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5th November 1915

Under the command of Captain Gwatkin-Williams. HMS Tara was a steam passenger vessel converted to an armed boarding steamer and was assigned to the Mediterranean Station. On the 5th November she was caught in the cross hairs of The German U-boat Commander Arnauld de la Perière on U-35. HMS Tara was hit by a torpedo and began to sink. 12 members of the ships company were killed in the action. Capt. Gwatkin-Williams and 92 of his crew were taken prisoner and interned and held as prisoners by the Senussi at Bir Hakim, seventy miles from Sollum North Africa.

Surviving members of HMS Tara’s’ ships company

Killed in action 5th November 1915

BARBER FRED F Steward Mercantile Marine Reserve

HUTTON JAMES J Warrant Engineer Royal Naval Reserve

JACKSON WALTER W Cook Mercantile Marine

JONES JOHN ELLIS J E Fireman Mercantile Marine Reserve

JONES THOMAS ROBERT T R Acting Leading Stoker Mercantile Marine Reserve

JONES WILLIAM W Leading Stoker Mercantile Marine Reserve

McKINVEN JAMES J Seaman Royal Naval Reserve

PARRY JOHN J Fireman Mercantile Marine Reserve

PHILLIPS RICHARD LEWIS R L Engineer Sub-Lieutenant Royal Naval Reserve

PHILLIPS ROBERT R Leading Stoker Mercantile Marine Reserve

ROBERTS GRIFFITH HUGH G H Engineer Sub-Lieutenant Royal Naval Reserve

WILLIAMS OWEN O Carpenter Mercantile Marine Reserve

Died of wounds 13th November 1915

THOMAS, William, Quartermaster,Mercantile Marine Reserve


Allen, Henry George, James, Thomas Yeoman of Signals,

Andrews, W J, Fireman, MMR

Arthur, John D, Surgeon Probationer, RNVR

Bagall, J O, Fireman, MMR

Barton, William, 2nd Steward MMR

Birkby, C W, Wireless Telegraphist, MMR

Black, William, Seaman, MMR

Brosnan, John, Steward, MMR

Brosnan, Thomas, Steward, MMR

Cooke, W O Electrician, MMR

Cooper, William, Greaser, MMR

Davies, David ,G. Engineer Sub Lieutenant RNR,

Davies, Owen, Greaser, MMR

Doughty, T, Fireman, MMR

Dudgeon, Leslie T, Sub Lieutent RNR,

(Was not rescued when the other crew members were released in March 1916.)

Dutton, Alfred, Assistant Paymaster, RNR,

Evans, Evan, Steward, MMR

Fenlen, J, Steward, MMR

Fulcher, Raymond,J Signal Boy

Gray, Owen, Fireman, MMR

Griffiths, Griffith, Seaman, MMR

Griffiths, W, Fireman, MMR

Griffiths, William T, Sub Lieutenant, RNR,

Gunn, William, Seaman, RNR,

Gwatkin Williams, Rupert S, Captain RN

Higgins, T, Fireman, MMR

Hughes, Alfred, Seaman, MMR

Hughes, Howarth, Engineer Sub Lieutenant RNR,

Hughes, Hugh, Fireman, MMR

Hughes, Hugh Owen, Greaser, MMR

Hughes, Owen, Seaman, MMR

Hughes, W H, Seaman, MMR

James, W, Steward, MMR

Jones, Griffith Tatum, Seaman, MMR

Jones, Harold, Fireman, MMR

Jones, Hugh, Steward, MMR

Jones, Hugh Owen, FIreman, MMR

Jones, John, Fireman, MMR

Jones, John, Seaman, MMR

Jones, John L, Seaman, MMR

Jones, Rhys, Fireman, MMR

Jones, Richard, Fireman, MMR

Jones, Richard, Trimmer, MMR

Jones, Thomas, Fireman, MMR

Jones, William, Deckboy

Jones, William T, Seaman, MMR

Learmouth, Albert J, Seaman, MMR

Lewis, Richard, Fireman, MMR

MacMillan, Peter, Seaman, MMR

MacNaughton, Charles, Seaman, RNR,

Manning, W G,J.T. Clerk MMR

Marsh, Albert, Sub Lieutent RNR,

Marwick, James, Leading Seaman RNR,

McKinven, James, Fireman, MMR

McNee, John, Stoker, RNR,

Millward, William Prince, Able Seaman,

Mintram, Charles, Ship's Corporal

Moorehead, Thomas, Fireman, MMR

Morris, Andrew, Chief Steward MMR

Neil, Robert, Warrant Telegraphist, RNR,

Owen, John, Boatswain's Mate MMR

Owen, Thomas, Fireman, MMR

Owens, Thomas, Boatswain, MMR

Parry, William Henry, Galley Boy MMR

Pritchard, John, 2nd Cook MMR

Pritchard, Owen, Fireman, MMR

Pritchard, Thomas, Seaman, MMR

Ross, Alexander, Seaman, RNR,

Rowlands, W J, Seaman, MMR

Rowlands, William, Quartermaster, MMR

Swaine, John H, Seaman, MMR

Tanner, Edward B, Lieutenant, RNR,

Tanner, George Alfred, Ordinary Telegraphist,

Thomas, Arthur, Engineer's Boy MMR

Thomas, John, 3rd Mate MMR

Williams, Hugh, Trimmer, MMR

Williams, John, Trimmer, MMR

Williams, R, Fireman, MMR

Williams, R J, Trimmer, MMR

Williams, Richard, Quartermaster, MMR

Williams, W H, Steward, MMR

Wright, G A, Fireman, MMR

Wright, H E, Fireman, MMR

Wright, Thomas, Fireman, MMR

The 2nd Duke of Westminster having been made aware of British prisoners being held in the desert set out on a rescue mission with nine armoured cars, twenty six other cars and ten moror ambulances traversing 115 miles of desert. They reached the camp on the 18 March 1916. On seeing the cars, the Senussi guards fled, but were pursued and killed, the 91 prisoners who had been treated “Barbarously" by their Turkish and Arab guards were on the point of starvation when rescued, they were brought back to Sollum. Two prisoners, George Cox and John Hodgson, died in early January 1916 due to severe malnutrition. Two more of the Tara’s prisoners died in late January and early February, the first was Robert Williams and then Owen Roberts.

Captain Gwatkin-Williams survived the Great War and went on to become a successful author.