Gloucester Castle


GLOUCESTER CASTLE was built in 1911 by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Co. at Glasgow with a tonnage of 7999grt, a length of 450ft 7in, a beam of 56ft 2in and a service speed of 13 knots.

She was built for the Intermediate service. On 24th September, 1914 she was commissioned as a 410 bed hospital ship and in April 1915 took part in the Dardanelles campaign carrying the Portsmouth Battalion of the Royal Marines.

On 30th March 1917, although clearly identified as a hospital ship, she was torpedoed by UB-32 in the English Channel whilst on passage from Le Havre to Southampton.

She was torpedoed while carrying 399 casualties, 300 of these were cot cases. All but one were saved but three died during the transfer. She was eventually towed back to Southampton a fortnight later and repaired.   

The curious fact about this incident, to have successfully saved so many casualties says much for the ship's staff and their training, E.F. Knight makes no mention of it in The Union-Castle and the War 1914-1919 as neither does Marischal Murray in the Union-Castle Chronicle. An extraordinary omission.

Raider Michel A Survivor's Story

SS Gloucester Castle was part of a section of twenty-four vessels from OS.32 sailing on to the Cape and beyond. On July 15, 1942, she was shelled and sunk by the auxiliary cruiser, Michel, in position 08S 01E (about 840 miles west of Luanda, Angola). There were sixty-one survivors but ninety-three crew members were killed and are commemorated on Tower Hill, Panel 52.

AKEHURST, Boatswain (Bosun), ERNEST HENRY, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 41. Son of William Henry and Ellen Maud Akehurst; husband of Ethel May Akehurst, of Great Totham, Essex.

BEDFORD, Steward, MAURICE JOHN RAGLAN, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 16th July 1942. Age 38.

BISHOP, Second Officer, ERIC CHRISTOPHER HENRY, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 29. Son of Henry and Mary Annie Bishop, of Worthing, Sussex; husband of Hilda Frances Bishop, of Wimbledon, Surrey.

BURKE, Fireman, JOHN, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 16th July 1942. Age 32.

CADLE, Deck Boy, REGINALD SYDNEY ALFRED, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 16. Son of Sidney Albert and Ethel May Cadle, of Caterham, Surrey.

CARLYLE, Greaser, EVAN CAMERON, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 21. Son of George and Ivy Elizabeth Carlyle; husband of Winifred Carlyle, of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.

CHAPMAN, Steward, MICHAEL, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 18.

CHRISTIAN, Hospital Attendant, JOHN THOMAS, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 22. Son of Thomas and Elizabeth Christian, of Kirkdale, Liverpool.

CLARK, Engineer Officer, JOHN ALEXANDER, Merchant Navy. Lost in S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). 15th July 1942. Age 30. Son of John J. and B. H. Clark. of Peterhead. Aberdeenshire.

CONNOR, Trimmer, PATRICK, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 18.

CORRIGAN, Steward, PETER, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 16th July 1942. Age 19.

DANIELS, Steward, FRANK, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 52. Son of Arthur T. and Margaret E Daniels.

DARBY, Trimmer, HAROLD, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 56.

DE FREVILLE, Third Radio Officer, BASIL DENIS HERBERT, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 22. Son of Geoffrey Philip Herbert and May de Freville, of Sutton, Surrey.

DEVINE, Fireman, PETER, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 21. Son of James Devine, and of Mary Devine, of Birkenhead.

DISLEY, Assistant Steward, WILLIAM JOSEPH ARTHUR, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 23. Son of William and Ada Elizabeth Disley, of Dagenham, Essex.

DIXON, Trimmer, JAMES, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 18. Son of James and Margaret Dixon, of Liverpool.

DUNK, Donkeyman, JOHN, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 58.

EDWARDS, Sailor, JAMES HENRY, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 18
FARNWORTH, Deck Boy, JOSEPH, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 17. Son of Joseph and Primrose Lily Farnworth, of Bolton, Lancashire.

FENN, Fireman, JOHN ARTHUR, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 28. Son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Fenn, of Southend-on-Sea, Essex.

GARTH, Lamp Trimmer, LANCELOT SILVEN, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 53. Son of Mr. and Mrs. James Garth; husband of Dorothy Garth, of Salisbury.

GREEFF, Quartermaster, PETER PHILIP, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 29. Son of John and Eliza Greeff, of Cape Town, South Africa.

GRIFFITHS, Trimmer, FRANCIS, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 22. Son of Martin and Mary Ellen Griffiths.

GUISE, Second Radio Officer, JAMES ALEXANDER DOUGAL, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 26. Son of James Alexander Guise, and of Elizabeth Annie Guise, of Cromarty.

HAYES, Able Seaman, JOSEPH JAMES, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 16th July 1942. Age 26.

HAYTER, Chief Steward, ERNEST WILLIAM, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 52. Son of George and Mary Jane Hayter; husband of Lily Hayter, of Southampton.

HITCHINSON, Trimmer, ERNEST ARTHUR, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 24. Son of Joseph Henry and Marian Magdalene Hitchinson, of Red Hill, Natal, South Africa.

HODSON, Quartermaster, ROBERT, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 45.

HOLDEN, Deck Boy, GEORGE, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 16. Son of Arthur and Evelyn Holden, of Sale, Cheshire.

INGRAM, Steward, KENNETH, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 30.

JACKSON, Greaser, ERNEST ALBERT, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 47. Husband of Elizabeth Ann Jackson, of Liverpool.

JENKIN, Steward, SYDNEY PAYNE, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 56. Son of James and Annie Jenkin; husband of Cecilia Jenkin, of Durban, Natal, South Africa.

JENKINS, Trimmer, JOHN P., S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 17. Son of Edward Jenkins, and of Isabella Jenkins, of Liverpool.

KELLY, Assistant Cook, CHARLES, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 43.

KENDALL, Trimmer, JAMES, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 21. Son of Sarah Kendall, of Kirkdale, Liverpool.

KERR, Assistant Steward, CHARLES HENRY COLBROOK, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 23. Son of Alexander Kerr, and of Alice Kerr, of Glasgow.

LAMBERT, Fireman and Trimmer, LEONARD WILLIAM, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 20.
LEYLAND, Trimmer, GEORGE, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 22.

LLOYD, Assistant Steward, DOUGLAS R., S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 23. Son of Albert Edward Cornelius and Elsie Sarah Lloyd, of Southampton.

LONERAGAN, Boots, WALTER FREDERICK, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 61. Son of Walter James Loneragan and Emma Louisa Loneragan; husband of R. A. Loneragan, of Brentwood, Essex.

LOVERING, Sailor, KENNETH OSCAR, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 21. Son of William Henry Lovering, and of Louise Lovering, of Fowey, Cornwall.

MACPHERSON, Chief Engineer Officer, ARCHIBALD CLUNY, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 16th July 1942. Age 57.

MAGUIRE, Fireman, RICHARD, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 16th July 1942. Age 38. Son of Thomas Andrew and Ellen Jane Maguire.

METCALF, Assistant Storekeeper, ERNEST, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 31. Son of George and Henrietta Metcalf; husband of Elizabeth Gwendolene Metcalf, of Southampton.

MILLER, Fireman, PATRICK, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 33. Son of Thomas and Elizabeth Miller, of Liverpool.

MINNS, Quartermaster, REGINALD RICHARD, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 16th July 1942. Age 56.

MOORCROFT, Fireman, JOSEPH, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 22. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Moorcroft; husband of Mary Moorcroft, of Huyton, Lancashire.

MORAN, Ordinary Seaman, THOMAS HENRY, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 21. Son of Dominic and Elizabeth Moran, of Kirkdale, Liverpool

MORIN, Sailor, JOSEPH MICHEL, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 16th July 1941. Age 38.

MORRIS, Fourth Officer, THOMAS ALFRED, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 32. King's Commendation for Brave Conduct. Son of Ellis and Bertha Morris, of Porth, Glamorgan; husband of E. Marion Morris, of Pontypridd, Glamorgan.

MacASKILL, Carpenter, DONALD, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 62. Husband of Isabella MacAskill, of Ilford, Essex.

McCAULEY, Sailor, JOHN, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 28. Son of Thomas and Elisabeth McCauley; husband of Emily McCauley, of Canley, Coventry.

McGEAGH, Assistant Steward, JOHN BARRINGTON, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 22. Son of Thomas Alexander McGeagh, and of Mary Jane McGeagh, of Liverpool.

McLAREN, Surgeon, ARCHIBALD, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 27.

O'DONNELL, Butcher, ERNEST, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 16th July 1942. Age 48. Husband of E. O'Donnell, of Swanwick, Hampshire.

OPIE, Able Seaman, ARTHUR SEYMOUR, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 30. Son of William John and Edith Mary Opie.
PAINE, Storekeeper, JOHN ERNEST, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 49. Son of John and Kate Paine; husband of A. R. Paine, of Millwall, London.

PARSONS, Steward Hairdresser, PERCIVAL GEORGE, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 37.

PENFOLD, Fifth Engineer Officer, NORMAN GRAHAM, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 25. Son of Henry Oscar and Ethel Victoria Penfold, of Southampton.

QUICKE, Steward, EDWARD CECIL, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 33. Son of Reginald Cecil and Ada Emily Quicke, of Southampton; husband of Hilda May Quicke, of Southampton.

ROBERTS, Assistant Cook, HARRY, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 16th July 1942. Age 36.

ROEBUCK, Assistant Steward, ERIC, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 25.

ROSE, Master, HERBERT HAROLD, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 59. Husband of G. H. Rose, of Otterbourne, Hampshire.

SARTAIN, Steward, DENNIS ARTHUR, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 16th July 1942. Age 18.

SEWARD, Assistant Cook, ERNEST HENRY, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 54. Husband of Emily Seward, of Chapel, Southampton.

SHANNON, Third Officer, WILLIAM GARDINER, M B E, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 32. Son of William and Mary Hamilton Shannon; husband of Moyna V. Shannon, of Wembley Park, Middlesex. Master Mariner, Merchant Navy.

SIMPSON, Trimmer, PETER, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 22. Son of Mr. and Mrs. T. Simpson, of Liverpool.

SMITH, Fireman, DAVID, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 31. Son of George and Florence Smith; husband of Hilda May Smith, of Birkenhead.

SMITH, Storekeeper, WILLIAM ALFRED JOHN, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 34. Son of Edward William and Linda Victoria Smith; husband of Elsie Marion Smith, of Sholing, Southampton.

SOLOMON, Pantryman, JACOBUS, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 58.

SOUTHART, Fireman, WILLIAM, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 38. Husband of C. Southart, of Liverpool.

STEVENSON, Boatswain's Mate, EDWARD EVELYN, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 28.

SWEENEY, Scullion, JOHN JOSEPH, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 16th July 1942. Age 19. Son of Patrick and Frances Sweeney, of Liverpool.

TAYLOR, Greaser, ALFRED HENRY, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 22. Son of Alfred and Evelyn Jessie Taylor, of Hornsey, London.

THOMAS, Stewardess, EDITHA, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 56. Wife of Rowley Thomas.
THOMSON, Steward, GEORGE FETTES, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 28. Husband of Elizabeth Thomson, of Glasgow.

VAUGHAN, First Radio Officer, KENNETH RAYMOND, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 29. Son of Mr. and Mrs. R. R. Vaughan, of Greenhithe, Kent.

WALKER, Chief Officer, JOHN DENNIS, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 32. Son of Julia Kate Walker, of Durban, Natal, South Africa.

WALTON, Purser, ARTHUR ALAN, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 28. Son of Arthur and Eveline Ethel Walton.

WATTS, Fireman, THOMAS, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 35.

WEIR, Ordinary Seaman, CLEMENT, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 16. Son of Alexander and Emily Weir, of Rock Ferry, Birkenhead. His brother John also fell.

WOLTERS, Watchman, HENRICK EDWARD ADOLPH, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 15th July 1942. Age 63.

Commemorative data kindly provided by Billy McGee: http://www.british-merchant-navy.co.uk/.


She served from 24/9/1914 to 9/9/1919., including Gallipoli, and was then returned.

In 1919 she went back to the East Africa service and in 1922 transferred to the round-Africa service in which two ships sailed out via Suez and home via the Cape, and two sailed in the reverse direction. Her slow speed earned her the name 'Go Slowster Castle'.

In 1926 she was replaced by the Llandaff Castle and reverted to Intermediate status until 1939 when she was laid up at Netley in Southampton Water.

On 21st June 1942 she sailed from Birkenhead and on 15th July, off the Ascension Islands, was shelled and sunk by the German surface raider Schiff 28,Michel.

Out of 154 persons on board 82 crew members, 6 women, 2 children and 3 male passengers were killed.

The surviving 57 crew members, 2 women and 2 child passengers were taken aboard the German supply ship Charlotte Schliemann and taken to Japan for internment.

The commander of the Michel, Von Ruckteschell, was found guilty of war crimes and imprisoned at Spandau in 1946.


       Leratty 18/04/2013

Was Captain Von Ruckstell of the Michel actually a war criminal?

I thought, possibly naively that the raider crews were not Nazis, rather seamen who acted properly or is that the first world war?

Was there a specific act he received that sentence or was it his overall behaviour during his time as Captain of the Michel?


Captain Kong 18/04/2013

The Captain von Ruchteschell was also Captain of the Raider `WIDDER` and sank the Anglo Saxon and King John.

Post War trial of Captain Ruchteschell.

Post war the Captain von Ruchteschell was tried for war crimes, the only Armed Raider Captain to face a court. Able Seaman Robert G. Tascott gave evidence that the Widder opened fire on the boats as they tried to move free from the sinking Anglo Saxon.

In his defence, Ruchteschell stated the noise from his guns firing precluded the hearing of any "Cease Fire orders."

Hope this explains it, the only Raider Captain to be charged. He died in prison in 1948


Ian Malcolm 18 April 2013

Here is what I've written about the Gloucester Castle in my new book, SHIPPING COMPANY LOSSES OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR, which is due to be appear on 1st July. Please tell me if you think it's OK. I've just received the proofs today and may be able to make an alteration.

GLOUCESTER CASTLE (Captain H.H. Rose).

Bound for Cape Town, sailed from Birkenhead on 21 June, 1942 and in a convoy until it dispersed on 10 July. Sailing independently when shelled by the German AMC Michel (Kapitän zur See Helmuth von Ruckteschell) at 7pm on 15 July, and sank within 10 minutes in approximate position 08º00´S 01º00´E.

A shell demolished the bridge and radio room, killing all her deck officers except 2nd Mate R. Pargitter, and, as her 3 radio officers also died, no distress message was transmitted.

Of the 154 people on board, 93 died, including 6 women, 3 men and 2 children who were passengers. The remaining 61, including a woman, an 18-year-old girl and two young boy passengers, were taken on board the Michel, but later transferred to the supply tanker Charlotte Schliemann.

When the latter eventually sailed, she had some 300 prisoners on board. The women and children were given two cabins, but the others were housed down a small, rat-infested, hold, and all were inadequately fed.

The Charlotte Schliemann arrived in Singapore on 30 September and 40 prisoners were landed before she sailed for Yokohama, where she arrived on 19 October. But a number of her prisoners did not live to be repatriated at the end of the War.

In 1946, Ruckteschell was convicted of war crimes and died in Fuhlbüttel prison, in Hamburg, in 1948, shortly after hearing that he was to be released due to his deteriorating heart condition.

Captain Kong 18 April 2013

I believe that three men died in captivity.

This is what I wrote to the BBC`s PEOPLES WAR IN 2002.

The Story of the Gloucester Castle

Sailed from Birkenhead on the 21 st June bound for Cape Town On board was a young neighbour of mine, 17 years old Joe Farnworth. Gioucester Castle was last seen on July I0 1942, when the convoy dispersed in position 02' 00~N, 12' 02'W A course for Cape Town was set and she sailed independently. On the 5th July 1942, at 1900 hours in an approximate position 8 degrees north and near to Ascension Island the German merchant raider. "Michel" with Captain von Ruckteschel ln command atacked her. Shelled and machine gunned she sank in 15 minutes killing 85 crew and 8 women and children passengers, including Captain H Rose, 5 deck Officers including 3rd officer Shannon. All 3 radio officers including K Vaughan, 3 engineers the Stewardess Edith Thomas. Fireman Frank Griffiths and family friend, Ordinary Seaman Joseph Farnworth who was lying in the ships hospital having been injured by a fall from the ships mast a few days earlier. The 8 passengers lost included Mrs Radford, Mrs Sieve and her 2 year old son and Mrs White. The only surviving Officer was a Mr Partiger who after the war became a Master in the Union Castle Line. The survivors were taken to Singapore and Japan and were used as slave labour. Those in Japan worked in the steel works and the coal mines.

Three more crewmen died in Japanese hands The sinking was a mystery until the survivors were released after the wars end August 1945.

The submarine USS Tarpon" later torpedoed the "Michel".

Captain von Ruckteschell was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment. He died in prison in 1948. In October 2001. I told the family of Joseph Farnworth I was sailing to Cape Town on Queen Elizabeth 2 and would be passing the estimated position of the sinking of the Gloucester Castle. I purchased a MN poppy wreath on behalf of the Farnworth family from the British Legion and took it with me.

On the 'QE2' I discussed the situation with Captain Ron Warwick and he very kindly said that he would make the necessary arrangements when we would be in the area of the sinking.

On Wednesday, 31st October 2001 at 0800 in a position of 08' 50's 011 l0'W we assembled on the Upper Deck where a table had been covered with a Red Ensign with the poppy wreath laid on top.

Several passengers with Union Castle connections joined us, also Mrs. Kim Warwick. Chief Officer Peter Russell, Chief Security Officer Andy Holloway, ex Royal Marines. and Natasha the Captain's Secretary who passed out the Service sheets. Captain Warwick read the appropriate service of rememberance for the dead of the 'Gloucester Castle' including the name of Joseph Farnworth.

At the Part of the service which say's "cast the wreath" the Chief Security Officer walked aft, on One Deck and cast the wreath into the ocean. followed by a salute. Captain Warwick completed the service followed by a few moments of silence which was quite moving. Some of the assembled ladies were weeping and I must it brought a little moisture to the eyes. It was a lovely service conducted very professionally and with dignity by Captain Warwick and his Staff. The family of young Joseph Farnworth were very thankful that at last they have had a service over the "grave" and the dead of the 'Gloucester Castle' can now rest in peace.

Sunk 1900 hours July 15 1942. 93 dead

One sad post script of the survivors was a young steward arrived home and in a couple of weeks was killed on a motor cycle in January 1946.


Lou Barron 19 April 2013

Thank you guys for looking at my post of the raider first of all to Ian there was 50 of us landed in Singapore not but they where not all off the Gloucester Castle they were a few Americans and other seamen of other ships only 20 off the G/Castle.

It was they way that this raider sank our ship it was plain murder why use a small torpedo boat going round to the port side and machine gunning plus pompom gunand the raider also kept on firing till we sank. I only caught sight of the captain once, he looked a arrogant bastard .

But i must say that the treatment we got from the Germans was a lot better than we got from the Japs .The only time that it was not very good was on the supply ship with a couple hundred or more jammed in a small hold it was not the best and we could not complain to the seamen’s union about it.  

It did not get the seamen down that’s why I am proud to be a ex Merchant Seaman.


Deep Sea 20 April 2013

Died in captivity. Buried Yokohama War Cemetery.

ANDREWS, Watchman, ARTHUR ERNEST, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 19th August 1943. Age 59. British Sec. R. A. 1.

MacMAHON, Assistant Steward, JOHN, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 3rd January 1944. Age 60. Husband of Evelyn Isa MacMahon. of Glasgow. British Sec. R. D. 14.

Died in Singapore after being released awaiting repatriation. Buried Kranji War Cemetery.

MACDONALD, Storekeeper, DONALD, S.S. Gloucester Castle (London). Merchant Navy. 16th September 1945. Age 32. Son of Norman and Harriet Macdonald, of Lochmaddy, Isle of Uist. ll.B. 1.


Ian Malcolm 22 April 2013

I want to get this clear, Louis.

Did they machine-gun the lifeboats?


Lou Barron 23 April 2013

No they did not machine gun the only lifeboat at that time we did not know what sunk our ship it was when they put their search light on us we did think their were going to machine guns us in fact i think some of the guys got out of the lifeboat but as the raider came very close and a voice rang out that they were going to pick us up it was just as well it was a calm sea .

As we got along side of the raider they lowered a jacob’s ladder and a couple then a voice ask if there were any wounded and the second mate told them we had two women and two boys and a couple of wounded (me included)a couple of the German sailors came down and put a rope around a the women and boys one by one and lifted them onto the raiders deck .

This is what I could not understand they blew hell out of us then treated us in a very humane way.


Lou Barron 24 April 2013

Our time on the raider was to come to end after being on the raider for a couple of weeks they told us they were going to transfer us to their supply ship (Charlotte Schliemann) a tanker .

If we thought that Britain rules the seas on that day in beautiful calm weather somewhere in the South Atlantic I would have changed my mind the Raider plus another raider (Stier) two supply ships and three U boats all together as they started to transfer us in motor boats it must have taken hours.

That’s when things went a bit pear shaped .We thought where is the bloody navy now?

Merchant Navy War Memorial

Tower Hill

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