"On the evening of 6th December, the officers and crews of the merchantmen in harbour were recalled to their ships, and the passengers for the Ulysses told to be onboard within 12 hours. I went out to the ship to to say goodbye to Rachel and "NL" early the next morning. Crossing the harbor the launch passed a coaster which had just arrived from Singapore and had brought among its few passengers the new Colonial Secretary, Mr Franklin Gimson. A steady stream of ships put out from Hong Kong that Sunday morning, all heading south. Ashore the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corp were being mobilised, and the regular battalions were at their battle stations on the border."
|Ulysses (Source: Wikipedia)|
|SS Myrmidon (Source: www.wrecksite.eu)|
Roger Lewis also sent me these press cuttings:"My mother,Mary Patricia Rowell,had boarded the ship in Austrailia with her parents,her father being Thomas Richmond Rowell (later to be Director of Education in Hong Kong and awarded the CBE in 1950). Apparently the ship was full of rubber from Malaya and therefore did not capsize. In my mother's account she talks of the incredible generosity of the American people. Baroness Rothschild took every passenger to Macy's store in New York for replacement shoes. On her return to the UK my mother joined the WRNS, was on incendiary duty on the roof of St Paul's and was later posted to Bletchley Park where she worked as a cypher clerk on the enigma project. Hopefully this will be of interest."
|Awaiting rescue in the lifeboats|
In the centre is Judith Rowell, Roger Lewis's aunt, then aged 11, and although difficult to seeing the photograph, she is holding three kittens which she had rescued from the ship. The cats mother was the only casualty - she went down with the ship. On the right is Vera Wickett with her baby son Peter. Vera was known by her stage name Vera Wood and was a well known opera singer.
Captain J.A. Russell was the last to leave his stricken ship. Gibson, his Quartermaster, refused to leave the bridge, and left after searching the ship to make sure that no-one had been left behind. He left with his Captain. There was no panic, women and children boarded the lifeboats first, the crew were efficient. The lifeboats pulled away before the ship sank. It was the last voyage for the Ulysses.