SS Duke of Argyll and Dunkirk

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by stoopish, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. stoopish

    stoopish Member

    Hello,

    I wonder if you can help.

    Does anyone have any information on the SS Duke of Argyll ship and the Dunkirk evacuation? Specifically around Ernest Pickles who was the chief engineer on the ship.

    I believe he was awarded an OBE in 1946, but we don't know what for. Was it for Dunkirk or something else?

    Any help greatly appreciated!!!

    Many thanks
     
  2. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Hi

    In 1939. she was used as a troopship taking the BEF to France. See link below.

    War Diary, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, BEF - Sep 1939 to Jun 1940

    However, I have searched through my books on Dunkirk and sadly cannot find any reference to the above vessel being used during the evacuation.

    It would appear that she was later converted into a Landing Ship Infantry (Hand Hoisting) or LCI(H) and equipped with 6 Landing Craft Asault LC(A) for the D-Day landings.

    Normandy 1944 - King Sargent Military History Forum

    Hope this helps

    Gus
     
  3. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    The Duke of Argyll wasn't at Dunkirk, but she certainly 'did her bit' in the following days.

    There is a IWM photograph (F4679) of her taking reinforcements to France on 11 June 1940 - she is leading three other packet boats so it is a distant shot. She then made two voyages from Cherbourg to Southampton (sailing from Cherbourg on the 15th and 17th), probably bringing the same troops back: it was for this reason that wits in Southampton reckoned that BEF stood for 'Back every Friday'. On 21st she brought evacuees from Guernsey to Weymouth, arriving on 22nd June 1940.

    As Gus says she was at the Normandy Landings, her first sailing was in assault convoy I9 with 482 troops from Southampton.

    Regarding the OBE try the London Gazette site, it can be infuriating to use. There were lots of awards in 1945/6, mostly for good service throughout the war, though it may have been for D-Day.

    Roy
     
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  4. stoopish

    stoopish Member

  5. Billy McGee

    Billy McGee Senior Member

    Member Hugh MacLean has a copy of Seedie's list of awards to the Merchant Navy for World War II. When he comes online he should be able to check to see if there is an account of why he received the OBE.
     
  6. stoopish

    stoopish Member

    He does? Thanks! I'm crossing my fingers....
     
  7. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    The Duke of Argyll was in convoy J9, not I9 -sorry. She sailed from Southampton on 5 June and was at the lowering area off Juno beach at dawn on 6 June (D-Day). She returned to the Solent and on 8 June was sent to Glasgow for conversion to a hospital carrier.

    Roy
     
  8. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Chief Engineer Ernest Pickles was awarded the OBE(Civ), gazetted 9 January 1946 - New Year Honours List.
    He is listed against 'DUKE OF ARGYLL’ Ferry, (London, Midland & Scottish Railway).

    Unfortunately the Birthday Honours List does not contain any detail of why the award was given and subsequently no further information is given in Seedies List. (Seedies tends to only have more information about awards that were not given in Birthday Honours Lists) Many awards were issued in the Birthday Honours Lists of various years and often they were for acts of bravery or good service not recognised at the time of a particular incident but put right in later years when more information came to light. Also, although the 'DUKE OF ARGYLL' is mentioned as being the ship, it is not necessarily the case that his OBE was awarded for service on that ship, it can also mean that when the award was gazetted he just happened to be serving on that ship.

    So he could have been awarded the OBE for a gallantry action or good service on 'DUKE OF ARGYLL' on D Day or any other action the ship was involved in during WW2 or another ship entirely. I would suggest that you would have a difficult task trying to find any citations or reasons for the award unless information is forthcoming from the family. The other way to perhaps try to find out would be by obtaining his CRS 10 (service record from Jan, 1941), it may mention the award and confirm the ship, or it will at least tell you what ship's he served in and when. You could then look for any mention of him in the official logbooks 1939-1945 (narrative section) for 'DUKE OF ARGYLL' or any of the other ship's that he served in during that period.

    Regards
    Hugh
     
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  9. Temujin

    Temujin Junior Member

    I’m looking for the Master or Commander of the Duke of Argyll on D Day. I haven’t been able to find it anywhere. I have all the Lloyds of London ship documents, its Movement Card from the BNA, and looked at dozens of other sources that I usually go to (and normally have success) and gone thru the Operation Neptune records page by page (unless I missed it).......but I can’t seem to find any info on this vessel any where on the web.

    Help or suggestions please.

    Cheers
     
  10. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Can't help with the Master's name, but as Hugh says that will be in the ship's Official Logs. As we have seen she was involved in landing troops at Juno Beach on D-Day, making only one further crossing before she was sent to the Clyde for conversion to a Hospital Carrier (No 65). She was the first hospital carrier to embark casualties from the Mulberry Harbour, as opposed to taking them from the beach with her water ambulances. Just two hours after heading out for Normandy, on her fifth (?) trip, she saved 31 of the crew of the torpedoed St Enogat, using her water ambulances.
     
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  11. Temujin

    Temujin Junior Member

    An UPDATE to my inquiry of the “Master” of the DUKE OF ARGYLL on D Day.........I finally found him (after 4 year search)........He was Capt Henry Clarke, he passed away approx 16 Sep 1948 and his ashes were carried aboard the DUKE OF ARGYLL for burial at sea. I found the information on “British Newspaper Archives”
     
  12. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Captain Henry Clarke b. 1902 in Hull. Served his apprenticeship from 6.5.1918 - 5.5.1922.
    He passed his Second Mate's ticket on 24th July 1922 and served aboard ss ROTHER from July 1924 to September 1925. On the 20th October 1925 he passed his Mates ticket. In May of 1941 he was the Master of DUKE OF YORK. I cannot be 100% sure but it is probable that he was the Master of ss PRINCESS MAUD at Dunkirk, 1940 when he was mentioned in despatches.

    His Combined Office Merchant Navy Office [COMNO] pouch is held at Kew in piece BT 391/18/155
    His CRS 10 - service record from Jan, 1941 should be held at Kew in piece BT 382/332
    His WW2 medal file is in piece BT 395/1/17199

    Regards
    Hugh
     
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  13. Temujin

    Temujin Junior Member

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  14. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    UK and Ireland, Masters and Mates Certificates, 1850-1927
    Name: Henry Clarke
    Estimated Age: 23
    Birth Date: 1902
    Birth Place: Hull
    Issue Date: 4 Nov 1925
    Issue Port: Hull
    Certificate Number: 0015884
    31936_1831101883_0128-00671.jpg

    Name: Henry Clarke
    Birth Date: 1902
    Birth Place: Hull
    Certificate Number: 0015884
    31936_1831101883_0128-00675.jpg

    TD
     
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  15. Temujin

    Temujin Junior Member

    Last edited: Mar 14, 2020
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  16. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    I think it is almost certainly the same man but I am being just a bit careful here because there is nothing to say that there are not two people by that name. While I have evidence of Captain Clarke [ss DUKE OF ARGYLL] I cannot at this stage connect him to both vessels other than the name [I only have partial records]

    Regards
    Hugh
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2020
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  17. Temujin

    Temujin Junior Member

    Hugh, I understand. The only thing we have that “says” he was in both ships, is his OBIT

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Thank you - that is the confirmation that I did not have.
    Regards
    Hugh
     
  19. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    clarke.jpg Seedies Awards to the Merchant Navy
     
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  20. Incredibledisc

    Incredibledisc Well-Known Member

    The SS Duke of Argyll is mentioned in the war diary of the 7th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. Those who had escaped the battle of Franleu (where most of the battalion was killed or captured) the remainder went to Cherbourg as part of “Ark Force” and travelled back to Britain aboard the ship on the 15th of June.

    Here’s a link to a scan of the relevant page...

    Adobe Document Cloud
     
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