Capt Lawrence Wilfred Gibbins

Review  - April 1964

From the Blog

The extraordinary wartime voyage of M.V. Empire Elaine, 1943-4: Captain Lawrance Wilfred Gibbins


My grandfather was not unusual among merchant seamen in having logged more than forty-eight months afloat in war zones, including many convoys during the worst months of the Battle of the Atlantic, and in having been at sea on the first day and the last day of the war.

The Clan Line lost 30 of the 55 ships it managed during the war, and almost 700 officers and ratings. More than a quarter of British merchant seamen registered in 1939 were not alive in 1945 – a far higher death rate than any of the armed services.

When I reflect on the crew of Empire Elaine and the many other merchant ships like her, I think of the motto of my grandfather’s and Captain Coultas' school, HMS Conway – ‘Quit ye like men, be strong.’  

It was that ingrained sense of resolve that allowed these civilian sailors to make such a huge contribution to winning the war, and allowed some of them to endure its shadow for the remainder of their lives.

Lawrance Wilfred Gibbins, Second Officer, M.V. Empire Elaine, 1942-44.

Service Record

From

To

Clan MacFadyen

Apprentice

8/1925


Clan Murdoch

4th Officer

11/1929


Clan MacBeth

3rd Officer

12/1930


Clan Murdoch

2nd Officer

10/1937


Empire Elaine

2nd Officer

1942

1944

Clan MacIlwraith

Chief Officer

2/1945


Clan MacBeth

Master

6/1953


Hesperides

Master



Hesione

Master

4/1957


Clan Cumming

Master

11/1959

4/1962

Clan MacLachlan

Master

7/1962

7/1963

Clan Matheson

Master


12/1963

Retired

1/1964


Died

12 October 1986

Aged 76

Clansman - December 1986

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