Did Original Uncle Albert Crash into Putney Bridge?

Search is on for details of oil tanker incident in 1944

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On 27th June, 1944 a V1 Flying Bomb crashed into the Thames Embankment at Putney, causing damage to a small coastal oil tanker, the Shell Spirit #1

This ship was captained by Albert West the now deceased uncle of James Chapman . Family 'legend' has it that as a result of this incident, Shell Spirit #1 collided with or became jammed under Putney Bridge on a rising tide; as a result of which considerable damage was done to both ship and bridge.

Mr. Chapman who now lives in New South Wales said, "I believe there may have been a subsequent "Board of Trade Enquiry" , the outcome of which my uncle left the Merchant Navy - possibly having lost or resigned his Master's Ticket. This is all that I know about the Flying Bomb 'incident' and would dearly like to know more. "

Fans of the series 'Only Fools and Horses' will remember that it was another Uncle Albert who also had to leave the navy after a series unfortunate incidents involving ships and collisions. It is not known whether the writers of the series were aware of the original Putney incident when they created their character.

Mr. Chapman is asking the people of Putney to help him find out more and would appreciate transcript reports or 'scans' of newspaper cuttings etc. of the day.

He can be reached by e-mail on jamesvchapman@iprimus.com.au.

October 24, 2008