Date of Birth: 1923
Place of Birth: Southampton
Service number Not known
Service: Merchant Navy
Ship: SS Port Auckland
Date of Death: 17 March 1943 aged 20 years
Death Location: North Atlantic Ocean
Life before the War
Albert was the son of David Albert and Martha Elizabeth Williams of Southampton.
Kelly’s Directories give the following addresses: 1935 Albert’s father was living at 7 Andersons Road. In 1939/40/41 he was living at 130 Bernard Street.
Albert joined the Merchant Navy and became a Fireman and Trimmer serving on SS Port Auckland.
The SS Port Auckland was a British cargo steamer built in 1922. On 17th March 1943 she was in convoy SC-122 a group of 60 ships escorted by 2 destroyers, 1 frigate, 5 corvettes and 1 treasury class cutter.
SS Port Auckland was en route from Brisbane, Cristobel and Halifax for Belfast, Lough and Avonmouth, carrying a cargo of 7000 tons of frozen produce and 1000 tons of general cargo and mail when submarine *U-305 led by Rudolf Bahr fired 2 torpedoes at convoy SC-122 South East of Cape Farewell.
Cape Farewell is a headland on the southern shore of Eggers Island, Greenland; it is the southernmost extent of Greenland, projecting out into the North Atlantic Ocean and the Labrador Sea.
The first torpedo hit the engine room on the starboard side, a second torpedo hit at 11.10pm breaking her back after which she sank. Eight crew members were lost from a total of 108. She fired two white distress rockets. The flower class corvette HMS Godetia took aboard the master, 87 crew members, 12 gunners and 10 passengers who were RAF personnel and landed them at Gourock in Scotland.
Albert was one of the crew who died on 17 March 1943, he was aged just 20.
Albert is also remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial Wall- Panel 83
* The UBoat 305 was Sunk on 17 January 1944 in the North Atlantic Ocean, south-west of Ireland, by depth charges from the British destroyer HMS Wanderer and the British frigate HMS Glenarm. The Uboat was armed with torpedos and is reported to have exploded.
Convoy SC-122 later took part in the Battle for the Atlantic in March 1943.
Researched by Lona Fryatt and Brenda White June 2014, we very much appreciate the interest from Albert’s relative Genevieve Martha Bailey, and thank her for providing the photographs and information.
NB. Photographs should not be copied without the permission of Genevieve Bailey.