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Thread: Looking for information on torpedoed ship

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    Default Looking for information on torpedoed ship

    Hi there I am looking for information on two things. My wife's Grandfather was a carpenter on a Merchant vessel and died in the Thames/Medway estuary when it was hit by a torpedo. She thinks the vessel was the Merril?? not sure on spelling. He was Leonard Percival Whitehead aged about 35. Not to be confused with his father also Leonard Whitehead who was on the same vessel and survived the attack.
    Can anyone give me some information on this vessel and what happened.
    We believe it was on the return to port.

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    Default Re: Looking for information on torpedoed ship

    Hi Rick, Welcome to the site. Could you give us the dob of Leonard junior and where he was born please as there are
    quite a few. Coventry by any chance?

    Link below for all ships torpedoed WW2 in the Thames Estuary, may be helpful.

    Ships lost in the Thames Estuary 1939 - 1945 and map
    Last edited by Marian Gray; 10th May 2021 at 07:56 PM. Reason: Added text

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    Default Re: Looking for information on torpedoed ship

    Last edited by Keith at Tregenna; 10th May 2021 at 09:04 PM.
    "Our veterans did not forget about us .... Let's not forget about them." From Michael Levesque

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    Default Re: Looking for information on torpedoed ship

    Will await more info, as of now no Ship i can see called Merril. Possibly Merrick ?? which was a US Attack Cargo Ship. But will see later
    Cheers
    Senior Member and Friend of this Website

    R697530

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    Default Re: Looking for information on torpedoed ship

    She was a 1,088 GRT steam refrigerated cargo ship that sank on 8 December 1939 after hitting a mine off Ramsgate.

    https://www.benjidog.co.uk/Tower%20H...%20Merope.html
    "Our veterans did not forget about us .... Let's not forget about them." From Michael Levesque

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    Default Re: Looking for information on torpedoed ship

    Good find Keith at least we now also have the Ship
    Cheers




    Above Ship Merel Built 1925 of the GSNC


    https://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?73615SS

    A better Pic here



    World War II: The cargo ship (1,088 GRT, 1925) struck a mine and sank in The Downs, Kent west of the Gull Lightship ( United Kingdom) with the loss of 16 of her 18 crew.[5][5

    The cargo ship S.S. MEREL during a voyage from Le Havre for London. The MEREL ran into a minefield and struck a mine near the Gull Light Vessel and sank off Ramsgate and broke in two. She was built by Ayrshire Dockyard Irvine: and was 1088 tons built in 1925 for General Steam Navigation Company.
    Last edited by Doc Vernon; 10th May 2021 at 11:45 PM.
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    Default Re: Looking for information on torpedoed ship

    Wee bit more Hopefully Doc can enlarge.

    Leonard Percy Ernest Whitehead in the UK, World War I and World War II Shipping and Seamen Rolls of Honour, 1914-1945








    URL: Medal listing of Whitehead, Leonard Percy E | The National Archives

    Leonard Percy E Whitehead in the Web: UK, World War II Medals Issued to Merchant Seamen, 1939-1945

    Leonard Percy E Whitehead
    Service: 1939-1945
    Medal Issued/Claimed: 1946-2002

    BURIAL
    Tower Hill Memorial
    London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Greater London, England
    PLOT Panel 70
    MEMORIAL ID 15378029

    Birth, Baptism, Marriage, certs & 1911 Census details available if you wish.

    All from Ancestry which also states fathers name as Ernest Edward Whitehead.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Marian Gray; 10th May 2021 at 11:20 PM. Reason: Added text

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    Default Re: Looking for information on torpedoed ship

    hi thanks for responding, he was born 1906 in Hackney, Holloway or possibly the East End. but certainly London. His father, also Leonard, was born the same area and served on the same ship, but he survived.

    - - - Updated - - -

    thank you very much. made the wife's day as she knows very little about her grandfather and no one is alive to give us all the info. We know soon after this her father and 2 brothers were evacuated to Cornwall to protect them from the London blitz.
    This is definitely him as she remembers her nan (his wife) saying they lived in Kingsdown Road; now she has seen it.

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    Default Re: Looking for information on torpedoed ship

    You are most welcome Rick, it's the first time in my 9yrs here that a seaman was found so quickly. Paper trail left right and centre. We were spoilt for choice. There are also 3 family trees on Ancestry showing Leonard's family tree, his grandparents etc. If you are not a member I can contact them with a message if you wish.....This may whet your appetite Oh and the kingsdown Rd address is still standing no5.

    Marriage Cert:

    31280_196374-00246.jpg
    Last edited by Marian Gray; 11th May 2021 at 04:05 PM. Reason: Added text

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    Default Re: Looking for information on torpedoed ship

    Wow, thanks to all of you for the information. We never knew some of this. We have seen his name on the War memorial, but then things get a bit hazy relying on peoples memories who themselves are now long gone.
    In my case I have found information about the ship my mother came to Britain on in 1946, I managed to get photos and a history of the ship The RMS Arundel Castle. My mother was a war bride marrying my father (Kentish Buffs) in Athens in 1946 and being shipped to England, pregnant, with many others. So I don't need any more info on that.

    - - - Updated - - -

    that would be helpful Marian, thanks a lot. I have managed to trace my tree back some years ago. luckily having an unusual surname (Fuggle) makes it quite easy. However the wife being Whitehead is quite common, even more so when none of her family are around to ask, she is now the oldest. Her mother has dementia so getting anything there is nigh on impossible.

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