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Philip Wilson

The Loss of the Leasowe Castle

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Has anybody in this Forum done or seen any detailed research into the loss of HMT Leasowe Castle which was struck by a torpedo on the starboard side at 12.25am on May 27th 1918 about one hundred miles from Alexandria?

The casualties are recorded in Adderley's History of 'The Warwickshire Yeomanry in the Great War' as 102 of all ranks including Capt Holt (the ship's Captain) and 8 of his crew. The WY lost 2 officers and 9 O.R.s. The South Notts Hussars lost 8 Officers and 44 O.R.s 5 Officers and 25 O.R.s of other units on board were also lost. There is a short account of what transpired in Adderley's book. Survivors being rescued by the Japanese Destroyer R and H.M. Sloop Lily among other vessels.

I have seen the entry in www.red-duster.co.uk merchant navy maritime information

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Philip,

What specifically are you looking for/interested in? The sinking per se or who/what was on the ship? I have UB 51's KTB but the phrasing of your question suggests your're interested in the latter, not the former.

Best wishes,

Michael

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Michael,

To gain a broader appreciation of what actually transpired from any recorded eye witness accounts at the time of the sinking of the Leasowe Castle.

The Warwickshire Yeomanry and South Notts Hussars had just been converted to a M.G. Bn* and were on board the ship, together with the Bucks and Berks M.G.Bn, a Company of Machine Gunners and a number of attached Officers and Details.

* The Bn was later re-numbered 100th Bn M.G.C. and joined 4th Army on the 19 August 1918.

Col.Cheape (WY) was O.C.Troops, and Capt Drake (WY) was Ship's adjutant - both lost their lives in the sinking of the Leasowe Castle.

Any information on the actual make up of the Convoy would be useful - 6 transports, accompanied by Destroyers, Trawlers, Aeroplanes and a captive Kite Balloon.

The Japanese Destroyer 'R', together with H.M Sloops 'Lily' & 'Ladybird,' and two other un-named ships rescued many both on board and in the water. Yes you a right UB 51 torpedoed the Leasowe Castle.

Best wishes,

Philip

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ADM 137/3584 Alpha et Omega

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Thanks

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Philip, some information from 'Dictionary of Disasters at Sea'.

LEASOWE CASTLE

Shipping Controller (Union-Castle Mail S.S. Co.); 1915; Cam-mell

Laird; 9,737 tons; 488-5x58-2x32-9'; 1,759 n.h.p.; 14 knots;

quadruple-expansion engines. The Union-Castle liner Leasowe

Castle was built to the order of Greek owners as the Vasilissa

Sophia, but never delivered to them.

She was taken over by the British government in 1917. Soon after

going into service she was torpedoed off Gibraltar on April 20th,

1917. but managed to reach port and effect repairs. On May 27th,

1918. she was in convoy from Egypt to Marseilles when she was

torpedoed and sunk 104 miles W. by N. % N. of Alexandria. On

this occasion she was carrying some 3,000 troops, and was under

command of Capt. E. J. Holl. Ninety-two persons, including the

captain, were killed.

Regards John

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Thanks - we have a fair amount of material on the loss of the Leasowe Castle in the Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum Archives in Warwick and the intention is to make better use of this - hence my question for any further info to complement what we already know.

The Regiment like others had the misfortune to be torpedoed on the way out in the Transport Wayfarer on 10th April 1915 60 miles N.W. of the Scillies and again some years later when the Leasowe Castle was torpedoed on 27th May 1918.

The Wayfarer had 6 Officers and 189 O.R.s and 763 horses and mules onboard. Fortunately help was at hand and the vessel was got in tow with the result that only 3 WY men lost their lives and 760 animals were landed safely in Queenstown, Ireland.

The Leasowe Castle was torpedoed at 12.25am on the 27th May - the after part of the ship gave way at 2am and sank rapidy by the stern, the bows rearing straight on end. The Lily had a narrow escape as the hawsers connecting her to the sinking ship were cut with an axe in the nick of time, otherwise the loss of life might well have been even greater.

Philip Wilson

Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum.

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Thanks - we have a fair amount of material on the loss of the Leasowe Castle in the Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum Archives in Warwick and the intention is to make better use of this - hence my question for any further info to complement what we already know.

The Regiment like others had the misfortune to be torpedoed on the way out in the Transport Wayfarer on 10th April 1915 60 miles N.W. of the Scillies and again some years later when the Leasowe Castle was torpedoed on 27th May 1918.

The Wayfarer had 6 Officers and 189 O.R.s and 763 horses and mules onboard. Fortunately help was at hand and the vessel was got in tow with the result that only 3 WY men lost their lives and 760 animals were landed safely in Queenstown, Ireland.

The Leasowe Castle was torpedoed at 12.25am on the 27th May - the after part of the ship gave way at 2am and sank rapidy by the stern, the bows rearing straight on end. The Lily had a narrow escape as the hawsers connecting her to the sinking ship were cut with an axe in the nick of time, otherwise the loss of life might well have been even greater.

Philip Wilson

Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum.

Hello Philip

It's likely my grandfather was on this ship as part of the Bucks Yeomanry and I have received the following information from Andrew French who has a post on this forum under Berkshire Yeomanry Database for WW1

Regards

Pat

LEASOWE CASTLE

23rd May

At 0915 the Battalion paraded at Sidi Bisr Camp for the last time and marched to Victoria Station, entraining there at 1100, in the train along with 543 other ranks of the Warwickshire & South Nottinghamshire Yeomanry MG Battalion.

The train arrived at the docks at about 1200, and embarkation on H.M. Transport Leasowe CASTLE was commenced following the embarkation of the Warwickshire & South Nottinghamshire Yeomanry detachment. There was only one gangway and embarkation of the men was complete by 1530, and baggage stowed in hold by 1630. Embarkation strength of the Battalion 51 officers and 984 other ranks.

The Leasowe Castle was a 10,000 ton ship which having bee built in England for a Greek firm, was requisitioned by the Admiralty and handed over to the Union Castle Company. Commanded by Captain Holl, she had eight troop decks and carried 42 boats.4

Also on board along with Warwickshire and S Notts Yeomanry Battalion of machine gunners, were another company of Machine Gun Corps and a few attached officers and details. On completion of embarkation the ship was taken out in to the middle of the harbour where it anchored.

Major F Lawson, previously 2ic of the Bucks Yeomanry left on appointment as second in command of the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry.5 Many of the Appointments were now duplicated, and so also leaving at this time.

24th May

On board ship emergency stations were allotted. I slept on a huge rope Cot. Fred Marshall

24 May 1918

Embarked on the "Leasowe Castle". [Details here, including details of the loss of the ship whilst Alfred was on board] Private Alfred William Patrick South Nottinghamshire Hussars

25th May

On board ship all day, still in harbour.

26 May 1918 Sailed for Marseilles. Private Alfred William Patrick South Nottinghamshire Hussars

26th May

At anchor; remaining until 5.00pm, when SS Leasowe Castle cast off and proceeded in company with five other troopships convoyed by Japanese destroyers, and other vessels such as trawlers and even a captive kite balloon for observation. Several sea-planes accompanied the convoy for some distance. The balloon was towed aloft until dark when it was hauled down.

The convoy steamed in line ahead until it came to the end of the swept channel and then came in to "T" formation, with the Leasowe Castle 3rd in the leading line. Every precaution was taken to prevent light showing after dark, and as many men as possible were ordered to sleep on deck at their emergency station (Warwickshire History)

The Battalion was duty Battalion this day and found all the guards until 1600 when it was relieved by the Warwickshire and S Notts Battalion,

TORPEDOED

27th May

It was a brilliant moonlight evening, with a calm sea, and from the decks every ship in the convoy and it's protective ring of trawlers and destroyers could be seen An obvious target for any submarines in the area.

All had gone well, but at 12.25am, about 100 miles from Alexandria, the Leasowe Castle was hit by a torpedo on the starboard side a little forward of amidships. (under the after funnel.) The engines were stopped practically at once: she remained on an even keel, settling slightly by the stern.

Troops paraded and fell in at their emergency stations immediately: rolls called. Men berthed in the lower decks had been encouraged to sleep on deck and as near as their emergency stations as far as was possible, and this was in practice on this night to roughly half to 80% of company strengths of our Battalion. The amount of movement was thus reduced and there was no confusion.

The order was given by the master of the ship to lower the boats and this was done and rafts flung overboard by the crew assisted by parties previously told off from troops on board, and largely from the Battalion.

Meanwhile the remainder of the convoy had disappeared, leaving the Japanese destroyer Katsura (also lettered R) and HM Sloop LILY to render assistance.

As soon as the first batch of boats was on the water they were ordered to be filled while the remainder were being lowered: troops going over the side down ropes and ladders. Boats were ordered by the master to pull over to the sloop and destroyer, discharge troops and pull back to the ship. This order was carried out by some boats but not by all; some boats left empty and drifting!

The total number of troops on board including officers amounted to 2903. After all the boats had been filled and left the ship, time 0130, there were still roughly 800-1000 men left on board. These were mostly troops stationed in the forecastle and on the starboard side; in the latter case in the latter case owing to there being slightly more men that side and to some of the boats hanging outboard being smashed by columns of water from the explosion. The remainder of those on board were taken off partly by the boats which came back after discharging; partly by the sloop LILY which came along side the forecastle of the Leasowe CASTLE and made fast with ropes up to within a few seconds of the final plunge. Many men jumped in to the sea during the last few moments and were picked up from rafts, amongst those being the Battalion commander Major Sir St J Gore Bt.

At 0150 the Battalion adjutant Captain CH Bennett M.C. reported to the commanding officer, Major Sir St J Gore Bt on the ship's bridge, that all the Battalion were, as far as could be seen, off the ship. The C.O. ordered him to go himself, and he was never seen again.

The ship sank stern first suddenly at 0200 having roughly about 150 men on board nearly all on the forecastle.

Captain Sutton described his experience,

"We had got about 9 hours out. nearly all of us were asleep in bed. I was subconsciously aware of a sudden jar, but what I do remember was sitting on my berth and asking what happened, and was told if I didn't get out pretty quickly I should pretty soon know what it was. I pulled on a pair of shoes and tying on my lifebelt scuttled along the corridor, and slipped up at the foot of the stairs. I went straight to our emergency station and found the other men arriving. They were awfully good on the ship, and there was no panic. The yeoman is a downright good fellow and I take off my hat to him. The ship soon stopped. There was a very slight list. The boats were got off and the rafts too and when all the men were off the ship and I said to about half a dozen still there "Well we'll go now" The water was then awash in the after well deck. So clad in pyjamas, canvas shoes and a wrist watch, I climbed down about six feet of ladder, held my breath, looked at the black water, and dropped quietly in. I had a swim of about 30 to 50 yards. I had a life belt on, a splendid thing. When we got the life raft (a collapsible canvas sided boat), we rowed and rowed round in circles till a motor launch came and took us in tow, and then we arrived in an auxiliary ship of war. while we were getting on board the auxiliary had 2 torpedoes launched at her but both were misses thank God. A few minutes after, the ship went down with a rush. we made of back towards Alexandria with over 1,100 survivors on board. The night was wonderfully warm and I never felt cold, even in wet pyjamas. However some kind naval officer fitted me out in a naval tunic and a pair of trousers, and of course I was the butt of many jests. All were fitted up with blankets or something to keep the warm and some food. About ten hours afterwards we arrived back in Alex. On the quay we were give clothes, army issue, and the red cross gave us tea and biscuits. "

The above account was written 2 days after. The following from Fred Marshall was told to me some 70 years after.

"We were on transports going to France, actually to Marseilles. Six transports and about 2 cruisers 7 destroyers and a couple of sloops named The Lily and The Ladybird. When we got 150 miles from Alexandria which would have put us somewhere opposite Cyprus, we were torpedoed, it was just midnight. I think we had left Alexandria about teatime, 4 o'clock. The officer in charge of us on board, Lawson, came round to ask for volunteers to lower the rafts and all that sort of thing after the crew had got the lifeboats down. Then once finished he stepped up to me and my mate "Come on boys the decks are awash, every man for himself. So we scrambled over the side and the ship stood up. The deck was above water. We had life jackets on which was just as well since I couldn't swim very well. Well once in the water I kicked myself off the side of the ship and got my legs tangled round a piece of rope. So I pulled myself back, kicked myself clear and out I went into the blue. Sixteen minutes past one when my watch stopped, course they wouldn't go in those days, they weren't waterproof. I swam about out there, and we were anxious that we couldn't get as far as we would want because of the suction of the ship (when it went down.) The crew consisted of a load of Lascars, took the life boats to the rescue ships, the lily and ladybird and all those others. When they got their they and got onto the ships themselves they let the lifeboats go. And it was one of these which I swam out to. Well as we were being trained as Hotchkiss machine gunners and our horses taken away, we'd lost our breeches and putties and all that sort of thing. We just wore shorts. The sergeants and the sergeant majors they kept their breeches as did the officers. So through the movement of this boat up came somebody in the dark beside of me, my Sergeant Major Legg. We went to clamber up in to the boat together, and he said to me "let go of me you bloody fool, I cant get up there with you hanging on to my breeches." So when we eventually rolled in to the boat, I was free minus one sock and one shoe. He had his breeches full of 2 or 3 gallons of water which had held him down from getting in the boat. That made me laugh did that. Having got into the boat there was only one oar left. About 5 or 6 other fellows gathered together and got into the boat, and we tried to get away with only one oar. The Leasowe Castle with 3000 of us on board, big ship she was. As she was going down we tried to get the boat 50 yards from her so she wouldn't suck us down. Anyway eventually round came this motor-boat with 2 sailors in and chucked us a line and towed us round to where we got on the Ladybird. I think there was two more ships in attendance while the rest of the convoy had gone on, otherwise they'd be in danger too. I think it was the lady bird I got on, and luck for us they stayed. There was so many of us on this little sloop that the Captain of the ship asked us to get more equally spread all over the ship to keep her balanced."

The sloop lily having about 1100 survivors on board started back to Alexandria immediately. The Destroyer R with about 400 on board remained in the vicinity of the ships boats which numbered about 34 and carried the remainder of the survivors.

At about 1200 H.M. torpedo boat Chelmer (34), H.M. monitor LADYBIRD and H.M. auxiliary Lychnis arrived and took over the survivors from the Katsura and the ships boats. The officers and men of the Royal Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy did everything in their power to assist the survivors many of whom were almost without clothes. The rescuing vessels arrived at Alexandria at times between 1400 and 1830. There all arrangements had been made for their reception: men of the Battalion were sent straight to Sidi Bishr transit camp and officers to various hotels for the night.

Throughout all ranks behaved well.

27 May 1918 Torpedoed at 12.30 mid night. Private Alfred William Patrick South Nottinghamshire Hussars

RE-ORGANISATION

28th May

On being able to call the rolls on the following morning it was found that the Battalion was complete with the exception of one officer and three men viz Captain CH Bennett Adjutant and Private Poole (Bucks Yeo) and Private Stead and Pte EL Andrews (Berks Yeo) drowned.

Four officers (Major Young M.C., Lieutenant Senior M.C., Second Lieutenant Sauvage and Second Lieutenant Blackman) and fourteen men were admitted to hospital with trivial injuries such as cuts and bruises.

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Pat

Thanks - very kind of you to forward this information.

For our next Tri-Annual Open Day -12th June 2010 the WY Museum will be putting on additional displays in the ballroom upstairs and in the surrounding streets. The loss of the Leasowe Castle will be one of the subjects for an additional display.

In recent years much work has been done to improve the Museum and its Archives - we are normally open at weekends or by special appointment see link

www.armymuseums.org.uk/museums/0000000143-Warwickshire-Yeomanry-Museum.htm

Philip

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Glad to hear about the Warwick Yeomanry museum improvements. i have accounts from the men on the Wayfarer pictures of survivors and pictures of the men on the leasowe castle Ambrose Cole. i will pop over one lunchtime. I can post pictures and info of the men on the site put will provide photocopies when i pop in.

I have entries from my Roll of Coventry here released last week.

WAS COOPER THE YOUNGEST YEOMANRY CASUALTY not the youngest from Coventry that was private faulks aged 15. cooper looks very young in his picture

COLE, Private, Ambrose. 310082, Warwickshire Yeomanry. Died, Egypt, 27th May, 1918. Drowned at sea, on board, Leasowe Castle. Born St. Michaels, Coventry. Enlisted Warwick. Resided Coventry. Educated Bablake School. Commemorated Bablake School Memorial. Memorial Ref. Chatby Memorial.

COOPER, Private, Frank. 2831, 1st /1st Warwickshire Yeomanry. Died, Egypt, 19th April, 1916 whilst on outpost duty. Age 16. Son of Frank and Elizabeth Cooper, of 2 Court, 2 House, Gosford Street, Coventry. Native of Loughborough. Enlisted Warwick. Grave Ref. A. 31. Kantara War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.

GIBNEY, Lance Sergeant, Patrick Augustine. 632, 1st/1st., Warwickshire Yeomanry. Died of wounds, 10th January, 1917. Resided Coventry. Born Bilston. Enlisted Warwick. Resided Margate. Employed Coventry. Grave Ref. F. 189. Kantara War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.

GREELEY, Private, Steven. 310508, Warwickshire Yeomanry formerly Royal Hussars. Killed in action, Egypt, 19th April, 1917. Born 1879 at Birmingham. Resided 10c. 2h. Well Street. Electrician. Commemorated Electricity Department Memorial, Coventry Corporation. Memorial Ref. 16. Jerusalem Memorial, Israel.

KERBY, Private, Phillip Charles. 2140, Warwickshire Yeomanry. Died, At Sea, 11th April, 1915. Age 22. Son of Henry and Mahlda Kerby of Mollington, Banbury. Born Eydon. Enlisted Coventry. Resided Towcester. Memorial Ref. Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton.

LUGGAR, Private, Gerald Percy. 2589, 1st/1st Warwickshire Yeomanry. Killed in action, 21st August, 1915. Age 25. Son of Walter James and Elizabeth Luggar, of 97, Tachbrook Street, Leamington. Husband of Gertrude Hetty Luggar. Related to Mr. C. W. Townsend, of 78, Queen Mary's Road, Coventry. Memorial Ref. Panel 16. Helles Memorial, Turkey.

NEWEY, Private, Arthur Thomas. 310605, "D" Sqdn., Warwickshire Yeomanry formerly Warwickshire Yeomanry. Died of pneumonia, 17th October, 1918. Age 23. Son of James and Francis Ada Newey, of 104, Harnall Lane East, Coventry. Born 10th January, 1895 at Coventry. Enlisted October, 1914 at Warwick. Resided Coventry. Clerk. Grave Ref. A. 202. Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.

PAGE, Corporal, Louis Henry. 310258, Warwickshire Yeomanry. Died, 19th October, 1918. Age 32. Son of William and Mabel Page, of Wolston, Coventry. Husband of Annie Page, of 6, Smithford Street, Coventry. Enlisted August, 1914 at Warwick. Resided Coventry. Born 28th July, 1886 at Hatton. Hay and Corn Merchant. Commemorated Wolston Memorial. Grave Ref. E. 18. Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.

PATCHETT, Private, William Ivens. 310976, 1st/1st Warwickshire Yeomanry. 14th November, 1917. Age 38. Husband of Ellen Patchett, of 6, Rowland Street, Rugby Born Clifton, Warwick. Enlisted Warwick. Commemorated War Memorial Park. Grave Ref. P. 29. Beersheba War Cemetery, Israel.

SAUL, Private, William Jackson. 2919, 1st /1st , Warwickshire Yeomanry. Killed in action, 6th August, 1916. Age 35. Son of Joseph and Georgina Saul, of 87, Highfield Street, Foleshill, Coventry. Husband of Lottie Saul. Born 1881. Grave Ref. F. 235. Kantara War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.

SIDWELL, Lance Corporal, Cecil. 310549, 1st /1st , Warwickshire Yeomanry. Died of sickness (on H.S. Kalyan), 30th January, 1918. Age 27. Husband of Marion Grace Sidwell of 7 Wren Street, Coventry. Enlisted Warwick. Resided Coventry. Educated Bablake School. Born 22nd December, 1889 at Hook Norton, Oxon. Resided at Branksome, King Richard Street. Assistant Clerk to Guardians. Enlisted October, 1914. Son of Mr. S. Sidwell of 2, King Richard Street. Commemorated Bablake School Memorial. Grave Ref. Square 53. Grave 97. Coventry (London Road) Cemetery.

SWIFT, Private, Ernest William.1785, Warwickshire Yeomanry. Killed in action, 21st August, 1915. Age 21. Son of Arthur Sydney and Matilda Swift, of 27, Highfield Street, Great Heath, Foleshill, Coventry. Born 13th January, 1893 at Bodicote, Oxon. Enlisted August, 1914 at Warwick. Resided Coventry. Engineer. Grave Ref. Special Memorial H. 8. Green Hill Cemetery, Turkey.

TAYLOR, Private, Thomas. 2890, 1st/1st Warwickshire Yeomanry. Killed in action, 9th January, 1917. Enlisted Warwick. Resided Longford, Coventry. Grave Ref. E. 12. Kantara War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.

Trevor

Author of

Bablake School and the Great War

War Memorial Park Coventry

City of Coventry Roll of the Fallen

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Pat

Thanks - very kind of you to forward this information.

For our next Tri-Annual Open Day -12th June 2010 the WY Museum will be putting on additional displays in the ballroom upstairs and in the surrounding streets. The loss of the Leasowe Castle will be one of the subjects for an additional display.

In recent years much work has been done to improve the Museum and its Archives - we are normally open at weekends or by special appointment see link

www.armymuseums.org.uk/museums/0000000143-Warwickshire-Yeomanry-Museum.htm

Philip

Philip

Your very welcome. Andrew had kindly forwarded to me and it's all about sharing isn't it?

Another post on this forum indicates that following the loss of the Leastowe Castle there was "a 3 week delay while lost equipment was replaced. After re-embarkation on HMT Caledonia the Regiment landed on the 21st June at Taranto inItaly and entrained for France."

However, on Googling for Caledonia I could only find one reference to a troop ship by that name and the information there was that she was sunk south east of Malta in December 1916. Possibly another ship by the same name or the date of the sinking is incorrect?

Regards

Pat

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Trevor

Thanks for providing details of the Warwickshire Yeoman included in your Roll.

Our understanding is that Cooper - aged 16 is likely to be the youngest WY fatality.

Naturally we would be delighted to have any images you may have relating to the 13 Yeoman which we can add to our growing archives. The Museum is open at weekends and at bank holidays, other times by appointment only.

Philip

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Philip

Your very welcome. Andrew had kindly forwarded to me and it's all about sharing isn't it?

Another post on this forum indicates that following the loss of the Leastowe Castle there was "a 3 week delay while lost equipment was replaced. After re-embarkation on HMT Caledonia the Regiment landed on the 21st June at Taranto inItaly and entrained for France."

However, on Googling for Caledonia I could only find one reference to a troop ship by that name and the information there was that she was sunk south east of Malta in December 1916. Possibly another ship by the same name or the date of the sinking is incorrect?

Regards

Pat

Pat - yes. In 'The History of the Warwickshire Yeomanry' by Adderley he devotes two pages to the re-organisation of the Bn which commenced on the 28th May. By the 12th June the Bn was back to full strength 937 ORs.

The Bn embarked on the 17th June 1918 on HMT Caledonia. The convey consisted of Caledonia with Kaiser-i-Hind and three accompanying ships, sailed at 3.30pm on the 18th. The voyage was fairly uneventful except for an incident on the 21st when a T.B.Destroyer in front went in pursuit of a submarine dropping depth charges. (result unknown)

They arrived at Taranto on the afternoon of the 21st and entrained for France at 5pm on 22nd June. They arrived at Etaples at 7am on the 29th June. Adderley devotes a further 20 pages to the History of 'B' Bn M.G.C. which became 100th Bn (Warwicks and S.Notts Yeo) M.G.C., in August 1918.

Your nearest lending library should be able to obtain a copy of Adderley's book.

Philip

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Pat - yes. In 'The History of the Warwickshire Yeomanry' by Adderley he devotes two pages to the re-organisation of the Bn which commenced on the 28th May. By the 12th June the Bn was back to full strength 937 ORs.

The Bn embarked on the 17th June 1918 on HMT Caledonia. The convey consisted of Caledonia with Kaiser-i-Hind and three accompanying ships, sailed at 3.30pm on the 18th. The voyage was fairly uneventful except for an incident on the 21st when a T.B.Destroyer in front went in pursuit of a submarine dropping depth charges. (result unknown)

They arrived at Taranto on the afternoon of the 21st and entrained for France at 5pm on 22nd June. They arrived at Etaples at 7am on the 29th June. Adderley devotes a further 20 pages to the History of 'B' Bn M.G.C. which became 100th Bn (Warwicks and S.Notts Yeo) M.G.C., in August 1918.

Your nearest lending library should be able to obtain a copy of Adderley's book.

Philip

Thanks for that information Philip - I shall make some enquiries.

I also found online a book entitled The Diary of a Yeomanry MO with some mentions of Warkicks. Of course you may already be aware of this but just in case this link will take you to read-on-line version http://www.archive.org/stream/diaryofyeoma...age/n7/mode/2up.

know nothing at all about things military but researching into my grandfather's service history has been fascinating. Amonst his mementos were some very small photograps depicting scenes of Gaza, Ramleh, Jerusalem, Mount of Temptation. These are numbered and titled. Have you come across such photographs before? How/where would the ordinary soldier have obtained such photos?

Thanks again

Pat

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Thanks for that information Philip - I shall make some enquiries.

I also found online a book entitled The Diary of a Yeomanry MO with some mentions of Warkicks. Of course you may already be aware of this but just in case this link will take you to read-on-line version http://www.archive.org/stream/diaryofyeoma...age/n7/mode/2up.

know nothing at all about things military but researching into my grandfather's service history has been fascinating. Amonst his mementos were some very small photograps depicting scenes of Gaza, Ramleh, Jerusalem, Mount of Temptation. These are numbered and titled. Have you come across such photographs before? How/where would the ordinary soldier have obtained such photos?

Thanks again

Pat

Pat

Thanks for the link to the read on line version of 'The Diary of the Yeomanry MO.' by Teichman. I have a copy of the book here at home and can recommend it.

We have in our Archives a number of photo albums ( both Officers and ORs) containing similiar small photos of Egypt and Palestine during WWI, taken possibly with a box brownie camera, with handwritten pencil descriptions on the reverse. Some of these photos have been digitised and can be viewed on DVD in the WY Museum - the enlarged images being quite remarkable indeed.

Some soldiers clearly had cameras whilst others purchased copies of photos, hence the same photo appearing in more than one album or collection within our Archive.

Some soldiers will have purchased locally produced images of holy sites and other such places when on leave.

Philip

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Heres a apicture of ambrose cole

post-7184-1251493225.jpg

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Trevor

Thanks for the photo of Pte A.Cole who was lost at sea when the Leasowe Castle sank.

The WY lost Lieut-Col Gray-Cheape, O.C.Troops, Capt. F.Drake, Ships Adjutant and nine O.R's: Sgt T.Vickers, Corp.B.C.Cook, Ptes A. Zeegan, J.Henry, A.Cole, W.Brotheridge, C.T.Mason, Cherry and Black.

Following the Charge at Huj (8.11.17) - Captain Charles Armstrong records in his diary:

'Captain Drake canters up from the Wadhi to where we lay ...... and remarks with a grin "and I have got one through the calf of my leg" he looked very shakey and his puttees blood soaked, he insisted on riding the whole way back to Belah CCS some 16 miles.'

Drake was worried if he got off his horse he might not get back on - sad that he drowned at sea.

Philip

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Philip

The Leasowe Castle was part of a 7 fast ship (all were capable of more than 15 knots) convoy set up to shuttle troops from the EEF to the BEF in April to June 1918. These ships were :

The Canberra

The Caledonia

The Indarra

The Kasiar-i-Hind

The Malwa

The Omrah

The Leasowe Castle

I am also interested in this convoy. My interest stems from the Malwa which was carrying the 5th Devons at the time of the Leasowe Castle's sinking.

At the time of the sinking the group was on its third repeat convoy. It had lost the Omrah on the return leg of its second trip. Having lost the Leasowe Castle the rest of the group reached Marseille safely. They returned to Alex in June and the convoy group was then disbanded going back to individual trooping duties.

Alban Bacon refers briefly to the sinking of the Leasowe Castle in his "Wanderings of a Temporary Warrior" - downloadable from www.archive.org. Same ref we discussed on the Anley thread.

He refers to a number of Hamps Regt men being on board also having missed their own unit which sailed on the Kaisar-i-Hind. Bacon states that the convoy consisted of "7 or 8 big ships". He further states that it left in broad daylight right after the arrival of another large convoy into Alex. This is suggested resulted in the sinking of the Leasowe Castle as U boats were supposed to have been tailing this convoy. If Michael has detail on UB-51 perhaps he can expand on that.

Thanks to your thread above I can now start to put some names and detail around the escorts. Would love to know more detail on this.

Regards

Dave

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Philip

Interesting subset to the above. The following is taken from The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848-1954) originally printed Thursday 16 January 1919, page 4:

"After an unsuccessful attempt had been made to torpedo the Canberra, the Leasowe Castle, carrying 2,500 British troops from Mesopatamia to France, was

attacked at night outside Alexandria. The vessel was lured into a trap. A German spy, in the uniform of the British soldier dived overboard before the torpedo found

its mark, and was sighted under the search-lights of the destroyers, keeping himself afloat with a lifebelt. He was rescued, only to be court-martialled and shot. The wire-

less operator, the adjutant of one of the regiments carried, and 93 men lost their lives in the explosion, which rent the Leasowe Castle".

No sure how much substance there is to this but thought it was worth sharing.

Regards

Dave

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Shoeing Smith John Henry of the WY is one of the men of Prescot commemorated on my site here and his narrative contains some detail of the sinking

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Stephen

Thanks - for the link - I like your website its very good.

Best wishes, Philip

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Has anybody in this Forum done or seen any detailed research into the loss of HMT Leasowe Castle which was struck by a torpedo on the starboard side at 12.25am on May 27th 1918 about one hundred miles from Alexandria?

The casualties are recorded in Adderley's History of 'The Warwickshire Yeomanry in the Great War' as 102 of all ranks including Capt Holt (the ship's Captain) and 8 of his crew. The WY lost 2 officers and 9 O.R.s. The South Notts Hussars lost 8 Officers and 44 O.R.s 5 Officers and 25 O.R.s of other units on board were also lost. There is a short account of what transpired in Adderley's book. Survivors being rescued by the Japanese Destroyer R and H.M. Sloop Lily among other vessels.

I have seen the entry in www.red-duster.co.uk merchant navy maritime information

Dear Philip

I interviewed one of the survivors in the early 1990s when he was about 95. Sgt Fred Marshall Berks Yeo of C (Bucks & Berks Yeo) Bn MGC. He told me that when they went into the water the O/R in shorts had no problem climbing into the rescuing lifeboats, but that the WO & Sergts had problems as they were still wearing cavalry breeches, which filled with water and made their being hauled over the sides very difficult.

I have a transcription of the interview which I will post, the above is from memory. The original recording was made on a dictaphone and could be copied I assume should you want it.

I have several photos which I can send you but I expect these you might well have. If you send me you email and I will forward them to you.

Here is is verbatim text

The following from Fred Marshall was told to me some 70 years after.

"We were on transports going to France, actually to Marseilles. Six transports and about 2 cruisers 7 destroyers and a couple of sloops named The Lily and The Ladybird. When we got 150 miles from Alexandria which would have put us somewhere opposite Cyprus, we were torpedoed, it was just midnight. I think we had left Alexandria about teatime, 4 o'clock. The officer in charge of us on board, Lawson, came round to ask for volunteers to lower the rafts and all that sort of thing after the crew had got the lifeboats down. Then once finished he stepped up to me and my mate "Come on boys the decks are awash, every man for himself. So we scrambled over the side and the ship stood up. The deck was above water. We had life jackets on which was just as well since I couldn't swim very well. Well once in the water I kicked myself off the side of the ship and got my legs tangled round a piece of rope. So I pulled myself back, kicked myself clear and out I went into the blue. Sixteen minutes past one when my watch stopped, course they wouldn't go in those days, they weren't waterproof. I swam about out there, and we were anxious that we couldn't get as far as we would want because of the suction of the ship (when it went down.) The crew consisted of a load of Lascars, took the life boats to the rescue ships, the lily and ladybird and all those others. When they got there they and got onto the ships themselves they let the lifeboats go. And it was one of these which I swam out to. Well as we were being trained as Hotchkiss machine gunners and our horses taken away, we'd lost our breeches and putties and all that sort of thing. We just wore shorts. The sergeants and the sergeant majors they kept their breeches as did the officers. So through the movement of this boat up came somebody in the dark beside of me, my Sergeant Major Legg. We went to clamber up in to the boat together, and he said to me "let go of me you bloody fool, I cant get up there with you hanging on to my breeches." So when we eventually rolled in to the boat, I was free minus one sock and one shoe. He had his breeches full of 2 or 3 gallons of water which had held him down from getting in the boat. That made me laugh did that. Having got into the boat there was only one oar left. About 5 or 6 other fellows gathered together and got into the boat, and we tried to get away with only one oar. The Leasowe Castle with 3000 of us on board, big ship she was. As she was going down we tried to get the boat 50 yards from her so she wouldn't suck us down. Anyway eventually round came this motor-boat with 2 sailors in and chucked us a line and towed us round to where we got on the Ladybird. I think there was two more ships in attendance while the rest of the convoy had gone on, otherwise they'd be in danger too. I think it was the lady bird I got on, and luck for us they stayed. There was so many of us on this little sloop that the Captain of the ship asked us to get more equally spread all over the ship to keep her balanced."

Hope this is of interest

regards

Andrew French

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Andrew

Thanks for this info - have sent you a sitrep by private email.

Best wishes

Philip

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My great grandfather Alfred Disney was on the Leasowe with the South Notts Hussars and survived. Does anyone know if there is more information about that unit. There was a Thomas Disney with them too but I'm not sure yet exactly what his relationship was to Alfred , there were a lot of Thomas's . The accounts of the sinking are really good and have helped me appreciate just where he went and what he experienced in the war. He was also gassed at some stage but lived to the age of 87. Helen

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My great grandfather Alfred Disney was on the Leasowe with the South Notts Hussars and survived. Does anyone know if there is more information about that unit. There was a Thomas Disney with them too but I'm not sure yet exactly what his relationship was to Alfred , there were a lot of Thomas's . The accounts of the sinking are really good and have helped me appreciate just where he went and what he experienced in the war. He was also gassed at some stage but lived to the age of 87. Helen

Helen - Thanks. The South Notts Hussars was first sent to Egypt and then to Gallipoli to fights as infantry. It then remained in the Middle East serving in Egypt and Palestine Campaigns before moving to the Western Front in 1918 with the Warwickshire Yeomanry as 'B' Bn. Machine Gun Corps. which in August 1918 became 100th (Warwick and South Notts Yeomanry) Battalion, M.G.C.

The Loss of the Leasowe Castle is covered in Chapter V1 of the 'Warwickshire Yeomanry in the Great War' by H.A.Adderley - 35 pages in all providing a useful outline of the Bn's activities with Fourth Army until demobolization January-May 1919. You ought to be able to borrow a copy through your local libary, or failing that come and see me in the WY Museum.

Both the South Notts Hussars and Warwickshire Yeomanry have Museums - see

www.armymuseums.org.uk/

Philip

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