Merchant Service in WW2. In World War II the title Merchant Navy came into normal usage and with Royal approval, a small silver buttonhole badge was produced for the non-uniformed merchant seamen from January 1940 bearing the letters "MN".[13]. Consult the Crew List Index Project (CLIP) website, which has information about merchant ships from 1861 to 1913. He supervised the more junior mates in the navigation, handling and running of the ship.[32]. Find locations of ports and ships using the near Real Time ships map. The crew of any ship was arranged by a department system. (2017/06/02). The engineroom crew were mainly South Shields resident Somali Arabs. The most junior were "Ordinary Seamen" who as yet lacked experience and the lowest were the "Deck Boys" who were typically fourteen or fifteen year old lads learning to be seamen. At sea his word was absolute law and would be enforced by the First Mate, Boatswain (Bosun) and Boatswains Mate. [92][93], Just as with Armed Forces prisoners, merchant seamen did attempt to escape and at least one, Arthur H (Dick) Bird MBE, got home from Germany via Sweden. Masters with a proven track record often remained with a company for many years and could expect to become wealthy. [34], Ships often carried Apprentices who were indentured to the shipping company for a period of four years to learn the trade of seaman with a view to becoming Mates. World War II merchant ship movement records for Australia. [82] with a broad range of subject interests and I hope to present some of those 20,000 pictures I have collected over the years. Our largest series of these is the Merchant Marine Ship's Logs 1918 - 1941, in the Records of the US Maritime Commission (RG 178, NC-5 Entry 115, National Archives Identifier 574659). Merchant ships were quickly fitted with defensive armament and their crews trained to use the World War I surplus 12-pounder, Hotchkiss or Lewis machine guns and even .303 Lee Enfield rifles. In March 1946 Sir William Elderton (statistical advisor to the Ministry of War Transport , reported 34,018 deaths aboard British registered vessels or ashore abroad. An example is the award to Edward Gordon Elliott, Seaman. Recognizing the inadequate recognition of the bravery of merchant seamen the London-based shipping insurers Lloyd's of London, privately produced a decoration for gallantry which became known as Lloyds War Medal for Bravery and quickly became a very highly respected award. It was formed by merging the Ministry of Shipping and the Ministry of Transport, bringing responsibility for both shipping and land transport to a single department, and easing problems of co-ordination of transport in wartime. This list also includes ships that were planned as a class but only one was completed. [56], A review of a typical crew sailing aboard a typical British coal burning general cargo steamer in May 1940 revealed:- "The Emperor's Irish Slaves" – Shooting survivors, Japanese War Crimes at Sea – the Ascot massacre, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=British_merchant_seamen_of_World_War_II&oldid=985519331, Military history of India during World War II, Military history of Australia during World War II, Military history of New Zealand during World War II, Military history of Canada during World War II, Military history of South Africa during World War II, Pages containing London Gazette template with parameter supp set to y, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 26 October 2020, at 12:34. Maud Elizabeth Stean of the Canadian Merchant Navy, who died on 14 August 1944, aged 28 and one or two women sailed as "Engineer Officers", for example Victoria Drummond (2nd Engineer) of the SS.Bonita who was awarded an MBE and a Lloyd's War Medal for Bravery for her services when the ship was attacked and bombed by the Luftwaffe. After the declaration of war in September 1939, the Ministry of Shipping – then under the control of Lieutenant-Colonel Sir John Gilmour – took control of the merchant fleet. She was lost but had bought sufficient time for the convoy to escape annihilation.[23]. Sometimes there might be time to launch the ship's boats, but other times seamen could be struggling to survive in the water trying to hang onto any floating debris. All would usually have completed an apprenticeship ashore in heavy engineering, often in power stations or similar and after going to sea would have gained a Second Class Certificate in Steam. Several captured merchant seamen were killed as prisoners of war aboard U-boats, when they were sunk by Allied anti-submarine escorts. They lived in different parts of the ship and ate apart. From the outbreak of war in September 1939, individual seamen could decide if they wished to sail and risk attack by German forces, or in the face of extremely high losses, if they wished to change their occupation to work ashore or otherwise enlist in the Armed Forces. Occasionally the ship's master or an officer might be taken aboard and would be sent to a prisoner of war camp when the U-boat returned to its base on the coast of occupied France or Norway. [31], The First Mate (also called a Chief Officer on ocean liners) had considerable experience at sea, usually held a Master Mariner's certificate and was gaining experience to allow him to seek employment as a master. Very few merchant seamen were taken prisoner aboard German or Italian submarines due to the limited space available. 3.1 million tons of merchant ships … The firemen were the men who stood watches in the stokehold feeding tons of coal into the furnaces beneath the boilers to keep up a head of steam. As the outbreak of World War II edged closer in 1939, the British merchant fleet remained the largest in the world, employing some 200,000 men and women. See the Laconia Incident. The author John Slader survived three sinkings and was not unusual amongst seamen. When a seaman paid off at the end of their engagement they would receive in addition to their pay, a detailed payslip showing hours worked at basic and overtime rates and monies paid in subs during the voyage or while in port. [78][79][80] Some U-boat commanders, such as Wilhelm Schulz of U-124 and Karl-Friedrich Merten of U-68, were recognized for several humanitarian acts. … These vessels were known as DEMS (Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships). [12], 1. [72], Some convoys were accompanied by "Rescue Ships" which literally steamed with the convoy to stop and rescue surviving merchant seamen from the water. Their working practices in 1939 had changed little in hundreds of years. Enlarge Image; Loading a Liberty. The 'Wray Castle' A 1906 photograph of this merchant sailing ship with a crew of 29. [109], Summary table of awards (at right) per John Slader. There were Third Engineers, Fourth Engineers, and so on, the number of them depending on the size of the vessel. Any frozen food available was from an ice-box and after the ice melted salt meat from brine tubs and butter from tins provided much of the staple diet. During 23 days adrift 44 of the survivors died from wounds and exposure to the weather. The Third Mate reported to the more senior mates and would usually hold a Second Mate's certificate and be studying for his First Mate's ticket. He divided this total into 27,790 who died by enemy action and 6,228 who died by other causes (including those aboard ships which disappeared or died as the result of ships being sunk by friendly sea mines or being lost overboard in storms). [94][95][96][97], In the Far East, any merchant seamen held by the Japanese in prison camps fared as poorly as the other prisoners of war, particularly those held at Penang, Java or in the Japanese homeland where deaths due to disease or starvation were not unusual.[98]. In the pre-war years, seamen competed to sign on aboard vessels owned by shipping lines which were known as "good feeders" due to their staple diets being superior while others would be avoided for providing poor food. Merchant seamen are civilians who elect to work at sea. American Merchant Marine Ships Sunk or Damaged Alaska coast, West coast of U.S., Pacific Ocean area, Philippines, or Okinawa during World War II The Ship's Carpenter and Boatswain (Bosun) were the senior deck ratings and both were typically men of very considerable sea-going experience and personality. The submariners would right up-turned life boats, provide food and drink and often give the best course to steer to land. [110], ships, manning machine-guns against enemy attacks, helping to free trapped shipmates as ships sank beneath them or for bravery in lifeboats after their ships were sunk. [11], The oldest known serving merchant seamen were in their seventies, Chief Cook Santan Martins of SS Calabria was aged 79 when he was killed in action in her sinking by U-103 in December 1940. World War II merchant ships of the Isle of Man, World War II merchant ships of the Netherlands, World War II merchant ships of New Zealand, World War II merchant ships of the Republic of Ireland, World War II merchant ships of the Soviet Union, World War II merchant ships of the United Kingdom, World War II merchant ships of the United States, World War II merchant ships of Yugoslavia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Category:World_War_II_merchant_ships&oldid=826726412, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 20 February 2018, at 18:02. Torpedoed merchant ship in the Atlantic Ocean during WWII. A count of the Merchant Navy casualties who are commemorated by the "CWGC", gives the figures below and a total of 36,749 dead. If the seaman was fortunate to survive the sinking only to spend days or weeks in an open lifeboat hoping for rescue, it was regarded as "non-working time", the seaman was not paid for that time because their employer, the shipping company who had owned the lost vessel, no longer required their services. [41][42], Some ships carried Engineroom Storekeepers, experienced older ratings who controlled the issues of stores. Object details Category Books Related period Second World War (content), Second World War (content) Creator BLAND, A.L. This list does not include individual ships that were part of a class. Merchant Marine Heroes and their Gallant Ships in World War II Merchant mariners were on the front lines the moment their ships left U.S. ports, and were subject to attack by bombers, kamikaze, battleships, submarines, mines, and land-based It was quite normal for a master to take his wife to sea with him if they decided that the voyage included ports which she wished to visit. Despite wartime propaganda which fostered the concept of German U-boats surfacing to machine gun helpless survivors, building a myth, this was not correct. The carpenter and boatswain, who held Warrant Officer status, ate separately. This category has the following 31 subcategories, out of 31 total. [59], Merchant seamen were dying within nine hours of the outbreak of war on 3 September 1939 when U-30 torpedoed the passenger carrying ocean liner SS Athenia and then surfaced to attack the sinking ship with gunfire, destroying her radio room, she sank with the loss of 118 lives (including women and children, some being US Citizens). On journeys to or from railways while being transported between camps varied in direct relation to its size handling.... [ 32 ] examples were the fate of merchant ship ww2 War, 6,000 New officers had trained. Hospital, a Needless Sinking by Captain Arthur R. Moore 17 ], Summary table of awards ( merchant ship ww2... 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