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HMS Hythe


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#1 westkent78

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 07:14 PM

Hello All,

On another post Clive Maier mentioned the sinking in collision of HMS Hythe off Cape Helles in 1915. From "googling" I've found it was a 1905 channel ferry used as a minesweeper and troop ship which collided with the SS Sarnia. There's not much else out there.

Clive peaked my interest in this event and the history of the Hythe, and I'd like to find out more. Any suggestions or information would be most welcome.

Thanks,

Matthew

#2 Neil Clark

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 09:57 PM

Its a coincidence that you have requested information on this ship.

One of the men from Ashford that I have traced was apparently killed at sea on what is referred to as the "Hythe disaster". I didn't know what this was because my book on Royal Navy losses does not mention a H.M.S Hythe.

I don't think this ship was a warship.

This man is not recorded by the CWGC either. Its a bit of a mystery but one I would love to solve. Any ideas.....

Regards
NEIL


COLLINS C.N

Bugler Claude Norris COLLINS. Royal Engineers (RE). Died 23rd July 1915. It is recorded that he died in the HMS Hythe disaster. I have been able to establish that this was an armed merchant cruiser that sank after being involved in a collision at off the coast of Gallipoli, Turkey.

This manís death is not recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and his name is not recorded on Soldiers Died CD ROM.

#3 westkent78

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 10:18 PM

Neil,

See the thread I started on War Memorials in the Tunbridge Wells area. Clive has given a little more information on the Hythe.
Hopefully someone with more information will come forward and fill in some of the blanks we have. I have also noticed that in the "Long, Long, Trail" website there were two sets of brothers who died in this accident.

Matthew

#4 Malcolm

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 11:05 PM

HMS Hythe, screw minesweeper, 509 tons launched 1905, Pennant No - M38 in 1914, T10 in 1915, armed with 2 x 12 pounder guns, originally requisitioned 8th October 1914, on 28th October 1915 sunk in collision with SARNIA off Cape Helles.
Dittmar & Colledge.
Aye
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#5 westkent78

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Posted 08 May 2004 - 02:43 PM

Thank you Malcolm, that's great.

Now, does anyone have a service history for the Hythe, or know where one could be obtained? Is there an official report of the Hythe/Sarnia collision that can be accessed?

Regards,
Matthew

#6 Clive Maier

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Posted 08 May 2004 - 07:06 PM

Matthew,

I intend to publish a full account of the Hythe on a forthcoming Southborough memorial website. Research is about 85 percent complete at this point and I know where to find the outstanding matter. You will forgive me if I donít feel like throwing all the raw material open just now.

These are the basics.
The Hythe was a cross-channel paddle-driven ferry, with a displacement of 509 tons. She was built in 1905 for the South Eastern and Chatham Railway, and worked the Dover-Calais route. The vessel was requisitioned at the outbreak of war and became a minesweeper, based at Scapa Flow. In 1915, the Hythe was sent to work on troop movements in the Dardanelles.

The Sarnia also began life as a ferry, in 1910 for the London and South Western Railway. In war service she became an armed boarding steamer. With a displacement of 1498 tons and a top speed of 20.5 knots, Sarnia was a much larger and more powerful vessel than the Hythe, whose limit was only 12 knots. Sarnia survived the collision with the Hythe, only to be sunk by torpedo in the Mediterranean on 12 September 1918.

The men of the 1/3 Kent Field Company Royal Engineers boarded the Hythe at Mudros Bay, en route for Cape Helles. With them was 1/2 Kent Field Company Royal Engineers, bound for the same destination. Two transports were available Ė the Hythe and the Redbreast. The story goes that the company commanders tossed a coin to decide which vessel each company would take. Captain Reggie Salomons and 3 Company took the Hythe.

The Hythe left Mudros Bay at about 16:00 on 28 October 1915. She was severely overloaded. Men were packed on the decks, many huddling under an awning that had been rigged to give a little relief from rain and spray. At about 20:00, as they neared their destination, men donned their kit, drivers went to their vehicles, and the Hythe doused all lights. Within minutes the lightless Sarnia was spotted, steaming back empty to Mudros Bay from Cape Helles, and on a collision course. Some accounts suggest that Sarnia mistook the Hythe for a submarine and rammed her deliberately. I doubt it. We know that both vessels made at least one change of course but it seems that neither slowed down. The Sarnia struck the port side of the Hythe with such force that its bows cut halfway through the ship. That brought the Hythe to a dead stop and caused its mast to collapse on the awning. Many were killed instantly by the bows and the mast but the others fared little better because the immense damage caused the Hythe to sink rapidly. It was all over in a little as ten minutes. Many drowned trapped under the awning or in the cabs of their vehicles. The others had little or no time to gain the railings and throw off their kit before they were in the sea. As always, fortunes varied. A lucky few scrambled from one vessel to the other without getting their feet wet. The Parrott twins were parted: Wilfred died, Charles survived both the Hythe disaster and the war.

#7 westkent78

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Posted 08 May 2004 - 07:42 PM

Clive,

That's totally understandable. Thank you for the precis.
Can't wait for the full story to come out. I'll just have to be patient until then. Plenty of other histories to research.

Good luck with your continuing research.

Matthew

#8 Neil Clark

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Posted 08 May 2004 - 07:54 PM

Clive,

That explains why Bugler Claude COLLINS of the RE was on board at the time.

His death is not recorded by the CWGC for some reason....

Thanks for that detailed information.

Regards
NEIL

#9 Clive Maier

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Posted 08 May 2004 - 09:22 PM

Neil,

The Hythe went down on 28 October 1915. Claude Collins could not have been there if the date of death you mentioned for him is correct.

I have what I believe is a complete list of all those who died in the accident. It was taken from a local paper of November 1916 but of course there is no guarantee that the list is perfect. With that proviso, Claude Collins is not on the list. The only Bugler is Frank Leonard Tutchener of Southborough.

#10 chelle

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 03:11 AM

Clive,

My great gradnfather Percy Robert Hunt, went down on the Hythe, and as I am new to this history and researching it solely for my family tree, it brings tears to my eyes to know what it must have been like.

Can I ask you how you obtained a list of those that died in this ship as I would love to obtain a copy, also to pass it onto my great Aunt.

Chelle

#11 Clive Maier

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 11:42 AM

Chelle,

You will have to give me a few days. I an working against deadlines at the moment.

More than 150 people died in the collision between the Hythe and the Sarnia. The list I had came from the local newspaper, the Kent & Sussex Courier. I will look it out for you. In the meantime, the following is taken from Southborough Sappers of the Kent (Fortress) Royal Engineers, a book that was self-published by Frank Stevens.

Percy Robert Hunt
KF 1641

Percy enlisted in KFRE on 7 January 1915 and therefore had nine months experience before embarking for overseas. He was drowned on 28 October 1915 at the age of 32, leaving a widow and three children. He was born in Battersea, London and lived at 110 Vale Road, Tonbridge. He worked at the Whitefriars Press in Tonbridge, as did many of his colleagues in KFRE. Percy is commemorated on the Helles memorial at Cape Helles, on the memorial in St Stephenís church in Tonbridge, and on the memorial in St Matthews at High Brooms.

The latter is the original Hythe memorial placed in the drill hall at Southborough by the father of the menís CO, Captain Reggie Salomons. When the hall fell into disuse, the memorial was rescued and found its way eventually to the church in High Brooms. I have yet to see it.

#12 kin47

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 11:57 AM

Hello

Here is the list of naval personel lost in HYTHE when she was lost


BOYLE JOHN STOKER, RNR U 1698 HYTHE

BREBNER ROBERT TRIMMER, RNR L 119 HYTHE

BURROWS ALBERT L/TRIMMER, RNR S T 1288 HYTHE

CLARK ARTHUR COOK, Mercantile Marine Reserve (none listed) HYTHE

CURLEY THOMAS STOKER, RNR S 3278 HYTHE

DONALD JAMES S. TRIMMER, RNR S T 542 HYTHE

HAND WILLIAM TRIMMER, RNR S T 174 HYTHE

MACDONALD JOHN SEAMAN, RNR A 7320 HYTHE

PAISLEY JOSEPH TRIMMER, RNR S T 1645 HYTHE

POTTER CHARLES P.O. 1c (Pensioner) 155278 (Ch) HYTHE

WEBB PERCY G. ASST ENGINEER, Mercantile Marine Reserve (none listed) HYTHE

don

#13 Malcolm

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 01:19 PM

QUOTE (kin47 @ Fri, 11 Feb 2005 12:57:56 +0000)
Hello

Here is the list of naval personel lost in HYTHE when she was lost


BOYLE JOHN STOKER, RNR U 1698 HYTHE

BREBNER ROBERT TRIMMER, RNR L 119 HYTHE

BURROWS ALBERT L/TRIMMER, RNR S T 1288 HYTHE

CLARK ARTHUR COOK, Mercantile Marine Reserve (none listed) HYTHE

CURLEY THOMAS STOKER, RNR S 3278 HYTHE

DONALD JAMES S. TRIMMER, RNR S T 542 HYTHE

HAND WILLIAM TRIMMER, RNR S T 174 HYTHE

MACDONALD JOHN SEAMAN, RNR A 7320 HYTHE

PAISLEY JOSEPH TRIMMER, RNR S T 1645 HYTHE

POTTER CHARLES P.O. 1c (Pensioner) 155278 (Ch) HYTHE

WEBB PERCY G. ASST ENGINEER, Mercantile Marine Reserve (none listed) HYTHE

don

Surname DONALD
Firstname James Stephenson
Service number 542 S.T.
Date of death 29/10/1915
Decoration
Place of birth
Other
SNWM roll THE ROYAL NAVY
Rank Trimmer
Theatre of death R.N.R. H.M.S. "HYTHE".

Surname MACDONALD
Firstname John
Service number 7320 A
Date of death 29/10/1915
Decoration
Place of birth
Other
SNWM roll THE ROYAL NAVY
Rank Seaman
Theatre of death R.N.R. H.M.S. "HYTHE".

probably an error in the date here but gives Donald's middle name.
Aye
Malcolm

#14 chelle

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Posted 12 February 2005 - 05:21 AM

Clive thank you for that, its precious and I will add it to my list of fine detail..his grandchildren will also be so pleased to see this as I am working on it for them as much as me...


Dont thinkme rude here Kin & Malcolm, but Percy wasnt on the list you supplied, was someone else after it as well??I didnt scroll back thats all...

#15 Clive Maier

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 12:26 AM

Chelle,

This is your great grandfather, Percy Robert Hunt. The picture comes from the local newspaper, The Courier, of 12 November 1915.

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#16 chelle

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 10:45 AM

I dont know what to say Clive.
Thankyou doesnt seem enough, No-one in our family has a picture of Percy, we never knew what he looked like before now...How priceless.

My grandafther at 90, the youngest of the 3 children, is the only remaining living and his father (Percy) died when he was 2 mths old. Can you imagine what this will do for him.

You are my hero smile.gif

Chelle

#17 Clive Maier

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 08:20 PM

Glad I could help. I am sorry itís not a better picture, The newspaper original was very small and printed with a coarse screen. I can scan it much larger but with the disadvantage of the screen dots becoming much more prominent. There are ways of removing them to a degree but because the dots are large in relation to the whole, that means losing detail in the picture.

#18 Clive Maier

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 11:37 PM

QUOTE (Chelle @ Feb 11 2005, 04:11 AM)
... Can I ask you how you obtained a list of those that died in this ship as I would love to obtain a copy, also to pass it onto my great Aunt. ...


Chelle,

I have attached what I believe to be a comprehensive list of those who died in the collision between the Hythe and the Sarnia. There are 154 names in all, compiled from local and national newspapers and from the book by Frank Stevens. The list is in Word format and has been virus checked.

Best regards,
Clive

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#19 MartinWills

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Posted 03 April 2005 - 10:28 PM

PR Hunt is recorded on Panel 327 of the Helles Memorial.

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#20 MartinWills

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Posted 03 April 2005 - 10:39 PM

Just the name ...

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  • Attached File  Hunt.jpg   18.93KB   0 downloads


#21 Clive Maier

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Posted 03 April 2005 - 11:49 PM

That's brilliant Martin. What a wonderful surprise. I have always wanted to see the Hythe names on the Helles memorial.

Have you got shots of the rest of the Hythe names?

#22 westkent78

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 02:01 AM

Clive,

Thank you very much for posting your findings.
Very helpful indeed.

Matthew

#23 Clive Maier

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 11:56 AM

Matthew,

I know I still owe you pictures of the Southborough memorial. I did not get back there until a few days ago when I took some shots in poorish light. They need a bit of digital tinkering. I could email them over if you would like to have them.

Regards,
Clive

#24 MartinWills

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 10:18 PM

The Ships names panels show:

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#25 MartinWills

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 10:19 PM

The last few names are on this panel:

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