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Warsailor Stories - Page 11

Frederick Humble's Story – Norwegian Thorshavet, later British Hopestar
(the Wallsend Shipping Co.'s 5627 gt Hopestar, built in 1936, disappeared without a trace in heavy weather in the North Atlantic in Nov.-1948, when on a voyage in ballast from Newcastle to Philadelphia, having departed Tyne on Nov. 2. The captain had reported weather damage to her deep tank on Nov. 14).
Received from Edward Holmes (see this Guestbook message)

Fred's story is a really tragic tale.

Born in 1920 in  Shieldfield and educated at St Dominics Fred decided to follow his father into a life at sea with the merchant navy joining up around 1936. He had a few good years before the war started but then he had to run the gauntlet of the U-boats. On November 6th 1942 Fred can be definitely placed among the survivors of a torpedoed Norwegian Merchant vessel the M/T Thorshavet, which sank in the Caribbean. Fred and the rest of the survivors were picked by a Destroyer and landed at Curacao the next day.

Having  survived the war relatively unscathed Fred was now entitled to think that things would only get better.

He met and married Margaret Beeby sometime in 1946-7 and they were married.

Margaret was pregnant with Freds child when he was called on to do a voyage aboard the “SS. Hopestar”. It was to go to America then around the Med and back home. It never reached America and sunk somewhere in the Atlantic.

Fred was lost but his child was born and named Fred in his father's honour.

The tragedy is that because Fred was the oldest child and died so young all that remains of his story is anecdotes.

Frederick Humble.

Reports from Newcastle Evening Chronicle regarding SS Hopestar.

Wednesday November 24th 1948.



By Our Shipping Correspondent

Anxious relatives of the crew of the Newcastle steamer Hopestar (5,627 tons), missing since her last position 450 miles off St. John’s, Newfoundland, was radioed on November 14, were being told today that searching by American aircraft have so far failed to locate any trace of the ship.

Mr. P. R. Fleming, director of Wallsend Shipping Co. Ltd., Newcastle, owners of the ship, told me today that the trend of the American reports that the ship had been lost were premature, as the search by air had been in operation for only a few hours during daylight, and the area to be covered was extensive.

A vessel disabled by heavy weather could drift a considerable distance in a gale from her last or estimated position.

The ship made her last known radio report at 1 a.m. on Sunday November 14, when she told her agents of her estimated time of arrival in port.

In heavy weather

By established routine she was due to report to her owners 11 hours later after the midday sight on November 14. That report was never received.

She was known to be in heavy weather.

The Hopestar like all the ships of that company, was a well found vessel.

‘Complete approval’ in June survey

As recently as June this year she was under her periodic survey when she obtained complete approval for all equipment, including life-saving gear.

Mr. Fleming said that all her deck officers were certificated men and that in the engine room two of the men had chief engineers’ qualifications.

The vessel made the crossing of the Western Ocean in ballast and was due to pick up a grain cargo in Philadelphia, U.S.A., on November 18.

Master only 28

The master of the ship, Captain Frank H. Dufton of Western Hill Durham, who is only 28, is reputed to be one of the youngest masters in the Merchant Navy.

He has been at sea for 12 years and was first mate on the Hopestar before becoming captain 18 months ago.

Capt. Dufton has been married only three years. There are no children. His wife Mrs Marjorie Dufton (26) has gone to stay with her father, Mr James Bastin, a ships superintendant on the Tyne.

Capt. Dufton’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. M. Dufton of South Crescent, North End, Durham, said today they had not given up hope.

The crew list

Dufton F. H., master, 2 Western Hill, Durham.

Forth M. Chief mate. The Hermitage, Chester-le-street.

South C. W. Second mate. 8 Sycamore Road Linthorpe, Middlesbrough.

Lambert E. Third mate. 19 Hawkeys Lane North Shields.

Hogg S. Radio operator, 150 Kings Road Old Trafford Manchester.

Ridley H. Carpenter. 19 Catherine Terrace, Annfield plain.

Galloway T. bosun. 207 Taylor Street, South Shields.

Croney R, T. able body, 11 Duxfield Road, High Heaton.

Hunter W. able body, 34 Whitley Road, Holystone, Shiremoor.

Nichol A. able body, 85 Wouldhave Street, South Shields.

Thompson D. R. able body, 22 Henry Nelson Street, South Shields.

Reid A. able body, 100 Green Place, South  Shields.

Mckannon J. S.Q.S. 29 Eoligarry, Isle of Barra.

Tulip S. S.O.S. 10 Gloucester Place, South Shields.

Kennedy K. J.O.S., 62 Roman Avenue Byker.

Joel G. J.O.S., 1 Del-a-pole Terrace, Gilbert Street, Hull.

Wagg A.T. chief engineer, Holme Park, Graeyrigg, Kendal.

Spain C.W. 2nd Engineer, 5 Tennyson Terrace, North Shields.

Forster T. 3rd Engineer, 17 Ingoe Street, Lemington.

Moore T.W. 4th Engineer, 22 Tweed Street West Hartlepool.

Phillips J. donkeyman, 63 Prest Street, Gateshead.

McCann W.H. donkeyman, 41 Davison Avenue, Morpeth.

Carr W. donkeyman, 6 St. Marks Street, Heaton.

Bone T.S. fireman and trimmer, 39 Penshaw Street East Felling.

Humble F.T. fireman and Trimmer, 29 Rutland Avenue, Newcastle.

Henry J. fireman and trimmer, 19 Buxton Street Newcastle.

Dolan A. fireman and trimmer, 17 Harpenden Road London S.E.

Howe R. fireman and trimmer, 622 Armstrong Road, Newcastle.

Waddle J. fireman and trimmer, 10 Marigold Avenue, Gateshead.

Caldwell T. fireman and trimmer, 3 Dollan Street, Balliestone, Lanark.

Burdon H. fireman and trimmer, 42 Clipstone Avenue Newcastle.

Clarke J. fireman, 8 St. Thomas’s Crescent, Newcastle.

Boyle C. chief Steward, 51 Linskill Street, North Shields.

Parkinson W. assistant steward, 6 Garside Avenue, Birtley.

Bolam L. messroom steward, 1496 Walker Road, Newcastle.

Robertson J. cook 30 Albion Buildings, Byker.

Moore J. assistant cook, 13 Tankerville Street, West Hartlepool.

Jobson D. cabin boy, 80 Palmerstone Street, South Shields.

Henderson A. apprentice, 3 Wansbeck Street, Morpeth.

Rankin A. apprentice, 20 Percy Street Sunderland.

Apprentice Alexander Henderson is 20, and a son of Mrs. J.A. Henderson, a widow with two other children, of 3 Wansbeck Street, Morpeth. He formerly worked in Morpeth Food office.

The ships cook J. Robertson (20) of 2 Patterson Street Blaydon Haughs was making his first trip in the Hopestar and was home about 3 weeks ago.

Thursday November 25th 1948. Page 5.

U.S. Makes Final Sweep for Missing Ship


If no trace of the Newcastle steamer Hopestar, feared lost with 40 men south-east of Halifax, NOVA Scotia, is found today U.S. coastguards will call off the search reports British United Press.

This announcement was made by coastguard headquarters. Planes and a coastguard cutter are to search an area of some 400 miles east of Argentia,Newfoundland.

The Hopestar has now been posted at Lloyds as an overdue vessel.

Normal practice is for the vessel to remain in that category for some time, against the possibility of wreckage or other evidence of loss being found before being officially posted as missing.

Anxious relatives

Of the 34 North-east men among the Hopestar's crew, nine were from Newcastle, six from South Shields, three from North Shields and three from Gateshead.

There has been a steady stream of anxious relatives and friends, enquiring for news of them at the office in Mosley Street, Newcastle of the owners, Wallsend Shipping Co. Ltd. And at the Tyne and Blyth station of the Missions to Seamen.

Saturday November 27th 1948. page 5.

Hopestar search abandoned

United States coastguards last night abandoned the air search for the Tyne Freighter Hopestar, missing in the Atlantic with its crew of 37 on a voyage from Newcastle to Philadelphia, says Reuters.

Related external link:
Wreck report for Hopestar


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