Theophilus Alp
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About Theophilus

  • Name
  • Initials
  • Surname
  • Date of Birth
    July 1849
  • Birth town
    Gillingham, Norfolk
  • Resided town
    Lowestoft Norfolk
  • Commemorated
  • Nationality
  • Place of death
  • Date of death
    02 January 1930
  • Married
  • Occupation

Service Information

  • Civilian

  • Service Number
  • Rank


Theophilus Alp was born in Gillingham, Norfolk in July 1849. His parents, Robert and Hepzibeth had eight children and his father was an agricultural labourer, as was Theophilus by the age of 11.

In December 1875, Theophilus married Sarah Balls and had three children but sadly one died in infancy. He became a Lowestoft based fisherman well before the war and served on many fishing vessels. He was over 60 by the time war broke out and he carried on his fishing activities with the added hazard of Germans patrolling the North Sea.

In 1916, Theophilus was serving as the whaleman on the Steam Drifter ‘Newark Castle’, (a type of fishing vessel using drift nets). It was sunk in July 1916 around 23 miles SE of the river Tyne by the German U Boat U23, under command of Oberlieutnant Ernst Voigt. In a three day patrol, the U Boat sank eight British vessels of similar size.

Crew members came through Peterborough East Station on 8 July 1916 and wrote two detailed accounts of the attacks in the visitor’s books, describing how the German U-Boat U23 captured the vessels, allowing the crews off before sinking the vessels with bombs.  The crew of the “Newark Castle” were rescued by a British submarine and landed in Blyth six hours later, along with crews from “Girl Bessie” and “Petunia” http://uboat.net/wwi/ships_hit/4372.html

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. http://uboat.net/wwi/boats/index.html?boat=UB+23

U-Boats under the command of Oberlieutnant zur See Ernst Voigt, sank 80 ships.  Voigt, who was highly decorated, which included the Iron Cross 1st class, died on 25 August 1917 when UC 72 hit a mine in the Straits of Dover. http://uboat.net/wwi/men/commanders/377.html

Theophilus and his nine crewmates could possibly have been returning to Lowestoft, following their unfortunate encounter with the German submarine.

He died in 1930, aged 80 in Lowestoft and is buried in Kirkley Cemetary, Lowestoft.

Please get in touch if you can tell us more about Theophilus.

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One Response

  1. Beverley Jones says:

    Crew of vessel torpedoed by German Submarine

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