Captain Gilbert Ratcliffe Watson S.S. Nerissa

Discussion in 'Biographies' started by liverpool annie, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Gilbert Ratcliffe Watson was born on May 4 1882 in Kendal Westmorland.

    SS Nerissa

    SS NERISSA (April 30, 1941)

    Canadian 5,583 ton passenger vessel built in Scotland in 1926 for the Warren Line. Engaged on the New York-Bermuda run before the war, she was pressed into service as a troop carrier and was sunk during her 40th wartime crossing of the Atlantic by the U-552 (Erich Topp) while en route from Nova Scotia to Liverpool, England. Carrying 175 passengers, mostly Canadian Army personnel and a class of newly graduated RAF pilots, the Nerissa, under the command of Captain Gilbert Watson, sank in less than four minutes with the loss of 124 passengers and 83 crewmembers including Captain Watson who stood on the bow of his ship as it went down and yelling to his men in the water 'Good luck boys'. The 84 Survivors were picked up by the destroyer HMS Veteran and eventually landed at Londonderry in Northern Ireland 200 miles away. (Erich Topp, who sank the American destroyer Reuben James on October 31, 1941, survived the war and died in Germany on December 26, 2005, at age 91.)
  2. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    I'm guessing HMS Veteran was a V & W destroyer, Kitty? Ah yes - HMS Veteran

    She was a successful escort and was sunk the following year while rescuing survivors from the New York with the loss of all hands including survivors from other ships already sunk. The Merchant Navy and the little escort ships should be remembered so much more for what they did.

    Btw, the Nerissa is a bloody nice looking ship! The website Annie has posted is superb and full of information on the Nerissa, her crew and passengers. It's the equivalent of Hugh's site - ss CITY OF CAIRO - and I can see why the Nerissa is so bewitching.

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