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r!dleyhill

R.N. 'Kethailes', U.S.N. 'Wanderer', Dominican '

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r!dleyhill

Royal Navy H.M. [Armed] Yacht 'Kethailes' 1903 - 1917

ex- 'Kethailes' [2nd] [GB]

'Wanderer II' 1897 - 1931

ex- United States Navy 'Wanderer SP 132'

exx- 'Wanderer' [uSA]

exxx- 'Kethailes' [1st] [GB]

Navy of the Dominican Republic 'El Presidente' 1873 - 1916

ex- 'Red Rose' [GB]

My mother-in-law’s Grandfather was William Johnston (1841 - 1917), founder of the Johnston Line of cargo steamers out of Liverpool (later a part of Furness, Withy). Like all good late Victorian / Edwardian millionaires he duly acquired his own 'gentleman's steam yacht' (three of them!), being the contemporary equivalent of today’s corporate jet (or is that 'Airbus A380', the bar having been raised just a bit lately!)

All three of his yachts ended up in naval service, all three met unpleasant ends that are most unsatisfactorily explained in either family private papers or anywhere that I have been able to find on the published or public record.

Details first, then the questions:-

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

'Kethailes' [2nd] 625 g.r.t.

1903 Built as a Steam Yacht for William JOHNSTON of Liverpool by Richardson, Duck & Co., Thornaby-on-Tees, Durham, England - Yard Number #535, Launched 11 April 1903, Commissioned May 1903.

Named 'KETHAILES' by owner William Johnston for his four daughters: Kathleen (oldest), ETHel, AILeen, EStele (youngest)

On 24 September 1914 voluntarily handed over, with later financial compensation, to the (British) Royal Navy for use as an Armed Naval Auxiliary (also known as an 'Admiralty Armed Yacht') in the Yacht Patrol. Patrolled in the North Sea, then transferred to the Irish Sea.

On 11 October 1917 Sunk in the Irish Sea in a Collision near the Blackwater Light Vessel, off Wexford on the south-easternmost tip of Ireland. At least 6 persons aboard H.M.Y. 'Kethailes' died. The wreck has subsequently been positively identified by modern deep water divers.

In the churchyard of St. Celynin, in the tiny coastal village of Llwyngwril - a third of the way between Barmouth on the Mawddach Estuary and Aberdovey, all in Merioneth (today's Gwynedd), mid Wales - are buried all in one common grave Second Engineer James Grieve, of the Mercantile Marine Reserve, and five unidentified ratings from H.M. Yacht 'Kethailes'. Clearly the bodies were not landed here by any ship large enough to have run down 'Kethailes', so presumably they were washed ashore some time after the sinking, which might explain why they were unidentified, as the sinking took place on quite the other side of the Irish Sea. Personnel lost with no identified body ever found included:

- Abraham, Alfred Henry (Steward, Mercantile Marine Reserve), aged 39, of Hyde Park Road, Portsmouth, England;

- Keers, Joseph (Chief Petty Officer + Carpenter, Mercantile Marine Reserve), aged 54, of 2022 Albert Street, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada;

- McCulloch, James (Sub-Lieutenant, Royal Naval Reserve), aged 30, of ‘Blairmount’, Rennie Street, Falkirk, Scotland.

- Which leaves at least two bodies unaccounted for by Commonwealth War Graves records.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

'Kethailes' [1st] 447.g.r.t / 362 n.r.t.. 197' x 24.2' x 13'

1897 Built as a Steam Yacht for William JOHNSTON of Liverpool by Ramage & Ferguson, Leith, Scotland - Yard Number #152, Launched 29 May 1897 (British Official Number #106,877)

1902 Sold to H. A. C. Taylor of New York City, U.S.A., and Renamed 'Wanderer' (American Official Number #140,030). Miramar Ships Index says 'sold to C.L.F. Robinson'.

On 10 June 1917 Sold to United States Navy and commissioned as 'Wanderer (SP 132)' on 14 July 1917, with a complement of 56 men and an armament of two 3 inch and two machine guns. Whilst 'working up' she operated briefly along the U.S. and Canadian East Coasts before steaming to Brest, Finistère, Bretagne, France, by way of the Azores in August 1917. For the rest of World War I the converted yacht performed anti-submarine patrol and convoy escort duties in the Bay of Biscay. In her first months of this service her convoys had several encounters with German U-boats and in April 1918 she was close-by when the S.S. 'Florence H.', loaded with ammunition, blew up in Quiberon Bay. 'Wanderer' returned to the U.S. in December 1918, several weeks after the Armistice ended the fighting, and was decommissioned in April 1919 at New York, being "struck" from the Navy List on 24 April 1919.

On 22 July 1920 Sold to J.S. Webster of S. Webster & Sons, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. and Renamed 'Wanderer II'.

On 09 August 1929 two crewmen were killed by an explosion aboard when off St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.A.

During the 3rd Quarter of 1931 she was Scuttled

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

'Red Rose' 389 g.r.t. / 242 n.r.t.. 208.6' x 21.6' x 14.2'

1873 Built as a Steam Yacht for J. Lancaster of Liverpool by Thomas Bollen Seath, Rutherglen (Clyde), Scotland - Yard Number #139, Launched October 1872, Commissioned May 1873 (British Official Number #69,260)

1873 - 1876 Chartered to William JOHNSTON of Liverpool

1876 Deleted from Lloyd’s Register

1884/5 Owner reported as Wm. Lancaster, Liverpool

1894 No longer in Merchant Navy List

1896 Re-engined and Rebuilt as a Gunboat for sale to the Government of the Dominican Republic by Grangemouth Dockyard Co., Grangemouth, Stirling, Scotland (on the Firth of Forth) and Renamed 'El Presidente'. Subsequently Commissioned in the Dominican Republic Navy equipped with small QF (Quick Firing) Hotchkiss guns.

'Deleted' c. 1916 at the time of the United States invasion of the Dominican Republic. Haiti was invaded and occupied by U.S. Marines in 1915, then in 1916 they did the same for the Dominican Republic on the other end of the two country's shared island of Hispaniola. The flimsy pretext was the settlement of outstanding trade debts. The Dominican occupation lasted for eight years until 1924, whilst the U.S. forces stayed in Haiti until 1934.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Any additional information regarding any of these three ships (including photographs*) will be much appreciated, in particular:-

RED ROSE - What did in fact happen to her prior to and as a result of the United States invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1916?

H.M. YACHT KETHAILES [2nd] - Which ship ran her down, what were the circumstances, how many actually died, why were 6 bodies quietly buried in a tiny Welsh churchyard, why I have I been TOTALLY unable to find any details about the 'other' ship(s) involved (smacks of 'wartime cover-up for military incompetence'), was this a collision with another, bigger British warship?

WANDERER II (ex- KETHAILES [1st]) - More details please about her American civilian ownership, both pre- and post World War I, in particular where and why and by whom was she Scuttled?

To misquote Lady Bracknell from Oscar Wilde's masterpiece 'The Importance of Being Earnest': "To loose one gentleman's steam yacht, Mr. Johnston, may be regarded as a misfortune... to lose three seems like carelessness!"

'Tom Carnes'

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

* I know of and have copies of three Official U.S. Navy photos of 'Wanderer SP 132' on patrol and laid up post-War. If anybody would like a high resolution scan of 'Kethailes' [2nd] at anchor at the Cowes Regatta of 1905 I would be happy to send them a copy.

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r!dleyhill

Royal Navy H.M. [Armed] Yacht 'Kethailes' 1903 - 1917

ex- 'Kethailes' [2nd] [GB]

I am still absolutely no nearer to discovering who ran down the 'Kethailes', but....

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (many thanks for their kind help :-) plus some other web-based resources, there were in fact 16 recorded casualties from the loss of H.M. Yacht ‘Ketahiles’ through collision in the Irish Sea on 11 October 1917: -

ABRAHAM, Alfred Henry. Steward, Mercantile Marine Reserve. Drowned at age 39. Husband of Cecilia Kate May Abraham of 173 Hyde Park Road, Portsmouth, Devon (Commemorated at Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, England - possibly Buried at Llwyngwril).

AMERY, James. Petty Officer, 129483, (R.F.R./Ch./A/1116), Royal Navy. Buried at Llanaber (St. Mary) Churchyard, Merionethshire (today’s Gwynedd), mid Wales - Grave in south-west part of yard. Llanaber is 1.5 miles north of Barmouth and 8 miles east of Dolgelly, situated at the mouth of the river Man, overlooking Cardigan Bay.

BENJEYFIELD, Charles James. Assistant Cook, Mercantile Marine Reserve. Drowned (Commemorated at Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, England - possibly Buried at Llwyngwril).

BURNS, James. (Coal) Trimmer, 4574TS, Royal Naval Reserve. Drowned at age 56. Brother of Johannah Kiely, of 19 Athol Street, Poplar, London (Commemorated at Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, England - possibly Buried at Llwyngwril).

BUXTON, Norman Charles. Able Seaman, Mercantile Marine Reserve. Drowned at age 25 (Commemorated at Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, England - possibly Buried at Llwyngwril).

CAST, Thomas Charles. Deck Hand, Mercantile Marine Reserve. Drowned at age 21. Son of Benjamin Henry and Emma Elizabeth Cast of 11 Machell Road, Nunhead, London (Commemorated at Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, England - possibly Buried at Llwyngwril).

CLARK, George. Lieutenant, Royal Naval Reserve. Drowned at age 25. Husband of Lilian Jane Clark of Flush House, Knockbreda Road, Belfast. Son of Robert Dawson Clark and Jane Clark of West Hartlepool (Commemorated at Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent, England).

DICKSON, William. Fireman, Mercantile Marine Reserve. Drowned at age 33. Son of William and Elizabeth Wallace Dickson of Helensburgh, Dumbartonshire (Commemorated at Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, England - possibly Buried at Llwyngwril).

DYER, Frederick. Able Seaman, Mercantile Marine Reserve. Drowned (Commemorated at Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, England - possibly Buried at Llwyngwril).

FLETCHER, Fredewrick. Cook, Mercantile Marine Reserve. Drowned at age 33. Son of the late Joseph and Mary J. Fletcher of Gosport, Hampshire, England (Commemorated at Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, England - possibly Buried at Llwyngwril).

GRIEVE, James. Second Engineer, Mercantile Marine Reserve. Records state that he Died on 12 October 1917, the day after the sinking. Buried in one common grave together with five unidentified ratings from H.M. Yacht ‘Kethailes at Llwyngwril (St. Celynin) Churchyard, mid Wales - Grave in north-east part of old yard. Clearly the bodies were not landed here by any ship large enough to have run down ‘Kethailes’, so presumably they were washed ashore some time after the sinking, which might explain why they were unidentified, as the sinking took place on quite the other side of the Irish Sea. The tiny coastal village of Llwyngwril is a third of the way between Barmouth on the Mawddach Estuary and Aberdovey, all in Merionethshire (today’s Gwynedd).

HAMMERTON, Walter. Deck Hand, Mercantile Marine Reserve. Drowned at age 24. Husband of Florence Beatrice Hammerton of 68 Humbolt Road, Fulham Cross, London; Son of William Hammerton. (Commemorated at Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, England - possibly Buried at Llwyngwril).

HAWES, Stranley George. Fireman, Mercantile Marine Reserve. Drowned at age 21. Husband of Mary Ellen Watkins (formerly Hawes) of 190 Robert Street, Milford Haven (Commemorated at Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, England - possibly Buried at Llwyngwril).

KEERS, Joseph. Chief Petty Officer & Carpenter, Mercantile Marine Reserve. Drowned at age 54. Husband of Harriet L. Keers of 2022 Albert Street, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; Son of James and Sarah Keers, of Coleraine, Londonderry, Ireland (Commemorated at Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, England - possibly Buried at Llwyngwril). Regarding Kerrs: owing to a fast developing severe shortage of British seamen, about 1,700 Canadians with no nautical background and many from well inland were recruited after February 1916 into the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve, Overseas Division. A surprisingly large number of these men ended up in the (British) Royal Navy’s Yacht Patrol Service. In the recruiting of Canadians, as in almost all the other forms of naval activity, the main emphasis was upon supplementing as far as possible the undertakings of the British Admiralty, rather than upon developing any large and distinctly Canadian effort.

McCULLOCH, James. Sub-Lieutenant, Royal Naval Reserve. Drowned at age 30. Husband of Helen K. McCulloch of ‘Blairmount’, Rennie Street, Falkirk, Scotland; Son of Mr. and Mrs. James McCulloch of Drummore, Wigtownshire (Commemorated at Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, England).

PORCHER, Horace. 2nd Steward, Mercantile Marine Reserve. Drowned at age 27. Son of William Porcher of Gravesend, Kent (Commemorated at Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, England - possibly Buried at Llwyngwril).

'Tom Carnes'

Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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historydavid

Tom, J J Colledge has:

KETHAILES, built 1903, 626 tons, 2x3 pdr. hired as A/P Yacht 23/9/1914, sunk 11/10/197 in collision off the Blackwater light vessel.

Admiralty death records have one additional casualty to your list, making a total of 17:

WARNER, ALFRED E., SIGNALMAN, 230020 (Dev), KETHAILES H.M. Yacht (hired), 11-Oct-17, SHIP LOSS.

There is a dearth of information in the records regarding participants in collisions. If the accident happened at night, or in fog, the information that a collision had taken place would probably come from a survivor, who may not have been well enough placed to see the other vessel. If the other ship was a merchant, its skipper may have decided to press on with his voyage rather than getting involved in an enquiry.

I don't have any other information on the collision, but know that some research has been carried out on collisions involving RN vessels so will persue it.

Best wishes

David

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Guest cglass
Royal Navy H.M. [Armed] Yacht 'Kethailes' 1903 - 1917

ex- 'Kethailes' [2nd] [GB]

'Wanderer II' 1897 - 1931

ex- United States Navy 'Wanderer SP 132'

exx- 'Wanderer' [uSA]

exxx- 'Kethailes' [1st] [GB]

Navy of the Dominican Republic 'El Presidente' 1873 - 1916

ex- 'Red Rose' [GB]

My mother-in-law's Grandfather was William Johnston (1841 - 1917), founder of the Johnston Line of cargo steamers out of Liverpool (later a part of Furness, Withy). Like all good late Victorian / Edwardian millionaires he duly acquired his own 'gentleman's steam yacht' (three of them!), being the contemporary equivalent of today's corporate jet (or is that 'Airbus A380', the bar having been raised just a bit lately!)

All three of his yachts ended up in naval service, all three met unpleasant ends that are most unsatisfactorily explained in either family private papers or anywhere that I have been able to find on the published or public record.

Details first, then the questions:-

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

'Kethailes' [2nd] 625 g.r.t.

1903 Built as a Steam Yacht for William JOHNSTON of Liverpool by Richardson, Duck & Co., Thornaby-on-Tees, Durham, England - Yard Number #535, Launched 11 April 1903, Commissioned May 1903.

Named 'KETHAILES' by owner William Johnston for his four daughters: Kathleen (oldest), ETHel, AILeen, EStele (youngest)

On 24 September 1914 voluntarily handed over, with later financial compensation, to the (British) Royal Navy for use as an Armed Naval Auxiliary (also known as an 'Admiralty Armed Yacht') in the Yacht Patrol. Patrolled in the North Sea, then transferred to the Irish Sea.

On 11 October 1917 Sunk in the Irish Sea in a Collision near the Blackwater Light Vessel, off Wexford on the south-easternmost tip of Ireland. At least 6 persons aboard H.M.Y. 'Kethailes' died. The wreck has subsequently been positively identified by modern deep water divers.

In the churchyard of St. Celynin, in the tiny coastal village of Llwyngwril - a third of the way between Barmouth on the Mawddach Estuary and Aberdovey, all in Merioneth (today's Gwynedd), mid Wales - are buried all in one common grave Second Engineer James Grieve, of the Mercantile Marine Reserve, and five unidentified ratings from H.M. Yacht 'Kethailes'. Clearly the bodies were not landed here by any ship large enough to have run down 'Kethailes', so presumably they were washed ashore some time after the sinking, which might explain why they were unidentified, as the sinking took place on quite the other side of the Irish Sea. Personnel lost with no identified body ever found included:

- Abraham, Alfred Henry (Steward, Mercantile Marine Reserve), aged 39, of Hyde Park Road, Portsmouth, England;

- Keers, Joseph (Chief Petty Officer + Carpenter, Mercantile Marine Reserve), aged 54, of 2022 Albert Street, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada;

- McCulloch, James (Sub-Lieutenant, Royal Naval Reserve), aged 30, of 'Blairmount', Rennie Street, Falkirk, Scotland.

- Which leaves at least two bodies unaccounted for by Commonwealth War Graves records.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

'Kethailes' [1st] 447.g.r.t / 362 n.r.t.. 197' x 24.2' x 13'

1897 Built as a Steam Yacht for William JOHNSTON of Liverpool by Ramage & Ferguson, Leith, Scotland - Yard Number #152, Launched 29 May 1897 (British Official Number #106,877)

1902 Sold to H. A. C. Taylor of New York City, U.S.A., and Renamed 'Wanderer' (American Official Number #140,030). Miramar Ships Index says 'sold to C.L.F. Robinson'.

On 10 June 1917 Sold to United States Navy and commissioned as 'Wanderer (SP 132)' on 14 July 1917, with a complement of 56 men and an armament of two 3 inch and two machine guns. Whilst 'working up' she operated briefly along the U.S. and Canadian East Coasts before steaming to Brest, Finistère, Bretagne, France, by way of the Azores in August 1917. For the rest of World War I the converted yacht performed anti-submarine patrol and convoy escort duties in the Bay of Biscay. In her first months of this service her convoys had several encounters with German U-boats and in April 1918 she was close-by when the S.S. 'Florence H.', loaded with ammunition, blew up in Quiberon Bay. 'Wanderer' returned to the U.S. in December 1918, several weeks after the Armistice ended the fighting, and was decommissioned in April 1919 at New York, being "struck" from the Navy List on 24 April 1919.

On 22 July 1920 Sold to J.S. Webster of S. Webster & Sons, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. and Renamed 'Wanderer II'.

On 09 August 1929 two crewmen were killed by an explosion aboard when off St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.A.

During the 3rd Quarter of 1931 she was Scuttled

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

'Red Rose' 389 g.r.t. / 242 n.r.t.. 208.6' x 21.6' x 14.2'

1873 Built as a Steam Yacht for J. Lancaster of Liverpool by Thomas Bollen Seath, Rutherglen (Clyde), Scotland - Yard Number #139, Launched October 1872, Commissioned May 1873 (British Official Number #69,260)

1873 - 1876 Chartered to William JOHNSTON of Liverpool

1876 Deleted from Lloyd's Register

1884/5 Owner reported as Wm. Lancaster, Liverpool

1894 No longer in Merchant Navy List

1896 Re-engined and Rebuilt as a Gunboat for sale to the Government of the Dominican Republic by Grangemouth Dockyard Co., Grangemouth, Stirling, Scotland (on the Firth of Forth) and Renamed 'El Presidente'. Subsequently Commissioned in the Dominican Republic Navy equipped with small QF (Quick Firing) Hotchkiss guns.

'Deleted' c. 1916 at the time of the United States invasion of the Dominican Republic. Haiti was invaded and occupied by U.S. Marines in 1915, then in 1916 they did the same for the Dominican Republic on the other end of the two country's shared island of Hispaniola. The flimsy pretext was the settlement of outstanding trade debts. The Dominican occupation lasted for eight years until 1924, whilst the U.S. forces stayed in Haiti until 1934.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Any additional information regarding any of these three ships (including photographs*) will be much appreciated, in particular:-

RED ROSE - What did in fact happen to her prior to and as a result of the United States invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1916?

H.M. YACHT KETHAILES [2nd] - Which ship ran her down, what were the circumstances, how many actually died, why were 6 bodies quietly buried in a tiny Welsh churchyard, why I have I been TOTALLY unable to find any details about the 'other' ship(s) involved (smacks of 'wartime cover-up for military incompetence'), was this a collision with another, bigger British warship?

WANDERER II (ex- KETHAILES [1st]) - More details please about her American civilian ownership, both pre- and post World War I, in particular where and why and by whom was she Scuttled?

To misquote Lady Bracknell from Oscar Wilde's masterpiece 'The Importance of Being Earnest': "To loose one gentleman's steam yacht, Mr. Johnston, may be regarded as a misfortune... to lose three seems like carelessness!"

'Tom Carnes'

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

* I know of and have copies of three Official U.S. Navy photos of 'Wanderer SP 132' on patrol and laid up post-War. If anybody would like a high resolution scan of 'Kethailes' [2nd] at anchor at the Cowes Regatta of 1905 I would be happy to send them a copy.

Tom,

Can you contact me off-forum at tlodge60-fhist1@yahoo.co.uk concerning information about the Johnston family. I have details of a will that might be of interest to your research about the Johnston Line family.

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Guest petreb

reply to Tom Carnes, Re Red Rose

Your post about the Dominican Republic navy has muddied the waters of my research which concerns the yacht Deerhound which belonged to John Lancaster and the rescue of the crew of the CSS Alabama.

I found evidence that the El Presidente was formally the Deerhound and was one of three gunboats in the Dominican navy. In 1904, in much need of repair she sailed to Newport News in Virginia a trip of about 1300 miles, not bad for a vessel on her lst sea legs, where the cost of repair was estimated to be greater than the value of the yacht and she was sold for scrap. This puts the Red Rose and the Deerhound in commission at the same time with an overlap of about eght years.

I don't doubt for a moment that you information is correct and mine most likely wrong but it does give food for thought.

With respect

Petreb

Since posting the above I have discovered that the Deerhound had foundered and was lost sometime before 1896 so could not have been the El Presidente. You were right, I was wrong and the waters are no longer muddy.

Petreb

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Gonker44

Hi, I appreciate this thread is over 10 years old, but I have today identified the burial place for DYER, Frederick. Able Seaman, Mercantile Marine Reserve. as being in St. Matthews Church BORTH. If this thread is still active and of interest I can post further information/source for this.

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