Rank: Gunner

Service No: 904590

 Date of Death: 18/01/1945

Age: 23

Regiment/Service: Royal Artillery attd. H.Q. 21st Army Group.

Panel Reference Panel 2. Memorial GROESBEEK MEMORIAL


The steamship Samvern SS, Capt. Thomas Mcl. Blaikie, on a voyage from Antwerp to London in convoy, struck a mine and sank off the Belgian coast at about 7.30 p.m. on January 18th, 1945. The explosion occurred on the port side and both lifeboats there were smashed. The Samvern carried a crew of 63 together with a number of army personnel returning home. Immediately the full extent of the damage was ascertained and it was beyond doubt that the vessel could not be saved orders were given to abandon ship in the remaining boats.

One of these, the after starboard lifeboat, capsized in the darkness and drifted away with a number of men clinging to her keel. She was never seen again. A few men swam to the captain´s boat and were picked up. The number lost was 16, of whom seven were crew. Capt. Blaikie was among the survivors who were landed at Tilbury on the following evening.