Part of the Acorn Archive
Hearts of Oak
MV San Calisto
Built 1937 Lithgows, Port Glasgow
Yard Nr 892
Eagle Oil & Shipping Co.
8,010 grt; 12,150 dwt
462ft 8ins x 61ft 2ins x 33ft 1ins
503 nhp; 13 knots; oilengines.
1st December 1939 Set sail from Hull for Curacao.
On December 2nd 1939, while under command of Capt A. R. Hicks, she struck mines in the north of the Thames Estuary and sank 2½ miles SW of the Tongue lightship, with the loss of six lives, with seven injured.
Capt. Hicks was among the survivors.
Christopher John Baxter, steward, died aged 20 on 2nd Dec 1939.
She was the first Eagle Oil fleet loss in WWII;
Eagle Oil lost 16 ships and seven others were damaged during WWII.
7th December 1939 [ Thursday ]
We understand that a Carbis Bay resident, Capt. Albert R. Hicks, was in command of a British tanker, blown up off the East Coast last Friday. Capt. Hicks is the husband of Mrs.May Hicks, who before her marriage was Miss May Stevens, of Nanjizey Terrace, St. Ives. Fortunately Mr. Hicks survived the disaster. It was learnt on Wednesday [ 6th ] that he had been injured, and was in hospital.
Immediately before going to sea on this tanker, Capt. Hicks had command of another vessel of the same type on a dangerous voyage home from South America. He took Mrs. Hicks to sea with him, before war broke out, and keen anxiety was felt by relatives and friends in St. Ives area for her safety. It was only a very short time ago that the tanker arrived safely at Hull, with Mrs. Hicks on board. Soon after arriving Capt. Hicks put to sea again on the ill-fated voyage in which his ship was sunk.
This was the second mine barrage by German Destroyers in the Thames estuary,
on the night of 12th / 13th November 1939.
The first was laid 17th October 1939.
Another 9 were laid, up to the 20th February 1940.
Operation Destroyers WILHELM HEIDKAMP, HANS LÜDEMANN, HERMANN KÜNNE and KARL GALSTER
Ships which were sunk by this mine barrage.
MV BLANCHE (13th Nov), SS PONZANO (13th Nov), SS MATRA (13th Nov),
SS WOODTOWN ( 15th Nov ), SS HOOKWOOD (23rd Nov),
SS RUBISLAW (28th Nov), SS SHEAF CREST (30th Nov),
SS DALRYAN (1st Dec), MV SAN CALISTO (2nd Dec), SS MEREL (8th Dec).
SS GRAZIA (19th Nov)
SS SPAARNDAM (27th Nov)
SS PARALOS (6th Dec)
SS URSUS (15th Dec)