Kingston upon Hull War Memorial 1914 - 1918

The story of Hull in World War One

SS 'ROMEO' sank 3rd March 1918

The steamer 'ROMEO', James Neale, master, left Scapa on 23 February 1918 bound for Liverpool. She was on Admiralty charter for carrying meat and provisions to the Fleet, but was returning to Liverpool in ballast after having called in at Stornoway, remaining there for six days. She was equipped with a twelve pound gun for defence against enemy submarines.
On 3 March 1918 at 2.40 a.m. she was about 10 miles south of the Mull off Galloway, steaming at 10 knots and zig-zagging. The weather was fine with occassional snow showers, the wind light and the sea smooth. The first officer was in charge on the bridge. There was a lookout on the forecastle head, another on the bridge and one on the gunner´s platform aft. All lights on the ship were carefully screened and no navigation lights were burning.
Suddenly a green and red light appeared off her port bow. Fearful of a collision with another ship, the order was given to show the Romeo´s navigation lights at her bow. This was a fateful mistake as she had been tricked by the German submarine U102into giving away her exact position. Within a couple of minutes a torpedo slammed into the Romeo´s port side between the stoke hole and the engine room. The explosion was terrific and split the ship in two. At first she took a list to port, then righted herself before sinking like a stone in less than two minutes. There was no time for the crew to launch any of the lifeboats and the crew of 37 men was thrown into the water.
The two gun crew managed to cling to a swamped boat and eventually bailed it out. Shortly afterwards they spotted a sailor in the water and hauled him out into the lifeboat, but he later died at about 10.00 a.m. At daylight the two gunners managed to get the mast and sail up before being picked up by the steamship Ardgarvel at 11.00 a.m. and were later landed at Greenock. The only other survivor was the wireless operator, Arthur Sneddon. He was picked up by a trawler and landed at Holyhead by the patrol boat Kilgobnet at 11.00 a.m. on 4 March. 

LOST CREW - SS ROMEO 

  1. ALLEN, JOSEPH (52), Fireman and Trimmer, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of the late William and Catherine Allen; husband of Mary Allen (nee Worfield), of 72, Leyden St., off Commercial Rd., Liverpool. Born at Liverpool, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  2. ANDERSON, HERBERT (21), Assistant Cook, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of Robert Turner Anderson, of Ethelreda Mission House, Trippett St., Hull, and the late Martha Anderson, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  3. BARGEWELL, GEORGE (48), Ship's Steward (no. 130104), S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Husband of Mary L. Bargewell, of 61, Station Rd., Keyham Barton, Devonport, Memorial: Plymouth Naval Memorial
  4. BIRKINSHAW, RONALD , Signalman (no. London Z/2317), S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Memorial: Chatham Naval Memorial
  5. BLAIR, GEORGE (36), Third Engineer, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of Agnes Blair and the late Robert Blair; husband of Elsie Blair (nee Fisher), of 16, Blenheim St., Hull. Born at St. Andrews, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  6. CARNEY, ARTHUR (29), Fireman and Trimmer, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of Hannah Carney and the late William Carney; husband of Catherine Carney (nee Crowley), of 7, Blackstone St., Liverpool. Born at Liverpool, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  7. CARR, JOHN (40), Fireman and Trimmer, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of Mary Carr and the late Edward Carr; husband of Cecilia Carr (formerly McNeil, nee Power), of 20A, Mount Vernon St., Liverpool. Born at Cavan, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  8. CROWTHER, CHARLES (21), Assistant Steward, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of Charles James Crowther, of 12 Back, Leathley Square, Leeds, and the late Emily Crowther (Nee Robinson), Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  9. DEADMAN, ROBERT METHVEN (17), Wireless Operator, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of Ernest Bezant Deadman and Helen Deadman, of 28, Manchester Rd., Reading, Berks, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  10. FROMM, THEODORE HOWARD (33), Ship's Cook, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of Leopold Fromm, of 112, Palace Gates Rd., Alexandra Park, London, and the late Florence Fromm (nee Dell). Born at Norwood, London, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  11. GUSTAFSON, HUGO (42), Carpenter, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Husband of Margrethe Gustafson (nee Romfog), of 63, Venue St., Bromley Rd., Bow, London. Born in Sweden, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  12. HARVEY, JOSEPH (24), Able Seaman, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of the late William Joseph and Elizabeth Harvey; husband of Alice Harvey (nee Tyrrell), of 4, Cubbin St., Stanley Rd., Liverpool. Born at Birkenhead, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  13. HELM, RICHARD JAMES (19), Able Seaman, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of Richard and Martha Jane Helm, of 34, Cowper St., Bootle, Lancs. Born at Seaforth, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  14. HINES, THOMAS (36), Fireman and Trimmer, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of the late Alexander and Sara Ann Hines; husband of Julia Hines (nee Kearney), of 370, Great Howard St., Liverpool. Born at Liverpool, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  15. KEARNEY, JAMES (19), Fireman and Trimmer, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of Ann Carney, of 9, Newport Place, Liverpool, and the late William Carney, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  16. LEE, MARTIN (35), Seaman, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of the late John Lee; husband of Harriet Lee (nee Collard), of 72, Hayles St., Southwark, London. Born in Nova Scotia, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  17. LINACRE, JOHN EDWARD (43), Boatswain, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Born at Great Yarmouth, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  18. LONGLEY, JOHN BLYTH (60), Second Engineer, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of the late Thomas Blyth Longley and Isabella Longley; husband of Mary Ann Longley (nee Waterhouse), of 9, Renoldson St., Newland, Hull. Born at Hull, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  19. MCLOUGHLIN, DAVID (30), Donkeyman, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of David Henry and Annie McLoughlin; husband of Alieen McLoughlin (nee McCormick), of 94, Boundary St., Liverpool. Born at Liverpool, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  20. MIDDLETON, JOHN WILLIAM (20), Mess Room Steward, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of William and Hannah Mary Middleton, of 25, Normabell St., Holderness Rd., Hull. Born at Hull, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  21. MOLLOY, PATRICK (30), Able Seaman, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Husband of Charlotte Molloy (Nee Davis), of 143, Leyden St., Kirkdale, Liverpool. Born in Co. Westmeath, Ireland, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  22. NEALE, JAMES (48), Master, Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of the late George and Mary Neale; husband of Selina Neale, of Ingleton, Harland Way, Cottingham, Yorks, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  23. NUGENT, JAS. ALFRED (43), Chief Engineer, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Husband of Maria Ellen Nugent, of 113, Engelheart Rd., Catford, London. Born in London, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  24. O'BRIEN, ANDREW (30), Fireman and Trimmer, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of the late Patrick and Ellen O'Brien; husband of Anastasia O'Brien (nee Daly), of 92, Boundary St., Liverpool. Born at Liverpool, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  25. O'GORMAN, THOMAS CHRISTOPHER (22), Able Seaman, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of Thomas and Rose Mary O'Gorman (nee Kearney), of 19, O'Connell St., Waterford. Born at Waterford, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  26. PARRY, JOHN (30), Fireman and Trimmer, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of William and Mary Parry; husband of Mary Parry (nee Hassey), of 94, Boundary St., Liverpool. Born at Liverpool, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  27. PITTS, ALBERT (43), Chief Officer, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of the late William and Ann Pitts; husband of Rose Pitts (nee Wilson), of 195, The Boulevard, Hull. Born at Hull, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  28. WHITE, WILLIAM (37), Able Seaman, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of the late John and Sarah White; husband of Ellen White (nee Brennan), of 291, Burlington St., Scotland Rd., Liverpool. Born at Warren Point, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial
  29. WILLIAMS, BERTRAM PERCY (32), Steward, S.S. Romeo, †03/03/1918, Son of Louisa Williams, and the late Frederick Joseph Williams; husband of Hannah Williams (nee Curtis), of 63, Westminster Avenue, Hull. Born at Southampton, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial