Global consequences which followed the sinking of a Blue Funnel ship.
A brand new publication entitled, MRS FERGUSON'S TEA-SET, JAPAN AND THE SECOND WORLD WAR, by Eiji Seki, is now available at £25. (or discounted at £20 if you have Blue Funnel connections).
It is a perspective, from a Japanese viewpoint, as to how the "intelligence" captured when the German raider, ATLANTIS, intercepted, boarded and sank the Blue Funnel, s.s. AUTOMEDON on the 11th Nov. 1940. She had on-board a mass of secret documents which were being sent out to an important conference to be held in Singapore.
Mrs Ferguson was the wife of a Straits Steamship engineer and they were both returning,as passengers in the Automedon, to Singapore after leave in the U.K.. The Germans were somewhat mortified at having caused the death of 6 people, by what was probably an un-necessarily heavy bombardment of the ship, and in making some concession for this they attempted to lessen the distress caused, by acceding to a request from Mrs Ferguson to recover some of her possessions from the baggage room. It was this action which enabled them to stumble across the secret documents and, in the opinion of the author, change the course of Japanese strategy in the Pacific, thus causing a far worse outcome in the war-for Japan-than might otherwise have been the case.
The teaset survived its incredible journey, and Mr Seki was recently able to photograph it on a table in the living room of a house in St. Albans, where Mrs Ferguson had lived with her sister. Sadly, Mrs Ferguson (no relation to me) had died in her 90's just 6 months before the author had traced her to her home in St Albans.
It's a fascinating story! Hugh Ferguson.