Friday, December 29, 2017

Captain Shewan

He seems to have been born to Alexander Shewan and Ann Young, born Brakes of Scatness, Dunrossness, Shetland, 10 Jan 1876. It looks like he married an Elizabeth Reed in Sunderland, and had the following children -- William Alexander b. 1906, Annie Elizabeth b. 1909, Margery Catherine b. 1911, Douglas b. 1913, and Gladys b. 1916. He was one of the victims of the German raider the Seeadler, and is noted in The Sea Devil: The Adventures of Count Felix von Luckner, the Last Raider, by Sam Jefferson, but misidentified as a Gael.

Shetland Times 20 April 1918 page 4


Widespread regret was felt in the South Dunrossness district when news was received of the death of Captain William S. Shewan, through his vessel being mined in the English Channel whilst returning from a foreign voyage. The vessel was lost on the morning of Good Friday. Only two apprentices were saved.

Captain Shewan was 42 years of age, and was born at Scatness, where his mother and several of his brothers and sisters still reside. He left Scatness when 17 years of age, and has followed the sea ever since. He early got his master’s certificate, and for many years has been in the employment of the Westoll Line, Sunderland. Earlier in the war, a vessel of which Captain Shewan was in charge, was sunk by a German raider, and the Captain and his crew after being confined on the German vessel for 72 days and undergoing many adventures, was landed at Rio de Janeiro. Last year, Captain Shewan visited Shetland for three weeks in June. He was an extremely popular officer, and his loss is much regretted by his employers and a wide circle of friends. He leaves a widow and five children.

Courtesy of  :- Angus Johnson of 

Friday, December 25, 2009

Canadian Database of Sunderland Ships

An unexpected Christmas present for the project has been contact from Peter Searle of Toronto, Canada. Peter runs an information rich website on Sunderland ships which includes a reference to the T R Thompson. The index to the database can be accessed from HERE. From the index you can either navigate to Page 55 "1st of 2 pages re Short Brothers" or go straight on Page 55 by clicking HERE, Section / Paragraph 25 of that page refers to the T R Thompson.

Peter has done a good job trawling for a huge amount of information on Sunderland ships and his linked references are very useful. I was pleased to see the T R Thompson ship's plans on his site, I recognise the distinctively scanned image, it appears on several other websites which is good as it shows the T R Thompson project blog is used by many enthusiasts, which is exactly what our project brief to the NAS said. Success!

From Peter's website there is a link to the Miramar site which amongst a treasure trove of other information gives a list of Short Brothers ships. Click HERE to view that list.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

PADI Cover the Wreck of the T R Thompson

Rather belatedly I noticed that we haven't put a link to the PADI website coverage of the Meridian Divers T R Thompson Project!

So, for the record HERE it is!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wreck of the T R Thompson in DIVER Mgazine

The Meridian Divers' wreck project on the T R Thompson is mentioned extensively in an article by John LIDDIARD entilted "Newhaven New Identities" that is published in the DIVER Magazine (January 2010 edition, pages 72 to 76).

The article covers several wrecks and in particular the T R Thompson , the subject of the Meridian Divers NAS Wreck Project. John's article has some new pictures and extends our knowledge of the wreck , it really helps to have an expert on the team! We hope that the national publicity will draw attention to the T R Thompson and that it will lead to even more people contacting us with new information . The project blog is a treasure chest of information on the wreck and we hope it will be a benefit to divers with an interest in the wreck's history

If you are visiting this blog from the DIVER magazine article , don't forget that the "Lables for Quick Reference" on the right hand side panel of the screen are a good way of navigating around the site, and we would be really pleased if you would like to add a comment or provide some new information. All comments are moderated and no personal information is published without prior agreement,

Monday, December 14, 2009

T R Thompson on the Wreck Site

Details on the T R Thompson are shown on the WRECK site , click HERE

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mr Alexander A New TRT Mystery ?

I have been contacted by Robin who has been conducting some family tree research . As a part of his research into a man called Elijah Alexander, born 29th March 1882 in Lambourn, Berkshire, he checked a substantial number of death records which led him to discover a record for an Alexander (with no forename), whose death certificate shows that this Mr Alexander was a Fireman on the HMS T.G.Thompson, and died on the 29th March 1918 when the ship was sunk off Beachy Head following it being struck by a torpedo.

The certificate (copy shown above) is quite difficult to read. It has been interpretated as follows:-

No. 464.
When & Where died: Twenty ninth March 1918 English Channel off Beachy Head.
Name and Surname: -------------- Alexander.
Sex: Male.
Age: 34 Years.
Occupation: Fireman on HMS "T.G.Thompson" of Sunderland.
Cause of Death: From immersion in the sea his vessel being sunk by a torpedo.
Informant: Certificate received from Sydenham Payn, Coroner for Dover and its Liberates. Inquest held : Thirtieth March 1918.
When Registered: Second April 1918.
Registrar: Walter E Wright.

The circumstances, the date, the location all seem to point to this death being linked to the sinking of the SS T R Thompson, however, neither the crew list for the journey from South Wales to Beni Saf in Algeria (the trip before it's fateful last journey back the UK) , nor the casualty list from the Commonwealth war Graves Commission show any member of the crew with the surname of Alexander and the only person with that name as a forename was much younger.

It would seem a new mystery has been uncovered, who was this Mr Alexander and why does his name not appear on any of the crew or casualty lists we have found so far. We will need to do some more research.

(Click on Image above to enlarge)

Friday, July 31, 2009

John Liddiard's T R Thompson Wreck Photos

Professional underwater photographer & diving journalist John Liddiard , dived the wreck of the T R Thompson on 26th July 2009. His photos can be viewed on his webiste :- .

To look specifically at his shots of of the T R Thompson wreck , click . The TRT photos are numbered 2338 (and onwards). All of John's photos have captions that identify the wreck feature being photographed.

We hope that in due course , possibly after more dives on this wreck, John will be able to write-up a "Wreck Tour" in the DIVER Magazine.

Many thanks John , and well done on the identification work.