The SS Lorina was built by William Denny & Bros, Dumbarton for the London South Western Railway’s ferry services from Southampton to the Channel Islands. Launched on 12th August 1918, she was immediately requisitioned for use as a troopship. Once her trooping duties were completed Lorina was converted back to a ferry at Caledon Shipbuilding in Dundee before entering service at Southampton in March 1920 . In 1939, when War broke out, Lorina still maintained her cross-channel services serving Jersey, however on 3rd October she was requisitioned to act as a transport ship ferrying supplies from Southampton and Plymouth to Cherbourg. Whilst requisitioned Lorina retained her crew.
On 29th May 1940 Lorina sailed to Dunkirk as part of Operation Dynamo. This coincided with the first day of heavy aerial bombing of the Dunkirk beaches by the Luftwaffe. Lorina took a direct hit at the stern and started to sink, Captain Light attempted to beach Lorina, however she sunk in shallow waters near the beach at Malo-les-Bains. Eight crew members were killed; mostly from the engine room, including John Pointer and Joseph Benyon.
John Cecil Pointer was born on 11th July 1892 to Charles and Kate Pointer of 1 George Street, Southampton. In 1922 John married Edith Blaker and at the outbreak of war the couple were living at 6 Elm Road Chapel, Southampton. Pointer served as a fireman on board the Lorina alongside Joseph Benyon . Benyon was born on 26th August 1892 to John and Hannah Benyon of 5 Rice Street, Liverpool . In 1939 Joseph lived with his wife Geraldine and their son Joseph at “Polruan” in Roselands Gardens, Highfield, Southampton . When the Lorina was sent to Dunkirk, Benyon was the vessel’s chief engineer. Both crewmen were unable to be recovered and are remembered on the Tower Hill merchant seamen’s memorial in London.
Although Lorina was disabled, two days later members of HMS Winchelsea’s crew rescued Lorina’s lifeboats so that they could be used in the evacuation. Today some of Lorina’s wreck is visible on the beach at Malo-les-Bains during exceptionally low tides: photographs can be seen on the French Epaves au large de Dunkerque (Wrecks off Dunkirk) website.

Lorina

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Postcard of Channel Islands Ferry 'Lorina'

Kelly's Directory

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Entry for John Pointer, (highlighted in red) showing his residence in 1939.

Merchant Seamen's Register

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John Pointer's CR2 Merchant Seamen's discharge card. - ©Southampton City Archives

Merchant Seamen's death record

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Merchant Seamen's death record for John Pointer. - ©National Maritime Museum, Greenwich via Ancestry.co.uk

Kelly's Directory

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Kelly's directory entry for Joseph Benyon, (highlighted in red) showing his residence in 1939.

Merchant Seamen's Register

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Joseph Benyon's CR10 Merchant Seamen's Register card, which gives personal details of the individual. On the reverse is a photograph of Joseph Benyon. - ©Southampton City Archives

Merchant Seaman's death record

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Merchant Seamen's death record for Joseph Benyon. - ©National Maritime Museum, Greenwich via Ancestry.co.uk

Sources
1. Scottish Built Ships: Lorina
2. ‘Channel steamer inspected at Dundee’, Dundee Courier, Saturday 27th March 1920, p. 5.
3. The National Archives BT/389/19/193
4. Guardian 16 July 2017: Dunkirk's darkest day.
5. The National Archives BT/339/2 Roll of Honour of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets· Ships J - Z (1939 - 1953), via Ancestry.co.uk
6. Census Returns of England and Wales, 1891. The National Archives, via Ancestry.co.uk
7. Commonwealth War Graves Commission: Casualty: John Cecil Pointer.
8. Liverpool Registers. Liverpool Church of England Parish Registers, Liverpool Record Office, Liverpool, England via Ancestry.co.uk
9. Census Returns of England and Wales, 1901. The National Archives, via Ancestry.co.uk
10. The National Archives 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/2307B via Ancestry.co.uk
11. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich: Merchant Seamen Deaths at Sea
12. Commonwealth War Graves Commission: Casualty: Joseph Thomas Benyon.
13. Divine, David, Nine days of Dunkirk, (New York: Norton, 1959), p. 167.


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