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Gun accidentally fired 10 August 1915


michaeldr
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On 10 August 1915 a gun (14-pounder)  on HMS Swiftsure accidentally fired and caused casualties on board a transport. There is a casualty with that date of death buried at East Mudros on the island of Lemnos; a seaman AB G. Matson from HMT Bendicai - https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/626369/G MATSON/

Was the Bendicai the transport accidentally hit by a shell from the Swiftsure?

 

[a check via 'G' failed to turn up anything on a transport of this name]

 

Thanks for your interest

Michael

Edited by michaeldr
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A Court of Enquiry found that gunnery Lieutenant-Commander Cuthbert Winthrop Swithinbank had permitted the gun to remain loaded after the gun crew had fallen out. He received an expression of the Vice-Admiral's dissatisfaction with his neglect of duty.

http://www.dreadnoughtproject.org/tfs/index.php/H.M.S._Swiftsure_(1903)

 

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D7604459

 

JP

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Thanks JP

My info was in fact taken from that officer's record. Alas there are no details of the casualties mentioned, nor the name of the unfortunate transport which was on the receiving end.

Thanks again for your interest here

Michael

 

 

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There seems to have been quite a bit of confusion regarding the name of the transport on which Matson served;

different CWGC docs give Bendicar - which was altered on a second sheet to Bondicar - and then ended up as Bendicai

https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/626369/G%20MATSON/

 

I think that it is possible that the second version BONDICAR is in fact the correct name and not that currently shown

 

The Royal Museums Greenwich have a document

Crew List: Agreements and Official Logs for Ship Bondicar, Official Number 129741

(RSS/CL/1915/3889/20) showing:-

G Matson; rank/rating, Able Seaman; age, 54; place of birth, Finland; previous ship, Bondicar of Newcastle.

See https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/663828.html

 

For the ship itself see http://sunderlandships.com/view.php?ref=104268

and http://www.searlecanada.org/sunderland/images2/bondicar1.jpg

 

This page http://www.searlecanada.org/sunderland/sunderland050.html#bondicar indicates that

It would seem that the vessel was requisitioned by the British Government for WW1 service.

 

Was the Bondicar the ship hit by the Swiftsure's accidental shot?

Edited by michaeldr
to add last link (penultimate line)
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Michael, Well found BONDICAR, Mr Holmes. She appears in several of the log books of Gallipoli warships, usually in connection with ammunition transfers. Obviously a re-rasking from her original role as a collier. If she was the target of SWIFTSURE's 14-pdr, an ammunition ship was a poor choice.

See (inter alia) logs  of GRAFTON 26 Jul 15, ALBION 14 Aug 15 and MINERVA 4 May 15.

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Notice that the Swiftsure's Captain relinquished command the day after the gun fired.  Coincidence?

 

Edwin

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I'm not sure about that, but I'm inclined to think that coincidence may be right:

a) as JP has already been pointed out, a Court of Enquiry found someone else responsible

b) his record shows an application to return to England earlier in 1915 for “private affairs

That application was approved “if exigencies of service permit” and mid-August may simply have been the first opportunity.

Does anyone have further ideas on this?

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I agree with michaeldr - a complete coincidence. The Captain would not have been relieved in command before an enquiry had even been convened. His relief was almost certainly already on board for the handover of the ship at the time of the incident

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Here is a picture of Bondicar from a maritime site. There is a bit of history about her and reference to service in both WW1 and WW2 but no mention of the incident in 1915.

bondicar1.jpg

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