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William Loney and the sinking of HMS Ben-my-Chree

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William Loney and the sinking of HMS Ben-my-Chree

Postby Mick Loney » Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:00 pm

My grandfather William Loney, served in the Merchant Fleet Auxilary during WW1, and his seamans records shows he was discharged from HMS Ben-my-Chree, after it was sunk on 11th January 1917, off the Greek island of Castellerizo by Turkish land based artillery whilst at anchor. The ship was originally an Isle of Man passenger ferry, converted to an 'aircraft carrier' during WW1.

I have found lots of detail about the ship and its officers, and its activities prior to the sinking, and actual photos of the sinking, but nothing about the rest of the crew. Is there anywhere I'm likely to find a list of survivors of the sinking?


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Re: William Loney and the sinking of HMS Ben-my-Chree

Postby JaneyH » Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:31 pm

Hi Mick, I've just done a quick Google search and came up with the following link from the "further reading" section of the Wikipedia page: http://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook ... 23/p07.htm. This says "the whole of the crew, numbering about 250, was saved". Some escaped in a motorboat, others swam to the shore!


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Re: William Loney and the sinking of HMS Ben-my-Chree

Postby Mick Loney » Sat Jul 01, 2017 7:36 pm

JaneH,
Thanks for that, I have read lots of similar stories like that, but none mentioned names of the crew members.

Granddad was a Greaser ( Stoker ), so would have been working in the engine room in the terrible heat mentioned in the article!

Out of interest, did you know that when a ship was sunk, all the crew were immediately signed off, and didn't receive further pay until they signed on to another ship! It was his discharge date on his seamans card that made me realise he had been aboard when the ship was shelled. It was ironic that surviving this sinking in WW1, he and his wife ended up in hospital in WW2, when their flat was bombed during the Blitz!


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Re: William Loney and the sinking of HMS Ben-my-Chree

Postby JaneyH » Sun Jul 02, 2017 11:36 am

It's quite a story! I hadn't realised that crew were signed off with no pay until joining another ship - sounds very harsh by today's standards. Thanks for sharing by the way.


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Re: William Loney and the sinking of HMS Ben-my-Chree

Postby Mick Loney » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:12 am

Update:
It has been confirmed ( by Ian Burns, author of book "Ben-My-Chree") that my granddad is on the list of survivors of the sinking. Ian found the crewlist in the report of the sinking, at the TNA (ref ADM 137/3667), whilst researching his book, and was nice enough to write to me to confirm it. Apparently, apart from a few minor injuries, all the crew survived.


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