Lydia Sutcliffe Patton, Stewardess, HMHS Aba

Discussion in 'The Women of WW2' started by C Alsbury, Jun 30, 2024.

  1. C Alsbury

    C Alsbury Member

    Lydia Sutcliffe Patton was widowed in 1927 and went to sea as a Stewardess on various Elder Dempster ships. During 1942 and 1943 she was on the hospital ship HMHS Aba, a vessel that she had sailed on previously in peacetime.
    Any information on the role of Stewardess, others who served similarly welcome.
    Lydia was awarded 1939-45 star, atlantic star, africa star with clasp and italy star.
    She joined HMHS Aba at 2.30am on 20 June 1942 after road trip from Suez via Cairo to Alexandria.
    I’m not sure when she left HMHS Aba but she was on board through most of 1943 a t least.
    Hugh MacLean likes this.
  2. C Alsbury

    C Alsbury Member

    One detail that may be of interest is that I have notes from Lydia that show how long it took from signing on to HS Aba to actually joining the ship.

    Her notes read as follows:
    Signed on Aba 16 March 42
    Sailed L’Pool 23rd on Arundel Castle
    arr Freetown 6th April
    left “
    arr Cape Town 23rd
    Left. “. 29th
    on Mauritania
    Arr Bombay 11th May
    Left. “. 4th June
    On Matinana
    arr Suez. 19th June
    Left 19th by Road to Cairo
    Spent Night, started 7 am
    by Road to Alexandria
    joined Aba 2-30 on
    20th June 1942

    That’s a three month journey.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2024
  3. C Alsbury

    C Alsbury Member

    The same notes then include Aba’s movements from 1 Jul 1942 to 25th Aug and 16th e Dec to 5 Jul 1943 which match those on Aba’s ship movement records at National Archives.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2024
  4. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    A three month journey to join her but she wouldn't have actually signed on to ABA until she signed the articles of agreement which would have been around the date she actually went aboard in June of 1942.
  5. C Alsbury

    C Alsbury Member

    Thanks Hugh - what I reproducing are the words that she wrote in the back of her address book…
    Hugh MacLean likes this.
  6. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Great to see postings of female crew that served in the Merchant Service. Too little has been written of them. Please post more of her service if you can.

  7. C Alsbury

    C Alsbury Member

    From the back of Lydia’s CR2 card of 1928 for the SS Appam 135442 dated 13.6.28 we have a list of ship numbers and dates that she was on as a stewardess.
    With ship names added and some additional annotations from CR1 and CR2 cards etc they are:

    Accra 149595. 28.3.28
    [Accra 149595 8.5.28] - CR1 card details
    [Appam 135442 13.6.28] - from CR2 card
    Adda 146664 30.1.29
    Abinsi 137388 12.6.29
    Apapa 149611 25.9.29
    Appam 135442 26.12.29
    Aba 141887 12.2.29 [should be 30 ?]
    Apapa 149611 13.8.30
    Aba 141887 5.11.30
    Adda 146664 11.2.31
    Aba 141887 25.3.31
    Adda 146664 3.6.31
    Apapa 149611 15.7.31
    Accra 149595 26.8.31
    Appam 135442 2.12.31
    Accra 149595 27.7.32
    Appam 135442 2.11.32
    Apapa 149611 8.2.33
    Adda 146664 27.6.34
    Aba 141887 20.3.35
    Adda 146664 8.5.35
    Abosso 164265 14.10.30
    [Abosso 164265 8.12.36] - CR1 card
    Abosso 164265 30.8.39
    [Abosso 164265 3.5.41] - note re loss of book when Elder Dempster offices at Liverpool in India Building was damaged by enemy action
    [HS Aba 141887 18.3.42] - ‘signed on’ but not yet on board!
    [HS Aba 141887 20.6.42] - physically joined HS Aba

    Lydia was still with HS Aba in July 1943 - the exact date of her return to UK is not yet confirmed

    Of the ships that she is known to have served on two were sold or scrapped before WW2 by Elder Dempste, four were sunk due to enemy action - the Aba being the sole survivor.
    Hugh MacLean likes this.

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