Sunday 19 November 2017

Appeal for information on 90-year-old Wexford school photograph

By David tucker

THE son of a former Wexford man is trying to put some names to faces in a photograph of a class in the CBS in George Street taken 90 years ago.

'My father William (Willie) Molloy is second from the left in the seated row behind the front row. He was born and grew up in 24 Upper John Street, the son of Thomas (Tom) Molloy and Margaret (nee Nolan) Molloy,' said Kevin Molloy, who lives in Tipperary.

'The school is I believe CBS Georges Street. I estimate his age at eight to ten years, as he was born in 1915 the year is probably no later than 1925.'

'After finishing school dad served an engineering apprenticeship with Boggan Auto Services, a small automobile and general engineering company which was then located on Wexford Quay. In January, 1940 he joined the British Merchant Navy as a junior engineer. His first ship was the SS Arandora Star.

On 30 May, 1940, Arandora Star participated in the evacuation of British forces from Narvik in northern Norway following the German invasion of that country.

In late June after the fall of France, Arandora Star, escorted by a Royal Navy destroyer evacuated British and French troops from the French ports of Brest and Saint Nazaire. Immediately after disembarking the evacuees at southern English ports the ship was ordered to Liverpool, there she was assigned the task of transporting German and Italian internees and prisoners of war to Canada.

'On 2 July 1940 , Arandora Star was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U47 in the Western Approaches, 300 miles off the west coast of Ireland, with the loss of over 800 lives.' His father survived the sinking and spent the rest of the war serving on the Atlantic convoys. He remained in the Merchant Navy until the early 1950s eventually marrying Kevin's mother and settling in Liverpool. He returned to Ireland in 1980 and died in Tipperary in 1984.

'It is likely that one of the boys in the photograph is Gerard White, a close friend of my father, they were the same age, grew up in the same street, attended the same schools and followed the same career paths.

'Gerard, like my father, served an engineering apprenticeship although in his case with the Great Southern Railway. After completing his apprenticeship he followed dad into the British Merchant Navy and in fact into the same shipping company, The Blue Star Line.

'Sadly, Gerard did not survive the war, his ship (probably) the Almeda Star was torpedoed and sunk by German Submarine U96 also in the Western Approaches on 17 January, 1941. All aboard perished. Anyone who would like to contact Kevin can reach him on 067 23986 or on 087 6327526.

Wexford People

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