King Edward

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Introduction

King Edward was a cargo ship launched in 1919 for the British Government as War Terrier but before completion had been sold to British India Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. During WW2 she served in many convoys and independent voyages before being sunk in 1942 by a torpedo from a German submarine.

This page was created after I had been contacted by Sidney Patterson who has been researching his relative William Leslie Patterson who lost his life when King Edward was sunk and I am grateful to him for supplying most of the images on this page.

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King Edward - Date not known - probably at Capetown. [1]

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship
Registered owners, managers and operators British India Steam Navigation Co. Ltd.
Managers: Dodd, Thomson & Co. Ltd.
Builders Workman Clark & Co. Ltd.
Yard Belfast
Country UK
Yard number 444
Registry N/K
Official number 141921
Signal letters N/K
Call sign GCLD
Classification society N/K
Gross tonnage 5,224 Tons
Net tonnage 3,161 Tons
Deadweight 8,100 Tons
Length 400 ft
Overall Length 411 ft
Breadth 52.3 ft
Depth 28.4 ft
Draught N/K
Engines Triple expansion steam engine with cylinders of bore 27", 44" and 73" with stroke 48".
Engine builders Workman Clark & Co. Ltd.
Works Belfast
Country UK
Boilers 3 single-ended boilers operating at 180psi.
Power 517 NHP
Propulsion Single Screw
Speed 11 knots
Cargo capacity 15,800 cubic feet
Crew 73

Additional Construction Information

The Lloyds Register entry for King Edward for 1942-3 has the following additional information about her:

  • Two steel decks
  • Ex Gorala

Career Highlights

Date Event
28 August 1919 Launched as War Terrier for the British Government
20 September 1919 Completed as Gorala for British Indian Steam Navigation Co. Ltd.
July 1924 Sold to King Line Ltd. for £46,500 and name changed to King Edward
February 1940 Requisitioned by the UK Government
27 December 1942 Sunk by submarine torpedo

Service Pre WW2

I have found no specific information about the service history of King Edward before WW2.

Service in WW2

King Edward took part in 28 convoys and undertook various independent voyages according to information shown in the table below which is provided courtesy of Convoyweb -  see External Ref. #4.

Departure Convoy/Independent Arrival
Adelaide, Nov 11, 1939 Independent Albany, Nov 16, 1939
Albany, Nov 16, 1939 Independent Durban, Dec 10, 1939
Durban, Dec 12, 1939 Independent Takoradi, Dec 28, 1939
Takoradi, Dec 28, 1939 Independent Freetown, Jan 2, 1940
Freetown, Jan 8, 1940 SL.16 (Freetown - Liverpool) Milford Haven, Jan 27, 1940
Milford Haven, Jan 29, 1940 Independent Avonmouth, Jan 31, 1940
Independent Cardiff, Feb 8, 1940
Avonmouth, Feb 8, 1940 Independent
Cardiff, Feb 22, 1940 Independent Milford Haven, Feb 23, 1940
Milford Haven, Feb 24, 1940 OB.97 (Liverpool - Dispersed)
Independent New York, Mar 13, 1940
New York, Mar 20, 1940 Independent Halifax, Mar 24, 1940
Halifax, Mar 25, 1940 HX.30 (Halifax - Liverpool)
St Johns NF, Jun 13, 1940 Independent Halifax, Jun 16, 1940
Halifax, Jun 17, 1940 HX.51 (Halifax - Liverpool) Liverpool, Jul 1, 1940
Liverpool, Jul 31, 1940 OB.192 (Liverpool - Dispersed)
Independent Durban, Sep 8, 1940
Durban, Sep 14, 1940 Independent Calcutta, Oct 7, 1940
Calcutta, Oct 16, 1940 Independent Colombo, Oct 24, 1940
Colombo, Oct 25, 1940 Independent Durban, Nov 16, 1940
Durban, Nov 22, 1940 Independent Capetown, Nov 27, 1940
Capetown, Nov 28, 1940 Independent Freetown, Dec 14, 1940
Freetown, Dec 22, 1940 SL.60 (Freetown - Liverpool) Clyde, Jan 12, 1941
Clyde, Mar 1, 1941 OB.292 (Liverpool - Dispersed)
Independent Philadelphia, Mar 26, 1941
Philadelphia, Apr 7, 1941 Independent New York, Apr 8, 1941
New York, Apr 12, 1941 Independent Halifax, Apr 16, 1941
Halifax, Apr 19, 1941 SC.29 (Halifax - Liverpool) Clyde, May 9, 1941
Clyde, May 26, 1941 OG.63 (Liverpool - Gibraltar) Clyde, May 27, 1941
Clyde, Jun 3, 1941 OB.330 (Liverpool - Dispersed)
Independent Three Rivers, Jun 11, 1941
Three Rivers, Jun 17, 1941 Independent Sydney CB, Jun 20, 1941
Sydney CB, Jun 20, 1941 SC.35 (Sydney CB - Clyde) Belfast Lough, Jul 10, 1941
Belfast Lough, Jul 11, 1941 BB.46 (Belfast Lough - M Haven) Swansea, Jul 12, 1941
Independent Milford Haven, Jul 23, 1941
Swansea, Jul 23, 1941 Independent
Milford Haven, Jul 25, 1941 ON.1 (Liverpool - Dispersed)
Independent Philadelphia, Aug 15, 1941
Philadelphia, Sep 4, 1941 Independent Sydney CB, Sep 10, 1941
Sydney CB, Sep 11, 1941 SC.44 (Sydney CB - Liverpool) Loch Ewe, Sep 27, 1941
WN.186 (Oban - Methil) Methil, Sep 30, 1941
Methil, Oct 1, 1941 FS.609 (Methil - Southend) Southend, Oct 3, 1941
Southend, Oct 15, 1941 EC.86 (Southend - Clyde) Tyne, Oct 17, 1941
Tyne, Oct 18, 1941 EC.87 (Southend - Clyde) Loch Ewe, Oct 21, 1941
Independent New York, Nov 11, 1941
New York, Nov 22, 1941 Independent Sydney CB, Nov 27, 1941
Sydney CB, Nov 28, 1941 SC.57 (Sydney CB - Liverpool) Clyde, Dec 14, 1941
Clyde, Dec 25, 1941 Independent Belfast Lough, Dec 26, 1941
Belfast Lough, Dec 29, 1941 BB.117 (Belfast Lough - M Haven) Barry, Dec 30, 1941
Barry, Jan 15, 1942 Independent Milford Haven, Jan 16, 1942
Milford Haven, Jan 19, 1942 ON.58 (Liverpool - Returned)
Belfast Lough, Jul 2, 1942 BB.194 (Belfast Lough - M Haven) Cardiff, Jul 3, 1942
Cardiff, Jul 28, 1942 Independent Milford Haven, Jul 29, 1942
Milford Haven, Jul 30, 1942 OS.36 (Liverpool - Freetown)
Independent Buenos Aires, Sep 4, 1942
Buenos Aires, Sep 14, 1942 Independent Santa Fe, Sep 16, 1942
Independent Rosario, Sep 18, 1942
Santa Fe, Sep 18, 1942 Independent
Rosario, Sep 19, 1942 Independent Buenos Aires, Sep 20, 1942
Buenos Aires, Sep 25, 1942 Independent Freetown, Oct 14, 1942
Freetown, Oct 16, 1942 SL.125 (Freetown - Liverpool) Clyde, Nov 9, 1942
Clyde, Nov 10, 1942 Independent
WN.360 (Loch Ewe - Methil) Methil, Nov 14, 1942
Methil, Nov 15, 1942 FS.961 (Methil - Southend) Hull, Nov 17, 1942
Hull, Dec 13, 1942 FN.889 (Southend - Methil) Methil, Dec 14, 1942
Methil, Dec 15, 1942 EN.173 (Methil - Loch Ewe) Loch Ewe, Dec 17, 1942

Loss of King Edward

On 18 December 1942, convoy ON 154 left Liverpool bound for North America. Due to bad weather the convoy was routed further south than usual but was met by the Royal Canadian Navy Mid-Ocean Escort Force Group C-1 in the Atlantic.

The convoy was spotted by U-662 and there followed an attack by up to 20 German submarines with the eventual loss of 13 out of the 50 vessels in the convoy. The attack came at about the end of what the U-boats described as their second 'Happy Time' - or period of greatest success.

According to Arnold Hague - External Ref. #37 - the ships lost from this convoy were:

Name Nationality
Baron Cochrane British
Empire Shackleton British
Empire Union British
Empire Wagtail British
King Edward British
Lynton Grange British
Melmore Head British
Melrose Abbey II British
Norse King Norway
President Francqui Belgian
Soekaboemi Dutch
Ville de Rouen British
Zarian British

According to U-boat.net - External Ref. #3:

About 02.40 hours on 27 Dec, 1942, the Empire Union and Melrose Abbey in convoy ONS-154 were torpedoed and sunk north-northeast of the Azores. About 03.10 hours, the Soekaboemi and King Edward were also hit. All ships must have been torpedoed by U-356, which was herself lost after the attacks.

19 crew members and four gunners from King Edward (Master James Herbert Ewens) were lost. The master, 15 crew members and four gunners were picked up by the Toward (Master Gordon K. Hudson) and landed at Halifax on 9 January. Five crew members were rescued by HMCS Napanee (K 118) (Lt S. Henderson, RCNR) and landed at St. Johns.

Roll of Honour

Merchant Navy Losses

Information follows about members of the Merchant Navy and DEMS Gunners who served on Empress or Asia that lost their lives. This is based on information held in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database.

One account states that King Edward sank within 3 minutes of the torpedo strike. That being the case, it is remarkable that so many survived - especially given the atrocious weather in the Atlantic at this time of the year. The approximate location of her sinking was 47° 25' N, 25° 20' W and according to a number of diving websites, she lies at a depth of 2,700 Metres.

Further information about convoy ONS 154 can be found on J. Gordon Mumford's website - External Ref. #77.

The table below lists the 19 merchant seamen lost when King Edward was sunk and is derived from the Tower Hill memorial and the Commonwealth War Grave Commission's database.

Surname Forenames D.O.D. Rank Cemetery/Memorial Grave Ref. Additional Information
Altass Arthur 27/12/1942 Fireman and Trimmer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 61. Age 59
Carter Ernest 27/12/1942 Fireman and Trimmer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 61. Age 23. Son of Tom and Annie Carter.
Cutter John Conway 27/12/1942 Cook Tower Hill Memorial Panel 61. Age 41. Son of John and Gertrude Cutter; Husband of Queenie Cutter, of Cadoxton, Barry, Glamorgan.
Deas David 27/12/1942 Boatswain Tower Hill Memorial Panel 61. Age 32. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Deas; Stepson of Helena Deas, of Holmpton, Yorkshire.
Dick Louis 27/12/1942 Able Seaman Tower Hill Memorial Panel 61. Age 36
Drewery Harry William 27/12/1942 Cabin Boy Tower Hill Memorial Panel 61. Age 17. Son of George Iveson Drewery and Ethel Ruth Drewery; Stepson of Frank Richardson, of Spring Bank, Hull.
Eggleton Stanley Warneford 27/12/1942 Greaser Tower Hill Memorial Panel 61. Age 27. Son of Stanley Warneford Eggleton and Annie Eggleton; Husband of A. M. Eggleton, of Hull.
Farmer Frederick 27/12/1942 Fireman and Trimmer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 61. Age 49. Husband of Elizabeth Ann Farmer, of Wilmington, Yorkshire.
Frude William 27/12/1942 Fireman and Trimmer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 61. Age 21. Son of J. W. and Rosabell Frude, of Hull.
Heather William Henry 27/12/1942 Steward Tower Hill Memorial Panel 61. Age 56. Son of Joseph and Mary Heather; Husband of Dora E. Heather, of Cardiff.
Langthorpe David 27/12/1942 Fireman and Trimmer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 61. Age 46
Lyall Gordon 27/12/1942 Second Engineer Officer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 61. Age 45. Son of John and Caroline Lyall; Husband of Mary Anne Lyall, of Rushbrooke, Co. Cork, Irish Republic.
Maclachlan Donald William 27/12/1942 Third Radio Officer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 61. Age 23. Son of Donald and Evelyn Florence Maclachlan, of Hull.
Moss George 27/12/1942 Able Seaman Tower Hill Memorial Panel 61. Age 25. Son of George Moss; Husband of Mary Moss, of Hull.
Newby Harold 27/12/1942 Fireman and Trimmer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 61. Age 28. Son of William James Newby and Sarah Newby, of Blackpool, Lancashire.
Patterson William Leslie 27/12/1942 Able Seaman Tower Hill Memorial Panel 61. Age 31. Son of Joseph and Mary Ann Patterson.
Rhodes Robert William Hewson 27/12/1942 Donkeyman Tower Hill Memorial Panel 61. Age 35. Son of William Rhodes, and of Margaret Rhodes, of Hull; Husband of Charlotte Rhodes, of Hull.
Rowe Charles Mark 27/12/1942 Fireman and Trimmer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 61. Age 33
Thorley Percy Frederick 27/12/1942 Fireman and Trimmer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 61. Age 51. Husband of Bertha Thorley, of Hull.

William Leslie Patterson

One of the crew who lost his life was William Leslie Patterson. He was an Able Seaman from Hull and the son of Joseph and Mary Ann (neé Townsend) Patterson. The following photos show William and some documents from his service.

William Leslie Patterson
William Leslie Patterson taken at a studio in Hull - the date is not known. [1]
William Leslie Patterson William Leslie Patterson William Leslie Patterson William Leslie Patterson
Part of the Discharge Book of William Leslie Patterson and other documents. [1]

DEMS Gunners

The table below lists the 4 DEMS Gunners lost when King Edward was sunk and is derived from the Commonwealth War Grave Commission's database.

Surname Forenames D.O.D. Rank Cemetery/Memorial Grave Ref. Additional Information
Abbey John Morgan 27/12/1942 Able Seaman/Dems Gunner Portsmouth Naval Memorial Panel 63, Column 1 Age 20. Assigned To Hms President Iii. Son Of Thomas William And Miriam Abbey Of Amblethorn, Yorkshire
Mcgowan Francis 27/12/1942 Royal Artillery/Dems Gunner Portsmouth Naval Memorial Panel 72, Column 2 Age 21. Assigned To 3/2 Maritime Regiment. Son Of John And Catherine Mcgowan, Of Glossop, Derbyshire
Stocks Joseph 27/12/1942 Royal Artillery/Dems Gunner Chatham Naval Memorial Panel 67, Column 2 Age 22. Assigned To 5/3 Maritime Regiment. Son Of Joseph And Mary Louisa Stocks, Of Burnley, Lancashire
Wilson John 27/12/1942 Petty Officer Plymouth Naval Memorial Panel 63, Column 3 Age 28. Assigned To HMS President III.
King Edward
Photo of the plate on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorial at Tower Hill commemorating King Edward. [2]
Poppies

U-356

U-356 was the U-boat that it is assumed sunk King Edward. She was a type VIIC submarine commissioned in 1941 and commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Günther Ruppelt. This submarine was sunk on 27 December (the same day as King Edward) at position 43° 30' N, 25° 40' W by depth charges dropped by HMCS St.Laurent, HMCS Chilliwack, HMCS Battleford and HMCS Nepanee. There were no survivors from the crew of 46.

King Edward
Photo of Günther Ruppelt. [1]

Image Credits

  1. By courtesy of Sidney Patterson
  2. From the Benjidog Tower Hill Memorial website.