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View Full Version : Hello! Looking for relatives of Arthur F Corwin crew from WW2.



Neil Phillips
16th March 2011, 07:32 PM
Hello British Merchant Navy forum!

My links with the Merchant Navy are through my father and grandfather. My grandfather sailed in the 30s, and then when war broke out he volunteered again and sailed on the Arthur F Corwin. Sadly the Corwin was torpedoed in 1941, with no survivors.
I have become very interested in my Grandfather and the crew of the Arthur F Corwin. I have a website www.foundmypast.co.uk , where I have posted up grandfather's history (his name was Reginald Phillips, second radio officer) and a history of the Arthur Corwin with photos that my grandfather took. From the crew list, I have "Googled" everyone on the list and managed to get in touch with one other relative - he is the nephew of Martin Maguire, sailor. It has been fascinating sharing memories and just today he emailed me to say that one of the photos I have is of his great uncle.
This has inspired us to reach out and try to find other relatives of the crew, so if any of you are out there please get in touch!

Thanks for your time, Neil.

Doc Vernon
16th March 2011, 07:42 PM
Hello Neil
Yes its facinating just what one can find on this WWW and i am sure that in time you will have more and more info come up.
There are many here who have loads of info,so hopefully some will be able to assist in your search!
Its great that you have at least found someone,that is a good start!
Wishing you all the luck in the future!

And i hearty Welcome to this great site too!
Hope you will have many good days here withe us all,and enjoy the rest of the banter too!
Cheers

Neil Phillips
16th March 2011, 08:11 PM
Thanks very much for your welcome. The website looks great, I am thoroughly enjoying finding out about life at sea through my grandfather's eyes! We moved to live near the sea 15 years ago, so perhaps we have the sea in our blood!
Cheers, Neil.

Doc Vernon
16th March 2011, 08:25 PM
The Salt of the Sea is something that no one can take away Neil!
It seems to flow from generation to generation,its addictive indeed,and its just amazing just how many of us are either directly or indirecty associated with that Great form of the World!
Yes the Sea the lovely Sea!

Oh if only we could have it all over again!
Now there i go again all filled up with past memories and thoughts!!haha!:)
Better stop!!
Cheers

DeepSea
17th March 2011, 12:24 PM
Regarding the Arthur F. Corwin crew/casualties. I noticed you have two casualties missing from your list on the website.

JAMES, Able Seaman, WILLIAM, P/SSX 12607. H.M.S. President III. Royal Navy. (lost in M.V. Arthur F. Corwin). 13th February 1941. Age 32. Son of Reuben and Rosetta James; husband of Thomasina James, of Southwick, Co. Durham.

McNAB, Fireman and Trimmer, ROBERT CAMPBELL, M.V. Arthur F. Corwin (London). Merchant Navy. 22nd January 1943. Age 28.

Neil Phillips
17th March 2011, 12:35 PM
Dear Deepsea,

Thanks so much for taking the time to check this. I will add them immediately. My mum has just told me a little story about my granddad - apparently he left all of his valuable behind before his last trip, including his watch. Sent a bit of a shiver down the spine.
The other person who has a relative on board is going to interview his Auntie about Martine Maguire who was a sailor on the ship, so hopefully whe will have some interesting stories to tell.

Thanks again, Neil.

Thomas Horrocks
6th December 2011, 03:47 PM
Hi Neil,

Just registered with site, found your request for relatives of A f Corwin crew.

My uncle Tommy (Riley) 18yrs old. was a fireman on the Corwin, it was only his third trip and first as fireman.

I have a record of that fateful day written by my cousin, using actual facts and his own version of events.

I have his discharge book wich was given to me by my late grand father also Thomas Riley. He knew very little of the events of that day she was torpedoed and I am glad in a way he did not know the true facts.

Thanks for the opportunity to talk about the Arthur F Corwin.

Kind regards,

Tom Horrocks

Dr Andrew Gant
1st August 2012, 10:04 PM
.........I have become very interested in my Grandfather and the crew of the Arthur F Corwin........

Dear Neil,

My great uncle, John ("Jack") Lawrence Gant, was the Master of the Corwin at the time of its sinking. I just chanced upon your posting- it's profound to find another crew member relative. Good luck on finding more of us!

Best Wishes,

Andrew.

Thomas Horrocks
2nd April 2013, 11:17 AM
Hello, My Uncle, Tommy Riley aged 18 yrs was a crew member of the Corwin,when she was torpedoed in February 1941 with all hands lost.

This was only his third trip and first trip as a fireman, his first two trips where as a cabin boy.

I was born in 1945 and named Thomas after him. I have a full account written by my cousin of how this, one of maritimes worst tragedies

took place. I have his discharge book, stamped up "Death of Seaman".

Kind regards,

Tom Horrocks.

ps Tommy Riley was my Mum's elder brother.

Neil Phillips
24th January 2014, 09:38 PM
Can I apologise straight away for not replying to the comments above earlier. I have been back at work as a teacher for the last 18 months and have not been checking the forums regularly. Andrew, I know that we have been in touch via email.
Tom, that is fantastic that you are related to Tommy Riley and were named after him. Every now and again I try to find more relatives and I had no information on Tommy at all. I have recently downloaded some information about where the Arthur Corwin sailed if you are interested.
Please check out my website www.foundmypast.co.uk and send me an email. I have been in contact with 7 relatives now, including relatives of Jack Hurtley Thompson, Sidney Tindle, Thomas Lightley Miller, Iain Halliday and Martin McMillan.
My father is the son of Reginald Phillips the second radio officer, as I mentioned above, and he is amazed with the contacts that have been made.
I would absolutely love to see that written account that you describe if there is any chance. It would be fantastic to add some more to the website if you thought that that was appropriate.

Kind regards, Neil Phillips.

Keith at Tregenna
24th January 2014, 09:49 PM
Sorry, time allowing misses much, no promises, but will try and follow up. K

DeepSea
25th January 2014, 05:44 PM
Attached are copies of the official entry in the Deaths at Sea Register for the Arthur F. Corwin, detailing all those lost including place of birth and last known address. If you require bigger image size to use for website send me a PM and I will email to you.

1466814669146701467114672

Karen Mitch
17th August 2014, 11:07 PM
Hi Neil
I have been doing some research on my family tree and stumbled across this website. I have been looking for details on my great uncle who died in WW2 and think I may have found him serving on the Arthur F Corwin. His name was Harry Johnston Ross and according to records he served as a fireman on this ship. I have no living relatives on this side of my family to ask about it. All I knew was that he was in the Merchant Navy and was killed at sea during WW2. I have a photo of him in his uniform but would love any more information on him, the crew, the ship etc.
Thanking you all in advance, Karen x

Keith at Tregenna
18th August 2014, 12:27 AM
ROSS, HARRY JOHNSON:

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2804524/ROSS,%20HARRY%20JOHNSON

K.

Neil Phillips
18th August 2014, 10:54 AM
Dear Karen,
Thanks so much for getting in touch. I am currently in a Spanish campsite, but will be home in a couple of weeks. I have tried to research your relative myself but did not get very far, so it is great that you have got in touch. If you go to www.foundmypast.co.uk this is where I have put all of my research. There are photos of my grandfather and several others of the crew. There is an outside chance that Harry may be on there. I have put quite a bit of info on this website, just click on the link from the main page. If you wanted, I would love to put the photo of Harry onto the website. I have had email contact from about 6 relatives of the crew now. It is great to keep their memory going, so I would love to include information about Harry on the website. My email is neil@surfboat.co.uk or Neil@foundmypast.co.uk . Look forward to hearing from you again.
Neil.

Shaun McGuire
15th October 2014, 08:00 AM
Hello British Merchant Navy forum!

My links with the Merchant Navy are through my father and grandfather. My grandfather sailed in the 30s, and then when war broke out he volunteered again and sailed on the Arthur F Corwin. Sadly the Corwin was torpedoed in 1941, with no survivors.
I have become very interested in my Grandfather and the crew of the Arthur F Corwin. I have a website Found My Past (http://www.foundmypast.co.uk) , where I have posted up grandfather's history (his name was Reginald Phillips, second radio officer) and a history of the Arthur Corwin with photos that my grandfather took. From the crew list, I have "Googled" everyone on the list and managed to get in touch with one other relative - he is the nephew of Martin Maguire, sailor. It has been fascinating sharing memories and just today he emailed me to say that one of the photos I have is of his great uncle.
This has inspired us to reach out and try to find other relatives of the crew, so if any of you are out there please get in touch!

Thanks for your time, Neil.

Hi there, my name is Shaun McGuire and my father was a cousin of Martin MaGuire who was on the Corwin (long story about the different spellings of the surname) I live in the village where Martin was from and am in regular contact with his nephew, also named Martin MaGuire. From our research we have discovered that the Arthur F Corwin was torpedoed and left behind by the convoy, on fire, and three hours later was still afloat and torpedoed by a second submarine. You can find this info on uboat net - a crewman on one of the submarines which torpedoed her went on to be the author of the novel/film Das Boot. A sad aside from Martin's familly story is that his cousin John McGuire (my uncle) was lost on the anti-submarine trawler Kingston Cornellian and his other cousin Anthony Pringle was lost on HMS Barham. They were all fishermen from this small village prior to the war and their relatives are still fishermen to this day

Peter Beach
28th July 2015, 04:18 PM
Hi Neil
Just seen this post, so I'm not sure if it's still active or not but my Great Uncle was James F West Boatswain on the Arthur F Corwin, real name Frederick George West aged 52 not 49 as he stated. I have more details if you drop me a line.
thanks
Peter

Neil Phillips
29th September 2019, 06:30 PM
4 years late, but I have picked up this message Peter. My apologies, I will try to private message you.

If anyone else is still reading this thread, I have just had a lovely phone call with a lady who lives in Scotland, who is the youngest sister of the cabin boy, Iain Halliday on the Arthur F Corwin. I found out some interesting facts about him and will hopefully get a photo to share on www.foundmypast.co.uk which is now up and running again!