Pennington Court

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Introduction

Court Line used the name Pennington Court for just one ship.

Pennington Court had a service life of 18 years which included a period of several years being laid up at Milford Haven during 1930s depression. She took part in many WW2 convoys but had a tragic ending in 1942 when she was torpedoed and sunk by a submarine with the loss of the entire ship's company.

Pennington Court was one of three ships purchased from the fleet of Charles Radcliffe of Cardiff who had died in July 1926. The other two were Conistone (later Nollington Court) and Amblestone (later Ovington Court)

Pennington Court
Pennington Court - date and location are not known. [1]

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo ship
Registered owners, managers and operators Charles Radcliffe Ltd.
Managers C Radcliffe & Co
Builders Richardson Duck & Co Ltd.
Yard Thornaby Stockton-on-Tees
Country UK
Yard number 687
Registry N/K
Official number 148274
Signal letters N/K
Call sign GDZR
Classification society N/K
Gross tonnage 6,098
Net tonnage 3,774
Deadweight N/K
Length 400 ft
Breadth 53 ft
Depth 32.7 ft
Draught N/K
Engines Triple expansion steam engine with cylinders of bore 26", 43" and 71" and stroke of 48".
Engine builders Blair & Co.Ltd.
Works Stockton-on-Tees
Country UK
Boilers Three single-ended boilers operating at 180psi.
Power 425 NHP
Propulsion Single screw
Speed N/K
Cargo capacity N/K
Crew Master + 39 crew at time of sinking
Pennington Court
Pennington Court believed to have been taken in Vancouver on 14 April 1936. Photo by Walter E. Frost, Ref. AM1506-S3-2-: CVA 447-2553. [3]

Additional Construction Information

The 1944-45 Lloyds Register entry for Pennington Court has the following additional information about her:

  • She had one steel deck and one steel shelter deck
  • She was fitted with radio direction finding equipment

Career Highlights

Date Event
3 Jun 1924 Launched as Rochdale
Jul 1924 Completed
1927 Acquired by The United British Steam Ship Co. Ltd. - Managers Haldin and Phillipps - and renamed Pennington Court
1936 Owners restyled Court Line Ltd. - same managers
9 Oct 1942 Torpedoed and sunk
Pennington Court
Pennington Court believed to have been taken in Vancouver on 14 April 1936. Photo by Walter E. Frost, Ref. AM1506-S3-2-: CVA 447-2553.1. [3]

Service Pre WW2

I have found no information about her pre-war service either as Rochdale or Pennington Court other than that she was laid up for some years at Milford Haven during the 1930s depression.

Service in WW2

Ovington Court took part in 29 convoys as well as a number of independent voyages during WW2 according to information shown in the table below which is provided courtesy of Convoyweb - External Reference #5.

Departure Convoy/Independent Arrival
Milford Haven, Oct 6, 1939 OB.15 (Liverpool - Dispersed)
Kirkwall, Mar 8, 1940 ON.18/1 (Methil - Norwegian Waters) Norwegian Waters, Mar 10, 1940
Norwegian Waters, Apr 4, 1940 HN.24 (Norwegian Waters - Methil) Methil, Apr 7, 1940
Tyne, Apr 9, 1940 FS.141 (Tyne - Southend) Immingham, Apr 11, 1940
Sunderland, May 10, 1940 FS.167 (Tyne - Southend) Southend, May 12, 1940
Freetown, Jun 15, 1940 SL.36 (Freetown - Liverpool) Liverpool, Jul 3, 1940
Southend, Jul 4, 1940 FN.212 (Southend - Methil) Tyne, Jul 6, 1940
Methil, Jul 26, 1940 OA.190 (Methil - Dispersed)
Freetown, Sep 1, 1940 SL.46S (Freetown - Dispersed)
SL.46 (Freetown - Liverpool) Liverpool, Sep 23, 1940
Freetown, Nov 19, 1940 SL.56S (Freetown - r/v WITH SL 56)
SL.56 (Freetown - Liverpool) Liverpool, Dec 12, 1940
Clyde, Jan 11, 1941 OB.272 (Liverpool - Dispersed)
Halifax, Feb 8, 1941 SC.22 (Halifax - Liverpool) Loch Ewe, Feb 25, 1941
WN.91 (Clyde - Methil) Methil, Mar 2, 1941
Liverpool, May 5, 1941 OG.61 (Liverpool - Gibraltar) Gibraltar, May 19, 1941
Sydney CB, Jun 10, 1941 SC.34 (Sydney CB - Clyde) Clyde, Jun 29, 1941
Liverpool, Jul 12, 1941 OG.68 (M Haven - Gibraltar) Gibraltar, Jul 26, 1941
Freetown, Oct 27, 1941 SL.91 (Freetown - to SL 91G) Freetown, Oct 28, 1941
SL.93 (Freetown - Liverpool) Freetown, Nov 22, 1941
Freetown, Nov 30, 1941 SL.94 (Freetown - Liverpool) Liverpool, Dec 20, 1941
Halifax, Feb 4, 1942 SC.68 (Halifax - Liverpool) Liverpool, Feb 20, 1942
Oban, Feb 22, 1942 WN.249 (Oban - Methil) Methil, Feb 24, 1942
Methil, Mar 23, 1942 EN.62 (Methil - Oban) Loch Ewe, Mar 26, 1942
Liverpool, Mar 27, 1942 ON.80 (Liverpool - Halifax) Halifax, Apr 15, 1942
Halifax, Apr 18, 1942 XB.11 (Halifax - Boston) St John Nb, Apr 20, 1942
St John Nb, Sep 23, 1942 FH.2 (St John Nb - Halifax) Halifax, Sep 25, 1942
New York, Sep 26, 1942 SC.103 (NYC - Liverpool)

Loss of Pennington Court

Pennington Court was sunk whilst sailing in convoy SC.103.

According to Ubootwaffe.net - External Reference #3:

She was carrying 8,330 tons of grain and 164 tons of trucks from Halifax to Britain. She was torpedoed by U-254 on 9 October 1942 at 21:01 at position 58°18' N, 27°55' W. The Master and entire crew of 39 perished - there being no survivors.

According to Uboat.net - External Reference #6:

At 21.01 hours on 9 Oct, 1942, the Pennington Court (Master John Horne), a straggler from convoy SC-103, was torpedoed by U-254 southeast of Cape Farewell. Until the ship sank the U-boat had fired six torpedoes of which three were hits. The master and 39 crew members were lost.

Submarine U-254

U-254 had a relatively short career including 3 patrols between 8 Nov, 1941 and 8 Dec, 1942 during which she sank three ships totalling 18,967 GRT.

U-254 was sunk on 8 Dec 1942 in the North Atlantic south-east of Cape Farewell, Greenland, in approximate position 55°00' N, 40°00'W, after a collision with another U-boat - U-221. There were 41 dead and 4 survivors.

Roll of Honour

Merchant Navy Losses

Information follows about members of the Merchant Navy who served on Pennington Court that lost their lives. This is based on information held in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database.

Surname Forenames D.O.D. Rank Cemetery/Memorial Grave Ref. Additional Information
Arthur Edgar 09/10/1942 Able Seaman Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 24. Son of Richard and Margaret Arthur, of Newbridge, Monmouthshire.
Aylesbury Herbert John 09/10/1942 Boatswain Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 61
Bowden Arthur 09/10/1942 Fireman and Trimmer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 33
Bracey Ronald Albert 09/10/1942 Fourth Engineer Officer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 21. Son of Albert John and Ella Norah Bracey.
Burton George William 09/10/1942 Cabin Boy Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 17
Butterworth Alan Rupert Cheadle 09/10/1942 First Radio Officer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 33. King's Commendation For Brave Conduct. Son of Dr. Rupert Butterworth, M.B., and Gertrude Helen Butterworth, of Warminster, Wiltshire.
Code Patrick 09/10/1942 Fireman and Trimmer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 36. Son of Patrick Code and of Anne Code (Nee O'brien); Husband of Mary Code (Nee Campbell), of Liverpool.
Collier John 09/10/1942 Able Seaman Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 21. Stepson of Mrs. L. Gravers, of Woolwich, London.
Combe James Fairburn 09/10/1942 Chief Officer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 26
Davis Herbert George 09/10/1942 Fireman and Trimmer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 33. Husband of M. E. Davies, of Epsom, Surrey.
Essex William Herbert 09/10/1942 Carpenter Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 32. Son of Herbert and Sarah Essex, of Willesden, Middlesex.
Fraser Joseph 09/10/1942 Chief Engineer Officer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 40. Son of The Revd. Hugh Fraser and Jessie Fraser.
Gibson Augustus 09/10/1942 Fireman and Trimmer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 21
Gray Arthur 09/10/1942 Boy Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 16
Griffiths Aneurin Loveden Anthony 09/10/1942 Third Radio Officer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 32. Son of John Griffiths, and of S. A. Griffiths, of Aberdare, Glamorgan.
Hamlett Harold Winter 09/10/1942 Second Engineer Officer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 57
Henderson Francis 09/10/1942 Assistant Steward Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 20. Son of Walter and Grace Henderson, of South Shields, Co. Durham.
Horne John 09/10/1942 Master Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 56. Son of John and Elizabeth Horne; Husband of Isabella Horne, of Glasgow.
Jones John 09/10/1942 Fireman Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80.
Jones Robert Charles 09/10/1942 Third Radio Officer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 19. Son of William David and Annie Jones, of Maghull, Lancashire.
Julien Johannes William 09/10/1942 Able Seaman Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 52. Son of Frederick and Mary Julien; Husband of Edith Alice Julien, of Newport, Monmouthshire.
Mayes Frederick William 09/10/1942 Able Seaman Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 41. Husband of E. Mayes, of Newport, Monmouthshire.
Michie Alfred 09/10/1942 Able Seaman Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 42. Son of Arthur and Mary Michie; Husband of Helen S. Michie, of Lumphanan, Aberdeenshire.
Mulcahy Richard 09/10/1942 Fireman and Trimmer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 35
Murphy Michael Joseph 09/10/1942 Ordinary Seaman Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 19. Son of Mrs. N. Murphy, of Newport, Monmouthshire.
Murphy William Michael 09/10/1942 Fireman and Trimmer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 21. Son of Mr. and Mrs. R. Murphy, of Newport, Monmouthshire.
Mcmurchie John Welsh 09/10/1942 Second Officer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 24. Son of John Welsh Mcmurchie and Ellice Isles Mcmurchie.
Pierce Raymond 09/10/1942 Deck Boy Halifax Memorial Panel 22.
Pratt William Emmanuel 09/10/1942 Third Officer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 28. Son of George and Emma Pratt; Husband of Lilian Pratt, of Barry, Glamorgan.
Quayle John Edward 09/10/1942 Greaser Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 62. Husband of M. J. Quayle, of Liverpool.
Risk William 09/10/1942 Second Radio Officer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 29. Son of Mr. and Mrs. William Risk; Husband of Jane Alexander Risk, of Paisley, Renfrewshire.
Simons Charles William 09/10/1942 Fireman and Trimmer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 36
Simpson James 09/10/1942 Able Seaman Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 36. Son of John George and Elizabeth Simpson.
Smith Herbert 09/10/1942 Greaser Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 35. Son of David John Smith, and of Mary Ann Smith, of Newport, Monmouthshire.
Stamatakis John Stanley 09/10/1942 Cabin Boy Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 16
Tierney Dennis 09/10/1942 Fireman and Trimmer Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 19. Son of Mr. and Mrs. D. Tierney, of St. Pancras, London.
Turpin Alan 09/10/1942 Steward Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 30. Husband of Eva Turpin, of Gipsyville, Hull.
Ward Edward 09/10/1942 Able Seaman Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 31
Watson Francis Joseph 09/10/1942 Donkeyman Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 28. Son of F. and Mary Watson, of Cabra, Dublin, Irish Republic.
Watts Gilbert Shirley Joseph 09/10/1942 Boy Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 19
White Thomas Nesbitt 09/10/1942 Cook Tower Hill Memorial Panel 80. Age 37. Son of Thomas Nesbitt White and Elizabeth Freeman White; Husband of Agnes Gertrude White, of South Shields, Co. Durham.
Tower Hill Memorial
This is a photo of the panel on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorial at Tower Hill commemorating Pennington Court.[2]

Image Credits

  1. From The Allen Collection - External Reference #1
  2. Taken by the site owner at Tower Hill in July 2010.
  3. By courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives