HMS Lanka or SS Khedive Ismail

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by russ tobin, Nov 18, 2019.

  1. russ tobin

    russ tobin Member

    I'm trying to discover the details surrounding the following man;
    Alan Jones C/MX105431 Royal Navy
    He died on the 12/2/1944 whilst serving with HMS Lanka.
    I believe that HMS Lanka was a shore base in Ceylon(now Sri Lanka)
    He is remembered with honour at Chatham Naval Memorial.
    Can anyone shed any further light on the circumstances surrounding his death?
  2. russ tobin

    russ tobin Member

    Subsequently found more information and it would seem that this man was in fact onboard the SS Khedive Ismail when it was sunk by a Japanese submarine on the 12/2/1944.
  3. russ tobin

    russ tobin Member

    He carried the rank of Motor Mechanic - does anyone know what this actually means?
  4. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    The following link is quite helpful
    RN Ranks Ratings .com - Documenting Royal Navy &Allied Services Ranks &Ratings history

    Seems the Motor Mechanic branch of the Royal Navy started in 1941 & was responsible for the operation maintainence of engines in various vessels, particularly Diesel engines. To denote what type of vessel/engine they worked on a letter was added to the rating eg FM Fairmile, MTB Motor Torpedo boats & if Motor Mechanic either Leading Rate or Petty Officer.
    timuk likes this.
  5. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    Motor Mechanics 1942
    Chief Motor Mechanic, 1st Class [crown and star above, star below]
    Chief Motor Mechanic, 2nd Class [crown and star above, star below]
    Chief Motor Mechanic, 3rd Class [crown and star above, star below]
    Chief Motor Mechanic, 4th Class [crown and star above, star below]
    Motor Mechanic [star above, star below]

    See Royal Navy in World War 2
    Ranks, Badges and Pay in the Royal Navy in World War 2

    Given that there were also Engine room mechanics I think that Motor Mechanics were small ship crew
  6. russ tobin

    russ tobin Member

    Thanks everyone.

    Without his records it's difficult to say for sure what he worked on.
  7. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Presumably as it's a common surname, these may not be related, but to find three of the same Trade I felt unusual enough to post...
    JONES, Alan, Motor Mechanic, C/MX 105431, (Lanka, O/P), MPK
    JONES, Albert, Motor Mechanic, D/MX 534700, (Lanka, O/P), MPK
    JONES, Richard, Motor Mechanic, D/MX 510970, (Lanka, O/P), MPK
    Early in the afternoon of Saturday 12 February, after a week at sea, KR 8 was in the One and a Half Degree Channel south-west of the Maldives. After lunch many of the passengers were below watching an ENSA concert, while others sunbathed on deck. At 1430 hrs the Japanese submarine I-27 had taken position off Khedive Ismail's port side to attack. A lookout sighted I-27's periscope and raised the alarm; Khedive Ismail's DEMS gunners opened fire on the submarine. At the same time I-27's commander, Cdr Toshiaki Fukumura, fired a spread of four torpedoes, two of which hit Khedive Ismail.
    The troop ship's stern was engulfed in flame and smoke and she sank in three minutes. As the convoy's merchant ships scattered for safety, Paladin lowered boats to rescue survivors and Petard released depth charges. The troop ship had sunk too quickly to launch any lifeboats, but her Carley floats floated free and some survivors were able to board them.
    After three patterned releases I-27 was forced to the surface. The two destroyers engaged her with their 4-inch QF Mk 5 main guns and Paladin moved to ram her, but as a Type B1 submarine, she was considerably larger than the destroyer so Petard signalled Paladin to abort the manoeuvre. Paladin therefore took avoiding action but too late, and I-27's hydroplane tore a 15-foot gash in Paladin's hull.
    I-27 submerged again and took refuge beneath the survivors. The destruction of a submarine that might sink more ships took precedence over the lives of survivors, so with Paladin out of action Petard resumed the attack with first depth charges, then 4-inch shellfire and finally 21-inch Mk IX torpedoes. The depth charge fuses had to be set to detonate at the most shallow depth, and they killed or wounded many people who had survived the initial sinking. The seventh torpedo finally destroyed I-27, sinking her with all hands. The battle had lasted two and a half hours.
    Of 1,511 people aboard Khedive Ismail, only 208 men and 6 women survived the sinking and subsequent battle. 1,220 men and 77 women were killed. The sinking was the third largest loss of life from Allied shipping in World War II and the largest loss of servicewomen in the history of the Commonwealth of Nations. (Extract from Wiki)

    naval history net has a list of some of the casualties Royal Navy casualties, killed and died, February 1944
    ozzy16 likes this.
  8. russ tobin

    russ tobin Member

    Thanks Kevin. I'd read this report elsewhere and it makes for very grim reading...
  9. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    The reason why HMS Petard had to rely its torpedoes in order to sink I-27 was according to its gunnery officer G.G. Connell's book Fighting Destroyer the fact that it did not have SAP (Semi-Armour Piercing) ammo for its old 4" Mk III* guns, its DA (Direct Action) shells did not pierce sub's pressure hull and so were incapable to achieve fatal/disabling damage.
    timuk likes this.
  10. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Wiki says both Paladin and Petard mounted 5 x QF Mk V, but no doubt the ammunition aspect applied :)
    Petard had the distinction of sinking a submarine from each of the three Axis navies: the German U-559, the Italian Uarsciek and the Japanese I-27. Members of the ship's crew recovered from U-559 a new, four-wheel Enigma cypher machine and the books to go with it, albeit at the cost of the lives of her First Lieutenant and an Able Seaman, both of whom were drowned when the U-boat they were searching sank with them inside.

    What I didn't realise is that I-27 was about 50% heavier than Petard, although of roughly similar length. I'd somehow equated subs with being fairly small relative to destroyers.
    Juha likes this.
  11. CL1

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

    Re motor mechanic see the below from WW1

    Petty Officer Motor Mechanic BYFORD, D A
    Service Number F3373

    Died 14/09/1917

    Aged 33

    Russian Armoured Car Sect. H.M.S. President II.
    Royal Naval Air Service

    Son of William and Harriet Byford; husband of Jessie Agnes Byford. Born at Foxearth,


    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
  12. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    Hello Kevin
    Yes, thanks for the correction, they had Mk Vs on Mk III* HA mountings but most Ps had only four 4" guns and two banks of torpedoes, Petard definitely because it could fire 7 torpedoes.

Share This Page