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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My father, Thomas Ernest Richard Howlett (R 152719) was in the Merchant Navy as the Second Engineer aboard the M.V. "Empire Charmian" including from the period 28 December 1944 until 14 December 1946.
Among some family photos that are some that were taken among the wreckage of Hiroshima in the aftermath of its atomic bombing of 6 August 1945. Also among these photos was one of a partly sunken three-funnelled warship which I have worked out is the Japanese naval vessel "Iwate". The "Iwate" was sunk by US air attack on 24 July 1945 and was raised and scrapped in 1946-47. These seem to suggest that my father may have been at Hiroshima in the immediate post World War Two period.
Using shipping notices obtained via the internet through the Trove site and a do***ent of the movements of the "Empire Charmian" obtained from the National Archive (United Kingdom) site, I have worked out that the most likely period when the ship could have been there was between 23 December 1945 and 7 April 1946.
If anyone has any information that could confirm the whereabouts of the "Empire Charmian" during that period, it would be much appreciated.
Murray Howlett
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Hello and welcome,
I or others will get back to you reguarding EMPIRE CHARMIAN,
I don't know if you have seen this do***entation about your father.
If you have not already obtained it you can download your dads medal entitlement for free.
Do you have his medals?
Do you have your fathers Form CRS10?

regards
Roger
 

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Hello again,
EMPIRE CHARMAIN official number. 167745
The best way way to find the movements of a vessel is to take look at the vessels Logbook. It should give you to the minute the time and date a ship departed or arrived at a port. (See attached) Movement Cards can be flawed, as some members of this site will confirm. Movement cards can be written up months after by bored BOT Clerks.
So for serious researchers a peep at the Log is more accurate.
There appears to be no 1946 Logbook for EMPIRE CHARMAIN. This is probably because the ship never returned to a UK port until 1947. What was recorded in the Logbook for 1946 will contained in her first 1947 Logbook. This can be obtained from TNA Kew.
Idealy you would need to visit Kew yourself or appoint a researcher to look for you.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you very much Roger.
I do have my father's medals and the accompanying form C.R.S.102. which listed the Atlantic Star and Pacific Star medals. Interestingly among these actual medals was another marked "The 1939-1945 Star" and also another round medallion with an image of a lion astride another creature (perhaps a griffon?) and "1939 1945" on it - the other side has an image of King George VI on it. All these medals have their ribbons. Also among these items was a badge with "MN" inside a rope circle with a crown atop. I have images of these scanned on my computer if that is of interest.
I was aware of the Logbooks but have not yet explored that route. Thanks for the info regarding 1946-1947. I will certainly look into this.
In viewing the Movement Card for 1945 for the "Empire Charmian" there was one obvious error where a departure date was recorded as "1 October" when it probably should have been "1 November".
Murray Howlett
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Roger,
Thanks again for your help.
I wonder if you might also be able help me regarding my father's service on his last ship. In his Certificate Of Discharge the entry for it (V.S.I.S. "Fort Charlotte" - 175375) lists him as the Chief Engineer on a voyage from London (22/5/1947) to Malta (8/4/1948) with the Description Of Voyage column stating, "O.H.M.S". I have been trying to find out what the "O.H.M.S" more specifically refers to. I have the Certificate Of Discharge book on my computer.
I have sent multiple requests to the UK High Commissioner in Australia but have only received auto replies back despite their website stating that replies could be expected in 10 days. Their system seems design to only be able to accept a limited range of requests. I have also tried sending the same request to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade but have also only received an auto reply although I only sent that yesterday.
In any case, would you have any idea where I might look to find this information?
I await your reply.
Murray Howlett
 

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Welcome Murray,

and also another round medallion with an image of a lion astride another creature (perhaps a griffon?) and "1939 1945" on it - the other side has an image of King George VI on it." .
That would be the War Medal - see attached. Generally awarded if the service period qualified for one of the Stars and if terminated by death, disability due to service or capture as a prisoner-of-war. A merchant seaman had to have served a minimum of 28 days at sea.


Description Of Voyage column stating, "O.H.M.S". I have been trying to find out what the "O.H.M.S" more specifically refers to
Re - FORT CHARLOTTE - It simply means "On His Majesty's Service".
Regards
Hugh
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Hugh for your clarifications. Your attachment is of the same medal as in my possession. Regarding the War Medal, my father would certainly have qualified on the minimum period (he served the full duration of WW2), on having the Star (there are, as I said elsewhere, three in my possession) and being captured as a POW (he was taken POW by German Navy ship HK33 KMS Pinguin in 1940 in Indian Ocean, his ship, "Maimoa" was sunk, their occupants transferred to captured ship "Storstadt" and taken (along with POWs from other ships) to POW camp, Bordeaux, France and later, while being transported to Germany, jumped off train near Blois in central France with three other Merchant Navy engineers (one from his ship and the other two from two other ship). They made their way out of Vichy France to Marseilles and then out via Spain (including a period as prisoners there) and Gibraltar. This story can be found on the internet. I first became aware of this when a copy of it was sent to our family in 1989 by a lady from England who knew my father and was trying to trace his whereabouts. It can be found - "Blue Funnel A Company At War" - "Automedon". The account was written by an engineer from the "Automedon", Samuel Elsby Harper, but he is uncredited.
Re: OHMS - I do know what the letters stand for but was trying to get more detail about what this actually involved for him, but thanks anyway.

Murray Howlett
 

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According to "The Imperial Japanese Navy" A.J. Watts and B.G. Gordon IJN Iwate was built by Armstrongs at Elswick (Newcastle upon Tyne) launched 29 March 1900 and surrendered in Kure (about 2 miles from Hiroshima) in a damaged condition 1947.
It was at Port Arthur 9 Feb 1904, 1923 -1945 it was training ship and sank in shallow water 27 July 1945 after an American air raid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
According to "The Imperial Japanese Navy" A.J. Watts and B.G. Gordon IJN Iwate was built by Armstrongs at Elswick (Newcastle upon Tyne) launched 29 March 1900 and surrendered in Kure (about 2 miles from Hiroshima) in a damaged condition 1947.
It was at Port Arthur 9 Feb 1904, 1923 -1945 it was training ship and sank in shallow water 27 July 1945 after an American air raid.
Thanks Victor,
"surrendered...in a damaged condition 1947" seems a somewhat euphemistic description to describe it having been scrapped after being refloated.
As an aside I found some photos on the internet of the "Iwate" visiting Sydney, Australia - firstly in January 1924 in company with sister ship "Izumo" and secondly in 1932 probably for the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There is a photo of it with Sydney Harbour Bridge in background dated 20 May 1932. Copy attached.
Murray Howlett
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