The City Of Benares

rob scott

Member
May 4, 2004
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^ yknow that's a good question I've never seen answered; where? ; there's a book coming out on't, city of benares; but til then, there's this book, includes it; Miracles at Sea;
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=4054857 (I'd know more if I read this book!)
Not only was the ship torpedoed out in the almost middle of the Atlantic, but a gale came up, so she sank in a gale which also upset many lifeboats and influenced the loss of life. I have no idea where that one is, but I bet it's très deep, like Titanic and Bismark. I never heard they had a good last report fix, a starting point for a somewhat focus'd search, like Ballard had with those other two.
sad.gif

Wait! wasn't there a rescue ship, US navy or something, pulling kids up from boats in the waters? there should be archival notes on where that rescue happened? but then with drift and all it could make for a wide range, like when Titanic angled all the way down and was a bit far from the 'thought it was' point? but at least it's a start- but maybe Ballard can't get the money for this one? not enough 'glamour factor' or something?
 
May 19, 2002
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Hi Zach, sorry for the delay in replying, i deleted your email address by mistake, i have the following on my list but thinkam a couple of survivors short.Survivors indicated in bracketts

Miss Emily Armes
Miss Jane Armes
Miss Gertrude Brown
Mrs Alice Bulmer
Miss Pat Bulmer 14yrs (survivor)
Col James Baldwin-Webb
Miss Florence Barton
Mrs Marguerite Bech (survivor)
Miss Barbara Bech 14yrs (survivor)
Miss Sonia Bech 11yrs (survivor)
Master Derek Bech 9yrs (survivor)
Mr George Blake
Miss Marion Buchanan
Dr Martin Bum (survivor)
Mrs M Carr
Mrs Florence Croasdaile
Miss Patricia Croasdaile 9yrs
Master John Croasdaile 2yrs
Mr Frank Choat
Mrs Sylvia Choat (survivor)
Miss Rachel Choat (survivor)
Mr Peter Choat (survivor)
Mr Russell Choat (survivor)
Mrs Helen Campbell
Mrs G Coleman
Mr Eric Davis (survivor)
Miss Marion Day (survivor)
Prof JP Day (survivor)
Mr Arthur Dowling (survivor)
Liet Com Richard Deane (survivor)
Mrs Maud Deane
Mrs Dorothy Deane
Liet Herve De Kerillis (survivor)
Mr Nadirshah Dhondy
Mr Henry Digby Morton (survivor)
Mrs Phyllis Digby Morton (survivor)
Miss Peggy Ducker (survivor)
Mrs A Fleetwood Hesketh
Mr William Forsyth (survivor)
Mrs P Glover
Miss Dorothy Galliard
Mr Maurice Groberman
Miss Ruby Grierson
Miss Alice Grierson (survivor)
Mr Z Gralinski
Mr H Guggenheim
Mrs Guggenheim
Mr Tom Hodgson
Mrs Hodgson (survivor)
Mrs Helen Harris
Mrs N Hicks
Mr Edgar Hutchings
Mr William Hurwitz
Mr Karl Jungman
Mr F Khosrovy
Mrs Lilian Lambert
Mr Jeno Lanyi
Mrs Monika Lanyi (survivor & daughter of Thomas Mann)
Miss Leuenberger
Mr Maurice Maher (survivor)
Mr Bill Macfarquar
Mr Francis Murphy
Mr H Marriot
Mr Bohdan Nagorski (survivor)
Mr Rudolph Olden
Mrs Ika Olden
Mrs Eileen Pine
Miss Diana Pine 6yrs
Mrs Letitia Quinton (survivor)
Master Anthony Quinton (survivor)
Mr Laszlo Raskai
Master Colin Ryder Richardson 11yrs (survivor)
Mrs Janet Stewart
Mr Kurt Stern
Mr Ernest Szekulesz (survivor)
Mrs Emily Von Ingersleben- i read somewhere she was a german countess
Miss Doris Walker (survivor)
Mrs Ethel Wilde
Miss B Wilson
Mr Arthur Wimperis (survivor)
Mrs Bertha Zoond

thats 82 i have in total so am 9 short on the survivors, of the 91paying passengers on board
 
A

Alison Botterill

Guest
Does anyone know if the passenger lists for this ship still exist? My mother, her sister and brothers were apparently booked to go on this voyage but at the last minute their mother changed her mind. I don't know if their tickets were officially cancelled or if they just didn't show up but it would be interesting to see if they were mentioned anywhere. Thanks for any help.
 
J

JEAN WATTS

Guest
My mother is looking for 2 children that she believed went on the SS Benares. Hilda Bigglestone and Daphne Powsland. can anyone help?
 
Mar 28, 2002
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I'm being a bit idle here by not searching ET for confirmation but - according to Titanic survivor Ruth Becker Blanchard, she and her family (also on Titanic) completed the first leg of their trip from India to the U.S. on board the City of Benares. I've just seen this on the THS DVD release of the 1988 convention in which she was a guest speaker. Would this be the same City of Benares?

Cheers,

Boz
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
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UK
The City of Benares torpedoed in 1940 was only about 4 years old. The Beckers would have been on an earlier steamship of the same name built in 1901 for the American & Indian Line, which was later taken over by Ellerman. That vessel was scrapped in 1933, a few years before its namesake entered service.
 
Mar 28, 2002
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See, Bob, you prove my point about getting off one's lazy butt and doing some work. I'm in bone idle mode lately.

An aside to this - a 1/1250 scale model of the City of Benares recently sold on eBay for £58.
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
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Bone idle mode? You mean there are other modes available? I should give them a try, but I can't be bothered.
 

Derek Bech

Member
Jun 29, 2007
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I was one of the survivors as listed. We were rescued by HMS Hurricane.
The following books have been written about the sinking of 'City of Benares'
1) Children of the Benares by Ralph Barker (published in 1987)
2) Children of the Doomed Voyage by Janet Menzies (published in 2006)
3) Miracles on the Water by Tom Nagorski (published in 2007)
All accounts are well writen and acurate.
In case anyone is interested I have in my possession the complete passenger/crew list for the last voyage. This was given to me by Ralph Barker and which was part of his research for his book.
 

Kyrila Scully

Member
Apr 15, 2001
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Derek, my heart goes out to you! What a horrific experience you must have endured. Could you explain how you dealt with it? What memories do you feel up to sharing with us? Do you keep in touch with any of the other survivors?

Please forgive if my questions are intrusive. I can email you privately and explain my interest if you'd rather.

And by all means, do list the survivors for our edification.

Kinds regards,
Kyrila
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
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Hallo, Derek, and welcome to the forum. I've read Janet Menzies' book and I can say that I've never been so moved by any account of tragedy and survival at sea. Your own experience and that of your family is documented in the best possible way - in your own words. And of course those of other survivors and some of your rescuers. It's not an easy read as the details are harrowing, but It's a story also of great courage and endurance, and all the more impressive because these qualities were demanded not just of adults but of young children too. I thank you and your fellow survivors for sharing your memories.
.
 

Sean Hollands

Member
Jul 14, 2007
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I am the nephew of Rev. Rory O'Sullivan who was the Catholic priest adrift for 7 days after the sinking of the City of Benares. I regret to announce that he passed peacefully away in Annecy, France on the 15th June 2007. He was 98 years of age and had outlived most of his contemporaries. His requiem mass was concelebrated by 17 priests in the church of St Maurice in Annecy on 19th June. He was laid to rest the same day in the traditional burying place for local priests of the Order of St Francis de Sales, near the Swiss border, overlooking lake Geneva.

He had been very active until the last few years, during which he suffered two broken hips and several other falls, following which he went into gradual decline.

He flatly refused to move to residential care and at the end was amongst friends in the room he had occupied for 60 years at the Ecole St Michel.

If you need further information feel free to contact me via email.

Sean O'Sullivan Hollands
 

Derek Bech

Member
Jun 29, 2007
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Thank you Sean for the information about the death of your uncle the Rev.Rory O'Sullivan. Although I never knew him, it has been reported that he was a most remarkable person.

When the 'City of Benares' sank he was in Boat 12 together with Mary Cornish and five boy evacuees and others. At the time of the rescue of other survivors (myself included) by HMS Hurricane Boat 12 was missed. They survived for 8 days on meagre rations of food and water. I think there were 48 souls on that lifeboat and ALL survived. Amongst the others on Boat 12 was Bohdan Nagorski whose great-nephew Tom Nagorski has recently published a book - 'MIRACLES ON THE WATER' - that recounts the whole story of the sinking of the 'City of Benares' and reveals the full story of what happened that night and how Boat 12 was finally rescued by HMS Anthony.

'MIRACLES ON THE WATER' is an excellent book (available from Amazon.com) and anyone interested in the story of the 'City of Benares' should read it.

In reply to Kyrila Scully if you contact me by email I will try to answer any question you have.

Derek Bech
 

Kyrila Scully

Member
Apr 15, 2001
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Thank you, Derek. I shall indeed look for that book you recommend. I do have questions, but rather than tax you I shall read the book first and see if it answers them, or creates new questions.

My personal interest is in understanding what went on in the minds of the survivors during the sinking, while they waited for rescue, and how they got on afterwards. I shall email you my reasons for wanting to know.

Kind regards,
Kyrila
 
May 3, 2002
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Wellington, New Zealand
As a young boy I read a survivor's story in one of our reading primers. I was struck by the sense of few survivors and and many children being on the ship.
How the survivor was on a raft to be eventually rescued by a navy ship. He was taken down, his teeth chattering with the bitter cold , to the engine room to be stripped naked out of his wet cold clothes to warm up.

Derek, thanks for joining us, it was an event that for me was appaling given the majority of the passengers were children being evacuated.
I only hope the U boat kapitan would have reconsidered had he known what he was firing at.

regards

Martin
 

Kyrila Scully

Member
Apr 15, 2001
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168
South Florida
I believe I read somewhere that the German captain was remorseful when he learned of the passengers on the ship. It was a different time in history, when people still had some sense of morality, and children weren't thought of as "collateral damage."

Kyrila
 

Derek Bech

Member
Jun 29, 2007
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Our small group of survivors have all been reunited in recent years mainly as a result of the researchers writing books. Amongst us we have always remembered the date 17th September and have held three memorial services which has brought us all together. We all have a very strong bond and although we remember those who perished we also give thanks for the years given to us to complete our individual lives.

For those interested in the sinking of the 'City of Benares' you might like to read an account written by Bess Cumings (nee Walder) on "FORGIVING AND FORGETTING". It can be found on the web :-

http://cowo.culham.ac.uk/assemblies/011s_forgiving.php

Derek Bech
 

Mike Poirier

Member
Dec 31, 2004
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Dear Mr. Bech,
I remember reading about your experiences in the Ralph Barker book. I enjoyed that book, but am curious as to what you thought about which book best told the story of the wreck. Colin Richardson recently published his account in Titanic Diaries by Anthony Cunningham. Am glad there is a new book out. Have you seen ET's sister site- garemaritime.com
It deals with ocean liner and ocean liner disaster like yours.
Mike