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kin47

HMS LOUVAIN

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kin47

Hello

I am interested in learning why HMS LOUVAIN had so many casualties when she was sunk by a submarine in January 1918. Explosion, storm, etc??

Thanks

don

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Michael Lowrey

Don,

Obviously, the combination of a smallish ship (LOUVAIN was only 1840 grt), a large number of men on board, and a torpedo can get ugly in a hurry.

I have UC 22's KTB and will look at her description of the sinking to LOUVAIN to see if anything stands out when I next go down to the library and use the microfilm reader...

Best wishes,

Michael

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Fred W

Don,

HMS Louvain started off as the Dresden constructed in 1897 at Earle's Co Ltd in Hull. 1805 Tons and ownen by the Greay Westrn Railway Co she was a ferry on the Harwich Antwerp route. She was taken over by the Admiralty in 1915. She was renamed Louvain and was an Armed Boarding Steamer torpedoed in the Aegean Sea on 20 Jan 1918. Reported 10 survivors out of 151.

Fred W

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Michael Lowrey

Okay, I've had a look at UC 22's KTB. Here's what happened: The submarine sighted an escorted steamer and decided to lay mines in front of her while at the same time positioning herself for a torpedo attack. A minute after getting her 10th mine out, UC 22 began her torpedo attack. The single shot was fired at a range of 600 meters and a hit was scored. The submarine was quite near the destroyer when she fired her torpedo and she was soon counterattacked.

UC 22 surfaces about an hour after the attack. The steamer is not visiable (presumably sunk) and the destroyer was at the site of the attack, presumably conducting rescue operations. The U-boat could not get there because of the location of her own mines.

UC 22 noted that visiability was excellent, with minimal winds and flat seas at midnight, German time, (about three hours after she surfaced). Given these weather conditions, and the presense of an escorting vessel to pick up survivors, I can only conclude that Louvian must have sunk quickly.

Best wishes,

Michael

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kin47

Hello Michael

Thank you very much for this information.

All best

don

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historydavid

Don,

In view of what Michael reports it seems possible that the LOUVAIN was carrying something explosive (ammunition?) which would account for her sinking so quickly.

Best wishes

David

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rlilly

I'm truly stuck and need your expertise or advice on what to do. My grandmother's brother was Evan Edwards b1887. He was a petty officer on board the HMS Louvain when it was sank in 1918 by the Germain U boat U-22. He was one of the few that survived the sinking. However, no matter what I try I can't find out what happened to him afterwards. Before the war started he was married to Alice Edwards in Aberystwyth, Dyfed, Wales, but by at least 1908 had moved to 32 Earl Street, Liverpool. I have a couple of pictures of him with his HMS Louvain navy cap on. Family letters from Wales have him still alive as late as Nov. 1946.

So I'm not familiar with the Royal Navy, but if he was a petty officer could he be in the Auxilary or Reserves, or just the regular navy? If he died during peace time in England would the Royal Navy have a record of his death even though he would have been retired? (I wouldn't think they would, but you never know). When the HMS Louvain sunk would they have automatically send him home, or just assign him to another ship?

Any little tidbits of information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you much.

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melliget

Rayal.

Welcome to the forum. Just quickly, doesn't seem to be any matches in the RN index and only one possible in RNVR but unfortunately no birth year given. Looking at the casualty lists in The Times, there were a lot of RNR sailors listed so that would be my hunch. The commanding officer of the ship, Lieut.-Commander M. G. Easton, was RNR. There appears to have been a large loss of Maltese sailors on the Louvain. I'm sure others will be along to help.

regards,

Martin

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rlilly
Rayal.

Welcome to the forum. Just quickly, doesn't seem to be any matches in the RN index and only one possible in RNVR but unfortunately no birth year given. Looking at the casualty lists in The Times, there were a lot of RNR sailors listed so that would be my hunch. The commanding officer of the ship, Lieut.-Commander M. G. Easton, was RNR. There appears to have been a large loss of Maltese sailors on the Louvain. I'm sure others will be along to help.

regards,

Martin

Thank you Martin. The Louvain was primarily located in the Mediterranean Sea, so its very possible they made stops off in Malta. It was considered part of the British Empire at the beginning of WWI and was used as a shipping way station and fleet head quarters. Will continue to monitor though.

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melliget

Just a slight correction. HMS Louvain was sunk by the UC 22. See the following uboat.net page:

http://www.uboat.net/wwi/ships_hit/3718.html

The attached Google Earth image shows the position of the sinking, using the coords given on uboat.net (the location is the point of the pin). It seems to have been sunk in between two Greek islands, Gios Georgios and Kythnos.

Was that his full name, Evan Edwards? Or did he have a middle name? How sure are you about his year of birth? The RN index has an Arthur Evan Edwards, though he was born in Stoke Newington, London, 08 April 1884. If he is in the online RN index somewhere, they only record service up until 1928. Service for 1928 and beyond are in records held by the MoD. Not sure if they would record a later date of death - perhaps, for the purposes of a pension etc. (later death dates are sometimes recorded in RAN service records).

He could have been sent home or simply given a few days off in a friendly port somewhere and then drafted to another ship. If injured in the sinking, then perhaps the former. If you manage to locate his service record, that may provide some clues.

Martin

post-29417-1264299962.jpg

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melliget

Here's the Admiralty announcement on the loss of HMS Louvain:

post-29417-1264300103.jpg

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rlilly

Very good reply Martin, your information is greatly appreciated. Just seeing the location of the sinking helps in picturing it. From all records of Evan Edwards he never went by a middle name. I'm very positive about his date of birth, where he was born, and who he was married too as I have in depth records of each. However, the problem lies in that he survived the war and he is talked about in letters as late as 1944 and 1946, but ne references as to where he lived from the time of the sinking of the HMS Louvain.I will however relist what information I have below for clarity reasons.

Evan Edwards b1887 Aberystwyth, Wales. Wife is Alice Edwards.

This has some information about one of his shipmates who also survived. HMS Louvain

Arthur Evan Edwards is not him.

My grandmother spoke of him many times, as no one knew what happen to him after WWI. I will try and find his service record. I'm not really sure where to start just yet, but I would think the Royal Navy will have a copy some how. Thank you again for your help.

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horatio2

All the RNR Records are at the Fleet Air Arm Museum. E-mail them with the details that you have.

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per ardua per mare per terram

Yhere are the following records at the UK National Archives, Kew. A petty officer might well have been called as a witness for a court martial.

ADM 1/8523/119 Loss of HMS LOUVAIN - Court Martial 1918

ADM 116/1653 H.M.S. LOUVAIN 1918

ADM 137/3715 Loss of HMS LOUVAIN 1918 Jan 20-Jan 23

RNR service records are also held by service number at Kew on microfiche in BT377/7; there is an alphabetical index in BT 377/2. Unlike the RN records, the RNR record may give information for later service, if he continued to serve. Alos to be in the RNR a man had to serve in the mercantile marine, so there may be details amongst their registers. Here's the research guide:

Merchant Seamen: Sea Service Records 1913-1972

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalog...?sLeafletID=128

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tonydavies

Rayal,

I am in the process of trying to find out more details of my father's sea career, and noticed your request about the SS Louvain.

My father was on the Louvain for a while near the starrt of WW2, and wrote that she was travelling to Malta, but was diverted throught the Corinth Canal to avoid submarines

in December 1917. He wrote that they were heading for Tsanto, but I do not know where that is.

I have a small photo of the canal which he took at the time.

He added that he travelled home by train via Cherbourg.

Luckily for him he must have left the Louvain shortly before she was sunk.

He also wrote that his parents had been officially informed that he had died, before he arrived home alive!

The Malta destination of the Louvain is presumably an explanation of why so many Maltese died in the sinking.

I realise that this does not help you with your own investigations, but perhaps it is still of some interest.

Tony Davies

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Guest michaelbrookes

My grandfather Percy Brooks was, I believe a petty officer on HMS Louvain when it was sunk. He told me just before he died in 1971 that he'd been sunk whilst in the mediterranean sea in the first world war. Will there be an official record of the survivors and if so where can I get a copy. Also his medals were stolen from my fathers house - is there a way of finding which medals he was awarded?

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fellop

This synopsis is from the HMS Louvain side of the story and taken in extract from the Courts Martial Report and witness statements. The Courts Martial was held in Portsmouth three months after the sinking.

HMS Louvain was sailing on a regular run between Malta and Mudros. She left Malta at 3pm on the 18 January 1918 and was escorted as far as the Corinth Canal then the escort returned to Malta and Louvain passed independently through the canal and at the Eastward end of the canal Louvain was met by HMS MTB Colne who was due to escort her.

Louvain was carrying mail, officers and ratings on passage to Mudros.

About 9pm 20 January Louvain was struck on the stern port quarter by a torpedo that penetrated the hull and entered the dynamo compartment just as Colne had passed over the wake of Louvain heading toward her starboard side on a zig zag pattern. The ship began to sink rapidly by the stern.

Hands were abandoning ship and boats were being lowered but boats were beginning to sink as soon as they reached the water due in part to still being made fast to the boat deck davits as the deck became level with the water.

A second torpedo was fired at Colne who then changed course and increased speed to 21 knots full speed and sailed down the along the incoming torpedo track and dropped two D Type depth charges set to 80 feet. After both depth charges exploded Colne reduced speed to 17 knots and swung around 180 degrees to starboard and headed to the last sighted position of Louvain which by now had sunk.

Crew on board Colne reported a strong smell of oil in the air and oil was reported on the surface of the water.

Colne stopped for two and half hours picking up survivors and searching the area no other attacks were reported.

The Courts Martial Summary:

HMS Louvain was sunk by a torpedo fired by an enemy submarine.

All possible precautions were taken by Colne against attack and everything possible was done by her to save life.

The evidence is insufficient to establish destruction of the submarine, but there are grounds to believe she was damaged.

The Commanding Officer of the Colne is to blame for making a false radio call that may have delayed arrival of other ships to hunt the submarine or render further assistance.

Louvain should have been zig zagging on her track. But the court is unable to apportion blame as neither the master or the officer of the watch survived.

The loss of life in boats is traceable to insufficient amount of boat drill or a complete understanding of it by ships crew or passengers, and faulty organisation in placing all the [surviving] officers together instead of distributing them among all boats and rafts to have a steadying influence.

Regards

Peter

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Guest josette

My great grandfather Guiseppe Arnaud(

from Malta) was a leading stoker on the HMS Louvain when it was torpedoed Jan 20 1918. He was only 35. I have a letter sent to his widow( my great grandmother) sent by King George. His name is on the Plymouth Memorial.

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Philip Cupit

My Maternal grandfather A/S Alfred Cullington was one of only a few survivors of the sinking of HMS Louvain near Greece in January 1918. Can anyone corroborate this or give me any information as to where I can find a list of  survivors. My grandfather was at sea on driftwood for 2/3 days before being rescued.

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Simon Mills

Philip,

 

Alfred Cullington was indeed a fireman on the HMS Louvain. Hope this helps.

 

S.

 

 

Cullington.jpg

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Simon Mills
On 21/01/2010 at 22:22, rlilly said:

I'm truly stuck and need your expertise or advice on what to do. My grandmother's brother was Evan Edwards b1887. He was a petty officer on board the HMS Louvain when it was sank in 1918 by the Germain U boat U-22. He was one of the few that survived the sinking. However, no matter what I try I can't find out what happened to him afterwards. Before the war started he was married to Alice Edwards in Aberystwyth, Dyfed, Wales, but by at least 1908 had moved to 32 Earl Street, Liverpool. I have a couple of pictures of him with his HMS Louvain navy cap on. Family letters from Wales have him still alive as late as Nov. 1946.

So I'm not familiar with the Royal Navy, but if he was a petty officer could he be in the Auxilary or Reserves, or just the regular navy? If he died during peace time in England would the Royal Navy have a record of his death even though he would have been retired? (I wouldn't think they would, but you never know). When the HMS Louvain sunk would they have automatically send him home, or just assign him to another ship?

Any little tidbits of information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you much.

 

There is a Petty Officer E. Edwards listed in the list of those saved at the sinking of the HMS Louvain, and I suspect that this may be your man. Unfortunately there isn't much information on him after that, but according to the records I can confirm that he was in the RNR.

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