SS Boltrova

Discussion in 'Mariners & Watermen' started by Daft Bat, May 22, 2019.

  1. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    According to my friend, her grandfather - George Edward THOMAS - was a captain of the above ship. He used to travel to the Baltic Sea and back but is still a bit of a mystery man.

    His marriage certificate of 29th March 1921 to Lilian Maud STRINGER gives his occupation as Mercantile Marine Officer and names his father as George Edward THOMAS (deceased) - no former occupation given. No clues in the witnesses - they were Lilian's parents.

    George is not on the 1939 Register with the rest of the family - my friend thinks that he could have been away on his boat at the time - and, without any clues as to his father's occupation, cannot easily be found on a census prior to this. George gives his age as 25 in 1921 and we have no clue as to when his birthday was - so no help there!

    There is not a lot to go on to track this elusive chap down but if anyone can find out anything about the ship, it might give a starting point.

    Thank you. :)
     
  2. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    Have just had a bit of a rummage and the name could be BALTROVER rather than BOLTROVA.

    This would make sense as I can find nothing for BOLTROVA... :rolleyes:
     
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  3. arthurk

    arthurk Well-Known Member

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    I can't help with the ship, but there are some merchant seamen's records at FindMyPast (which I haven't properly looked at).

    There are also some merchant seamen's WW2 medal records at the National Archives in class BT395. I found two named George Edward Thomas, with dob 5 Jul 1888 and 3 Jul 1897.

    The documents are digitised and instantly downloadable, but the free preview doesn't show a lot of information. Still, those dates might be a start...
     
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  4. MollyMay

    MollyMay Knows where to find the answers!

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    Do you know the age at death to confirm a likely yob?
    Where are the family from?
    Baltrover - shipping in the Baltic (Baltic convoys WW2)?

    Sorry all questions not answers.
     
  5. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    Almost certainly the Baltrover Jan, as like you, I can't find anything about any sort of ship named Boltrova. There are lots of mentions of the Baltrover in the papers, but, as is usual with shipping, it is nearly all dates of departure and arrival. The only member of the crew who ever gets a mention is the Master (Captain), so I'll have a trawl through and see if there is a Thomas given as the Master. I did have a look at 1939 and found this snippet which, although it gives no names, is interesting......:rolleyes:
    Birmingham Daily Gazette 22nd June 1939
    British Seaman Arrested Warsaw, Wednesday.
    The departure from Danzig of the British steamer Baltrover (4,916 tons owned by the United Baltic Corporation Ltd.), was delayed through the arrest of part of the crew who it was alleged had made disparaging remarks about Hitler and Germany. The men were released after a short detention.
     
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  6. Sis

    Sis Rootles out resources!

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    There's a bit about it here and a link, but it doesn't say much.

    Code:
    http://www.crewlist.org.uk/data/vesselsnum?officialnumber=132840&submit=search
     
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  7. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    I've found mention of George in his capacity as Captain in 1957,
    Shields Daily News 22nd November 1957
    Mrs Margaret Ciesielska, British-born wife of a former Free Polish Army cook, has retracted her story of an escape to England hiding with her three children in the hold of a ship which sailed for London from Gdynia on November 9. At Hartlepool, where she is staying with relatives, Mrs. Ciesielska said today she had telephoned Capt. G. E. Thomas, master of the ship, the Baltrover, and apologised for any trouble she had caused him and others. She said that in the Baltrover she had travelled openly as an ordinary passenger. “I only did it for my children. I thought the authorities might make me return to Poland with them. I never want to go back there. When I first made up my stories I was under great stress. Now I am terribly sorry about the whole thing. I hope it won't cause me or anyone else any trouble.” Her journey to England had been arranged by the Polish and British authorities She had never been ill-treated by Russians, and had not been accused by them of spying. In her original story, Mrs. Ciesielska said that one night she went to find her husband in a Russian club at Chozsno, Poland. She was arrested by Russians and interrogated for several hours. They said she was a spy. She was taken to a cell, but later escaped through a window to run and walk 20 miles home. When the Baltrover sailed from Gdynia she and her three children—David, 12, Greta, 4, and Doreen, 2 —were hiding in the hold. She wore man's clothing and blacked her face so as not to be seen by searchers.
     
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  8. Sis

    Sis Rootles out resources!

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    Well found Ann!
     
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  9. Sis

    Sis Rootles out resources!

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    From
    Code:
    https://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=32375
    BALTROVER
    O.N. 132840. 4,916g. 3,014n. 350.0 x 50.0 x 31.6 feet.
    T.3-cyl. (28”, 46” & 77” x 48”) engine manufactured by Richardsons Westgarth & Company Ltd., W. Hartlepool.602 NHP.

    4.1913: Completed as DIGBY by Irvines Ship Building & Dry Dock Company Ltd., W. Hartlepool, (Yard No. 527), for Furness, Withy & Company Ltd.
    22.11.1914 until 6.1.1919: Admiralty service as an armed merchant cruiser during which time from
    24.11.1915 until 19.7.1916: Loaned to French Navy as ARTOIS.
    1925: Sold to the Bermuda and West Indies Steamship Company Ltd., and renamed DOMINICA.
    9.1935: Purchased (£20,000) by the United Baltic Corporation Ltd., London, and renamed BALTROVER.
    1946: Sold to Hellenic Mediterranean Lines, Greece, and renamed IONIA.
    1965: Sold to the Ionia Shipping Company S. A., Panama, and renamed IONIAN.
    26.7.1965: Capsized and sank at Djakarta.
     
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  10. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    Beat me to it Sis :D

    There is a photo of the ship in the Pool of London at
    Code:
    https://musicposter.co.uk/product/the-united-baltic-corporation-cargo-passenger-ship-baltavia-tied-up-alongside-a-pool-of-london-warehouse-off-loading-her-cargo-22-may-1950-2/
    and more about the United Baltic Corporation at
    Code:
    http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/lines/unitedbaltic.shtml
    I've tried to find if they are still in operation, but I think they may have been taken over and then disappeared - so where their archives might be......:(
     
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  11. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    That is great, Ann. I will copy this for my friend - she will be rather chuffed! :D
    I will ask. ;)
    No idea... nor has his granddaughter... :(
    I have found that the Shipping company has a Facebook page and so have posted a request for personnel details to see if that could give any clues.

    Thank you all. I shall pump my friend for memories of her grandfather to see if any other hints appear. :)
     
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  12. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    Drat. They don't have any. :(
     
  13. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    Double drat, but I’m not surprised :(
     
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  14. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    I have sent a text message to one of his granddaughters asking when George's birthday was and where/when he died.

    There may be a haitus whilst she finds out.....o_O
     
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  15. Moff

    Moff Well-Known Member

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    According to the website http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/lines/unitedbaltic.shtml there were 2 ships of the same name.

    Baltrover (1) Built 1913 ex- Dominica, 1935 purchased from Bermuda & West Indies SS Co. renamed Baltrover, 1947 sold to Hellenic Mediterranean Lines, Piraeus renamed Ionia. 3,960 tons

    Baltrover (2) Built 1949 ex- Marstenen, 1950 purchased from Vilhelm Torkildsen, Bergen renamed Baltrover, 1968 sold to Marine General Transporters, Liberia renamed Angelos P. 2,179 tons
     
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  16. Jellylegs

    Jellylegs Well-Known Member

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    Found this, but whether it is your chap or not, I don't know.

    GEORGE EDWARD THOMAS.jpg
     
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  17. Jellylegs

    Jellylegs Well-Known Member

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    Ah, think I mis-read the ship name. Looks like Baltonia now :oops:
     
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  18. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    No worries @Jellylegs - it was very kind of you to look. :)
     
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  19. arthurk

    arthurk Well-Known Member

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    On the other hand, the Ships List that Moff mentioned in #15 above lists lots of vessels belonging to the United Baltic Corporation, all with names beginning Balt... - including Baltonia. So could he have transferred from one to the other? I doubt there were that many George Edward Thomases working for the UBC.

    Also, the discharge number on this card (860950) matches one of the ones I found at the National Archives (see #3 above). Slight discrepancy, though: TNA gives dob as 3 Jul 1897, and this card has 3 Jul 1895.

    The card might be correct: FreeBMD has a George Edward Thomas born Chippenham district Sep qtr 1895, 5a 75.
     
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  20. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    @arthurk Excellent deductions! Thank you! :D

    Still waiting for a granddaughter to get back to me with a birthday.... :rolleyes:
     
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