was sailing to Egypt

Transylvania-May-3rd-1917.jpg.01f2512f541a38fe81dcd2f77a798da1.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Stuart T

Thanks.  What is that document and where may it be viewed, please?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David Porter
3 hours ago, Stuart T said:

What is that document and where may it be viewed, please?

 

National Archives Series WO25 - EMBARKATION RETURNS

File details are: WO25/3563 - Between Stations Abroad - April to June 1917

Returns are bound in approximate date order.

It is not available as a download but you can PM me your email if you want the full picture I took.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Stuart T

PM'd with thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Banstead100

Private William Gudgion, M2/181153, 906th M.T. Company, will be remembered today at All Saints, Banstead, Surrey, on the centenary of the sinking of the Transylvania. A memorial service will be held during which a bell will be tolled 100 times at noon. Private Gudgion is commemorated on the Savona Memorial, the Silsoe War Mememorial (in Bedfordshire), on the Roll of Honour board in St James the Great, Silsoe, and also on memorial panels at All Saints, Banstead, and St Mary's, Burgh Heath, on the Roll of Honour scroll in the Burgh Heath War Memorial Hall and in the All Saints Book of Men Who Served Oversea, 1914-18.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Banstead100

Transcript of the poem The Loss of the Transylvania by George Mabbott, 906th M.T. Company, a scanned image of which was posted earlier in the thread by surfer:

 

Farewell! Farewell! Most noble ship

The last great voyage is o’er;

No more to brave the stormy deep,

No more to reach the shore.

Proud were we all to sail with thee,

Thy future quite unknown,

For little did we dream, alas!

Thy last whole day had flown.

 

We listened to thy siren blow

Before we left the quay;

We heard with pride thy engines throb

As we put out to sea.

And then we looked aloft and saw

The flag we love so dear;

The grand old banner of the free,

And gave a ringing cheer.

 

We little thought that night thy last

To plough the mighty deep;

Four thousand souls aboard of thee,

Rocked in a peaceful sleep.

At four o’clock we came on deck,

Before the daylight’s dawn,

And watched with awe the red sun rise

O’er snowcapped hills at morn.

 

‘Twas truly like some fairy land

That glorious South French coast,

No wonder that its beauties are

A Frenchman’s pride and boast.

And then we viewed the mammoth hills

Of Sunny Italy;

And equal rapture filled each heart,

As we beheld the scene.

 

But suddenly this scene was changed,

Each man was on parade,

A mad torpedo onward dashed,

Its course too well was made.

A great explosion told the tale,

Our giant ship was hit,

It’s adamantine heart was pierced,

It’s vital part was split.

 

Oft hast thou sailed these waters blue,

Oh great leviathan;

Oft hast thou baffled lurking foes,

And scorned their hellish plan.

But now alas, thy race is run,

Yet what a grand display,

For foemen’s eyes beheld each man

Stand fast his part to play.

 

Up rose a shout, what did it mean?

The women all were saved;

Two boats, filled with sisters true,

Launched, and good-byes were waved.

And now as though to make quite sure

This rescue work should slip,

A second torpedo plunged along,

And struck the sinking ship.

 

And yet their gallant work went on

Without a moment’s lapse;

Alongside came Destroyer boats

Manned by the noble Japs.

And quickly too they did their work;

And mighty well we know;

They saved one half we had aboard,

Just as the ship sank low.

 

But now the submarines were spied,

Out blazed our good ship’s gun;

Up rose a thousand lusty cheers,

We saw its work well done.

All honour to the captain brave,

And to the gunners true.
Who faithful to the end upheld

The old Red, White and Blue.

 

Adieu! Adieu! thou palace grand,

Thy part has well been played;

And in Genoa’s Gulf we leave

Thy forin for ever laid.

Old England mourns the loss of those

Who’ve gone below with thee;

They’ve done their work, their fight is o’er,

Their grave the deep blue sea.

 

Why swallow such, thou cruel sea,

Their lives were precious still;

And many, many hearts and homes

With bitter tears will fill.

The vacant chair will rent the heart,

The home once rich, now poor,

With grief will fill for those who’ve gone,

The Brave that are no more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Marco  Cazzulo

Hi, I am writing from Genoa (Italy), I send you a few picture of old local newspaper. Sorry it's in italian.

1) Newspaper of Genoa "Il Lavoro" 9 may 1917

2) Newspaper of Genoa "Il Lavoro" 9 may 1917

3) Newspaper of Genoa "Il Lavoro" 13 may 1917

1917 mag 9 Transylvania (2).jpg

1917 mag 9 Transylvania (3).jpg

1917 mag 13 Transylvania (2).jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Marco  Cazzulo
Stuart T

Grazie, Marco; tante grazie!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BernardineM

Hi  I am getting a book on the  SS Transylvania translated from Italian into English hopefully by the end of the year. I am wondering how to get a list of all who were on board that day as a way of connecting with their relatives. I was at the commemoration last week and feel there are so many levels to this tragic event and was especially moved by the effect it has had on the local community who buried our dead. My Great Uncle Bernard J Mc Manus a Royal Engineer is buried in Savona and his grave has been very beautifully cared for all these years Bernardine Mc Manus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Banstead100

Translations of the articles Marco posted (Grazie!) per Google Translate with a little bit of tidying up. 

 

First Article (Il Lavoro, 9th May 1917):

 

For English guests - the local Citizen publishes the manifesto of greeting from the Mayor to the English departing troops:
"This city who has so much worried about you and has suffered so much of your misfortune, greet you.
We will be with you against the common enemy so that victory that goes with your worth and the heroic gestures that the allied weapons do for the triumph of civilization.
Savona May 7, 1917.

The Mayor: ing. Flaminio Becchi"


In honor of our guests yesterday took place at Wanda theater, packed with audiences, a great gala evening.
The hymns [probably anthems] of the allied nations were scattered on their heads with the bliss of enthusiasm.

 

The Wanda starts next Thursday for a ...[article ends]

 

Second article (Il Lavoro, 9th May 1917):

 

Savonese Courier
10 - To our friend G.B. Varaldo promoted these days from sub-lieutenant to lieutenant pharmacist, our congratulations and our wishes greeting.
Manifestation in honor of English guests - The Savonese citizenship greeted with an impressive manifestation of affection and sympathy, the survivors of Transylvania at their departure. We have witnessed moving and enthusiastic scenes that demonstrate the sense of exquisite hospitality of our population, and which will undoubtedly serve to make the friendship with our Allies felt.

 

Third article (Il Lavoro, 13th May 1917):

 

The fraternal hospitality of Savona to the English survivors of the Transylvania.

 

It is believe today's censorship allow us to point out the truly enthusiastic welcome of our citizenship to the British troops who are survivors the great military transport Transylvania.

 

There were four days of unforgettable manifestations of happiness. The whole populace ran to give comfort to the survivors of the great Allied nation. And there were, through the streets of Savona, British soldiers and officers on the arm or alongside Italian soldiers and officers. Our best families offered hospitality in their villas or homes to the survivors and the British ladies of the Red Cross, even though they miraculously escaped the wreck.

 

In groups, the British troops set off aboard special trains for Marseilles: more than 20,000 people came to the station to offer them florists and cigars and acclaim them, while the 41st Infantry Band performed, among the greatest enthusiasm, hymns [probably anthems] of allied nations. The British, with flags and trinkets, exclaimed to Italy a most enthusiastic "Hurra". Our mayor, Flaminio Becchi, wrote a manifesto in English and Italian, with which guests welcomed the guests: "This city, which has so much worried about you and so suffers from your misfortune, greet you."

 

Another manifesto the mayor addressed to the Savonese:
"Citizens,
There is not one among you who has not lent his ear to a need, soothing a pain. Those who are dear to tradition, to the covenant, sacred to the wretched, also the most gentle feeling of gratitude: here remains the confession of duty accomplished in the name of friendship and humanity. He does not ignore it, because three thousand and more generous voices go to him without end, but I remember him because so much and the desire of the brave who drives the valiant brothers and sisters in the name of their most noble nation.

 

I have never felt so proud of my office and my land as at this time, where, gathered on your work and thankful guests. I read the fortunes of the peoples all who fight and suffer for the same great ideal of justice and civilization."

 

And the commander, the troops and officers of the crew published these acts of thanksgiving:

 

"Mayor of Savona,
On behalf of the survivors of British military transport
Transylvania, I am honored to show to the inhabitants of your beautiful city of Savona the deepest gratitude for the generous hospitality with which the officers and men under my command were welcomed.

 

The kindness that you demonstrated with such prodigality and graceful ways has made us lose all the anxiety we have suffered.

 

To our dead you have demonstrated the highest level of respect and moved us deeply and this has consolidated more strongly the ties to the relationships that exist between our two nations.

 

Our efforts are combined to break down the common enemy and Italy, and especially the pretty city of Savona, can succeed in the glorious ideals that have always been their intent.

 

Savona 9th May, 1917

J Geary D.S.O., Major R.A.

Commander of the Survivors"

 

"To the Mayor and to the citizens of Savona.
On behalf of the officers and crew of the British transport
Transylvania we the undersigned wish to extend the most heartfelt thanks and to voice our satisfaction for the great kindness and sympathy shown to us in sorrow and in our misfortune.

 

We will always be grateful to be grateful for all the efforts made by every citizen of our country to provide us with every comfort and convenience.

 

We would like to express our gratitude to the Italian military authorities for the splendid honors made to our commanding commander during his funeral.

 

Savona, 8th May, 1917

William Rome, 1st Officer

Alex Dunholm Chief Engineer

Alex McCall - 1st Commissioner [not sure what this translation is - Purser?]

W.E. Wheate - Chief Steward"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Banstead100

Hi Bernardine,

Welcome to the Forum! I don't think it will be possible to get a list of names of the passengers, unfortunately, just a headcount by unit. It is certainly possible to pull together a list of the dead using the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and looking for those who died on 4th May 1917 (and probably the following couple of days) and who are commemorated or buried in Italy, Monaco and Spain. There were some men washed up in France too and buried near Marseilles and they may prove a little trickier. There were an awful lot of casualties in France each day so you would first be best using the CWGC website to work out which cemeteries are on the southern French coast and try those specifically. Of course, just because a man died on that day, it doesn't mean he was on the Transylvania but the Italy, Monaco and Spain ones almost certainly were.

Kind Regards,

 

James

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vocalist

Very interesting reading this topic as recently been researching the husband of a great aunt who died on the HMT Transylvania. As far as I can ascertain, his body was never found. He is not on the list of soldiers who washed up and were buried in Savona. I am not directly related but for anyone who is collating a list of passengers, or who is researching the family here are the details i have:

 

William Bayford

TF/201819 Private 4th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment

Born: 1979 Green Tye, Much Hadham, Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire

son of William and Eleanor Bayford of Church Lane Villas, Green Tye, Much Hadham, Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire

husband of Isabella Dorcas Bayford nee Lilliotte they married Jun Q 1909 Horsham (she is my great aunt who later married an unrelated Frank Lilliott in 1920), There are no children from that marriage but William did have siblings Emily, John, Sidney, Susan, Mary and Arthur.

 

First name(s) William
Last name Bayford
Year 1914-20
Service number 201819
Rank Private
Regiment Royal Sussex Regiment
Service record Soldier Number: 201819, Rank: Private, Corps: Royal Sussex Regiment
Image link http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=D1237048
Country Great Britain
Medal type British Army Medal Index Cards, 1914-1920
Archive reference WO372/2
Archive reference description Women's Services, Distinguished Conduct Medals and Military Medals
Record set Britain, Campaign, Gallantry & Long Service Medals & Awards
Category Military, armed forces & conflict
Subcategory Medal rolls and honours
Collections from Great Britain
 

He is mentioned on two memorials that I know of although do not have photographic evidence of this, just the online info.

http://www.roll-of-honour.com/Sussex/IfieldGreen.html

http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/70401/SAVONA TOWN CEMETERY

 

I have submitted updated information to FindAGrave for addition to his memorial which did not include the HMT Transylvania info and there is apparently photographs available on The War Graves Photographic Project


I do not currently have any photo's of William and Isabella Bayford but an aunt is going through her photo albums so if she finds one of him in uniform I will post it here.
 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
WalkerTyrrell

I have been researching Alexander Stewart (1879-1944) who medically trained at the University of Aberdeen. He moved to general practice in Margate. He joined the Red Cross Society and was the doctor in charge of the Wanstead House Auxiliary Medical hospital in Margate. He  was appointed a temporary lieutenant, then temporary captain in the RAMC. He added the family name Graham so was referred to as Alexander Graham Stewart but later changed this to Alexander Graham-Stewart. I understand that the service records for temporary officers of the RAMC were destroyed some time in the 1920s, so the only indication is in his Medal Record card. He embarked for Egypt on 17 April 1971 and was torpedoed. The date fits with the accounts given of the Royal Sussex Regiment and the Loyal North Lancashire battalions who were on the hired transport 'Transylvania" as the date of embarkation is like to be the date setting out from England for France, then travelling through France to Marseille. The sinking of course was on 4 May 1917.  On 28 July 1917 he is admitted to Craiglockhart War Hospital suffering from neurasthenia and was discharged from there on 23 October 1917. He may have spent sometime in the 4th London General Hospital. The only other indication of service is that on the Aberdeen University Roll of Honour which gives service in France, then Italy, then Home. Perhaps the WO25/3563 - Between Stations Abroad - April to June 1917 referred to by David Porter has Alexander or A. Graham Stewart (or a name variant as above) in the list of those onboard. After WWI the is found in practice in Harley Street but also has military connections. I am in touch with a grandson, but his grandfather and father did not know of his war experiences.A_Graham_Stewart_1.jpeg.7458f3056a989ad42603e611e186ed69.jpeg

A_Graham_Stewart_2.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Stuart T

I wish they had not been so inconsistent with recording the Theatre of War.  My man also only got the BWM, having not entered a theatre but there is nothing about "embarked for" on his MIC.

 

I was wondering therefore whether this MIC entry for theatre was lifted from the WO 25 record because officers aboard are named in it.  However, the list for Transylvania has only one named officer with the RAMC contingent (Lt Bushnell) and only one RAMC officer listed as unattached (Capt Pope).

 

If I had not read your suggestion, I would have taken the "embarked" and the "torpedoed" as meaning the one voyage anyway.  Are you sure it wasn't an earlier sinking in April?  Also, I am not clear with the bit about "shell-shock" two and a half months later.

Edited by Stuart T
error

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
clive_hughes

I have recently come across a slightly different account of the sinking of the Transylvania, in the form of a letter & poem (in Welsh) published in an Anglesey newspaper in August 1917.  

 

The letter was published in Y Clorianydd (an Anglesey weekly) on 8 August 1917, and was said to be by a "Private Hugh Davies, RE, now serving in Egypt" who had formerly worked as a representative for Messrs. E.Morgan & Co. tobacco manufacturers in Amlwch, addressed to a "Mr Jones".  The letter doesn't mention the ship by name, but talks about her setting sail from a southern French port, and then being torpedoed about 10:30am the following morning by a submarine.  The ship stays afloat for half an hour or so, before a second torpedo strikes with dreadful effect.  The boats are lowered, and the "female attendants" (?nurses) placed in them.  He does his best to ease the sufferings of those around him by binding their wounds etc.  Then he sits down semi-stunned, discarding his boots and putties ready for the swim.  Around him the Red Cross men are performing their duty.  Most of the soldiers and sailors have by now jumped for it, with the captain's voice calling from the bridge "Everyone for himself!".  

 

Davies goes over "with the rafts", and can see the boat twisting under the pressures, the stern rising into the air while the fore part sinks.   He is picked up by a Japanese vessel, and when he can collect himself a couple of minutes later, there is no sign of the steamship.  They are landed at an Italian town, where they are given right royal treatment including dry clothes, food, cigarettes, chocolates etc.  A religious service is held the following morning and he gives thanks.  

 

He then appended a long poem he wrote about the sinking "of a steamer with the loss of 400 lives", in the Gulf of Genoa.  

 

I've tried to search for him, and thought I'd found a very likely candidate in the Absent Voters 1918 in Spr. (or Pte.) 165707 Hugh Davies, 1st (L. of E.) Sig. Co. RE, resident 14 Parys Square, Amlwch.  His MIC shows the usual medal Pair, but also that he was later WR/220099 RE, and had a Silver War Badge.   I was delighted when his Service papers surfaced (mis-indexed as no. 0099 RE) noting that he was a 33-year old clerk & travelling salesman on enlistment in Dec. 1915 (mobilised Nov. 1916), and including a character reference from an employer B.Morgan of Amlwch; but he doesn't seem to have left the UK for the Mediterranean until November 1917...which is a bit late to be aboard the Transylvania.  It also suggests that this was written a good couple of months before he left the UK for Egypt.   He was medically discharged back in the UK Oct. 1918.

 

Please feel free to check those images.  I'm left a bit deflated:  he might be recording a different sinking (if so, which?); or maybe I've misread the details in his file; but otherwise it looks like a confabulated account!  No other Hugh Davies in the Amlwch town & port sections of the AVL.  

 

Clive

Edited by clive_hughes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Stuart T

When you said "different" account, I thought you meant differing in details.  However, this seems to match, so could have been lifted from what had already been published.  The ship was named in the Times of 25 May, so the only reason to withhold the name in August would be for dramatic effect.  Perhaps he was just trying to sell his poetry!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
WalkerTyrrell
On 14/12/2017 at 11:50, Stuart T said:

I wish they had not been so inconsistent with recording the Theatre of War.  My man also only got the BWM, having not entered a theatre but there is nothing about "embarked for" on his MIC.

 

I was wondering therefore whether this MIC entry for theatre was lifted from the WO 25 record because officers aboard are named in it.  However, the list for Transylvania has only one named officer with the RAMC contingent (Lt Bushnell) and only one RAMC officer listed as unattached (Capt Pope).

 

If I had not read your suggestion, I would have taken the "embarked" and the "torpedoed" as meaning the one voyage anyway.  Are you sure it wasn't an earlier sinking in April?  Also, I am not clear with the bit about "shell-shock" two and a half months later.

Thanks for responding. We know that this Alexander Graham(-)Stewart was admitted to Craiglockhart on 28 July 1917 suffering from neurasthenia and discharged on 23 Oct 1917. We know from his descendants that he was a 'jolly and hearty' chap and was a keen golfer. We also know from a letter written by Siegfried Sassoon that he had an un-named golfing partner who fits this description and who was a 'doctor' and who was 'torpedoed on the Transylvania'. The Aberdeen Roll of Honour for AG-S fits with time in France (travelling to Marseille?), time in Italy (landed in Savona after the sinking?) and home service (which is possible where he went after 23 Oct 1917). What I have no access to at the moment is the WO25/3563 - Between Stations Abroad - April to June 1917 document and what this contains if indeed if it is accurate. The Savona Memorial has two RAMC captains listed; Charles Alfred Whiting and Arthur Tilbury.  The Savona Cemetery as another RAMC captain; Henry Harold Robinson. If they are not listed on WO25/3563 then it may not be reliable. Are you able to help here?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Banstead100

Usually only the officer commanding the detachment is shown on the embarkation returns and Alexander Stewart is not listed. There are no officers recorded in the R.A.M.C. contingent apart from Lieutenant F C Bushnell. Your man could be in one of the other contingents aboard (perhaps in the Unattached contingent, which included at least one R.A.M.C. officer). The text on the embarkation return suggests that there should also be a nominal roll for 1st and 2nd class passengers attached, unfortunately the photos that I have seen do not include those lists and I don't know if the original documents do. If you haven't got an answer by the next time I'm over at Kew then I can look it up for you (will be January at the earliest though).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
WalkerTyrrell
9 minutes ago, Banstead100 said:

Usually only the officer commanding the detachment is shown on the embarkation returns and Alexander Stewart is not listed. There are no officers recorded in the R.A.M.C. contingent apart from Lieutenant F C Bushnell. Your man could be in one of the other contingents aboard (perhaps in the Unattached contingent, which included at least one R.A.M.C. officer). The text on the embarkation return suggests that there should also be a nominal roll for 1st and 2nd class passengers attached, unfortunately the photos that I have seen do not include those lists and I don't know if the original documents do. If you haven't got an answer by the next time I'm over at Kew then I can look it up for you (will be January at the earliest though).

Many thanks, . I'll check the London Gazette entries to see when he changed from Lieutenant to Captain. He is listed as Lieutenant when he arrives in Craiglockhart. Thanks for your kind offer as I will not make it to Kew from Edinburgh until possibly February!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Banstead100

I checked WO 25/3563 Between Stations Abroad (April - June 1917) when I was at Kew today and unfortunately there is no nominal roll for the Transylvania, only the embarkation returns.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Stuart T

I have just been reading the War Diary for the Third Echelon at Alexandria for an unrelated date.  Two ships had been sunk and the ships' adjutants had been asked for their rolls for the purpose of checking casualties.  The on-board rolls had been lost and they were going to have to wait for copies from the port of departure.

 

Do you think there may be other copies of what you are looking for?  For example, did the regiments keep copies, were there duplicates at point/port of departure and duplicates at port of arrival?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kath

Stuart, where can one see the War Diary for the Third Echelon at Alexandria, please?

Kath.

 

added: "People On Board"-

 https://wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?37314

 

https://www.mun.ca/mha/holdings/viewcombinedcrews.php?Official_No=136331

Crew List Index Search Results
Search results for Crew Lists in the Maritime History Archive 
Types of Agreements and Accounts page provides an explanation for the codes referring to 
the crew agreements held at the Maritime History Archive.

Official_No:        136331

1914:        E2
1916:        M2

Edited by Kath

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Stuart T

WO 95/4378

 

Looks like it goes back just far enough for your August 1915 date.  I was looking at Nov 1917 to Feb 1918 when my grandad actually worked there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...