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Heroes Of Our Time

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Robert Thomas Howmans

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Robert Thomas Howmans (son of Thomas Howmans and Mary Southgate)1783 was born 17 Jul 1878 in Saxthorpe, Norfolk.1783, and died date unknown.


Research on Ancestry, shows that he went from London to Sydney in 1909 on the ship SS Ortona.


SS Ortona British passenger ship Steam, built in 1885 by Vickers and sons Maxim ltd Barrow in Furness.  8939 tons 152,4 x 16,8 x 10,4, triple expansion engines 506 N.H.P. speed 15 knots owned by Pacific Steam Navigation Co., Liverpool.


Period 1910 ~ 1918 owned by Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. (Royal Mail Lines), London and renamed SS Arcadian.




R.M.S.P. Co. Arcadian was converted into a transport during the First World War. On April 15th, 1917, Arcadian with a company of 1,335 troops and crew was proceeding from Salonika to Alexandria, and was in the southern Aegean, 26 miles N.E. of Milo.


The troops had just completed boat-drill when a German submarine UC-74 approached unseen and discharged a torpedo which inflicted such extensive damage that the vessel sank in six minutes. Fortunately the menĀ“s recent exercise at the boats imparted steadiness and confidence and 1,058 were rescued, either through their own efforts or by the escorting destroyer.


The number drowned was 277 and, had it not been for the sudden capsizing of the vessel, many more would have been saved. Those lost included 19 army officers and 214 other ranks, as well as ten naval ratings and 34 members of the crew.


A considerable amount of wreckage and spars was sucked down and this, coming to the surface with great force, killed many who were swimming in the water.
















Last Heard of in 1923 living here.


Can find nothing of family in UK census apart from in 1891 which may be his sister.