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David Earley

Captain Eccleston, H.M.T. Dee

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David Earley

I am researching Captain (Master) Frederick George Porter Eccleston who is listed by CWGC (https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/473763/eccleston,-frederick-g.-p./) as having died in Egypt on 10 August 1918 from H.M.T. Dee.  (I have newspaper cutting which says he drowned in the Suez Canal.)

Firstly, can I confirm that H.M.T. stands for "Hired Military Transport"?

Secondly, can someone help me to identify this particular vessel? Wikipedia has an article about the Axe-class trawler which includes an HMT Dee, but this seems to have been requisitioned after 1917, and was originally named HMT Battleaxe. TNA have a file on Ship: Dee; Official number: 113903  -  is this the vessel? This one had a crew of  about 50 in 1915, whereas the ones on Wikipedia only had a complement of 18.

Third, is there some form of "career file" or service record for Capt. Eccleston? The TNA website have a trio of files relating to him as master of the Monmouthshire in 1915, but that's all I can find.

Finally, is there any way of discovering more about how Captain Eccleston died and the circumstances of his drowning?

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

David Earley

Edited by David Earley
correction

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DavidOwen

Hi David

I think you will find HMT is His Majesty's Trawler. Used for those trawlers requisitioned for war work such as minesweeping.

Regards

David

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horatio2

Not in this case. I think Hired Military Transport is correct. The Grimsby trawler DEE was engaged in fishing around UK as part of the Fishery Reserve and would not have had a Master in command.

Edited by horatio2

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DavidOwen

Ah, caught out by the duplication of abbreviations, yet again! Thanks Horatio2.

 

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Malcolm12hl

I agree with Horatio.  The vessel in question will be the Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. 1,871 ton coastal liner DEE, O.N.113903 built in 1902 by Craig, Taylor & Co. of Stockton-on-Tees for Royal Mail's West Indian local service.  She was taken up for service as a transport early in the war and served throughout.

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David Earley

Thanks for your help guys. 

Can anyone deal with my third & fourth queries?

On 30/11/2018 at 10:22, David Earley said:

Third, is there some form of "career file" or service record for Capt. Eccleston? The TNA website have a trio of files relating to him as master of the Monmouthshire in 1915, but that's all I can find.

Finally, is there any way of discovering more about how Captain Eccleston died and the circumstances of his drowning?

Thanks

David

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Malcolm12hl

All of a merchant marine Master's postings are recorded in the Lloyd's Captains Registers.  The originals are in the Guildhall Library in the City of London, and if memory serves, the National Archives at Kew have microfilm copies.

 

The Monmouthshire was owned by the Shire Line, which by 1915 had become part of the Royal Mail group, which also owned the Dee, so your man was probably a long-term Royal Mail employee.

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David Earley

Great - That points me in the right direction. I plan to visit Kew in January, so I will add the ship's log to my list of files to examine.

 

David

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HarryBrook

On ancestry.co.uk under "U.K. and Ireland, Masters and Mates Certificates 1850 - 1927" you will find images of "Certificates of Competency as a ................. of a Foreign-going Ship" in the categories 2nd Mate, 1st Mate, and Master for Frederick George Porter Eccleston.

 

He qualified as a 2nd Mate on 3 December 1891, as a 1st Mate on 14 December 1895, and as a Master on 17 April 1897.

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Malcolm12hl

I have cross-checked and can confirm that the Lloyd's Captains Registers have been moved from the Guildhall Library to the London Metropolitan Archives.  It also appears as if the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich have microfilm copies.

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David Earley
On 04/12/2018 at 14:41, HarryBrook said:

On ancestry.co.uk under "U.K. and Ireland, Masters and Mates Certificates 1850 - 1927" you will find images of "Certificates of Competency as a ................. of a Foreign-going Ship" in the categories 2nd Mate, 1st Mate, and Master for Frederick George Porter Eccleston.

 

Thanks Harry for looking, but I have seen these already !

 

Best wishes

 

David

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David Earley

I have now completed my article about Captain Eccleston which is at http://www.sussexpeople.co.uk/captain-frederick-george-porter-eccleston/.

 

On 4 July 1916, he was in command of SS Monmouthshire when she collided with SS Persian in the middle of the Mediterranean. As the ship's log reports, the collision happened when the visibility was good and the wind was moderate, so I find it hard to understand how two ships can collide with such force that the Persian (half the size of the Monmouthshire) could be so badly damaged as to keel over and sink within an hour of the collision. Would there have been an enquiry into the sinking, or was this lost in the "fog of war"? I can't find a ship,s log for the Persian - presumably this went down with the ship.

 

David

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wightspirit

1916 crew agreement here: https://www.mun.ca/mha/holdings/viewcombinedcrews.php?Official_No=99062  It may or may not include the date of interest. If you send an enquiry and ask you'll find them very helpful. If they have the one you want it'll be sent via email.

 

I cannot find a Court of Enquiry record as such for the loss of the Persian, but if you search the National Archives website and enter your search under the reference HCA (which means Higher Court of Admiralty) you'll find 8 files for the Persian, some of which may be of interest. Having had some experience of viewing similar files, sometimes you'll strike lucky with a detailed account of the incident, other times the files will be tied up in legal argument which don't really advance the search for what exactly happened.

 

One other area worthy of enquiry might be The Times - quite often reports from the Admiralty Court appeared in the columns, giving s précis of what took place.

 

Dave W

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David Earley

Thanks Dave. That's very helpful. Six of the files that I have located are in respect of court cases between the owners of the two vessels, so they are bound to contain something of use. I feel another visit to TNA coming!

 

David

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