Registered Charity No. 257040 • Tel: 02392 725141

On This Day…..

On this day 1944, after leaving Mombassa for Colombo on 5th February 1944, SS Khedive Ismail (a troop ship) was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine in the Indian Ocean with the loss of 1,297 lives. 17 of them Wrens:

3rd Officer Jeanette L Barden WRNS
Wren Hazel M Batten
Wren Mary E Breakall
Wren Agnes G Carlyle
LWren Winifred B Dalton
3rd Officer Cicely C Dean WRNS
LWren Gladys Fletcher
Wren Ethel M Hunter
Wren Aileen A B Nickson
Wren Beatrice M Nye
3rd Officer Marion C Robinson WRNS
LWren Heather M Smail
Wren Audrey H Stafford
Wren Margaret P Todd
LWren Helen M J Valentine
Wren Betty R White
LWren Pamela I Wyllie

77 women lost their lives on that day (including QARNNS and Army Nursing Sisters and Matron), the largest single loss of servicewomen in history.

Rest in peace ladies.

Additional Information found by Celia:

The ship sailed that day as part of Convoy KR-8. On 12 February 1944 the convoy was sailing off the Maldives when it was attacked by the Japanese submarine I-27. Two torpedoes struck the Khedive Ismail, which was loaded with over 1,500 personnel, and it sank in minutes, with the loss of over 1,300 lives.

Jane Mair George Thomas, Sister, 270493, Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service: Jane was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. L. Thomas, of Llanelli. She was a nurse, and served with Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service. Jane was serving in Africa, and embarked on 6 February 1944 aboard the passenger ship S.S. Khedive Ismail at Mombasa. Jane was 25 years old when she died that day, and is commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial, Surrey.

L/Wren Norah Munro, one who survived, died in 1949, she didn’t really recover. Her son was named ‘Howard’ after the matelot who helped her escape through a scuttle. Howard went to the first memorial service in SMLS.

The other survivor was Wren D J Chessell.