Dan-Y-Bryn

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Introduction

Dan-Y-Bryn was a steam cargo ship completed in 1939 shortly after the outbreak of WW2. She very quickly became engaged in a long series of voyages - both independent and in convoys - supporting the war effort. This included several Arctic convoys to Russia. After the war, she changed hands and name several times and her service life extended to 1967 when she was finally broken up in Hong Kong.

Mrs. P. Hirstwood brought this ship to my attention as a relative is researching a family member Joseph Russell who lost his life on 23 November 1942. He was in the Royal Artillery and his death is commemorated on the Royal Navy Memorial at Plymouth. The family knew that he had served as a gunner on Arctic convoys and thought his ship was named either Dan-Y-Blair or Don-Y-Blair; I have found no trace of a ship with either name. Dan-Y-Bryn was on such a convoy at the time Mr. Russell lost his life and is the closest match I can find. Research is ongoing and I hope to add further information when details of his service are clarified.

Note: To date I have been unable to identify a house flag for either the owners or managers of this vessel.

Dan-Y-Bryn
Dan-Y-Bryn. The date and location are not known. [1]

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo ship
Registered owners, managers and operators Brynymor Steamship Co. Ltd.
Managers Ambrose, Davies & Matthews Ltd.
Builders Burntisland Shipbuilding Co. Ltd
Yard Burnisland
Country UK
Yard number 239
Registry London
Official number 167382
Signal letters N/K
Call sign GKLZ
Classification society N/K
Gross tonnage 5,117
Net tonnage 3,084
Length 420 ft
Overall Length 436 ft
Breadth 58 ft
Depth 26.3 ft
Draught N/K
Engines Triple expansion steam engine with cylinder bore 22.5”, 65”, 86” and Cylinder stroke: 48”
Engine builders D. Rowan & Co. Ltd.
Works Glasgow
Country UK
Boilers 2 single boilers and 1 auxiliary single boilers operating at 220 psi
Power 458 NHP
Propulsion Single Screw
Speed 10 knots
Cargo capacity N/K
Crew N/K

Additional Construction Information

The Lloyds Register entry for Dan-Y-Bryn for 1940-41 has the following additional information about her:

  • 1 deck and shelter deck
  • Cruiser stern
  • Fitted with radio direction finding
  • Converted to use oil fuel
Dan-Y-Bryn
Dan-Y-Bryn. The date and location are not known. [1]

Career Highlights

Date Event
27 June 1939 Keel laid down
11 November 1939 Launched
31 December 1939 Completed
1946 Owner changed to Cook Shipping Co. Ltd.
1949 Owner changed to Jersey United Shipping Co. Ltd.
1952 Owner changed to United Transports Ltd.
1960 Owner changed to Transoceanic Shipping Co. Ltd. of Hong Kong and name changed to Oceanic Gem
1961 Owner changed to Gladiator Shipping Co. Ltd. of Hong Kong
1962 Name changed to Tosa Bay
1967 Taken for breaking up by Wise Investment Co. Ltd. of Hong Kong

Service in WW2

Dan-Y-Bryn took part in a large number of convoys and independent voyages during WW2 according to information shown in the table below which is provided courtesy of Convoyweb - see External. Ref. #4.

Departure Convoy/Independent Arrival
Burntisland, Jan 10, 1940 Independent Tyne, Jan 13, 1940
Tyne, Jan 26, 1940 FS.82 (Tyne - Southend) Southend, Jan 28, 1940
St Helens Roads, Feb 1, 1940 OA.83GF (Southend - to OG 17F)
OG.17F (to AT SEA - Gibraltar) Passed Gibraltar, Feb 9, 1940
Passed Gibraltar, Feb 9, 1940 Independent Oran, Feb 10, 1940
Independent St. Thomas, Feb 10, 1940
Oran, Feb 16, 1940 Independent Gibraltar, Feb 17, 1940
Gibraltar, Feb 17, 1940 HG.19 (Gibraltar - Liverpool)
St. Thomas, Mar 4, 1940 Independent Nuevitas, Mar 6, 1940
Nuevitas, Mar 7, 1940 Independent Guantanamo, Mar 8, 1940
Independent Jucaro, Mar 17, 1940
Havana, Mar 21, 1940 Independent Santiago (cuba), Mar 23, 1940
Santiago (cuba), Mar 27, 1940 Independent Halifax, Apr 5, 1940
Halifax, Apr 6, 1940 HX.33 (Halifax - Liverpool) Liverpool, Apr 20, 1940
Liverpool, Apr 30, 1940 OB.139 (Liverpool - Dispersed)
Independent Cristobal, May 20, 1940
Balboa, May 21, 1940 Independent Los Angeles, Jun 2, 1940
Los Angeles, Jun 2, 1940 Independent Vancouver, Jun 11, 1940
Independent New Westminster, Jun 15, 1940
Vancouver, Jun 15, 1940 Independent
New Westminster, Jun 21, 1940 Independent Los Angeles, Jun 26, 1940
Los Angeles, Jun 27, 1940 Independent Balboa, Jul 9, 1940
Cristobal, Jul 10, 1940 Independent Bermuda, Jul 17, 1940
Bermuda, Jul 18, 1940 BHX.59 (Bermuda - Jd HX 59)
HX.59 (Halifax - Liverpool) Belfast Lough, Aug 2, 1940
Independent Clyde, Aug 5, 1940
Belfast Lough, Aug 5, 1940 Independent
Clyde, Aug 12, 1940 WN.7 (Clyde - Methil) Methil, Aug 16, 1940
MT.143 (Methil - Tyne) Tyne, Aug 17, 1940
Methil, Aug 17, 1940 MT.143 (Methil - Tyne)
Tyne, Sep 27, 1940 FN.291 (Southend - Methil) Methil, Sep 28, 1940
Methil, Sep 30, 1940 OA.222 (Methil - r/v WITH OB 222)
Independent Sorel, Oct 19, 1940
Sorel, Oct 24, 1940 Independent Sydney CB, Oct 27, 1940
Sydney CB, Oct 29, 1940 HX.84 (Halifax - Dispersed)
Clyde, Nov 17, 1940 WN.40 (Clyde - Methil) Methil, Nov 20, 1940
Methil, Nov 22, 1940 FS.342 (Methil - Southend) Southend, Nov 24, 1940
Southend, Dec 4, 1940 FN.350 (Southend - Methil) Tyne, Dec 6, 1940
Tyne, Dec 13, 1940 FN.358 (Southend - Methil) Methil, Dec 14, 1940
Methil, Dec 17, 1940 EN.42/1 (Methil - Oban) Oban, Dec 21, 1940
Oban, Dec 31, 1940 OB.267 (Liverpool - Dispersed)
Independent Philadelphia, Jan 18, 1941
Philadelphia, Jan 29, 1941 Independent Halifax, Feb 2, 1941
Halifax, Feb 3, 1941 HX.107 (Halifax - Liverpool) St Johns NF, Feb 21, 1941
St Johns NF, Mar 22, 1941 Independent Halifax, Mar 26, 1941
Halifax, Mar 31, 1941 HX.118 (Halifax - Liverpool) Loch Ewe, Apr 17, 1941
WN.116 (Clyde - Methil) Methil, Apr 21, 1941
Methil, Apr 23, 1941 FS.471 (Methil - Southend) Hull, Apr 25, 1941
Hull, May 20, 1941 FN.469 (Southend - Methil) Methil, May 22, 1941
Methil Roads, May 24, 1941 EC.23 (Southend - Clyde) Oban, May 26, 1941
Oban, May 29, 1941 OB.327 (Liverpool - Dispersed)
Independent Sorel, Jun 12, 1941
Sorel, Jun 18, 1941 Independent
Sydney CB, Jun 26, 1941 HX.135 (Halifax - Liverpool) Oban, Jul 11, 1941
Oban, Jul 13, 1941 WN.152 (Oban - Methil) Methil, Jul 15, 1941
Methil, Jul 16, 1941 FS.543 (Methil - Southend) Southend, Jul 18, 1941
Southend, Aug 4, 1941 EC.55 (Southend - Clyde) Clyde, Aug 9, 1941
Clyde, Aug 12, 1941 ON.6 (Liverpool - Dispersed)
Independent Philadelphia, Aug 29, 1941
Philadelphia, Sep 11, 1941 Independent Halifax, Sep 15, 1941
Halifax, Sep 16, 1941 HX.150 (Halifax - Liverpool)
Sydney CB, Sep 18, 1941 SC.45 (Sydney CB - Liverpool) Loch Ewe, Oct 4, 1941
WN.188 (Oban - Methil) Methil, Oct 6, 1941
Methil, Oct 7, 1941 FS.614 (Methil - Southend) Hull, Oct 11, 1941
Hull, Oct 31, 1941 FN.539A (Southend - Methil) Methil, Nov 2, 1941
Methil, Nov 3, 1941 EN.1 (Methil - Oban) Loch Ewe, Nov 6, 1941
Hvalfjord, Nov 17, 1941 PQ.4 (Hvalfjord - Archangel) Archangel, Nov 28, 1941
Archangel, Dec 26, 1941 QP.4 (Archangel - Dispersed)
Independent Seidisfjord, Jan 16, 1942
Escorted Seidisfjord, Jan 20, 1942
Escorted Kirkwall, Jan 26, 1942
Kirkwall, Feb 4, 1942 WN.240 (Oban - Methil) Methil, Feb 5, 1942
Methil, Feb 7, 1942 FS.720 (Methil - Southend) Middlesbrough, Feb 8, 1942
FN.655 (Southend - Methil) Methil, Mar 16, 1942
Middlesbrough, Mar 16, 1942 FN.655 (Southend - Methil)
Methil, Mar 20, 1942 EN.61 (Methil - Oban) Oban, Mar 22, 1942
Oban, Mar 26, 1942 PQ.14 (Oban - Murmansk) Murmansk, Apr 19, 1942
Murmansk, Apr 28, 1942 QP.11 (Murmansk - Reykjavik) Reykjavik, May 7, 1942
Reykjavik, May 8, 1942 RU.22 (Reykjavik - Loch Ewe) Loch Ewe, May 12, 1942
WN.282 (Loch Ewe - Methil) Methil, May 14, 1942
Methil, May 15, 1942 FS.803 (Methil - Southend) Tyne, May 16, 1942
Tyne, Jun 17, 1942 not reported Hull, Jun 18, 1942
Hull, Jul 4, 1942 FN.751 (Southend - Methil) Methil, Jul 6, 1942
Methil, Jul 6, 1942 EN.107 (Methil - Loch Ewe) Loch Ewe, Jul 8, 1942
UR.32 (Loch Ewe - Reykjavik) Reykjavik, Jul 16, 1942
Reykjavik, Jul 24, 1942 RU.32A (Reykjavik - Loch Ewe) Clyde, Jul 28, 1942
Clyde, Aug 6, 1942 not reported Clyde, Aug 21, 1942
PQ.18 (Loch Ewe - Archangel) Archangel, Sep 21, 1942
Kola Inlet, Nov 17, 1942 QP.15 (Kola Inlet - Loch Ewe) Loch Ewe, Nov 30, 1942
WN.368 (Loch Ewe - Methil) Methil, Dec 6, 1942
Methil, Dec 7, 1942 FS.980 (Methil - Southend) Southend, Dec 9, 1942
Southend, Dec 30, 1942 FN.905 (Southend - Methil) Immingham, Jan 1, 1943
Immingham, Jan 12, 1943 FN.916 (Southend - Methil) Methil, Jan 14, 1943
Methil, Jan 14, 1943 EN.185 (Methil - Loch Ewe) Loch Ewe, Jan 16, 1943
JW.52 (Loch Ewe - Kola Inlet) Kola Inlet, Jan 27, 1943
Kola Inlet, Mar 1, 1943 RA.53 (Kola Inlet - Loch Ewe) Loch Ewe, Mar 14, 1943
WN.404 (Loch Ewe - Methil) Aberdeen, Mar 18, 1943
Aberdeen, Mar 25, 1943 WN.407 (Loch Ewe - Methil) Methil, Mar 26, 1943
Methil, Mar 26, 1943 FS.1073 (Methil - Southend) Tyne, Mar 27, 1943
Tyne, May 13, 1943 FN.1019 (Southend - Methil) Methil, May 14, 1943
Methil, May 15, 1943 EN.229 (Methil - Loch Ewe) Clyde, May 18, 1943
Clyde, Jun 4, 1943 OS.49KM (Liverpool - Convoy Split)
OS.49 (ex OS 49/KMS 16 - Freetown) Casablanca, Jun 15, 1943
Casablanca, Jun 27, 1943 OS.50 (ex OS 50/KMS 17 - Freetown) Dakar, Jul 6, 1943
Dakar, Jul 12, 1943 RS.8 (Gibraltar - Freetown) Freetown, Jul 14, 1943
Freetown, Aug 14, 1943 SL.135 (Freetown - r/v WITH MKS 22)
SL.135MK (r/v SL 13/MKS 22 - Liverpool) Loch Ewe, Sep 5, 1943
WN.476A (Loch Ewe - Methil) Methil, Sep 8, 1943
Methil, Sep 10, 1943 FS.1217 (Methil - Southend) Southend, Sep 13, 1943
Southend, Sep 17, 1943 FN.1128A (Southend - Methil) Hull, Sep 18, 1943
Hull, Sep 29, 1943 FN.1139 (Southend - Methil) Methil, Oct 1, 1943
Methil, Oct 1, 1943 EN.288 (Methil - Loch Ewe) Oban, Oct 4, 1943
Oban, Oct 8, 1943 OS.56KM (Liverpool - Convoy Split) Oban, Oct 9, 1943
Oban, Oct 18, 1943 KMS.30G (Liverpool - Gibraltar) Gibraltar, Oct 31, 1943
Gibraltar, Nov 17, 1943 OS.58 (ex OS 58/KMS 32 - Freetown)
Independent Buenos Aires, Dec 14, 1943
Buenos Aires, Dec 30, 1943 Independent
Montevideo, Jan 4, 1944 Independent Montevideo, Jan 8, 1944
Montevideo, Jan 19, 1944 Independent Freetown, Feb 6, 1944
Freetown, Feb 11, 1944 SL.149 (Freetown - r/v WITH MKS 40)
Southend, Feb 20, 1944 FN.1273 (Southend - Methil) Methil, Feb 22, 1944
SL.149MK (r/v SL 149/MKS 40 - Liverpool) Loch Ewe, Mar 6, 1944
WN.554 (Loch Ewe - Methil) Methil, Mar 9, 1944
Methil, Mar 9, 1944 FS.1386 (Methil - Southend) Southend, Mar 11, 1944
Methil, Apr 23, 1944 EN.375 (Methil - Loch Ewe) Loch Ewe, Apr 25, 1944
Independent Quebec, May 10, 1944
Quebec, May 13, 1944 Independent Three Rivers, May 14, 1944
Three Rivers, May 21, 1944 Independent Sydney CB, May 24, 1944
Sydney CB, Jun 6, 1944 HX.294 (NYC - Liverpool) Avonmouth, Jun 20, 1944
Avonmouth, Jul 13, 1944 Independent Liverpool, Jul 15, 1944
Liverpool, Jul 26, 1944 Independent Milford Haven, Jul 27, 1944
Milford Haven, Jul 28, 1944 EBC.55 (Barry - Seine Bay) Seine Bay, Jul 30, 1944
Seine Bay, Aug 14, 1944 FTM.68 (Seine Bay - Southend) Southend, Aug 15, 1944
Southend, Aug 17, 1944 FN.1452 (Southend - Methil) Tyne, Aug 19, 1944
FN.1477 (Southend - Methil) Methil, Sep 13, 1944
Tyne, Sep 13, 1944 FN.1477 (Southend - Methil)
Methil, Sep 14, 1944 EN.435 (Methil - Loch Ewe) Loch Ewe, Sep 16, 1944
SQ.96 (Sydney CB - Father Pt) Father Point, Oct 4, 1944
Red Islet, Oct 28, 1944 QS.100 (Red Islet - Sydney CB) Sydney CB, Oct 31, 1944
Sydney CB, Nov 3, 1944 SC.160 (Halifax - Liverpool) Loch Ewe, Nov 16, 1944
WN.654 (Loch Ewe - Methil) Methil, Nov 19, 1944
Methil, Nov 19, 1944 FS.1641 (Methil - Southend) Hull, Nov 21, 1944
Independent Immingham, Dec 27, 1944
Hull, Dec 27, 1944 Independent
Methil, Jan 12, 1945 FS.1695 (Methil - Southend) Downs, Jan 14, 1945
Southend, Jan 27, 1945 TAM.62 (Southend - Antwerp) Antwerp, Jan 28, 1945
Antwerp, Feb 8, 1945 ATM.58 (Antwerp - Southend) Southend, Feb 9, 1945
Southend, Feb 18, 1945 TBC.73 (Southend - M Haven) Southampton, Feb 20, 1945
St Helens Roads, Mar 3, 1945 BTC.84 (M Haven - Southend) Downs, Mar 4, 1945
Downs, Mar 6, 1945 TAM.100 (Southend - Antwerp) Antwerp, Mar 7, 1945
Antwerp, Mar 17, 1945 ATM.95 (Antwerp - Southend) Southend, Mar 18, 1945
Southend, Mar 18, 1945 TBC.101 (Southend - M Haven) Southampton, Mar 19, 1945
St Helens Roads, Apr 1, 1945 BTC.113 (M Haven - Southend) Southend, Apr 2, 1945
Southend, Apr 4, 1945 TAM.128 (Southend - Antwerp) Antwerp, Apr 5, 1945
Antwerp, Apr 10, 1945 ATM.120 (Antwerp - Southend) Southend, Apr 11, 1945
Southend, Apr 12, 1945 TBC.126 (Southend - M Haven) Spithead, Apr 13, 1945
St Helens Roads, May 6, 1945 BTC.148 (M Haven - Southend) Downs, May 7, 1945
Downs, May 8, 1945 TAM.162 (Southend - Antwerp) Antwerp, May 9, 1945
Antwerp, May 22, 1945 ATM.162 (Antwerp - Southend) Downs, May 23, 1945
Downs, May 23, 1945 TBC.167 (Southend - M Haven) Southampton, May 25, 1945
Southampton, Jun 8, 1945 Independent Antwerp, Jun 10, 1945
Antwerp, Jun 16, 1945 Independent Southampton, Jun 18, 1945
Southampton, Jul 7, 1945 Independent Ostend, Jul 9, 1945
Independent Rotterdam, Jul 10, 1945
Ostend, Jul 10, 1945 Independent
Rotterdam, Jul 21, 1945 Independent Plymouth, Jul 25, 1945
Independent Falmouth, Nov 14, 1945
Falmouth, Nov 15, 1945 Independent Sydney CB, Nov 26, 1945
Sydney CB, Dec 2, 1945 Independent Dalhousie, Dec 4, 1945
Dalhousie, Dec 11, 1945 Independent London, Dec 25, 1945

Hull Air Raids

I was surprised to discover the following from my friend Stan Mayes who had not mentioned this ship to me previously:

DAN-Y-BRYN was built 1940 and owned by Jersey United SS co and registered in Jersey..Managers Ambrose,Davies and Matthews.. She was a very familiar ship in London river all her years. Tilbury Pool sent me to sign on her late 1943 in the drydock but the Mate told me he wanted an OS and I was AB. DAN-Y-BRYN had a very good war record..She survived four Russian convoys.. On 9th May 1941, she was heavily damaged by a bomb in Hull during a blitz.

Investigating this further I found that the bomb damage referred to by Stan Mayes would have been a result of what was locally named "The Hull Blitz". This was a concerted series of raids that caused an enormous amount of damage to Hull and its docks in May 1941. According to the Heroes of Hull website - External Ref. #79:

On 7th May 1941, following around seven hours of warnings the previous night, the sirens sounded at 11.16pm and the first high explosive (HE) bomb fell on Cleveland Street. This was the start of the two raids of the 7th/8th & 8th/9th during which more than 300 he bombs, parachute mines and 'G' bombs were dropped. 40 bombs failed to explode but remained a problem for some time after the raid.

A variety of incendiaries fell, oil bombs to flares, numbering in the thousands. 2,600 wardens, 130 rescue parties (1,500 personnel), and 600 Casualty Service staff help with the rescue of over 700 persons. The fire service dealt with over 800 fires. The city centre; Jameson Street, King Edward Street and Prospect Street were to become a mass of flames with almost all of the large stores, hotels, restaurants and numerous smaller shops being totally destroyed. The Guildhall & City hall both received damage. Industrial plants in all parts of the city suffered damage, wholesale and retail markets were destroyed along with warehouses and offices. The Riverside Quay was gutted along its whole length and blazing timber stacks sent sparks high into the air only to fall on and ignite even more properties.

Ranks Flour Mill was put out of action, 3,000 homes were destroyed or seriously damaged, 9,000 had doors and/or windows torn out of their frames and another 50,000 suffered minor blast or shrapnel damage.

The telephone department had to deal with 14,000 faults - hindered by their administrative offices being destroyed. A main cable of some 2,000 pairs of wires was destroyed. A direct hit on the Corporation bus depot destroyed numerous vehicles leaving nothing more than a shell of twisted metal. The supply of coal-gas failed with 200 mains having been hit and the electricity department had to deal with over 6,000 faults. The general supply of electricity was, however, maintained except around the immediate areas of bomb impact. Several railway lines were hit and many of Hull's suburban services put out of action.

Service post WW2

I have been unable to discover any specific information about the services of this vessel after the war other than the changes in ownership and names recorded under Career Highlights.

Image Credits

  1. Photos provided by a friend who did not know the provenance