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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All

John Cowie was the 2nd Engineering Officer on the SS Pennington Court in WW2 (Before the ship was lost in 1942). He died on 09 May 1940 due to a 'Presumed Accident' at sea.
Please correct me if I am wrong, but should in be commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial and recognised by the CWCG as a casualty of war.?
Apart from the 'Record of Death of Merchant Seaman' I can find no trace of him.
Thanks and Regards
John Cowie
 

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Extracted from my book, SHIPPING COMPANY LOSSES OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR.

PENNINGTON COURT (Captain J. Horne). Bound for Belfast from Saint John, New Brunswick, sailed in Convoy SC.103 which left New York on 26 September, 1942. Straggling when torpedoed twice by U.254 (Kptlt. Odo Loewe) at 9pm on 9 October. Struck by a third torpedo at 11.10pm and sank in position 58º18´N 27º55´W. The u-boat saw survivors in lifeboats, but they were never seen again. All 45 died.
 

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Hi All

John Cowie was the 2nd Engineering Officer on the SS Pennington Court in WW2 (Before the ship was lost in 1942). He died on 09 May 1940 due to a 'Presumed Accident' at sea.
Please correct me if I am wrong, but should in be commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial and recognised by the CWCG as a casualty of war.?
Apart from the 'Record of Death of Merchant Seaman' I can find no trace of him.
Thanks and Regards
John Cowie
Hello John
Unlike members of the other three services, to qualify for War Grave Status and commoration Merchant Seamen had to be killed a a result of Direct enemy action rather than accidental causes.
Hugh Maclean, who I know is in correspondence with the CWGC concerning three merchant seamen lost from SS TABERG will give you a much better answer as to the criteria required by CWGC.

regards
Roger
 

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PENNINGTON COURT
O.N. 148274. 6,098g. 3,774n. 400.0 x 53.0 x 32.7 feet.
From 1925 to 1927: 4,742g. 2,866n. 400.0 x 53.0 x 24.7 feet.
T.3-cyl. (26”, 43” and 71” x 48”) by Blair and company Limited, Stockton. 425nhp. 2000 ihp. 10 kts.

3.6.1924: Launched as ROCHDALE by Richardson Duck and Company Limited, Thornaby on Tees (Yard No. 687) for Rochdale Steamship Company Limited, (C. Radcliffe and Company Limited, managers), Cardiff.
30.6.1924: Registered at Cardiff.
7.1924: Completed for Charles Radcliffe (same managers), Cardiff.
18.7.1927: Sold to Court Line Limited, (Haldin and Co. Limited, managers) (Philip E. Haldin, manager).
20.7.1927: Re-registered at London.
22.7.1927: Renamed PENNINGTON COURT.
5.1929: Transferred to United British Steamship Company Limited, (same managers).
1930: Haldin and Philipps Limited appointed as managers (Philip E. Haldin, manager).
19.11.1936: Owner restyled as Court Line Limited, (same managers, with Frank W. Saunders as manager).
26.9.1942: Whilst on a voyage from St. John N.B. and Halifax for Belfast with grain and 164 tons of trucks departed from New York in convoy SC.103 bound to Liverpool and subsequently became a straggler.
9.10.1942: Sunk with 3 torpedoes by the German submarine U 254 at position 58.18N., 27.55W. 41 crew & 4 gunners – all lost.
26.11.1942: Register closed.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Pennington Court

Thank you gentlemen for your replies.

Very sad that men were seen after the sinking but none survived.

If John hadn't 'drowned' but went down with the ship, he would have been recognised as a casualty of war.
So, if Merchant Seaman died at sea during the war, but not by enemy action, basically tough....and I bet their families had no financial help. Does seem a little unfair, but someone made these rules.....

Thanks again
John
 

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Hello John,

John Cowie did not die at sea. He left the ship on 7 May 1940 when in Sunderland - cause of death "presumed accident". PENNINGTON COURT sailed Sunderland on 10 May 1940.

For commemoration by the CWGC

* The casualty must have been signed onto the books and sailing under employment on a British, Commonwealth, Allied or neutral ship and their death must have been the result of:
* Direct enemy action (torpedoing, shelling or other direct contact)
* Detainment by the enemy or
* Increased war risks as specified in the Pensions (Mercantile Marine) Act of 1942 which qualified the individual for a pension.

As Roger says I have recently been dealing with 3 merchant seamen lost at sea by enemy action from a neutral ship - sadly due to the strict ruleset governing the CWGC - it is unlikely they will be commemorated unless I can come up with more evidence. What I have come up with so far is quite substantial but not good enough for the CWGC at this time.

If you wish to find more information about what happened to John Cowie it may be worth obtaining the ship's Official Logbook, narrative section, there may be an entry by the master of the vessel concerning the accident. The relevant file at TNA Kew for the year 1940 is held under the ship's official number, 148274, in BT 381/882

There are newspaper reports of the day which I do not have access to but from what I can see he was killed when run over by wagon at the South Dock, Sunderland.

Regards
Hugh
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi Hugh
Thank you for the information, very much appreciated.
I have a copy of the "Record of Death of Merchant Seaman"
which I can send to you.....my email address is:-
[email protected]
This do***ent states that John died at sea, he was born in Aberdeen and lived in Birkenhead at the time of his death.
Could we have two different men?
Thanks and Regards
John
 

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That's interesting John. I have sent you an email.
The DAS Register is not infallable and mistakes and omissions do occur - although I do think what I have is correct. My do***ent does state PENNINGTON COURT but there are other seamen named John Cowie who died on different ships in 1940 so given what you have said we will need to re-check the sources. If you could send that do***ent to me we will compare and take it from there. I also have some records for John Cowie including a photo but lets check we have the right man first.
Regards
Hugh
 

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Checked out the newspaper reports.
Several articles and an obituary.
The man concerned in the cart accident on 7/May/1940 was John Cowie, Marine Engineer, aged 41
Address 15 Gain Crescent, Aberdeen. he is described as unmarried. He worked for Court Line and previously Orient Line.
The obituary in the Aberdeen Journal was curt. Saying it was a private funeral. No flowers.
I think we have two contenders.

regards
Roger
 

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John I have sent you a reply.

Attached is John Cowie's service information. The photo is from his CR 10.

115707 – ORONTES – 10.1920
115707 – ORONTES – 2.1921
128278 – ORSOVA – 7.1921
129628 – ORVIETO – 27.5.1922
128287 – OSTERLEY – 21.7.1923
129628 – ORVIETO – 1.5.1926
146025 – OTRANTO – 22.12.1934
146578 - BRITISH ENGINEER – 28.8.1937
148274 - PENNINGTON COURT - 11.5.1939
148274 - PENNINGTON COURT – 13.9.1939

Prior to being at sea he joined the RAF in 1918.

Regards
Hugh
 

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Hugh,
That photograph from his CR10 looks very similar to a photograph published in the Aberdeen Evening Express of 08/May/1940.
Its difficult to compere as the photgraph in the newspaper shows a person in civilian cloths, sporting a large trilby hat.
The software at the British Newspaper Archive will nor allow me to download the page.

regards
Roger
 

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What I've done to get a copy of what's on screen is press "Print Screen" button. You can then paste into a paintshop program and cut/crop just the area of interest.
BW, Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you Gentlemen for your time and interest
This information is terrific and the photo is an added bonus....looks very much like my father as a young man in the Royal Navy, also called John....John Cowie's are a common bunch (by name only though)
Very much appreciated.
Regards
John
 
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