MV Derrycunihy - 24th June 1944

Discussion in 'Recce' started by 43rdrecce, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. 43rdrecce

    43rdrecce Junior Member

    Remembering today the loss of the MV Derrycunihy at 0.735 hrs off Sword Beach, Normandy, 24th June 1944.
    The ship triggered an acoustic mine whilst carrying men of the 43rd Reconnaissance Regiment to the Normandy beaches.

    Of more than 600 men of the Regiment aboard, 189 died and 150 were injured. Twenty-five of the crew, including a number of Royal Navy and Royal Artillery DEMS gunners and a Royal Observer Corps Seaborne Observer, also lost their lives. Most of the men who died had been trapped in the sinking stern section of the Derrycunihy.

    We will remember them.
     
  2. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    :poppy: RIP :poppy:

    Paul
     
  3. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    :poppy: RIP


    Lesley
     
  4. mariner1

    mariner1 Member

    :poppy: my thoughts go to the fallen :poppy:
     
  5. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

  6. 43rdrecce

    43rdrecce Junior Member

    Thanks Tom,

    I'd already posted within that thread! I've been researching the loss of the Derrycunihy for several years now.

    Regards

    Paul
     
  7. mariner1

    mariner1 Member

    1D8I7896 Falla.jpg I know this is a poor picture but it was taken in Polony France after the service held to honour the men who lost there lives when the ship went down.It is a picture of my dad with 2 unknown French men.It was sent to my mum to let her know that dad had "got his feet wet"
    I know this is quite a flipant remark but the reasurance that dad was ok must have settled mums worries
     
  8. jollymolly

    jollymolly Junior Member

    I've already posted this on another thread so apologies if you've already seen it:
    I hope someone can help. I'm looking for any photos of the 43rd Recce C Squadron for my Dad. He will be ninety in January and on Sunday took part in the parade.
    He was on the Derrycunnihy and survived and tells of how after rescue he had fruit thrown at him by the locals who thought he was POW (He lost everything and was waiting for new gear)
    We took him on a tour of Normandy a couple of years ago and he was an expert guide, full of wonderful and moving stories. Sadly we didn't write them down and his memory is now failing a bit. I'm hoping some photos might help.
    Whilst in Bayeaux we looked for his friend John Heaney's grave. Dad hoped they may have eventually found his body, but alas no. We found him on the memorial wall. It was quite a moving moment.
    He tells me that selection for Recce was tough and they did indeed conduct commando training in Scotland (He can't remember where so if anyone has any info on this please) They were then based in Eastbourne prior to operations.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Still a wonderful photograph having seen it first on your other post.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  10. Souldier

    Souldier Junior Member

    any info you have i would be interested in as my Grandfather was killed on the Derrycunihy many thanks
     
  11. Souldier

    Souldier Junior Member

    I wonder if he knew my grandfather
     
  12. paulp163

    paulp163 New Member

    MV DERRYCUNIHY.
    Hi my name is Paul Patterson, i am looking for information regarding the merchant ship Derrycunihy. Im looking more for information regarding the crew side, my grandfather died on this vessel, and i seem to read alot with regards to the regement that died which was very unfortunate, but i hear very little about the crew. My grandfather Walter William Johnson Patterson, was 45 when he died on this ship, an able seaman, his son my faher, Richard Allan Patterson was 9 years old then, and has a few fond memories of his father. He is now 79 years old and i would like to find any information i can give to him.
     
  13. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Hi and welcome aboard!
    Well, it probably is possible to obtain a list of the gunners casualties, but the Merchant Navy casualties seem very low, at 9.
    Obviously you know the details of one, here are the others plus some more background details.

    AYRE, OWEN. Rank: Senior Ordinary Seaman. Date of Death: 24/06/1944. Age: 41.
    Regiment/Service: Merchant Navy. M.V. Derrycunihy (London)
    Panel Reference: Panel 35. Memorial: TOWER HILL MEMORIAL

    DEY, DANIEL. Rank: Donkeyman. Date of Death: 24/06/1944. Age: 37.
    Regiment/Service: Merchant Navy. M.V. Derrycunihy (London)
    Panel Reference: Panel 35. Memorial: TOWER HILL MEMORIAL
    Additional Information: Husband of Elspeth Dey, of Edinburgh.

    GORDON, ALEXANDER. Rank: Senior Ordinary Seaman. Date of Death: 24/06/1944. Age: 19.
    Regiment/Service: Merchant Navy. M.V. Derrycunihy (London)
    Panel Reference: Panel 35. Memorial: TOWER HILL MEMORIAL

    HACKNEY, JOSEPH. Rank: Donkeyman. Date of Death: 24/06/1944. Age: 22.
    Regiment/Service: Merchant Navy. M.V. Derrycunihy (London)
    Panel Reference: Panel 35. Memorial: TOWER HILL MEMORIAL
    Additional Information: Son of George Hackney, and of Teresa Hackney, of Liverpool.

    MULLEN, CHARLES. Rank: Donkeyman. Date of Death: 24/06/1944. Age: 42.
    Regiment/Service: Merchant Navy. M.V. Derrycunihy (London)
    Panel Reference: Panel 35. Memorial: TOWER HILL MEMORIAL
    Additional Information: Husband of Mary Mullen, of Glasgow.

    SPINK, NORMAN. Rank: Junior Ordinary Seaman. Date of Death: 24/06/1944. Age: 18.
    Regiment/Service: Merchant Navy. M.V. Derrycunihy (London)
    Panel Reference: Panel 35. Memorial: TOWER HILL MEMORIAL

    WALKER, JOSEPH FARREL. Rank: Junior Ordinary Seaman. Date of Death: 24/06/1944. Age: 18.
    Regiment/Service: Merchant Navy. M.V. Derrycunihy (London)
    Panel Reference: Panel 35. Memorial: TOWER HILL MEMORIAL
    Additional Information: Son of Joseph and Elizabeth Farrel Walker, of Edinburgh.

    WARD, KENNETH. Rank: Able Seaman. Date of Death: 24/06/1944. Age: 21.
    Regiment/Service: Merchant Navy. M.V. Derrycunihy (London)
    Panel Reference: Panel 35. Memorial: TOWER HILL MEMORIAL
    Additional Information: Son of James and Emma Gore, of Battersea, London.

    Derrycunihy was general purpose cargo ship of 10,200 tons built (yard number 275) by Burntisland Shipbuilding Company for McGowan & Gross of London. Because of critical shipping requirements during World War II she had been built at great speed: her keel was laid on 22 June 1943, she was launched on 11 November the same year, and was delivered on 26 February 1944. She immediately came under the overall control of the Ministry of War Transport as Motor Transport Ship (MTS) T72, and guns were fitted fore and aft (manned by Army gunners)Shortly after D-Day the ship was selected to transport one of the regiments required for the build-up of troops in the Normandy bridgehead. On 18 June 1944 HQ, A and C squadrons of the 43rd (Wessex) Reconnaissance Regiment ('43 Recce') embarked at West India Docks, London, aboard the Derrycunihy. She joined a convoy off Southend-on-Sea and arrived off Sword Beach on the evening of 20 June.

    High seas and enemy shelling prevented unloading for three days and it was decided to move T72 to Juno Beach for disembarkation. As the ship started engines at 07.40 on the morning of 24 June it detonated an acoustic or 'Oyster' mine dropped by one of the nightly Luftwaffe raiders. The mine exploded under the keel, splitting the ship in two, and the after part, packed with sleeping men of 43 Recce, sank rapidly. Worse still, a 3-tonner ammunition lorry caught fire, and oil floating on the water was set alight. Landing craft and the gunboat HMS Locust quickly came alongside and picked up survivors, most of whom were evacuated to SS Cap Touraine, a former French liner. The remaining part was kept afloat by the salvage vessel SALVICTOR long enough to discharge the vehicles.

    When all the survivors had been taken off, Captain Richardson of the Derrycunihy and the commanding officer of 43 Recce, Lieutenant-colonel Francis Lane Fox, argued over who should be last to leave the half-sunken ship. The Regimental War Diary records that 'Great gallantry was displayed by all troops in the two aft holds' and lists 183 men of the regiment lost and about 120 others evacuated wounded. In addition, 25 of the ship's crew (including Army gunners) died in the disaster, which represented the biggest single loss of life off the Normandy invasion beaches.

    Aftermath
    In the days following the sinking, most of 43 Recce's vehicles were landed from the beached fore part of the Derrycunihy, and reinforcements were sent from England, but 43 Recce was not fully up to strength until the end of July 1944 and was unable to assist its parent division in the bitter Battle for Caen. The sunken after part of the Derrycunihy remains as a wreck site off Sword Beach. Another ship built at Burntisland for the Ministry of War Transport, the Empire Calshot (1945) was bought by McGowan & Gross after the war and renamed Derrycunihy.

    Of the 600 men of the Regiment, 189 died and 150 were injured. Twenty-five of the crew, including a number of army gunners, also lost their lives. Most of the men who died had been trapped in the sunken stern section. It was the heaviest single British loss of life off the invasion beaches.

    Paul Hannon, the archivist of the 43rd Reconnaissance Regiment History Group, visited Scotland in March 2006, to gather information for an exhibition in Bristol to commemorate the tragic events of 24 June 1944. Also planned was a memorial service off the Normandy coast at the spot where the stern section of the Derrycunihy still lies. Of the men who survived, twenty-five regimental veterans and a number of the ship's crew were (at March 2006) still with us, and Paul hoped that some of them would be able to participate in the commemoration events. Two of the crew who survived the sinking came from Burntisland - Daniel Frew and Andrew Turner. Andrew died in 1995. During his visit, Paul met one of the Scottish survivors, Walter Jamieson, who had been in number 5 hold of the Derrycunihy with his troop of A Squadron. Walter found himself underwater in the sinking stern. He could see light above him, which was actually the hatch of number 5 hold, minus its cover which had blown off. He was able to swim towards it and make his way out. He was one of the very few survivors from that hold.

    The Derrymore (launched in 1938) was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine in 1942 in the Java Sea. She was under the command of the same Captain Harold Richardson who later took charge of the Derrycunihy. The MV Derrycunihy which did a crossing to Philadelphia in March 1944, then 2 runs to Normandy ferrying troops of the 49th Infantry Division The third trip, carrying the Recce Regiment of the 43rd Wessex Division,The ship struck a mine and was split in two on 24th June 1944.

    Hope that helps stir up some memory cells, and try and record or video what he remembers to match/add to what is known.
     
  14. CL1

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

    Panel from Tower Hill Memorial attached
     

    Attached Files:

  15. CL1

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

  16. mandy hall

    mandy hall Junior Member

    Thanks Kevin for your detailed post on the fate of the Derrycunihy.

    RIP Malcolm Stuart McNeille

    [​IMG]

    Mandy
     
    CL1 likes this.
  17. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hello Paul,

    Do you have his service records? His Combined Office Merchant Navy Operations (COMNO) seaman's pouch is held at Kew in piece BT 391/85/231.
    He may also have a surviving CRS 10 held in BT 382/1392.

    The pouch and CRS 10 best viewed by visit to Kew but the medal file can be downloaded to your computer for £3.30.

    His medal file: BT 395/1/76046

    Regards
    Hugh
     
    CL1 likes this.
  18. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    RN Losses

    BANCROFT, John B
    Aircraft Identifier
    P/JX 2639, (President III, O/P), MPK
    Who died on 24 June 1944
    Son of William and Mary A. H. Bancroft. M.A. (Cantab.), M.Sc. (Manchester).
    Portsmouth Naval Memorial Panel 87, Column 2.


    CARSON, John R
    Act/Able Seaman (DEMS)
    P/JX 289505, (President III, O/P), MPK
    Who died on 24 June 1944 Age 23
    Son of Alexander and Margaret Carson, of Hebburn-on-Tyne, Co. Durham
    Portsmouth Naval Memorial Panel 82, Column 1.


    HETHERINGTON, Leslie
    Act/Able Seaman (DEMS)
    D/JX 641227, (President III, O/P), MPK
    Who died on 24 June 1944 Age 17
    Son of Hubert and Ellen Hetherington, of Lower Broughton, Lancashire
    Plymouth Naval Memorial Panel 86, Column 2.


    HULME, Robert
    Act/Able Seaman (DEMS)
    D/JX 399799, (President III, O/P), MPK
    Who died on 24 June 1944 Age 30
    Son of Robert and Hilda Hulme, of Bickershaw, Lancashire
    Plymouth Naval Memorial Panel 86, Column 3.


    JONES, Trevor R
    Act/Able Seaman (DEMS)
    D/JX 639338, (President III, O/P), MPK
    Who died on 24 June 1944 Age 19
    Son of John and Maud Jones, of Howey, Radnorshire
    Plymouth Naval Memorial Panel 86, Column 3.


    LAING, Ludovic B
    Act/Able Seaman (DEMS)
    D/JX 642087, (President III, O/P), MPK
    Who died on 24 June 1944 Age 21
    Son of John and Margaret Laing, of Dykehead, Lanarkshire
    Plymouth Naval Memorial Panel 86, Column 3.


    WESTHEAD, Samuel F
    Act/Able Seaman (DEMS)
    D/JX 641691, (President III, O/P), MPK
    Who died on 24 June 1944 Age 18
    Plymouth Naval Memorial Panel 87, Column 3.

    Cheers
    Paul
     
  19. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Drawing of Derrycunihy
     

    Attached Files:

    CL1 likes this.
  20. 43rdrecce

    43rdrecce Junior Member

    Hi Paul,

    I have sent you a PM re MV Derrycunihy and your Grandfather.

    Regards

    Paul
     

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