SS Cape Corso lost PQ15 May 1942

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by nickb, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. nickb

    nickb Member

    I carried out some research on the loss of the Cape Corso some years ago as part of my family history, my Grandmothers cousin was lost when the Cape Corso was sunk by torpedo on the 3rd may 1942.

    Much of this information was placed on a website that has sadly been lost, so I thought I would try and re-produce it here to preserve the memory of the crew who was lost.

    My relation was just 17 years old when the Cape Corso set sail as part of the Russian convoy PQ15. She was to have been part of PQ14 but bad weather forced her to return to Reykjavik and become part of the next convoy. It does make you wonder what would have been if they had not been forced to leave PQ14?

    Donald Kinnersley.jpg

    On the back of the photo it just says "Lost at sea 2 May 1942" but he was killed in the early hours of the 3 May.

    The original thread was on merchantilemarine.org and an archive of part of this can still be found at Web-archive.org.

    Below are the names of the Merchant Navy crew that perished: These were added to the thread by Billy McGee.

    ANGELL, Cook, ARTHUR EDWARD, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 37. Husband of A. Angell, of Hull.

    ANNAN, Fireman and Trimmer, ALFRED, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 53.

    BAILEY, Mess Room Boy, ERIC EDWARD, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 17. Son of Albert Edward and Mary Bailey, of Thorne, Yorkshire.

    BLONDER, Cook, JACK, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 31. Husband of Kathleen Mary Blonder, of Aveley, Essex.

    BROWN, Fireman and Trimmer, WILLIAM, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 50.

    CAMPBELL, Second Radio Officer, JOHN ALEXANDER PARIS, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 22.

    CAMPBELL, Assistant Cook, THOMAS GILCHRIST, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 18. Son of Henry and Jean Campbell, of Rutherglen, Lanarkshire.

    CONROY, Assistant Steward, GEORGE WILLIAM, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 23. Son of George William and Florence Conroy.

    DAVIS, Fireman and Trimmer, JOHN ROBERT, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 28.

    DUNCAN, Fourth Engineer Officer, ALLAN FERGUSON, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 29.

    GOMEZ, Fireman and Trimmer, JOSE FAUSTINO, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 54. Husband of Lottie Gomez, of Barry Docks, Glamorgan.

    GORMAN, Assistant Steward, PHILIP JOSEPH, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 17.

    GRAY, Able Seaman, HENRY RICHARD, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 32. Husband of Dora Gray, of Bradford, Yorkshire.

    GROAT, Chief Officer, JOHN GEORGE, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 37. Son of William and Betsy Groat; husband of Margaret Park Groat, of Edinburgh.

    GUNN, Third Officer, PETER, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 21. Son of William Archibald and Emily Kate Gunn, of St. Ives, Cornwall.

    HATFIELD, Assistant Steward, HAROLD, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 25. Son of Harry and Hilda Hatfield.

    HEDGCOCK, Able Seaman, THOMAS JAMES EDWIN, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 27. Son of Thomas and Angela Mary Hedgcock, of Hull.

    HUGHES, Greaser, DAVID, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 52.

    HUGHSON, Boatswain, HUGH EDWARD, B E M, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 23. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Magnus Hughson, of Mossbank, Zetland.

    KINNERSLEY, Assistant Cook, DONALD STANLEY, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 18. Son of Walter and Gertrude Kinnersley, of Hull.

    MACBETH, First Radio Officer, ALAN GODFREY, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 30.

    MONTGOMERY, Master, WALTER CLARK, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 36. Husband of Isabel S. Montgomery, of Wigtown.

    MOODY, Sailor, EDWARD, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 21. Son of Mr. and Mrs. George Moody; husband of Gwendoline Moody, of Hull.

    MORGAN, Chief Steward, JOHN, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 27.

    McCARGO, Donkeyman, THOMAS, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 54.

    McDONALD, Ordinary Seaman, REGGIE, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 16. Son of Alexander McDonald, and of Harriet McDonald, of Dawdon, Co. Durham.

    NARBURGH, Able Seaman, HERBERT, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 45.

    NAYSMITH, Chief Engineer Officer, WILLIAM GEORGE, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 61. Husband of Robena Naysmith, of Knightswood, Glasgow.

    O'CONNOR, Assistant Steward, MICHAEL, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 21. Son of Michael and Alice O'Connor; nephew of Mrs. N. Fowler, of Hull.

    O'DONKOR, Fireman and Trimmer, CHRISTOPHER CHARLES, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 37.

    PEEBLES, Third Engineer Officer, ROBERT GRIEVE, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 28. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Grieve Peebles; husband of Grace B. Peebles, of Cupar, Fife.

    PRESTAGE, Sailor, WILLIAM HENRY, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 21. Son of William and Florence E. Prestage.

    RADFORD, Assistant Steward, ROBERT HENRY, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 24.

    ST CLAIR, Fireman and Trimmer, AUGUSTUS THEODORE, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 21.

    TOBY, Greaser, TOM, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 39. Son of Thomas and Sarah Toby; husband of Louisa Toby, of Cardiff.

    WASTLE, Carpenter, WILLIAM, B E M, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 21. Son of James and Rose Wastle; husband of Elizabeth Wastle, of Edinburgh.

    WATSON, Second Officer, FREDERICK, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 26. Husband of Jenny Watson, of South Shields, Co. Durham.

    WILLIAMS, Assistant Steward, ALBERT EDWARD, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 22. Son of George and Elizabeth Williams.

    WILLIAMS, Fireman and Trimmer, JOSEPH FRANCIS, S.S. Cape Corso (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 2nd May 1942. Age 48.

    There were also 12 DEMS gunners aboard and the names of these are also shown below:

    EAST, Able Seaman, LEONARD, C/JX 311930, S.S. Cape Corso, Royal Navy. 2 June 1942. Age 19. Son of William J. and Diana Eliza East, of Croxley Green. Hertfordshire.

    HAYES, Able Seaman, FRANK, P/JX 312050. H.M.S. President III. Royal Navy. (lost in S.S. Cape Corso). 2nd May 1942. Age 19. Son of James Thomas Hayes and Ada Florance Hayes, of Goldthorpe, Yorkshire.

    HEWITT, Able Seaman, JIM, D/JX311582. H.M.S. President III. Royal Navy. lost in S.S. Cape Corso. 2nd May 1942.

    KENNEDY, Leading Seaman, FREDERICK WILLIAM, D/SR 16579. H.M.S. President III. Royal Navy. lost in S.S. Cape Corso. 2nd May 1942. Age 24. Son of Frederick M. and Margaret M. Kennedy; husband of May G. Kennedy, of Bucksburn, Aberdeenshire.

    SMITH, Able Seaman, GEORGE WILLIAM, C/JX 312811. H.M.S. President III. Royal Navy. lost in S.S. Cape Corso. 2nd May 1942.

    A full list :

    DUCEY, Edward J, Gunner, RA, 1549460, (7/4 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed
    EAST, Leonard, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 311930, (President III, O/P), MPK
    HAYES, Frank, Act/Able Seaman, P/JX 312050, (President III, O/P), MPK
    HEWITT, Jim, Act/Able Seaman, D/JX 311582, (President III, O/P), MPK
    HUNT, Leonard R L, Gunner, RA, 1544293, (7/4 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed
    KENNEDY, Frederick W, Act/Able Seaman, D/SR 16579, (President III, O/P), MPK
    LEAHY, Michael, Bombardier, RA, 1695835, (7/4 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed
    SCAIFE, John G, Gunner, RA, 1632078, (7/4 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed
    SMITH, George W, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 312811, (President III, O/P), MPK
    WIDGER, Ronald J, Gunner, RA, 1595143, (7/4 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed
    WILLIAMS, John J, Gunner, RA, 5621713, (7/4 Maritime Regt, RA, O/P), killed

    These can be found on naval-history.net.

    It is strange how things pan out when you start this "family history" thing. The Cook Arthur Angell, I have found was related to my wife (through marriage). What would be the chance that 40 years after our relatives lost their lives, most likely together in the cold waters of the arctic, we would get together? was it fate or just bad luck to both events ;)

    So far 3 pictures have been found of the Cape Corso:

    Cape Corso pic.jpg
    Cape Corso - 1.jpg
    Cape Corso.jpg

    Well, thats a start

    Nick
     
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  2. nickb

    nickb Member

    Added by Hugh on the original thread:

    SS Cape Corso Lyle shipping Co; 1929; Lithgows; 3,807 tons; 352. 5x50.25;

    389nhp; 10.5 knots; triple-expansion engines.

    The steamship Cape Corso, Capt. W.C. Montgomery, was steaming in convoy to Russia on May 2nd, 1942, when she was attacked by German torpedo-bombers and sunk. Of her crew of 56 there were only six survivors, and three of these were wounded. Capt. Montgomery went down with the vessel.

    Source: Disasters at Sea by Hocking
     
  3. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hello Nick,
    You may be interested in the survivor's report for 'CAPE CORSO' which is held at Kew in piece ADM 199/2140 - it's on page 251.

    Regards
    Hugh
     
  4. nickb

    nickb Member

    Thanks for yet another link Hugh. I will see what the cost comes out at to have them copied by your suggestion.

    Regards

    nick
     
  5. nickb

    nickb Member

    Images of the Tower Hill memorial to the crew:

    Cape Corso1.jpg

    Cape Corso2.jpg



    Nick
     
  6. nickb

    nickb Member

    The Lloyds register of shipping losses for WW2 states:

    Voyage: Hull and Reykjavik for North Russia
    Cargo: Munitions
    Position: 73 2N - 19 46E
    How sunk: Aircraft
    Personnel: Crew 44 and 12 Gunners. 39 crew and 11 gunners lost.

    The Lloyds marine collection - Guildhall Library

    Vessel details:

    Name: Cape Corso
    Former name: Knight of St George (to 1934)
    Official number: 71670
    Signal code: GCTF
    Rig: 2 Steel Decks
    Built: Port of Glasgow
    Builder: Lithgows Ltd
    Gross tonnage: 3807
    Net Tonnage: 2338
    length: 352.5ft
    Breadth: 50.5ft
    Depth: 25ft
    Engine type: Triple expansion, 3 cylinder, 389 NHP
    Engine builder: D Rowan & Co Ltd, Glasgow
    port of registry: Glasgow
    Flag: British
    Owner: Lyle Shipping Co Ltd
    Class: +100A1
     
  7. Kenneth Dickson

    Kenneth Dickson New Member

    RE: PQ15 SS Cape Corso

    My grandfather John George Groat was killed when the ship was torpedoed. At that time he was the Chief Officer. He left a widow Margaret Groat (Leith ,Edinburgh) who died in 1993 and a son Ian who died 2004. His daughter Sheila (Dickson) who is my mother is still alive.

    My mother has the company letter of condolences from Lyles regarding the death of her father Chief Officer John Groat. (see attached).

    There is also a letter (5 pages) dated 4/11/42 from a George Waddingham of, 45 Ceylon Street, Hull. George was one of the survivors who wrote to my Grandmother giving a detailed account of what happened before and after the ship was hit. I don't however see his name on the list below.

    He stated John Groat was the last person he spoke to on the ship before it sunk. He was one of the lucky ones and he survived to tell his story. (see attached).
     

    Attached Files:

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  8. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Welcome Kenneth and thank you for posting those attachments very interesting indeed.

    The names listed in the previous postings are those who were lost. The names of Mr Waddingham and the other five are not listed as they were the only survivors of the sinking.

    The last crew agreement for 'CAPE CORSO' official number 145654 is held at Kew in piece BT 381/1909. This file, if complete, will detail all the crew including the survivors.

    Regards
    Hugh
     
  9. nickb

    nickb Member

    These entries are from the War diaries of the German Naval Staff and I would like to thank Wills for pointing me to them. I will add extracts each day.

    At 2200 on 14 Apr, radio intelligence showed convoy PQ15 to be at 62* 45' N, and approximately 16* 40' W, en route to Hval Fjord (Iceland).

    At Noon on 20 Apr air reconnaissance located 10 steamers in Iokanga Bay.
    Dive bombers attacked and damaged 2 of the steamers sighted in Iokanga Bay.
     
  10. Olsen

    Olsen New Member

    Hi I am trying to find as much information on my father Robert George Olsen from Hull, East Yorkshire. He was in the merchant navy and was on the Russian Atlantic Convoy. He was torpedoed on an amunition ship, he was then picked up by another ship which was sunk and he was then rescued by another ship and taken to Russia where he was hospitalised.
    I think he was one of the survivors of the SS Cape Corso. I have a letter sent to my mother from the Lyle Shipping Company dated 20th May 1942 saying the ship he was on was lost by enemy action he had survived and had been landed at a port abroad. I have applied to the National Archive Kew for a list of survivors on the Cape Corso. Does anyone out there have any further information that would be useful in my search. If I am allowed I will post the list of survivors when I receive it.
     
  11. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hello and welcome,

    Do you have his date of birth? Best to obtain his CRS 10 [service record from Jan, 1941] from Kew if it has survived. This would detail all his ships from that date. It would also confirm if he was on CAPE CORSO as would the crew agreement that I posted in #8. There is no file of survivors from Kew - so unless you quoted the correct file BT 381/1909 - crew agreement - then I suspect you may get the run around from Kew.

    Regards
    Hugh
     
  12. steven hunt

    steven hunt New Member

    Ho I’m a bit confused about this sort as my grandad Leonard hunt was registered as far as I was concerned on the Edinburgh but he seams to be killed on the Cape Corso. Could it be that he was rescued from the Edinburgh then went down on the Cape Cordo??
     
  13. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hello Steven and welcome. I am not sure I follow your question. Leonard Hunt was a DEMS gunner, Maritime Regiment RA and member of her crew. Not sure what you say about EDINBURGH. No ship by thst name except the warship HMS and he would not be on her.
    Regards
    Hugh
     
  14. steven hunt

    steven hunt New Member

     
  15. steven hunt

    steven hunt New Member

    The family were always sure he was on HMS Edinburgh and he is on the crew list and on the memorial at Plymouth. So confused by this, on the HMS Edinburgh survivors website it says he was on the list but didnt die on the ship. My thoughts are that he may have been on the Edinburgh and got picked up by the Cape Corso after it sunk??
     
  16. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    He was a soldier not a sailor and would not be part of the crew of a warship. He is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial because he has no grave but the sea. Naval ratings and army DEMS would be commemorated on those main Naval memorials. Lest we forget.
    Regards
    Hugh
     
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  17. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    My inclination is that the inclusion of Leonard Hunt on the 'list' of HMS Edinburgh survivors is an error. The list is an unofficial list. Leonard Hunt is listed as a Royal Marine gunner, which he wasn't. His Service number is not a naval one. He was a member of the Maritime Regiment of the Royal Artillery.
    HMS Edinburgh was scuttled so the evacuation is likely to have been reasonably orderly and the survivors were taken on board HMS Harrier and HMS Gossamer. SS Cape Corso was not in the same convoy.
    As Hugh has just pointed out, being a member of the Maritime Regiment would entitle him to be included on the Naval Memorial.
    Best option now is to raise an enquiry with the HMS Edinburgh website and enquire where the information regarding Leonard Hunt came from.
    HMS Edinburgh 1939-1942

    Tim
     
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  18. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    UK, Army Roll of Honour, 1939-1945
    Name: Leonard Hunt
    Given Initials: L R L
    Rank: Gunner
    Death Date: 2 May 1942
    Number: 1544293
    Birth Place: London W
    Residence: London W
    Branch at Enlistment: Royal Artillery
    Theatre of War: At sea
    Regiment at Death: Royal Artillery
    Branch at Death: Royal Artillery

    TD
     
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  19. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    I have listings of all Maritime Royal Artillery DEMS gunners lost at sea.

    CAPE CORSO - HUNT, Leonard Robert Louis, Gunner, Age 41, 7/4 Maritime AA Regiment RA.

    Regards
    Hugh
     
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  20. Sandra Hunter

    Sandra Hunter New Member

    I am researching my family history and have ascertained that my great uncle, William Waistle, died on the SS Cape Corso too, he is resisted as a carpenter.
    Do you know where/how I might obtained his records and any other details that can be kept for future generations.

    Thank you
     

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