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I am gradually, as you may have seen, working through the list of ships involved with the Volturno rescue. But it is getting harder & harder to find data of any sort as one works down that list. But we will do what we can, with this page dedicated to such data as can be found about the Narragansett, which landed 29 Volturno survivors at Gravesend, U.K., in Oct. 1913. Hopefully the page will expand as new data becomes available.

I like to start off with a full size image of the vessel to give you a quick idea of what she looked like. In Narragansett's case, I have now found my first image of that vessel. What follows is the major portion of the image contained in the Oct. 18, 1913 issue of Illustrated London News. I cut out the top of the image which was just blank sky. 'Lascelles', whose name appears at bottom right, is, I suspect not the photographer but rather an ILN engraver or technician who prepared the image for publication. I have no idea what the white line across the image is all about. Can anybody explain?

In late Feb. 2004 & sold (for U.S. $31.00), was a most interesting postcard. I tried to rotate it so the text was horizontal but lost too much detail in that attempt. The card, (at left but the major part only), was sent by a seaman working on the Samaria & has a Cunard mail 'sachet'. I trust I may be forgiven for using the e-Bay image on this non-profit & informational site.

Now it too has that white line. I suspect that back in 1913 someone took the Illustrated London News image as above & modified the image by changing the sea. Because otherwise the ship images look to me to be quite identical.

But the card is most interesting none the less.

But I find that there IS data available on the vessel on the WWW. This site, the work of Auke Visser from the Netherlands, has a single image of the vessel & also an interesting architect's drawing of it. Auke has a wonderful site about tankers and, it would seem, spent a number of years working aboard Esso tankers. As I read his words he is content (as am I, in my case) that photographic material that appears on his site may be used elsewhere for any non-commercial purpose. So I show here, accordingly, his most interesting Narragansett image. 

In these circumstances, I show you the image that Auke Visser includes re 'our' Narragansett, (black marks removed) as follows: Followed by the architect's drawing.

Maybe you can provide additional images?

Now Colin Turner, who has kindly written in, can indeed provide more images! Colin advises me that he wrote an article about the vessel, an article which, I understand, appeared in 'Ships in Focus - Record', Volume 16. And that article included 3 images, which I include next. The top image originates, I understand, with the Glasgow Museum of Transport. The two lower images, depicting the vessel at Avonmouth, are from Colin's postcard collection. Thanks, Colin, so very much!


I read, at websites which have now vanished, thanks to both Ted Finch & John D. Stevenson who posted the information, that the Narragansett was a 9,196 gross ton tanker with her engines amidships. She was built by Scott's Shipbuilding and Engineering Co., of Glasgow/Greenock, in 1903 (Auke Visser says T. Scott and Company) for the Anglo-American Oil Co, & was the largest & fastest (11 knots) tanker afloat at the time. John's data says she was 512 x 63 x 32, which I presume, with my lack of nautical knowledge, means length, width & draught, expressed in feet. Her official number was 117378. Miramar have a listing for the vessel here. And there is a wreck site listing here. And here is the vessel as listed in Lloyds List of 1907/08.

On May 7, 1915, she was attacked by a submarine south of Ireland, but the torpedo missed. But she sank with the loss of all hands (Captain plus 45 crew) on Mar. 16, 1917, off southwest Ireland, when she was hit by a German torpedo. Auke's site, confirms that the vessel was sunk by German U-Boat U44 on Mar. 16, 1917 about 400 miles west of the Scilly Islands. (at 50.12N/17.34W). This site (no longer operational) says she was en route from New Jersey to Liverpool & near to the Lusitania when she sent her SOS after being hit by a torpedo. But seems to indicate that she sank in 1915. Which year I now believe to be, in fact, incorrect. Auke Visser tells us that her final voyage was from New York to London, carrying a cargo of lubricating oil.


On Jan Daamen's site there is a list of those members of the crew of the Narragansett who received medals re the Volturno rescue - provided by Tony Jones of North Wales.

Here, with his kind permission, is Tony's complete list. 13 names in total. Thank you, Tony!

C. E. Harwood Captain Frank Thompson Able Bodied Seaman
John Bruce Johnson Chief Officer William Wilson Able Bodied Seaman
John Edward Noton 2nd Officer Alfred Civill Able Bodied Seaman
William E. Clements Boatswain Henry Charles Percival Gibson Able Bodied Seaman
Frederick Winterfield Able Bodied Seaman Trevelyan Mackenzie Apprentice
Maxime Jollivet Able Bodied Seaman Cyril Leslie Cooper Apprentice
F. Stagg Able Bodied Seaman    

All of the recipients listed above, except only for Captain Charles Edward Harwood, received the Sea Gallantry Medal, a very prestigious medal indeed.



Included in the above medal recipient list is Maxime Jollivet, Able Bodied Seaman. Now, courtesy of Bernard de Neumann of the U.K., we have two letters sent to Mr. Jollivet in 1914. The one on the left informs him that he has been granted the Silver Sea Gallantry Medal by the King (King George V) - & the sum of 3, presumably then a very considerable sum of money. The letter at right is from Anglo-American Oil Company Limited & dated May 5, 1914. It advises that the company was holding a Bronze Medal Pin & $10 in gold awarded by the Life Saving Benevolent Association of New York. It would seem that at the date of the letter, Mr. Jollivet (or Jolliviet) was no longer in Anglo-American's employ.


Another crew member who was granted the prestigious Silver Sea Gallantry Medal, was Frank Thompson, an able bodied seaman & surely one the brave Narragansett crew members who manned the ship's lifeboat back in 1913. We are delighted to be able to now present, thanks to Enzo Calabresi, of Italy, some fine images of Frank Thompson's Sea Gallantry medal.

My understanding is that the medal forms part of the estate of a deceased Italian collector. And that this medal, along with other medals also (including one whose recipient was most famous indeed - Lieutenant John R. (Rushworth) Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe, later Admiral of the Fleet, in command of the British fleet at the Battle of Jutland in 1916), will be sold at a public auction in Italy, in April 2012.

The location & exact date of that auction is now known. It will be held at the 2nd session on April 29, 2012, at Palazzo Boggiano-Gavotti, Via San Lorenzo, 5/17, Genoa, Italy - at the auction facilities of 'Casa d'Aste San Giorgio' (whose web site is here). Catalogues are, I know, available. An image of the Frank Thompson medal is here.

Do be in touch if you can provide biographical detail, etc, about Frank Thompson.


Shaun Beavon has kindly been in touch, in late Dec. 2018, to indicate that his late uncle, Herbert Joynes, then 19 years old & serving as a fireman or stoker, was aboard Narragansett at the time of the Volturno disaster. And to provide an image of a contemporary sepia postcard that commemorated Narragansett's involvement in the rescue.

Herbert Joynes, Shaun believes, is in the centre of the middle row in the black & white image below (webmaster converted from the sepia). Or in the upper middle of the enlarged image at left.

Thank you Shaun!

The words read 'To commemorate the assistance rendered to the burning S/S 'Volturno' in mid Atlantic   Oct. 10th 1913'. Within a NARRAGANSETT of GREENOCK lifebuoy.


Ted Finch, in his message that used to be linked above, states that the source for his data on the vessel was "N. R. P. Bonsor's North Atlantic Seaway", Volume 4. And also R. O. Hosking's "British Vessels Lost at Sea 1914-1918", A Source Book of Tankers and Supertankers (HMSO 1919). And now Auke Visser's fine site.


Colin Turner advises (thanks!) that the British magazine "Ships in Focus - Record", has an article on the Narragansett which includes 3 photographs (now above). The article can be found in Volume 16.


It would seem that:

a) a steamer with the name of Narragansett collided with a steamer named the Stonington in Long Island Sound on Jun. 11, 1880 - a collision which resulted in the death of 30 passengers. See here.
b) And another vessel of that name also as you used to be able to read on this page. A 3,539 gross ton coastal passenger steamship, built at Wilmington, Delaware, in 1913, purchased by the U.S. Navy in Jan. 1918 & placed in commission as USS Narragansett. Sold by the Navy in 1920 and later renamed the Richelieu.
c) A second tanker of the name was built by Vickers, Ltd. of Barrow for Anglo-American Oil Co. Ltd in 1920. Of 6889 GRT. Scrapped in 1933 & broken up at Haulbowline Dockyard in 1934. As you can read here. An image follows, ex the same source (Auke Visser).

d) An e-Bay item, now expired, indicated that Standard Shipping Co. of New York, had a tanker named Narragansett built by Fried. Krupp Germaniawerft, of Kiel, Germany, in 1936. 15,000 tons. The item mentions Panama-Transport Co. as being the owners. Maybe that was later on?
e) This page tells me there was an U.S. Navy ocean tug of the name of Narragansett also. Launched in 1979 & built by Marinette Marine Corp. of Marinette, WI. The USNS Narragansett (T-ATF 167). Still in operation in 2004, it would appear, in Maryland.

None of the above have anything to do with the Volturno, of course. There are most certainly many many more vessels in history that bore the proud name.

This page will, hopefully, track data about the Narragansett as it comes to hand. And hopefully data as it specifically relates to the Volturno tragedy.

If any visitor can clarify (or correct) or provide more information about any of these matters, I would truly welcome their help.

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