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Criton - a general history

Owners: 1927 Cie de Navigation d’Orbigny, La Rochelle: 1941 MOWT (Ropner & Co mgrs.)

Master: 1941 GT Dobeson.

At the beginning of May 1941 Criton was captured by the Royal Navy & escorted into Freetown after she had carried shells into Dakar to replenish the shore batteries. She was manned at Freetown with a scratch crew of British volunteers & men from Sierra Leone. She was sunk by gunfire from Vichy French sloops Air France 4 & Edith Germaine in 9.03N/13.36W on 21 June 1941. Her British crew were convicted of piracy by a French naval court martial & were imprisoned until 13 December 1942. The master later received a commendation for Brave Conduct. Whilst imprisoned the crew were not treated well & three were to die during that time. Another died not long after his release.

Lives lost: Freeman, William, fireman/trimmer, 28, died November 1942; Savage, John, greaser, 29, died September 1942; Striker, William Theophilus (served as George Williams) donkeyman, 43, Sierra Leone, died August 1942; Hyland, Douglas Irvine, mess room boy, 18, Victoria, Australia, died January 1943.  

Survivors June 1941: Johnson, Peter LeQ, 3rd radio officer; Neumann, Bernard Peter, 2nd officer.


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