Falmouth Air Raids Oct 1940

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by CornwallPhil, Nov 19, 2015.

  1. CornwallPhil

    CornwallPhil Senior Member

    The link below is to a video-book style presentation on the air raids on Falmouth during October 1940 which saw the harbour entrance mined with the loss of three vessels - The Lady of the Isles, Jersey Queen and the Dutch tug Lauwerszee - and the bombing of Falmouth Methodist Church causing both civilian & military casualties. Dockyard accidents claimed another three lives.

    <iframe width="420" height="315" src=http://www.youtube.com/embed/fWu_dfEND_0 frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    dbf likes this.
  2. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Golly Phil,

    That's comprehensive!

    Is there any record of an earlier event: on 21 June 1940. When the steamer Broompark arrived at Falmouth with scientists, heavy water and a fortune in gem diamonds, two of those on board reported that there were at least two sunken ships, presumably in the roads, Is there any record of who sank these two wrecks?. Broompark was part of the little known Aerial evacuation. At that time there were 97 ships in Falmouth. Falmouth was the principal port for ships with civilians on board, while those with troops went to Plymouth..

    On the next day the little Polish steamer Chorzow arrived with the Polish National Treasure, I have found no other information about her discharge.

    Excuse me if this is a duplicate, I'm getting old and tend to forget what I have posted where!

  3. CornwallPhil

    CornwallPhil Senior Member

    Hi Roy,
    I suspect the two wrecks were the SS Stanwood and the tanker the Caroni River based on what's recorded in the Shipwreck Index of the British Isles by Richard & Bridget Larn.

    The Stanwood caught fire on 10 Dec 1939 and sank off Penarrow Point (within the harbour limits) while attempts were made to put out her cargo of coal which had caught fire through spontaneous combustion. She sank in 2 minutes. The crew jumped on board the tugs alongside (Fairnilee & Northgate Scot) and hawsers & hosepipes had to be cut adrift to prevent the tugs being pulled under. All the crew were rescued with the exception of the radio operator, William Sutherland (age 27 from Halifax in Nova Scotia), who was trapped in his bunk and went down with the ship.

    The Caroni River, following repairs in the docks, put to sea on 20 Jan 1940 for machinery trials during which she detonated a magnetic mine sustaining serious damage. Attempts were made to tow her in but her stern sank leaving the bow showing for a time before she turned over and sank. Several of the crew were injured in the explosion and taken to Falmouth Hospital, the survivors being landed by a drifter.
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  4. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Thanks Phil,

    They were obviously mistaken in assuming that these were recent wrecks. One says that an enemy aircraft flew over Falmouth on the day they arrived.

    All the best,

  5. CornwallPhil

    CornwallPhil Senior Member

    Quite possible about the aircraft. We'd have to check the ORBs for the RAF Squadrons at St Eval for the date to see if there was any mention as the Air Raid Records I've used only start in July 1940. I've not spotted any reference in the local press for that date, but have not gone looking for that specific detail so may have missed it.
  6. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member


    Not really worth spending time on, particularly as both wrote their recollections some years after the event (Timbal in 1943 and Kowarski after the war} The ship was overflown by what they presumed to be an enemy aircraft on the trip from Bordeaux - at about the same time as a ship from the convoy astern was sunk, so they may be mixing things up.

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