S S Sachem (1893-1927)
James Thomas Salthouse (Jim Salthouse) of Liverpool
|The S.S. Sachem was grandad's
first ship after he completed his apprenticeship, when he was 20 years
old, in 1919.
My grandfather used to tell my mother about his war
service and told her about the time he was torpedoed:.
The ship was torpedoed, he (Jim Salthouse) said he had
just come up off watch and was lying in his cabin and when the explosion
He jumped up and ran out and
that was when he found the others. I think I remember him saying that they
were three days in an open boat in the Atlantic and I remember the fact
that he was only wearing his trousers and a singlet and his uniform cap.
He was in the open boat when he realised
that if the
| U-Boat surfaced and they saw
his uniform cap they would shoot him for being a spy (because the
ship itself was not what it appeared to be, it was a Q boat, and Q boats,
when they rolled back these big covers had guns underneath them), so
he had to
hide his uniform cap. He couldn’t throw it in the water in case the
||it so he hid it. But the U-boat never surfaced.
We remember that the ship involved was the Sachem but we
are missing one piece of Jim's account of the
incident which would attribute it directly to the Sachem.
Pictured below is the first entry in Jim's log; it
|1. H.M. Ship
"Sachem" 8 June 1917 Liverpool
31 .12.1917 Devonport North Alliance
Rob Ritchie [Master]
in grandad's box we found the second page of an account of the torpedo
attack on the ship. The accounts was written on notepaper headed
"Albion Hotel, Plymouth", (part of the Home Counties P.H. Trust
Ltd). I hope I find the first and second pages! This is what he wrote:
|.......to go down
below and relieve the watch for dinner so I was lucky. As I got on deck Mr
Saunders had come up the stokehold way and was badly hurt about the head
and ribs. He and Mr Grey the 3rd were down below at the time and
||Saunders had just
gone into the stokehold first, as he did, he was hit and he said he was
washed across the stokehold with the inrush of water but managed to get
hold of the ladder and so up on deck. By this time they told us to take to
||Mr Grey, the 3rd,
was killed we suppose. On arriving on the boat deck we found one boat
blown away. I looked down below then and the engine room was full up with
water. We then got the boat lowered and got into.......
& Co. Ltd., Liverpool
S S Sachem
December 31st 1917
|This is to
certify that Mr James Salthouse has served in the above named steamer as
5th engineer from June 8th 1917 until the present date. I have always
found him of strictly sober habits, a hard working man and always very
attentive to all duties entrusted to him, a good mechanic and can highly
recommend him to anyone requiring his services.
Cass (?) Chief Engineer