Seaman Thomas Frederick Magowan Chambers served with the Merchant Navy in World War Two. Born in 1918, he was the son of Mr and Mrs FO Chambers, of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
He was a Junior Third Engineer Officer on board the Richmond Castle. The 7,768 ton vessel had been completed in Belfast’s Harland and Wolff shipyard in February 1939.
Sinking of the Richmond Castle
On 18th July 1942, the Richmond Castle set off from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Avonmouth, United Kingdom via Montevideo, Uruguay. The unescorted vessel was under the command of Master Thomas Goldstone and was transporting 5,250 tons of frozen meat.
U-Boat U-176, under the command of Reiner Dierksen, sank the Richmond Castle at 1558hrs on 4th August 1942. The ship capsized in the Atlantic, southeast of Cape Farewell after being struck by two of three torpedos from the German submarine.
An Atlantic Rescue
The German U-Boat crew questioned the survivors before leaving the area where the Richmond Castle went down. The Master and fourteen survivors were picked up by the Irish Pine and landed at Kilrush, Co. Clare. The Chief Officer and sixteen more were rescued after twelve days by HMS Sunflower and brought back to Londonderry. The remaining eighteen landed at Liverpool on the British merchant ship Hororater.
Thomas Frederick Magowan Chambers was one of the fourteen on board of a crew sixty-four who did not survive. He was twenty-four years old when he died of exposure on a lifeboat awaiting rescue on 10th August 1942, six days after the incident. Chambers’ name features on Panel 87 of the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London, United Kingdom.