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Bill Forster 7th April 2008 16:29

British Prince (ex Sutherland)
My father, William Redvers Forster (1900-75), was Chief Engineer on this ship, the first of the "Doxford Economy Ships" to be built in 1935 (see entry in the Directory) and remained aboard for one voyage after it was sold to Rio Cape Line Ltd (part of Prince Line) in 1936 and renamed BRITISH PRINCE.

Does anybody have details of its wartime sinking in 1940?

Bill Forster

shipmate17 7th April 2008 16:46

According to Miramar data.
ID 1161576. Grt. 4979. SP10k. Built 1935 by Doxford.Pallion as SUTHERLAND. for BJ Sutherland & Co Ltd. Newcastle. renamed 1936 BRITISH PRINCE. Ac/B 53.52N/00.25E. 26/9/1941. Bombed and sunk in the Thames Estuary.

alastairjs 7th April 2008 17:32

According to the sources I could find the BRITISH PRINCE (4979grt) was on a voyage from New York to London, calling at North-East ports, when she was attacked and sunk by German aircraft off the Humber in position 53-52N, 0-25E, Friday, 26th September 1941. There were no casualties on the vessel. I've seen some reports that place the sinking in the Thames estuary but the war diary pages and the Lat. & Long. quoted put her north of Spurn Head.

Bill Forster 7th April 2008 22:52

I think there were as many as six ships named BRITISH PRINCE and my father's ship (ex SUTHERLAND) was the third. It WAS sunk in 1940 so I think "Shipmate17" has correctly identified the sinking of my father's former ship.

But can anybody provide further details of the sinking? Casualties? Was it salvaged or does it still lie in the Thames estuary?


12548 8th April 2008 02:00

British Prince
1 Attachment(s)
Info as per shipmate 17 quite correct with just a bit more.

BRITISH PRINCE (4) was built in 1935 by Wm. Doxford & Sons at Sunderland with a tonnage of 4979grt, a length of 412ft 2in, a beam of 54ft 2in and a service speed of 10 knots. She was completed in January 1935as the Sutherland for B. J. Sutherland of Newcastle, one of a series of economy engined ships from Doxford's. The economy came about by giving the ships a wider beam, which provided more cargo space, and a slow running engine. Acquired by Furness, Withy & Co. for Rio Cape Line Ltd with Prince Line as managers in 1936 she was renamed British Prince. On 26th September 1941 she was sunk by German bombers off Hornsea as she was approaching the Thames estuary.

Bill Forster 10th April 2008 12:16

I visited he Guildhall Library in London yesterday and looked up the sinking of BRITISH PRINCE in the Lloyd's Casualty Reports. They confirmed it was sunk North of Spurn Head but gave minimal information (in marked contrast to details of peacetime casualties):

London September 26 1941; Motor vessell British Prince has been bombed and sunk. Lifeboats recovered later & landed at Grimsby.

I shall add this to my account of SUTHERLAND / BRITISH PRINCE in this web sites DIRECTORY but can anybody tell me where a more detailed ccount could be found?

Bill Forster

Bill Forster

K urgess 10th April 2008 13:11

Can't find British Prince in "Shipwrecks of the Yorkshire Coast" by Godfrey & Lassey.
3 "British" are listed -
Councillor - Torpedoed off Withernsea 2.2.40
Empire - 27.2.1900
Queen - 1869
It must've been too far off the coast to be listed.

alastairjs 10th April 2008 14:48

I couldn't find a precise location for the wreck on any of the dive sites I looked at so, like you, I surmised that her final resting place is either too far offshore and/or it's too deep for normal scuba diving. I was interested to read from Bill's last post that the Lloyds Casualty Report put's the location of her sinking North of Spurn Head. I thought I had lost my reserching skills and/or ability to read a map for a while! Odd that so many sources quote the correct Lat. & Long. and then go on to describe the position of her sinking as "the Thames estuary". Unlike "U" boat sinkings, there are no good web sites recording details of Luftwaffe casualties that I've ever been able to find. Perhaps another member knows better.

Bill Forster 12th April 2008 22:48

Well, Lloyds did not give the position but did state that lifeboats from the wreck were recovered at Grimby which does tally with the position given by Alastair.

I shall see if the National Archives have the logbook when I go to Kew next week but if any of the crew did survive I do not suppose saving the ships log would have been their a priority ...

Are there other resources at Kew which might yield further information?


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