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Person Details
Nottingham
He was the son of Edward Clifford and Annie Brewster and the brother of Herbert Cyril Brewster. In 1911 they lived at 58 Trent Boulevard West Bridgford Nottingham.
In 1911 he was an architect's assistant.
07 Dec 1916
21
2979875 - CWGC Website
Wireless Operator
Mercantile Marine SS Conch (London) SS Conch was built by Swan Hunter at Wallsend in 1909 as a bulk tanker for the Anglo Saxon Petroleum Co Ltd, (Shell), hence the name. Like all early tankers the bridge and officer accommodation was amidships with the engine room and crew quarters at the stern. She weighed 5620 tons gross. Her final voyage began when she left Tilbury on 28th October 1916 for the Far East where they coasted for several months calling at Singapore and Calcutta among other ports. The shipment of liquid benzene for the voyage home was loaded at Rangoon. They left on 27th October 1916 bound for Thameshaven. The following is a summary of events taken from two statements the Chief Engineer of the SS Conch, who survived the sinking, gave to the Board of Trade and Admiralty within four days of the sinking: 'The Conch called at Gibraltar on 29th November to receive route instructions for the passage to London. Warnings of submarine activity in the English Channel had been picked up by wireless on 6th December. All went well with the ship proceeding at 10 knots until somewhere off Portland Bill at about 10.30 pm on 7th December when a sudden explosion shook the ship, which listed to port and then righted itself. The Chief Engineer immediately went to the engine room and found everything in order with the 4th Engineer on watch. He called the other two engineers who reported that the ship was ablaze. The explosion must have ruptured the tank tops and sent a column of burning oil over the bridge. Telegraph contact with the bridge was tried but no reply was forthcoming. The Chief Engineer believed that all on the bridge would have been killed instantly. The engineers kept the ship going to prevent burning oil collecting round the ship. Four Chinese crew members also took shelter in the engine room. They remained below until about 12.30 am when the 2nd engineer managed to get out through the stokehold and everyone else followed. The bridge was totally burned out and the forward tanks were still ablaze. All the lifeboats had been swung out earlier as a precaution, but all of them were gone. The Chief Engineer was not sure if men had escaped in them or they had been burnt. A small boat was found in the well deck and they got it into the water. The Chief Engineer and the Chinese got in but the 4th Engineer drowned in the attempt as his hands were so badly burned that he could not hold the rope. The rope then broke and the boat drifted astern of the ship which was still proceeding up Channel with the other two engineers aboard. They made a raft and jumped overboard at about 4.00 am and were picked up later. The Chief Engineer and his Chinese companions were picked up at about 2.0 am by SS Rattray Head, which also rescued a further five Chinese crew. When last seen by the Chief Engineer the Conch was well down at the bow and gradually sinking. The Chief engineer was unable to confirm if the explosion was caused by a torpedo or a mine. German documents claim that the Conch was torpedoed by submarine UB 23. Although she was hit off Portland Bill, she travelled a further 20 miles to 12 miles off St Albans Head, near Swanage before sinking. A total of 28 lives were lost.' Courtesy of http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~stormrhb/clarks.htm David Nunn
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