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Remembered Today:

Martin II, Merchant Navy


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Does anyone have any info regarding the Martin II, a Merchant Navy vessel lost on 14 April 1917? According to the deaths at sea register the ship was "presumed sunk with all hands", the ship's crew were:

GARDNER James, born 18 Feb 1889, Master, of 174 Park Street, Grimsby
JOHNSON Henry Waddington, born 4 Jun 1872, Mate, of 176 Park Street, Grimsby
ALTOFT James William, born 9 Jan 1862, Chief Engineer, of 6 Huntingdon Street, Hull
STROUD Harry Arthur, born 3 May 1876, 2nd Engineer, of 17 Queen Row, Walworth
TANNER Henry, born 1 Aug 1867, Bos'n, of 402 Wellington Street, Grimsby
BAKES-BRADBURY Charles Thomas, born 12 Jan 1887, Signalman, of 22 Kettlewell Street, Grimsby
SAUNDERS John, AB, of 23 Harrington Street, Cleethorpes
PARNHAM William Henry, born 13 Apr 1897, AB, of 139 Newmarket Street, Grimsby
MATHERS Herbert, born 11 Jul 1877, Stoker, of 136 English Street, Hull
ROYAL Arthur, born 1875, Stoker, of 149 Bensham Lane, Thornton Heath
SHANAHAN Leonard John, Steward, of 23 Portland Road, Finsbury Park
FALCONER David Stuart, Marconi Operator, of Falconer's Cafe, Coronation Walk, Southport

A local newspaper report states that the ship was sunk by a mine, but I don't know if that's accurate. None of these men are commemorated by the CWGC so far as I can see.

The only thing I could find online for this ship is this: http://www.fleetwood-trawlers.info/index.php/2008/12/st-martin-fd172/

Any help appreciated.

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Cannot find any vessel of that name, although there was a steam trawler called MARTIN (H187). LEE,Richard.(24yrs),of 27 Savanah-Place,Battersea,London.was thae Mate on her and he was lost overboard In the the Humber estuary on 4 December 1900.

Yours was probably an steam trawler too.

Cheers Ron.

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That's the same ship according to that website I linked above, it was renamed Martin II in 1915.

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She was a 242-ton steel hulled steam trawler completed as yard No.545 by Edwards Bros. at North Shields, launched on 1 June 1897 and completed later that month. No info about when she was lost or sunk though? Also nothing about crew being lost in CWGC list, so the crew must have been rescued after the collision.

Cheers Ron

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Vessel was lost on 14 April 1917. Above crew names are all taken from the Deaths at Sea Register, I probably didn't make that very clear (sorry). If possible I'm hoping to find further details on how the ship was lost.

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I've looked at this one some time ago - with six of the crew Grimsby residents (or 5 + a meggie), the crew listed is not the norm for trawlers, with a Master instead of a Skipper, Stokers v Trimmers, a Signelman, a Marconi Operator, a Bo'sun, ABs v Deck Hands. I've come to the conclusion that Martin II an armed requisitioned Hull trawler, was transferred to the Fishery Reserve when section fishing was introduced to combat the U-boat menace. One in four trawlers fishing were armed, in groups of eight or more. When she was lost in a collision Mercantile Marine rules must have been applied so the crew were not eligible for commemoration - doesn't seem just - but you'd be banging your head against a brick wall to get anything done about it!


ps I think James Gardner was this Grimsby skipper aged 22, in the 1911 crew lists:

1911 vessel Dane [GY 403]; owner A Jeffs; skipper James Gardner, certificate 9289. [born Grimsby].

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  • 7 years later...

I’ve no doubt the source quoted above was following the official line it reads like a diplomatic answer to concerns about the loss but I’m not convinced - not that this makes any difference, though I’m aware of the often quoted “Truth is the first casualty in War”, and variations of the same.

31 January 1917.

Diplomatic Notes to neutral countries advised that Germany was to resume Unrestricted Submarine Operations on 1 February 1917

        Some two years earlier, 4 February 1915. Germany had declared a war zone around the British Isle in which ships would be sunk without warning. All the formalities of "stop and search" were to be dispensed with, and neutrals were warned their shipping was equally at risk.

        That campaign and a second one in February 1916 were abandoned in response to diplomatic pressure from America. The 1916 response also included the threat of a break in diplomatic relations.

The German Position. Widely Published in the Press - This from The Birmingham Daily Post Monday 12 February 1917:

        At the sitting of the Grand Committee of the Reichstag on January 31 the Imperial Chancellor explained the situation in a speech, of which the following may be accepted as an authentic summary:-
        The German Government has carefully weighed all possibilities. After careful deliberation we have come to the conclusion that President Wilson will not immediately break off relations with us, nor adopt any vigorously hostile policy. Our Ambassador (Count Bernstorff) has assured us that in his judgment the United States will not abandon neutrality in response to unrestrictive submarine operations. Count Bernstorff thinks the American Government will address to Germany one or more diplomatic Notes, but that in any case prolonged negotiations, will follow, and prolonged negotiations which will probably lead to nothing serious. With regard to other neutrals, we may be assured that although they protest they can do nothing, and they will do nothing.
        But if our confident exceptions with regard to America prove to be erroneous, and if war ensues, the Imperial Government is nevertheless convinced that it is necessary to face even this result. Our military experts have advised us that the submarine blockade of Britain is now our only hope of gaining a decisive victory over the Entente Powers. At all costs, therefore we must make this effort to gain victory over our bitterest and most dangerous enemy, Britain.
        The Kaiser and the General Staff, our naval experts, German diplomacy, and the German Government and Bundesrat are unanimous in believing that we must resort to unrestricted submarine operations. We all believe that the risks involved in refraining from this supreme effort are greater than the risks involved in making it. We hope therefore to receive the unanimous support of the Reichstag at this grave moment.



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  • 2 years later...

Anything new on this? The CWGC have opened a case, to find out if they are entitled to commeration.


Edited by EJohnson
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