Saturday, November 11, 2006

Project Meeting ~ 25th October

9 Members attended the meeting. Sheila (Hon Sec) has produced & circulated the notes. Key points of which are given here:-

Visit to Public Records Office (Kew). Andy is organising a day trip to Kew on Wednesday 6th December
Update 29/11/06 - 6th Dec trip cancelled due to numbers , to be re-arranged!

NAS Course Feedback. Andy , Tracey & Chris attended the NAS Introductory Course and said they found it interesting & informative. TRT Group members who have not attended are recommended to do so!

Accounts. It was decided to open a bank account for the Group in the name of Meridian Divers (in recognition that the Groups interest were wider than the current project (TRT).

Dive Boat. Alan announced that MacD , the brand new diving RIB was now up & running. This should allow us to more readily pursue project dives.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Nautical Archaeology Society ~ Training

The TR Thompson Project Group recognise the need for responsible diving on what amounts to a part of our national heritage. As a result the Project Group encourage members to undertake training with the Nauticla Archaeology Society .

The Nautical Archaeology Society is a non-government organisation formed to further interest in our underwater cultural heritage. Thery are a registered charity based in the United Kingdom, but with strong links to sister organisations around the world

On 21st October 2006 the following three members joined the list of those who have undertaken NAS training, when they completed their "Introduction to Foreshore & Undewater Archaeology Course" at Fort Cumberland:-

Tracey M

Andy N

Chris P

Thanks to the NAS for an interesting, well presented and helpful course.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Project Meeting 27th September

The key points from the last meeting:-

1. Measurements of the wreck should be checked at 2 yearly intervals to assess the rate of movement / change.

2. Ian B (NAS) indicated that we may be able to video the wreck in 2007.

3. Ownership of the wreck needs to be established. (NAS will enquire with reagrd to the benefits & liabilities of ownership)

4. More research (in peson) required at the Public Records office / NMM.

5. Possible side scan sonar survey in 2007.

Notes from the meeting have been produced by Sheila and will be circulated to those present.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Useful Research Website from the NAS

The NAS have forwarded the following website URL that may prove useful in the T R Thompson research :-

Researching the mariners and ships of the merchant marine and the world's navies.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Plan of Tower Hill Memorial

The names are located at E 21 on this plan right at the top!!

The Names of Crew at memorial

Apologies a bit blurred but they are located at the top!!! about 50ft up....

The Tower Hill Memorial

The names of Crew are on The Tower Hill Memorial.

Friday, September 15, 2006

T.R.T Anchor

T.R.T Anchor still in hawser


T.R.T Mooring Bollards

TRT prop

TRT Propeller
View of T.R.T stern looking up from sea bed

TRT images August 2005 Bank Holiday

Hull Plating

Images captured on last years memorable August Bank holiday Dive on the TRT taken by Matt Waterson.

Monday, September 11, 2006

TRT measuring exercise 25th August 2006

Our first attempt at measuring various pieces of the T.R.Thompson on the 25th highlighted how difficult measuring underwater can be. Having undertaken an N.A.S part one course a few years ago I had forgotten that measuring underwater is completely different to measuring on land.

Partnering up with Jim H we decided on what to measure before the dive and who was doing what. I had the easier job of just reeling off the tape whilst Jim took and noted the measurements which are listed below.

One of the questions we raised after doing this is how will these measurements and perhaps others in the future benefit the project? Are we just measuring for the sake of it?

Obviously the use of datums etc is a different ball game and is useful for plotting exact positions of items on the wreck if we want to produce a detailed map but as a team I feel we lack the experience to do this at this time.

Listed below are the measurements :-

Propeller bladehub to tip 2.24m width 1.04m

Top of pintle on rudder(seabed) to tip of centre stern rib 11.65m

Tip of centre stern rib to steering quadrant post 3.60m

Height of steering quadrant post 2.8m length from post to centre point of 'T bar' o-----)

Width of 'T Bar', 2.0m point to point

2.4m gun barrel tip to breech 3.2m base of mount to barrel

Friday, September 01, 2006

Profile of the Thompson

Profile from the 2nd dive on the 25th.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Simplified Impression of TRT wreck layout

Clicking on this impression will enlarge it . It is a very basic what's where diagram that I hope we can add to / improve / replace as we 'map' more of the wreck.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

TRT Group Meeting 23rd August

A summary of the key points:-

1. Story so Far –
Circulate document (Chris 1st) amendments and additions using ‘track changes’
Action: Andy
Response: In hand (28/9/06)

2. Success List – Goals etc.
Action: Tad
Response: Done (presented at 27th Sept Meeting)

3. Future Meetings – Notes of meeting and agenda for each meeting
Action: Sheila
Response: Done!

4. Link to NAS website
Action: Chris
Response: NAS requested on 11th August 2006 - have advised that the link should be in place within a week.

5. Project Format – DVD, booklet etc.
Action: Tad
Response: Done - Project will aim to produce a DVD.

6. Ian Barefoot – Arrange visit
Action: Chris
Response: Ian attending the next TRT meeting on the 27th September.

7. NAS courses – Details and dates for courses (see below on Blog)
Action: Andy
Response: See existing entry on this Blog & add comments as required.

Sheila (Secty)

Impression of Deck Gun

An impression of the deck gun on the TRT drawn by Chris-P following the dives of 25th August. The gun and mounting is heavily fixed to a substantial plate / decking secton . The Plate is lying at a angle of perhaps 45 degrees . Apart from a double bollard the plate and area of the gun is unobstructed. The Barrel of the gun was measured to be 3.2 metres long.

Some TRT Images (taken 25/8/06)

Hatch (foreward of Midships)

'Pump' & Railing (near midships)

Muzzle of Gun (near stern)

Double Dive on the TRT ~ 25th August

The TRT Group undertook two dives from Nauticat. Departing from Brighton at 6am with the fist dive on a low tide at 7am. The second dive took place on the later high tide giving us a very long seaborne surface interval . The first dive was dark due to a low sun and low viz. Photography was very limited and the plan to measure some dimensions was itself wrecked! The second dive was deeper and therefore shorter. Being a little lighter some measurements were taken and more camera shots attempted. After the dive the immediate 'findings' were reviewed over a Harvey's at the Badgers watch. A simple lay out sketch was produced and measurements considered. More info to follow!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

T R T Dives ~ 25th August 6am Sharp

Info from Sara B , the Thompson dives for 25th are "ON". Boat leaves Brighton Marina at 6 am sharp. Oh that's early! It had better be good!

NAS Introductory Training ~ Names Here !!

The NAS Introductory course is planned for Saturday 21st October . Cost £45.00 If you are interested in doing this course add a comment!

1. Andy N
2. Tracey M
3. Chris P

TRT Group Meeting 23rd August - Use of Blog

Special welcome to three new blog members , who have 'passed' the technology test and accepted invites to join the TRT blog:-

Shiela & Ernie
Tracey & Andy

Welcome aboard!

Friday, August 18, 2006

TRT Dives Planned for 25th August 2006

Two dives are planned on the TRT . Diving from Nauticat , launching from Brighton. Fingers crossed for good weather & viz!

Monday, July 10, 2006

NAS Introductory Training

Andy has been in touch with the NAS they have an introductory course running on 21st October. Cost £45. If interested let Andy know or add a commentto this post!


Friday, July 07, 2006

T R Thompson ~ Project Team Meeting

A project Team Meeting was held at Newhaven on Wed 5th July with a view to boosting the effort going inyto this project. In attendance were :-


Renewed energy will now be going into 1). Getting dives on this wreck, 2). Videography & Photography of the Wreck, 3). Hsitorical Research.

The period of anticipated best-viz is approcahing , so let's hope we can take advantage of it.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

TRT Dived ~ 24th June 2006

Not too much to report but even getting a dive on the TRT is a little unusual for me! Thanks to the Skipper of "Fizzing" I managed to take part in a 32.6m dive on the wreck. The viz was good at 5 to 6 metres, but the depth reduced the total dive time to 26 minutes. Short & sweet. The descent line lay a midships on the starboard side. We mad our way along the hull to the stern dropping down to get a good view of the rudder & prop. Returning to deck level on the port side we looked for the gun but could not locate it. We did spot the spare propeller (blade) on the deck area and the remains of the three bar railings. Plenty of Bib and a few large edible crabs. A very nice (if short) dive. No new info to report. No cameras taken - what a pity!!!


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Ship's Bell

Andy, Tracey & Chris were kindly invited to the home of the Bromley BSAC diver who recovered the T R Thompson bell in 1989. An accomplished diver and wreck researcher he had recovered ten ships bells but the TRT bell was the largest (and heaviest) of them all. It took Andy & Chris to lift the bell out into the daylight for a photo. Finding the bell invloved a degree of good luck , the plan had been to dive another wreck but a fishing boat moored over that wreck saw Bromley BSAC relocating to the TRT. The bell was lying upside down in the sand with only the circular rim showing. The dive team had to use a lorry jack to push winches out of the way to free the huge bell - what a find! And more luck was needed to recover it, just as the bell was lifted one of lines to one of the lifting bags failed and the bell was only prevented from sinking out of sight by a diver holding the divers ladder in one hand and the bell in the other - Phew , a close one! Chris-P

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

T R Thompson ~ Dived 6th June 2006

Just when I thought it was never going to happen - a surprise dive opportunity came along and the crew & divers agreed it would be on the T R Thompson.

The evening dive was a real bonus, air temp was warm, the sky was blue, the sea flat and the sun shining! Underwater viz lookewd like it would be good but was reduced to about 3+m and as the sun set the dive became quite dark. The shot landed around mid-ships and our little cruise around the wreck at 32m was constrained by time. We toured over the iron ore cargo and holds , found a huge boiler and engine but didn't quite reach the stern . A couple of good sized lobsters saw us and took up defensive positions but they were not our objective! Depth limited us to 29mins (inc 5m stop) so it was long ride (8miles) for a short dive but it was good to see the wreck I've not dived for nearly three years! It won't be so longto the next return!


Friday, June 02, 2006

The TRT Makers Plate

Arch researcher Andy N strikes again by tracking down the person who has custody of the TRT's makers plate. That individual has forwarded us a photo of the handsome plate.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Reconciling Lists - No progress!

As yet I'm not sure of the origin of Andy's Crew List, where as the list on the June 2004 archive is a CWGC Casualty List. I thought reconciling the two lists might produce a list of survivors - it didn't!! The lists are virtually identical, the ony discrepancy being in the Indian Merchant Service crew.

The CWGC casualty lists :
Ibrahim Ali - Fireman & Trimmer , and
Ali S - Fireman.
Whereas Andy's crew list only lists "Ibrahim Ali"

This clearly suggests TWO fireman both having the name of 'Ali'.

The CWGC list also lists "Abdullah, Fireman & trimmer", whereas Andy's list records "A Aboullah" . This is probably the same man.

Net result - no clearer on identifying any survivors!


TRT Crew List

There is a TRT crewlist in the June 2004 archive, but Andy has been trying so hard and he has included post, ages & places of birth to his crew list , so I'm gonna reproduce the deluxe version of the list :-

Master William S SHEWAN

First Mate: Evan NICHOLAS aged 69 Born in Mathry

Second Mate: Stanley SPAIN age 25 born Sunderland

1st Engineer: Thomas Stanley WOODALL age 34 Born Sunderland

2nd Engineer: Marshall GODFREY age 36 born Stockton-on-Tees

3rd Engineer:Thomas Lewis HARGEST age 46 born llangorse, Breconshire

Carpenter: T HENDERSON age 53 Born London

Donkeyman: C KRIPAH age 58 born in Copenhagen

Boatswain: Harry REMNANT age 38 born Epsom

Wireless Operator: Thomas TOWLER age 27 born Hunslet Yorks

Sailor : R WINBERG age 42 born Riga, Latvia

Sailor: Albert Edward Thomas DREW age 19 born Bristol

Able Seaman: A AGG age 40 Born Bristol

Able Seaman: Henry BAKER age 31 born Liverpool

Able Seaman: W SLATER age 38 born Manchester

Seaman: Charles Gowans CRAIG RNVR Service no 5710A age 22 born Montrose

Signalman: Hananiah REES RNVR Service no Wales/Z/3488

Signalman: George SIMPSON RNVR Service no Clyde Z/8685

Cook: Freddie HOWELLS age 28 Born Newport

Steward: Joshua Simeon DAVIES age 29 Born Cardiff

Messroom Steward: J YAMARE age 22 born Yamaguchi, Japan

Appentice: Sylvester COWELL age 17 born Northallerton

Apprentice: Leslie Francis JACK age 17 born Sunderland

Fireman and Trimmers: Hasan MUHAMMAD Indian Merchant Service
Ibrahim ALI Indian Merchant Service
F MUHAMMAD Indian Merchant Service
Abdul HAMID Indian Merchant Service
A ABOULLAH Indian Merchant Service
Umar MUHAMMED Indian Merchant Service

Cooks Boy: Alexander David EVELEIGH age 15 Born Barry

Quite a multinational crew!


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Memorial to Crew Member Freddie Howells

Good research by Andy N has unearthed another memorial to a T R Thompson crew member. Way back on the blog archive (June 2004) a post lists all the crew names, one such member is listed as Frederick Howells. Well frederick is Freddie and there is a brass plaque in the Memorial Hall, West Street, Newport , Pembrokeshire that commemorates Freddie. Freddie, born in Newport, was 28 years old when he lost his life.

In the right hand column of names shown in the photo , Freddie (listed under Seaman) is the fourth named.

Well done Andy.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

TRT up to her old tricks again!

Hmmm, now it's getting hard to believe that the TRT hasn't put a jinx on any diving upon her. I have lost count of how many plans to diver her have 'failed'. And yet again a TRT dive turns out to be an utter failure! On Sunday 7th May Mako 1 made her way out to the dive site and luckily rendezvoused with another dive boat . Why "Luckily"? Well, because Mako 1's engine refused to start having arrived on site! The other dive boat had 'shot' the wreck and Mako 1's divers used that shot to descend - to nothing! They all missed the wreck! Doh ! (Again). The good news was that the other boat towed Mako 1 back to Newhaven

Another fine mess.....!!!!

Oh well, maybe next time!

Monday, May 01, 2006

TRT Dive Planned for 7th May 2006

A dive on the TRT is planned for the 7th May. Very annoyingly I won't be able to make it (there is some conspiracy with the TRT pulling every trick to prevent me diving on her!) . Fingers crossed for those that can make it that the weather will be good and the vis excellent. Photos please!


Monday, April 24, 2006

T R Thompson Ship's Bell

A photo of the ship's bell recovered by Bromley BSAC

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Welcome to DIVER readers !

A big welcome to you if you have navigated here as a result of the "Between the Winds" article by John Liddiard published in DIVER magazine (May 2006, pp84-89). It was a great shame that the weather prevented John diving the TRT.

As you will see this blog is devoted to collating information on the TRT. If you can contribute to the work please let me know by adding a comment to this post.

Take time to look through the blog, there is quite a lot material and much of the easily found on the www stuff has been found (but I'm sure not all of it!). Ideally we like info on the TRT itself even if this indirect, pictures of the ship are always welcome, either before or after she sank.

If you have a lot of information to share add your email to the comment. All comments are brought promptly to my attention , I will contact you and if need be edit comments.

Hope you enjoy the information and that you can contribute.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Inscription on the Head stone - Fireman S Ali

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission have kindly provided a translation of the inscriptions on the head stone to Fireman Ali's grave :-

Top :


Grateful thanks to the CWGC for their assitance . The CWGC also confirm that it is their belief that Ali's grave is the only known grave for those who lost their life in the sinking of the TRT.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

How the Survivors were Rescued ?

Avid blog follower, Jim H has been surfing the www again and found this little gem (well, extract from DIVE Magazine of 4/1/2003, written by Simon Volpe) :-

The TR Thompson sank so quickly that 33 of the crew were killed outright. There was a tremendous explosion and the next thing that the three survivors could recall was that they were in the water. Those on a nearby trawler heard the blast and headed it to the debris field and found the three men. The sinking occurred at 3.50am, which is probably why most of the crew perished. Many would have been trapped below, as the ship fell to the sea floor.

Check the site yourself on :-

All we need now is details of the nearby trawler, it's crew and what happened to the survivors. We could ask Simon Volpe I suppose but sometimes journalists are relucatnt to reveal the sources!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

T R Thopmson Dive 5th Feb 2006 ~ Not by us!

This little story taken from the Yorkshire Divers website from "Tom" :-

Few of us went out on Spartacat today, planning to do the TR Thompson. Vis didn't look great at the surface (coffee coloured water) and it only got worse as we descended. Hopes that it was just a surface layer and would clear as we got deeper were dashed around halfway down the line, when we met Alan (Getafix) coming back up. Not a good sign. Eventually hit bottom at 29m, in about 15cm of vis (seriously). Only stayed long enough to locate Matt and (using touch signals) indicate we should go back up.

Hmmm, gallant effort "Tom", especially in 5 Deg C of water. Do let us know when you do see something ... that said the Yorkshire Divers article went on to say that there was a net on the wreck , so do keep an eye open and take care!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

T R T ~ Memorials : Fireman S ALI ~ Inscription

A close up of the inscription on the grave stone of Fireman S Ali. I hope that we will be able to get it translated in due course.

T R T ~ Memorials : Grave of Fireman S. ALI

As far as this project research is concerned, the grave of Fireman S Ali a member of the T R Thompson crew is the first grave to be located. As far as I can establish at this time Ali's grave is the only known grave for a victim of the sinking of the T R Thompson. The grave is situated in St James' Cemetery, Old Charlton Road, Dover, Kent.

T R T ~ Memorials : Portsmouth Naval Memorial

On 10th June 2004 I posted a list of locations for T R Thompson memorials with a view to getting them photographed. With this posting is the Portsmouth Naval Memorial which is a huge monument with many thousdnads of names inscribed upon it. Sadly I was unable to find a reference to the T R Thompson or her crew but I presume it must be there - perhaps some more enquiries to locate the inscription.