Sometimes the Records are Incorrect

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Stoker 2nd Class: Eric John Blencowe, Service number: D/KX 527840, son of Frank & Eliza Blencowe and brother of Freda & Ronald of Steeple Claydon, Buckinghamshire was with HMS Lanka, which was a shore based Naval establishment on the outskirts of Colombo in Sri Lanka, when he perished aged 18 on 12 February 1944.

Our military expert, Roger Blinko, found this to be incorrect. Eric John Blencowe was a stoker aboard the SS Khedive Ismail a steamship requisitioned as a British troopship by the Ministry of War Transport.

SS Khedive

From Source Wikipedia "On 6 February 1944 Convoy KR-8 sailed from Kilindini Harbour at Mombasa, Kenya to Colombo, Ceylon. The convoy consisted of five troop transports (Khedive Ismail, City of Paris, Varsova, Ekma & Ellenga), escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Hawkins and the destroyers HMS Petard and HMS Paladin.

In the early afternoon of Saturday 12 February 1944, the Japanese B1 type submarine I-27, commanded by Lt-Cdr Toshiaki Fukumura, attacked the convoy in the One and a Half Degree Channel, south-west of the Maldives.

The submarine sank the Khedive Ismail with two torpedoes. The ship was carrying 1,511 personnel including 178 crew, 996 officers and men of the East African Artillery's 301st Field Regiment, 271 Royal Navy personnel, and a detachment of 19 Wrens. Also on board were 53 nursing sisters accompanied by one matron, and 9 members of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry.

As survivors floundered in the sea, I-27 submerged and hid beneath them. While HMS Paladin lowered boats over her side to begin rescuing survivors, HMS Petard raced in to release depth charges. The destruction of an enemy submarine that might sink more ships took precedence over the lives of the survivors, besides; I-27 under Commander Fukumura had a history of machine-gunning survivors of ships she had sunk, including the Liberty ship SS Sambridge and the Fort Mumford.

On Petard’s third run, her depth charges forced I-27 to the surface. Paladin rammed the submarine, in the process causing considerable damage to herself. Finally a torpedo from Petard destroyed the I-27.

1,297 people, including 77 women, lost their lives in the 2 minutes it took for the Khedive Ismail to sink. Only 208 men & 6 women survived. The sinking was the third worst Allied shipping disaster of World War II and the single worst loss of female service personnel in the history of the Commonwealth of Nations. Eric John Blencowe perished with those 1,297 people. He is remembered with honour on the PLYMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL: Panel 90, Column 2.


Roger Blinko