Ceramic Survivor of Sinking

Mark Baber

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Dec 29, 2000
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In addition, the link provided above says the Ceramic didn't have time to put out a distress signal. This is not the case.

I don't remember which of the sources I cited has this statement in it. Once I get the copies of the book I've ordered---guess I need to pay first, eh?---the Great Ships write-up will have to be updated.

on 9 December the Portuguese destroyer Dao and HMS Enterprise were sent to search for survivors

This is great. It confirms what I wrote on Great Ships about the sources that state that the sinking went unknown for months.

BTW, Clare, payment will be forthcoming tonight.

:)
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Quite right, MAB - Clare writes up the transfer of ownership in the book, and the refit that took place at that time. I'm referring to 'WSL' throughout my comments, but perhaps 'Harland & Wolff built liner' might more usefully cover her entire lifespan.

Pat, there's a wonderful wealth of material about Henke and the U-Boat crew in the book - Clare has gone to great lengths to gather material about these other witnesses, including interviews with those still alive.
 

Pat Winship

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May 8, 2001
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Inger, I posted a link to Clare's website on uboat.net for that very reason! :)

Henke met a tragic end. He was captured and imprisoned in the US. Apparently he believed that he would be subjected to a show-trial for war crimes. He went to the fence of the POW compound and kept climbing until the guards killed him.

Pat
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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I'm sure they'll be intrigued, Pat!

There's a lot of material on Henke's end in the book - several accounts are represented.
 

Clare Hardy

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May 17, 2006
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For those who are interested in Werner Henke, whose story is just touched upon in my book, his biography was published by Timothy Mulligan in 1993 under the title "Lone Wolf: The Life and Death of U-Boat Ace Werner Henke". This is a meticulously researched and referenced book that portrays a complex character with no partiality either way. Tim got to know the crew of U-515 very well in the course of his research, and they hold him in very high regard. The book is rare and out of print but available secondhand through Amazon marketplace sellers and occasionally eBay. The ISBN is 0-275-93677-5.
 
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Linda Sherlock

Guest
Many thanks for the information on Timothy Mulligan's biography of Werner Henke, Clare. I just ordered it from ABEbooks and while I was doing so, one of his other books, Neither Wolves nor Sharks, about the u-boat arm of the German Navy in WWII, fell into my basket as well
happy.gif
 
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Timothy Trower

Guest
Received my copy of Claire's book this afternoon (what more appropriate place to have it mailed to than a company called "White Star"!) and it was a huge battle of wills to not read it but to concentrate on work instead.

Still, flipped through it and am deeply impressed with the amount of detail that is included. Shortly I'll be off to bed, but will probably read way past when I should be asleep.

I meant to grab it off the wall and bring it home for reference: I've a copy of a Smithsonian Institution photograph of the Ceramic in dazzle paint hanging on the wall of the print shop. I'll pull it from the frame and post the ordering number for anyone who might be interested in buying a copy from the Smithsonian.

I've always assumed that the Ceramic in dazzle paint was from WWI, but didn't see any like pictures in the book for comparison. Any thoughts on that?
 

Clare Hardy

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May 17, 2006
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Hi Timothy... now that IS interesting, and I'd certainly like to see a copy of that picture and maybe include it in a second edition. I know that the Ceramic (Troopship A40) started off WW1 in her usual livery with a bit of Aussiefication, but by 1917 she was in grey war paint (see p.80). Dazzle paint must have been short-lived and a lot of effort. I look forward to seeing the picture, it should be straightforward to ID it as WW1.

I welcome any extra info on the SS Ceramic, as the book isn't a definitive record, just the best I could do for a first edition. Hopefully we can build on it!
 

Mike Poirier

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Dec 31, 2004
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I've read Clare's book from cover to cover and I can definitely say she has set a high standard for researching ocean liners and writing books. It was the perfect blend of text and pictures and the oral history was excellent. I certainly hope she writes about another ship/ or shipwreck.
Mike
 
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Timothy Trower

Guest
At long last I remembered to take my picture of the Ceramic off the wall at the print shop and bring it home to scan. This was ordered from the Smithsonian Institution and is negative 45702G. Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.

However, and maybe I'm too old to learn new tricks, I couldn't size it so that ET would accept it (without making it the size of a postage stamp). So, here is the url to the picture.

http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j288/tjtrower/scan.jpg
 
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Timothy Trower

Guest
Pause to remember the passengers and crew of the SS Ceramic, lost this day in 1942.
 
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Faye Jeanette Brea

Guest
My Uncle (Arthur) Keith Strand was in the merchant navy when his ship the Awatea was bombed in Nov 42 - the crew were picked up by a Dutch chip Marnix Van St Adegonde and taken safely to Liverpool. From a childhood tale I behieve the gangplank collapsed and my uncle and another crew member were taken to hospital. Upon discharge they went up on a lightening trip to Glasgow to say goodbye to some nurses - arriving at the station to return to see the train pulling out. They arrived back to Liverpool to see their ship that was to take them back home NZ departing - my uncle told me that ship was torpedoed with only one survivor.
I have found in mail he sent me before he passed away an article on the Awatea - A Viking's Funeral and also Sole Survivor of the Sea - Captain James F Wise?? Chapter Seven Sapper Eric Munday Royal Engineers relating to the Ceramic. I believe this could have been the ship my uncle was referring to that was bombed. I have written to Clare but wondered if anyone knows if any other Merchant Seaman were on this ship - particularly any of the Awatea crew but presume it may have only been my uncle and his crewmate that had been in hospital that were booked. Really appreciate finding this site . Faye Brea.