Trio of ocean-going souls who lost their lives pursuing Allied victory
OPERATION M.A.G. One was the name given to the mine clearance of the Mersa Matruh approaches north of Egypt.
The Fourteenth Minesweeping Flotilla, consisting of HMS Cromer, HMS Cromarty, and HMS Boston, reported having swept up 46 mines during the day in the vicinity of Mersa Matruh.
HMS Cromer (senior officer, Fourteenth Minesweeping Flotilla) struck at mine at 17.15 on Nov 9, 1944 and blew up in position 31-26.8N, 27-16E. Cromarty and Boston picked up four officers and 32 ratings (nine of which were seriously wounded). The Commanding Officer was amongst those missing. It would appear that Cromer struck a mine which was slowing sinking just below the surface.
Able Seaman Thomas Gilbert Brosnan, born Feb 1905, is recorded on the St Annes Catholic Church War Memorial.
His parents came over from Ireland in the early 1900s and his father ran a pub on Stanley Road, Kirkdale.
In 1939 Thomas lived in Bootle with his widowed mother and his older sister Mary who was a school teacher.
He was a tram conductor working out of the Kirkdale tram terminal in Liverpool.
Thomas joined the Royal Navy at the outbreak of the war and served on HMS Cromer and died aged 39 when the ship was lost. He never married.
Off Duncansby Head during the night of July 16, Imogen collided with the light cruiser Glasgow in thick fog whilst bound for Scapa Flow.
She was badly damaged, caught fire, and sank.
Glasgow rescued 10 officers and 125 enlisted men, but 19 men were killed in the collision.
Amongst the 19 killed was Leading Stoker Richard Turner, son of William Joseph Turner (died 1925) and
Anne Turner nee Chisnall (died 1964).
Richard was born in Ormskirk on January 20, 1913.
His father was the tenant of the Snigs Foot around the time of Richard’s birth.
Richard is remembered on the St Annes Catholic Church Memorial and the Chatham Naval Memorial.
On March 13, 1943, while en route from Durban, South Africa to Takoradi carrying Italian prisoners of war, the RMS Empress of Canada was torpedoed and sunk by Italian submarine Leonardo da Vinci, approximately 400 miles (640 km) south of Cape Palmas off the coast of Africa.
Of the approximate 1,800 people on board, 392 died.
She was owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Many of the crew and passengers, including dozens of nurses, were adrift in lifeboats and on makeshift rafts for four or five days before it was found.
Many men gave up their places in the boats to the nurses and female passengers who were struggling in the water.
A young doctor swam amongst the injured who were being surrounded by sharks but he himself was eventually taken under by the sharks.
The Italian POWs were lost on the ship as their cabins were locked and they could not escape.
Amongst the crew was Able Seaman Bernard Joseph Wright who was lost on that night, March 13, 1943 aged 20 years.
Bernard was the son of Thomas and Catherine Wright of Ormskirk.
He is remembered on the St Annes