Daily Event for October 30, 2016

The trawler Northern Rover was built in 1936 in Germany for Lever Brothers Ltd. of London. Some time in 1937 the trawler was sold or transferred to Northern Trawlers Ltd. of London. In Aug. of 1939 the ship was hired by the Admiralty for use as an armed boarding vessel. Sailing for the Royal Naval Patrol Service the ship was on contraband patrol in the Fair Isle area in Oct. of 1939 when ship and crew went missing.

HM Trawler Northern Rover was due back at Kirkwall on Nov. 5th, but failed to return. The last time she was sighted was on Oct. 30 in the Fair Isle Channel. Searches were conducted by air and sea, but after several days nothing was found of the ship or her crew. Missing for unknown reasons, Northern Rover was declared lost by the Admiralty on Nov. 10th.

On Oct. 22, 1939 U-59, under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Harald Jürst, sailed out of Kiel, Germany on his second war patrol. He stopped and sank two British commercial trawlers on the 28th and continued on his patrol. In the afternoon on the 29th he sighted a Danish steamer and later that evening a Norwegian steamer, both were from neutral countries so they were allowed to pass unmolested.

At 0300 (U-boat time) on October 30, 1939 Jürst sighted a group of well lit fishing boats along with one larger one. He took no action against them and did not identify the nationality of them in his war diary. The day was uneventful until 2129 when a large, fully lit steamer (probably a neutral vessel) came into sight, again no action was taken.

That evening at 2254 U-59 was some 96 miles west northwest of Fair Isle. At that time Jürst could see a large column of smoke to the northeast. Observing closely as the ship hove into sight Jürst could see an armed ship showing no lights. Jürst may have believed that he had sailed into a U-boat trap. He noted in the war diary hearing some kind of "noises" which indicated to him that this ship may be working in concert with a submerged submarine. This was a tactic used by the British in the Great War, but in this case there was no "trap" awaiting U-59.

At 2330 Jürst submerged and moved into a firing position, he could clearly see his target in the moonlight. After making the final calculations at 2335 Jürst fired a G7a torpedo from tube #3 at a distance of 1,700 meters. After 2 minutes and 15 seconds the torpedo found its mark. He could see two bright flashes through his periscope and they could also hear the sounds through the boat's hull. The explosion caused the ship to sink immediately taking all twenrt-seven men with her. Jürst surfaced at 0014 on Oct. 31 to find nothing nothing but wreckage. Finding no survivors Jürst and U-59 continued on the patrol moving off to the northwest.

It is unclear how Jürst discovered the name of the ship he had just destroyed, perhaps he found the name on a piece of the wreckage or maybe he found a life jacket. How ever the information came to him, he did identify the ship he sank as Northern Rover. The Admiralty would not find this out until after the war.

In August of 1940 Jürst assumed command of U-104. On Nov. 12, 1940 he sailed from Kiel on the first war patrol in the new boat. Jürst sank one ship and damaged another, but by December he had not made port. U-104 was considered lost with all hands in late November, probably in a British minefield.
© 2016 Michael W. Pocock

Roll of Honour
In memory of those who lost their lives in
HM Trawler Northern Rover
"As long as we embrace them in our memory, their spirit will always be with us"

Baker, Harold W.
Barnes, John W.
Leading Seaman (RNR)
Barton, James H.
Cairns, Archibald J.
Seaman (RNR)
Cargill, John G. F.
Seaman (RNR)
Cook, Thomas K.
Seaman (RNR)
Darlow, Geoffrey A. R.
Sub-Lieutenant (RNVR)
Dodd, Harry
Seaman (RNR)
Ethell, Arthur F.
Chief Engineer Officer
Grey, George B.
Sub-Lieutenant (RNR)
MacKenzie, Robert A.
1st Engineer
MacPherson, Martin H.
Lieutenant (RNPS)
Commanding Officer
McDougall, Walter R.
McDowell, Robert
McLennan, John
Officer's Steward
Moore, Percy C. E.
Seaman (RNR)
Paterson, Angus J.
Seaman (RNR)
Pavey, George H.
Seaman (RNR)
Penton, William C.
Seaman (RNR)
Reddin, Kenneth
Seaman (RNR)
Reynolds, Reginald H.
Seaman (RNR)
Stone, Leonard H.
Signalman (RNVR)
Storr, John
Petty Officer (RN)
Thacker, Roger E.
Telegraphist (RNVR)
White, Albert E.
Lieutenant (RNVR)
Wood, Joseph
Assistant Engineer
Wright, Edward
Fireman NAP
Wife Florence (WRNS) was lost in HMS Cormorant Aug. 19, 1941.
Naval Auxiliary Personnel (Merchant Navy.)
Royal Naval Patrol Service.

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