H.M.S. Bombala

 

H.M.S. Bombala was a Q-ship - a heavily armed merchant ship with concealed weaponry designed to lure submarines into making surface attacks.
 
She was built in 1892 at Sunderland by Bartram & Haswell for he Branch Line of Sunderland as the Willow Branch.
 
She was requisitioned by the Admiralty in 1917 and renamed Bombala, to act as a  collier Q-ship. She was also known as the Britannia, Juggler and Vinetroe.
 
On the 18th April 1918 Bombala left Gibraltar for Sierra Leone. A week later, on the 25th April, she encountered two German submarines u-153 and u-154 northeast off the Cape Verde Islands, off Cape Blanco (now Ras Nouadhibou), Mauritania. A gun battle lasting two and half hours ensued, which inflicted casualties on both sides.
 
The crew of the Bombala escaped in two lifeboats before she foundered and sank. There were just two survivors.
 
One of the lifeboats was never seen again and its official date of loss is the 26th April 1918.
 
The second lifeboat reached the coast of Mauritania,  in the estuary of the Senegal River, on the 2nd May 1918 but only half of its occupants had survived the ordeal. Twelve of the crewmen were buried at sea and their official date of death of was the 2nd May. According to Gibson & Prendergast "The German Submarine War 1914 - 18, they had drunk sea water and gone mad.
 
After making landfall, "Two of the strongest cast about and found a tiny pool of water, and after drinking a little they tottered back to their comrades bearing the life giving fluid. it was too late, they had died. These two struggled on until the next day, then, found by friendly Arabs, they were taken to a French post"  Eleven crewmen officially died on the 3rd May and the naval war graves roll says they were "Buried On Beach On Coast of Mauretania, N W Africa"
 
It is believed that Sub-Lieutenant Eric Hugh Allan had been taken prisoner aboard u-154 and died when the submarine was sunk on the 11th May 1918.
 
For further details see The Masonic Great War Project and uboat.net and 1914-1918.invisionzone.com.
Crewmen lost (official date 25th April 1918)))
OBIT RANK FORENAME SURNAME BURIED or COMMEMORATED NOTES
view Sub-Lieutenant Eric Hugh ALLAN PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL
Believed to have been taken prisoner aboard U 154
and died when that vessel was sunk on 11th May 1918
view Lieutenant Bernard ANDERSON PLYMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL  
view Engineer Lieutenant Harold Arthur COLE CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL  
view Boatswain Sidney Charles DANIELS PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL  
view Engine Room Artificer James Wilson GRAY PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL  
view Steward JOHANNES FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Able Seaman John KELLY CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL  
view Engine Room Artificer Albert Dugald McFARLANE PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL  
view Seaman John McKENZIE CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL  
view Lieutenant Cecil Henry MEE CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL  
view Fireman John MONROVIA FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Able Seaman Bertie Alfred PIPER CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL  
view Paymaster James Tompson SANCTUARY CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL Date of death given as 26th April 1918 on naval-history.net
Crewmen lost (official date 26th April 1918)
OBIT RANK FORENAME SURNAME BURIED or COMMEMORATED NOTES
view Fireman Tom AFRICA FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Ordinary Seaman William Francis BAILEY CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL  
view Fireman Alfred BENJAMIN FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Assistant Steward George BROWN FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Seaman John COFFEE FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Fireman James COKER FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Fireman Thomas COMMANDER FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Fireman John M ENGLE FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Shipwright 2nd Class Benjamin FRAZIER CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL  
view Fireman Joe JOHNSON FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Fireman Peter JOHNSON FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Fireman Thomas MACAULEY FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Able Seaman Jacob MAHER CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL  
view Seaman J MANNING FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Able Seaman Frederick MORGAN CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL  
view Fireman Joseph PARKES FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Leading Seaman Arthur King RAMPLIN CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL  
view Fireman J TAYLOR FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Fireman Joe THOMAS FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Chief Cook Mike WEST FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Able Seaman Frank James WILCOX PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL  Date of death given as 2nd May 1918 on naval-history.net
view Assistant Cook Johnson WILLBRIGHT FREETOWN MEMORIAL  Date of death given as 2nd May 1918 on naval-history.net
Crewmen lost (official date 2nd May 1918)
OBIT RANK FORENAME SURNAME BURIED or COMMEMORATED NOTES
view Ordinary Seaman Frederick William BRINKLEY CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL  
view Assistant Steward John DAVIES FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Donkeyman Samuel FREEMAN FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Seaman Tom FREEMAN FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Ordinary Seaman Richard HARRINGTON PLYMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL  
view Seaman David or Davies JOHNS FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Signalman Bruno Henry Edward TAYLOR PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL  
view Seaman Frank TOBEY FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Seaman William TOBEY FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Petty Officer George Edward TUMBELTY CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL  
view Boy Frank WILLIAMS FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
view Boatswain John WILLIAMS FREETOWN MEMORIAL  
Crewmen lost (official date 3rd May 1918)
OBIT RANK FORENAME SURNAME BURIED or COMMEMORATED NOTES
view Chief Steward George CLARKE HOLLYBROOK MEMORIAL, SOUTHAMPTON  
view Engine Room Artificer Norman A COWELL HOLLYBROOK MEMORIAL, SOUTHAMPTON  
vieww Able Seaman George GRAHAM HOLLYBROOK MEMORIAL, SOUTHAMPTON  
vieww Able Seaman George W HARPER HOLLYBROOK MEMORIAL, SOUTHAMPTON  
view Able Seaman William HENDRY HOLLYBROOK MEMORIAL, SOUTHAMPTON  
view Telegraphist William T HUTCHINSON HOLLYBROOK MEMORIAL, SOUTHAMPTON  
view Able Seaman Samuel S KIBBLE HOLLYBROOK MEMORIAL, SOUTHAMPTON  
view Able Seaman John KING HOLLYBROOK MEMORIAL, SOUTHAMPTON  
view Able Seaman Edward S LLOYD HOLLYBROOK MEMORIAL, SOUTHAMPTON  
view Able Seaman Herbert H LLOYD HOLLYBROOK MEMORIAL, SOUTHAMPTON  
view Seaman T PETER FREETOWN MEMORIAL