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.
|Registered owners, managers and operators||British India Steam Navigation Co. Ltd.
Managers: Dodd, Thomson & Co. Ltd.
|Builders||Workman Clark & Co. Ltd.|
|Gross tonnage||5,224 Tons|
|Net tonnage||3,161 Tons|
|Overall Length||411 ft|
|Engines||Triple expansion steam engine with cylinders of bore 27", 44" and 73" with stroke 48".|
|Engine builders||Workman Clark & Co. Ltd.|
|Boilers||3 single-ended boilers operating at 180psi.|
|Cargo capacity||15,800 cubic feet|
The Lloyds Register entry for King Edward for 1942-3 has the following additional information about her:
- Two steel decks
- Ex Gorala
|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|
I have found no specific information about the service history of King Edward before 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.
|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|
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:
|Melrose Abbey II||British|
|Ville de Rouen||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.
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.
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.|
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.
- By courtesy of Sidney Patterson
- From the Benjidog Tower Hill Memorial website.