To introduce myself

John Short
15th April 2012, 14:46
I've a copy of my late fathers merchant navy certificate of discharge book and I'm trying to research the ships on which he worked.

Known vessels are SS Willowpool, SS Marthara, SS Welsh Trader, MV British Valour, Empire Sunrise Wlizabeth Louson, Empire ?Cornwood,Camp Derbert.

John Short
15th April 2012, 17:59
He also served on Empire Morn and left the ship in Newport just before her fatal last sailing. I would like to know where she went while he was on bored from December 1942 until March 1943.........anyone any ideas where I can get this information? Thanks

Hugh MacLean
15th April 2012, 18:04
Welcome John,

You can look at the movements via convoy web: you can also download movement cards from Kew for 3.50 each.

Do you want to give a name, date and place of birth in case there are any further records out there for him.


15th April 2012, 19:49

On behalf of the SN Moderating Team, a warm welcome aboard from the Isle of Anglesey!
You will thoroughly enjoy your time on SN and get many happy hours entertainment from your membership. (Thumb)*

stan mayes
15th April 2012, 22:51
Hello John,
welcome to this great site.
Hugh has given you some info where to obtain information from.
I can provide some details of your late father's voyage in Empire Morn and
both trips outward and homeward were 'nightmare' voyages.
I presume he joined her in London as she was there from 5th December 1942
and a considerable time following as she is next reported as sailing from Loch Ewe in convoy ON 165 on 3rd February...they experienced atrocious weather
conditions and the convoy speed averaged 4 knots.
Four ships were sunk -US Atlantic Sun was sunk by U 607..All 65 crew lost.
Greek -Zeus sunk by U 403 -all 40 crew lost.
British -Radhurst sunk by U 525 - All 38 crew lost.
British -Saint Margaret sunk by U 66 -3 crew dead.
Convoy arrived Halifax on 27th Feb.1943
Empire Morn loaded grain at Halifax and sailed on 8th March in convoy SC 122.
This convoy of 65 ships became known as 'The battle of convoy SC 122'..
Dutch -Alderamin sunk...Greek -Carras sunk...British -Clarissa Radcliffe sunk-
British -Fort Cedar Lake sunk -Panamanian -Granville sunk and British ships
Kingsbury - King Gruffyd - Port Auckland and Zouave all sunk.
The Rescue ship Zamalek rescued 165 survivors from ships in terrible conditions
but there were many seamen lost..
Empire Morn became a straggler but eventually arrived safely at her destination
Avonmouth on 24th March..
During this time of February and March 1943 I was in the same area in Cape Howe -Maiden voyage from the Clyde.
We lost convoy ON 166 and this convoy later met many U boats -14 ships were sunk.
We then joined convoy ON 169 and also straggled from that..The convoy was attacked by U boats and two ships were sunk.
We sailed on independently for Canada through ice for 30 days and eventually arrived at Halifax NS.
I hope this has helped you.

John Short
15th April 2012, 23:43
Hi Stan

According to the discharge papers he joined her in South Shields on the22nd December 1942 and returned arrived at Newport on the 29th March 1943. The ship official number was 167738 and he was the assistant cook. The signatures are Appleby and I can't read the first officers name .

I assume it's the same vessel as she sailed from Newport and I believe Raymond Steel joined her in Newport on the 4th April 1943.

When she left London could she have come up the coat to South Shields and then sailed to Loch Ewe?

Dad never spoke about the war or his experiences. My eldest brother said he had an awful time and I know my mum said he was always scared of fire........used to wake up in the night frightened. I have some sparse recollection of him witnessing other ships being sunk or comrades in the water.

He was in the merchant navy from 1936 to 1945 when he was discharged as physically unfit for service .

He was born in 1920 in South Shields.

For lots of reasons want to get to know more about my dad and his experiences in the war. he had a sad life, mum left him when I was only 14 and he and I looked after each other until he died in 1986.

I appreciate you taking time to respond , thank you so much

stan mayes
16th April 2012, 19:33
Hi John -Some bits missing in my information.. but you have given a clue.
It seems she discharged cargo in London then to South Shields for drydock
and repairs ( your father joined her here) then in convoy in ballast from Loch Ewe for Halifax.
I can understand your father being discharged as medically unfit..Many seamen had bad experiences at sea which affected them -some were my pals.
I am also sorry to hear of the separation of your parents which is very upsetting for chidren.
Best wishes,

John Short
16th April 2012, 19:53
Dear Stan
Thank you you have no idea how much this all means to me. I loved my dad unconditionally and even after more than 25 years still miss him . Without him I would not be where I am today.

I Want to know more about what happened when he was in ths navy. He didn't share with me at all. I kind of remember stories from my brother of him seeing his mates dying in the water.

He was ( to me ) a great man and I do appreciate ths information you havd shared

Thank you again


17th April 2012, 01:20
A warm welcome aboard from the Philippines. Please enjoy all this great site has to offer

18th April 2012, 12:45
Welcome onboard to SN and enjoy the voyage

stan mayes
18th April 2012, 14:16
Hello John,
Some information on the other ships you mention.
Willowpool of Ropner and Sons...10th December 1939 -Mined and sunk.
No casualties recorded at Tower Hill Memorial London..
Marthara no trace or is it Mathura?
Welsh Trader of Trader Navigation Co
British Valour of British Tanker Co
Empire Sunrise MOWT - Sunk by U 84 in convoy on 2nd November 1942.
No casualties recorded.
Elizabeth Lousen - Is it Elisabeth Lenson -Lenson Co? - It was in collision with
US tanker Jacksonville in the Mersey on 3rd August 1944 and with so much
damage was broken up..
Cornwood of France,Fenwick Co
Camp Derbert is a mystery..A ship of this name was launched in Canada in 1943 but on completion was renamed Crescent Park and that is the name she sailed with.Is the name Camp Derbert in your Dad's Discharge Book?
Kind regards,

John Short
18th April 2012, 19:29
Hi Stan

You really are a star helping me so much. I've pointed a friend to this web site telling him how helpful people are.
Anyway ss. Marthara seems to have had a name change in 1938 which is when dad was on board, her new name was star of Suez. He was with her from Feb 5th 1938 boarded in North Shields and disembarked on the 9th Feb . He was a cabin boy. Such a short sailing ( 4 days ) what do you think was happening?

He also spent some time on Empire Nightingale ( I think that's the name, the entry is difficult with an ON of 168191

Elizzabeth Lousen was indeed Elisabeth lenson

Then I have a ship number of 165775 which I think is Scorton

Cornwood 168008

Then what appears to be Elisabeth with a ship number of 167820, the last digit could be a 6 or a 4 or a 0.

Camp Debert could be OAMP Debert and she has a number of GRT 2878. He was onboard from August 1944 until March 1945.

Thanks again for everything, Your previous information took me to the convoys SC122 and ON 165. Poor dad had such a terrible crossing , both ways.

I am learning so much about my dad that I never knew. Sometimes I want to cry for him some times I am so proud of him.

Your journey on ON 166 and 169 sounds terrible. I really am intrigued what were you doing at sea, you must have been so so young

Best Wishes


Hugh MacLean
18th April 2012, 19:39
Hello John,

CAMP DEBERT official number 169930

ELIZABETE official number 167820

I assume it's the same vessel as she sailed from Newport and I believe Raymond Steel joined her in Newport on the 4th April 1943.

I presume you mean Raymond Steed who was the second youngest known service casualty of WW2.


John Short
18th April 2012, 19:50
yes Sorry Hugh

stan mayes
18th April 2012, 20:32
Hello Hugh,
Thankyou for the information and your valuable help for John.
As you have given an Official No 169930 for Camp Debert I checked Lloyd's Register for 1947/48 and I found two ships named Camp Debert..
The ship which John's father sailed in was built in Picton NS in 1944.
Launched as Hector Park but renamed Camp Debert on completion.
In 1946 sold to French Indo-China and renamed Capitaine du Huu VI.
Best regards,

John Short
18th April 2012, 20:39
Gosh this is a complicated subject

stan mayes
18th April 2012, 20:54
Yes John,
Shipping is a very complicated subject with changes of ownership,names etc.
But hopefully you will gain much information eventually regarding your father's
life at sea.
Where possible try to give dates for each ship as it is helpful.

Hugh MacLean
18th April 2012, 22:14
Hello Stan,
Yes, I agree with you, that's the correct ship and also matches the tonnage 2878 in John's post.