John Arthur Cleveland
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About John Arthur

  • Name
    John Arthur
  • Initials
    J A
  • Surname
  • Date of Birth
  • Birth town
  • Resided town
  • Commemorated
  • Nationality
  • Place of death
  • Date of death
    June 1947
  • Married
  • Occupation

Service Information

  • Merchant Navy - Newark Castle

  • Service Number
  • Rank


John Arthur Cleveland was serving as a cook on the Steam Drifter ‘Newark Castle’, (a type of fishing vessel using drift nets). The vessel was sunk on the 6 July 1916, in the North Sea approximately 23 miles SE of the river Tyne by the German U Boat U23, under command of Oberlieutnant zur See Ernst Voigt. In a three day patrol, the U-Boat sank eight British vessels of similar size, including ‘Girl Bessie’ and ‘Petunia’. In all attacks, the submarine captured the vessels and allowed the crews to disembark before sinking the vessels with bombs.

U-Boat U23 sank 51 ships until it was badly damaged by depth charges from the patrol boat HMS PC-60 off the Lizard on July 26 1917.

U-Boats under the command of Oberlieutnant zur See Ernst Voigt, sank 80 ships.  Voigt, who was highly decorated, including the Iron Cross 1st class, died on 25 August 1917 when UC 72 hit a mine in the Straits of Dover.

Arthur and his nine crewmates could possibly have been returning to Lowestoft, following their unfortunate encounter with the German submarine.  They passed throughPeterborough East Station and signed the visitors’ book on 8 July 1916.

Initial research led us to John Arthur Cleveland of the Royal Naval Reserve, however further research at the National Archives disproved this connection and Arthur currently remains one of our untraced men.  Can you help further?


Is any of this information familiar?  Can you tell us more about John ‘Arthur’ Cleveland?  Please get in touch if you can tell us more.


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One Response

  1. Beverley Jones says:

    Crew of vessel torpedoed by German Submarine

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