During the First World War, both Britain and Germany relied on imports for food and vital raw materials, much of which came from the Americas via the Atlantic Ocean. Britain and Germany both tried to blockade each other, using their war ships to block the merchant ships from reaching their home ports. The British Royal … More British merchant losses in WWI
The term ‘Merchant Navy’ includes all commercial UK-registered ships and their crews. They fly the Red Ensign flag and are regulated by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The Merchant Navy is not one of Britain’s armed forces, unlike the Royal Navy. But commercial ships were awarded the title of Merchant Navy by George V, in … More Introducing the Merchant Navy
The Abandon Ship! project is currently seeking volunteers to help with the development and delivery of the exhibition and events programme. … More Help Wanted !
Our exhibition deals with the tragedy of ship losses during both world wars – along with the hardships suffered by merchant seamen in the process. In both of these wars, this suffering was caused by the new tactic of unrestricted submarine warfare – which enabled civilian vessels of all types to become subject to unprovoked … More The sinking of the Laconia “The Tragedy that changed the Battle of the Atlantic”
There were two crew members from the Isle of Lewis on board the Richmond Castle. One, Angus Murray, was responsible for saving the lives of many of his fellow crew, with his ingenuity and steadfast spirit. He was later awarded the British Empire Medal and – many years later – was reunited with fellow survivors … More Sailors from Lewis
“Abandon Ship!” – the fearful cry that Violet Jessop must have heard several times during her working life. She was an ocean liner stewardess and nurse who survived the disastrous sinkings of both the RMS Titanic in 1912, her sister ship, the HMHS Britannia in 1916, and she had also been on board the RMS Olympic , the eldest of the three sister ships, owned by the … More Violet Jessop
Wellington has other items on permanent display that relate to key events in the Second World War. There is a painting of the tanker, SS Ohio, and the ship’s bell and wheel. The Ohio was part of a convoy sent to relieve Malta in 1942. Malta was an important Mediterranean base for the allies and … More SS Ohio
A feature of the Abandon Ship! exhibition is the story of the Richmond Castle and the crew’s survival adrift in the Atlantic ocean. However, there were other remarkable stories of survival. Poon Lim, a Chinese merchant seaman, was working as a steward on the SS Benlomond when it was attacked in 1942. to this day … More Record breaking survival
Abandoning ship in the North Atlantic brought particular problems, with cold temperatures that could be deadly. In the South Atlantic, the dangers included burning sun and a lack of rainfall to collect drinkable water. In 1943, the merchant ship Lulworth Hill was sailing from Mauritius to Liverpool, the ship was torpedoed on 19 March by … More The South Atlantic
The Wellington Trust’s Abandon Ship! exhibition officially launches today. Free and open to the public on board the HQS Wellington on Sundays & Monday, the exhibition features the stories of the SS Otaki and the MV Richmond Castle. The Richmond Castle was a Harland & Wolff ship, launched in Belfast in 1939. The crew came … More Exhibition launches
Some fifty stewardesses were killed during WWI and are commemorated on Women’s Screen Eleven at York Minister. Women had been working as stewards with the Merchant Navy since the late 19th century*. After war was declared in 1914, many more enrolled to free up men for military service. Women on merchant ships – mostly stewards, … More Women in the Merchant Navy
Abandon Ship! is a formal command given in the face of danger, usually the imminent sinking of the ship. The order can only be issued by the captain of the ship – the Master – or the person delegated to take command if the captain is unable to. In wartime, coming under attack by an … More What is Abandon Ship?