ABERDEEN BUILT SHIPS


Name
MARIE LLEWELLYN
Construction
STEEL
Type
CARGO
Date
1920
Official Number
143526
Description
Yard Number: 86

Subsequent Names: KELLWYN

Engine number 157, boilers no. 117 & 118.
Completed December 1920. Trial trip 6 December, average speed 12 knots.
Builder's certificate dated 30 November 1920.

December 1925: Sold by Llewellyn Shipping Company to Federated Coal and Shipping Company, Cardiff with Madge Llewellyn, Joyce Llewellyn and Maud Llewellyn for £80,000 in total.
July 1928: This vessel, with the Maud and Madge Llewellyn was sold by the Federated Coal & Shipping co to Cardigan Shipping Co., Cardiff for a total of £69,600.
1937: renamed KELLWYN for Dillwyn SS Co Ltd, Swansea.
27 July 1941: KELLWYN Sunk taking part in convoy OG-69 carrying cargo of coke, route Tyne, Oban, Lisbon. Crew 23 men: 14 killed, 9 rescued.

Details of sinking:
Between 00.21 and 00.24 hours on 27 Jul, 1941, U-79 (commander Wolfgang Kaufmann) fired a spread of four torpedoes and the stern torpedo at the convoy OG-69 about 350 miles west-northwest of Cape Finisterre and had to dive because a destroyer was closing in, so Kaufmann only saw a column of fire and heard several detonations. He reported three ships sunk and two others probably damaged. In fact, only the KELLWYN (Master Alexander McLean) was hit and sunk, the later explosions must have been depth charges from the escorts. The master, ten crew members and three gunners were lost. Nine crew members were picked up by the British armed trawler HMS ST. NECTAN (LtCdr H.B. Phillips, RNR) and landed at Gibraltar on 1 August. (details from uboat.net)

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MARIE LLEWELLYN: The Spanish Civil War:

On 17 July 1936 Francisco Franco led a coup against the Republican Government. The Spanish Civil War had begun. MARIE LLEWELLYN was a 1400 ton steamer built by John Lewis & Sons. Launched in 1920 the cargo ship was owned by a Cardiff shipping company, she was captained by David "Potato" Jones (he was called Potato to differentiate him from two other Jones also running the blockade: "Ham-and-Egg" and "Corn-Cob" all names derived from the cargoes their vessels carried). Although he was advised not to sail for Bilbao by Commander Caslon of HMS BLANCHE flamboyant Potato Jones decided that the adventure and the profits to be made outweighed the risks so he sailed from the French port Saint-Jean-de-Luz. MARIE LLEWELLYN might well have been soundly built in the Aberdeen tradition but modern she was not. Unlike the trawlers the merchant steamer carried no radio meaning that if she had been intercepted by Nationalists there was little chance of the Royal Navy coming to her assistance. Nevertheless with 1000 tons of potatoes she made for Bilbao, looking to carry back to Wales much needed iron ore for the country's steel industry. It was not to be and after much bluster, with the ship's whereabouts being uncertain (Aberdeen Press & Journal headline was "Where is 'Potato' Jones?") MARIE LLEWELLYN was reported as making for Alicante. The bold captain was praised as a hero but this was not universal. Member of Parliament Robert Bernays described him as a "grand figure" but rather than a hero Jones was a "sailor of fortune" who should not be given the protection of the Royal Navy.

Potato Jones's MARIE LLEWELLYN which had caused such a stir in 1937, was renamed KELLWYN and eventually became part of the British war effort against Germany. On the 27th of July she was torpedoed by U-79 with the loss of 19 men. The struggle against Franco's brand of fascism had grown into a worldwide conflagration.


Shipbuilder
John Lewis and Sons
Owner
Llewellyn Steamship Company, Cardiff
Dimensions
length 234 7/12' x breadth 35 5/12' x depth 18 7/12'
Gross Tonnage: 1464 ton
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