Passenger And Cargo Steamer MUNSTER Sunk

Nottingham Evening Post

7 February 1940

Passenger And Cargo Steamer Sunk

Passenger And Cargo steamer Munster (4,305 tons) has been sunk. It is believed that passengers and crew landed number about 200. Munster was built in 1938. All passengers and crew are safe. Twenty people from the Munster were rushed to hospital suffering from minor complaints and shock. Only one remained in hospital, John Boughton, 41, of Ruscombe Rd, Knotty Ash, Liverpool, an able seaman who was suffering from scalds. Most of those on board were brought ashore by tramp steamer

8 February 1940

Munster Struck Enemy Mine The Admiralty state it has been established that the sinking yesterday of the ss. Munster, owned by the British and Irish Steam Packet Company, was due an enemy mine. All the passengers and crew of the Munster (4,305 tons), crack mail ship of the Liverpool Northern Ireland service, were saved when she sank in the Irish sea.

Western Morning News

8 February 1940

200 lives saved, Crew think mine was struck.

Huge explosion

Dash to the rescue

Women and children passengers hurt

Women and children were among over 200 passengers and crew of the Munster crack, mail ship of the Liverpool and Northern Ireland crossing which sank early yesterday after a blue flash and terrific explosion.

All were saved by a ship which dashed 8 miles to the spot in response to distress flares. 20 including children were taken to hospital, only one remained in hospital, John Boughton, 41, of Ruscombe Rd, Knotty Ash, Liverpool, an able seaman who was suffering from scalds

The injured

The people treated in hospital but not detained :-

Patrick McLOUGHLIN, 35, labourer, Yardley Ave, Warrington, cut hand.

Arthur BARNETT, 31, Croft Terrace, Skipton, shock, Hilda BARNETT 29, same address

William McMICHAEL, 51, fruit merchant, Balmoral Ave, Belfast.

William J. KING, 18, Florida Dr, Belfast, cut finger, shin and shock.

John McCARTHY, 33, Southwell Rd, Bangor, County Down, foot injuries and shock, Annie McCARTHY, 22, same address, John McCARTHY, 2, shock

James GREEN, 27, seaman, Balkin St, Belfast, head injury and shock, Kathleen GREEN, 21, same address, shock.

Florence GRAY, 65, of Clifton Rd, Bangor, County Down, shock.

Sheila GRAY, 30, West Derby, Liverpool, head injury and shock, Anne GRAY, 2, Judy GRAY, 3, same address, shock.

Kathleen TAGGART, 30, of County Tyrone

Violet MAHON, 32, Windy Ridge, Lurgan, County Armagh, shock.

William ISAAC, 25, of Elliot St, The Hoe, Plymouth, shock, Daisy ISAAC, 23, same address

Thomas BIRCH, 38, bosun of the Munster, Larkhill Rd, Dublin, cut head and scalds.

The skipper Capt W. J. PAISLEY of Liverpool at first did not want to leave the bridge, but was persuaded to do so. He had fractured an arm and injured a shoulder. When he got into a water-logged boat he was tipped into the water, but with others in the craft was picked up.

The Munster left Belfast on Tuesday night with 180 passengers and it is reported they have all been picked up. No passenger list has been issued, but an official of the Belfast Steamship Co, stated there were no notable people on board. The Munster was built by Messrs. Harland and Wolff, Belfast, for the British and Irish Steampacket Co, and was launched in 1937


Forepart Of Vessel Fell With a Sickening Thud

A Liverpool able seaman in the Munster, Allan Clure, of Lingmell Rd, West Derby, had just left the bridge when the explosion occurred there was a blue flash and terrific explosion, he said. The lights went out and the galley collapsed. Boiling water and pieces of galley fixtures were flung everywhere.

"We managed to get on to the deck where the lifeboats were already being lowered. I finally got into one but it became water-logged and were flung into the water. I swam until a motor lifeboat came alongside and pulled me on board. As I was being pulled to safety I noticed a passenger swimming alongside and I helped him up. There was no panic whatever, although there were women and children among the passengers everyone behaved perfectly and apart from the mishap of the water-logged boat the rescue went through as quickly as possible."

Lifeboat sank

Frank MORRIS a greaser of New Brighton said, "I got in the motor lifeboat and we went to the rescue of the other lifeboats and towed them to the collier. There were 70 people still on board and we managed to get them away."

Another member of the crew said when the explosion occurred the fore part of the vessel was hurled into the air and dropped back on the water with a sickening thud. "We were in the lifeboats for about 3 hours before we got alongside the collier and we had to bail her out. As the last man boarded the collier the lifeboat sank."

A number of the members of the crew including Mr CLURE expressed the opinion that the ship had been sunk by a mine.

Boy's escape

Roy JONES, 16, Beatrice St, Leicester, who joined the ship only a fortnight ago, was sleeping in his bunk with another deck boy George COWEN, of Cardiff. COWEN said that as the explosion occurred the upper bunk fell on him and he had to struggle clear. COWEN ran to the bridge to help the captain with his lifebelt. "It seemed to me that his arm was broken and although he eventually got into a lifebelt he did not want to leave the ship" COWEN said.

One way to work

Passengers on the Munster included a man who was returning to England in response to a telegram telling him his old job was waiting for him. He was Patrick McLOUGHLIN, 35, a married man with three children whose home is in Londonderry. He has been unemployed since Christmas and packed up his belongings and went back to Ireland in the midnight boat from Liverpool on Saturday. On Monday he received a telegram from his old employers saying there was work waiting for him. Last night, although badly shaken, he went out to see his old employer to tell him he was ready to start today.

The Leinster a ship of the same type as the Munster was torpedoed off Kingston by a German u-boat on October 10th 1918 with the loss of 564 passengers and crew out of a total on board of 757.

Munster was the largest cross-Channel motor vessel in the world having accommodation for 423 first class, passengers, over 100 of whom could be accommodated in single berth cabins.

Last July when outward bound for Dublin with 450 passengers she was involved in a collision with an American steamer in fog off the Skerries. Although she was badly holed above the water line she managed to return to Liverpool.


Western Morning News

8 February 1940

Ordeal on a raft

5 men and 2 women, after drifting on a flimsy raft for 12 hours through the night, reached the East Coast of Scotland yesterday. Two of the women were badly injured. They were some of the survivors of the 19 persons aboard the Estonian cargo vessel Anu, sunk by a mine in the North Sea on Tuesday evening. 5 other survivors have been landed. Of the four women on board it is understood the Captain's wife lost her life in the explosion. One of the women was so badly injured she had to be carried, and as the men were exhausted they laid her in a narrow trench on a golf links while they went for help. Later they were unable to explain in their broken English where she had been left, it was until 5 hours later she was found. In her exhausted state she was unable to attract attention.

The captain and crew of 53 of the British freighter Armanistan were landed on Tuesday night at Las Palmas by the Spanish motorship Monte Abril. The Armanistan had been torpedoed without warning by a U-boat 30 miles off Lisbon at about 2.30pm last Saturday.


Daily Post, Tues, Oct 1st, 1940


A fisherman severely injured when a German plane attacked a Fleetwood trawler landed back in port yesterday. He was Jack CALVERT of Carlton Ave, Blackpool and he was taken to hospital and detained.

"We were fishing when the plane dived to attack us" said a member of the crew.

"When we first sighted the plane we carried on with our work thinking it was British. But within seconds our deck was swept with machine-gun bullets. There was a scamper for safety, most of the crew making for the shelter of the galley, but in the rush CALVERT was hit. One of his legs was badly gashed, while he had numerous wounds on his back. The plane immediately flew off the attack lasting about five minutes"

"This is the third time our skipper, Mr E. HARRIS of Lowther Rd, Fleetwood, has been either bombed or machine-gunned for his ship was twice attacked during the Dunkirk evacuation."


Oct 3rd 1940


An Admiralty communique last night stated:-

The Board of the Admiralty regrets to announce that HM. Trawler RECOIL, [Lieut I. M. WILSON. RNVR] is overdue and must be considered lost. Next-of-kin have been informed.



After 38yrs in the lifeboat service Mr Robin WILLIAMS the well known coxswain of the Llandudno lifeboat has resigned for reasons of health. One of a family of lifeboat men Mr WILLIAMS joined the service when he was 16 and has been a coxswain for the past 11yrs.




The Coroner of a North West port held an inquest yesterday on two men who lost their lives through an explosion on a ship they were working on .

The men were Stephen CORRIS, aged 38, journeyman joiner of 56 Ince Ave, Liverpool and Mario Philippe M. A. PELISSIER-HERMITTE, aged 27, ship's electrician of Bordeaux.

Alterations were being made in the emergency wireless room on the bridge deck of the ship when there was a violent explosion in the adjoining battery room. PELISSIER-HERMITTE who was in the battery room was killed instantly and CORRIS died later from injuries, 3 other men were injured.

The battery room was wrecked and the force of the explosion blew down the bulkhead separating the battery room and the emergency wireless room.

Expert evidence was that the explosion probably caused by the sparking of a defective battery resulting in the ignition of hydrogen and air. There was no sign whatever of sabotage.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded.

Mr M. O. MORRIS for the managers of the ship, said, PELISSIER-HERMITTE had elected to serve under General De Gaullle and was particularly loyal an zealous.


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