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Remembered Today:

His Majesty's Trawlers


Strachan

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In a bout of family research I found that my Gr. Gr. Grandfather served with the Admiralty as part of a minesweep. He was a fisherman too old for the front. Unfortunately for him his Trawler, HMT Waltham, was torpedoed by a U-boat just off the Isle of Man in 1917. I have been unable to find any more on his service bar an entry with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

So, what status did sailors of the Naval Reserve have? He was awarded no naval medals for his 3 years service. So was this man, on paper, a sailor with the Royal Navy or 'Dad's Army' at sea?

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Hello

For information, here is the casualty list for WALTHAM.

CAMPBELL DUNCAN SEAMAN, RNR A 6890 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

FEWSTER CHARLES F. TRIMMER, RNR T S 4246 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

HOLLAND MICHAEL D. DECK HAND, RNR D A 2788 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

MAIR JAMES TY/SKIPPER, RNR 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

MARSH ROBERT W. TRIMMER, RNR T S 5300 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

RICHARDSON EDMUND DECK HAND, RNR D A 8304 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

SMITH JOHN TRIMMER, RNR T S 1923 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

STEPHEN PETER S. DECK HAND, RNR D A 4860 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

STEWART JAMES W. DECK HAND, RNR D A 4009 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

STRACHAN ROBERT ENGINEMAN, RNR E S 1829 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

TOLAN WILLIAM TRIMMER, RNR T S 2639 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

WEBSTER WILLIAM 2nd HAND, RNR D A 4812 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

WILSON DAVID DECK HAND, RNR D A 3276 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

All best

don

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Hello

For information, here is the casualty list for WALTHAM.

CAMPBELL DUNCAN SEAMAN, RNR A 6890 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

FEWSTER CHARLES F. TRIMMER, RNR T S 4246 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

HOLLAND MICHAEL D. DECK HAND, RNR D A 2788 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

MAIR JAMES TY/SKIPPER, RNR 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

MARSH ROBERT W. TRIMMER, RNR T S 5300 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

RICHARDSON EDMUND DECK HAND, RNR D A 8304 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

SMITH JOHN TRIMMER, RNR T S 1923 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

STEPHEN PETER S. DECK HAND, RNR D A 4860 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

STEWART JAMES W. DECK HAND, RNR D A 4009 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

STRACHAN ROBERT ENGINEMAN, RNR E S 1829 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

TOLAN WILLIAM TRIMMER, RNR T S 2639 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

WEBSTER WILLIAM 2nd HAND, RNR D A 4812 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

WILSON DAVID DECK HAND, RNR D A 3276 10/10/17 SHIP LOSS

All best

don

I imagined it would have been a smaller vessel. Anyway, my Gr. Gr. Grandfather was the Engineman, Robert Strachan (as you may have guessed).

Thanks for this information.

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Hi, Strachen, if your grandfather was RNR and was in active service he would have been entitled to a British war medal and victory medal, also possibly a 1915 star depending on when he first saw action. In addition his family would have been awarded a memorial plague (sometimes known as the death penny). gareth

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A quick word about the loss of Waltham. The Royal Navy presumed she was torpedoed by a submarine off the Isle of Man on October 10, 1917. U-boats did not, however, intentionally torpedo trawlers during the war; they weren't worth a torpedo. Nor is the sinking attributed to any U-boat in the German official history of U-boat operations. A careful review of German records does show what very probably happened: on October 4, 1917, the German minelaying submarine UC 75 laid a number of mines off the Isle of Man. Waltham likely hit one of these mines and sank with the loss of all hands.

Best wishes,

Michael

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Hi Strachen,

Royal Naval Reserve (Trawler Section) - RNR(T)

In 1911 it was felt that there was a need to employ trawlers in war-time as minesweepers and patrol vessels. The Royal Naval Reserve Trawler Section - RNR(T) was set up to enroll the necessary personnel. Although abolished as a separate section of the RNR in 1921, the RNR (T) always remained distinct from the RNR proper, and employed fishermen. In both world wars a large number of trawlers were taken up by the Royal Navy complete with their crews, who were entered on a form T124 by which they engaged to serve in a named vessel for the duration of the war only. Fishermen on a T124 formed the bulk of the RNR (T) during the First World.

Regards Charles

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HMT Waltham, Admiralty No 689, Port No GY 303 ( Great Yarmouth) hired trawler, 162 Gross tons launched 1897, Minesweeper armed with 1 x 6 pounder gun, requisitioned December 1914 - lost `10/10/1917, Dittmar gives ' Disappeared 10/10/1917 off the Isle of Man, presumed sunk by Submarine.' All of her crew bar one are listed on the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle.

Aye

Malcolm

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GY 303 ( Great Yarmouth) hired trawler,

Aye

Malcolm

Lots of good info on this trawler but GY is prefix for Grimsby registered vessels.

David Boswell's Lost List of Grimsby Vessels 1800 - 1960

Has the following entry:

10 Oct 1917 Waltham (S.T. 161) Missing off Isle of Man in Admiralty Service.

Cheers: Terry

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Hi Strachen,

Royal Naval Reserve (Trawler Section) - RNR(T)

In 1911 it was felt that there was a need to employ trawlers in war-time as minesweepers and patrol vessels. The Royal Naval Reserve Trawler Section - RNR(T) was set up to enroll the necessary personnel. Although abolished as a separate section of the RNR in 1921, the RNR (T) always remained distinct from the RNR proper, and employed fishermen. In both world wars a large number of trawlers were taken up by the Royal Navy complete with their crews, who were entered on a form T124 by which they engaged to serve in a named vessel for the duration of the war only. Fishermen on a T124 formed the bulk of the RNR (T) during the First World.

Regards Charles

Would drifters or steam drifters come under this scheme too? One of our men (village memorial) was lost on the Eyrie and I just wondered what his medal entitlement would have been. Would these fishermen have had the choice about being in the RNR or was it just expected that it went with the job?

Lionboxer

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Lionboxer,

About 50% of the fishermen ended up in the RNR(T) most by volunteering some by peer pressure if a craft was requisitioned the crew would mostly to a man sign on. Have you got a name maybe we can find out.

Regards Charles

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post-12365-1150485096.jpg

Hi, if I could add to this thread. My ancester 2893 TS Edwin Ilbrey was a Trimmer on the HMT Bartlett out of Grimsby. Attached is a photo of her and crew, sadly not very clear. My relative is the smaller guy in the back row. What did TS stand for? I have tried several times to find Edwin on the NA records for medal card but seems nothing. Can anyone else have more joy?

John

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Hi John,

Nice photo and something to cherish. The TS was the register most trimmers signed on in and his number 2893 is his page. To sign on in the RNR(T) you had to be a certificated seaman, in your case a trimmer.

Regards Charles

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post-12365-1150485096.jpg

Hi, if I could add to this thread. My ancester 2893 TS Edwin Ilbrey was a Trimmer on the HMT Bartlett out of Grimsby. Attached is a photo of her and crew, sadly not very clear. My relative is the smaller guy in the back row. What did TS stand for? I have tried several times to find Edwin on the NA records for medal card but seems nothing. Can anyone else have more joy?

John

Hi John as he was RNR there is no medal card as such. The RNR record cards are I beleive held at the Fleet air arm museum at Yeovilton.

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Would drifters or steam drifters come under this scheme too? One of our men (village memorial) was lost on the Eyrie and I just wondered what his medal entitlement would have been. Would these fishermen have had the choice about being in the RNR or was it just expected that it went with the job?

Lionboxer

If the Eirie was under the flag so to speak and your man was RNR he would have been entitled to war and Victory medals also possobly a 1915 star and as he was lost a memorial plaque. Gareth

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Eyrie was requisitioned into the Auxiliary Patrol on 1st Sept 1914 as Admiralty Number 214, she sailed from lowestoft and was sunk on the 2nd Sept 1914 in the Humber Minefield. So yes "under the flag".

Regards Charles

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Hello

Here is the list for EYRIE. Note the consecutive service numbers....

ALLEN FREDERICK R. DECK HAND, TRAWLER SECTION, RNR D A 884 EYRIE 02/09/14 SHIP LOSS

BRACEY WALTER DECK HAND, TRAWLER SECTION, RNR D A 883 EYRIE 02/09/14 SHIP LOSS

BURCH ROBERT E. DECK HAND, TRAWLER SECTION, RNR D A 885 EYRIE 02/09/14 SHIP LOSS

SCARLL THOMAS SKIPPER, RNR (Probationary) EYRIE 02/09/14 SHIP LOSS

SLATER WILLIAM G. DECK HAND, TRAWLER SECTION, RNR D A 888 EYRIE 02/09/14 SHIP LOSS

WHITING WILLIAM S. ENGINEMAN, TRAWLER SECTION, RNR E S 471 EYRIE 02/09/14 SHIP LOSS

All best

don

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Eyrie was one of a number of vessels that sank in a minefield laid by the German cruiser Nautilus.

Best wishes,

Michael

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Thanks for all that Pals. I have gleaned a lot of info about the Eyrie from an earlier posting on the Forum. Anyone got a photo or picture of her? Young Walter Bracey was only nineteen when he became our village's first casualty of the war. What sort of info would be expected to be found at the FAA museum?

Lionboxer

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The RNR record cards are I beleive held at the Fleet air arm museum at Yeovilton.

Microfiche copies of the the RNR service cards for WW1-1920s are at KEW in BT 377/7, they give details such as: date and place of birth address, parent's names, description, ships served on, and how much prize money he received. If he served more than 1 term of engagement (5 years) there should be a cross reference to another card.

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Medal Index Cards were an army system, not a naval one. All RNR ratings would have a minimum of a pair. There entitlement is often stamped on the service card, but they are also on the naval medal rolls on microfilm in ADM 171, also at Kew.

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TS = service number code for Trimmers of the Trawler Section.

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  • 8 months later...

My Great Great Grandfather, who I spoke of before, had been in Admiralty service for 3 years before his death in 1917. Thus he must have volunteered in 1914.

Source:

Fraserburgh Herald Honour Roll : 26th October 1917.

“Engineer Robert Strachan

Fraserburgh

Mrs Strachan, 75 Frithside Street, has been notified by the Admiralty that her husband Robert Strachan, engineer on H.M. Minesweepers, has been lost at sea. Engineer Strachan, who was 49 years of age, had been on war services three years, before which he was an engineer on Fraserburgh herring Drifters. His son Robert is in the Gordons, and his son George is a Sea Scout.”

As yet, I have been unable to find medal cards. Did they issue medal cards for deceased members of the services? To what extent would he be regarded as war dead? He is mentioned in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Should his name not be listed on the local memorial regardless of the fact of his body not being recovered?

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