My great-uncle, John Cotton, was an able seaman on ss Demeterton which was intercepted and sunk by SMS Moewe in March 1917
Dear Mr. Kearns
My great-uncle, John Cotton, was an able seaman on ss Demeterton which was intercepted and sunk by SMS Moewe in March 1917. I am afraid I can't say much more than that - he never revealed anything to his five children (all surviving with the oldest 93 and the youngest 72). At their request I have been looking at sources, including the Ahoy-Mac's Weblog, and have managed to put together something of a story for them. They are ever so pleased to know something at last, they didn't even know the ship he was on but I got that from the PoW records. I wish I could tell you more.
I am putting the story into booklet form for Uncle John's children and I stress that I will not be selling it or giving it wider distribution other than to my children perhaps, so I wouldn't expect to run off more than ten copies on my home printer. I wonder if you could kindly agree to my quoting verbatim a part of Donald Stuart's story (about 200 words) interleaved with my comments from research and my own experiences as a merchant seaman. Donald's account is so vivid it will help the family understand what John went though.
Uncle John was repatriated from the Gustrow PoW Camp but we only have a small amount of information about that too. In my experience (I am Life President of the [MN] Radio Officers' Association) those who had a bad time keep their experiences to themselves and so I understand this, frustrating though it is. We are lucky enough to have a photo of him in the camp and another from his seaman's card but that's just about all.
I think you've all done a magnificent job with your website and I can tell you for someone like me coming very cold to the subject it gave me a very good groundwork for my research. I am sorry to hear that Mac passed away recently.