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Mrs Ferguson's Tea-set, Japan & the Second W.W..

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  #51  
Old 30th January 2010, 21:12
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Allan
My Grandfather, Harry Steele, was master of the "Port Brisbane", which was sunk by the Pinguin,He spent the rest of the war in Milag nord, did you meet him ?, I have most of his documents and memorabilia from this time which I treasure greatly.
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  #52  
Old 30th January 2010, 21:30
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When you read and hear about you and other Allied P.O.W. and what my Father told me they went through, its hard to contemplate the way we treated the German POW. in England, I attended a talk given by a former Luftwaffe Pilot who ended up at Grizedale Hall (T Brocklebanks old home in the Lake District), he showed me some photograph's of the Dining Hall with the long dining tables neatly laid out and there on the wall overlooking the proceedings was the German Eagle complete with Swastika underneath. The food was so good that most of them were quiet happy where they were and did not want to be shipped to Canada.
In Dec.1945 I met the 2nd watch-keeping officer from U.190. He was a POW in a camp near where my parents' home was in Newport. Maybe the Luftwaffe people fared better than the U.boat men. My acquaintance had been in the U.190 when they surrendered off Newfoudland-he preferred it in Canada!! I still correspond with him.
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  #53  
Old 1st August 2010, 13:33
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The Banknote on SS Automendon

I recently came across this piece of banknote and was somesort interested to research the history and only to uncover what a history behind the SS Automendon and the Atlantis. To say I was pretty much astound after some reading over the net was an understatement. We were taught in our Singapore history books that Singapore fell because of poor war planning of General Percival and the Far East Command as they were anticipating the Japanese attack on Singapore to come from the south. The attack from the north in their belief was simply not viable in their opinon. Hence with all the big guns pointing out to the sea, the attack came from Johore.

And now, I've gathered Singapore would not have fallen and the Japanese forces under General Yamashita could have retreated had Mrs Ferguson not asked for her tea set. So Singapore effectively fell because of a Tea Set and a Trunk.

And who in his right mind could have place 60 mail bags on Top Secret intel documents including the decoder book in a merchant ship?

Perhaps such is life and fate.

I would reminiscence the time we would sit with my grandfather to listen to his war stories over a cuppa of chinese tea. How the locals banded together with the british and their valiant attempts in urban warfare and how he and my grandma survived the horrendous Japanese Occupation. He had a habit to kept momentos and relics to as he would tell us stories while we hold unto the objects, less we forget. He has since bequeath this duty to me since his passing.

I am keen to collect relics from the SS Automendon and the Atlantis.

You can reach me by sending me a private message
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Last edited by Ben Lee; 1st August 2010 at 14:57..
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  #54  
Old 27th July 2011, 18:23
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I should have previously made mention of the extraordinary generosity of Mr Seki after we had initially made contact and I was able to put him in touch with the two, still living, Sam Harper and Frank Walker, survivors from the Automedon. An enormous 'goodies' hamper arrived at our front door, one of Fortnum and Mason's, the biggest I'd ever set eyes on-there was enough tea alone in it to keep us supplied for a year!!

(Sorry to confuse! This post should have gone on Lynnelle's thread, World War Two).
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  #55  
Old 7th January 2012, 14:23
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Forgive me for resurrecting one of my own "threads"! It has sunk so far down into the archives that it could easily be missed by the many who have joined in the last couple of years.
But, chiefly I would like to draw attention to the comments made by one one of our oldest members, Allan Wareing, who is now in his nineties!
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  #56  
Old 7th January 2012, 14:53
trotterdotpom trotterdotpom is offline  
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No worries, Hugh. I've tried to find a couple of my own posts from way back without luck- maybe we're just doomed to that Old Fart's disease of repeating ourselves endlessly. How do you get into the "archives", the "see all posts" thing in the profile only goes back a few months.

Maybe it doesn't matter as the SN population seems to be continually being re-cycled - such a lot of posters have disappeared over time, and not all have "fallen on their swords".

"ThunderD", Derek Blair, a funny and interesting poster from Tasmania, disappeared after his wife sadly died. I often wonder if he's OK, but nobody seems to know.

John T

PS What news of "The Surgeon's Log", is it still travelling the world?
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  #57  
Old 7th January 2012, 16:11
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John T. "The Surgeon's Log" its travels: click HERE for the latest.
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  #58  
Old 7th January 2012, 16:15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trotterdotpom View Post
John T

PS What news of "The Surgeon's Log", is it still travelling the world?
It is in Mexico City!

I still have the Surgeons Log which I have read and re-read. My daughter (16) was reading it to see the subtle differences of the early 20th Century english with regard to the "modern" english, especially the non-PC comments! I would be glad to send it on it's way again if Hugh will tell me to whom it should be sent.
Rgds.
Dave
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  #59  
Old 7th January 2012, 17:25
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Nothing to do with me, Dave, it's some other member's (Hamish Mackintosh) paperback. Whoever else may wish to have it should send a PM to Dave in Mexico City, otherwise he won't know what to do with it other than keep it until somebody contacts him.
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  #60  
Old 4th July 2012, 22:12
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This is a photograph of Stanley Hugill who also came to be known, in later life, as The Last Shantyman. He acquired this title after having been an A.B. aboard the last deep water British commercial sailing ship, the Garthpool, when she was lost after grounding on a reef in the Cape Verde Is..
That was in 1929, but in Nov.1940 he was in the Automedon when she was attacked and sunk by the Atlantis. He was the A.B. who was at the wheel towards the end of a 6 to 8 watch when the first shell exploded on the wing of the bridge, instantly killing the master and the watch officer.
Stanley survived, only to find himself a prisoner, initially in the Atlantis and then in the Storstadt, and finally ashore in Milag prison in Germany. I don't suppose he could ever have imagined in all of those hours that eventually, when he had died, he would be given a full obituary in the Daily Telegraph!
I knew him in 1954 when he was bosun of the Outward Bound Sea School, Aberdovey. On every course there was a "Shanty Evening", led by Stanley singing shanties in the authentic style. He became internationally famous for his extraordinary memory of an almost limitless number of shanties.
Click HERE for a shanty by the aforesaid Stanley Hugill
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  #61  
Old 5th July 2012, 20:36
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It is in Mexico City!

I still have the Surgeons Log which I have read and re-read. My daughter (16) was reading it to see the subtle differences of the early 20th Century english with regard to the "modern" english, especially the non-PC comments! I would be glad to send it on it's way again if Hugh will tell me to whom it should be sent.
Rgds.
Dave
hello dave IM glad that you recieved the book OK I had wondered if you had.I'd forgotton that sent I it to you my wife passsed away 23 dec last year so its been a bit frought of late I'm surprised the nobody had asked for it since a few members had mailed me for it.
regards Tony
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  #62  
Old 5th July 2012, 21:38
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Sorry to hear that Tony - My condolences.

I shall remain on STBY, awaiting orders with regard to the book.

Take Care,
Rgds.
Dave
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  #63  
Old 7th October 2012, 13:50
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As a foot-note to this story-and having been given the author's permission-I can't resist adding this account of the travels of that "teaset"!

'As for Violet's (Ferguson) belongings which had been retrieved from the Automedon that day in 1940, the trunk that contained a tea-set among other items, had initially been sent to Milag with Alan (Ferguson) and kept there. However, as there had been a shortage of tableware at Liebenau the trunk had been transferred to this camp and its contents used for a time, after which they had been repacked and stored on site. When Violet had been sent back to England in 1943, this crockery along with her clothes and other possessions had been left behind.

On the eve of the couples departure for Singapore in 1945 they had been informed by the British military authorities that they had received Violet's luggage from Germany. By the couples request it had eventually been shipped to Singapore and safely delivered into their hands. The luggage had been kept in a large warehouse in Hamburg ever since Violet's repatriation and not a single item had been lost or broken. The Fergusons' friends and acquaintances who heard this story all agreed that it was nothing short of a miracle.
Professr K.G. Tregonning, former Raffles Professor of History at the University of Singapore, who wrote the history of the Straits Steamship Co., Home Port Singapore, in 1976 at the Company's request, interviewed the Fergusons in February1965. He writes that he was served afternoon tea with that very tea-set from Violet's trunk;a tea-set with a story, one that had crossed the IndianOcean three times. This author had visited Madge Christmas (Violet's sister) in the Autumn of 2003 and when shown the Taylor & Kent tea-set on that occasion, was deeply moved thinking of the many twists and turns it had followed with its owner over time; he was face to face with a silent witness to history.'
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  #64  
Old 8th October 2012, 10:28
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Blimey! That's an amazing story and one which probably wouldn't happen these days.

Thankyou Hugh.
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  #65  
Old 19th April 2013, 08:55
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Time to give this another airing: especially for the new members?
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  #66  
Old 19th April 2013, 15:24
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Hugh, a brilliant story & piece of history, just amazing how it all turned out well besides the finding of the secret data along with code books. As Ben Lee says, how naive to put those on a merchant ship, more so without some form of either destruction or being separated from general baggage. Enjoyed reading the whole thread. In a way possibly clears Gen Perciville of some of the bad rap he got, maybe?
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  #67  
Old 20th April 2013, 02:28
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good morning hugh ferguson.s.m.4-4-2008.re:mrs fergusons tea set,japan and the second w.w..as you may note I like reading up on the past threads.they hold a lot of history worth reading.it is an amazing story.almost like a best seller of the secret service.i note the name.mrs,ferguson.is she a relative of yours? of cource the book was a best seller.a great thread,well presented.and there for us new members to enjoy.thank you for posting.regards ben27
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  #68  
Old 20th April 2013, 06:39
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It's brilliant to come across an old thread like this. Thanks Hugh. I was spellbound from start to finish.
Rgds, D
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  #69  
Old 20th April 2013, 12:19
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It's very pleasing to receive such appreciation: thankyou both!
I must say that the modest amount of my researching sundry maritime events has been the most rewarding thing I have done in retirement.
One such effort began after reading a letter, published in Sea Breezes, written by a Glasgow doctor. He was enquring about the book, The Surgeon's Log. That research resulted in a visit to my home of not only the daughter of the book's author but also of the son of the 2nd mate of the Blue Funnel ship in which the voyage had been made in 1907! She turned up for a three day stay bringing with her the actual log which her father had zealosly written up every day of that long ago voyage-it became a mini classic of travel literature.
She later sent me a complete photo-copy of her father's log!
I also received several visits from the son of the 2nd mate of that old Blue Funnel ship. Since those happy events I'm sad to say that all of those people have died.

(No, ben27, as far as I know I'm not related to either of the Fergusons afore mentioned, and the only one of all of those people I remain in touch with are a niece of Chief Engineer Ferguson, and also with the author of Mrs Ferguson's Tea-set, Eiji Seki).
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  #70  
Old 21st April 2013, 02:42
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good morning hugh furguson.s.m.yesterday.20:19.re:relationship to mrs.ferguson.thank you for your reply.it is great that you still keep in touch with the niece of c.eng.ferguson and the author of mrs ferguson's tea-set.eiji seki.i intend to see if I can get a copy of the book.a great post.have a good day.ben27
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  #71  
Old 21st April 2013, 04:25
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The survival of the tea setis unbeleivable,, thank you for a most marvellous post
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  #72  
Old 21st April 2013, 14:14
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As a foot-note to this story-and having been given the author's permission-I can't resist adding this account of the travels of that "teaset"!

'As for Violet's (Ferguson) belongings which had been retrieved from the Automedon that day in 1940, the trunk that contained a tea-set among other items, had initially been sent to Milag with Alan (Ferguson) and kept there. However, as there had been a shortage of tableware at Liebenau the trunk had been transferred to this camp and its contents used for a time, after which they had been repacked and stored on site. When Violet had been sent back to England in 1943, this crockery along with her clothes and other possessions had been left behind.

On the eve of the couples departure for Singapore in 1945 they had been informed by the British military authorities that they had received Violet's luggage from Germany. By the couples request it had eventually been shipped to Singapore and safely delivered into their hands. The luggage had been kept in a large warehouse in Hamburg ever since Violet's repatriation and not a single item had been lost or broken. The Fergusons' friends and acquaintances who heard this story all agreed that it was nothing short of a miracle.
Professr K.G. Tregonning, former Raffles Professor of History at the University of Singapore, who wrote the history of the Straits Steamship Co., Home Port Singapore, in 1976 at the Company's request, interviewed the Fergusons in February1965. He writes that he was served afternoon tea with that very tea-set from Violet's trunk;a tea-set with a story, one that had crossed the IndianOcean three times. This author had visited Madge Christmas (Violet's sister) in the Autumn of 2003 and when shown the Taylor & Kent tea-set on that occasion, was deeply moved thinking of the many twists and turns it had followed with its owner over time; he was face to face with a silent witness to history.'
Is it possible that that tea-set even survived THIS
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  #73  
Old 22nd April 2013, 02:48
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good morning hugh ferguson,s.m.yesterday.22:14.re:mrs,ferguson's tea set.i have posted this thread before.but after watching your video post(72)I had to say how horrific that night of the fire storm must have been.i was in the London blitz,i would not wish a night like that on anybody.but if you play with fire.you get burnt.a great post,thank you.ben27
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  #74  
Old 28th September 2013, 13:13
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The last surviving member of the crew of the Automedon, Alex Parsons, has died aged ninety one. Alex was a deck boy in the Automedon when she was sunk by the surface raider, Atlantis, in 1940.
I have E.mailed the author of the book, Mr Eiji Seki, this news and he sends his condolences to Alex's family.
I guess that must really be the end of this amazing story.
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  #75  
Old 29th September 2013, 01:19
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good day hugh ferguson.sm.yesterday,thank you for posting about the last surviving member of the automedon.may alex parsons rest in peace.regards ben27
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