Keeble Alfred Edmund
The Mate on the MV GOLDEN GRAIN (Harwich), Merchant Navy
Died 19 August 1941. Age 40.
Son of Alfred and Lilian Keeble; husband of D.A. Keeble of Tollesbury, Essex.
Throughout the war shipping plying the East coast routes was very vulnerable. They faced E-boats, destroyers and submarines, as well as being attacked regularly by aircraft based a few miles away in Northern France and the Low Countries. Amongst those at high risk were the small motor vessels & sailing barges, as they were too slow to travel in convoys. Consequently, they travelled independently & unprotected. Although the motor vessels had been degaussed to protect against magnetic mines, they were still at risk to acoustic mines, as they moved very slowly along the shallow inshore route on chugging motors.
MV THE MILLER
E. Marriage & Son were flour millers, who had been operating on the East Coast for a hundred years in 1940. They owned 2 motor vessels; MV GOLDEN GRAIN and MV THE MILLER, both built in the early 1930s. Sidney was the Master of the THE MILLER at the start of the War.
In the early hours of the 13th June 1940, a Handley Page Hampden bomber of no 144 Squadron from R.A.F. Hemswell, near Gainsborough in Lincolnshire, struck the cable of one of the barrage balloons and crashed into East Anglia Mills at Felixstowe with disastrous consequences. The 3 members of the bomber crew & a mill employee were killed. The silo house and part of the mill were badly damaged and the mill had to suspend operation for a period of 2 years. Burning fuel from the bomber's fuel tanks was sprayed over the sailing barges PHOENICIAN and RAYBEL and over Marriages' own motor barges GOLDEN GRAIN & THE MILLER, which were all lying at the North Quay. The Master of the GOLDEN GRAIN, Ernest Parker was burnt by the blazing fuel.
In September 1940, the Ministry of Shipping requisitioned THE MILLER and she was delivered to Sheerness. At this point, Captain Parker, who was aged 62 took a shore job at the mill, as did his son, Cyril, who had been ship's engineer on the GOLDEN GRAIN Grain. he went to work at Paxman's Britannia Works testing Landing Craft engines. On the 22nd September 1940, Sidney Mallett took over as Master of M.V. GOLDEN GRAIN and THE MILLER's former Engineer, John Farthing became her Engineering Officer, while the GOLDEN GRAIN's former Mate, Albert Keeble continued on board.
MV GOLDEN GRAIN. Albert Keeble the Mate is just behind the mast
On the 19th August 1941, while on voyage to the Thames, the GOLDEN GRAIN hit an acoustic mine off Foulness Island close to the Maplin Split. All 3 of the crew were lost.
Sidney Mallett was born and lived as a teenager in Great Wigborough before going to sea. He was the husband of E. F. Mallett, of Rowhedge, Essex.
John Charles Farthing, the Engineer Officer was aged: 52 In the 1901 Census, he is shown as a 13 year old born & living in West Mersea, working as a Straw Binder. In the book issued by Marriages in 1940 to celebrate their Centenary, John is shown as having served the company for over 25 years.
Alfred Edmund Keeble, the Mate was aged 40 He was the son of Alfred and Lilian Keeble; and husband of D.A. Keeble, of Tollesbury.
Alfred Keeble is standing at the back. On the left is the Master Ernest Parker and the Engineer Cyril Parker is on the right. Ronald Parker, the Master's grandson is in front
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 52.
Cemetery: TOWER HILL MEMORIAL
The Tower Hill Memorial commemorates men and women of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets who died in both world wars and who have no known grave. It stands on the south side of the garden of Trinity Square, London, close to the Tower of London. In the First World War, the civilian navy's duty was to be the supply service of the Royal Navy, to transport troops and supplies to the armies, to transport raw materials to overseas munitions factories and munitions from those factories, to maintain, on a reduced scale, the ordinary import and export trade, to supply food to the home country and - in spite of greatly enlarged risks and responsibilities - to provide both personnel and ships to supplement the existing resources of the Royal Navy. Losses of vessels were high from the outset, but had peaked in 1917 when in January the German government announced the adoption of "unrestricted submarine warfare". The subsequent preventative measures introduced by the Ministry of Shipping - including the setting up of the convoy system where warships were used to escort merchant vessels - led to a decrease in losses but by the end of the war, 3,305 merchant ships had been lost with a total of 17,000 lives. In the Second World War, losses were again considerable in the early years, reaching a peak in 1942. The heaviest losses were suffered in the Atlantic, but convoys making their way to Russia around the North Cape, and those supplying Malta in the Mediterranean were also particularly vulnerable to attack. In all, 4,786 merchant ships were lost during the war with a total of 32,000 lives. More than one quarter of this total were lost in home waters. The First World War section of the Tower Hill Memorial commemorates almost 12,000 Mercantile Marine casualties who have no grave but the sea. The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens with sculpture by Sir William Reid-Dick. The Second World War extension, designed by Sir Edward Maufe, with sculpture by Charles Wheeler, bears almost 24,000 names.
St Mary's Tollesbury
John Charles Farthing
[ The article above is from the Memorial Profile for Sidney Mallet, writted by Edwin Sparrow. It is similar to the section in On Our Doorstep. ]