Killed in Action: 27 February 1916. Age 21. (As the result of a mine explosion off Dover).
Supplementary Notes: Son of Michael & Mary Flaherty of Lower Fairhill Road, Claddagh, Galway.
Remembered: Portsmouth Naval Memorial Hampshire –United Kingdom (23).
S/S Maloja Struck a mine laid by the German submarine UC-6, 2½ miles south by west of Dover Pier at about 1030 am. She was on a voyage from London to Bombay with general cargo.
The engines were put at full astern to take the way off the ship, and passengers and crew entered the boats. Unfortunately, due to flooding, the engines could not be stopped and the boats could not be lowered.
Many were washed away as the vessel moved astern at 8 or 9 knots with a 75 degree list. Maloja sank in about 20 minutes with the loss of 155lives.
The Dover tugs Lady Brassey and Lady Crundall were first on the scene, while the collier Empress of Fort William also endeavoured to give assistance, but was herself mined, her crew escaping without loss.
The P & O liner MALOJA (1916), outward bound, was sunk off Dover yesterday morning after striking a mine. The vessel foundered in about twenty minutes, It is feared that a large number of lives have been lost. Up to last night 44 bodies, including those of a baby and two or three children, had been landed at Dover and conveyed to Market Hall, which is being used as a temporary mortuary.
The MALOJA had just passed Admiralty Pier, and was off Shakespeare Cliff, when a heavy explosion occurred, and the liner soon took a list to port. Many vessels went to the MALOJA‘s aid, but it was soon apparent she was doomed, and attention was directed to saving those on board. The rescued were put on hospital ships, where their wants were attended to. Many had lost all their belongings, and had to be temporarily fitted up with outfits, &c, and it was obvious when, later in the day they were transferred to quarters on shore, that they were wearing clothes which had been supplied them on the hospital ships. Some injured seamen were also dealt with and nine or ten bodies were conveyed to a mortuary.
The P & O Company last night issued the following official statement regarding the loss of their liner MALOJA:- The P & O Company regret to state that information has been received from the captain of the MALOJA, which left London on Saturday, the 26th inst, for Bombay, with His Majesty’s mails, that at 10.30 am, on Sunday, 27th, when the ship was midway between Dover and Folkestone, she was struck by a mine, the after part of the ship being blown up by the explosion.
There was a high sea running at the time, and the captain, seeing the extensive damage which the ship had sustained, tried to beach her, but was unsuccessful, the engine-room being full of water.
London, 28 February 1916: Revised figures show that 169 persons, including fifty-five passengers are missing and probably lost in the sinking of the Peninsular and Oriental liner MLOJA by a mine near Dover yesterday. The revised figures show that the MALOJA carried 429 persons, including 119 passengers, and account for only 260 survivors.
About a score of women and children were among those who lost their lives when the MALOJA turned turtle, while dozens of smaller craft were hastening to her assistance. The bodies of twelve women and six children had been landed at Dover today and placed in the morgue for identification. Several of the survivors are near dead from exposure. The bodies of about fifty of the victims have been recovered so far. Many persons are arriving at Dover for the purpose of identifying the dead.
Among those recovered was a baby, warmly clad, which was found floating on its back. The child was discovered by a patrol boat and was taken into the engine room. After being warmed it smiled at its rescuers and seemed none the worse for its immersion
All of the survivors who reached London today agreed that there was little panic aboard. The loss of life among the passengers would have been very small, they stated, had not two of the boats collided in the water, one of them capsizing.
An official enquiry was ordered today to determine how it happened that the steamer struck a mine. [The Evening World, Monday, 28 February 1916]
An inquest on the 55 victims of the mined MALOJA was opened by the Borough Coroner at the Town Hall, Dover, yesterday morning. The Coroner in opening the inquiry, said the loss of the MALOJA was a very sad occurrence – one of the saddest they had had at Dover since the war broke out. He understood there were 155 passengers and crew lost. The remainder were rescued by the timely assistance of various boats which put off from the shore. Most of the bodies were landed at Dover, but others drifted to various places along the coast. As they had been brought to Dover it would only be necessary to have one inquiry. The process of identification was most difficult, the coroner went on. Only 14 out of fifty-one bodies had been identified. There were several lascars and people of that sort, and he did not suppose they would ever be able to ascertain their correct names. With regard to the passengers he hoped they would be identified before burial.
The Coroner said he was in formed that the captain of the MALOJA, Captain Irving, had received an order from the King to be present in London that afternoon. Therefore he would not be able to have his evidence, and probably they would have to adjourn. The chief officers and others of the crew would be able to give a similar account of what happened as to that which Captain Irving could give.
Brigadier-General W K McLeod, giving evidence, described the struggle which he and his wife had. They were walking on the promenade deck when the explosion occurred. The boat was listing badly, and he pushed his wife into the sea and jumped in after her. He held her up for half an hour or more, but when picked up she was dead.
A Juryman – Have you any complaint to make about the crew? Was everything done to save life?
Witness – As far as I could see there was no confusion of any sort. Everybody seemed to be in his place. The boat falls, witness said, seemed to jamb, which he attributed to the vessel listing.
Was each boat under command of a white man? – That I cannot say.
The body of Frederick John Scobie, bank accountant, was identified by a brother-in-law, who said deceased was travelling with witness’s sister, whom he had recently married. She was saved, and had returned to London. She said the listing of the liner prevented the boats being got over the side. Eventually they had to slide down the side of the vessel into the water. That was the last she saw of her husband. She was in the water 25 minutes before being picked up. They both had lifebelts on.
Corporal Edgar Partridge, Army Pay Corps, identified the body of Mrs Fanny Partridge, aged 38, his sister-in-law, and the wife of Staff-Sergt Partridge, of the Indian Transport, now fighting in the Persian Gulf. Witness also identified Mrs Partridge’s two children, James aged 8 and Robert age 6. he said they came to England because they did not think they were safe in the distrIct in which they were living in India. They hoped to settle down here. The climate, however, proved too much for them, and they got leave from the Foreign Office to return.
Chief Constable Fox said the body of a coloured woman, probably a nurse, had been found. According to a conversation she had with someone on board she had been seriously ill, and was going back to her native land to die.
After other evidence of identification, the Coroner remarked that it would be very convenient if all passengers when they received their embarkation tickets were also given an identification disc to wear.