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They Defied The U-Boats

Discussion in 'Merchant Navy During WWII' started by Jim, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    At the beginning of the war the King sent the following message to the British Merchant Navy and British Fishing Fleets:

    “In these anxious days, I would like to express to all officers and men in the British Merchant Navy and the British Fishing Fleets my confidence in their unflinching determination to play their vital part in defence. To each one I would say, Yours is a task no less essential to my people's existence than that allotted to the Navy, Army and Air Force. Upon you the nation depends for much of its foodstuffs and raw materials and for the transport of its troops overseas. You have a long and glorious history, and I am proud to bear the title Master of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets. I know that you will carry out your duties with resolution and with fortitude, and that the high, chivalrous traditions of your calling are safe in your hands. God keep you and prosper you in your great task."

    Here are some of the chief types of merchant ships that defied the U-boats.


    (1) A small tramp steamer such as this one plied round the coasts and to Continental ports.
    (2) A tanker which brought home Britain's supplies of oil.
    (3) A small coasting steamer, whose funnel could be lowered to pass under bridges. She carried a gun aft.


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    (4) A refrigerator ship that carried meat cargoes to Britain from Australia and South America.
    (5) A “Luxury” passenger liner of the Union Castle line.
    (6) A cargo liner which carried mixed cargoes on regular routes and a few passengers.

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