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Person Details
Nottingham
He was the 48 year-old son of the late Elijah and Sarah Holroyd. His last address was 168 Sixty Eight Street, Brooklyn, New York.
24 Mar 1918
48
Captain
Captain Ernest James Holroyd, the master of the S.S. War Knight, was killed when his ship was in collision with the O.B. Jennings, then the largest tanker in the world, on 24th March 1918. A major fire broke out and then the War Knight struck a mine – only two members of the crew of 42 survived. Nottingham Evening Post 7/5/1918: “HOLROYD. – In loving memory of Capt. Ernest James Holroyd, who lost his life at sea March 24th, 1918.” Sheffield Evening Telegraph 3/7/1919: “AN EPIC STORY. “Crew Jump into Sea of Blazing Naphtha. “OIL SHIPS COLLIDE. “Blazing Steamer Sunk, Salved and then Torpedoed. “(BY OUR PRIVATE WIRE.) “In the Admiralty Court, to-day, [31st July 1919] Mr. Justice Hill gave judgment in an action for damages brought by the Shipping Controller, for the loss of the Standard steamship War Knight, an oil tanker, by reason of a disastrous collision between that vessel and the American steamship O. B. Jennings, also an oil tanker, in the English Channel on the early morning of March 24, 1918. “Of the War Knight's crew of 42 there were only ten survivors. “The disaster involved damages running into over £1,000,000. As a result of the collision one of the naphtha tanks of the O. B. Jennings was smashed, and the naphtha becoming ignited, spurted high into the air, and enveloped both ships, which caught fire. Naphtha flowing on to the water burst into flames, and for a time the vessels appeared to be in a sea of fire. “Those of the War Knights’ crew who jumped overboard found themselves in the blazing naphtha. With one exception the crew of the American vessel escaped. Some got away in the port side lifeboats, being picked up by destroyers which hurried to the scene of the disaster. “Although his vessel was burning furiously, and there was imminent risk of explosions, the master of the O. B. Jennings, with his chief officer, chief engineer, chief gunner, and wireless operators, remained on board until the arrival of a destroyer. “After the others had been got into safety the master endeavoured to jump on board the destroyer, but, missing his footing, he fell between the vessels. Happily he was rescued. “The O. B. Jennings was ultimately towed into Sandown Bay, Isle of Wight, where she burned for ten days, being then sunk by gunfire to extinguish the flames. “Subsequently she was salved and temporarily repaired. She sailed for the United States in July, 1918, but was torpedoed by an enemy submarine when 80 miles from the American coast. “The War Knight was towed into Freshwater Bay, where she sank. “The defence of the owners of the O. B. Jennings was that the collision occurred without negligence on the part of either vessel. “Mr. Justice Hill found that the plaintiffs had failed to establish any negligence contributing to the collision on the part of the O. B. Jennings, and the action was accordingly dismissed with costs. “His Lordship mentioned that none of those on duty on the War Knight, except the third engineer and an A.B. who was standing by, survived. The third engineer owed his safety to the heroism of the chief engineer, who sacrificed his life to save others of the engineer staff.” [2] As the loss of his ship was treated as an accident, he is not commemorated as a war casualty and has no known memorial. Courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
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