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Thread: San demetrio london.

  1. #11
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    Default Re: San demetrio london.

    I remembered the events but, as said not seen the film,
    it was very familiar but, realise now that Brian had added
    a thread back in 2009:

    https://www.merchant-navy.net/forum/...090=#post27679

    San Demetrio

    also on site:

    On this day, 16 November, in 1940, the Clyde-built Merchant Vessel San Demetrio limped back into the Clyde after an extraordinary adventure in the Atlantic Ocean, which was made into a 1943 feature film "San Demetrio London" (one of the few films to celebrate the heroism of the Merchant Navy).

    She had been loaded with 11,200 tonnes of aviation fuel at Galveston, Texas, and was on her way back to Avonmouth, Bristol. On 5 November she was hit from several shells and set on fire by the Admiral Scheer, in the same action which sunk HMS Jervis Bay.

    San Demetrio's Captain Waite, believed that the fire could set off the aviation fuel, so he gave the order to abandon ship. With the ship remaining under fire from the Scheer, the crew escaped in two lifeboats.

    The lifeboats separated in the night and the lifeboat with the captain and twenty-five crew was picked up and taken to Newfoundland. The sixteen men in the other lifeboat, including Second Officer Arthur G. Hawkins and Chief Engineer Charles Pollard, drifted for 24 hours when they sighted a burning ship. To their surprise, they discovered that it was their own ship, San Demetrio.

    The crew had to decide whether to risk death by exposure or to re-board and risk the fire. In the end they chose to remain in the lifeboat because the fire was too great and the weather too hazardous to attempt boarding.

    At dawn, 7 November, the San Demetrio was about 5 nautical miles downwind so the crew set sail toward her and re-boarded. They fought the fire, repaired the port auxiliary boiler sufficiently to restart the ship's pumps and dynamos and repaired the auxiliary steering gear.

    No charts or navigational instruments had survived so the crew estimated a course back to Scotland, by glimpses of the sun.

    On this day, 16 November, she hobbled into the Clyde, after having braved a further 9 days of enemy U-Boats. There was one fatality, John Boyle.

    Keith.
    "Our veterans did not forget about us .... Let's not forget about them." From Michael Levesque

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  3. #12
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    Default Re: San demetrio london.

    Considering John Boyle was the only fatality when the San Demetrio was attacked and being buried at sea by his crew mates who all survived and also the fact of his name being remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial in London, 'one wonders if this was shown in the film'.
    I very much doubt it.

    Regards from,
    Fouro.

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  5. #13
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    Default Re: San demetrio london.

    The plight of Greaser John Boyle (Mervyn Johns) is sensitively handled, as he quite literally works himself to death and passes away at sea, dreaming of the nylon stockings he has bought for his wife as a present. He is given a funeral with full naval honours. In the final scene, the crew's enterprise is praised by officialdom, and the San Demetrio's ensign is awarded, as a mark of respect, to John Boyle's widow.
    "Our veterans did not forget about us .... Let's not forget about them." From Michael Levesque

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    Default Re: San demetrio london.

    Fouro, the film handled his death and burial sensitively.
    Vic

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    Default Re: San demetrio london.

    To Vic and Keith I stand corrected, and I'd like to add it's pleasing to know that John Boyle was remembered in the film'.

    Regards from,
    Fouro.

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    Default Re: San demetrio london.

    Fouro, a mention of John Boyle in the words of
    MV San Demetrio Second Officer Hawkins:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOJLczUrqLE

    K.
    "Our veterans did not forget about us .... Let's not forget about them." From Michael Levesque

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    Default Re: San demetrio london.

    In the film there were a few seafaring mistakes, the best one was, when the look out man in the crows nest shouted, "Land"
    the men on the bridge shouted "Where",??
    Look out man, " on the Starboard Bow."
    The two men on the Bridge ran to the Port side and shouted , "There it is".
    otherwise a good film.

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    Default Re: San demetrio london.

    Quote Originally Posted by vic mcclymont View Post
    John, some classics on channel 81. Half the fun sometimes is trying to remember who the actors are as they are so young.
    Vic
    I enjoy that as well Vic, some of their faces are easier to recognise than others, maybe it depends on how well they lived their lives ? .
    Most of us only have our memories and photos to help us journey down memory lane, but the film stars, and especially the likes of
    George Cole and Harry Fowler, who started their acting careers as kids and worked on into old age, must have had mixed feelings
    when they watched their old films and saw themselves at different stages of their lives, bit weird really, think I'll stick to my memories, cheers.

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    Default Re: San demetrio london.

    Two fascinating stories written by Captain John Lewis Jones, OBE. Maybe you will all remember him as the young apprentice on board the San Demetrio when it was attacked by the German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer.
    Click on htm below to read them.

    John Lewis Jones Morfa Nefyn, on the "San Demetrio"

    Regards from
    Fouro.

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    Default Re: San demetrio london.

    Found that very interesting and pleased you added the link.

    Regards,

    Keith.
    "Our veterans did not forget about us .... Let's not forget about them." From Michael Levesque

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