Captain Harry Scurr

27th May 2007, 16:57
My first trip to Cal, with Brocks, was in 1957 when the Captain of the "Makalla" was Harry Scurr.

Captain Scurr had some burn scarring visible on his neck and face and some damage to his teeth.

Apparently he had been taken prisoner by a Japanese sub during WW2 and, as the story goes, he spent the rest of the war close to Hiroshima where he witnessed the ABomb dropping at close range - hence the burns.

He was a quiet unassuming man who had seen some tough times as a guest of the Japs..

When we reached Aden his wife flew out to join the ship for the rest of the trip. I think he may have been the 1st Captain to take his wife on a trip as a supernumary? (That would be Oct/Nov 1957)

Anyone heard of him since?

29th May 2007, 20:00

There was a Henry Scurr 2nd. Mate of the "SAMBRIDGE", managed by T & J. Brocklebanks. When it was sunk by the Japanese submarine I-27, Commander Fukumura Toshiaki, 18 November 1943.

There are accounts that the Master did not handle himself in a manner to be proud of following the sinking of "Sambridge".

Henry Scurr was taken prisoner by the submarine as the senior officer surviving, he volunteered to do so if required. The survivors having declared that the Master, C/O and R/O had been lost. (normal procedure.)

Henry Scurr was landed from the submarine in Penang and became a POW. He survived the was and was awarded the MBE in December 1945 along with Lloyds Bravery Medal.

The above is taken from "The Liberty at War".

I can remember hearing versions of the above as an Apprentice in Brocks. Along with being told that Henry was thought dead till turning up in Cunard Building after his release and repatriation.

Brgds. Martin.

31st May 2007, 19:49

There was a Henry Scurr 2nd. Mate of the "SAMBRIDGE", managed by T & J. Brocklebanks. When it was sunk by the Japanese submarine I-27, Commander Fukumura Toshiaki, 18 November 1943.

Hi Martin!

Very many thanks for that.
It would seem that Harry Scurr was indeed the same man.
In that way that some heros have, he never talked about this to me, although he seemed very quiet anyway.
Good luck to him - I must down a tot in his honour ASAP!

I think that there would have been many MN people still around, in the late 1950s, who had hair raising experiences and did heroic things for their country - I think I'll drink another tot to "Absent Friends"


Roger Bentley
1st June 2007, 18:54
While undoubedly Harry Scurr had a horrific war, he did survive. Not so the luckless second officer of the Manaar. R Gray was taken aboard a U-boat and to this day nothing has been heard of his fate. Or at least that is what the 1950 Brocklebank History Vol 2 stated. He was the brother of Charles Gray who was master of the Mathura when I sailed with him in 1956. Charlie was very bitter about the circumstances of his brother being taken on board and held a deep resentment about this. Harry Scurr as I remember him was for some time the Brocklebank representative in New York.

3rd June 2007, 17:17
Hello Roger (and Mart will no doubt tune in)
With regard to 2nd Officer Gray there is no indication of his fate which is not discussed on the 2 vol. Brocklebank history or in the Duncan Haws publication of 1994. It is however possible to fit together the pieces of the puzzle as I did when preparing a talk for the Liverpool Nautical Research Society some years ago.
The submarine in question was the large Italian Leonardo da Vinci which ironically, just like the Manaar was also on her maidan voyage to Capetown and the Indian Ocean. It had been a highly successful trip during which she had sunk 5 other vessels in addition to the Manaar including the British Troopship Empress of Canada. During the voyage the Italian skipper learned that he had been awarded Italy's highest naval honour together with a German Ritterkreuz. Not quite the end of this story...... Weeks later when entering the Bay of Biscay the Leonardo da Vinci was sunk by the British destroyer HMS Active. There were no survivors and in all probablility 2nd. Officer Gray was lost in this action.

Cheers John

Roger Bentley
4th June 2007, 15:44
Hi John, Many thanks for the informed reply re Mr Gray. I know how good the reports are from the Liverpool Socoiety. I particularly remember the one on the loss of the Princess Victoria. Charles Gray brother of R Gray is deceased, so I don't know if he ever got the true story as detailed by you. Best regards, Roger

6th June 2007, 00:45
As a personal touch I attach the signature of Capt Scurr. I remember coasting with him and getting a bawling out (quietly) for not echo-sounding a particular bank we had crossed in the North Sea. It was because I was keeping a good look-out in busy traffic, but I wish had also paid more attention the chart!