Paul McClure Hinkhouse (1892-1963)

ANCESTRAL LINE: A1 Joseph Junkin I | B3 Joseph Junkin II | C6 Joseph Junkin III | D11 William Wallace Junkin | E5 Amy Junkin Hinkhouse

F3 Paul McClure Hinkhouse, born 08/11/1892, died 11/05/1963. Married Uretta Amis. No issue.

The following account written by Paul McClure Hinkhouse tells the tale of his survival of a ship wreck in the Indian Ocean during World War I. Paul was at the time Working his way around the world. He had just finished teaching in Egypt for two years and would teach in India and China for two years each before returning to the states.
The Sinking of the S. S. Mongolia
By a Survivor

It was at 12:15 P. M. on Saturday the 23rd of June that we hit the mine. Mr. Kenneth McAfee of Parkville, Mo. and I were the only Americans on board and at the time of the explosion were sitting in the saloon explaining a few American customs to an Australian. Suddenly I was thrown from my seat -- it felt a great deal like an automobile going over a huge bump -- and then from the starboard side of the ship came a low muffled roar and the boat began to shake from side to side and from stem to stern. The force of the explosion was so great that it knocked down the wireless and threw the six inch gun off of its base. Every one knew what had happened and there was a mad scramble to the cabins for life-jackets. In the cabin I got a helmet, the life-jacket, and stuck an extra hat into my pocket and then made my way to the top deck. Fortunately I had placed my passport and money in my pocket that morning in anticipation of the visit to Bombay. Mr. McAfee unlocked his trunk and got his money from it.

The day before we had had the only life boat drill of the journey, so we all knew what boats we were to take in case of accident. The life-boats however were not swung out and it was with some difficulty that they were gotten loose. Before any of the passengers got into the boat it was nearly full of Indian Lascars. We helped a discharged soldier with a broken leg into the boat which was immediately lowered. I was waiting for orders to get into the boat and before I realized that none of the ship's officers were to take charge the boat was five or six feet below the deck. Needless to say I decided to wait no longer and jumped upon the heads of the Indians, injuring the leg of the soldier as I fell. The Mongolia was listing to the starboard considerably and our life boat which was on the port side slid down the steel sides of the parent ship. Some of the boards were torn off and we felt that we might not keep afloat once we did get into the water. Once in the water it was with great difficulty that we were able to push off. Two or three times when we had pushed a short distance away, a Monsoon wave, seemingly angry at our escape dashed us against the sinking ship with tremendous force.

We rowed as fast as we could from the Mongolia stopping only to pick up two people who were directly in our path. By the time we had gotton 150 yards away the Mongolia had disappeared. She had sunk in just twenty minutes. It was an interesting and terrible sight to see the large vessel slowly and gradually sink into the water. All of the passengers were excited but the old ship gradually lowered into her watery grave leisurely and with calmness that was tantalizing.

In a short time the captain hailed us and informed us that land was twenty-five miles due east. We put up sail and made for land. In our boat were thirty-three souls -- ten Europeans and the rest Indians. Among the Europeans was the boiler-maker who had been scalded from head to foot by the escaping steam. The skin hung from his feet, face and outstretched hands in strips. When the salty waves of the sea splashed into the boat the poor fellow suffered intense agony. In a short time the hardtack tin was opened and we were each given a biscuit. I was in a giving, rather than a receiving mood, so passed up the delicacy. We were rained on several times while in the boat but the rain brought a perfect rainbow -- the most beautiful one I think I have ever seen. It was about four o'clock that I first noticed it directly over the place toward which we were steering. After four hours in the life-boat it was a comforting sight, and remembering that God had set the bow in the sky as a promise to man, it gave me an assurance that our boat was to reach the shore in safety.

We landed at dusk that night with two other boats, and were immediately divided into three parties. One to watch the boats, a second to build a fire and a third to guard the water and biscuits. During the night several other boats made their way to land. One had overturned on a reef and the occupants had to float for some distance clinging to the overturned boat. Three saw our red fire and thinking it a danger signal remained out all night. Two hours after we landed the poor boiler-maker passed away and was laid for the night beneath a lonely tree on the shore. Few had a desire to sleep that night but lay down because of exhaustion. The sands of shore served as cots and the cloudy sky was the only canopy to be had.

The place at which we landed was Janjira about forty miles south of Bombay. Sunday we lay on the beach under the few trees that were there and under a few improvised tents made from sails. We lived off of crackers, cocoanuts, a few bananas, a little rice and toward evening the invalids were treated to a little chicken and broth. Sabbath evening we spent again in the great outdoors, protecting ourselves from the intermittent showers as best we could.

Early Monday morning we started on a twelve mile cross-country hike. It was a motley army of three hundred that wound along the beach, through rice fields, cocanut groves and banana plantations over a high hill to an inlet of the ocean where we were taken on board a mine sweeper which had been sent from Bombay to take us in. Robinson Crusoe costumes were the order of the day and the life jackets and sailcloths were used for everything from head gear to shoes.

On the mine sweeper we were given a little solid food; bread and butter, some more delicious hard-tack and a little "bully beef" which forms an important item in the diet of the English "Tommy". The mine sweeper could not get into Bombay harbour that night so we waited till early Tuesday morning before starting in. At 12:30 just seventy-two hours after the accident had occurred we were landed in Bombay, tired and exhausted, with a prayer of thankfulness on our lips.

Paul M. Hinkhouse    

The Joseph Junkin Family Tree is a collection of information gathered by Eric & Liz Davis, Mary Eleanor Bell, Alice Erma Bell, Margaret A. Killian, Laura Gayle Junkin, Winston Ray Norris, Joyce Ann Junkin, Barbara Ann Millner, and many others. The html version was initiated by Eric and Elizabeth Fisher-Davis in 1998 .
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