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Messages - Becs

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World War Two / Re: Info wanted re: Merchant Navy torpedo survivor
« on: Tuesday 06 September 11 23:21 BST (UK)  »
Ohh! How I misread that? Sorry for misleading you Hugh. I've done sooo much reading this past few days and I must have confused myself... and obviously you too. Sorry about that. Rebecca

World War Two / Re: Info wanted re: Merchant Navy torpedo survivor
« on: Tuesday 06 September 11 23:13 BST (UK)  »
Hi again Seaweed,

Thanks so much for your help with this. It's been really interesting to read your thoughts. Looking at what you've found, it sounds like it could perhaps be the other ship I keep reading about after all.

Due to difficulty I've found tracking down info, I called my grandma again today to see if I could get more details. She is in her late 80's and struggles with dementia so retrieving details can be difficult for her and her thought and conversations are sometimes confused. Today though she was more lucid usual and some more has come to light - though as I say I can't guarantee complete accuracy.

I read about there only being 24 survivors somewhere on the internet whilst researching for more info, but today (for the first time) she repeted twice in our conversation that everyone survived (possibly on all occasions), aboard the George MacKnight / McKnight. She doesn't think there was a 'W' in the name but I've seen there is a ship with this name too as you said.

She remembers the George MacKnight oil tanker taking on water badly due to serious damage. It was taken into dry dock in New york. Due to the size of it - the biggest oil tanker afloat at the time, it could only be docked in 2 harbours - Ireland and New York in the US she said. On one of the occasions that the oil tanker grandad was on was hit, it was taken into New York docks and took about 3 months to fix so he had to stay in New York for the duration. This seems to be accurate when compared to one of the pages you attached which said it was near Trinidad when hit by a German torpedo. There were 55 on board and no loss of life. It had temporary repairs then sailed to New York.

She clearly remembers him being torpedoed 3 times. She doesn't know if this was all on one the ship, or happened to several different ones. She doesn't know the names of any others but does remember him being on the George MacKnight for a long time.

She says the George MacKnight was docked in British waters when war broke out and was seized on the first day of the war as a result, for use by the British. This she says is how they came to be in possession of the German ship.

Interestingly something else that could confirm the George W Mcknight is the correct ship, is that my grandma said it was comandeered by Britain on 3rd May 1943 - when this can't be correct, but this is the date it was torpedoed by the Germans! Perhaps the reason she felt the date was important.

I shall definately look into your suggestions, although getting to London anytime soon is not possible unfortunately for health reasons. it's great to see you found his records though so I'll know where to start digging when I can!

Many thanks for all the hard work!!


World War Two / Re: Info wanted re: Merchant Navy torpedo survivor
« on: Monday 05 September 11 20:05 BST (UK)  »
Hi Seaweed!

Thanks for your reply.

My grandad's date of birth is 10th May 1922.

He was born in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales.

I understand from my grandma that he was in the British Merchant Navy. I guess that means he was a Merchant Seaman.

Any additional help with tracing more information would really be appreciated.

Many thanks.

I look forward to hearing from you.


World War Two / Info wanted re: Merchant Navy torpedo survivor
« on: Monday 05 September 11 13:27 BST (UK)  »

I'd really like to find out some more about my Granddad's involvement in WW2.

His name was John Graham Roy Wilson, although was known by everyone as Graham Wilson.

He was an engineer in the Merchant Navy and joined as a volunteer.

I know one of the tankers he was aboard was called the George MacKnight. It was a captured German oil tanker, which at it's time, was the largest tanker afloat.

My Grandma knows he was torpedoed 3 times whilst in the Merchant Navy and survived all of these attacks. The experience had a great impact on him. He was severely traumatised by the events he witnessed never spoke about it right up to the day he died. It is also believed to have contributed to how he died.

I'd really like to gather some more information for the family, who would like to know more about his experiences.

Can anyone tell me more about the sinking or capture of the SS George MacKnight?

I've read on the internet that the tanker was torpedoed and that 24 survivors were rescued by the USS Cronin on October 14th 1944. They were taken to Sicily.

I'd like to know if my granddad was one of these 24 survivors.

The information I've found is very limited though and unfortunately could be confused with another tanker called the George W McKnight, which also sank that year I think.

Does anyone know how I can find out what other tankers he was on and about the other 2 occasions he was torpedoed?

Many thanks for reading this. Any help would be appreciated.


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