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The British survivors from s.s.Britannia.
The British survivors from s.s.Britannia.

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Hugh Ferguson



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Registered: September 2006
Posts: 5,535
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The Anchor Line troopship, s.s.Britannia, was sunk by the German surface raider, Thor, on March 25th 1941 in position 7.24N:24.03W.

(Photograph is from the book, Lifeboat Number 7
by Lieutenant Commander Frank West).
· Date: Mon, 31 December 07 · Views: 765
· Filesize: 134.9kb, 134.9kb · Dimensions: 900 x 598 ·
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Hugh Ferguson

Senior Member

Registered: September 2006
Posts: 5,535
Mon, 31 December 07 12:27

From left to right-seated: D.Hawcroft, W.Malcolm, W.McVicar (3rd mate),
F.L.West (author), I.S.MacIntosh, W.F.Davies.
standing: W.Carney (A/B), J.Wheater, R.McKinnon, D.Purdie, E.G.Westgarth,
G.L.Soan, T.H.Blank.
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Hugh MacLean

Senior Member

Registered: November 2005
Location: Fort William
Posts: 3,493
Mon, 31 December 07 13:18

Interesting and poignant photo, Hugh.

Third Mate Bill McVicar wrote some time later:

"The mind was becoming a little immune to sorrow for the unlucky ones who died each day. The innate selfishness of mortal man was beginning to dominate them. Each man who died gave the boat more buoyancy and more room for those who survived. As long as one was alive it did not matter who died. They were all bordering on insanity."

38 (13 British and 25 Indians) emaciated survivors of this lifeboat eventually staggered ashore on a beach in Brazil after an ordeal of 23 days.

122 crew and 127 troops and passengers were lost.

Source: "Beyond the Call of Duty" by Brian James Crabb"

------------------------------


"If Blood was the price
We had to pay for our freedom
Then the Merchant Ship Sailors
Paid it in full”
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Bob L
Member

Registered: July 2014
Location: Edinburgh
Posts: 58
Fri, 31 January 20 09:15

I sailed with Captain William Mc Vicar ( known as Willie Mac ) from Cadet to Chief Officer - a Gentleman and first class Master - always a pleasure to sail with - he would never talk about Lifeboat No 7 but one of the Goanese Night Stewards on the Cilicia ( Albino d'Souza ) was on the Lifeboat and always said he owed his life to Willie Mac.
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makko

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Registered: July 2006
Location: Mexico City
Posts: 5,917
Fri, 31 January 20 09:40

Very poignant posts.
Rgds.
Dave
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Ozzie
Senior Member

Registered: July 2007
Location: London
Posts: 3,131
Fri, 31 January 20 10:58

The men of the Merchant Navy, surviving the sinking and then the horrendous days in the lifeboat and without a shadow of a doubt it was terrible, life at it's rawest, you can see it in their faces.

An ordeal without doubt, but they survived. Hope they all had long lives. Thanks Hugh for identifying them, hopefully some are still with us but for those that are not, may they Rest in Peace.

The stories coming out later from survivors of that lifeboat are quite harrowing to read.

Like many on here I have sailed with blokes who survived the lifeboats, very moving to hear their stories, seeing their shipmates die one by one.

Heroes all...although they would not claim to be...but they believed in the Red Ensign and the UK

Very appropriate to come up again on this very historic date.

"Those who do not remember history are destined to repeat it"

"Lest We Forget"
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