Pilot Vessel No.4 - sunk 28/11/1940

Enquiries relating to individual men and women who served with HM Light Coastal Forces; help with interpreting service records, or with tracing former comrades
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Re: Pilot Vessel No.4 - sunk 28/11/1940

Postby Admin » Sat Oct 27, 2018 12:57 am

Stephen, I think you are correct in reading it to be M/V which would more likely make it Steam Ship / Motor Vessel. Having seen a reference to the sinking as the 29th, not the 28th, I have looked again at the CWGC, and sure enough, in amongst all the casualties for HMS Javelin, there is Lieutenant REGINALD HENRY WHITELEY of H.M. Patrol Vessel 4, who is shown in the October 1940 Navy List as HMS Boscawen, the RN shore base at Portland. So it would seem there is now confusion over the date of death.

I presume Stroomloodsvartuig 4 must either have been in British waters at the time the Netherlands were invaded, or had fled to Britain, to avoid any British or Irish nationals being interned by the Germans?

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Re: Pilot Vessel No.4 - sunk 28/11/1940

Postby Admin » Sat Oct 27, 2018 10:23 am

Incidentally, Google Translate gives the Dutch stoom, rather than stroom, as steam, loods as pilot, and vaartuig as vessel — so it's a straightforward description, but we may be looking for a Stoomloodsvaartuig, rather than Stroomloodsvartuig.

Here's a photo of Stroomloodsvartuig 19, which might be the exact same as 4.
Also:
No. 9
No. 17

And this may be the vessel, if it's not an earlier incarnation, since it appears to be an older design than those above.
No. 4

This is No. 1 and No. 5 which would tend to support the notion there was new batch of these boats constructed which were all the same.

Stephen
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Re: Pilot Vessel No.4 - sunk 28/11/1940

Postby Stephen » Sat Oct 27, 2018 10:57 am


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Re: Pilot Vessel No.4 - sunk 28/11/1940

Postby Admin » Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:12 am

Hooray at last! I found them all but that one. And the story around No. 19 mentions trying to shift the Dutch gold out of the country! So now it's a question of whether Leonard Shannon had been a member of the crew in Holland, or being based in Poole, signed up on the ship when it arrived there at some point. Also, there must be a guide to the numbers used on the card somewhere, for nationality etc. If he was a British citizen, then he should be recorded in the Roll, even as a civilian.

sidseymour
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Re: Pilot Vessel No.4 - sunk 28/11/1940

Postby sidseymour » Sat Oct 27, 2018 12:50 pm

Hi again,

The "And the story around No. 19 mentions trying to shift the Dutch gold out of the country" was a subject that I had heard but had no confirmation of and therefore reluctant to speculate further. I have a meeting with LGS's nephew on monday and will present your findings to date. Many thanks.


Sid

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Re: Pilot Vessel No.4 - sunk 28/11/1940

Postby sidseymour » Sat Oct 27, 2018 6:11 pm

Gentlemen,
I have been doing a little more digging , trying to establish the coding at the top of the Record of Death

"Also, there must be a guide to the numbers used on the card somewhere, for nationality etc."

Any clues at all for you?

Sid

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Re: Pilot Vessel No.4 - sunk 28/11/1940

Postby David Carter » Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:30 am

Ernst Dienst, my friend in Holland has sent me these links which tell the story of transferring the gold to UK:

http://www.zuidfront-holland1940.nl/ind ... -holland-2

https://www.rijnmond.nl/nieuws/141024/D ... e-Waterweg

They are in Dutch, but if you click on them, it can translate into English.

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Re: Pilot Vessel No.4 - sunk 28/11/1940

Postby sidseymour » Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:56 am

Further to the information above, today I have heard the following.
LGS was on board Pilot Vessel No.4 in his capacity as a member of the Royal Navy Reserve although, he is listed as a Merchant Seaman under the information received from General Register and Record Office of Shipping and Seamen (dated 1992).

It seems that no formal body wishes to claim him as their own!

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Re: Pilot Vessel No.4 - sunk 28/11/1940

Postby sidseymour » Mon Oct 29, 2018 12:00 pm

The date of death has been clouded by the action taking place during the hours of darkness which may explain the dates 28/29 November. I don't know if this hinders or helps anyone looking into this.

The gentleman whose Uncle is the center of attention is very grateful for the information revealed so far.

Sid Seymour

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Re: Pilot Vessel No.4 - sunk 28/11/1940

Postby David Carter » Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:58 pm

Syd That fits in - the RNR were generally merchant seamen who could be co-opted into the RN. The RNVR were civilians who had volunteered to train in the event of hostilities.

The rather rude description was that the RNR were sailors trying to be gentlemen, the RNVR were gentlemen trying to be sailors. In the event both types of reservist accredited themselves very well, the RN would not have coped without them.

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Re: Pilot Vessel No.4 - sunk 28/11/1940

Postby Admin » Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:15 pm

It transpires that there are three Royal Naval casualties from Patrol Vessel 4 recorded by the CWGC for the 29th November, including two officers:

Royal Navy Personnel
Lieutenant (E) George Percival Harding Aged 58
Lieutenant Reginald Henry Whiteley Aged 49
Ordinary Seaman John Caleb Mitchell (MiD) D/BD/X 1750 Aged 22

OS John Caleb Mitchell was awarded a posthumous MiD, the London Gazette entry for which reads:

For gallant conduct in action against the enemy:
The Distinguished Service Medal.
Seaman Edgar Leo Toms, R.N.R. X.I9222A.
Mention in Despatches (Posthumous}.
Ordinary Seaman John Caleb Mitchell, R.N.V.R., D/BD/X.I750.

It's unclear whether Seaman Edgar Leo Toms was also a member of crew of Patrol Vessel 4, or how many crew, both RN and civilian, Patrol Vessel 4 had, or who it was who recalled the actions of John Caleb Mitchell, which resulted in his posthumous award.

The record of L G Shannon's death shows three other civilian deaths from Patrol Vessel 4

Civilian Seaman
J Dick - Poole
A Moore - Poole
A Spurriet - Poole

1939 Register shows L G Shannon as a General Worker, rather than a merchant seaman, so whether this reflected his longstanding situation, or was just how he came to be recorded on the day I couldn't say. Is there any knowledge within the family of his always having been a seaman?

I have found no mention of Pilot Vessel 4, Patrol Vessel 4, Stoomloodsvaartuig 4 or Hellevoetsluis in British Vessels Lost at Sea 1939–1945. I think this reflects a general trend, in that foreign vessels crewed by Royal Navy personnel, in whole or in part, will tend to be cited in Commonwealth War Graves Commission records for casualties, as well as in records of awards, but if the vessels are lost, they are not recorded as British war losses. For example, there were a number of French submarine chasers, called Chasseurs, which were out and out military vessels crewed by the Royal Navy, and which are seen as an element of Coastal Forces, and recorded as such by us, for which there are some 28 RN casualties recorded from 5 of them at various times. But those which were sunk, to not appear in any record of vessels lost, even when their crews are.

I suspect the story of how this vessel came to be in Britain in 1940, and what happened to its original Dutch crew will lie in Dutch records, whilst what happened to Patrol Vessel 4, is likely only to be found in such documentation as may still exist in the Public Record Office at Kew, for the award of Mention in Dispatches (Posthumous) for John Caleb Mitchell. You could run the matter past the Royal Navy again, but ask about Patrol Vessel 4, rather than Pilot Vessel 4, just in case that may make a difference.

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sidseymour
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Re: Pilot Vessel No.4 - sunk 28/11/1940

Postby sidseymour » Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:52 pm

Thank you for your continuing efforts into LGS and his demise. Interestingly, the gentleman searching for this information is Patrick Toms. He is now looking into a possible family connection to this man.

There are some family anecdotes (no documents) of LGC joining the RNR in late 1939, early 1940. There is little to confirm his previous employment and how his existing skills were to be utilised by RN.
Sid Seymour

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Re: Pilot Vessel No.4 - sunk 28/11/1940

Postby sidseymour » Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:01 pm

Can anyone identify the legend on the top line of the Record of Death. What do the numbers refer to?
Attachments
Shannon crop.jpg

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Re: Pilot Vessel No.4 - sunk 28/11/1940

Postby Stephen » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:23 am

I've had a good rummage in my research guidance and online, but unfortunately I've drawn a blank on these. I do wonder though - the number for nationality seems extraordinarily high for a 'code' of some sort, even if that nationality were Ireland. The same goes for rank or rating. Of course, cause of death may offer some clue as to why he's not on the Roll of Honour...


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