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I am looking for information on the following ships:-
ss Tewkesbury On board 1933-34. Sunk by U-69 21/5/41.
ss Harbury - On board - 1934-5 (Sunk 1943).
ss El Mirlo - On board - 1936-8 (Bombed Liverpool 12th/13th March 1941).
mv Dallas City - On board 1940. Sunk 4th July 1940
tss Nea Hellas - On board 1942. Attacked by Italian submarine October 1942. Attacked by aircraft in Algiers Nov 1942.
Any information on the above ships, during the time my father was on board, or about their wartime experiences would be most appreciated.
Launched on 26-09-1927 as the S.S. GLOCLIFFE by Craig, Taylor & Company of Stockton-on-Tees for Messrs Humphries of Cardiff, and completed in November of that year as Yard Number 222.
Official Number : 148295
Gross Tonnage : 4,601
Propulsion : 3-cylinder triple-expansion steam reciprocating engine driving single screw. Engine Manufacturer – Messrs Blair & Company, Stockton-on-Tees
In 1932, acquired by Capper Alexander of London and renamed S.S. TEWKESBURY
On 1st March 1941, TEWKESBURY was part of a North-bound coastal convoy when she came under attack from a German aircraft off Aberdeen. A 250 kg bomb dropped by the German plane went through the Engine Room skylight and landed on the plates deep down in the Engine Room. Following a nerve-wracking an difficult operation, in which the ship’s 2nd Officer played a major role, the bomb was manoeuvred out of the Engine Room and over the side. For this incredible display of bravery he was awarded the George Medal and the Lloyd’s War Medal for Bravery at Sea.
On 21st May 1941, TEWKESBURY was on a passage from Rosario to the United Kingdom, unescorted, South of the Cape Verde Islands and Monrovia, and North-east of St Paul Rocks, in position 05’ 49” North, 24’ 09” West, when she was attacked by the Type VIIC German submarine U-69 which was on her third of eleven war patrols, under the command of Kapitanleutnant Jost Metzler. The torpedo struck the vessel’s bow at 23:42 hours. The U-Boat then opened fire on the vessel with her deck-gun, but none of the 21 incendiary rounds fired ignited on impact. At 00:36 hours on the morning of 22nd May 1941 the submarine delivered the coup de grace that sent the merchantman to the bottom.
The Master, Captain Theodore Pryse, OBE, along with 19 crewmembers got off in one of the boats and they were picked up by an American vessel that transferred them across to the British warship HMS CILICIA which landed them at Freetown.
The Chief Officer of TEWHESBURY, along with a further 20 crewmembers, got off in another one of the boats and they too were duly picked up by another American vessel and landed in Capetown, but in their case they were adrift on the sea for about 12 days before being sighted.
Happily, no lives were lost in this incident.
Launched 18th September 1933, by Lithgows Limited of Port Glasgow, for Messrs J & C Harrison of London, and completed in October of that year as their Yard No. 862
Official Number : 163399
Gross Tonnage : 5,081
Propulsion : 3-cylinder triple-expansion steam reciprocating engine driving single screw, manufactured by David Rowan & Coy Ltd, Engineers, Glasgow.
In the early hours of 5th of May 1943, whilst part of a United Kingdom Canada and USA bound convoy ONS 5, and in a position South of Cape Farewell, 55’ 01” North, 42’ 59” West, S.S. HARBURY was sunk by the Type VIIC submarine, U-264, (Kapitanleutnant Hartwig Looks) which had come across the damaged British merchantman that had been abandoned following an earlier torpedo attack by the submarine U-628 (Kapitanleutnant Heinrich Hasenschar)
The British freighter had been on a passage from Milford Haven to St John N.B. with a cargo of 6,129 tons of anthracite coal when she was struck by a torpedo from U-628 causing serious damage and flooding of holds and Engine Room, resulting in abandonment of ship. Seven Crewmembers and one Gunner lost their lives in this action, and another six men were injured. The Master, along with 33 Crewmembers and 8 Gunners got away from the vessel and were later picked up by HMT Northern Spray and landed at St John, New Brunswick, on 8th May 1943.
U-264 sent the British vessel to the bottom following the discharge of 40 rounds 88mm and 100 rounds 20mm at the stricken vessel.
S.S. EL MIRLO
Oil tanker built by the Blythswood Shipbuilding Company of Scotstoun, Glasgow for Lobitos Oilfields Limited, Managers C. T. Bowring of London, Yard No. 29.
Launched on 10th July 1930 and completed in September of that year.
This vessel gave good service throughout WWII and came through the conflict unscathed, apart from some damage sustained during the night-raid air attack on Liverpool in mid-March 1941. Exact details of the damage sustained is unknown.
M.V. DALLAS CITY
A 4,952 GRT cargo vessel built by the Furness Shipbuilding Company, of Haverton Hill, for Sir W. Reardon Smith & Sons of Cardiff, Yard Number 248.
Launched on 16th July 1936 and completed in August of that year.
Propulsion by means of a four-cylinder Doxford oil engine rated at 687 HP and manufactured by Messrs Doxford of Sunderland.
As part of Convoy OA 178, DALLAS CITY, on a passage from U.K. to Australia, came under heavy aerial attack in the English Channel. The 14-ship convoy was under attack by both enemy aircraft and E-Boats and many of the ships were hit and damaged.
DALLAS CITY came off worst of all, being bombed and sunk off Portland where there was no air cover to combat the JU77s coming at the Convoy in waves of six at a time.
If you do a search on the net you will find an excellent Pathe News archive clip of the vessel being launched on 16th July 1936 from the Furness shipyard. Do another search (shipwreck site) and you will find an excellent photograph of the ship’s crew that may be of interest.
T.S.S. NEA HELLAS
16,991 tons Twin-Screw Passenger-Cargo vessel built by the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company of Govan, Glasgow, as their Yard Number 595, for the Anchor Line of Glasgow (Henderson Brothers) and launched as TSS TUSCANIA.
Launched on 4th October 1921, she was completed in September of 1922.
Her six steam turbines and twin screws could drive the large liner at a service speed of 16 knots.
A very popular vessel with her Tranatlantic passengers but with the Depression Years her Owners were reluctant to continue trying to make her pay her way and she was sold off to Greece, namely the Goulandris Brothers who were to establish the successful Greek Line.
Following a refit, the handsone vesseln now renamed NEA HELLAS, meaning New Greece, took up her Greece-New York service on 19th of May 1939 for her new Company - the General Steam Navigation Company of Greece.
With the outbreak of WWII, the vessel was taken over by the Allies and used for trooping. During the second world war this vessel carried over 600,000 troops. She carried the Pennant No. HR-190 for this new role.
In this period she avoided any serious damage, or loss of life, despite at all times being in a principal role and position in the theatre of war at sea. On 10th October she was attacked, twice, by the Italian submarine ARCHIMEDE in a position S.W. of Freetown, in the Central Atlantic. Fortunately the torpedoes missed and she escaped harm. This was the same submarine that sank another large troopship on the previous day - the Orient Line's 20,001 tons ORONSAY. Elsewhere on the 9th and 10th of October, the troopships DUCHESS OF ATHOLL (20,119 tons - Canadian Pacific S.S. Coy.) and ORCADES (23,456 tons - Orient Line) were torpedoed and sunk therefore the NEA HELLAS fared well in comparison.
In additon to the above near-miss, the large liner was the subject of three separate attacks from the air by German aircraft, all unsuccessful.
In 1947, her war service completed, she was returned to her Owners and resumed her liner service.
In 1955 she was renamed NEW YORK without any change of ownership.
In 1961, the grand old lady, now 40 years old, was taken out of service and despatched to Japan for breaking, arriving at the Onomichi facility on 12th October 1961.
In the period 1939 - 1955 as Nea Hellas, and 1955 - 1961, she carried over 800,000 passengers.
Also attaching a photograph of the liner in her wartime garb.
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