Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Luton Men Describe Sinking of Troop Ship Tyndareus

Wednesday 18th April 1917: Two Luton soldiers have written describing their experiences on the transport ship Tyndareus, which sank after hitting a mine off the coast of Africa on 6th February. Corporal Stephen Toyer of the Middlesex Regiment, whose home is at 15 Tavistock Street, wrote to his mother:
“You no doubt know what happened to our ship on the night of February 6th. Thank God, I have got through with my life! That is all, as I have not anything at present – lost everything, kit and money, etc. I have only got a cap, shirt, and trousers. … It was a godsend the Lord gave us a moonlight night, or we should not have got off so easy as we did, for I got drenched with water caused by the crash.”
Private Frederick Gilbert wrote the following to his wife, who lives at 42 Albert Road:
“I suppose you have heard about us having an accident to our ship. We reached Cape Town on February 5th, and after a march through the town started again for the next port. We had been on the water twelve hours and three quarters when there was a bang near the fo’castle. Two ships came to our assistance and we were all saved. How near to death we must have been! Lucky the sea was calm to what it is generally. We were 108 miles from Cape Town. … I thank God that we have been saved from a watery grave. The people here [at Wynberg] are very good to us. They gave us a concert, and the Town Hall is open to us. We get black grapes, for which you would have be pay 1s 6d a pound for, for 1½d a pound. We each had a bag of tobacco and a handkerchief given to us, for which they subscribed in the town.”
 Source: Luton News 19th April 1917

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