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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
As I understand it, SS Marie Moller was a British-built salvage tug registered and owned in Shanghai by the beginning of WW2. As a family member was in the RNR as Marie Moller's engineer, I am assuming that the British Navy must have leased or contracted appropriate local vessels to be support, rescue or salvage for Navy ships in the area? Would anyone have a clearer picture of how this worked?

SS Marie Moller was captured on 8 Dec 1941. Presumably the Japanese had a ready plan to confiscate enemy boats, and the crew of Marie Moller also had an escape plan in the event of war - ie surely to get out of port and sail to the nearest neutral or friendly territory. However, she was captured, presumably without a significant struggle as she was an unarmed twin-screw tug. Our relative, Ernest Crafter, aged 62 at the time, must have been interned as a civilian in the Shanghai concessionary areas (rather than a combatant in a POW camp), for he died in hospital 18 months later - I'm trying to find more information on that.

The incident may be closely associated with the attack on HMS Peterel do***ented here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Peterel_(1927) - Wikipedia which shows crew as sent toHongchew, Kiang Wang and Woosung internment camps in China.

Grateful thanks for any information.
 

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The only bit of info I can give you is as follows:-
Built1909 by Earle`s @ Hull, as Maquarie tonnage 593, for the coastal trade Sydney - Port Maquarie, 90 passengers + cargo. 1929 - 1937 various owners, operating around the Pacific islands. Bought 1937 by Mollers Towages (Hong Kong) & converted to a salvage vessel when she was renamed Marie Moller. As you say captured by the Japanese off Ningpo & renamed Kyokko Maru. 1.1.45 struck a mine & sank off Mergui, S Burma.
Details from Far Eastern Fleets by Howard Dick & Stephen Kentwell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks David, very helpful.

I'm still trying to understand what the company would use a salvage vessel for. As a breakdown service for mainly trading ships on the River Yangse? How did that equate to the Japanese occupation? Why was a RNR officer working on an apparently civilian vessel? Was he being eyes and ears for the Navy. But they had a presence in Shanghai - the Peterel.
 

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Mollers were at one time based in Shanghai. A salvage vessel in name could have other uses as in towage & if chartered to the MOWT would have some Naval personnel onboard. Look at it in a wider aspect of a vessel being chartered out for some period & that vessel having capabilities that would be of use to the Admiralty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks so much. So the ship might even have had modifications and functionality to equip it in, say, minelaying or minesweeping, intelligence gathering, etc? Our relative who was engineer had been on the north sea patrol in WW1, doing precisely those things. (His brother had been on the Dover patrol; both got DSCs for their work.)
 

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Ernest Crafter saw service in both wars being decorated and was also a PoW [ss CASPIAN] in WW1 - I presume you have the records that are out there including the Fourth Register of Seamen records CR1, CR2 & CR10 [with id photo]. He has a WW2 medal listing in BT 395/1/20651. His CRS 10 - service record from January 1941 should be held at Kew in piece BT 382/398 I cannot see any RNR records for him online. He was serving as chief engineer officer Merchant Navy and unless the captain was RNR then I doubt the ship was acting under RN command. He may have been a member of the crew who was also a member of the RNR but unless called up officially by the RN or by Admiralty T124 Agreement then the ship would not have been acting in that capacity.

Her she is as MACQUARIE - http://collections.anmm.gov.au/objects/27307

Regards
Hugh
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks so much Hugh. Yes, I was aware of most of those things, and will be interesting to check the Kew records. Thanks too for a different picture of the ship which I have not seen before. In WW1, he and two others of the crew of Castpian appear to have been taken prisoner. But I can't find any actual writeup of the event. He was a POW in Saxony. I get the impression that the north sea drifters were a more informal eyes and ears for the Navy, whereas his brother on the Dover Patrol was an integrated Navy command which was vital but little known.
 

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As this subject is not YC/PAS/RMAS related perhaps this set of posts should be moved to the TUGS or SPECIAL PURPOSE VESSEL sub-sites?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks

Thanks Waighty, if you feel that's the best place for it (sorry if I did not choose the best place) and you know how to actually move it, please do.
 

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In WW1, he and two others of the crew of Caspian appear to have been taken prisoner. But I can't find any actual writeup of the event.
I see nothing much either - you probably have this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, yes, I have that one. But I don't know for sure whether the fact that she was Grimsby registered boat means she was operating in the North Sea, or further south and integrated into the Dover Patrol.
 

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Thanks Waighty, if you feel that's the best place for it (sorry if I did not choose the best place) and you know how to actually move it, please do.
Hello Soonguy, not being the brainiest of ex mariners in computer matters, I think the Moderators will have to move it, although I'm not entirely sure how to get hold of them either! I'll see what I can find on the SN site.
 
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