Talk:SS Irish Oak (1919)

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Good article SS Irish Oak (1919) has been listed as one of the Warfare good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
January 11, 2010 Good article nominee Not listed
March 24, 2010 Good article nominee Listed
Current status: Good article
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This has the makings of a GA. However, there are a few improvements to be made first - mainly re the article structure, which I propose should be as follows:-

  • Infobox - I've consolidated the infobox, retaining almost all info from original, except cost of charter which should be covered under the Irish Oak section
  • Lead - Needs exanding to at least 2 paras
  • Construction - I've started this section
  • History
    • West Negris - Full history of West Neris, owners, operators, port of registry
    • Irish Oak - Full history of Irish Oak, bareboat charter, port of registry, sinking etc.
  • Reaction to sinking (possible altenate name - Political reaction)
  • Offical Number and Code Letters - Needs adding, infobox details from Plimsoll Ship Data website to be referenced
  • See also - Relevant articles only
  • External links - Revant ELs only
  • References

None of the above is set in stone, it is all open to discussion. This could possibly be a FA in the medium term.Mjroots (talk) 10:04, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Of course, to make GA, referencing will need to be improved so that every statement is referenced. Mjroots (talk) 10:07, 28 November 2009 (UTC)


I'm in danger of WP:OR. I was in conversation with John Clarke. He says that it was the first Irish ship with good crew facilities, such as showers. This makes sense as the Irish Oak and the Irish Pine were the first ocean-going Irish ships for some years. He also said that when the torpedo hit they left in two lifeboats and waited for nearly an hour. She was sinking very very slowly, There were three cats on board and no sign of a U-boat. So the went to re-board and rescue the cats. As they approached another torpedo hit and she sank rapidly. One lifeboat had a sail, his hadn't. They considered themselves very fortunate to be rescued 8 hours later. ClemMcGann (talk) 15:09, 29 November 2009 (UTC)


I've asked at WT:LAW and WT:SHIPS for assistance in referencing the situation re neutrality and the convoy / U-boat. Mjroots (talk) 07:41, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Statement issued by the company: (from page 10, 1980 issue of Signal)
Company considered it necessary to issue the following statement, "In the course of a debate in Dail Eireann on Wednesday, May 26th., it was asked whether before the S.S. "Irish Oak" was sunk any information had been conveyed to a British convoy that a submarine had been sighted. The company states in the most explicit manner that there is no foundation whatever for the suggestion contained in the question. No such message was sent.
The Company deprecates any suggestion that any officer or member of the crew of one of the Company's ships would be guilty of conduct involving the safety of the ship and imperiling the lives of its crew".
ClemMcGann (talk) 01:34, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, that's a start. Use that as a ref, with a slight rewrite of the paragraph if necessary. Mjroots (talk) 07:25, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I've rewritten the article to eliminate this final fact tag by moving the material to the Reaction section as a subsection for Irish Shipping Ltd. I'll nominate the article for GA assessment now. Mjroots (talk) 09:45, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Pushing towards GA[edit]

To achieve GA status the article needs to meet these criteria:- A good article is—

  1. Well written:
    (a) the prose is clear and concise, it respects copyright laws, and the spelling and grammar are correct; and
    (b) it complies with the manual of style guidelines for lead sections, layout, words to watch, fiction, and list incorporation.[1]
  2. Verifiable with no original research:
    (a) it contains a list of all references (sources of information), presented in accordance with the layout style guideline;
    (b) all in-line citations are from reliable sources, including those for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons—science-based articles should follow the scientific citation guidelines;[2] and
    (c) it contains no original research.
  3. Broad in its coverage:
    (a) it addresses the main aspects of the topic;[3] and
    (b) it stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail (see summary style).
  4. Neutral: it represents viewpoints fairly and without bias, giving due weight to each.
  5. Stable: it does not change significantly from day to day because of an ongoing edit war or content dispute.[4]
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  1. ^ Compliance with other aspects of the Manual of Style is not required for good articles.
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Obviously, a GA review will be done by an uninvolved editor and not myself, these are just my observations. Possible fail on 1a (is lead long enough?, does lead need rewriting chronologically?), Fail on 2a (two unreffed statements), possibly foul of 2c (Clem, you'll know the answer to this one)?, possible fail on 6a, image is claimed to be copyright and copyleft at same time - I'd be happier with a NFR for use of a copyright reproduction of the painting.

A minor point with regard to references, the style of quoting from books needs to be standardised as there are currently two different methods employed. Mjroots (talk) 07:41, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

the only unreffed left is the legal point on telling the convoy, i can find lots close but not one precise enough. but see the company statement, above
it is kind of important to say that they did warn the convoy, there are official denials everywhere. i don't believe them, no more than believing that dev didn't know that Capt Jones was a Welshman. Is is ok to say (as i do) that john clarke said so in a lecture? plus Paul Emrys-Evans said in the house of commons that the convoy know of the u-boat - but he didn't say how they knew ClemMcGann (talk) 01:52, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
the image is now just FAL. What is NFR? I have another painting of the Irish Oak passing the Macha. ClemMcGann (talk) 02:05, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
(ec) Just one point re GA. I agree that the lead should be rewritten per WP:LEDE, part of which states the lead should "briefly summarize the most important points covered in an article in such a way that it can stand on its own as a concise version of the article. It is even more important here than for the rest of the article that the text be accessible" though 2 paragraphs is probably about the right length. ww2censor (talk) 02:10, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I think that quoting John Clarke in a lecture probably fails WP:V, unless a record of the lecture was put into print somewhere which covers the point. Remember that Verifiability beats truth every time.
  • I've rewritten this section, using what we can verify to infer what we can't. Mjroots (talk) 07:22, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
The image being on a FAL is fine. NFR is a {{Non-free use rationale}}. I'll rewrite the lead per Ww2censor's comments. Mjroots (talk) 05:52, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I've sorted out the book referencing issue. All books not online are now referenced in the same format. Mjroots (talk) 07:01, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Omit for now[edit]

because I cannot find the refs:

  • On this voyage, U-607 also claimed to have sunk 156,000 tons of shipping. Berlin knew that was a wild exaggeration
  • False rumor that it was an American sub ClemMcGann (talk) 01:17, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Largest Irish ship[edit]

Article states that Irish Oak was the largest Irish ship. This needs clarification. Irish Oak was longer than Irish Pine, but Irish Pine had a higher GRT than Irish Oak. Mjroots (talk) 07:25, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Oak was 410.5x54.3x27.2 feet
Pine was 409.5x54.2x27.7 - -
for now I'll pull the sentence ClemMcGann (talk) 13:33, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Article name[edit]

It has become apparent that there were two steamships named Irish Oak. Therefore SS Irish Oak should be a dab page, and this article moved to SS Irish Oak (1919). This can wait until after the GAR has been concluded. Mjroots (talk) 17:09, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

and a MV ClemMcGann (talk) 00:10, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Two MVs actually, the second SS was converted to a MV. Mjroots (talk) 07:04, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
I wonder what happened to the third. I have "ships of ireland" 1984 and she is not listed ClemMcGann (talk) 12:31, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
MV Irish Oak (1973) [IMO 7304508] became Alev in 1982, Alev V in 1985 and Tahir Kiran in 1990. She was scrapped at Gadani Beach in August 1997. Mjroots (talk) 06:40, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
ta very ClemMcGann (talk) 02:56, 12 January 2010 (UTC)


copyedit comming aboard! At first glance I'll work on organizing the reference list (wish me luck!) before tackling the prose. Cheers! Shir-El too 18:45, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Ooops: references already done. Prose it is. Shir-El too 18:50, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for your assistance. I'll ask the reviewer about resubmission. Maybe he'll be happy to pass the article without going through the process again. Mjroots (talk) 19:30, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Doubtful. Lets wait till it's all "ship-shape and Bristol fashion" before resubmitting. Shir-El too 16:34, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Questions for “Construction” section:[edit]

  • West Neris was yard number 11.” Was she built in yard No. 11, or referred to as “yard No. 11”?
  • Design 1019.” What is this? Is there an article on on this subject in general, or are specific designs listed?
  • “As with the other ships from the yard, she displaced 5,589 tons.” Does this mean ALL ships built in yard No. 11, or all ships built by Southwestern Shipbuilding?
  • “launched on 24 August 1918... was completed in December 1919.” Was she actually launched in 1918 or begun (“keel laid”) in that year?
  • Please have someone with engine skills double-check the engine specifications, to make sure my edit still makes good engineering sense.
  • Note: changed “depth” to “draught.” Please verify.

Cheers! Shir-El too 20:21, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

  • Yard Number - this is equivalent to the construction number (c/n) of an aircraft or works number of a locomotive - i.e. the 11th ship built by the shipyard. Way number is used to identify an individual slipway if known. This is in addition to a Yard Number.
  • Design 1019 ship - an article will be created in due course. Gatoclass (talk · contribs) has been creating the ship design articles such as Design 1013 ship.
  • Displacement - I think this refers to the Design 1019 ship.
  • Launch date is correct. When a ship is launched, it is generally not ready for service, a certain amount of fitting-out needs to be done, hence the difference.
  • Engines - checked and tweaked
  • Depth / draught. These are often confused. Depth is from waterline upwards, draught is from waterline downwards. Mjroots (talk) 05:56, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

New Question/s[edit]

  • The captain who fell at St. John is first called "Moran" then "Morgan". Which is it? Shir-El too 06:23, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm 99% sure it would be Morgan. I've fixed the typo. Clem will no doubt be able to confirm. Mjroots (talk) 06:41, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
  • "Irish Oak remained in St. John for four months..." Just to be on the safe side, was this St. John N.S. or Saint John, New Brunswick, where she'd been towed? Shir-El too 07:07, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
  • The two places are normally distinguished by the use of St or Saint. As far as I can tell, it was Saint John where she was towed to. Again, Clem will know this one. Mjroots (talk) 07:27, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Where she was towed to initially is clear; where she stayed is the question. The text as I found it read "St. John". Meanwhile I've changed layout to follow the continuity of events, and removed some redundent citation marks. Will be back next week. Meanwhile, could you reorganize the first para. of "Encounter with U-650"? It probably has no place in this article, but maybe we could use it at the end. Have a Good Weekend! Shir-El too 09:11, 15 January 2010 (UTC) P.S. Where was she sailing from and to, and when, when she answered the Stornest's SOS?

Matthew Moran[edit]

I am a on a wiki-break, far from books and references, and my thanks to CBCC [1] for the use of their facilities to post this. I can’t be sure which St John, however it had a lot of wheat. Captain Matthew Moran was of a Wexford family with a long maritime tradition. He had to go to work rather than finish his schooling because his father Captain James Moran went down with his ship in the English Channel. I cannot recall her name; she was a Palgrave-Murphy ship, she went down in the early 1900s – pre WWI. Many schooners operated out of Wexford, the young Matthew Moran started sailing on them. Then he went to England and signed up with the Constantine Shipping Company of Middlesbrough. He advanced rapidly and was in command of one their ships before he was thirty – quite an achievement in those days. In 1936 he returned and joined the Wexford Steamship Company. I can’t recall his initial ship. In 1938, the MV Kerlogue was built and he was put in command. I think he was captain of the Kerlogue when she was nearly sunk by a German mine. He had moved on when she was dive-bombed by the RAF, Desmond Fortune was then her captain. At the outbreak of the war he was “senior master” of the Wexford Steamship Company. (Some use the term “commodore”). And sometimes the company was known as the Stafford Line. It was founded and majority-owned by the Stafford family. As the company had a stake in the newly formed Irish Shipping Matt Moran was seconded to them to take command of their first ship – the Irish Poplar. A Greek ship had been abandoned by her crew when she was attacked by German bombers, but she stayed afloat. Some enterprising Spanish fishermen went and towed her into a Spanish port (Aviles?) and were awarded salvage. Irish Shipping purchased her and she was loaded with wheat. The City of Dublin sailed with a double crew to collect her. But the Franco government learned that Desmond Brannigan was one of the crew, so they were declared ‘persona non gratia’. Des, who is now in his 90s (do you want contact? He could do with company) had run guns during the Spanish Civil War. So they had to divert to Lisbon. They were there when “Nightmare Convoy” sought shelter. Those Spanish fishermen were paid extra to sail her to Lisbon. Des’s description of conditions on the Irish Poplar are grim. On arrival in Dublin she needed extensive repairs. Capt Moran continued with the Irish Poplar collecting wheat from St John (please don’t ask me which one) to Cork. She sailed out-of-convoy, Moran negotiated a bonus of £5 per crew member for a faster journey. (Convoys zigzagged and were limited by the speed of the slowest). Moran was given command of the Irish Oak when she was charted from the US. He was captain during her engine problems and it was he who handed the Greek engineer over to the Canadians. I wonder if there is any record in Canada, since he was jailed there had to be a trial. Without a reference we cannot say that he sabotaged her. Moran went back and forth a few times before his tragic accident. The gangway collapsed and he fell onto the quayside. It was in Dublin, late 1942. It was – I think – Jervis Street Hospital – he was in a coma for about a week before he died. I can get the exact date, it was late 1942. The Stornest SOS was about a week earlier. That would have been his last voyage. At that time she was sailing from St John to Dublin with a cargo of wheat – I think. You asked where she stayed while waiting for repairs. According to John Clarke, who is still with us, she was towed a few times to different yards for repair. But Allied ships would “skip the queue” and were repaired before neutrals were. This also applied to loading wheat. Eventually they were towed to Boston and repaired. Beware - I am prone to error. Have fun. I will return ClemMcGann (talk) 13:03, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Done for now...[edit]

have merged, reorganized, edited and consolidated as much as I can for the time being... and possibly introduced new errors. Please check out the references. Also, some sections have too much information and will need cuting down, while others are very thin. Will be back after some R&R. Happy hunting! Shir-El too 21:44, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Home stretch...[edit]

The article still needs information on:

  • What were her regular cargoes?
  • Where there additional items on the manifests?
  • Did she carry single or mixed cargoes?
  • Where did the fertilizer come from?
  • Where was the fertilizer loaded? {New Orleans or Tampa, Florida?)
  • Did the ship have a fixed route?
  • What were her ports of call?
  • What was the average sailing time between each port?
  • What was her average sailing time round-trip.
  • How many round-trips between Ireland and North America had she made before she answered Stornest's SOS?

And for my information, what exactly does "cargo as ballast" mean? Thank you, and have a Good One! Shir-El too 18:41, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Irish Oak was probably operated as at tramp ship, not on a fixed schedule or carrying a fixed cargo, nor on a fixed route. The only question I can really answer is the one about ballast - see Sailing ballast#Ship's ballast. Mjroots (talk) 07:09, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for the reference. Tho' she may have looked like one, I very much doubt she was a tramp: she was chartered to fill a specific need with specific cargoes in mind. We'll have to wait for our third, ClemMcGann, and see what he says on the subject. Cheers! Shir-El too 17:36, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Clarification: per the link you left me she was probably a tramp, in that she had no fixed schedule. On the other hand it was wartime, and I doubt many schedules were kept. I also infer from bits and pieces in the article that she did have a fairly regular route, but we'll see what Clem has to say when he gets back. Cheers! Shir-El too 17:38, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
From Clem in an internet cafe = do a "who is" on my IP = I would rather not log in from here = The diplomatic exchanges with the US were addressed to the "Irish Republic" - which was incorrect, but then "republic oF Ireland" is also incorrect.
Both ships plyed the atlantic going out in ballast and returning either with wheat or with phosphate. Phosphate was from New Orleans. Wheat was from various ports, mainly New Orleans and St John
What some "general cargo" was also carried, this was normally farm machinery.
There was a fixed route for neutrals to follow = they followed it, that was why they were surprised to see a convoy ahead and just slowed down waiting for the convoy to move rather than moving to another themselves
I should be able to get the sailimg time becase they got an extra 5 pounds for faster time
Ballast means any old rubbish = often rocks = an empty ship would be tosseed by the waves they needed some weight to sail upright

..... this place is closing .... I will be able to answer more next week

where are the four tildes = can´t see them on this keyboard = regards = clement —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:38, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

back in cbcc
yes she had ballast tanks, when I said 'rocks' I had gone back a few centuries. When the tanks were empty, when she had a proper cargo, those empty tanks kept her afloat, after she was first hit ' she remained afloat for a long time (I can find out how long) , that was probably because of those tanks, they were going back to collect food clothing = and the three cats = they cound not see the Uboat = but when they approached a second round was fired. The three cats were lost.
we do know now that she warned the convoy, although it was denied at the time. This was done by exchanging a greeting with (I think) the Irish Plane, The greeting included a phrase which implied that they "had uninvited company" = the radio officers on the convoy ships heard and understood88.5.185.96 (talk) 12:40, 23 January 2010 (UTC)
and I intended to take a break
But take care how you present that (three cats, the warning, the drunk sabotaging Greek, for my info comes from John Clarke (who was on board) other than self-publishing, it would be OR
As for cargoes = I have (back home) the total imported by Irish Shipping (talk) 11:43, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
I have seen a photo of the crew, probably from a newspaper of the time. I therefore suspect that we cannot use it, however I will check.
She was regarded as a v modern ship, facilities such as showers for the crew were novel
I´m off to walk the beach - there are some in swimming - too chilly for me - gone for a few days - (talk) 11:49, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
Thank you very much! I'll go through your post more slowly, but two key facts need a reference: 1) the routes neutrals took, and who assigned them? 2) Where did you find out about the convoy warning? BTW, we know how long it took her to sink: the times for the first and second torpedos are in the article. Thank you for your time and effort, and enjoy many more good walks. Shir-El too 18:47, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm back - just. While in Spain, my wallet was lifted and here the pic was deleted. It is unreasonable to post a seven day notice of deletion on a talk page headed "on wiki break".
The routes were dictated by the 'navicert' system imposed by the Royal Navy, I'll post more on this tomorrow. As stated above the fact that the convoy was warned comes from John Clarke, so beware of OR.
Philip Smyly, the curator of the museum passed away while I was abroad
I'll post again when I get a few details ClemMcGann (talk) 00:27, 29 January 2010 (UTC)


Without further referenced info I'm done. Will be happy to come back when you have more - let me know. Shir-El too 13:59, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for your work on the article. It's appreciated. Mjroots (talk) 17:17, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Ta very - and if either of you are in this part of the world, do drop into the museum and say 'hello' ClemMcGann (talk) 18:52, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
I've asked Sturmvogel to cast his eyes over the article re GA status. Mjroots (talk) 09:11, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
good idea ClemMcGann (talk) 12:52, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Erin Go Bragh - the Fenian flag
I've renominated the article, and posted a request at WT:GAN for a speedy review. Mjroots (talk) 11:03, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Your welcome: it was a pleasure. Will bounce back from time to time. Erin Go Bragh! :). Shir-El too 21:18, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Erin go Bragh! - that was the Irish Plane - not the Irish Oak. On 23 September 1941 Irish Shipping purchased the Panamanian steamer Arena. She had a refit in Philadelphia Various local Irish-American dignitaries become involved. There was a huge ceremony for her departure. Captain Frehill and his Irish crew realized that she was flying the "Fenian Flag" rather than the Irish Tricolour. Rather than upset his hosts, he said nothing, she sailed under the green flag. The only other ship to do so was the Catalpa, a century earlier.
If you have a moment, please cast an eye over Irish Mercantile Marine during World War II, which I regard as the umbrella article ClemMcGann (talk) 22:48, 9 February 2010 (UTC)


Organizationally I dont think the crew section makes sense where it is. It should be a subsection of Irish Oak because the crewing does not apply to the whole time it was commissioned (I assume). Perhaps if you discuss when they crewed the ship in the section, or where they were recruited from, etc.. Sadads (talk) 18:54, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

fair point. the crew listed are the crew when she was sunk. afaik John Clarke is the only one still alive ClemMcGann (talk) 16:50, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

Official Numbers...[edit]

Minor point: she was Irish, but had a UK Official Number? Cheers! Shir-El too 00:43, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Ireland never issued numbers. Nowadays all use the international IMO numbers. The UK had a peculiar attitude towards Irish ships (and not just ships). They sometimes reckoned that they were British. They "requisitioned" the Irish Hazel and renamed her Empire Don. It was strange, she needed extensive repair and Britain offered the services of a UK yard. The Irish government paid for the repairs and when she was ready, she was requisitioned! She was returned in 1946. Anyway, all Irish ships were issued with UK numbers. Prior to the war many Irish ships sailed under the red ensign. It gave them some privileges in UK and Empire ports. The Irish government did not really have a marine office. The country was very young. The British had only left in 1922, and that was followed by a civil war. By 1939 lots of the institutions of state were yet to be formed. Up to 1922, the UK regulated maritime affairs, the easy way was to allow that to continue, it did. ClemMcGann (talk) 01:20, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
UK ON because she was registered with Lloyds. Modern ships use IMO numbers and MMSI numbers. Mjroots (talk) 06:25, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
but not insured by Lloyds. It was too expensive for sailing out-of-convoy. ISL first put cash aside to cover losses. this evolved into an insurance company which was very profitable. ClemMcGann (talk) 10:05, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks! Shir-El too 20:26, 23 February 2010 (UTC)