Monthly Archives: September 2022

The FOYLEBANK in WW2

Built in 1930 at Harlands, Belfast, with twin screws and requisitioned by the Admiralty at the outbreak of war in 1939. Bombed and sunk in Portland Harbour in 1940.

Below is material from various sources including extracts from the book, ‘ CONVOY PEEWIT’.

Victoria Cross

Mantle was 23 years old, and an acting leading seaman in the Royal Navy during the Second World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

On 4 July 1940, during an air raid on Portland, England, Leading Seaman Mantle of HMS Foylebank, who was manning the starboard 20mm pom-pom gun, had his left leg shattered by the blast from a bomb early in the action. Although wounded again many times, he remained at his gun, training and firing by hand when Foylebank’s electric power failed, until he collapsed and died. His citation in the London Gazette reads:

Leading Seaman Jack Mantle was in charge of the Starboard pom-pom when FOYLEBANK was attacked by enemy aircraft on the 4th of July, 1940. Early in the action his left leg was shattered by a bomb, but he stood fast at his gun and went on firing with hand-gear only; for the ship’s electric power had failed. Almost at once he was wounded again in many places. Between his bursts of fire he had time to reflect on the grievous injuries of which he was soon to die; but his great courage bore him up till the end of the fight, when he fell by the gun he had so valiantly served.[2]

This was only the second occasion that the Victoria Cross has been awarded for action in the United Kingdom.

Captain W Ellarby – profile

Readers attention is drawn to the interesting profiles pulished here, and taken from the Bank Line magazines. They are of Masters and senior figures – often with fascinating accounts of life in the early days on basic ships. The hair raising accounts of life at sea in the world wars remind us all how ‘cushy’ we had it!

Profiles may be read by clicking on the profiles heading on the opening page.

BANK LINE’S FISH CLASS VESSELS

A slide show featuring Pikebank,Tenchbank, Roachbank, Dacebank, Ruddbank, Troutbank. Please use the arrows to see the images…

The ‘FISH’ class vessels were built at Sunderland, ROACHBANK completing first in 1979. They had 372 (teu) container capacity, and with hindsight they were clearly an attempt to adapt to the havoc caused by the container onset which hit traditional trades and methods hard. It was only partially successful, despite all the efforts – as evidenced by the early sale of all of them. 8 years was the longest service, with RUDDBANK only 4 years in the company.

From the mariner’s point of view, they appeared to be popular, and fondly remembered in general

The newly formed Sunderland Shipbuilders completed all 6 of the ‘ Fish’ class Bank Line vessels. They were purchased in turbulant times.

THE 2 TYMERIC VESSELS

There were 2 vessels with the TYMERIC name in the Andrew Weir/Bank Line fleet. both coming to grief in the wars of their time. The 1901 vessel, built by Russell & Co, Port Glasgow was captured at the start of WW1 by the German cruiser EMDEN. Fully loaded with sugar, she was captured and then sunk 50 miles NW of Colombo.

She had earlier been ashore in the Straits of Magellan on a voyage from Chile to the UK and loaded with 2000 tons of Ore,225 tons of skins, 1000 tons of Nitrate, and 800 tons of sugar, 1274 bars of Copper, and some silver Ore. At first abandoned, she was later salvaged and returned to service, only to meet her fate in 1914 in WW1 as above.

Although the 2 vessels were built 18 years apart, the profiles were remarkably similar. The 1919 vessel is shown below. She was lost with a heavy loss of life after being torpedoed by U-123. ( See below for the report from u-boat net.