Thread: Anniversaries
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Old 30-09-20, 10:13
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kiterunner kiterunner is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Nottingham
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I will just copy this from my thread on the Great War board:

Robert Salter Bristow - My great-grandfather.

Born 8 Oct 1862 at Elmers End, Beckenham, Kent, the son of John Bristow and Elizabeth Mary nee Ferrier. Married Alice Queenie Brown 3 Oct 1899 at Hampstead Register Office. Worked his way up from mariner to Master Mariner in the merchant navy. During WW1 he was the captain of a ship called the Heron. He died on the 30th Sep 1917 when the Heron was torpedoed by the German submarine U 90 in the Bay of Biscay while on a voyage from Tyne to Oporto with a cargo of coal, and he is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial at Trinity Square, London along with the other 21 members of the crew who died.

The sinking of the Heron is mentioned in the book "A Century of Sea Trading 1824-1924 The General Steam Navigation Company" by Leslie Cope Cornford. Here is some of what it says:

On Sunday, 30th September, 1917, at midnight, the Heron and Drake were three days out from Falmouth in company with a convoy of twenty or thirty vessels,

According to the evidence of Higo, the Japanese crane-man, the Heron was struck in the engine-room by a torpedo at one o’clock am. The Japanese had just come out of his bath. He felt the ship going down under his feet, and naked as he was, he snatched a lifebelt, scrambled on deck, and dived into the sea. When he came to the surface, the ship had disappeared. The sea was smooth and the moon shining. Higo heard the cries of the crew, whom he could not see. He had been in the water some twenty minutes when the German submarine picked him up. The German gave him a shirt and trousers. They left the rest of the crew to drown.

About ten o’clock, Higo, sitting below, heard the firing of guns on board; and an hour later, Captain Carter of the Drake came below and told Higo the Drake’s crew were safe. The Drake, Captain Carter, had been shelled and sunk, Captain Carter had been ordered to come on board the submarine, and the Drake’s boats had been sent away. Twelve hours later, they were picked up by the Cronstadt, Captain Logan, who had fought the same submarine for two hours after the destruction of the Drake, and had escaped from her behind a smoke screen. Both the chief engineer of the Drake, Mr. J. Peters, and her second officer, Mr. Dax, had been torpedoed before. Mr. Peters was a survivor of the Hirondelle. Higo the Japanese was kept in the submarine until Monday, when the Germans, having sunk a French sailing ship, put him with the French crew in their lifeboat, which was picked up on the following Wednesday afternoon by the British mine-sweeper Camelia.
Captain Carter was carried to Germany in the submarine.

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