Thursday, August 28, 2008

Adopt-A-Wreck Award Applicants

The T R Thompson Project Team are delighted to announce that they have (at long last) submitted an application to the Adopt-A-Wreck Award scheme operated by the Nautical Archaelogy Society.

A multi-media computer based application (Four Copies) has been sent to the NAS HQ at Fort Cumberland, Portsmouth ( where a number of the Team completed their NAS training) . The application represensts a lot of work conducted over the last four years. The closing date for applications is 1 September . Winners & Runners-Up will be presented Awards at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on Saturday 8th November.

Whatever the judges decision the project has provided us all with an immense interest which has not only raised the profile of the Wreck and it's history but also acted as a catalyst for divers to go diving , to go to new places, meet new people and in some cases add highly memorable moments to their and our lives.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Summary of the Loss of UB57

After sinking the City of Brisbane, the UB-57 headed for home in Zeebrugge, Belgium. During the journey, having first checked that the horizon was clear, she started to surface to run on diesels and recharge her batteries. Upon surfacing, Lohs opened the hatch to find himself almost directly beneath a low-flying British airship. A crash dive was immediately ordered, but they had been spotted and the airship started dropping bombs. Fortunately, they evaded sinking and continued their journey home.

On 14 August 1918, Lohs radioed to base that he had sunk 15,000 tons of shipping and was returning to base. That night he started through the narrow and swept straits of Dover. Nothing more was ever heard from him but it is likely that he hit a mine near Zeebrugge. Lohs' body and those of some of his crew were washed up near the mouth of the river Scheldt about one week later. Lohs was one of the Imperial Navy's war heroes, having sunk an impressive seventy-six merchant ships and one warship, a total of 148,677 tons. During World War II, one of the U-boat flotillas operating from France was named in his honour.

Johannes Lohs ~ UB57 Commander

Johannes Lohs has his Wikipedia Page ( with much shared data that is also on .

The website now carries a section that relates to World War I, UB57 and the T R Thompson feature in their records.

View their WWI content via :- or

Click here to visit the page on the T R Thompson

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Leslie Francis Jack ~ Memorial

In Loving Memory Andrew Jack , Master Mariner , drowned in the wreck of S.S. George Royle on Sheringham Shoal. Jan 18 1915 , Aged 45 Years. Faithful to Duty.

Leslie Francis son of the above drowned off Beachy Head through ????????????? Aged 16 Years.
[From Mr Norman Jack]

TR Thompson ~ Ships Plans

TR Thompson ~ Ships Plans
Click to Enlarge
[Info from Alf Rodenby]

The Ship's Master ~ William Shewan

A hand written record states the Master was William Shewan late of the "Gladas Royal" which was also sunk. The "Gladas Royal" was a similar / identical ship to the TR Thompson.

Photograph of a painting of the "Gladas Royal"
[Info from Alf Rodenby]

Survivors Employments

A hand written note on a copy of the ships plans says " This Steamer was sunk by a mine or torpedo off Beachy Head on 29th March 1918. All hands were lost with the exception of an Apprentice, Sailor & Gunner who were picked up after several hours in the water"

Another (printed) record states "Torpedoed and sunbk by the German Submarine UB57 at 3.45am three survivors were picked-up who were landed in Dover, the master being amongst those lost. Wreck lies in averahe depth of 30m on even keel oroientated E/W with the bow to the E. The Stern is intact but gun has fallen into the hull, her superstructure collapsed.

[Info from Alf Rodenby]

This ties in with the post of June 28th 2008 "TRT Survivors" (below) which names the survivors as :-

Apprentice - Alex Hardy Finnie b.1900 Aberdeen
Sailor - H Price (ABS)
Gunner - John Daly 27 years (b.1891?) of 58 Chapel Street, Newry

Ship Specifications ~ All that for £32,000!

T R Thompson: Port No 10, Date 3/5/1897, Built Sunderland. Builder Short Brothers of Pallion, Yard No 258, Launched 5/3/1897.

A steel screw steamer , one deck, two mast , schooner rigged, Elliptical sterned Clincher built. Fitted with a Billet head, L360', B47.2' D 24.6' Tonnage underdeck 3306.22, Poop 88.42, Forcastle 47.45, Bridge space Port 19.67, Starborad side House 22.49, lockers two on bridge space 2.62, chart house 10.31, Excess to Hatchway 41.00, Gross Tonnage 3538.18, deductions per contra 1277.12, Registered tonnage 2261.06, Engine builder John Dickinson of Sunderland. Tri Compound Dia of Cylinders 24.5,40, 66, 45 HP 300 WHP 1HP 1500 Two Boiles 1601PS. Length of engine room 47.7' Purchase Price £32,000, named after the companys agent and large shareholder in Westolls Ships. Owner James Westoll of 13 john Street, Sunderland. Designated Managing Owner . Advice under his own hand, received 3/6/97

Monday, August 18, 2008

Deteriorating Wreck

Propellor / Rudder Area 2006

Propellor / Rudder Area 2008

Upright ribs on stern 2007

Ribs hanging off stern 2008

Looking back over some of the video images taken this year it is easy to see how much the stern of the wreck is deteriorating. There are now no upright ribs on the stern with large areas now collapsed. You also used to be able swim through the rudder and propeller gap but now the hull has collapsed over the port side which prevents a clear swim through. The images above show these changes

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Sketch Plan of Beni Saf Port

Port of Beni Saf , Algeria (click to enlarge)
The plan indicates the water inside the harbour is 9m deep.

Beni Saf, Algeria in the 21st Century

I little googling has turned up a 'modern' video of Beni Saf, Algeria (the port at which the TR Thompson loaded iron ore before it's fateful journey back to the UK). I don't think the quality of the images is quite up to our own videographer's work but nevertheless it does give view of the place this century!

Click HERE to go to You Tube and the video!

Beni Saf , Algiers ~ The TRT's Cargo Collecting Destination

For more information on the Algerian port & town of Beni Saf , click HERE. Lots of background detail!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Mr Thomas Roe Thompson

T R Thompson

The Barry Dock & Railways Company

Directors of the Barry Dock & Railways Company at time of opening of Barry No1 Dock 18th July 1889:-

Lord Windsor - Chairman
David DAvies - Deputy Chairman
J Corey
E Davies
P L Davies
L Gurrett
A Hood
J W Insole
E W Perks
J H Thomas
T R Thompson
E H Watts

In 1891 the Barry Dock and Railways Company changed it's name to the Barry Railway Company.


On Thursday 18th July 1889 the new Barry Dock was opened for traffic. Mrs Lewis Davis of Ferndale performed the task of opening the dock by cutting the ribbon. The first vessel to enter the dock was the SS Arno (Sunderland) in tow of the tug Levant and steered by T R Thompson one of the Directors.

The Barry Dock and Engineering Co. Limited 1891

The Barry Dock And Engineering Co., Limited(INCORPORATED UNDER THE COMPANIES ACT) CAPITAL, £ 110,000, in 11,000 £10 Shares of which 10,000 have been issued and fully paid up, and the remaining shares are unallotted and reserved for future requirements. DEBENTURES, £50,000, bearing interest at the rate of 41/2per cent. Per annum, having been subscribed for.
The UNDERTAKING consists of a Graving Dock, with all its equipment, at Barry, constructed on about 4 1/2 acres of land, which has been leased to the Company by the Barry Dock and Railways Company, for the term of 99 years, at a ground rent of £750 per annum. The DOCK is one of the largest in Great Britain, being 732 feet in length and 113 feet 7 inches in width, with a width at the entrance of 60 feet, and can be divided by means of a caisson into two parts, so that four or more ships can be accommodated at once.
The UNDERTAKING is equipped in the most complete manner with large and substantial repairing and fitting shops, with all the most modem and efficient machinery, so as to enable the company to carry on every branch of Shipbuilding, Shiprepairing, and Foundry Work under conditions unsurpassed by any similar Company. The only Graving Dock accommodation yet provided for the shipping frequenting Barry is that provided by this Company.
The Directors are the sole holders of four fifths of the shares issued, and they are under covenant neither directly or indirectly to interest themselves in any similar undertaking in Barry. Mortgage Debentures have been issued upon the Undertaking to the extent of £50,000, bearing interest at the rate of 41/2per cent. Per annum
Directors :
T.R.THOMPSON, Shipowner, Cardiff
L. WOOD. Colliery Proprietor, Cardiff.
E.C.BREGEON, Shipowner, Cardiff.
J.R.CHRISTIE. Shipowner, Cardiff,
L. GUERET. Shipowner, Cardiff.
EDMUND HANDCOCK, Shipowner, Cardiff.
THOMAS MOREL, J.P. Shipowner, Cardiff.
JAMES WARE, J.P. Shipowner, Cardiff.
JOHN GUTHRIE, LP. Shipowner, Cardiff.
MARK MORDEY, Ship and Dry Dock Owner, Newport.
SolicitorsMessrs. DOWNING & HANDCOCK, Cardiff
Barry Dock.General ManagerJOHN LOWDON,
C.E First Published In : Barry Dock & Time Table Year BookCompiled by Lewis Lewis 1891


Thomas Roe Thompson ~ Final Resting Place

A picture of St Dochdwy's Church in Penarth, the final resting place of Thomas Roe Thompson , shareholder in the SS T R Thompson and likely to be the person that the ship is named after.

Thompson One Name Study

The TRT Project blog posting of May 31st 2004 (see archives) refers to work undertaken by Michael Thompson the great great great grandson of Matthew Thompson who was born in 1816 and died in 1864.

The Thompson One Name Study is now available HERE!

Plenty of useful information on the link, such as:-

Thomas Roe Thompson was born on 6 February 1846 in Sunderland and died on 13 April 1919 of senile decay. He married Mary Elizabeth Evans who died 25 May 1906. Both are buried at St Dochdwy's, Llandough, Penarth. He was High Sheriff of Glamorgan in 1899 and was a Justice of the Peace as well as a Ship Owner

1881: 3 church Road, Penarth
1919: 123 Stanwell Road Penarth (Click Here to Google Map View)

Family details:-
His father: was Matthew Thompson went to Cardiff from Sunderland in 1856 and set up business as a shipbroker.

His wife was Mary Elizabeth Evans. (b.circa 1846. d 25/5/1906)

Children were :-
Florence Dorbon Thompson, b. circa
Amy Thompson,
Lavinia Thompson, b, circa 1869
Emily Thompson, b. circa 1871
Gwendoline Mary Thompson, b. circa 1873
Bertha Thompson, b. circa 1876
Thomas (Tom) Roe Thompson, b.circa 1878, m. 24/9/1908 Dorethea Hancock (b.11/11/1879) their son was Graeme Thomas Roe (b. 31.8.1909 d. 21.10.68). Graeme Thomas Roe married Dora Bridget Gladstone (b.31 Aug 1907 d.11 July 1993) on 16/7/1932
Dorothy Thompson , b circa 1880

Thompson Street, Barry Docks

The Project Team are indebted to Simon Wales for the loan of two books by Brian C Luxton on the history of Barry, South Wales. One of these books contains a print of Thompson Street, Barry Docks with the text :-

"General view of Thompson Street looking towards junction with Holton Road . The Street was named after Thomas Roe Thompson (d.1919) a native of Sunderland who was a director of the Barry Dock & Railway Company. Demolished 1972, it's heyday was prior to the Great War"

Norman and Mary Jack at The T.R.Thompson Dinner

After the fabulous but quite emotional day and Dive on the T.R.Thompson Norman and Mary Jack were guests of Honour at a dinner held in their honour in Alfriston.

Norman gave an emotional speech and was presented with a framed photo of the T.R.Thompson signed by all of the Meridian Divers.

Photos courtesy of Ian Barefoot from the N.A.S

Meridian Divers A Day and A Dive to Remember with Mr Norman Jack and The BBC