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Author Topic: The Loss of H.M. Drifter Ocean Sunlight  (Read 413 times)
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Craggs
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« on: January 08, 2016, 16:36:25 PM »

H.M. Drifter "Ocean Sunlight" struck a mine on the 13th June 1940,  just off the coast outside Newhaven, East Sussex.  The "Ocean Sunlight" was originally a fishing trawler and she was requisitioned for war service in November 1939 and converted for minesweeping duties. On the evening of 13th June 1940 she was returning to Newhaven Harbour.  When she was about 800 yards off shore she hit a mine, exploded and sank.  The initial reports show that eight crew members died and five were rescued alive.

Portsmouth Evening News - Saturday 15 June 1940

STOP PRESS - HM Trawlers Myrtle and Ocean Sunrise sunk by enemy mines. Official. Feared no survivors Myrtle. Eight ratings missing presumed lost from Ocean Sunlight.

There are a number of similar newspaper reports to this one but none seem to expand much more.

The Naval-History-net shows ten casualties ( I have added their burial / commemoration locations myself )

 BALSTER, Cyril L, 2nd Hand, RNPS, LT/JX 198887, killed   (Ramsgate Cemetery)

 BELCHER, Thomas C W, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 166982, killed  (Lowestoft Naval Memorial)

 COWIE, John, Engineman, RNPS, LT/109821, killed  (Lowestoft Naval Memorial)

 CROSTON, Harry, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 167018, killed  (Lowestoft Naval Memorial)

 DICKSON, Peter, Engineman, RNPS, LT/KX 101616, killed   (Lowestoft Naval Memorial)

 KINLEY, William E, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 174488, killed  (Saints Simon and Jude Church, East Dean, East Sussex)

 LATHAM, Albert E, Able Seaman, C/SSX 21381, killed  (Chatham Naval Memorial)

 MCCONDACH, Charles J, Engineman, RNPS, LT/KX 100143, killed  (Lowestoft Naval Memorial)

 ROBERTS, Albert V, Seaman Cook, RNPS, LT/JX 165050, killed  (Seaford Cemetery)

SCARLETT, Leonard A, Leading Signalman, P/JX 137452 (on books of H.M.S. Boscawen), killed  (Newhaven Cemetery)
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Craggs
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« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2017, 09:21:05 AM »

I've posted and linked the last grave headstone photograph for the Ocean Sunlight crew whose bodies were recovered - Leading Signalman Scarlett, the link is above.

There are more details of the loss of the Ocean Sunlight on daveSea's post "Seaford Cemetery" which includes a quote from The Yarmouth Mercury 1940 and the account of the wife of one of the crew who saw the ship blow up from the shore.
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Craggs
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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2017, 07:30:48 AM »

Following the replies and additional from Alkhamhills and John regarding Leading Signalman Scarlett (link above), I am trying to find out more about the crew of 'Ocean Sunlight' and confirm her crew list - those who died and those who survived.

Lancashire Evening Post - Monday 17 June 1940.

FLEETWOOD MAN FEARED DEAD IN MINED BOAT.

News that a third Fleetwood deep sea fisherman was a victim when the Lowestoft steam drifter, Ocean Sunlight, was mined last week was received at his home to-day.  He is Charles James McCondach (34) of Back Church-street, who was chief engineer, and who is reported killed inaction.  McCondach had sailed out of Fleetwood for 11 years and was a native of Poplar, London.
Information was also received that two other Fleetwood men, members of the crew, are safe.  The are Albert Peglar, the mate, of Memorial Park, and Richard Abram, deck hand, of Custom House-lane.
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