Newport's War Dead
Newport, Monmouthshire, UK
Young Service Casualties
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Kenneth John, 15, 28th March 1941, Merchant Navy, S.S. Koranton,
Galley Boy, John Henry Barnes Florence May Barnes, of Newport, Mon., TOWER
HILL MEMORIAL, Panel 62.
Information: By kind permission of Mr Billy
McGee from his book "They Shall Grow Not Old"
Cargo ship Koranton,, 6,695grt. (R. Chapman & Sons)
had loaded with a cargo of pig iron at Philadephia for Hull and sailed
to Sydney, Cape Breton where the ship joined up with the 40 ship Convoy
SC-25 which left Halifax, Nova Scotia on 10th March 1941.
During the crossing two ships were forced to return due to bad weather
and the Koranton found herself straggling the main convoy and was soon
sailing alone and vulnerable and was last sighted on 24th
After failing to arrive the ship was recorded in
May 1941as missing/untraced and a Joint Arbitration Committee considered
the loss 40% “Marine Cause”, 60% “War Cause” around the 28th
The ship had actually been intercepted by U-98
South West of Reykjavik and hit in the stern by a single torpedo and
sank almost immediately before any distress message could be sent taking
all thirty four men with her in approximate position 50’ 00N 27’ 00W
STAR OF AUSTRALIA on the 1st August
1918 was in collision with and sank Hugh Roberts & Son's, North Cambria
some 70 miles west of Ushant, 48.57N/6.47W 1.8.18
Local memorial - All Saint's church, Brynglas
Norman Terence, 17, 27th February 1942, Royal Navy, H.M.S. Jupiter,
D/JX 177473, Boy 1st Class, Son of Alfred Donald and Elizabeth Alice
Clemes, of Malpas, Mon., PLYMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL, Panel 67. Column 3.
Jack Vivian, 17, Merchant Navy, S.S. Port Hunter, TOWER HILL MEMORIAL,
Reginald Arthur, 17, Merchant Navy, S.S. Koranton, Mess Room
Boy, Son of Reginald Samuel and Evelyn Sylvia Duggan, of Newport, Mon.,
TOWER HILL MEMORIAL, Panel 62.
Patrick Richard, 17, 8th June 1940, Royal Navy, H.M.S.
Glorious, D/JX 160532, Boy, Son of Mr. and Mrs. R. Fitzgerald, of Newport,
Mon., PLYMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL, Panel 39, Column 2.
Local memorial - General Post
Cargo ship Woodtown, 794grt. (Comben, Longstaff & Co. Ltd.) had loaded a
cargo of granite at Newlyn for London. On the 15th November
1939 off Margate two and half miles from the Tongue Light Vessel the
ship detonated a mine, which tore the bottom out of the ship and sank
thirty seconds killing eight of the thirteen crew. The survivors were
picked up by local lifeboat crew. The mine barrage had been laid by
German destroyers between the 12th & 13th November 1939.
Cargo ship Mill Hill,4.318
grt. (Countess Ship Management Co. Ltd.) haveing loaded a cargo of pig
iron and steel for Middleborough at Boston Massachussetts, the Mill Hill
joined up with the Liverpool bound 52 ship Convoy HX-66, which
leftHalifax, Nova Scotia on 16th August 1940. On the 30th August 1840,
U-32 attacks the convoy 58 miles Nort West of Cape Wrath and within less
than a thirty minute spell sinks three merchant ships. The Mill Hill is
hit in the stern and sinks rapidly within minutes taking the
captain and all thirty three crew with her in position 58' 48N 06'4W
Local memorial - St
Richard, 14, 6th May 1917, Mercantile Marine, S.S. "Alfalfa", Son
of Mr. and Mrs. J. O'Shea, of 4, Trinity Place, Newport, Mon., TOWER HILL
Raymond Victor, 14, 26th April 1943, Merchant Navy, S.S. "Empire
Morn", Galley Boy, 20
Christchurch Road, Newport, Mon., Wilfred and Olive Steed (nee Bright),
BEN M'SIK EUROPEAN CEMETERY, Plot 59A. Row 1. Grave 1.
Local memorial - Grandparents grave in Bettws
Photo's above courtesy of Mr Billy
McGee and the Rev. Canon Henry Davies
Raymond Steed was born Monday, 1st
October 198 at 2 Kimbely Terrace, Malpas, St Mellons Road and was at
the time youngest recorded service death of WWII who died aged 14 years
& 207 days.
Raymond’s official service record (CRS10) shows he
joined the Merchant Navy Reserve Pool (MNRP) 29th December
1942, just two months after his 14th birthday, joining his
first ship as a Stewards boy at Newport the same day. The ship being the
former Royal Mail Line, 15,629grt., SS Atlantis which had been converted
into a Hospital Ship in 1939. He left this ship 13th March
1943. After taking his leave Raymond joined the Empire Morn at Newport
on 4th April 1943.
Catapult Aircraft Merchant Ship, Empire Morn,
7,092grt. (MOWT, Headlam & Son-Whitby) had loaded with a cargo of naval,
military and RAF equipment for Casablanca & Gibraltar left Milford Haven
sailing to the Barry Roads anchorage while waiting to join up with the
combined 69 ship convoy OS-46/KMS-13 which sailed from Liverpool on 15th
On 24th April the convoy split into two
and continued to their individual ports of call. On the evening of
Monday 26th April at 9.45pm an explosion rocks the ship
followed by a secondary explosion in the ships magazine seriously
damaging the stern of the ship and blowing out a greater portion of the
crew accommodation. At 10.05pm the captain decides to temporarily
abandon ship until daybreak to assess the situation further. A thorough
search and head count reveals twenty-one men are missing before the
ships lifeboats are launched. The following morning at 5.30am the ships
Captain, all his Officers and three crew members, re-board the ship and
assisted in working the vessel into Casablanca with the assistance of
the salvage tug USN Cherokee.
On 28th April at 2.30pm during a further
search through the wreckage of the crew accommodation, the remains of of
two crew members were found and extricated and immediately recognised as
that of Raymond Steed and John W Gardner, an 18year old Ordinary Seaman.
Identity papers found on both the bodies confirmed without doubt who
they were and it has was stated that both men had been killed instantly
in the explosion. The remains of the other nineteen killed were never
found either being blown over board or incinerated. On 29th
April 1943 at 2.00pm the bodies on Raymond and John were laid to rest at
the Ben M’Sik Cemetery about six kilometres from Casablanca town centre
which lies between the main road to Marrakech and the road known as
Oulad Zianc. Present at the service was the Captain, all Officers and
surviving crew who could be spared from duty.
German records show that the Empire Morn had
detonated a mine laid earlier on 10th April 1943 off
Casablanca by U-117
Local memorial - St Julian's
Cargo ship Anglo Saxon, 5.596 grt, (Nitrate Producers SS Co.) had loaded
a cargo of coal at Newport for Bahia Blanca and joined up with the
outward bound 27 ship Convoy OB-195, which departed Liverpool on the 8th
August 1940. On the 12th August the convoy disperses and the
Anglo Saxon sets course for Argentina. On the 21st August
about 800 miles West of the Canary Islands the ship was intercepted by
the German commerce raider Widder
who proceeded to shell and machine gun tp destruction both the ship and
Six crew and one DEMS gunner from a compliment of
forty one finally got away from the burning ship in an 18ft jolly boat
as the ship sank in position 26’ 10N 34’ 09W. The gunner would later die
of his wounds, while another crewmember passes away in the boat after 11
days. The Chief Officer and Third Engineer would commit suicide by
stepping over the boats gunwhale into the sea after 15 days and the
following day the ships cook would go insane and die.
The two survivors Roy Widdicombe and Robert
Tapscott would have to endure seventy days adrift in this jolly boat
before reaching land, surviving on seaweed, the occasional flying fish
and rain water and at one point in desperation drinking the alcohol
content of the boats compass.
Widdicombe would be dead within three months of
surviving their epic feat while returning home
when his ship the SS Siamese Prince was sunk by U-69 with all
sixty nine crew lost. Tapscott recovered more slowly and in the summer
of 1941 went to Canada. Initially he enlisted in the Canadian army but
rejoined the Merchant Navy in March 1943. He arrived back in the United
Kingdom in late May 1943. Tapscott continued to serve at sea until his
early death at the age of forty two in September 1963.
Albert Ronald, 15, 25th February 1940, Merchant Navy, S.S.
Castlemoor, Galley Boy, Son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Samuel Williams, of
Newport, Mon., TOWER HILL MEMORIAL, Panel 24.
Cargo ship Castlemoor, 6,574grt (Runciman Shipping
Co.) had loaded a cargo of steel ingots in Philadelphia as well as 2,403
barrels of apples for Middlesbrough and sailed to Halifax, Nova Scotia
where she joined up with the Liverpool bound 55 ship Convoy HX-20 which
left Halifax on the 16th February 1940.
The ship was sighted by the SS Dalemoor on the 23rd
February in position 46’ 14N 36’ 04W and again by the SS Royal on the 25th.
Nothing more was ever of the ship and her forty man crew.
The ship was officially reported missing/untraced
April 17th and a Joint Arbitration and Missing Ship Committee
considered her lost 25th February wholly from “Marine Peril”.
No U-Boat ever claimed to have sunk this vessel. However the ship’s loss
must have happened very quickly as no distress signal was ever
Wilfred Sydney, 15, 26th February 1918, Mercantile Marine, Hospital
ship "Glenart Castle", Fireman Steward, Son of Thomas and Elizabeth Wyatt,
of 73, Stockton Rd., Newport, Mon., TOWER HILL MEMORIAL
Shaun McGuire 2008