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Thomas ‘Tucker’ Doran (Liverpool) Booth line, Blue Star and Booker Lines 1930-60

Hi all,
my grandad Tommy Doran served in the Merchant Navy from 1928 to 1956, then on the Liverpool Pilot boats for a few more years till he retired. He was largely a greaser or donkey man, though may have worked in the ship’s stores when he was older. Booth Line ships featured really heavily in his career - including the Hilary (3) on its maiden voyage up the Amazon in 1931. Also sailed on the Ascanius, Alban, Benedict, Polycarp, Basil, Senator, Clement, Saminver, Uruguay Star, Hubert and Arakaka. Long shot I know, but I would be interested to know if anyone remembers him - he was on the Arakaka and Hubert in the ‘50s. Otherwise i’d be interested to hear more about some of the ships he sailed on, and especially his trips ‘1,000 miles up the Amazon’ in the 30’s with the Booth Line, to Brazil with the Uruguay Star in the late 40’s and to British Guiana on the Arakaka. sadly I didn’t know him, so just curious to learn a little more about his life.
Thanks, Christina
 

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Hello Christina,
He was aboard the ss CLEMENT when it was sunk by the German pocket-battleship ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE in 1939.

Regards
Hugh
 

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Thank you! Yes I knew about the Clement, and recently found a photo of him being picked up in the lifeboat off the coast of Brazil! My mum thinks he may have been torpedoed (though not sunk) on another ship in the war - but I don’t know which. His brother William Doran was killed when the ship he was on, the Bassa (Elder Dempster) was sunk by a u-boat in September 1940. There were no survivors.
 

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He was transported back to the UK as a distressed British seaman (DBS) arriving Southampton 12 November 1939 aboard ALMANZORA. There is also an id photo of him taken in 1952 which you may already have.

The best way to find out which ship he was on when it was torpedoed would be to look through his discharge book if you have it. Failing that obtain his CRS 10 from the National Archives Kew as this will detail all the ships he was aboard from 1941 onwards. The file should be held in piece BT 382/494

He appears to have a Combined Office Merchant Navy Operations (COMNO) pouch also held at Kew in piece BT 391/28/19

Regards
Hugh
 

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Thanks Hugh and Barrie! I didn't know how he got back to the UK, so thanks for the Almanzora info. I believe that his pay would have stopped, the minute he was sunk?
I have some info from the National Archives and will check your record suggestions too. Your help is much appreciated!
 

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I believe that his pay would have stopped, the minute he was sunk?
Hi Christina,
Most seamen at this time were off pay when their ship was lost. This was due to the way merchant seamen were employed. Sadly this way of working continued into the first year and a half of the war causing much hardship for seamen's families. In peace time, when a seaman completed his voyage he would collect his pay and sign off and that was him until he signed on again with another ship. During the early part of the war, when a ship was lost, as far as the ship owners were concerned, the seaman was effectively signed off and it was noted on his records "discharged at sea" and he was off pay from that moment. Until the introduction of the Essential Works (MN) Order of May 1941, merchant seamen whose ships were lost due to enemy action or other conditions of war were not entitled to pay from the day of sinking. The EWO introduced continuity of employment and was provided by the Merchant Navy Reserve Pool which was a clearing house for men available to return to sea after leave.

If you wish to send me your email address by private message I will send on to you what I have found on him.

Regards
Hugh
 
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