Thomas Philip Ryan, OBE, RNA

1890 Jan 17. Born Chelsea, London, England

1891 census at 92, Beaufort Street, Chelsea, London

1901 census at 3, Neville Terrace, Kensington

1911 census at 15 Selwood Place South Kensington S W. He was an apprentice in the Merchant Service in 1911 census

As far as I can see Ryan was in the Auxiliary Patrol to start with, then went on to minesweeping. Royal Naval Reserve (Trawler Section) - the RNR(T).   By the end of 1915 the Minesweeping Service employed 7,888 officers and men. When war broke out 94 trawlers were allocated for minesweeping duties spread across the UK.  Each group was commanded by a naval officer who had received some training in minesweeping.  For the new minesweeping and auxiliary patrol flotillas, officers and civilians were obtained from the Merchant Navy and given temporary commissions in the RNR and RNVR.  By 1918 the Trawler Reserve consisted of 39,000 officers and men of whom 10,000 were employed in minesweepers and the rest in the auxiliary patrol.  The total RN minesweeping forces included 762 ships stationed at 26 home ports and 35 foreign bases.  214 minesweepers had been lost during the four years and three months of the war.

1914 Sep 15. Commissioned Sub-Lt. He was appointed to VERNON for Miscellaneous Duties. Still there September 1915.

1915 Sep 14 Tempy Lt RNR [acting]

1915 Oct/Dec. Married Rose Carroll in London

1916 Jan 13. On Trawler Albion II when it was mined off St. Catherine’s Point. On the 13th January 1916 when on duty in the Portsmouth for Needles area to sweep for mines she was mined by German submarine UC-5 and sunk about 1.5 miles from the land. Her crew survived.

1916 Mar 10. Appointed to IPHEGENIA [Borne as Additional], minesweeping depot ship, White Sea,

1917 Mar 16. Appointed to VINDICTIVE [Borne as Additional], 16/3/17. VINDICTIVE replaced IPHEGENIA as White Sea depot ship.

1917 Jun 27. MID in recognition of their services in vessels of the Auxiliary Patrol between the 1st February and 31st December, 1916: . Lieut. Thomas Philip Ryan, R.N.R.

1918 Jan 1. Helped save crew of shipwrecked British vessel "SS Glodale" in White Sea. He was on HM Trawler Daniel Henley. On a voyage from Murmansk, Russia to Bergen with a cargo of munitions Glodale was wrecked on Point Pogan, near Murmansk.

1918 Jan 5 . HMS Andes, Murmansk, reports at 2.55pm : HM Trawlers Daniel Henley & Sunderland arrived with 13 survivors

1918 Nov 4. Appointed in command of the Hunt class minesweeper NORTHOLT, 4/11/18.

1918 Aug 5. Bronze Medal for saving life at sea.

1919 Oct 21 Demobilised

1919 May 23. Gazetted OBE. Lieutenant Thomas Philip Ryan, R.N.R. For valuable services as Principal Mine Sweeping Officer at Kirkwall from April to October, 1918.

1920 Aug 2. Joined ADRIC with service no 85, seconded from the Army and appointed to police advisors staff. 3rd class District Inspector. Previously a Lt in Royal Naval Auxiliary. Form 3 transfer. Posted to B Coy

1920 Sep 23. Posted to Depot Coy. Attached to the Police Advisors Office

1921 Feb 10 Promoted to Permanent Cadet and DI3 in RIC

1921 Mar 25. Back with ADRIC with new service no 1863

1921 Mar 26 Posted to Q Coy. Company Commander

1921 Apr 11. Relinquished Command of Q Coy on taking up" special duties" , but appears to remain attached to Q Coy until 16 Jul 1921. Oddly he gave the newspaper interview after the IRA raid on Apr 11. It refers to him as being in command. It appears that 11 Apr is the day he stepped down from command. I am not sure if the move is co-incidental or not. He was not wounded in the attack.

1921 Apr 11 In North British Hotel attacked by the IRA

1921 Jul 16 Ceased to be attached to Q Coy and "returned to Phoenix Park"

1921 Dec 7, Struck off strength on transfer to permanent position in RIC

1921 Jun 10. Gazetted. The following decorations have been conferred by His Majesty the King of Roumania upon the undermentioned British Naval Officers1 in recognition of their services1 during the War: — His Majesty the KING has given unrestricted permission to the Officers concerned to wear the decorations in question. ORDER OF THE STAR OF ROUMANIA. Chevalier. Lieut. Thomas P.Ryan, O.B.E., R.N.R

1922 Jul 7, pensioned by RIC

1923 Aug Leaves UK for Canada on SS Empress of France. "nil" profession, 1st class, his father William is living at 251A South Fulham Rd, South Kensington. Landing form shows him bound for Land & Colonisation Dept of Canadian Pacific Railway in Winnipeg

1925 Sep 29. Fills up a form indicating the he intended applying for a USA citizenship

1931 Feb 9. Becomes a naturalised USA citizen

He is believed to have served in South America and Asia as a mercenary. He joined the Canadian navy (RCNR) in Hong Kong

1939 Sep 3. Thomas Philip Ryan, RCNR appears to be the same man as he has an OBE. He is a Lt at this date, rising to Lt. Commander later in the war. As one might expect he is involved in minesweeping

"The British Pacific Fleet in World War Ii: An Eyewitness Account" is written by a man who shipped with Ryan

1941 Lieutenant T.P. Ryan, O.B.E., Commanding Officer, H.M.C.S. Niagara, He was appointed as an A/Lieutenant-Commander (Temp.) RCNR

HMCS Niagara (I 57) T/Lt. Destroyer 3 Jul 1941 23 Feb 1942
HMCS Ingonish (J 69) T/Lt. Minesweeper 29 Apr 1942 2 May 1943
HMCS Dawson (K 104) T/A/Lt.Cdr. Corvette 8 Jun 1943 31 Mar 1944
HMCS Shediac (K 110) T/A/Lt.Cdr. Corvette 31 Mar 1944 31 May 1944
HMCS Dawson (K 104) T/A/Lt.Cdr. Corvette 31 May 1944 19 Jun 1945

1941 Jul 3. Command of HMCS Niagara. She was transferred to the RCN as HMCS Niagara. In Jun 1941 joined the newly formed NEF. On 28 Aug 1941 she was on hand to take aboard the crew of U 570, which had surrendered to a Coastal Command aircraft south of Iceland..

1941 Aug 24, From Of the two destroyers which were ordered to make haste from Iceland to the surrender scene on the afternoon of 27 August, one was HMCS Niagara which was the ex - USS Thatcher which had been built in 1918, and was one of the 50 old US Navy destroyers transferred to the Royal Navy under the US/UK Lend - Lease arrangements in September 1940. She was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy at Halifax on 24 September 1940 and, after carrying out local convoy escort duties and undergoing a short refit at Plymouth in the UK, served in the 4 th Escort Group in Western Approaches Command. In May 1941 she was transferred back to Canada, where she joined the Newfoundland Escort Force based at St John ’ s, and was then employed on North Atlantic convoy escort duties. She was moored at the naval base at Hvalfjord just to the north of Reykjavik when her CO, Lt Thomas P. (“ Two - Gun ”) Ryan, OBE, RCN, received the order to leave at the earliest possible moment, and such was the urgency that she sailed without four of her officers and 17 ratings who were all ashore when the order was received. Lt Ryan was a colourful character who apparently always wore a holster whilst on board and who in a previous career, after service in the Royal Navy, had been a District Inspector of Police in Cork, Ireland, where he had worked with the local CID in the supervision of Irish Nationalists.

A RAF Coastal Command Hudson attacked and damaged U570, but was short of fuel and had to return to base. Ryan and HMCS Niaga arrived at this moment and took charge of the damaged U570, A few hours later 4 British destroyers arrived and took charge of the U boat.

Lt Ryan made full use of his police interrogation skills whilst transporting his 31 POWs back to Iceland, and when he got there it was too late for Admiral Scott to turn the clock back. Thus the Admiral ’ s Intelligence Staff Officer, Lt E.E. Thomas, took advantage of all the information that Lt Ryan ’ s informal discussions had elicited from his German charges, to such an extent that Lt Thomas advised the Admiral that: The Commanding Officer [of HMCS Niagara ] is to be commended on his skill in maneuvering information from the prisoners, [and that] Chief Stoker Williams and Petty Officer Emley are [also] to be commended on the information they succeeded in obtaining from the crew [of- 570 ]

1942 Mar 31. Interviewed in Winnipeg.


1942 Apr 12. On leave in New York, he gives an interview to the New York Times about his involvement in the capture of U


1942 Apr 29 to 2 May 1943. In command of HMCS Ingonish. Ingonish was commissioned on 08 May 1942. She saw her first service with the Esquimalt and Prince Rupert Forces. She left Esquimalt 17 Mar 1943, for Halifax where she arrived on 30 Apr 1943.

1943 Jun 8. Appointed to command of Dawson. In Sep 1943 she commenced a major refit, including fo'c's'le extension, at Vancouver, worked up following its completion 29 Jan 1944, and on 14 Feb 1944 left for Halifax.

Transferred to the west coast, she left Halifax 03 Apr 1944, and arrived at Esquimalt 10 May 1944. He was transferring the Dawson from Halifax to Esquimalt, via the Panama Canal, when he was ordered to stop at Long Beach California, and allow his ship to be used for filming a Holywood film "Corvette K225" He appears to have taken longer over this task thn the Naval authorities expected or required.

1944 Feb 14. HMCS Dawson (T/A/Lt.Cdr. T.P. Ryan, OBE, RCNR) depart from Esquimalt for Halifax. She arrived Halifax on 25 Mar 1944. There is a full description of the passage on this web site

1944 Mar 31 to May 30 1944 In command of HMCS Shelliac. Transferred to the west coast, she left Halifax 03 Apr 1944, and arrived at Esquimalt 10 May 1944. She refitted at Vancouver from mid-Jun to mid-Aug 1944, in the process receiving her extended fo'c's'le

1944 May 31 to 19 Jun 1945. He returns to command HMCS Dawson. Early in Jan 1945, she began a refit at Dartmouth, on completion of which in Apr 1945 she went to Bermuda to work up. The European war had ended by the time she returned, and she was paid off 19 Jun 1945 at Sorel. Sold for scrap; she foundered at her moorings on 22 Mar 1946 at Hamilton. She was later raised and broken up.

1945 Jun 19. His command of the Dawson finishes. Dawson is paid off on this date.

At the end of the war he sailed in a Victory ship to Manilla to distribute Red Cross supplies. The first leg of his return to USA was via Yokohama in Japan where he boarded the SS Boudoin Victory and met the author of the book that told his story