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John R.Williams was born in Porthmadog in 1877, the son of Captain John Williams. His seagoing career commenced, as a 13 year old boy, on his father’s schooner the MESSENGER For the next 13 years he worked his way up the ranks. In 1903, like many of his contemporaries, he moved on to steamships and by 1909 was sailing as Mate on the FLORIZEL a cargo/passenger liner owned by C.T.Bowring and Co Ltd of St John’s Newfoundland on their route down the east coast of North America. He then sailed as Master on ships owned by this company and in 1916 was given command of the tanker LOMPOC sailing world-wide.
During 1918, in the North Sea, the LOMPOC was torpedoed and damaged twice but on both occasions Captain Williams brought the vessel safely in to port. For this he was awarded a Certificate of Commendation.

First Attack - April 21st 1918 by UB34 off the Farne Islands
Second Attack - August 28th 1918 by UB77 off the Tyne

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