Ritchie Robert Charles

Cabin Boy age 19 (OS) SS ASHLEA. Sailors Home, Liverpool. (Garden Smith Institute, Paradise Street. Liverpool).The eldest grandson of Robert Ritchie,( Richie Brammer) believes that Ritchie was actually an RN rating, aboard Ashlea as a gunner, having joined the RN in 1938.His RN identity was hidden by describing him as a cabin boy so that the Germans would not find out that we were arming merchant ships and to protect his fellow crew members. From Bob Ritchie (Son)He told me about the "Altmark Incident" from his point of view and I will try to give a honest version of his story.  After his ship was sunk by the Graf Spee he was treated well by the normal sailors of the pocket battleship as a prisoner of war.  When he was transferred to the Altmark the "guards" treated all of the prisoners very badly, my dad was beaten for some small thing but he said that it was nothing compared to other prisoners.  Dad tells of one of the prisoners who was beaten to death by the guards.  Generally he says of the time on the Altmark it was cold and he was hungry all the time, he would laugh at the fact that after being on the ship for a while and sharing a 44 Gallon drum as a toilet , every one of the prisoners had body and crab lice and he itched non-stop. Dad passed away in 2003 and Mum last year in 2013, most of us live in Australia as Mum and Dad emigrated to Australia in the 1960's. Thank you, and my thanks and my families thanks to the men of HMS Cossack