4 February 1919 We Lost 243
The minesweeper HMS Penarth strikes a mine and sinks off the Yorkshire coast while sweeping Great War mines. It remains one of the worst peace-time disasters ever sustained by the Royal Navy. Lieutenant David Wainwright (Royal Navy) takes command of the situation at once superintending the manning and lowering of the starboard gig and later the launching of the Carley floats. Hearing that a stoker is injured in one of the stokeholds, he calls for volunteers to show him the way and makes his way forward. There is by now a heavy list to the ship and it is apparent she will not reamin afloat much longer the upper deck on the starboard sied being already awash. Lieutenant Wainwright makes his way below unaided and while he is in the stokehold the ship strikes a second mine. The foreport is blown off and sinks and he is forced to wait until the stokehold has filled before he can float to the surface up and escape. For his efforts on this occasion he will be awarded the Albert Medal. A total of two officers and thrity-three ratings are killed in the loss., with two ratings dying later.
Corporal George Rowlands (Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry) saves a man’s life at Clonmany, County Donegal, Ireland during a hand grenade accident. For this action he will be awarded the Albert Medal.
Today’s losses include:
- Two sons of members of the clergy
- The son of a Regus Professor of Medicine at Oxford
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Lieutenant Colonel William Ronaldson Clark (Royal Army Medical Corps) dies on service at age 58. He is the son of the Reverend John Sim Clark.
- Lieutenant John William Thomson (Royal Garrison Artillery) dies of pneumonia at age 27. He is the son of the Reverend R Thomson.
- Lieutenant Basil Raherne Garrod (North Lancashire Regiment attached Royal Air Force) is accidentally killed in Germany at age 21. He is the son of ‘Sir’ Archibald E Garrod KCMG the Regis Professor of Medicine at Oxford.