22/03/04….Kevan I. Webb….No feed back, just a couple of stories for you, ref torpedoe attack, coming back from Palestine 42 or 43, my Gran saved the day. Years later my Mum sailed on 3 schools trips. Keep it in the family!
20th April ’05….Kevan I. Webb has followed up on an earlier contact as follows –
Hi Mike, well I managed to strap my dad down to extract what i could…here goes, and I really would love for someone to fill in the blanks?
My Grandfather, of whom I am immensely proud, served as an officer in the Palestine Police from it’s inception to the end of the mandate and has the distinction of being the last serving British officer to leave Palestinian land, and he and his family had to come back to the U.K following the death of his father – they lived in Moulton, Northants.
On the convoy back to the U.K. they had to sail on seperate vessels – grandad on the ‘Al Quantara’ (please if you can confirm the spelling and any details I would be happy to know more) with Mim (gran) and my Dad on the (Queen of the Pacific) ‘Rene Del Pacifico’, again forgive the spelling, but this has more to it as well..
After the necessary, the return passage was arrange and the ‘Dunera’ was the vessel.
My Gran and Dad met with the ship om New Years Eve 42/43, I will confirm the date very soon unless you can help?
They boarded at Greenock in Scotland and sailed on New Years day, she was the Flag Ship of the convoy…….any more details please?
It was the night before they entered Gibraltar sound, just after dinner @ 7 or 8 at night. My gran and dad were up on deck,where they should not have been! The deck officer spoke with them and asked them to go back down below, when my gran, looking out to sea pointed and said, and these are her exact words according to my dad, ‘What’s that funny looking pole in the water?’
I can in no way interpret the fear that must have coursed through the deck officer, but he ORDERED my gran and dad to go straight to their boat station, which was on the deck above, and dad says he still remembers the sense of fear he caught seconds before the still of the night was wrecked by the sound of the klaxons and the ship heeling to start her zigzag as the convoy was scattered!
As they reached their station my father remembers seeing the water to fore and aft boil with the tracks of the torpedoes to starboard.
With the grace of God and my grandmother’s interference the ship was missed, but there was an immense explosion to port as the ballast ship sailing in the convoy, on the opposite tack, was struck and went down, with some loss of life. We would love to find out the name and details of this vessel in order to pay our respects?
To the delight of all on board, the next day as they were in Gibraltar sound, two destroyers came into the harbor and between them was the U Boat with the crew lined up on the deck with hands on heads. Again if we could find out any further details of this vessel or the destroyers?
As the convoy continued, they sailed into the Med and stopped at Oban to pick up some Americans who were ill and to be taken to Palestine. Though no one knew why they were ill as they hadn’t seen combat?
During this passage, one night there was an exceptionally large explosion which turned out to be an ammunition ship that was hit, and they stopped to search for survivors, and my father witnessed just two men being picked up from the ship. The futility of war!!
The rest of this voyage was uneventful and they disembarked at Port Said and that was their time on the Dunera….until my mum to be was fortunate enough to go on THREE! schools cruise, 61, 62, 63…more later (we have tons of memorabilia from these…….)
Going back to the Queen of The Pacific, we are not sure who she sailed for, but was under the ‘Red Duster’.
My father came back to the U.K. to go to school at Wellingborough, and he shared a dorm with a lad whose name he forgets, but whose father was an engineer on board the Queen of The Pacific.
One tragic day the news came that the ship had been lost and this young lad’s father had also been lost.. they had talked of the vessel because the their mutual interest and knowledge of her.
Please forgive the spelling errors but ANY other information that your friends and interested people may be able to give would be welcome.
But I am proud to be able to boast that I have touched the bell and wheel from the Ohio, what brave and selfless souls this country has given…
Take care, Kevan…