“My great grandad was killed on a ship,” she explained, “My gran told me about it years ago. She died last year. I wished I’d understood more.”
The story was, her Great grandad had died when the ship he served on, sank. All she could remember was the ship was called the Jervis something or other and that one of her uncles was named Jervis.
A bit of research uncovered that a cruise liner commandeered for World War Two (1939 -1945) called The Jervis Bay was protecting a convoy with a crew mainly made up of Royal Navy Reservists. It was armed with agéd World War One (1914-18) guns. The convoy had the misfortune to come into contact with the German Warship Scheer.
The Captain of the Jervis Bay, Capt. Feegan had a decision to make, play for time with the Scheer to enable the convoy to scatter, thus saving as many lives(and whatever cargo) as possible or, attempt to escape with the convoy. The captain chose to play for time.
The men on board The Jervis Bay would have known they did not stand a chance, that they were facing overwhelming odds. They engaged with the Scheer and The Jervis Bay was sunk. Surprisingly, there were a small number of survivors.
The Crew and the ship have been remembered in various locations around the world.