- Created: 26 April 2015
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Always Remembered, Never Forgotten
Reproduced Here with the kind Permission of Jan
Born 17th January 1918 at 5 Hodgson Street, Hull to Herbert Sugden and Minnie Pape.
In 1939 he married Elsie May Kennedy
On the 2nd October 1942 Herbert was on board H.M.S. Curacoa.
On 2 October 1942 about 60 km north of the coast of Ireland she was escorting the ocean liner RMS Queen Mary carrying 10,000 American troops of the 29th Infantry Division to join the Allied forces in Europe. Queen Mary was steaming an evasive zig-zagging course. At 2:15 PM the Queen Mary started the starboard turn for the first leg of her zig-zag, cutting across the path of the Curacoa with insufficient clearance, striking her amidships at a speed of 28 knots and cutting her in two. The Curacoa sank in six minutes, about 100 yards from the Queen Mary. Acting under orders not to stop due to the risk of U-boat attacks, the Queen Mary did not assist in rescue operations and instead steamed onward with a damaged bow. Hours later, the convoy's lead escort, consisting of HMS Bramham and one other ship, returned to rescue 99 survivors from the Curacoa's crew of 338, including her captain John Wilfred Boutwood.
The incident occurred as the result of several factors. The captain of the Queen Mary made the assumption that her escort ship would track her course change and adjust accordingly. Meanwhile, Captain Boutwood on board the Curacoa assumed the standard seafaring rule that an overtaking ship must yield. The resulting convergent courses were reported on board both ships and the Queen Mary's First Officer issued a correction, but both the reports and correction were dismissed by the respective ship's captains.
The loss was not reported until after the war ended, whereupon the Navy immediately pressed charges against the Queen Mary's owners, Cunard White Star Line. The High Court of Justice subsequently ruled mostly in favour of the latter, assigning two-thirds of the blame to the Admiralty and one third to Cunard White Star. This ruling would become important in the civil lawsuits subsequently filed against Cunard White Star Line by relatives of the Curacoa's deceased. It also prompted significant revisions in Royal Navy policy, including the suspension of escorts for passenger liners indefinitely.
Under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986, the Curacoa's wrecksite is designated a "protected place".
Herbert is shown on the crew list as ‘missing presumed killed’
SUGDEN, Hubert, Able Seaman, RNVR, C/HD/X 30, MPK
Hull Daily Mail 13th June 1945
Also lost aboard the H.M.S. Curacao, from Hull