Empire Guillemot 1941

Tish Cook
5th April 2014, 19:47
Hi everyone. I am looking for anyone who was connected to the good ship Empire Guillemot which went down in October 1941. It was sailing from Malta to Gibraltar and was torpedoed off the coast of Algeria. My father in law was one of the survivors and he was also a war artist. We have many pictures and portraits he drew whilst on board the ship and during his internment in a POW camp. We also have a list of possible survivors who would have been at the camp with him.

My father in law's name was John Kinglsey Cook and he worked on board in the radio room. An exhibition of some of his work from the period is currently on show in the Queens House, Royal Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

The family would very much like to hear from anyone who may have connections with this ship, or who may have sent home portraits of themselves done by John by way of announcing to their families that they were OK.

Thanks for reading this. Tish Cook

5th April 2014, 20:00

On behalf of the SN Moderators, thanks for your introduction and a warm welcome aboard from the Isle of Anglesey.
You will thoroughly enjoy your time on SN and hopefully you will get some positive responses to your message. (Thumb)

Hugh MacLean
5th April 2014, 20:43
Hello and welcome Tish,

I posted this the other day: https://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=59994


5th April 2014, 20:49
What a truly remarkable coincidence Hugh, thank you for replying to Tish. (Applause)

5th April 2014, 21:57
Also on behalf of the 'SN Moderating Team', welcome aboard Tish.

6th April 2014, 12:10
A warm welcome aboard from the Philippines. Please enjoy all this great site has to offer

6th April 2014, 12:31
Greetings Tish and welcome to SN. Bon voyage.

27th February 2017, 12:26
My grandfather, Bert Hellewell, was radio officer on the Empire Guillemot and survived the sinking. He spent the rest of the war as cook in a POW camp in North Africa.

Before he died I interviewed him about this and would be happy to send you the MP3 file if you give me an email.

Joan moore
17th January 2020, 21:50
Hi my father was on the guillemot and was a pow. I would like info on the prison that my father was in. Thanks Joan Moore father was cr moore

Hugh MacLean
17th January 2020, 23:26
Hello Joan and welcome.

Was your father Chesley Raymond Moore with a connection to Newfoundland?


Joan moore
18th January 2020, 03:05
Not sure how this site works. Do I answer here?
Yes, my father was chesley Raymond moore from st John's Newfoundland. Do you have any information regarding him or can you point me in the right direction to find any info on his war efforts and internment?
Thanks, Joan Moore

Hugh MacLean
18th January 2020, 11:01
Hello Joan,
Yes, you did it right.

Your father was taken as a prisoner of war by the Vichy French in Algeria, North Africa, between October 1941 and November 1942. He and his fellow survivors spent their first weeks of captivity in Bône [Bone], before being transferred to the camp of Méchéria [Mecheria], in the Atlas moutains, in January 1942.

Have a look through this wonderful art collection https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections.html#!csearch;searchTerm=john_kingsley _cook;start=0 by the radio officer of the EMPIRE GUILLEMOT, John Kingsley Cook. Some of the art work is from his time on EMPIRE GUILLEMOT and there are some drawings of the conditions they had to endure in the prison camps of Bone and Mecheria. They were liberated by the allies in 1942.

For official files regarding his time in captivity you would need to obtain these files from the National Archives in Kew - the first one is your father's file.

BT 373/1081
BT 373/102 (https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C10814653)

Prior to serving on EMPIRE GUILLEMOT he served in the following ships - probably a very incomplete record.

Pro Reg – SAN ANGELO – 27/5/1940 [discharge] - ship was probably renamed ss EMPIRE SPRINGBUCK
90925 – RAVELSTON – 29/5/1940 [engaged]
162135 – COITY CASTLE – 15/7/1940 [engaged]
110573 – HEKTORIA – 12/1/1941 [engaged]

You should obtain his CRS 10 - service record from Jan, 1941 - held at Kew in piece BT 382/1248 (https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C10989473) this should detail his service during and after WW2.
These files are best obtained by visit to Kew or via a researcher.

I hope that helps - any questions please feel free to ask.

Roger Griffiths
18th January 2020, 11:17
Hello Joan and Welcome,
The father of Siri Lawson owner of the Website "Warsailors" was imprisoned as a Merchant seaman in North Africa.
She is very approchable and I can think of no better person to give you details of conditions in POW camps in North Africa.


Joan moore
18th January 2020, 17:05
Thank you. Very interesting. I will follow up.
Joan Moore

Joan moore
18th January 2020, 17:07
Thank you so much. I found it very emotional to know somewhere my father's full name was recorded. Pictures are amazing as well.

Joan Moore