HMS Colleen


Mar 28, 2002
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Senan,

Do you know what happened to the HMS Colleen? I noticed quite a number of headstones in the Lusitania section of the Cobh graveyard, bearing different dates of death and that name appeared on many occasions. Was it some sort of training ship that was just unlucky? I can't find anything out at all about it.

Cheers,

Boz
 
Mar 28, 2002
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Well, Paul, it seems as if the Colleen was indeed an unlucky ship. I think there were at least a dozen headstones bearing it's name, all dated during the First World War.

Inger would be interested to note the Colleen connection with Captain Scott via crew member Thomas Crean.

Cheers,

Boz
 

Senan Molony

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Jan 30, 2004
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Hi guys,

The Colleen was a SAFE ship! She was basically a floating office.

Officially, she was the HQ vessel, or the "depot and receiving ship" at Queenstown. She was also the flagship of the Commander-in-Chief for the Coast of Ireland (especially the Western Approaches).

People sometimes had HQ ships on their tombstones as kind of a small boast, I guess. She was peopled by storekeepers, accountants, paymasters, and various naval functionaries of that nature.

She later had some coastguard role, but my belief is that she never saw any real action outside the harbour.

The only story I know about the Colleen concerns a warrant engineer who went missing in 1920, during the War of Independence...

There were all kinds of theories about his being spirited off the ship by the Old IRA. A month later he walked into Portsmouth and surrendered himself.

He confessed that he left his ship because of his association with a young Queenstown woman, who on discovering that he was married, informed him that he was liable to be shot by the Irish Volunteers for trifling with her affections!

This bizarre threat seems to have totally rattled him, but then there was a lot of rattling, not to mention rat-a-tatting going on at the time, and the British would shortly be obliged to haul down their flags and depart with our best wishes. They took the Colleen with them.

All in all, a very dull ship.
 

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