An Old Coathamian – Not Forgotten

Alfred Allen BLOWES

Third Officer, Merchant Navy;
S.S. ‘Lunula’.

Died 9 April 1941, aged 37 years.

Buried in Hoo (St Werburgh) Churchyard, Kent,
north-east of the church.

S.S. ‘Lunula’, 6,363 tons, of Liverpool, had sailed in convoy across the Atlantic from Halifax, Canada, with a cargo of highly flammable gasoline, and she was about to tie up at the Thameshaven Wharf in the Thames estuary when she hit a German mine (dropped in an air raid the previous night) and immediately blew up. Her entire complement of 28 men, Third Officer Blowes among them, was killed, together with the seven-man crew of her assisting tug, the ‘Persia’. His gravestone in Kent confirms his service in the Merchant Navy as well as the spelling of his surname “Blowes”.

Fuller details of Alfred Allen Blowes are yet to be confirmed. The 1911 Census records a family called “Blows” living in Soppett Street, Redcar, with a son called Alfred Allen, born in 1904. His father, John, worked in the local gas works. In July 1916, “Blowes” (no initial) sat the examination for a Turner scholarship, and although he was unsuccessful at that, the Governors gave him a place in the school as one of three ‘Extra Scholars’ that year, to join the school in September 1916. In the school magazines of 1920, “A.A. Blowes” is listed as having passed his Junior Certificate examinations in 1919 and his Senior Cambridge certificate in 1920, at the same time as W.A. Mackinlay (q.v.). It is unclear why he was not included in the School’s Roll of Honour and the Memorial Plaque, as he was clearly on Merchant Navy war service on North Atlantic convoys at the time of his death.