SS Clan Ferguson 1942

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by joshfellows, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. joshfellows

    joshfellows Junior Member


    I am not very good at forums so please bare with me. I would love to find out more about SS Clan Ferguson which was such in WW2 - I believe it was sunk on the 12th August 1942. It was sailing from Scotland to Malta (I think). My grandmothers brother was on this ship, and survived the initial torpedo attack, however he sadly died later on, at the age of 18 and is buried in Tunisia. I would love to know more about the story of this during its sail, and anything that may somehow have relevance to my great uncle - Haydn Edward Beavan of Cardiff.

    Thanks in advance if anyone can help me out or steer me in the right direction.
  2. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Have you seen this site?

    North Atlantic Command, Gibraltar, Admiralty War Diary 1943, including French North African landings

    Operation PEDESTAL (including Operations BERSERK, BELLOWS, and ASCENDANT)

    The object of Operation PEDESTAL was the passing of 14 merchant vessels with supplies from U.K. through the Western Mediterranean to Malta. Under cover of this main operation, Spitfires were flown off to Malta (Operation BELLOWS), two merchant ships were sailed from Malta to Gibraltar (Operation ASCENDANT), and aircraft carrier exercises took place to the west of Gibraltar (Operation BERSERK
  3. joshfellows

    joshfellows Junior Member

    Thank you for that. What do you believe my chances are of finding out about what happened to survivors? My nan was led to believe that only 3 got off the ship alive, but I have also read there were more than 90 (can't be sure it was correct). What I know of the story so faris that his ship was sunk. He survived but was badly burnt and I was told he got the disease which killed him from eating a chicken with the two other survivors, he was then picked up by the Vichy French, was very ill and forced to walk 2 miles to a hospital when he could barely stand. (I am not completely sure of this story because of how long ago, but my nan told me that a survivor told her family this.)

    If anyone knows of anyone who survived or was killed on Clan Ferguson, please let me know - thanks
  4. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

  5. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member


    The crew including 8 Navy and 12 Army gunners numbered 101. There were 13 passengers also aboard.
    The Second Officer, Arthur Haddington Black, DSM, made a survivor's report which states one lifeboat got away with 50 people on board, the remainder were on rafts. On daybreak his raft spotted 3 other rafts and when all were rounded up they counted a total of 64 men, the lifeboat with the other 50 was not there.

    Of the 64, 32 were transferred to a German flying boat which landed beside them on 13th August. On the 14th August the remainder set a course for the North African coast in spite of the fact that it was in Vichy hands. An Italian Red Cross plane landed beside them on the evening of the 14th and 7 men were transferred to the plane.
    Two of the rafts landed ashore on the 16th August and were handed over to the authorities. 2/O Black was also surprised to see the third officer [who was in the lifeboat] which indicates the lifeboat with the other 50 landed ashore first. It would appear that some of them including the second officer were able to escape.

    Merchant Navy crew casualties:

    ANDERSON, Greaser, JAMES, S.S. Clan Ferguson (Glasgow).
    BEAVAN, HAYDN EDWARD. FIREMAN AND TRIMMER. S.S. CLAN FERGUSON (Glasgow). Merchant Navy. 7th September 1942.
    BLAIR, Third Engineer Officer, ALASTAIR, S.S. Clan Ferguson (Glasgow).
    BRUCE, Surgeon, HUGH GILBERT, S.S. Clan Ferguson (Glasgow).
    CONNELL, Fireman and Trimmer, ROBERT, S.S. Clan Ferguson (Glasgow).
    CRAWFORD, Fireman and Trimmer, WILLIAM, S.S. Clan Ferguson (Glasgow).
    GRANT, Engineer Officer (Sixth), WILLIAM MCLEAN, S.S. Clan Ferguson (Glasgow).
    HOLLYWOOD, Greaser, JOHN, S.S. Clan Ferguson (Glasgow).
    McCRORY, First Radio Officer, WILLIAM JAMES, S.S. Clan Ferguson (Glasgow).
    RYAN, Fireman and Trimmer, MICHAEL, S.S. Clan Ferguson (Glasgow).
    STEWART, Fireman, ALEXANDER, S.S. Clan Ferguson (Glasgow).
    WILDE, Chief Engineer Officer, JOHN ROBERT, M B E, S.S. Clan Ferguson (Glasgow).

    Please see the attached below from the Deaths at Sea Register.


    Attached Files:

  6. joshfellows

    joshfellows Junior Member

    Thanks for all your help! Would love to speak to someone who knows a survivor or anyone involved, but don't fancy my chances!
  7. cally

    cally Picture Prince.

    A picture of the SS Clan Ferguson taken in 1942. :)

    Attached Files:

  8. rayr

    rayr New Member

    Hi josh, I might be able to help with more info. My father was on the ferguson and survived. I have some notes he made while captured all the way to his return home. Reply here if you are still interested. Ray
  9. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

  10. CL1

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

    Hello Ray
    Josh has not been on the forum since last November.
    try sending him a private message
    also if you could please post any info you would like to share on this thread

  11. CHoodle-umma

    CHoodle-umma New Member

    I have reason to believe that my first husband served on and was a survivor of MV Clan Ferguson. I am trying to find out more about his service for his children. He was very young at the time having joined the MN. His name was Colin John Campbell Turnbull. I remember he said he served on the Clan line and that he was on the Malta run.
    Before sending to Canada for his service record I though I would make enquiries on here first
  12. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hello and welcome,

    Can I ask you why you would send to Canada for his service record because you won't find it there?

    His service record should be held at The National Archives, Kew in piece BT 382/1829. This file is where his CRS 10 will be held - this is his service record from January 1941 and will list all of his ships from that date.

    The last crew agreement for CLAN FERGUSON should also be held at Kew in piece BT 381/2115 this file would confirm that he was aboard at the time of the sinking.

    Unfortunately both files are difficult and expensive to obtain online so best viewed by visit to the National Archives in Kew. If this is not an option there are a couple of guys on here who will copy for a very reasonable cost.

    If you need any further advice please don't hesitate to ask.

  13. CHoodle-umma

    CHoodle-umma New Member

    Thanks so much for your reply, Hugh. Perhaps I was mistaken in believing that MS service records were in Canada. Thank you so much for your reply.
    I would be most appreciative if you could let me have the names and email addresses of the people you mention who could search the relevant records for me so that I may contact them. I have my 1st husband's discharge number which is something to work on.
    Thank you,
    Jean (Choodle-Umma)
  14. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

  15. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Some of the survivors were held in Italian Prisoner of War Camp (PG) 52 at Coreglia Ligure (Chiavari in British Records).

    They can be found in WO 392/21 National Archives, Kew.

    Here are the ones listed in the above document and also in WO 224/119 (Swiss Legation inspection document dated 3 March 1943)) :

    Ordinary Seaman Allister Andrew J.
    Donkeyman Beck John
    Asst.Steward Carlin Duncan M.
    Able Seaman Deyell James (at one stage in hospital in Chiavari)
    Able Seaman Eunson Robert L.
    Storekeeper Hannah Duncan
    Greaser McIlwain William
    F&T Paterson William
    Able Seaman Philo William J.
    Able Seaman Ross John

    Hugh MacLean likes this.
  16. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Dear all,

    My website on PG 52 is now online.

    POW Camp 52 Pian di Coreglia Chiavari

    You may need to type it into the address bar as it hasn't yet been 'classified' by Google .

  17. CL1

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

    Panels from Tower Hill Memorial from my photo collection.
    Hugh MacLean likes this.
  18. Alan Tomkinson

    Alan Tomkinson New Member

    thanks alan
  19. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Captain F.S Lofthouse and 15 men were picked up by an Italian Red Cross seaplane. He does not appear on my pow lists and I have him as master of CLAN MACAULEY in Dec 1943. His CRS 10 should tell you his service from 1941 until his death in 1946. This file is held at Kew in piece BT 382/1028
    This file is best viewed by visit to Kew or via a researcher.

    Captain Lofthouse served in the RNR during WW1 and was awarded the DSC when his ship was sunk on 9/7/1916. Later during WW2, further awards on CLAN FERGUSON were a Commendation, the OBE and the Lloyd's War Medal for Bravery at sea.
    CL1 likes this.
  20. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    Did this ship not play a part in the latter stages of picking up some men of the B.E.F. in mid june 1940? St Nazaire springs to mind. Not had a chance to have a proper look at this thread as I'm on my mobile. I did some research into a family member a while back.. The Lancastria springs to mind has well... It got a torpedo at that port i think? Will have to check some WD'S.

    timuk and Hugh MacLean like this.

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