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Thread: RMS Newfoundland

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    Default RMS Newfoundland

    For book research, I would like to get information about the RMS Newfoundland, a mail/passenger steam ship that crossed from Liverpool to Halifax during the Battle of the Atlantic. On August 16, 1940, it was caught in the middle of a U-boat attack that sank the Clan Macphee and other merchant vessels. I would love to get a physical description of Newfoundland's interior -- its sister ship was the Nova Scotia -- and also to know what happened to RMS Newfoundland's captain, James W. Murphy. Family lore has it that he was disciplined for breaking the OB-197 convoy, but I can't find any evidence of it. Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

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    Default Re: RMS Newfoundland

    Hi Cindy
    Hope that at some stage we can assist with info you are looking for
    Gald you joined Enjoy the site
    Here is just a snippet to start but you may already have it!??

    HMHS Newfoundland - Wikipedia

    1940s to 1960s – FROM BOSTON TO LIVERPOOL – THE SS NOVA SCOTIA and SS NEWFOUNDLAND. | THE PAST AND NOW | News, Travel & Social History (cruiselinehistory.com)
    Last edited by Doc Vernon; 17th July 2021 at 10:22 PM.
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    Default Re: RMS Newfoundland

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Vernon View Post
    Hi Cindy
    Hope that at some stage we can assist with info you are looking for
    Gald you joined Enjoy the site
    Here is just a snippet to start but you may already have it!??

    HMHS Newfoundland - Wikipedia

    1940s to 1960s – FROM BOSTON TO LIVERPOOL – THE SS NOVA SCOTIA and SS NEWFOUNDLAND. | THE PAST AND NOW | News, Travel & Social History (cruiselinehistory.com)
    Thanks so much, Doc, and yes, you're correct, I do have that information (but appreciate your sending it). I would love to describe the interior of the Newfoundland in August 1940 so readers could picture it. It was a steamer/passenger liner/mail ship/wounded-troop-mover of 400 feet in length, but I don't know what it's safe to assume about it. My other challenge is in finding out the fate of the captain, James W. Murphy. Wondering if anyone can suggest an archive or experts who might know where to look.

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    Default Re: RMS Newfoundland

    May assist ??

    Crew lists for official number 147312 1940


    147312; 147314; 147317; 147319 | The National Archives

    Of some interest perhaps ?

    ISTG Vol 8 - SS Newfoundland (immigrantships.net)

    Well one thing Cindy Capt. Murphy did not die at Sea , as i have checked that , through Deaths at Sea and through the Convoy database with both Ship name and his Name !
    Do we know where he was Born at all?? Was he English or Canadian ??
    Last edited by Doc Vernon; 19th July 2021 at 09:29 PM.
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    Default Re: RMS Newfoundland

    Quote Originally Posted by Cindy Handler View Post
    For book research, I would like to get information about the RMS Newfoundland, a mail/passenger steam ship that crossed from Liverpool to Halifax during the Battle of the Atlantic. On August 16, 1940, it was caught in the middle of a U-boat attack that sank the Clan Macphee and other merchant vessels. I would love to get a physical description of Newfoundland's interior -- its sister ship was the Nova Scotia -- and also to know what happened to RMS Newfoundland's captain, James W. Murphy. Family lore has it that he was disciplined for breaking the OB-197 convoy, but I can't find any evidence of it. Thanks in advance for any help you can give.
    I suggest you try the following :
    https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/
    I recall seeing a model of the "Nova Scotia" there, she was as sister ship. The museum is very well equipped with all manner of Canadian Marine information.
    The curator is very helpful.

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    Default Re: RMS Newfoundland

    Hi, Would like to suggest trying Memorial University of St John's Newfoundland as they have archives related to shipping & crew lists going back many years.

    https://mha.mun.ca/mha/holdings/crewlist.php

    Hope this will will help in some way, good look.

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    Default Re: RMS Newfoundland

    Thank you! This is a great suggestion, and I'll try it. I'm also curious if there was a protocol about convoys that operated between Britain and Canada during the Battle of the Atlantic -- specifically, if ships were supposed to assist other ships that had been injured in a U-boat attack. I've been told that when OB-197 was attacked mid-day on August 16, 1940, survivors were visible in the water, and that the Capt. of the Newfoundland, James W. Murphy, decided not to try to save anyone -- he had women and children aboard-- and to speed away from the convoy west to safety. Aug. 16, 1940, was the date when they were four days out and the convoy was to have dispersed anyway, but I wonder if the Allies were supposed to obey universal rules of engagement that involved trying to save survivors first?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thank you! I will try this.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thank you -- I wish I had details of his life, but I don't know anything about him. I did find another name associated with the ship once it got to Newfoundland, so maybe this suggests that Murphy was British?

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    Default Re: RMS Newfoundland

    Thank you so much for the info from the National Archives! It's tremendously helpful, and dispels a lot of misconceptions that we had -- that my husband's family were the only German refugees, that Capt. Murphy didn't stay on the boat to Boston, etc. So beneficial to our story! Many thanks.

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    Default Re: RMS Newfoundland

    Hello Cindy,

    I happened to be going through a box of old memoirs and came across a plan layout of the RMS Nova Scotia / RMS Newfoundland. Its a bit large, 19" wide x 23" tall, but I plan on getting it scanned to pdf one of these days.

    I thought I'd post in case you are interested and want to contact me about it.

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    Default Re: RMS Newfoundland

    This is an old thread going back a couple of years but it has some unanswered questions about the man and his actions which, if I may say so, are unproven.

    James Walter Murphy was born on 5th April 1879, Waterford, Ireland. He served in both World Wars and died in 1949 in Liverpool aged 70.

    He appears to have gone to sea in 1897 as ordinary seaman and gaining certification as 2nd Mate in 1901. He gains his Mate’s Certificate of Competency in 1903 and his Master’s in 1905.
    He has records in the Fourth Register of Seamen as well as UK Master’s & Mates 1850-1927 and indeed other places.

    I cannot find any evidence of incident involving NEWFOUNDLAND in convoy O.B.197. I would doubt that the ship broke convoy as the Convoy Commodore, Rear Admiral, Henry B. Maltby R.N.R. was embarked aboard NEWFOUNDLAND. He would have been in charge of the convoy and its movements. At that time, prior to the introduction of the Rescue Ships, the ship’s at the rear of the convoy would be designated to pick up survivors. It would be best to consult convoy reports at TNA Kew in piece ADM 199/23 - https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...ils/r/C4120370 you could also consult the NEWFOUNDLAND’s Official Logbook for 1940 also held at TNA Kew.

    Commodore H.B. Maltby R.N.R. was lost four months later on Christmas Day 1940 while serving aboard SS JUMNA part of convoy O.B. 260

    I have attached a copy of Captain James Walter Murphy's CR 10 card from the Fourth Register of Seamen.

    Regards
    Hugh
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    Then the Merchant Ship Sailors
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