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301 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am hoping to compile a Book of Remembrance detailing the loss of the 70 Ropner ships during WWI & II including the 650 names I have of those who died. To accompany this I am looking for photos of the ships named below. Before I start having to pay the expensive prices at GMM and other places I am asking if anyone reading this has any they could either send me or scan at a high resolution. This is the follow up to the "Ropner Navy Memorial" I raised the money for which was unveiled in Ropner Park in October 2005 by the Rgt. Hon. Dari Taylor MP for Stockton South.

NB Those with ** next to the name, I already have copies

SS BALDERSBY, 3,613grt. Torpedoed and sunk by German submarine UB-91 on the 28th September 1918.

SS BROOKBY, 3,679grt. Torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-60 near Fastnet on the 19th June 1917.

BURNBY, 3,665grt. Torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-39 near Cape Falcon on the 26th February 1917.

SS COLEBY, 3,824grt. Captured by German auxiliary cruiser Kronprinz Wilhelm and sunk by gunfire on the 27th March 1915.

SS DALEBY, 3,628grt. Torpedoed and sunk 150 miles South-East of Cape Clear on the 29th April 1917.

SS DROMONBY, 3,628grt. Captured by German auxiliary cruiser Moewe and sunk by bombs on the 13th January 1916.

SS GADSBY, 3,497grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-39 on the 1st July 1915.

SS GLENBY, 2,196grt. Sunk by gunfire from U-38 on the 17th August 1915.

SS KIRKBY, 3,034grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-38 on the 17th August 1915.

SS MALTBY, 3,977grt. Torpedoed and sunk by UC-27 on the 26th February 1918.

SS MARTIN, 1,904grt. Sunk by gunfire from UC-18 on the 14th January 1917.

SS MOUNTBY, 3,263grt. Torpedoed and sunk by UC-49 on the 10th June 1918.

SS NEWBY, 2,168grt. Sunk by gunfire from U-35 near Barcelona on the 26th September 1916.

SS OAKBY, 1,976grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-8 off Folkestone Pier on the 23rd February 1915.

SS ROCKPOOL, 4,502grt. Torpedoed and sunk on the 2nd March 1918.

SS ROLLESBY, 3,955grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-48 off Muckle Flugga on the 15th September 1917.

SS SALMONPOOL, 4,905grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-39 on the 1st June 1916.

SS SCAWBY, 3,658grt. Captured by U-33 and sunk by bombs on the 2nd October 1915.

SS SELBY, 2,137grt. Sunk by a mine 34 miles South-East by South of the Newarp Light Vessel on the 30th September 1914.

SS TEESDALE, 2,470grt. After being damaged by a torpedo sailing from Hartlepool to Gibraltar the ship had been temporarily repaired was making her way to the Tees when the ship broke up and sank off Redcar on the 15th June 1917. 2 crew killed. **

SS TEESPOOL, 4,577grt. Torpedoed and severely damaged on the 19th October 1917.

SS THIRLBY, 2,009grt. Torpedoed and sunk by UC-31 near Fastnet on the 2nd July 1917.

SS THORNABY, 1,730grt. Sank after hitting a mine 4 miles North-East of the Shipwash Light Vessel on the 28th February 1916. **

SS TRUNKBY, 2,635grt. Sunk by gunfire from U-34 near Port Mahon on the 28th May 1916.**

SS WESTONBY, 3,795grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-82 off Fastnet on the 15th June 1917.

SS WILLERBY, 3,630grt. Captured by German auxiliary cruiser Prinz Eitel Friedrich and sunk by bombs on the 20th February 1915.

SS WRAGBY, 3,641grt. Sunk by gunfire from UC-37 near Cape Spartel on the 4th January 1917.

Ropners Merchant Shipping Losses 1939-1945

SS AINDERBY, 4,860grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-552 on the 10th June 1941. **

SS ALDERPOOL, 4,313grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-124 on the 3rd April 1941.

SS ASHBY, 4,871grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-43 on the 30th November 1941.

SS BOULDERPOOL, 4,805grt. Sunk by German E-boat on the 7th March 1941.

SS CARPERBY, 4,890grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-558 on the 1st March 1942.

SS CRITON, 4,564grt. Attacked and sunk on the 21st February 1941.

SS DALEBY, 4,640grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-89 on the 4th November 1942.

SS EMPIRE ARNOLD, 7,045grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-155 on the 4th August 1942.

SS EMPIRE BISON, 5,612grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-124 on the 1st November 1940.

SS EMPIRE DRYDEN, 7,164grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-572 on the 20th April 1942.

SS EMPIRE MERLIN, 5,763grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-48 on the 25th August 1940.

SS EMPIRE MOONBEAM, 6,849grt. Torpedoed and damaged by U-211later sunk by U608 on the 11th September 1942.

SS EMPIRE RAINBOW, 6,942grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-607 & U-704 on the 26th July 1942.

SS EMPIRE STARLIGHT, 6,850grt. Repeatedly bombed by German aircraft while discharging in Murmansk on the 3rd April 1942.

SS FIRBY, 4,868grt. Torpedoed and sunk by gunfire from U-48 on the 11th September 1939. **

SS FISHPOOL, 4,950grt. Sunk in an air raid at Syracuse on the 26th August 1943.

FORT PELLY, 7,131grt, Sunk in an air raid on the 20th July 1943.

SS HAWNBY, 5,380grt. Sunk by a mine on the 20th April 1940.

SS HAXBY, 5,207grt. Sunk by the commerce raider Orion on the 24th April 1940.

SS HERONSPOOL, 5,202grt. Torpedoed and sunk by gunfire from U-48 on the 12th October 1939.

SS HINDPOOL, 4,897grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-124 on the 8th March 1941.

SS KIRKPOOL, 4,842grt. Sunk by the German commerce raider Thor on the 10th April 1942.

SS LACKENBY, 5,112grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-624 on the 25th January 1943.

SS MANESPOOL, 4,894grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-97 on the 24th February 1941.

SS OTTERPOOL, 4,867grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-30 in Convoy HGF-34 on the 20th June 1940.

SS PIKEPOOL, 3,683grt. Sunk by a mine off the Smalls Light on the 22nd November 1940.

SS REEDPOOL, 4,838grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-515 on the 20th September 1942.

SS ROMANBY, 4,487grt. Sunk by an explosion between 22/23rd April 1940.

SS ROXBY, Torpedoed and sunk by U-613 on the 7th November 1942.

SS RUSHPOOL, 5,125grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-94 on the 30th January 1941.

SS SALMONPOOL, 4,803grt. Seized by German troops at Sandafjord on the 15th April 1940..

SS SAMSUVA, 7,219grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-310 on the 29th August 1944.

SS SEDGEPOOL, 6,530grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-123 in Convoy SC-7 on the 19th October 1940. **

SS SOMERSBY, 5,168grt, Torpedoed and sunk by U-111 on the 13th May 1941.

SS STONEPOOL, 4,803grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-207 on the 11th September 1941. **

SS SWAINBY, 5,811grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-13 on the 17th April 1940.

SS SWIFTPOOL, 5,205grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-372 on the 5th August 1941. **

SS THIRLBY, 4,888grt. Torpedoed and sunk by U-109 on the 23rd January 1942.

SS TROUTPOOL, 4,886grt. Sunk by a mine in the Belfast Lough on the 20th July 1940.

SS ULLAPOOL, 4,891grt. Sunk by a mine in the Mersey on the 13th March 1941.

SS WANDBY, 4,947grt. Torpedoed and damaged by U-47 on the 19th October 1940.

SS WARLABY, 4,876grt. Sunk by the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper in Convoy SL-64S on the 12th February 1941

SS WILLOWPOOL, 4,815grt. Sunk by a mine on the 10th December 1939.

Hope you can help.



491 Posts
If you are near any of the following ask to see their Merchant Navy Book of Remembrance that I have produced, it contains all the names of personnel, Merchant crews plus Naval and Army gunners that lost their lives at sea in the last war. Contains by ship name details of loss and how survivors were rescued plus all the names, otherwise contact me.
Imperial War Museum
Greenwich Museum
Merseyside Maritime Museum
National Memorial Arboretum

301 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·

I have all casualty names from Ropner ships as well as all the other 24,000 men named on Tower Hill. It's finding the photo's of Ropner ships which is proving difficult. I managed to get hold of 4 photo's on ebay, but it's turning out to be an expensive project.

The last Book of Remembrance I wrote (unpublished) took me three years to complete. Dedicated to nearly 400 Merchant Seamen killed in WWII from the Tees to Robin Hoods Bay area who shipped out of Middlesbrough Pool. Lists names, dates, cargo, casualties, where, when and how lost. No publisher interested. As I am in touch with a number of the Ropner family after the Ropner Navy Memorial was unveiled, I hope this will do better.

3,265 Posts

My great uncle John James Brennan was lost in SS Polzella on 13th January 1940 some 6 miles north of Muckle Flugga. Googling SS Polzella brings up a wealth of information on the event.

I have always been told that SS Polzella was managed by Ropners although I cannot find anythin to prove that. Hope this is of interest to your project.

Incidentally Frederick William Perry, the oldest merchant seaman to be lost in WW2 was also lost in the incident.

This is the information from the Commonwealth War Grave site at Tower Hill concerning the sinking.

"In Memory of

S.S. Polzella (Penzance), Merchant Navy
who died age 44
on 13 January 1940

Remembered with honour

Finally, if anybody has a photograph of the Polzella I would be very gratefull for a copy.


Pat Thompson

83 Posts
Polzella appears to have been owned by J. J. Thomas (Bute Docks) Ltd., of Cardiff through Eclipse Shipping & Trading Co. Ltd.
In 1942 the only vessel listed for the company is the "Nicoline Maersk" a motor vessel built 1925 of 4,200 tons.
House flag white (sometimes yellow) with "J. J. T." in black across the middle. Funnel yellow with black top quarter.
From "Merchant Ships 1942" by E.C. Talbot-Booth.


83 Posts
OK, Pat.
I can't find anything that says she was part of "Ropner's Navy" at the time.
The name comes from the fact that Ropners seem to have been involved more than any other company in engagements with the enemy up to 1942. Also that their head office in Hartlepool was bombed by zeppelins and bombarded by the Imperial German Navy during WWI. They also lost a lot of ships to enemy action betweeen 1914 and 1918.


3,265 Posts
Greetings again Marconi Sahib,

Thanks for your last post. Out of interest John James Brennan's mother ergo my great grandmother, "Margaret Brennan" was one of those killed during the Bombardment of Hartlepool, They lived in Belk Street Hartlepool (close to the Victoria Ground football stadium) and according to family lore, when the excrement hit the air-conditioning being a god Catholic lady made a beeline for the Church and was zapped on Mill House (again adjacent to the football ground). The story goes that had she stayed where she was she would have been fine. My Grandfather always said that that event cured him of religion for life (exclam)

Pat Thompson.

3,265 Posts
Greetings yet again,

My Grandfather "Ernest Augustus Brennan" always known as "Ernie" was a Chief Steward with Ropners, I have his Discharge Book somewhere. My Dad (Stepfather) John (aka Jack) Hutchinson was Mate with them in both the Thornaby and Thirlby in the late 50s early 60s.

Pat Thompson

5,689 Posts
ON 148 484
Nr 1 in 1929 Registered Port of Penzance
New Vessel; British
Under tonnage deck 4417.08t
Forcastle between decks 28.4t
Bridge House between decks 26.9t
Poop 108.15t
Deck Houses 145.17
Spaces for Machinery 25.92t
Gross Tonnage 4751.27t
Deductions 188.63t
Registered Tonnage 2867.64t

Deductions allowed
Propelling Power 1520.41t
Poop and Round Houses
Crew and Stores 198.78t
Accommodation for crew of 40.
Master 12.96t
Chart Space 3.94t
Wireless Room 2.76t
Bosuns Store 47.51t
Water Ballast 97.27t

Owners :
Eclipse Shipping & Trading Company Limited
Imperial Buildings, Cardiff Docks, Cardiff in the County of Glamorgan

Date of Registry : 23rd July 1929

13th August 1929; 1pm; Transaction – Mortgage dated 13th August 1929 to secure sum due on account current and interest. Midland Bank Limited having its principal place of business at 5 Threadneedle Street in the City of London.

Registry Closed this 15th day of June 1940 except as for as relates to Mortgage. Ship missing since leaving Narvik and Rodinglis on the 13th January 1940. Certificate with the vessel. Advice received from Manager.

Screw Steamship, built West Hartlepool 1929
William Gray & Co Ltd
One deck and Shelter Deck, two masts, schooner rig; elliptical stern
Clinker built; steel framework, cargo vessel.
Six bulkheads; seven water ballasts 1505 tons
Length from forepart of stem to stern post 400.1 ft
Breadth 54.25 ft
Depth in hold 25.15 ft
Depth from top of beam midships to top of keel 28.66 ft
Depth top of deck at sides amidships to bottom of keel 27.77 ft
Round of Beam 1.12 ft
Length of Engine Room 47.3 ft

Total Displacement to quarter depth from weather deck to bottom of keel 9790t

Engine : one inverted direct acting triple expansion condensing
Built Wm Gray & Co Ltd
Three cylinders 26 inch, 43 inch and 71 inch
Length of stroke 48 inch
440 nhp
2023 ihp
10.25 knots

Boilers by Wm Gray & Co Ltd
Three Steel Multitubular
Load Pressure 180 lbs

Manager :
John James Thomas of Imperial Buildings, Mount Stewart Square, Cardiff Docks
appointed manager. Advice under his hand as the duly appointed Public Officer of eclipse shipping & Trading Company Limited; received and recorded the 1st day of August 1929.

Eclipse Shipping & Trading Company Limited now having its principal place of business and its Registered Manager John James Thomas at Merthyr House, James Street, Cardiff in the county of Glamorgan; advice under the hand of John James Thomas the person to whom management of the vessel is entrusted by and on behalf of Eclipse Shipping & Trading Company Limited, dated 16th June 1931.

That is freshly transcribed for you ...
Best Wishes, Raymond
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