The loss of SS Calebstrague - Ships Nostalgia
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The loss of SS Calebstrague

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  #1  
Old 16th June 2012, 20:52
mac 1 mac 1 is offline  
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The loss of SS Calebstrague

Hello everyone.
In the course of research into the sinking of another vessel,SS Walnut 27/10/1941 I was speaking to a nephew of a member of the crew,Fireman Henry Clawson.
This man told me that he had a second uncle who drowned when his ship SS Calebstrague sank on 31/1/1944.His uncle was named William Clawson but unfortunately his nephew has no other information whatsoever.Could anyone please throw some light on this ship,her crew and the circumstances of her loss.
Many thanks.
Mac
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  #2  
Old 16th June 2012, 21:19
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Hugh MacLean Hugh MacLean is offline  
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Hello Mac,

The ship was the 'CALEB SPRAGUE' lost to an E-boat attack 10m SE of Beachy Head.

http://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?80146

http://www.cwgc.org/search-for-war-d...ualty/2798898/

Regards
Hugh
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  #3  
Old 19th June 2012, 19:21
mac 1 mac 1 is offline  
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The Loss Of SS Caleb Strague.

Thanks Hugh for your help with my query.I have passed on the information to family members and they are very appreciative.Can I also ask you what the criteria is for inclusion on the CWGC memorial at Tower Hill.
In the case of the Newry coasters Privet(Panel 85) and Walnut(panel 116)I havent seen any evidence that Privet sank as a result of enemy action.The loss of SS walnut was attributed to 25%enemy action and 75% Marine loss and it made me wonder are these men classed as casualties of the War?
Best regards
Mac
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  #4  
Old 19th June 2012, 20:27
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Hugh MacLean Hugh MacLean is offline  
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Hello Mac,

British cargo ship PRIVET, Capt. Parry, was lost without trace on a voyage from Liverpool to Belfast. She sailed from Liverpool on December 5th, 1940, with a cargo of coal and carried a crew of nine.

PRIVET was not officially recorded as missing untill January 8th 1941 and a Joint Arbitration Committee considered her lost 5/6th December by marine cause. However, For the nine crew members to be remembered by the CWGC and on the Tower Hill Memorial means someone must have considered the ship and its crew to be casualties of war.

To be commemorated by the CWGC, merchant seamen and fishermen lost during WWII should, according to the rules, only be commemorated when they are lost as a result of direct enemy action/increased war risk and the loss is confirmed by the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen.

To answer your question though, the fact that they are remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial means they are classified as casualties of war.

Regards
Hugh
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  #5  
Old 19th June 2012, 23:03
mac 1 mac 1 is offline  
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The Loss Of SS Caleb Strague.

Many thanks Hugh for your explanation regarding CWGC.There was a young gunner on board SS Walnut,Oswald Hughes,from Aberstwyth and he is listed on the memorial at Chatham.I found out about him purely by chance.
I dont know if there was a gunner on the Privet at the time of her loss.Please could you assist me here as our local Maritime Association is holding a first ever commemoration
on August 25 to mark the loss of these men and their ships.
Currently we are tracing relatives of the men and we will be making a presentation to each family.We would like to establish if there was a gunner on Privet and if so hopefully trace relatives to participate in this event
Best regards
Mac
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  #6  
Old 20th June 2012, 19:34
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Hugh MacLean Hugh MacLean is offline  
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Mac,

PRIVET was lost with all hands; there was 9 of a crew with no military gunners aboard.

BARRETT, Second Engineer Officer, JOSEPH, S.S. Privet (Newry).
BURNS, Mate, DAVID, S.S. Privet (Newry).
CARR, Fireman, JAMES JOSEPH, S.S. Privet (Newry).
CLAWSON, Fireman, HENRY, S.S. Privet (Newry).
HEARN, Deck Boy, JOHN, S.S. Privet (Newry).
HILDITCH, Chief Engineer Officer, WILLIAM, S.S. Privet (Newry).
McVEIGH, Lamp Trimmer, PATRICK, S.S. Privet (Newry).
MURPHY, Seaman, LAWRENCE AUGUSTINE, S.S. Privet (Newry).
PARRY, Master, SAMUEL EDWARD, S.S. Privet (Newry).

Regards
Hugh
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  #7  
Old 21st June 2012, 00:49
mac 1 mac 1 is offline  
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loss of ss caleb strague

Hugh thank you for your help and for clarification of the situation regarding the presence of a naval gunner on board.
Best regards
Mac
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  #8  
Old 23rd June 2012, 00:22
Val Val is offline  
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William clawson caleb sprague

Hi mac have just spotted your query with regards to William James Clawson who was a fireman on the Caleb Sprague. He was my maternal grandfather. My father and I researched the sinking of the ship several years ago. The ship was sunk on 31/1/1944 by an E boat dtS138. The Caleb Sprague was built in San Francisco in 1943 by the Pacific Bridge Co. The ship was commissioned during the war by the United States. The ship was a steamship with a crew of 27. On the last voyage, the cargo was lumber being transported from London to Newport. An E boat torpedoed the Caleb Sprague, of the 27 crew, only 5 survived. Unfortunately my grandfather was not amongst the survivors. Hope this helps you.

Last edited by Val : 23rd June 2012 at 00:48. Reason: Read my research again had replied from memory!!
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  #9  
Old 23rd June 2012, 01:35
mac 1 mac 1 is offline  
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The Loss Of SS Caleb Strague.

Hi Val
Thanks for sharing your information with us.The Clawson family were certainly hard hit by the loss of 2 brothers during the war years.Do you know if your Granfather and his shipmates are listed at Tower Hill?
Best Regards
Mac
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  #10  
Old 23rd June 2012, 12:45
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There were 25 lost from the ship altogether.

William Clawson and all of the merchant crew are commemorated on panel 22 of the Tower Hill Memorial. http://www.cwgc.org/search-for-war-d...ualty/2798898/ They have no grave but the sea.

The following are buried ashore:

Fireman and Trimmer A.F. Clayton, Sec. 3B. Grave 2. Thurcroft Cemetery.
Able Seaman M. Finlayson, Gravir (or Grabhir) Cemetery.
Chief Engineer C.R. McFee, Sec. L Gen. Grave 830, Liverpool (Toxteth Park) Cemetery.
Second Officer W. Whyte, New Ground. Grave 1100 A, Crieff Cemetery.

**********************

The following RN gunners are commemorated on the Naval Memorials.

DEMS gunner Able Seaman G. BOWDEN, C/JX 236491 is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial.

DEMS gunner Able Seaman B.F. Leggett, C/JX 259329, is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial.

DEMS gunner Able Seaman R.H. Myerscough, D/JX 290508 is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

***********************

The full list of casualties are listed below:

BAIRD, Third Engineer Officer, ROBERT, S.S. Caleb Sprague (London).
BONANNO, Donkeyman, ANNUNZIATO, S.S. Caleb Sprague (London).
BOWDEN, Able Seaman, GEORGE, C/JX 236491. S.S. Caleb Sprague. Royal Navy.
BRENNAN, Donkeyman, JOHN, S.S. Caleb Sprague (London).
CLAWSON, Fireman, WILLIAM JAMES, S.S. Caleb Sprague (London).
CLAYTON, ALEC FRANK. FIREMAN AND TRIMMER. S.S. CALEB SPRAGUE (London). Merchant Navy. 31st January 1944.
DARDANNE, Donkeyman, LOUIS JANVIER, S.S. Caleb Sprague (London).
DICKSON, Master, WILLIAM PARK, S.S. Caleb Sprague (London).
FINLAYSON, MURDO. ABLE SEAMAN. S.S. CALEB SPRAGUE (London). Merchant Navy. 31st January 1944. .
FYFFE, Fireman, JAMES, S.S. Caleb Sprague (London).
GREEN, Mess Room Boy, GERALD LONSDALE, S.S. Caleb Sprague (London).
HEATON, Steward, DANIEL MCFIE, S.S. Caleb Sprague (London).
LEGGETT, Able Seaman, BERTIE FRANK, C/JX 259329. S.S. Caleb Sprague. Royal Navy.
MACDONALD, Able Seaman, NEIL, S.S. Caleb Sprague (London).
MacKINNON, Able Seaman, HECTOR, S.S. Caleb Sprague (London).
MACLEAN, Able Seaman, DONALD JOHN, S.S. Caleb Sprague (London).
MacLEAN, Able Seaman, JOHN, S.S. Caleb Sprague (London).
MCFEE, CHARLES REGINALD. CHIEF ENGINEER OFFICER. S.S. CALEB SPRAGUE (London). Merchant Navy. 31st January 1944.
MENEY, Fireman and Trimmer, JOHN, S.S. Caleb Sprague (London).
MONTANES, Second Engineer Officer, ANGEL, S.S. Caleb Sprague (London).
MYERSCOUGH, Able Seaman, ROBERT HERBERT, D/JX 290508. H.M.S. President III. Royal Navy.
REES, Fireman and Trimmer, IVOR, S.S. Caleb Sprague (London).
REID, Galley Boy, ROBERT WILLIAM MILTON, S.S. Caleb Sprague (London).
SMITH, Fireman, HARRY, S.S. Caleb Sprague (London).
WHYTE, WILLIAM. SECOND OFFICER. S.S. CALEB SPRAGUE (London). Merchant Navy. 31st January 1944.

You can view panel 22 which records the MN crew who have no grave but the sea on this site: http://www.benjidog.co.uk/Tower%20Hi...Cambridge.html Just scroll down to CALEB SPRAGUE.

Regards
Hugh
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  #11  
Old 23rd June 2012, 16:57
mac 1 mac 1 is offline  
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The Loss Of SS Caleb Strague.

That was a very insightful,detailed and really helpful reply Hugh and I really appreciate it.This site and people like yourself do a wonderful job of keeping our maritime history and heritage alive,and most importantly,the memory of those who have shaped it.
A very big thank you
Mac
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  #12  
Old 23rd June 2012, 22:07
Val Val is offline  
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Hi Mac
Glad my info was of help to you. My mum was really pleased when my dad and I researched about the Caleb Sprague. We learned more in a few days via the internet, than any information my mum and nanny had known previously. I remember my mum saying that when the memorial at Tower Hill must have been unveiling the section my granda's name was on, my nanny received an invitation to attend. Due to ill health and finances, my nanny didn't attend. My mum's friend visited last Wednesday and told me there was an ad in the local paper looking for info on Henry Clawson and his ship Pivot (which I now know to be Privet). I searched the Internet and couldn't get any info, so I entered Caleb Sprague and this site and your query popped up. It was nice to know that after 68 years people are interested in men and their service to their country.
Kind regards
Val
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  #13  
Old 24th June 2012, 23:18
mac 1 mac 1 is offline  
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The Loss Of SS Caleb Strague.

Val thanks for the background with regard to Tower Hill.The event planned by our association in August will be the first tribute to or acknowledgement of these 2 crews of men in their home port.
As a result of researching the loss of the Privet and Henry Clawson I became aware of the fate of his brother,your Grandad,William.Thanks to Hugh we have comprehensive detail regarding William and the fate of his mates on Caleb Sprague.
Newry Maritime Association is committed to the preservation and active promotion of our maritime past and the men and ships who formed it.The fleet and crews of Joseph Fisher And Sons are an integral part of that history and it is fitting that these men are remembered and their memories honoured albeit,belatedly.Thanks again Val for your effort and interest.
Mac
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  #14  
Old 26th June 2012, 09:21
Val Val is offline  
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Hi mac
I wish the Newry Maritime Association every success in their Commeration Ceremony.
Val
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  #15  
Old 26th June 2012, 09:43
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Greetings,

There is a mention of Able Seaman JOHN MACLEAN who was lost in SS Caleb Sprague on a family gravestone on the Scottish War Grave Projuect HERE
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www.rfa-association.org.uk
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  #16  
Old 26th June 2012, 20:55
mac 1 mac 1 is offline  
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The Loss Of SS Caleb Strague.

Pat that is an excellent link and the Hallan site itself is very good.This is further illustration that seamen from every part of the country,no matter how remote,played major roles in all aspects of WW2.Thanks Pat for the info.
Best Regards
Mac
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  #17  
Old 30th December 2012, 15:52
Craig553 Craig553 is offline  
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Hi forum first post. I was led here through a search for family history. William james clawson was my great grandfather. My own grandfather (also william james) the son of fireman clawson died age 36 and my nanny remarried thus us losing this proud family history. Through my research i have found that william james also fought and was wounded in the great war. He served with 12th service batt Royal Irish Rifles. Would be great if val could contact me as my father jim (james) clawson and val are 1st cousins
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  #18  
Old 16th September 2013, 12:47
hullborn hullborn is offline  
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caleb sprague

I am looking for information regarding the merchant navy vessel S s caleb sprague which was torpedoed on january 31 1944 of beachy Head, killing 18 crew members including my grandfather fireman Harry Smith.
Any information on the ship or its crew would be greatly appreciated. My grandmother was pregnant with my mother at the time of my grandfather's death and therefore never knew her father.
He is named along with his colleagues on the Tower Hill memorial in London. Would love to hear from relatives of those killed, survivors, or anyone who has information about the vessel or the incident itself.

thank you

Andrew Smith
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Old 16th September 2013, 13:38
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Andrew,

On behalf of the SN Moderators, a warm welcome aboard from the Isle of Anglesey.
You will thoroughly enjoy the SN experience and hopefully someone will be able to help with your query – in the meantime have a good look around.
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  #20  
Old 22nd November 2013, 03:25
Uricanejack Uricanejack is offline  
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An interesting Thread I have only just found.
Particularly putting a name and connection to a crew member a reminder they were real people with ordinary lives all leaving some one behind.

My mum was 7 year old when the Caleb Sprague was torpedoed her Brother was 11.
Their dad was William Park Dickson. Master of the Caleb Sprague.
My mum has only two Vague memories of her Father. he was very rarely home during the war. My Uncle was a little older and has a few more.
Willie Dickson was 45 yr old left a wife and two kids.
He went to sea as a cadet in age 14 along with his twin brother. in 1912. His father had paid 20 pounds to the John Bruce line to take him on as an indentured apprentice. and emigrated to Australia
My uncle still has the original indenture. His total pay for the entire indenture period added up to exactly 20 pounds.
His first ship was sunk in a collision shortly after leaving Liverpool.
I don’t know for sure but I have heard he had been torpedoed during WW 1.
He received a 2nd Mate foreign going certificate in 1922.
I don't know about 1st mate and Master certificates.
He found work hard to find during the 1930`s not being promoted to Master until after the War started.
His company lost all its ships and he was assigned to others by a the board I would be interested to know how this worked. I think it would be the pool.
His ship prior to the Caleb Sprague was Called the Allmazora. one of my mums two memories of her dad was visiting the Almazora in dock in New Castle.
She remembers playing with the Chief Engineers glasses and dropping them over the side.
I believe The Allmazora survived the war.
After leaving the Allmazora he travelled to the US my Uncle believes on The Queen Mary. he went to California and joined the New Liberty ship Caleb Sprague as Master.
The ship sailed to New Westminster BC. She sailed for Halifax via Panama. From there to London.
The ship was torpedoed shortly after leaving London.
My grandmother never really got over his loss. She passed away in 1966.
A former ship mate had visited her shortly after saying he thought some of the crew including him had been picked up by an E boat. She
spent a long time hoping to hear he was still alive.
This story does not appear to have any basis in fact but for some reason she clung to it.
My mums Aunt from Australia sent a letter to the family according to her
While in London he bumped in to his brother who had not taken to life at sea and jumped ship shortly after going to sea. He was a Captain in the Canadian Army. It was supposedly the only time they had met again.
His brother tried to contact my grandmother after the war but she was not receptive. He passed away in Ontario in the 1960s
My mum and Uncle are still around. They were both surprised to hear where the Caleb Sprague lies. They had though she must be somewhere in the mid Atlantic.
The family did go down to London and see the memorial.
I made a trip to the Memorial my self just before I went to sea as a Cadet.
One day maybe I will try to visit the location where she lies.

The ship is now a dive site. Naval vessels are considered war graves. She is not.
I have seen some photo graphs of the wreck I found them both interesting and sad.
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Old 22nd November 2013, 03:32
Uricanejack Uricanejack is offline  
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Just a request to the moderators.
is it possible to have the ships name corrected in the thread title.
I would appreciate it.
thanks
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