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charlie962

Petty Officer H Wise - was he (and who else Naval ) inside Kut el Amara ?

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charlie962

Clearly I have to trawl through the 'Alert' deaths on CWGC.

 

A sixth man Harry BENTON, 208598, Alert (horseboats) died Bagtche 16/8/16 ex Kut

 

A seventh man Alfred HULL 159627, Alert (Horseboats) died Bagtche 15/8/16 ex Kut

Edited by charlie962

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seaJane
6 hours ago, charlie962 said:

edit:  what or where is Sheroo Ben Sheron ??

Who, surely? Ben means "son of".

 

There are two interpreters on CWGC, one buried at Basra and one in the Amara cemetery, but neither of them is a candidate name-wise unless there has been a complete misinterpretation. 

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/632246/sattam,-/

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/630886/awad,-gabrel-j.-e./

He may, of course, have survived.

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charlie962

I've looked at CWGC and now understanding the HMS Alert significance I've extracted the following list which I shall now check with service records and update. But of course this will only give me the dead.    Who, other than Laird, survived ??

 

 edit   THIS SCHEDULE UPDATED at  13.30  8/2/19   

      1658244784_KutNavySpreadsheet8Feb2019.JPG.a1dac49dfa84606bfd712d0f2e2b68fd.JPG

Note that Veale is the only one of the Julnar crew on this list.

 

As I understand it the Naval Detachment at Kut was:

 

 Kut Siege,  Naval Detachment
=============================

HM Gunboat SUMANA, 1 x 12Pdr, 2 x 3Pdr
  Lt LCP TUDWAY RN

4 Steam Launches (3 sunk on 9/10thDec 1915)
2 motor Launches
6 Barges
4 x 4.7" Guns in Horseboats (Lt MAB Johnston RGA- later MC for escaping and co-author 450 Miles to Freedom. 1893-1979)
1 x 12Pdr mounted ashore in Jan1916

 

 

So presumably the 4.7" guns were manned by RGA Gunners ? Edit: I've answered my own question below- Seamen Gunners under an Army FOO

 

Hope this is of interest to other than me ?

Charlie

 

Edited by charlie962

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seaJane
27 minutes ago, charlie962 said:

Hope this is of interest to other than me

Yes it is :) though what I shall do with it I don't know!

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seaJane

I can't find my copy of Vice-Admiral Wilfred Nunn's Tigris gunboats, or I'd look in it and see if there was anything of relevance...

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charlie962
9 minutes ago, seaJane said:

I can't find my copy

I have looked already in my copy!

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seaJane

Great minds ... !

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charlie962

I've updated the schedule in post 28. You will see that a large number of the men were Kut Horseboats. A couple were noted as Sumana. I am suprised at the large number of men. Despite having read a number of books etc on the subject I have never seen a Naval figure quoted for PoWs. But it must be out there somewhere ?

 

Still a couple of uncertainties -Leigh, Morgan and perhaps Roberts. Comments please.

 

Roberts, ex Shaitan, could have got back to base before Kut or could have been trapped inside Kut and then be one of the exchanges post fall of Kut ? Shipped to India and died there ?  Shaitan had run aground and had to be abanoned c 28/11/15 in the retreat from Ctesipon to Kut that was bravely covered by the Navy.  I need another source for Roberts.

        "But the poor old packet was past praying for; she had bumped the mud so often in the course of her long career that she had lost heart for her job. She was leaking like a sieve, and there was nothing for it but to salve her guns and stores and abandon her."  (source "The Navy in Mesopotamia" Conrad Cato,  on Naval History net)

 

 

But what about the survivors ? overall PoW deaths averaged 70%.  So I would expect to see about 10 survivors ?

 

Charlie

Edited by charlie962

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seaJane

 

Not sure where or whether this may all fit in, but according to Sean McMeekin, Ottoman endgame, Shaitan was commanded by Capt, Mark Singleton and had a crew of nine. December 7 1914 she had a direct hit on the bridge that killed the captain and wounded "two other officers" - I don't know if there are any Shaitan deaths on CWGC? The Navy List did keep a running total during the war of officers and men killed, but I don't think there are any clues to location, simply name and rank/rate.

 

The ship also gets a mention in Charles Townshend's When God made Hell (the author is not the same C T as the general) but I can't see (Google Books) whether there may be anything else useful. 

Some mention here: https://warandsecurity.com/2015/10/30/the-british-capture-kut-al-amara-28-september-1915/.

 

ADM 137 has papers dealing with the loss of Shaitan etc.

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charlie962

Thanks SJ but I mustn't get sidetracked on Shaitan's history ! It is only relevant here for determining where Roberts went afterwards.

 

I have just re-read David Gunn's book 'Sailor in the Desert' which is about his father Phillip Gunn, a seaman on the Clio and then towing horseboats up to Ctesiphon 1915. A great introduction to how the horseboats came to be at Kut. It seems they had Naval gun crews but came under the Army from about Oct/ Nov 1915 and a Royal Artillery Officer as FOO. A number of the crews were lent by Clio. Perhaps if I look back at the service records of the men I have listed I will see that some had some gunnery qualifications and some came direct from Clio. Also it perhaps makes sense of the 'Land Operations' stamp on most of the men's service files ?

 

I guess that the crew of the horseboats ( no motor, intended to be towed by a horse on the riverbank in Egypt but on the Tigris towed by paddle steamers or River Launches) was about 4 or 5, so 4 horseboats would give a complement of about 20. Add on the Sumana and the River Launches and a figure of 30+ would now seem probable ?

 

As for the Sumana, Madam President of the Tudway Fan Club, surely there is an account by him in Admiralty papers, old school magazine or local newspapers about his adventures? We have touched on this before in an old thread, I seem to rememer? Sande's account of the siege gives some good accounts of Sumana, as you know already.

 

I cannot believe this hasn't been researched in depth already because it is such a fascinating bit of history. But Admiralty archives are an unknown to me and anyway I'm not able to visit.

Did the PoWs not have to be interviewed on their release from captivity ? It was certainly the case in the Army but like many of the Army records, those that are still accessible are few and far between. The best example is the statements made by all the surviving Australian PoWs in Turkey where every such seems to have survived.

 

Charlie

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seaJane

:) I wrote to his nephew's widow enquiring but she did not seem to know of anything. It is E.O. Mosley who has the classic description, and Tudway crops up briefly in other books, but if he kept any papers I don't know where they are. He never married and his home was a school for a while before the family moved back in.

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charlie962

For CPO Roberts A J, there are two possible mentions for him in the Alert deck log as transcribed by Naval History Net(link from Horatio2 in the Dalhousie thread) and I add a note on Shaitan's crew recovery.

  2018014512_KutNavyAlertLog8Dec1915.JPG.5f01b3693aaa4bd75a80aca748158255.JPG

  669155316_KutNavyRobertsAJAlertLog7Oct1916.JPG.ec8a5bbe0944546ccf194b788b34dc96.JPG1937716014_KutNavyRobertsAJAlertLog20Dec1916.JPG.fcb079acd83da84d9ee729bd401ad50f.JPG

That last note about Roberts's death as a PoW is incorrect because he died 1/12/16 in India. But I haven't yet been able to rule out the possibility that he was the CPO exchanged PoW early May 1916 or whether he was in the log entry of 8/12/15 above ( and I am assuming that log entry was a physical movement, not an admin one !)

 

For some reason the deck log for Alert for March, April and May 1916 have not been transcribed ?

 

Charlie

 

 

Edited by charlie962

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seaJane

Interesting, Charlie, thanks!

 

Can you advise what is meant by "APOC Hospital"?

 

sJ

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charlie962
3 minutes ago, seaJane said:

APOC Hospital

Anglo Persian Oil Company

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seaJane

Ah, thank you. At Basra, I presume.

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charlie962
6 hours ago, charlie962 said:

if I look back at the service records of the men I have listed I will see that some had some gunnery qualifications

The first half dozen I looked at again all had sub rating SG which I take to mean Seaman Gunner. Makes sense.

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PJS
5 hours ago, seaJane said:

Ah, thank you. At Basra, I presume.

 

I believe the APOC Hospital for Europeans was at Abadan, with the refinery.

 

Peter

 

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seaJane

My mistake! Thank you.

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charlie962

I have three more casualties of the Sumana's crew, Burrows, Warren and Weaire that I shall add to my spreadsheet tonight. I'm still looking for survivors ??

 

Here is a survivor of the Sumana, whose medals were sold by DNW in 2013:

 

A rare Great War Tigris Flotilla operations D.S.M. pair awarded to Stoker Petty Officer A. E. Wilton, Royal Navy, who was decorated for his gallant deeds in the gunboat Sumana during the Kut operations

Distinguished Service Medal, G.V.R. (161168 A. E. Wilton, Sto. P.O., H.M.S. Sumana, Mesopotamia, 1915-6); China 1900, no clasp (A. E. Wilton, Lg. Sto. 1st Cl., H.M.S. Aurora), minor surface scratches to the first and contact marks on the second, otherwise very fine and better (2) £800-1000

Footnote

D.S.M. London Gazette 22 June 1917.

Alfred Ernest Wilton was born in Cornwall in April 1872 and entered the Royal Navy as a Stoker 2nd Class in June 1891. Advanced to Leading Stoker 1st Class while serving in H.M.S. Aurora on the China Station in November 1900 (Medal), he was pensioned ashore as a Stoker Petty Officer in May 1913.

Having then enrolled in the Royal Fleet Reserve, Wilton was recalled on the outbreak of hostilities, initially with an appointment in the battleship Ocean but, from November 1914, in the sloop Espiegle, in which ship he was embarked for Mesopotamia in the following year.

Removing to another sloop, the Clio, in the same theatre of war in August 1915, he was in fact lent out to the gunboat Sumana for services on the Tigris during the Kut operations, and it was in this capacity that he was awarded the D.S.M. - his service record also verifies that he was taken P.O.W. at Kut on 29 April 1916, but shortly thereafter exchanged by the Turks.

The Sumana was one of a remarkable ‘gallimaufry of vessels’ pressed into service on the Tigris, was commanded by Lieutenant Lionel Tudway, R.N., who ‘had the nerve of Beelzebub’ and quickly won a D.S.O. and a D.S.C., and was armed with one 12-pounder and two 3-pounder guns, both of which were brought ashore for the final defence of Kut in March 1916. Meanwhile, however, the Sumana was heavily engaged in the action fought on 28 September 1915 and during the battle of Ctesiphon on 22 November, so, too, in many subsequent ‘side shows’ during the retreat back to Kut and thereafter - far too numerous for the purposes of this catalogue entry but, by way of example, the following extracts from The Secrets of a Kuttite, by Captain E. O. Brooks, R.F.A., who was a friend of Lieutenant Tudway, are not without interest:

19 March 1916:

‘Another shell got the Sumana through the funnel and bridge, killing one of her crew. Tudway’s cabin was completely wrecked. Tudway is a deserving, hard-working subaltern, the only R.N. representative in Kut. He always takes it as a personal insult if his gunboat is hit. She is the apple of his eye. H.M.S. Sumana, an improvised gunboat, is of the greatest importance, as she keeps us in touch with “Woolpress”, our tiny stronghold on the other bank, which prevents the Turks from coming right down to the river-bank and thus rendering our water-front totally unendurable. She takes across a barge with provisions and reliefs, and makes three or four trips a week. This the Turks know full-well, and do their best to send her under during the day. However, she is fairly well protected with mahelas and rafts, though by no means completely. It is a difficult problem to know how to protect her, and engages all Tudway’s thoughts. In fact, how she remains afloat at all is a puzzle to every one.’

20 March 1916:

‘Another small strafe started, and H.M.S. Sumana stopped quite a few. She received five direct hits from 9-pounders, and one from the 18-pounder field-gun the enemy captured from us at Ahwaz ... truly the sight of the Sumana ripped and torn through and through by shell and bullet, with her shotted funnel and her smashed cabins, and her White Ensign soiled and tattered, the finest flag in all the world, still fluttering in the storm - would be a sight for gods.’

Had Tudway’s bold plan to escape Kut in late April 1916 been agreed upon, he and his crew may have avoided capture, but it was not to be. The Secrets of Kuttite continues:

28 April 1916:

‘At lunch Tudway informed me in his quiet way that he contemplated running the gauntlet downstream in the Sumana tonight in the hope of saving his ship from the Turks. He has communicated with his S.N.O. at Basrah. He invited me to come with him. I felt very complimented and after some consideration I agreed. Tudway knew his ship, the river, and likely stoppages. He had counted the risk of cables. The current would help us and the Turkish guns were all still, no doubt, pointing downstream against possible Julnas. In two hours we should be down. We left things at this and Tudway went to make inquiries. He has just returned in a resigned frame of mind. The project was absolutely private and not known to headquarters, who, however, sent anticipatory orders to Tudway that the Samana was under no circumstances to be damaged but kept intact in Kut.’


After being exchanged by the Turks, Wilton returned to the U.K. in the course of 1916 and served ashore until the end of hostilities. He was finally demobilised in January 1920, latterly having added the L.S. & G.C. Medal to his accolades; sold with copied service record.

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charlie962

Sj, do you know how many men comprised the crew of Sumana at the time of Kut?

  We have Tudway as Captain, and above I have identified 6 men who died and 1 that survived. What figure am I looking for ?

 

This extract (thanks to Ancestry)  from Wilton's record makes reference to a document NP3289/16 (Naval Papers 1916 ?). Do these survive ?

 

It also refers to him being exchanged. I would like to find the date , but how ?

                      265793855_KutNavyWiltonAESvcExtractExchanged.JPG.53aa08eeeee4cc74831c9b5521ca5ff5.JPG

 

Charlie

Edited by charlie962

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seaJane

If she matched Shaitan it would be commander + 9. I don't think I've found a record anywhere but I'll hunt around, later, and see if I can find one.

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PJS
1 hour ago, charlie962 said:

 

It also refers to him being exchanged. I would like to find the date , but how ? 

                      265793855_KutNavyWiltonAESvcExtractExchanged.JPG.53aa08eeeee4cc74831c9b5521ca5ff5.JPG

 

Charlie

 

Charlie,

 

Further up that same page it shows Wilton as being assigned to Pembroke II ( accounting base at Chatham) from the 1st May, 1916 so I would say that strongly points to him being part of the 1st exchange.

 

Wilton.PNG.98b0ddce97b99355dad71a85bed626a9.PNG

 

Peter

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horatio2
4 hours ago, charlie962 said:

document NP3289/16 (Naval Papers 1916 ?). Do these survive ?

This refers to correspondence from the Naval Personnel (NP)Division of the Admiralty. Presumably a list of Kut POWs. I am not aware that NP papers have survived in any quantity, referring as they do to transitory matters such as movements, promotions and advancements, drafting, appointments, etc. Worth a Kew search possibly.

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charlie962
5 hours ago, PJS said:

so I would say that strongly points to him being part of the 1st exchange.

Thank you.The problem is that others who died as PoWs were also trf'd to Pembroke I or II on1/5/16 eg Hulme. So it doesn't prove anything I'm afraid.

 But I have pencilled in Roberts as the CPO and Wilton as the PO that I mentioned as Known ratings included in the May Exchange- very feint pencil.

 

 

2 hours ago, horatio2 said:

This refers to correspondence from the Naval Personnel (NP)Division of the Admiralty. Presumably a list of Kut POWs. I am not aware that NP papers have survived in any quantity, referring as they do to transitory matters such as movements, promotions and advancements, drafting, appointments, etc. Worth a Kew search possibly.

Thank you. I will have a search.

 

 

6 hours ago, seaJane said:

If she matched Shaitan it would be commander + 9. I don't think I've found a record anywhere but I'll hunt around, later, and see if I can find one.

Thank you. She was a gunboat ' armed with one 12-pounder and two 3-pounder guns,' ?

 

Charlie  (what's happened to the font ??)

 

PS I have a John Mathews aged 24, RN 8960 at Angora as a PoW, taken at Kut 29/4/16, in late 1916 per ICRC but cannot find him on Service Records or Medal Rolls ? I would like to check out who he was. Can you find him please ?

 

Edited by charlie962

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charlie962

Is it me or has my spreadsheet in post 28 disappeared ?

Charlie

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