Name of Merchant ship torpedoed and sunk....

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Tymeric, Aug 15, 2022.

  1. Tymeric

    Tymeric Member

    I realise this is a bit of a long shot.....a long time ago I read a story about a wireless officer who escaped from a sinking British merchant ship in ballast, that was torpedoed in WW2.
    The story goes something like this.....
    The ship was torpedoed and a distress call was repeatedly sent while the lifeboats were launched. While the lifeboats stood off, the radio officer continued to send until he was ordered? to leave the ship as it was settling quickly. In his rush to go down the ladder to the main deck, he hit the hatch coaming of No 4 hold? and toppled in. As this was the Hold that had been torpedoed, it was now full of water. When he came to the surface, he was unable to climb back out, so actually swam through the hole made by the torpedo and was picked up by a lifeboat.
    It's possible he may have been awarded a citation/medal...
    Anyone come across this before and can name the ship...??
    Many thanks
  2. CL1

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

    welcome to the forum

    where does the story come from?
  3. Tymeric

    Tymeric Member

    Pretty sure it was from a book published about the MN in WW2...all a bit vague I'm afraid...just one of those things I wish I had noted at the'll turn up when I stop looking for it...
    It was just on the off chance that someone might recognise the same event...
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  4. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hello and welcome,
    Without a little more it will be a difficult search, I am afraid. Are you sure that he was a radio officer? I have lots of documents pertaining to the wartime Merchant Navy and I have all the awards for the MN 1939-1945 but as there were over 9200 of them it needs to be narrowed down. It is certainly possible that he was awarded a medal at least for his willingness to continue sending out distress calls while the crew abandoned ship although it would also depend on whether anyone bothered to recommend him.
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  5. Tymeric

    Tymeric Member

    Thanks for the was always a forlorn hope that someone might recognise it...I certainly wouldn't want anyone to search for's my fault for not noting it at the's just something that I thought was quite remarkable...he was a very lucky guy...
  6. Mark McShane

    Mark McShane Junior Member

    Third Officer Robert Philips of EMPIRE BREEZE was standing on the bridge when it was torpedoed. He was knocked off balance and fell into the cargo hold that had been hit and was filled with sea water. Despite being dazed Philips managed to swim out of the hole caused by the explosion and made it to a lifeboat.
  7. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    source for the above:

    Empire Breeze (British Steam merchant) - Ships hit by German U-boats during WWII -
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2022
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  8. CL1

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

    Panel from my collection Tower Hill Memorial

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  9. Tymeric

    Tymeric Member

    That's brilliant !!...many many thanks for's very much appreciated...It's been niggling me for a couple of years...I doubt if I could have found it again myself...

    Apologies for leading people astray re "wireless officer"...

    ...also thanks to Temujin and CL1
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