Peter James Mullan
Merchant Navy (R291373). Irish
|Born||28 Jun 1924||Warrenpoint, Co. Down|
|Died||21 Jul 2008||(84)|
Roster information listed for Peter James Mullan
|Ship||Type||Rank / role||Attacked on||Boat|
|Nailsea Manor||Steam merchant||Apprentice||10 Oct 1941||U-126 (1)|
|Duchess of Atholl||Steam passenger ship||Passenger (D.B.S.)||10 Oct 1942||U-178|
Peter James Mullan’s account of the sinking of Nailsea Manor:
The speed with which this order was carried out was no doubt accelerated by the knowledge that the lower holds contained large quantities of ammunition from .303cal to 15”, plus an assortment of land mines and some war heads for torpedoes. The starboard lifeboat was in the water and manned in about fifteen minutes and as we pulled away from the ship we were showered with sparks and burning embers, some of the oil tanks in the ship had evidently been fractured as there was a strong smell of fuel oil. We pulled a safe distance from the ship, which was now blazing from stem to stern, all the accommodation was in flames and the ship’s hull was glowing red, the wooden topmasts were also on fire. As we rested on our oars a star shell screamed over our boat, we learned later that this was fired by one of the escorts who thought he had sighted the submarine. After about 90 minutes we were picked up by HMS Violet, the port boat which had also safely cleared the ship was picked up a few minutes later, all the crew survived and there were no serious injuries. The corvette later attacked the submarine with depth charges, but without result. We then proceeded at speed to rejoin the convoy. One of the escort vessels remained in the vicinity of the ship for some hours and then sank her with gunfire.
By morning we had rejoined the convoy, now another problem arose, our savior HMS Violet was very short of stores and could not feed 42 extra mouths for four days until we arrived at Freetown, Sierra Leone. During the afternoon the Ellerman liner City of Hong Kong dropped astern of the convoy, the corvette closed her and we were transferred to the liner by boat, this was achieved in about 20 minutes. Onboard the liner we were royally treated the passengers gave us clothes, razors etc., and made us welcome; some had left the ship in night wear, and those of us who had gear were badly stained with fuel oil. The next four days were quite memorable, especially the delights of the dining room, where rationing hadn’t been heard of.
He also was an apprentice on passage aboard Duchess of Atholl and injured in the sinking when the tips of the fingers on the left hand were crushed. His account of the sinking:
We had sent an S.O.S. so the outside world was aware of our plight and we settled down to await a rescue ship, the day and night passed reasonably comfortably and on the morning of the 11th October a Liberator bomber flew low over the boats and indicated that he had seen us, rescue could not be far away, a little before noon smoke appeared on the horizon and by 1430hrs we were all safely onboard HMS Corinthian, and once again we were bound for Freetown.
- Personal communication