Sunday, 24 November 2013

SS Severn Leigh

A lifeboat, carrying survivors of SS Severn Leigh, made landfall at Leverburgh, Harris on 5 September 1940. The nine men on board had spent the previous two weeks or so making their way east from a position at the 25th degree longitude West, 54 degrees North.

SS Severn Leigh was en route from Hull in England to St John, New Brunswick, Canada as part of a trans-Atlantic convoy. From August 20th, the ship had been chased by German U-boat U-37, but after three days her number was up. A torpedo hit her bow, and the crew abandoned ship in four lifeboats. The U-boat's captain spotted that the ship's gun was manned, and that the radio operator was sending out distress signals. So he resurfaced and shelled the ship again. Shrapnel strafed two lifeboats, still alongside, killing 33 crew members.

Frank James Fox, a chief steward from Hull, was in one of the lifeboats, but died, or was found dead on arrival in the Outer Hebrides. He lies buried in the cemetery at Sandwick. Frank was 65 years of age, and left a wife, Emma, in Hull.
This entry is dedicated to his memory, and to the memory of the many in the Merchant Navy who gave their lives in the defense of their country, and contributing towards the liberation of Europe from the oppression of Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

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