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SSFR - Southend Great War Trail

Name:

Eugene Patrick Corri

Service or Civilian:

Merchant Marine

Rank or Occupation:

Apprentice

Birth Details:

London 1902

Location:

Seaforth Road, Westcliff-on-Sea

Known Relatives:

Eugene Corri, Father
Edna Corri, Mother
Phillip Corri, Brother
Sydney Corri, Brother
John Corri, Brother

 

Death Details:

18.6.1918, SS Dwinsk

Burial Location:

With no known grave he is commemorated at Tower Hill Memorial

Southend Connection:

Family lived at 1 Seaforth Road, Westcliff-on-Sea

Story Summary:

Eugene Corri Junior was the eldest son of Eugene Corri Senior and Edna Corri. Mr Corri was a Stockbroker on the London Stock Exchange and the family lived at 1 Seaforth Road, Westcliff-on-Sea. Both Eugene and his Father were born in London, while his mother was born in Minnesota, USA. The family were well of as 1 Seaforth Road is a large house and they had 2 servants listed on the 1911 census. Mrs Corri’s mother also lived with the family, Anna Warendorph was born in Norway in 1843 – which probably means that Edna’s maiden name was Warendorph. Eugene had 3 younger brothers, Philip, Sydney and John.

Eugene Corri Jr was an Apprentice on the British flagged merchant ship SS Dwinsk when she was torpedoed 400 miles off of Bermuda. All but 4 of the crew were able to take to lifeboats, but the lifeboat Eugene was in became separated from the other 6 and was Eugene and the other 19 men aboard were never seen again.

Additional Details:

Account of the sinking of the SS Dwinsk:
 

The SS Dwinsk was a British flagged merchant ship known for her involvement in the Great War. On 18 June 1918, while steaming in the Atlantic from France to Newport News, Virginia, SS Dwinsk encountered the German submarine, U-151 around 400 miles from Bermuda.
 

The submarine surfaced and fired a torpedo into the helpless British steamer which caused severe damage. No distress call is known to have been sent by Dwinsk. The deaths of 22 or more British sailors have been confirmed, others were reported to have minor injuries. The dead either went down with Dwinsk when she sank or were in a lifeboat that went missing after their vessel went down. U-151's action was not over though, instead of fleeing after sinking the Dwinsk, she waited in the vicinity for any allied vessels coming to aid the British lifeboats which did not attempt to abandon the wreckage of their transport. The German U-boat remained for a few hours, using the stranded Britons as bait.

USS Von Steuben, which just happened to be returning to America from Brest, France, sighted the wreckage of Dwinsk from over five miles away. What the Americans saw were seven lifeboats that appeared to be empty. The boats appeared to be empty due to the captain of Dwinsk; he had ordered the crew to lie down to prevent allied vessels from approaching and being attacked by the Germans. USS Von Steuben made her approach anyway and began zig-zagging as a measure against torpedo attack.

Sure enough, as USS Von Steuben closed on the British lifeboats, the wake of one or two torpedoes were spotted coming towards the ship off her bow from abaft the port beam. Quickly the American commander was informed of the situation and ordered his crew to battle stations. USS Von Steuben fired her first shells in anger at the incoming torpedo, while another turret fired on U-151's periscope which was seen at the other end of the torpedo's trail. The shots fired at the torpedo apparently missed their target but USS Von Steuben was able to maneuver fast enough to keep out of the torpedo's path which missed by just a few yards from the USS Von Steuben. Once over the U-boat's last known position, the Americans dropped over 12 depth charges which shook the submarine severely—according to German accounts—and forced her to flee.

USS Von Steuben's crew did not rescue any of the Britons that night. It was not until later that the Americans learned that the survivors were lying down in their boats. The American commander did not want to risk his ship by slowing down to investigate the lifeboats. If Von Steuben had stopped to check the lifeboats, she would have been exposed to a torpedo attack.

Six of the seven lifeboats were rescued by other allied ships; the seventh boat with about 20 men aboard was never heard from again. USS Siboney rescued two boats on 21 June and USS Rondo picked up the final boat on 28 June.

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