Manned by merchant seamen, they were an emergency response to a critical shortage of maritime cargo ships in the early years of the war, exacerbated by German U-Boat activities in the Atlantic. KEY. World War II merchant ship movement records for Australia. [77] As new ships were added to a company's fleet a successful and favoured master could expect it to be assigned as "his". [28], The average age of a seaman aboard a British registered vessel in 1938 was about 36 years and by 1945 it was down to about 32 years old. In the Shipping Federation the Chief Mates and Engineers of ships seeking crews would call to have the names and destinations of their ships chalked on large wall mounted blackboards along with their requirement for men. The engineer officers who numbered three or more ate in their own messroom. 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. Seamen lived in dark, confined, damp, poorly ventilated and often rusty dormitory accommodation with wooden board bunks three or more high, without running water and lacking heating. US Armed Guard Has several pictures of Liberty ships & others, among a huge variety of other items (merchant marine, pictures, excerpts from books, personal stories, articles, ship logs and reports; the list goes on and on). [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. Some had a sail, others would merely drift with the ocean currents. Captain F H Fenn of the SS. NAVY DEPARTMENT. Pools were also set up in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and New York City, USA for seamen resident abroad.[27]. Crews of several other ships, including Tweed, Samso, Delftshaven, .... held in West Africa. [75] Two merchant seamen survivors of SS Anglo Saxon survived for 70 days in an open boat before rescue,[76] and merchant seaman Poon Lim, sole survivor of the SS. 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. Viggo Hansteen. A refrigerated cargo liner, such as a diesel motor vessel trading between South America and England carrying a relatively small number of passengers, but also a refrigerated cargo such as meat, would additionally require a "Ship's Surgeon" and "Refrigeration Engineers" and could have a crew of 60 to 160. Ship name: Like "Ark Royal" U-boat: Like "99" Convoy: Like "SC-7" Country : Grid: Grid is the area in question. 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. The pay of merchant seamen was poor when compared to the pay received by a factory worker or building site worker ashore. Each man might be provided one or two blankets at best and was expected to bring his own "donkey's breakfast" – a sack cloth bag containing straw which was to serve as a mattress. The Forts and the Parks which were built by Canadian shipyards were essentially the same as the Liberties built by U.S. shipyards, being based on the same design from Thompsons and with a later variation which was slightly larger, like the U.S.'s Victories. This page lists all of the ship classes used during World War II. This is the only proven instance. [88][89], The 4,900 Merchant seamen taken prisoner by the Germans were generally held at a prisoner of war camp known as MILAG (Marine Internierten Lager) inside Sandbostel Internment Camp near Bremen in Germany. Ships hit by U-boats in WWII. The Italian attack on Greece on 28 October 1940 marked the entry of Greece into WWII. [21], In the early war years Britain desperately needed fast convoy escorts and lacked the number of warships to fulfil this role. In 1943 the seaman's basic working week was reduced to 56 hours. She was beached on Goodwick Sands. Merchant seamen (including women) who performed acts of great bravery were sometimes eligible for Naval gallantry awards but only received DSOs, DSCs or DSMs on occasions when they were involved in joint operations with the Royal Navy such as major amphibious landings (North Africa, Sicily and D-Day. [49][50] Search for merchant and warships hit by U-boats during WWII. You can combine Ship name and Country in your searches. ONI 223-M MERCHANT SHIP SHAPES . New! MN crew of the SS Criton, plus a token prize crew, held in Conakry, Timbuktu and Kankan. Several ocean liners were "taken up from trade" by the Royal Navy to act as Armed Merchant Cruisers (AMCs), after having basic armament fitted. 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]. At other times seamen might receive one of the grades of the Civil Division of the Order of the British Empire awards often presented for diligent work in the office by conscientious civil servants or the altruism of members of charitable organizations. [103][104], On other occasions in the Far East, survivors were brought aboard the Japanese submarine or warship to be shot or beheaded by sword. Records show that men from all British Commonwealth countries and most Scandinavian, Baltic and European countries served aboard British registered vessels and until the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor there were Japanese seamen amongst crews, several of whom were killed in U-boat attacks serving beside British colleagues,[58] and others such as Kenji Takaki were captured and interned with British seamen at Marlag-Milag. Merchant Ships Built in Canada in World War Two Most recent update: March 4, 2015. From this point onwards the "MoWT" decided upon the route sailed and the cargo carried by every ship. 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. Reporting to him was a Second Engineer who would always hold a First Class Certificate in Steam and would be gaining the experience required to permit him to seek a Chief's post. Baron Dechmont,[85] were both lost aboard U-507 when it was sunk and Captain G H Moss of the SS. Unlike the Armed Services in which every wartime death by whatever means was recorded and commemorated, the seamen of the Merchant Navy could only be remembered if their death could be proven to be attributable to enemy action. Merchant Marine Prisoners of War The "Prisoners of War" pages give the names of Norwegian seamen who were in Japanese imprisonment, or who were prisoners on German raiders. Able Seamen were the ship's seamen with sea-going experience, the highest ranking amongst them were the "Quarter Masters" who stood watches on the bridge to steer the ship. 623.82'1939/1945' 2. Merchant Service in WW2. One, (Hogarth & Sons of Glasgow), being commonly referred to as "Hungry Hogarth's" by seamen.[51]. Ship losses by month. There were also one from Fiji, a West Indian, a Chinese and a Liverpudlian. The engineroom crew were mainly South Shields resident Somali Arabs. [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). [46] He was employed by the shipping company who owned the ship and was responsible to the company for every aspect of the ship, the profitable trading of the ship, the cargo, the crew and the success or failure of the voyage. By the end of the war, 6,000 new officers had been trained. Approaching 10,000 seamen, mostly reluctantly signed for a period of service up to 12 months,[22], One of the AMCs mainly crewed by large numbers of merchant seamen was HMS Jervis Bay which fought a tragically unequal battle with the Admral Scheer in defence of Convoy HX 84. The Website for Merchant Ships during WW2. [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. Very few merchant seamen were taken prisoner aboard German or Italian submarines due to the limited space available. Led by Able Seaman Alfred Fry, a merchant seaman, an attempt was made to set the ship on fire and take her over. The largest ocean liners could have Senior and Junior levels of each rate of Mate as far as 10th Mate. These vessels were known as DEMS (Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships). The mixture of nationalities making the atmosphere similar to a "Foreign Legion". 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. However the U-boat was sunk in action shortly afterwards and as such nothing could be proven. Sometimes senior ratings such as Carpenters, Boatswains, Quarter Masters, Donkeymen and particularly Chief Stewards also preferred this career path and like their officers could even remain aboard a favoured ship for a decade or more.[52][53]. [25] Some 40 percent of seamen were accepted by companies for "continuous employment" and their time at sea and time on leave were administered by their company. They lived in different parts of the ship and ate apart. A substantial number of documented cases of U-boat men aiding survivors are however proven and are clearly reported in Admiralty files (Adm 199 series at the National Archives, Object details Category Books Related period Second World War (content), Second World War (content) Creator BLAND, A.L. ON I 223-M, Merchant Ship Shapes, is one of a series of handbooks on ships and their identification and reporting prepared by the Division of Naval Intelligence for the use of fighting forces and naval personnel in training. Liberty Ship building in the US got underway after mid-1941. [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. [14] It should be borne in mind that although Merchant Navy men and women may have been given this choice, the reality was that the Royal Navy was desperately short of men itself and would not want men to leave the MN because once they signed a T124x agreement they could move them to any ship and or give them Royal Navy training and use them under the white ensign, in addition the existing Merchant Navy could not know how dangerous service would be at this time and once they signed, they had no choice. As you can see, at the moment railways and shipping seem to be about it, but I am a keen deltiologist (look it up!) In January 1943 the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, and Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Navy agreed that the formation of a joint committee to assess enemy Naval and merchant shipping losses during World War II would be desirable. [101] I-37 did the same after sinking the MV.Sutlej and SSAscot". After the First World War King George V, in recognition of the contribution made to the British war effort by merchant ships, granted the title of ‘Merchant Navy’ to non-military sailors. [10] Although sailing aboard different ships was not a failsafe solution, three sons of the Metcalf family from Sunderland were lost, three sons of the Nicol family from Edinburgh and three of the Stiff family from Barry, Glamorgan all died. However, it was still important to record the movements of merchant vessels and so the Registrar General o… It was not unusual for men to have no fixed abode and to live in "Seamen's Hostels" in port for a week or two before their next trip. The Master of a ship, locally referred to as the Captain, held a Master Mariners certificate, also known as an Ordinary Certificate in Steam and some even held an Extra Master's certificate which signified additional qualification in navigation. They "signed on" to sail aboard a ship for a voyage or succession of voyages and after being "paid off" at the end of that time were free to either sign on for a further engagement if they were required, or to take unpaid "leave" before "signing on" aboard another ship or otherwise to settle and work ashore. [87], Following the capture by German raiders of the ships Antonis, British Union, Afric Star, Eurylochus, Duquesa, Stanpark, Zamzam, Barneveld and Canadian Cruiser; their crews numbering 327 merchant seamen and several Royal Navy seamen. See the Laconia Incident. 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. Some survivors were rescued within hours, some were adrift for many weeks and some boats or rafts packed with survivors were never seen again. Lifeboats were often up-turned in heavy seas and had to be righted before survivors could get inside them. Gunnery courses were held regularly in the major ports such as Liverpool, Bristol and Newcastle, with Naval and Royal Marine instructors and certificates awarded to those seamen who completed them and so were able to return fire if attacked. The minelayer laid minefields ZME.28 on the 5th, ZME.29 on the 16th, ZME.30/18th, and ZME.31 on the 21st. The Second Mate (Second Officer) reporting to the First Mate usually held a First Mate certificate and sometimes also a Master Mariners certificate. This category is for merchant ships designed, built, or operated during World War II (1939–1945). [47][48] [63], Once torpedoed, merchant ships behaved very differently, a tanker carrying high octane aviation fuel might explode into flame, spreading a film of burning fuel across the sea all around the ship as it sank,[64] a ship loaded with timber might, remain afloat for several days, a ship with a cargo of bulk iron ore would usually sink in less than 60 seconds as water quickly flooded the cargo holds. [106][107][108], In one peculiar case the great bravery of Captain Dudley Mason of SS Ohio transporting vital fuel to besieged Malta in Operation Pedestal was recognized with a George Cross which is awarded for acts of greatest bravery "not in the face of the enemy" and "away from the frontline", the Victoria Cross would have been correct recognition but for some reason was not awarded. Also reporting to him was a Chief Cook (senior Petty Officer status), with his Assistants and a Galley Boy, one of his assistants was usually a baker. Office of War Information Collection. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. He advised adjustments to his war deaths figure to 28,230, but did not account for an estimated 4,537 men missing aboard small vessels in the Far East. The oldest member of the crew was the 55-year-old cook and the youngest was the 15-year-old galley boy.[57]. The deck crew ate together and the engine-room crew ate by themselves. Year: Month: Day: You must select year, month and day. Masters with a proven track record often remained with a company for many years and could expect to become wealthy. The Register provides information about all sea-going merchant ships, including their condition. Lifeboats not rescued might make voyages of considerable distances, such as a lifeboat from the SS. He was responsible to the master for the cargo, ensuring everything was properly stowed and discharged at the correct port. Some were sailing under aliases to escape family problems, legal issues or simply because they wished to begin new lives. They had to keep the level of coal within the bunkers trimmed (level) to prevent the ship becoming unstable. A seaman taking his final discharge from the Merchant Navy at the end of the war was not released until approval could be gained unless it was a discharge due to him being unfit to sail any longer. Find locations of ports and ships using the near Real Time ships map. These records are digitised cards recording the movements of British and Allied merchant ships during the Second World War. He supervised the more junior mates in the navigation, handling and running of the ship.[32]. Commonwealth War Graves Commission records, Herzog (1970) p. 55–56, p. 96–99, p. 105–106, King's Commendation for Brave Conduct (1916-1952), BBC website = WW2 People's War – Merchant Navy. Some ship's carried a Storekeeper who was an experienced older Able Seaman who controlled the issue of the ships stores.[36][37]. In doing this, they sustained a considerably greater casualty rate than almost every other branch of the armed services and suffered great hardship. Merchant seamen were professional seamen sailing in a wide range of roles from the youngest "Boy" rating learning his chosen profession through to the qualified Master Mariner (locally referred to as the captain), all were merchant seamen regardless of role or rank. War Dead 1939-45: Search memorials by name and by ship. [2][3] 36,749 seamen and women were lost to enemy action, 5,720 were taken prisoner and 4,707 were wounded, totaling 47,176 casualties, a minimum casualty rate of over 25 percent. [12], 1. 36,749 members of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleet are commemorated and could be counted.[66]. It was recognized in Parliament that insufficient recognition was available for the seamen of the Merchant Navy and raised unsuccessfully in the House of Commons on 8 September, 29 September and 7 October 1942 for the institution of a Merchant Navy Cross for Gallantry. 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. American Merchant Marine Ships Sunk or Damaged Alaska coast, West coast of U.S., Pacific Ocean area, Philippines, or Okinawa during World War II Their working practices in 1939 had changed little in hundreds of years. One example was Lily (or Lillie) Ann Green,[19] a Stewardess awarded a King's Commendation for Brave Conduct for her bravery when the SS.Andalucia Star was torpedoed and sunk off West Africa in 1942. [15], Until May 1941, merchant seamen sailing aboard British vessels attacked and sunk by enemy action received no pay (wages) from the moment that their ship sank. Considerable resentment was felt by seamen after learning that seamen of the U.S. Following the heroism and hardships endured by seamen of the "Mercantile Marine" in World War I King George V coined the title Merchant Navy in recognition. Ship's crews were highly compartmentalized and the different departments had little to do with each other and would not normally mix. [100], In the Far East it was not at all unusual for merchant seamen who survived ships which had been sunk by submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy to be machine-gunned in the water, some Japanese submarines such as I-37 made a practice of this. Unlike Midshipmen in the Royal Navy, the Apprentice worked with the Able Seamen, messing with them and sleeping in the seamens' accommodation. 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