The true story of how the World War Two merchantman the 'English Trader' met her end at the hands of the sea, and how her crew were rescued against the odds by the Cromer lifeboat.
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This is the story of how a gallant but somewhat temperamental 'lady' of the Merchant Navy, the English Trader, met her end during World War Two, not at the hands of the Germans but of an older enemy – the sea. She had survived two years of war hazards; mines, torpedoes and bombs; sailed many thousands of miles (including 3,000 with all her four coal-filled holds on fire); and fetched and carried thousands of tons of valuable cargo to her U-boat threatened island home.
It also tells what the crew of two Royal National Lifeboat Institution lifeboats risked and suffered to rescue forty-four of her crew from the fury of the North Sea, in what Cromer's ex-coxswain Henry 'Shrimp' Davies now describes as "the most thrilling mission" of his experience. This mission was to test the seamanship and character of Cromer's famous coxswain, Henry Blogg, to the limit, but he survived the ordeal of near disaster and served another six years before retiring. He died in 1954.
The service to the English Trader was his supreme trial, and the sea almost beat him. As Henry Blogg said when the lifeboat was 'knocked down', "The boat was hit hardest abaft the fore cockpit. Had she been hit as hard along her whole length there would be no lifeboat crew in Cromer today." But the boat did right herself and Henry Blogg finished the job.
1. The Armed Freighter and Her Gunner
2. The Beginning of the End
3. Aground on Hammond Knoll
4. Three Men Swept Overboard
5. 'Lifeboat on the Way'
7. The Yarmouth and Gorleston Lifeboat Launches
8. Another Night on the Wreck