Albert was a Merchant Seaman, a Purser on the Blue Funnel and Donaldson Lines. He would have been responsible for handling all money and managing supplies on board a ship.
Blue Funnel Line was the merchant shipping line of Alfred Holt and Company, founded in 1865. A regular cargo service operated out of Liverpool trading to China, and later incorporating South East Asia, Australia and America. As the line was one of the largest shipping companies in operation, a number of vessels were used during the First World War.
Donaldson Line began in 1855 as the Donaldson Brothers and became the Donaldson Line Limited in 1913. The company operated passenger steamers to South America and Canada.
Albert served on board a number of hospital ships, including the SS Letitia. This vessel, built in 1912, was originally a passenger steamer with the Donaldson Line, operating between Glasgow and Quebec and Montreal, until it was requisitioned as a hospital ship in 1914. On 1st August 1917 HMHS Letitia was transporting 546 wounded Canadian troops when a pilot miscalculated the ships position in thick fog. The vessel was grounded on rocky ledges of Portuguese Cove, off Nova Scotia. Other vessels quickly came to the rescue and there were no casualties from the crew, staff or wounded soldiers. However, a stoker was accidentally left behind and he sadly drowned while swimming for shore. At this time Albert would have been 38 years old.
Albert was awarded the British War Medal and the Mercantile Marine Medal awarded by the Board of Trade to men who served with the Merchant Navy on voyages through a war zone.
Merseyside Maritime Museum, ‘Blue Funnel to China’, http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/maritime/exhibitions/bluefunnel/ [accessed 06/07/2015]
The Ships List, ‘The Fleets’, http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/lines/index.htm [accessed 06/07/2015]
Wrecksite, ‘SS Letitia’, http://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?30440 [accessed 22/07/2015]