Help Please Merchant Navy

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Patricia Sullivan, Sep 25, 2018.

  1. Hi, I am trying to find information about my father in laws Merchant navy service record during WW2. I only have his forces prayer book which gives his name and rank as Lieutenant R J W Sullivan (Ronald Joseph William) and a photograph of him in uniform. My husband said that his father told him he was torpedoed and spent time in a life raft until he was rescued, he was also in Montevideo when the Graf Spey was scuttled. The only reference I can find anywhere is on Ancestry 7/4/1936 on the Highland Monarch incoming passenger ships. I have tried several different sites, Forces, Find my past and every other site under a merchant navy search.
    Please can anyone advise me as to where I can find his service record or details, he just doesn't seem to exist anywhere in the Merchant Navy during the war years
     
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Hello Patricia and welcome

    I have emailed one of our MN experts for you they can advise you better than I

    regards
    Clive
     
  3. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hi Patricia,
    Can you give me his date and place of birth please? I also note that you name his rank as Lieutenant. He would only be Lieutenant in a naval context if he was serving in the Royal Navy or the Royal Naval Reserve.
    Regards
    Hugh
     
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  4. Thank you very much, that is very kind of you
     
  5. Hi, thank you for your response. His birth date is 6/8/1916, he was born in Stepney London. On the inside of his New Testament Service Edition Sept 15th 1939 he has completed the name and address section as R J W Sullivan, Lieutenant British Forces, and his home address. In 1936 on the Highland Monarch he is listed as a Stewards Boy and my husband also seems to think that at some point he was a Petty Officer. The photo of him in uniform was taken in July 1941 but I don't know if that would identify a rank.
     
  6. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Would you wish to post the photo?
    I also have a man by that name in the Royal Artillery.

    Regards
    Hugh
     
  7. Hi Hugh, Yes I found the Royal Artillery record too, with the same name which is rather strange. However I have uploaded the photo, I hope it helps. Thank you so much for your help.
     

    Attached Files:

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  8. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Definitely Merchant Navy. I will get back to you tomorrow after work and explain your next steps.
    Regards
    Hugh
     
  9. Thank you.
    Kind regards
    Pat
     
  10. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    On the Highland Monarch I wonder why he appears to be described as 'Distressed British Seaman - Third Class Passenger'. As he is described as a 'Stewards - Boy' does this suggest some form of naval incident, as the ship was coming from Buenos Aries (not far from Montevideo) does this give some credence to the Graff Spee story?

    Is it also him arriving on the Queen Mary 7 April 1949?

     
  11. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    From my website - You may note the term distressed British seaman (DBS)

    One who is left without a berth, ill or without funds in a foreign port. Typically, during wartime, a DBS would be a seaman who was travelling after having his ship torpedoed or lost through other forms of enemy action

    So in 1936 he would be travelling back to the UK as his ship may have sailed without him for some reason.
    Regards
    Hugh
     
  12. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

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  13. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    He is wearing the uniform of an Apprentice or Cadet, so a trainee officer.
     
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  14. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    UK, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960
    Name: Ronald Joseph William Sullivan
    Arrival Age: 19
    Birth Date: abt 1917
    Port of Departure: Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Arrival date: 7 Apr 1936
    Port of Arrival: London, England
    Ports of Voyage: Buenos Aires; Montevideo; Santos; Rio de Janeiro; Pernambuco; Las Palmas; Lisbon and Vigo
    Ship Name: Highland Monarch
    Shipping line: Royal Mail Lines Ltd
    Official Number: 148158
    30807_A001096-00339.jpg

    TD
     
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  15. He was no longer in the Merchant Navy in 1949 so that wouldn't be him on the Queen Mary, also the Graff Spee was scuttled in 1939 so those dates don't match I'm afraid, but thank you for your help.
    Kind regards
    Pat
     
  16. Thank you, this is the information I had found alreadyunfortunately.
    Kind regards
    Pat
     
  17. Thanks Hugh, just another mystery to be solved.
    Kind regards
    Pat
     
  18. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Pat

    It was more for others to see as there may have been something on the page that gives more clues/answers

    TD
     
  19. Kenneth Berry

    Kenneth Berry Member

    The Highland Mona
    The Highland Monarch was an armed cruiser. which meant she would have Royal Navy Personnel. Probably RNVR men as well. Unusual but she was also used as a troopship. A few of the web's i have had a look at show her but very little infomation. If you find he joins the RNVR. the site for him will be Yeovilton Fleet Air Arm Station Somerset A Mr Swailes. The photo you have of him is a Mercantile Marine Cap badge and he is a cadet or apprentice. DBS he may have been sick. Hiss original ship must have sailed without him He is immediately the responsiblity of the Government. Will try some other sites tomorrow.Regards Ken B
    ps the Ship he sailed back to the UK gives all his home addresses. That's a bonus. for research.
     
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  20. Thanks for this info Kenneth. I will certainly look into the RNVR, I am not sure how it connects with the Merchant Navy though but it rang a vague bell in the back of my husbands memory when I told him what you had said. He only had one address and that was in Northampton. Kind regards Pat
     

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