Questions for Mariner

Questions for Mariner

Postby Tyke » Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:52 pm

I have come into possession of my Grandfathers seabook, he served on ships such as ss Irish Elm and ss Irish Oak and other Irish trees :lol:
during 1942-1950
He has one listed as Blackwater dated 13/01/46 from Cork that states voyage not completed and is then stamped Belfast, is there a way of finding out what happened?
Also, my Great Grandfather is not listed in the 1911 Census and I have been told this would probably be because he worked for the Irish Lights and would have been at sea, would there be a record of his employment?

Thanks
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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Gulliver » Sun Jan 16, 2011 2:05 pm

Suggestion - go down to the Daonchartlann on Carlisle pier - its open on Wednesdays from about 11.00. The Daonchartlann is the new offices and archives of the Genealogical Society of Ireland. You will find it directly underneath the monument on 4 balls. They might be able to help you trace him.
"Not all those who wander are lost" (J.R.R.Tolkien)
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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Tyke » Sun Jan 16, 2011 2:51 pm

Thanks for that suggestion Gulliver, I am hoping to come over later on in the year and will add that to my to do list! :)
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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Mariner » Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:48 pm

Irish Lights have a very comprehensive record. It is housed in Howth. There is fascinating detail. Employment records, annual reports, inspections. They range from the hilarious report of an extremely bad tradesman – Brendan Behan who was employed as a painter; to the tragic, a lighthouse keeper seeking a transfer from an island, they had lost two children and his wife was expecting again.
So they would have a lot of information on your ancestor.
The same cannot be said of Irish Shipping. However, as he served during the Emergency, he would have been awarded a medal. The citation would have some information. (These medals a worth a lot to collectors – keep it in the family – or lend (I said lend – not give) it to a museum)
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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Tyke » Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:53 pm

Thank you Mariner for your reply, thats somewhere else to add to a to do list, :) I was aware grandad would be entitled to a medal for his service during the Emergency but not sure if it is in the family somewhere,thats a question i need to ask, if anyone will admit to it :lol:
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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Sinead » Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:49 pm

Tyke:

As an Irish Merchant Seaman your grandfather would not have received any medal at the time. If you have proof of his service you can contact the Department of the Marine (used to be on Eden Quay) and ask if he is entitled to a posthumus award. I got an award in respect of my grandfather a few years ago. Irish Shipping would probably have some records of his service as well.

Mariner:

Where in Howth can the (Royal) Irish Lights records be found. Please.

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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Sputnik » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:24 am

Hi Sinead

I don't ever recall them being called the Royal Irish Lights. According to their history the official name is The Commissioners of Irish Lights.
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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Tyke » Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:26 pm

Cheers Sinead! :)
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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Sinead » Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:40 pm

Sputnik

You could be right, I use the name which was always within our family, I had an uncle on the Isolda. I must see what Brendan Behan called it if I can find his reference to his employment with them.

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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Mariner » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:41 am

Sinead
To see the archive, I suggest that you write to Irish Lights here in Dun Laoghaire
The archive is in Howth, rows of shelves which collapse into each other in a concertina type effect.
A big mechanical construction with tracks or rails with large-bicycle-type-chains.
There might be difficulty in accessing the record that you need.
It might be like looking for a needle in a haystack. However you can ask
------
I took a photo of that report on Brendan Behan - somewhere - I'll look for that needle in my own haystack
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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Kite » Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:03 am

One of the ships mentioned in the initial post was Irish Oak. Irish Oak apparently was sunk on 15th May 1943 by U-607 (commanded by Wolf Jeschonnek). She had earlier been spotted by U-650 whose captain had correctly identified her as a neutral ship (with the big tricolours and EIRE painted on the sides!). U-650's captain was von Witzendorff who after the war was captain of the famous sail tarining ship Gorch Fork.
Interestingly our poor old Irish Oak was the only ship ever sunk by U-607's captain in his career (although the U-607 sunk other ships under other captains). There were 33 on board and all survived and their rescue was watched by another sub - U-337 which also got the ships identity correct and warned other U-boats.
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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Mariner » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:11 am

Kite wrote:One of the ships mentioned in the initial post was Irish Oak. Irish Oak apparently was sunk on 15th May 1943 by U-607 (commanded by Wolf Jeschonnek). She had earlier been spotted by U-650 whose captain had correctly identified her as a neutral ship (with the big tricolours and EIRE painted on the sides!). U-650's captain was von Witzendorff who after the war was captain of the famous sail tarining ship Gorch Fork.
Interestingly our poor old Irish Oak was the only ship ever sunk by U-607's captain in his career (although the U-607 sunk other ships under other captains). There were 33 on board and all survived and their rescue was watched by another sub - U-337 which also got the ships identity correct and warned other U-boats.


I put this on the musuem site (and on wikipedia) : http://www.mariner.ie/history/remember/wwii-losses/irish-oak

Last May I attended the commeration in Belfast with John Clarke, one of the crew. They treated him (and the rest of us) very well (drinkies etc). I wondered why and asked a RN officer, who replied "didn't you notice?" they had no vetrans at the service.

For the last few years we organise a bus (usually from the shopping center) to Belfast for the day. Its the third Sunday in May - mark it in your diaries
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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Mariner » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:37 am

Image

John Clarke who served on the Irish Oak and spent eight hours in a lifeboat mid-Atlantic
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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Denis Cromie » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:40 am

That's fantastic Mariner. :D :D
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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby grammer » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:51 pm

Thanks for the link and the info mariner
and the photo
sent from my PC and typed on a keyboard (old fashioned black colour) using three fingers
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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Kite » Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:32 pm

That's good stuff Mariner!
Check out www.uboat.net for great cross references between U-Boats, their Commanders, the ships they sank, attacks made on them (by Allied aircraft and surface vessels) and the technology, shipyards etc. :)
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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Mariner » Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:05 am

Kite wrote:That's good stuff Mariner!
Check out http://www.uboat.net for great cross references between U-Boats, their Commanders, the ships they sank, attacks made on them (by Allied aircraft and surface vessels) and the technology, shipyards etc. :)


There are some good web sites. But what I now post has never been posted before this (afaik)

first read the story I posted on the musuem site: http://www.mariner.ie/history/remember/wwii-losses/irish-oak

The Irish Oak was following a corridor specified by the allies for neutrals. They saw snoke on the horizon. They assumed correctly that it was from an allied convoy. they did not want to join the convoy, so they slowed down, waiting for the convoy to move out of the way. Then the u=boats appeared

It was alledged that the Irish Oak warned the convoy of the u-boats. this was denied in the strongest terms by deV, by Irish Shipping, the Brits, everyone (other than the Labour party). But let us consider the facts:

The convoy was SC-129. There was another convoy HX-237 which had an aircraft carrier HMS Biter to protect it. U-boats were scared of aircraft, u-boats couldn't see them while the planes could drop depth charges. Biter left HX-237 and joined SC-129 on 14 May. U-642 spotted Biter and radioed the others, the wolf pack scattered. on May 15 the Irish Oak was sunk. Om May 24 the u-boats were recalled.

So why did Biter leave HX-237? Perhaps British intelligence knew of the wolf pack?

John Clarke told me that they were sworn to secrecy.

The Irish Oak (going to Ireland) exchanged a greeting with the Irish Plane (going from Ireland) as they passed. Perfectly normal. But there was a message in the message "Frank is aboard for this voyage". The radio operators on the ships in the convoy would hear the exchange and understand its meaning.

John further stated that Captain Jones later asked the r/o if he was certain that the message had been sent (the convoy was still on the same course)

John said that they were all sworn to secrecy

There is one difficulty which I should mention: Archives in Kew say that Biter was ordered to move on May 13. That greeting was transmitted on May 14. This little niggle causes me to hesitate, which is why I didn't post before
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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Sinead » Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:19 pm

The war was before my time but I do know a bit about the Luimneach, I have 95% of a hand written account of one of the survivers, together with a complete typed copy. I have the paper which obtained the release of this surviver and other bits and pieces. I have yet to see a match of this account. Got onto the link given by Kite and it lists only the Captain as a surviver. This surviver went back to sea with Irish Shipping and met a fellow surviver in a Canadian port on a trip.

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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Mariner » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:29 pm

Sinead wrote:The war was before my time but I do know a bit about the Luimneach, I have 95% of a hand written account of one of the survivers, together with a complete typed copy. I have the paper which obtained the release of this surviver and other bits and pieces. I have yet to see a match of this account. Got onto the link given by Kite and it lists only the Captain as a surviver. This surviver went back to sea with Irish Shipping and met a fellow surviver in a Canadian port on a trip.

Slan
Sinead


It would be very interesting to have that account. There is a marked difference between the German & Irish accounts. The u-boat claimed that the u-boat stopped the Luimneach; that the crew panicked, jumping into the sea, that he had to order them back to get lifeboats; that the ship was abandoned, which is why he had the sink her. The Irish account is very different.
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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Kite » Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:05 am

Don't keep us in suspense Mariner! :)
Come on tell us the very different Irish account.
And tell us what "Frank is aboard for this voyage" meant. (You won't be breaking the Official Secrets Act and the war is over a while now! :) )
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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Mariner » Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:14 am

Re: the Irish Oak

Kite wrote:Don't keep us in suspense Mariner! :)
And tell us what "Frank is aboard for this voyage" meant. (You won't be breaking the Official Secrets Act and the war is over a while now! :) )


It meant that there was a german presence - the Irish Oak did warn the convoy

which is totally contrary to accepted history

that warning may have resulted in the aircraft carrier joining the convoy, which caused the wolf pack to run away
Last edited by Mariner on Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Mariner » Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:39 am

Re: the Luimneach

Kite wrote:Don't keep us in suspense Mariner! :)
Come on tell us the very different Irish account.

The Germans said that they just wanted to know the nationality & cargo, so he fired a warning shot
But the crew panicked, some jumping into the water. the ship was abandoned, they sank an abandoned ship
Endras - the u-boat captain recorded in his war diary "they lost their heads completely"

there is a flavour of this account on the uboat site quoted earlier
http://www.uboat.net/allies/merchants/ships/512.html

The Irish said that the germans ordered them into lifeboats,
the germans ignored their protests that they were neutral - and sank a neutral ship

It would be strange that a ship which was in several previous scrapes, most in the Spanish Civil War would panic
If they panicked and fled as described - then how come the ships log and papers are here in Dublin

http://www.uboat.net/allies/merchants/ships/512.html
says (0 dead and 18 survivors)
they didn't see land for nine days and Michael Carrol contracted pneumonia and died

with differences in the accounts, I would like to read
Sinead wrote:The war was before my time but I do know a bit about the Luimneach, I have 95% of a hand written account of one of the survivers, together with a complete typed copy. I have the paper which obtained the release of this surviver and other bits and pieces. I have yet to see a match of this account. Got onto the link given by Kite and it lists only the Captain as a surviver. This surviver went back to sea with Irish Shipping and met a fellow surviver in a Canadian port on a trip.
Slan
Sinead


I might have a survivor list ... somewhere ....
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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Mariner » Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:18 am

Luimneach

Captain E. Jones, Wales Captain’s Boat Returned
Chief Officer J McKelvey Belfast Mate’s Boat Paris
Second Officer C. Meriditt, Dublin; Captain’s Boat Returned
Chief Engineer R. Spence, Dublin; Captain’s Boat Returned
Second Engineer H. Madsen Antwerp Mate’s Boat Antwerp
Cook S. Tice, London; Captain’s Boat Returned
Steward R. Wilkes, London; Captain’s Boat Returned
Able Seaman A. Robert¬son, Limerick; Captain’s Boat Returned
Able Seaman B. Quirk, Kilmore Quay, Captain’s Boat Returned
Able Seaman M. Carrol, Dungarvan Captain’s Boat died
Able Seaman J Moran Tarbet, Kerry Mate’s Boat Returned
Able Seaman M Curran Tarbet, Kerry Mate’s Boat Returned
Fireman M McCarthy Tarbet, Kerry Mate’s Boat Returned
Fireman L O'Neill, Glasgow; Captain’s Boat Returned
Fireman E. Richards Bristol Mate’s Boat imprisoned
Fireman N. Bartello Malta Mate’s Boat imprisoned
Fireman T. Conway Dublin Mate’s Boat Returned
Fireman G. Confrey Dun Laoghaire Mate’s Boat Returned
.
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Re: Questions for Mariner

Postby Holla » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:36 pm

Hi mariner
Q 1 whats a powder monkey

Q2 can you explain the term freeze the balls off a brass monkey ( I was told the story but its a bit sketchy )
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