HMS Rodney, Royal Navy; SS Logician, Merchant Navy

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Jacqueline Prentice, Aug 4, 2019.

  1. Jacqueline Prentice

    Jacqueline Prentice New Member

    Hi all,

    I have been researching my grandfather Joseph who was a Fireman & Trimmer aboard the Harrison Line's SS Logician. I know he died at Crete in 1941 and the Commonwealth War Graves have commemorated him at Tower Hill as having no known grave. I have a number of problems and walls I cannot get around. Firstly I have documents that say he died of his wounds on Crete so he should be buried there. I have 2 versions of the British armed forces and overseas deaths and burials the first dated 1941 appears to show a burial location (I now believe it could actually be Ismailia Mil Cemetery Egypt) but I cannot make out the name of the cemetery properly, the copy dated 1943 does not have this information. See below sorry the picture is so poor but I can send a better copy if needed.

    I am very aware that Crete had the hell bombed out of it both during the evacuation in 41 and during the occupation and retaking of the Island but I live in hope.

    Secondly my mother has two pictures of her father, in both he is wearing a Royal Naval Uniform and his hat band says HMS Rodney. When ever she looks at them she says that they where taken during his National Service and when the war broke out he went back to the Merchant Navy aboard the Logician. I know that National Service (as we think of it) did not start until after the was but he could have been called up to the Royal Navy Reserves just prior to WW2 and then transferred back but I can find no records of him in the RN.


    Can anyone shed any light on my conundrum?


    Jackie Prentice
  2. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Logician was damaged in Suda Bay, Crete, on 16 May and attacked again on the 25th, she sank after the second attack. I don't know how many were lost, but others on this site will know.
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  3. CL1

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

    Tower Hill Memorial panel from my photo collection.

    So full name Joseph Campbell

    Fireman and Trimmer CAMPBELL, JOSEPH
    Died 21/05/1941

    Aged 23

    S.S. Logician (Liverpool)
    Merchant Navy

    Son of James and Annie Campbell; husband of Irene Campbell, of Liverpool.
    Commemorated at TOWER HILL MEMORIAL

    Location: London, United Kingdom
    Number of casualties: 36075

    Cemetery/memorial reference: Panel 65.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
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  4. CL1

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

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  5. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    The Deaths at Sea Register states "Buried at Ismalia Military Cemetery Plot 4, Row D, Grave No 2".
    However, the CWGC show only one Greek merchant seaman buried there. The CWGC seem to behind on this one.

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  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    UK, Shipping and Seamen WWI and WWII Rolls of Honour, 1914-1945
    Name: Joseph Campbell
    Death Date: 21 May 1941
    Death Country: United Kingdom [This is because they have no other details]
    On the file attached there is a handwritten note 'hospital' next to his name

    UK, Merchant Seamen Deaths, 1939 -1953
    Name: Joseph Campbell
    Age: 23
    Birth Date: abt 1918
    Birth Place: Liverpool, England
    Death Date: 21 May 1941
    Death Place: Crete
    Says he died in hospital from wounds

    Hmmm - dont usually have 2 cards like these for the same person
    Name: Joseph Campbell
    Age: 23
    Birth Date: abt 1918
    Birth Place: Liverpool, England
    Death Date: 21 May 1941
    Death Place: Suda Bay Crete
    Father: Irene
    Spouse: Irene

    Also says he died from wounds in hospital

    Dont as yet see any connection to HMS Rodney - have you thought about applying for his service records - if you do the forms are linked here Request records of deceased service personnel you will also need to download the commerative certificate from Casualty as this will stand in for a death certificate as he died in service


    Attached Files:

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  7. Jacqueline Prentice

    Jacqueline Prentice New Member

    Wow thanks for the swift replies everyone, I too was confused by the two cards and the difference in the registers. I have recently again emailed the CWGC about this. We did so in 2000 and got little joy from them but with this new evidence that may prompt them to look at it again.

    It’s definitely the Rodney question I am having real difficulties with as I had no idea how to start. There is a bit of a rush as his daughter (my mum) is making a final run for home due to breast cancer and I would like to give her that information if I can. I will try your suggestions for getting his service records.

    I would like to be able to add the mages you have put up here to his memorial page on Wikitree if that is allowed with full accreditation of course

    Thank you again

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  8. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    There can be complications with the graves of sailors. I think there is another thread with a similar story with an individual listed on a naval memorial who also has a grave. IRRC in that case the sailor's body had washed up on the French coast, but the Navy had him down lost at sea and recorded his name a naval memorial.

    The body in the plot 4 row D grave 2 of ISMAILIA WAR MEMORIAL CEMETERY is unidentified.

    If he died of wounds in Crete he should be buried in Crete. This is what the CWGC has to say about the Suda Bay War Cametery

    Graves registration was not infallible and Crete was chaotic. It is possible mistakes were made. There are plenty of war graves marked "believed to be buried in this cemetery" as well as additions and amendments to the memorials to the missing. The bodies of men who died of wounds in Crete may have been dug up twice before interment in Suda Bay. The grave, burial records or the grave marker identifying him may have been lost or become illegible between burial in the hospital burial ground, the German concentration cemetery and Suda bay. (Do merchant sailors have dog tags? If not what would identify his body?)

    One obvious question. Can you be sure that the Joseph Campbell who died of wounds in Crete is the same Joseph Campbell who is recorded on the Tower Hill Memorial? Joseph and Campbell are quite common names and Liverpool is a big port city.

    He may be one of the many whose grave may have been lost, but remembered on the memorial on Tower Hill.

    Not sure if this helps, but here is my 2p
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  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    BBC - WW2 People's War - War Veteran Returns To Crete
    At the Naval Museum there are several rooms dedicated to the ‘Battle of Crete’ in May 1941

    Naval Museum in the town of Chania at the head of Souda Bay

    Ναυτικό Μουσείο Κρήτης
    Maybe if you can contact the museum they could explain more of what happened in and around the hospital, until you ask the questions you will never receive an answer

    British hospital on Crete

    Again these people may have more detailed information - Battle of Crete / Mike Hotel Apartments Studios Crete Chania Maleme

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  10. Jacqueline Prentice

    Jacqueline Prentice New Member

    There are a few issues to resolve
    1) Did he die on Crete?
    The reason we are unsure if he actually died on Crete is based on something that happened to my mother when she was visiting the Dingle area of Liverpool in the 80's. Bearing in mind that a) she hadn't been back there for 30 years and b) she was only 2 when her father was killed. She was in a pub there when a man tapped her on the shoulder and said "your Paddy Campbell's daughter aren't you" not many people knew that Joseph was known as Paddy. It turns out this man was Thomas McCoy (aka Timmy) he was a 16 year old deck hand on the Logician when it was attacked and he also was injured at the time. He said that they were taken ashore to a field hospital which was over run by the German forces and he spent the rest of the war as a POW but he believes he was taken via Egypt overland to eventually end up in Germany. What he said to my mother was that her dad died in hospital, but was it on Crete or was it in Egypt?
    2) HMS Rodney
    I am still waiting to hear back from the MOD

    Thanks for all your thoughts and new directions


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  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    UK, British Prisoners of War, 1939-1945
    Name: T McCoy
    Rank: Fireman & Trimmer
    Army Number: R195080
    Regiment: Merchant Navy : Officers, Ratings & Foreign Seamen
    POW Number: 5758
    Camp Type: Marlag und Milag Nord (Milag)
    Camp Number: Mil. N.
    Camp Location: Poland
    Name of Ship: Logician
    Section: Merchant Navy : Officers, Ratings & Foreign Seamen

    From the cards shown in post 6 they say he died in hospital of wounds and that he died in Souda Bay, Crete. As you may have read from the various links - around the time he died was also when the Germans invaded Crete, so it would have been in a state of confusion. One would assume they had time to bury him, probably at a cemetery close by the hospital, but what happened after that you would need perhaps more local information.
    Thomas I guess was captured by the Germans and shipped back via Italy to a POW camp [] in Northern Germany for Merchant Navy men.

    As to exactly what happened to your relatives body we will probably never know except to say that he is remembered on the memorial with all those other brave people whoose body has never been recovered


    Egypt at that time was under British Military control so doubt if Thomas went from Crete to Egypt whilst a German POW

    Battle of Crete - Wikipedia
    Date 20 May – 1 June 1941 (13 days)

    This link may be particulary relevant - Attack on 7th General Hospital in Crete | NZHistory, New Zealand history online

    German paratroops assault Crete | NZHistory, New Zealand history online
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
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  12. Jacqueline Prentice

    Jacqueline Prentice New Member

    Thank you very much for all your input. I will put this on the back burner until I hear back from CWGC



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