Archiver > MARINERS > 2005-03 > 1111436130

From: "Bernard de Neumann" <>
Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2005 20:15:31 -0000
In-Reply-To: <>

To enlarge on attitudes of the time, which, of course will not resolve the
question of the DUCHESS OF BEDFORD's success, or not. Capt J.H. Blythe of
the MENELAUS (Blue Funnel Line), took on and escaped from the German
auxiliary raider MICHEL on 1 May 42. He received an OBE for this action,
and promptly left Blue Funnel for another company. Blue Funnel did not
encourage its Masters to take risks with its ships, and required a deposit
from Masters to cover hull risk.

Bernard de Neumann

> -----Original Message-----
> From: [mailto:]
> Sent: 21 March 2005 19:18
> To:
> Subject: Re: [Mar] DUCHESS OF BEDFORD
> Dave
> It is pretty certain that the Duchess of Bedford did not sink any
> submarine,
> German, Italian or otherwise. However, during both World War 1 and World
> War 2 merchant ships were given armament for self protection (they were
> referred to as Defensively Equipped or Defensively Armed Merchant Ships)
> and carried
> trained gunnery crews to man the guns.
> There were several encounters, particularly during WW1, in which the
> embarked gun crews exchanged fire with a surfaced submarine - if it
> became clear to
> a submarine commander that he had bitten off more than he could chew, it
> was
> prudent to submerge. Such encounters not infrequently led to claims
> that
> the sub. had been sunk.
> ------
> Changing tack slightly, but still on the subject of merchant ships versus
> submarines, one should not forget the loss of HM submarine H-5. In March
> 1918
> the merchant ship Rutherglen encountered a surfaced submarine in the
> southern
> Irish Sea; believing her to be a U-boat the Master of the Rutherglen
> altered
> course and rammed the boat sinking her, with no survivors. Despite the
> fact
> that the Admiralty had realised that the vessel sunk was British, they
> allowed the crew to believe that they had sunk a U-boat, and carried the
> deception
> so far that they did not object to the award of the D.S.O. to the
> Master......the news that a British submarine had been rammed might have
> made others
> cautious.
> David H
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