View Full Version : Information/Stories/any suggestions... Benledi 4 - 1950 - Fire

Lizzie Ecclestone
13th September 2018, 10:17 AM
Hello All,

I have recently joined the forum after setting out in search of gathering information regarding my Grandfather. Arthur James Dawson.. born 7/5/1927 in Gravesend.

My Grandfather was in the merchant navy for a good few years however never really spoke about his time there. We are interested to find out more about where he sailed and what he did alongside any other information available!

I am looking to find out other ships which he sailed on and build a bit of a time line however we know he sailed on the Benledi 4 for a few years up to 1950 and eventually left the merchant navy. It was in 1950 when he was aboard the Benledi 4 (I believe as an engineer) that a fire broke out in the engine room on board and the ship was eventually abandoned whereupon the Navy came to their rescue... I believe both the men and the burnt out ship were taken back to Malta? the ship was eventually scrapped.

Ive ordered a seaman's purse from the national archives however this was all I could find and I'm not sure this will answer all my questions.

Please does anyone have ANY information on how I can gather more information about his time in the merchant navy OR any information regarding the Benledi and the circumstances around the fire… stories, knowledge, or photos are all very welcome and would be fantastic.


Louis the fly
13th September 2018, 10:40 AM
Hi Lizzie I have just googled Benledi ship fire 1950. There is a lot of information and photographs of the ship.
Good luck in finding more on your grandfather , there are many on site who will be happy to help you.

Lizzie Ecclestone
13th September 2018, 11:22 AM
Thank you, trusty google is where ive found the majority of information to date... will be interesting to see what else comes to light!

Captain Kong
13th September 2018, 11:53 AM
24 February 1950, with RN ships, attended the Ben Line ship Benledi on fire at sea off Malta when a fire in the stoke hold burst the ships oil tanks while on passage from London to Hong Kong with general cargo.


Ben Line ship Benledi

Forty four members of the crew were picked up by HMS CHILDERS

Times 25 Feb 1950 Press Report

3 March 1950 arrived back in Malta with BENLEDI, which was declared a constructive total loss

Doc Vernon
13th September 2018, 07:57 PM
Hello Lizzie
You will need to get his CRS10 Documents from Kew in Person this will hold al the information of his Service in the Merchant Navy from when he started to when he finished. You would have got a Basic information from his Pouch and possibly a Photo of him on joining
Here is the Link and you need to take this Reference Number with you as well as the Ref Number of his Pouch
Hope this helps

BT 382/2266

Daviss R V to Dawson I

1941 Jan 01 - 1972 Dec 31


Daviss R V to Dawson I | The National Archives (http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C10990490)

BT 372/1108/74

R411795 DAWSON A J 07/05/1927 GRAVESEND

1913 - 1972

Seamans Pouch

R411795 DAWSON A J 07/05/1927 GRAVESEND | The National Archives (http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C8309010)

Doc Vernon
13th September 2018, 08:10 PM
As we do not want to get all confused I have deleted your second Thread which is of the same Text,i know you may want it known as much as possible but we have had this in the past and it created all sorts of Problems and mix ups.
So we will just stick with this one and work from here!

Lizzie Ecclestone
15th September 2018, 02:09 PM
Hi everyone,

Thank you very much for all the information and images you have provided.

I am still waiting to get the documents back from the national archives at Kew but thank you for the links sent over... there are some there that I have not seen so will get searching now.

We have pretty concrete evidence of when he finished sailing (1950) however there is still some confusion as to when my grandfather joined.

I believe he may have signed up around 1942/43 however we have some suspicion he may have gone in at the age of 15. is it likely that during the war he may have got away with/forged documents to get signed up before he was old enough?

The more I research the more gaps in my knowledge I'm finding!

Thanks again everyone so very much appreciated.


Captain Kong
15th September 2018, 04:22 PM
Many lads joined the Merchant Navy when they left school at 14 years old. A near neighbour , Billy Dempster, 15 Settle St. Bolton was killed at the age of 14, when his ship was torpedoed by the germans , in the Atlantic, 600 miles east of Cape Race.