Drinking water vessel from Lifeboat

Contributed by Edmund

Drinking water vessel from Lifeboat

Image 1 of 2

During the Second World War the Merchant Navy sailed back and forth across the dangerous Atlantic keeping supply lines open. Many ships were shelled including my father's boat MV Athelknight.
At 10.15pm on 26th May 1942 The Athelknight was sunk by a German U boat. A number of men were killed but my father ( an Engineer ) and others endured 26 days in an open lifeboat in the heat of the South Atlantic. Food ( mainly tablets ) and fresh water was strictly rationed and the men drank out of water vessels.
When they were rescued by the SS Empire Austin on Sunday 21 June, almost near death, my grateful father took his drinking vessel with him as a souvenir. They sailed to Capetown, then on to Glasgow, and eventually arrived home in Liverpool.
In a way, this vessel saved my father's life and the lives of many other men. It also represents a link with the Merchant Navy and the way in which it made a massive contribution to the War Effort and the United Kingdom, ensuring our ultimate success.

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  • 1. At 17:44 on 30 September 2010, hatchway wrote:

    I also have seen these,I believe they were known as 'dippers' because they were lowered into the water tank through a very small hole/filler, before being poured into a 'graduated beaker' for distribution.
    If I saw one at a car boot sale I would probably buy it.

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  • 2. At 11:45 on 4 October 2010, MaggieMay12345 wrote:

    My father was on SS Britannia which was also sunk by German raider, in March 1941. They too used the dipper for water. He was lucky to be picked up after only a few days but there was another lifeboat that was 23 days. Their story is told in the book 'Lifeboat Number Seven' by Frank West. I should imagine their experience would be very much like that of your father.

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