Ships Nostalgia banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
hi.folks.anybody know where i can get any info on her .got every thing from the national archives.regards ken.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
160 Posts
The Mopan was sunk by the Admiral Scheer before the Scheer moved on to attack the convoy guarded by the Jervis Bay.The suicidal bravery of the Jervis Bay allowed the convoy to scatter and avoid total destruction.

There was strong criticism of the failure of the Mopan to transmit the three group "raider" warning signal after she had been ordered to maintain radio silence by the Scheer.This warning would have allowed the convoy a longer time to scatter.

Her Master,was a POW until the end of the war. Oddly enough,I was third mate with him for his last two trips in the "Golfito" in 1954 before he retired as Commodore.A very taciturn little man,he never spoke of his wartime experiences.

David E
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
thanks david. i wondered if captain sapsworth carried on with his career. after his release.what shipping line was this.regards ken
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
160 Posts
Ken
As you know,the "Mopan" was a Fyffes ship.He returned to Fyffes after the war and remained there till he reached retirement age in 1954.At that time the "Golfito" was the Fyffes flagship-later supplanted by the "Camito" when she came along two or three years later.
Interestingly,when the Golfito was built in 1948,she was designed for a rapid conversion to an AMC in the event of war.Her deckhouses were very strongly built to allow the rapid installation of guns and sections of the cargo decks could be converted to magazines very quickly.She had a higher potential maximum speed,well above her normal service speed.This was never publicised.

Regards
David E
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
thank you once again david.he's castigated on other sites for not sending r r r signal . surprised he made commodore. regards ken .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Mopan

Hi Ken, it's been a long time since the last post concerning this incident so I hope you still watch the forum. My dad was an engine room crew member on the Mopan when she was sunk. When they were finally taken to the POW camp in St.Nazaire my dad was among a few escapees from the train taking them to Germany. He eventually made his way to Marseilles with a few others, then were led over the Pyrenees to the border with Spain by the French Underground. While in Spain they were arrested and thrown in prison. They eventually were released to the British Embassy and taken to Gibraltar and repatriated. I found a book a few years ago written by one of the escapees, Gerad Riley from Birkenhead, in 1942, and in it he categorically states that he was woken up when the ship was fired on by the Admiral Scheer. He describes three areas of damage, including the engine room. One of the lifeboats was unusable. They were taken on board the German and locked up below. They were disappointed because they would rather have been left in the lifeboats since they knew the convoy was around. Little did they know at the time that the Admiral Scheer was going after theconvoy. I've read only one other account of the sinking, by a steward, Urban Peters. He tells the story about the captain being told not to signal and to get in the boats. I was a deck officer in the MN for 13 years and with all due respect, I'm not sure how a steward would know this information. He might be right, who the heck knows, but there is another account of what happened to the ship. On a purely selfish note, I don't really care because whatever happened, my soon-to-be father made it back to my soon-to-be-mother.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
SS Mopan

Hello,

I have just read your contribution and it would appear that your father was in the same group as my grandfather. Below is some information which I posted on another site earlier today. My grandfather was in the group that jumped off the train with two others from Liverpool and he mentioned later being provided with a guide who took them most of the way from France to Spain through the Pyrenees. He was also in the group that was recaptured and put into prison in Spain. Indeed, he was also on the boat which returned him and a few others from Gibraltar to Gourock.

Does the name John William Inkster mean anything to you? Perhaps your father might have mentioned this name or someone from Shetland being in the group?

I’d be interested to hear from you,

Regards

Michael Inkster

My late grandfather, John William Inkster, from Shetland, was aboard the merchant navy boat Mopan which was the first victim of the Admiral Scheer, as they were bombed shortly after passing the convoy which included the Jervis Bay. They had been invited to join the convoy earlier but had decided against this as they were travelling at a faster pace. They were taken aboard the Scheer and imprisoned below deck. Shortly afterwards, they started to bomb the Jervis Bay, leading to her sinking. The sound of the guns was deafening, he later said. He was then transferred to a number of other boats and eventually they were on their way to a prisoner of war camp in France, by train, when he and two others, from Liverpool, desperate to escape, jumped off the train at around midnight and made their escape through unoccupied France. There’s quite a bit more to the story as they were later re-captured and imprisoned again, but in the end he made it home via a boat from Gibraltar to Gourock three days short of a year after they had been captured.

QUOTE=Peter McArdle;2949889]Hi Ken, it's been a long time since the last post concerning this incident so I hope you still watch the forum. My dad was an engine room crew member on the Mopan when she was sunk. When they were finally taken to the POW camp in St.Nazaire my dad was among a few escapees from the train taking them to Germany. He eventually made his way to Marseilles with a few others, then were led over the Pyrenees to the border with Spain by the French Underground. While in Spain they were arrested and thrown in prison. They eventually were released to the British Embassy and taken to Gibraltar and repatriated. I found a book a few years ago written by one of the escapees, Gerad Riley from Birkenhead, in 1942, and in it he categorically states that he was woken up when the ship was fired on by the Admiral Scheer. He describes three areas of damage, including the engine room. One of the lifeboats was unusable. They were taken on board the German and locked up below. They were disappointed because they would rather have been left in the lifeboats since they knew the convoy was around. Little did they know at the time that the Admiral Scheer was going after theconvoy. I've read only one other account of the sinking, by a steward, Urban Peters. He tells the story about the captain being told not to signal and to get in the boats. I was a deck officer in the MN for 13 years and with all due respect, I'm not sure how a steward would know this information. He might be right, who the heck knows, but there is another account of what happened to the ship. On a purely selfish note, I don't really care because whatever happened, my soon-to-be father made it back to my soon-to-be-mother.[/QUOTE]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
I should also mention that there is a photo of my grandfather with the two others which was taken around the time of their escape. I think I could get a copy of this from my mother. It is just possible that one of the other two could be your father!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
701 Posts
Extracted from my book, SHIPPING COMPANY LOSSES OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR.

MOPAN (Captain S.A. Sapsworth). Homeward bound from the West Indies, and sailing unescorted, when intercepted by the pocket battleship Admiral Scheer (Captain Theodor Krancke) on the afternoon of 5 November, 1940. Complied with Krancke’s order to stop and not use her wireless, and her 68 crew rowed across to become prisoners of the Scheer before their ship was sunk in position 52º48´N 32º15´W. Together with prisoners from other victims of the Scheer, those from the Mopan were transferred to the captured Norwegian tanker Sandefjord on 24 January, 1941 and which arrived at Bordeaux on 28 February. When being taken to Germany by train in March, 8 men escaped, but only 2 reached Spain and, eventually, the UK. Shortly after sinking the Mopan, the Scheer intercepted Convoy HX.84, the Jarvis Bay Convoy, which had sailed from Halifax on 28 October. For details see under Maidan, BROCKLEBANK LINE.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Hi Ian, I'm not sure where that idea the captain was told to stop and not use the wireless came from. I have absolute eye witness information by a crew member that he awoke to the ship being shelled. By the time he got on deck one of the lifeboat was hanging from the davits and there was damage to at least two other parts of the ship. The information about the order seems to have come from a steward on the ship so I don't take that as gospel. Reading through this thread I see the captain not only returned to sea with Fyffes as captain but also became the commodore of the shipping company. Two accounts of the episode name the ship they were later transferred to as the Nordmark, sister ship of the Altmark. One crew member from the Mopan said the Nordmark flew an American flag and was called the Dixie.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,556 Posts
The following distressed British seamen [DBS] left Gibraltar on 8 August 1941 for repatriation to the UK aboard PASTEUR [Cunard White Star] arriving Greenock on 13 August 1941.

Peter McArdle aged 21 - Fireman
Samuel Blundell aged 26 - Fireman
Gerard O'Reily aged 20 - Quartermaster
John Inkster aged 23 - Quartermaster

Regards
Hugh
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
The following distressed British seamen [DBS] left Gibraltar on 8 August 1941 for repatriation to the UK aboard PASTEUR [Cunard White Star] arriving Greenock on 13 August 1941.

Peter McArdle aged 21 - Fireman
Samuel Blundell aged 26 - Fireman
Gerard O'Reily aged 20 - Quartermaster
John Inkster aged 23 - Quartermaster

Regards
Hugh
Thanks Hugh, wasn't sure of the exact dates.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top