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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 2:21 pm 
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Location: Warrenpoint
WARRENPOINT MAN TORPEDOED

ON THE HMS COURAGEOUS

First Class Stoker Peter McKenna of Ashgrove Terrace, Dromore Road, Warrenpoint was a member of the crew of The HMS Courageous, He arrived home on a fortnight’s leave at the home of his father Mr. Patrick McKenna, DSM, Customs Officer at Warrenpoint, on Wednesday afternoon.
Mr. McKenna looked a picture of health and none the worse for his terrible ordeal. He escaped from the vessel, after it was torpedoed in the grey twilight of Sunday evening by descending a rope and getting into a Carley float. He was in the water for over an hour before he and his companions were picked up by a destroyer.
The Carley float is a boat-shaped framework with a heavy cork rim. The occupier stands in the framework, which is submerged in the water, up to their waists. There are also ropes around the rim for others to grasp.

The Frontier Sentinel 23-9-1939


The HMS Courageous was originally constructed as a battle cruiser during the First World War, and saw some service in the maritime conflicts of that war. This vessel was present when the German Navy surrendered to the Allies on November 21st 1918.
Eventually in the peacetime years between 1924 and 1928 she was converted into an aircraft carrier. She was adapted to carry up to 48 different types of aircraft.
At the outbreak of the Second World War HMS Courageous, with her new upgraded status, she was deployed to patrol the western approaches to the English Channel, and protect the merchant convoys, from U-boat attacks in this particular dangerous area.
On September 15th 1939 HMS Courageous was patrolling an area about 300 miles out in the Atlantic, the south west tip of Ireland being the nearest land mass, when she was eventually engaged by U-Boat 29 skippered by Kapitanlieutnant Otto Schuhart. A deadly game of cat-and-mouse ensued as both vessels tried to out manoeuvre each other, but after a couple of hours, disaster struck for the aircraft – carrier, she had to turn into the wind, to allow her aircraft to take of, therefore presenting herself as an unmissable target for the predatory submarine, who immediately fired of three torpedoes, of which two were direct hits.
The aircraft-carrier H.M.S. Courageous was sunk on Sunday the 17th September 1939, in the first successful attack by a Nazi submarine against a Royal Navy vessel.
There was a huge loss of life in this encounter, out of the crew of1260 men, 519 sailors lost their lives including their Captain W.T. Mackaig-Jones .
Fortunately for one Warrenpoint man, First Class Stoker Peter McKenna, he was saved.
Mr. Peter McKenna, of Ashgrove Terrace was the brother of Mrs. Minnie Palmer, late of Mourne Drive.
Mr. Peter McKenna survived the war. His niece Mrs. Pat Hughes of Iveagh Avenue and another nephew still reside here in the town.
:cheers2:


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 5:17 pm 
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Location: Warrenpoint
Interesting article !

I found this photo of the aforementioned ship and further details of the day it was sunk on the link below.

Image

http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-04CV-Courageous.htm

Image
A 'Carley Float' (as depicted in a film)

Image


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 6:32 pm 
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Dukestreet - another interesting read.
Never knew that happened, of course this
occured before I was born.
The photo of the Ship looks
magnificient.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:40 pm 
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Another good one Dukestreet.........................


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:52 am 
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Great stuff there. In addition to the great pics from PatMG, take a look at these too.
http://www.maritimequest.com/warship_di ... ous_50.htm

For a few first-hand acounts from survivors: http://www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk/c ... inking.htm
You will note also the mention of a Carley float.

Others with family members on the Courageous:
http://www.maritimequest.com/warship_di ... _board.htm


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