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sotonmate

HMHS BRITANNIC

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sotonmate

Forum,

Quizzing a neighbour on what connections he had to the Great War,relatives involved etc. Nothing,until he disappeared into the house and came out with a postcard of the HMHS Britannic with names pencilled on the back. These names were of 6 Boy Scouts from the Freemantle Troop,Southampton,and 6 from a Liverpool Troop.These boys were given a trip to Naples on board the ship.and my neighbour's father was one of them. The ship left Southampton in November 1916,the boys duly dropped off in Italy,and the ship proceeded to Mudros via the Kea Channel,where it was sunk by mine (?). The postcard was given by the ship to all of the boys (apparently).

Has anyone heard of this exciting trip for the boys ?

Some of the names on the back of the postcard :

R.SMITH C.FLEMING E.SMITH T.RADWELL C.GARNET HART

BOWLES(neighbour's father) B.GRIMM B.ROBINS DEVITT others unreadable

Sotonmate

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HERITAGE PLUS

Sotonmate

By 8:00 a.m., the orderlies of the army medical corps had finished breakfast in their mess, located aft on C deck, and returned to their quarters in the stern, but the nurses, sea scouts and officers were still tucking in to their morning fare in the dining room, almost certainly the space intended for the third-class dining room on F deck. (The sea scouts were sea-going boy scouts who performed mostly menial jobs, such as operating the elevators and carrying messages.)

This is a paragraph from:

http://www.pbs.org/lostliners/britannic.html

Dave

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micmic74

Hi,

According to the crew list for the last voyage there were 18 seascouts on the Britannic. Since I don't have access to this list i cannot tell if the 'guests' were taken into consideration. Using various sources, I've managed to publish a small part of this crew list in my Britannic website. Here you will find the names of four seascouts. Here is the link:

http://www.hospitalshipbritannic.com/crew_list.htm

Take notice that Seascout John Perman was the last known Britannic survivor (died in 2000).

I am very interested to follow this story further. Is it possible to learn more details?

What about the postcard? Is it identical to any of those seen on the following webpage?

http://www.hospitalshipbritannic.com/gallery_memorabilia.htm

Best regards,

Michail

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sotonmate

Dave and Michail

Thanks for your replies. It is interesting to see that it was normal to have sea scouts on board. I have tried to trace the local Freemantle Scouts,and it may be that they are no longer a troop but I will ask a question of the local Scouts to see which troops still inhabit Southampton. There was apparently a keepsake given to the troop by White Star and it is this that I would be interested to see if it still exists somewhere.

Michail,the postcard is the No 1 type,and rare as you say. Do you have a copy ?

I shall impart this news to my neighbour later and see if I can squeeze any more pips from this story !

Best wishes

Sotonmate

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historydavid

HMHS Britannic, built 1915, 48,758 grt, was sunk 21st November 1916 in the Zea Channel, Aegean Sea, by a mine sown by German U-boat U 73. Her voyage was Southampton & Naples to Mudros. Owned by Oceanic Steam Navigation Co Ltd of London and managed by the White Star Line.

Best wishes

David

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HERITAGE PLUS

Sotonmate

Here are the websites of two Sea Scout Groups in Soton.

Dave

http://www.13thsouthamptonscoutgroup.co.uk/

http://www.hpcc.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~dan/25th/...c.uk/~dan/25th/

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sotonmate

Michail

Having now read all of your thread/websites I see that Scout George Perman was a Freemantle (Southampton)Sea Scout,as was my neighbour's father. My neighbour is sure that his father didn't go on toward Mudros on the fateful voyage, he definitely disembarked in Naples but it seems that one or more stayed on board. Master Perman would have been about 15 and a half years old at the time,neighbour's father not quite 15. Maybe this small age gap was the difference between going into greater danger and not,it could also have been possible that Master Perman had been on a previous voyage on Brittanic,it did several into this theatre and back to Southampton.

Also,thank you Dave for the Southampton Sea Scout references.

Sotonmate

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micmic74

Sotonmate,

I believe that the Britannic had those 18 seascouts officially assigned as members of her crew. I don't know if the boys who left the ship at Naples were part of this team or just guests. I will ask Simon Mills (the wreck's current owner and the most important Britannic historian) about this and I'll let you know. He also has the complete crew list so I may be able to give you some names too. Take notice that the Britannic had transferred additional personnel bound to other destinations during her fourth and fifth voyage. Famous writer Vera Brittain was one of them and she has recorded this voyage in her most important book: 'Testament of Youth'.

Best regards,

Michail

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sotonmate

Michail

An amazing coincidence today,whilst searching local newspaper archives for crew members landed in Southampton from a sunken cargo vessel for the period Nov 1916. I come across the account of the sinking of the BRITANNIC in a local Pictorial paper and there is an account of the Scouts experiences on board and then a picture of them.

My neighbour is pleased as he has never seen this picture of his father before !

It also transpires that they were actually on board at the sinking and were landed in Naples after being rescued,and not before as I once thought.

I do not have a good quality photo,merely an image which I couldn't improve upon with a digicam due to the overhead screen projector in use,but if you would like a decent pic I will get one as my neighbour wants the Library to produce one for him.

Sotonmate

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Ghost

Thats a good result, lucky you.

In all I have heard read about the sinking of this ship, I have never seen it raised as to the probable collapse of bulkheads due to the full ahead order with bow compartments breached with a probable 15>25ft dia hole.

Alan

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27thBN
Thats a good result, lucky you.

In all I have heard read about the sinking of this ship, I have never seen it raised as to the probable collapse of bulkheads due to the full ahead order with bow compartments breached with a probable 15>25ft dia hole.

Alan

Yes terrible as a ship that was made to be safer after the titanic her sister ship sank. It sank in far less time ,the portholes were open so that really did not help at all because it was really hot.Also the crew list is not complete i have chap who was 100% on the last trip but not on the crew list.

MC

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micmic74
Michail

An amazing coincidence today,whilst searching local newspaper archives for crew members landed in Southampton from a sunken cargo vessel for the period Nov 1916. I come across the account of the sinking of the BRITANNIC in a local Pictorial paper and there is an account of the Scouts experiences on board and then a picture of them.

My neighbour is pleased as he has never seen this picture of his father before !

It also transpires that they were actually on board at the sinking and were landed in Naples after being rescued,and not before as I once thought.

I do not have a good quality photo,merely an image which I couldn't improve upon with a digicam due to the overhead screen projector in use,but if you would like a decent pic I will get one as my neighbour wants the Library to produce one for him.

Sotonmate

@Sotonmate

Hello,

I apologize the delay of this reply. I just noticed the thread.

I would certainly appreciate a good quality photo if it is not too much trouble for you. I remember having discussed this subject in the past and I remember I found no evidence of scouts leaving the ship at Naples. I feel the same about the possibility of being landed to Naples AFTER the rescue, as I can find no relative reference. If I remember correctly, the survivors went to Salonica, then Malta, Marseilles and finally (using the railroad) England. If this photo was indeed taken at Naples, then it was probably made during the scheduled coaling stop of the Britannic (lasted a couple of days due to bad weather). It was very common for the ship's people to leave the ship and do some sightseeing during that stop.

Best regards,

Michail

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micmic74
Yes terrible as a ship that was made to be safer after the titanic her sister ship sank. It sank in far less time ,the portholes were open so that really did not help at all because it was really hot.Also the crew list is not complete i have chap who was 100% on the last trip but not on the crew list.

MC

Sometime ago I put online the complete crew list with all the names of the White Star crew (boyscouts included).

You can find it on my website: http://www.hospitalshipbritannic.com/crew_list.htm

Sadly, the list of the RAMC personnel is still incomplete because it seems that the archives were destroyed during WW2.

Michail,

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per ardua per mare per terram
Sadly, the list of the RAMC personnel is still incomplete because it seems that the archives were destroyed during WW2.

Some, if not all of the RAMC archive is now at the Welcome Institute in London. Have you contacted them to see what they have?

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sotonmate

micmic

The picture of the Scouts is in a local newspaper and taken locally (Southampton). My neighbour says his Dad (V Bowles) was taken, with the other Scouts, to Naples in a rescue ship where they were landed for onward shipment home.

Sotonmate

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27thBN
Sadly, the list of the RAMC personnel is still incomplete because it seems that the archives were destroyed during WW2.

Michail,

Yes the RAMC personal is exactly what i am talking about .When i checked the list i thought that would be right my man is not listed.. William MacFarlane McClean

PTE RAMC then LT A and S Highlanders KIA 24th March 1918

But thats the way of things

MC

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2ndSotonScouts

Hello,

My name is Luke, I am the Scout leader of the 2nd Southampton Scout Group (Previously Freemantle Scout Group).

I was so pleased to find this topic while researching our group's history and involvement during the 1st world war. At our HQ we have a certificate acknowledging the war efforts of 4 of our scouts who were on board HMHS Britannic during it's final voyage. - I shall attempt to scan it and add it to our group's website soon.

As we approach the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking, I have been trying to gather any more information to share with the other leaders and the Beavers/Cubs/Scouts. SotonMate, do you have a copy of the picture of the boys? I would deeply appreciate a copy to help tell the story of the Scouts and their war effort.

I'm thrilled you were able to find out so much detail about what happened to them after the ship sank and their safety in Naples. It's incredible you have documented this from your neighbour and newspaper articles, thank you.

Please get in touch if you can help me in anyway.

Kind regards

Luke

2ndsotonscouts.org.uk

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Simon Mills

Hello Luke,

Very interested to see your interest in the scouts aboard the HMHS Britannic.

I have been researching this vessel for some years now and over the course of the years I think that I have filled in most of the blanks, but I am always keen to learn as much as possible about the people who served in the ship and any information that you have on the scouts would be much appreciated.

FYI, I remember interviewing George Perman who was I believe a scout with the former Fremantle Group -- I think he was 2nd Fremantle but I can't remember for sure. Unless anyone knows different then as far as I am aware George Perman was also the last known survivor of the Britannic, dying in Hastings on 24th May 2000. I think this was about ten months shy of his hundredth birthday...

I will probably have the decorators in for the next two or three weeks so digging out any further information at this time would probably be next to impossible, but I would be very interested to know about the scouts from 1915/16 (by the way they are listed in the Britannic's articles) and if you have any queries then I'll be happy to try and fill in the gaps.

Regards,

SM.

PS: You may be interested to know that 26th February will be the centenary of Britannic's launch.

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2ndSotonScouts

Hello Simon,

Thanks for your reply. I've just read your fascinating obituary of George Perman from 1999, how lucky you were able to speak with him before his death in 2000. I'm meeting with an ex Scout leader who knew of a man called Victor McKenzie. Apparently he was also a Scout on board and has some information from him when they met in the 1980s.

I'll be sure to keep you posted.

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sotonmate

Luke

I have just noticed the resurrection of this thread ! I will need to see if I still have the digipic of the newspaper article,if not I will return to the Maritime Collections in the Civic Centre Library basement and find it again. I will get in touch once I have it. Do you wish for a digicopy of the Britannic postcard given to each Scout ?

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Simon Mills

Hello Simon,

Thanks for your reply. I've just read your fascinating obituary of George Perman from 1999, how lucky you were able to speak with him before his death in 2000. I'm meeting with an ex Scout leader who knew of a man called Victor McKenzie. Apparently he was also a Scout on board and has some information from him when they met in the 1980s.

I'll be sure to keep you posted.

Hello Luke,

I've taken a quick look in the log book. In some cases the scouts are referred to as "Boy" and in other as "Boy Scout", but I have found a few surnames that you might recognise, including: Mountain, Price, McKenzie, Griffiths, Hynes, Fitzpatrick, Sampson, Bowles, Cooke, Dixon, Waters, Vickers, Pope and Boulter. There are also a few other names which are not totally legible but I'll keep looking when I find a moment.

S.

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2ndSotonScouts

Simon, Thanks for the list of names, The name McKenzie checks out. He donated some of his belongings to our group before he passed away, I am meeting with someone later today to see what we have, I'm told he also wrote down an account of his time on the ship.

Sotonmate, At the moment I am trying to gather as much information as I can about our local Scouts' efforts during the war (especially my own group). At some point during the year we will run some activities with our young people / create a wall display in our building etc.

Thanks for your kind offer of re-finding the news paper article, don't feel like you have to go out of your way, although it would be a fascinating find. It's impressive that all this information lays somewhere waiting to be found.

-Luke

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sotonmate

Pics supplied.

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seaJane

I've just been chatting to the QARNNS archive curator about BRITANNIC, and although she was HMHS, she must have been staffed by the RAMC as no QARNNS nurses were borne. Otherwise I might have hoped to find some more material for you!

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