HMS Gypsy - Ships Nostalgia
10:49

Welcome
Welcome!Welcome to Ships Nostalgia, the world's greatest online community for people worldwide with an interest in ships and shipping. Whether you are crew, ex-crew, ship enthusiasts or cruisers, this is the forum for you. And what's more, it's completely FREE.

Click here to go to the forums home page and find out more.
Click here to join.
Log in
User Name Password

HMS Gypsy

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 7th July 2008, 01:04
ROBERT HENDERSON ROBERT HENDERSON is offline  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 1,680
HMS Gypsy

When I first moved to live in Harwich, as we walked along the promenade a wreck of a Naval vessel could be seen offshore in the vicinity of the Guard Buoy, I was told it was the remains of H.M.S. Gypsy. For want of somthing better to do this evening I Googled it and got the whole story. Felixstowe had a seaplane base, so at first notbody took any notice of a seaplane flying low over the river near Harwich, and so no guns were fired. It turned out to be a German seaplane laying magnetic mines, fighters were scrambled from RAF Martlesham but too late. Minesweepers were deployed to sweep the channel, but still H.M.S.Gypsy hit one and then the boilers exploded. So close to shore and still lost with all hands.
The first link I came too when I Googled H.M.S. Gypsy was a poem from Ray Bakers unpublished collection, I have not included it here as I am not familiar with copyright laws. The link is below.
www.raybaker.co.uk/poems/Gypsy.


Last edited by ROBERT HENDERSON : 7th July 2008 at 01:05. Reason: typo mistake
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 7th July 2008, 01:37
Steve Woodward Steve Woodward is offline  
member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
My location
Posts: 0
Robert, applologies but the details you have are not correct see below

HMS Gypsy was a member of the nine strong G class of destroyers, nearly identical to the nine ships of the H class with which they were linked. crew numbers were 145.
On the 21st November 1939 she hit a mine which was laid by three German destroyers ( Hermann KŁnne, Bernd von Arnim and Wilhelm Heidkamp) during the night of 17th-18th November 1939 in the Harwich channel, Gypsy was beached but declared a total loss, 30 of her crew were killed and the survivors weere taken off by a Tug : Stronghold and the Polish Destroyer Burza. Sometime later the wreck was salvaged
Gypsy, H63 was built by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Eng. Co. Ltd., Govan, Glasgow1934-5 L 323' B 33' Dr 12'06" Disp 1,350 tons standard and 1880 full load
machinery : twin screw parsons turbines 34,000 shp 36 knots
Four single mk9 4.7" guns, two sets quadruple 21" torpedo tubes
Steve
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 7th July 2008, 09:49
Peter4447 Peter4447 is offline  
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
My location
Posts: 0
Robert
My Father was serving at Beacon Hill Coast Artillery Battery, Harwich on the night she was lost and he never forgot the screams of the injured and cries for help echoing across the water in the blackness. His CO was asked if some of the gunners could take ropes along the breakwater in case any crew members had managed to swim or drifted in that direction. Because of the threat of invasion the CO very reluctantly felt forced to refuse.
The last surviving officer from 'Gypsy' is (I believe) still alive in his 90's and living in Dartmouth. A wonderful gentleman who once told me that his only recollection was that he was standing on the bridge alongside his CO when she struck the mine and he then found himself "sat on his bum on B gun deck". The CO was killed and he could never understand why he had not been killed as well.
A story was passed down amongst the trainees at HMS Ganges that was still doing the rounds in the mid 1960's that the laundry at HMS Ganges was haunted, as this is where those members of the crew who were killed were first taken.
I have only ever seen one photograph of the 'Gypsy' after she was mined and that appeared in an early WW2 weekly magazine. This appeared to show her clearly broken completely in two with the stern section at right angles to the rest.
Peter

Last edited by Peter4447 : 7th July 2008 at 09:58.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 7th July 2008, 11:14
ROBERT HENDERSON ROBERT HENDERSON is offline  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 1,680
Hi Steve.
Thanks for correcting me. The account of two haves of the wreck that Peter is exactly as we could see it, she certainly was not far up the beach as even on big spring tides we could not walk out to her. I do remember however that we did pick an iron ladder from her which we used to climb trees to erect swings. As for the seaplane incident, I tried three different links and they all gave that same account, supposedly from eyewitnesses. Peter the gun battery that you refer to was the one that witnesses refer to, one reason given was that whoever was in command of defense of the harbour at that time was not there. I did not mention this in my first posting as I could not be sure, regards survivours obvious I am wrong, again my apologies, but I was going by what people living there at the time told me. Also one has to be careful sometimes of historical accounts.Another ship that was lost in the harbour was the paddle steamer Marmion, the historical account is that she was lost of Harwich, in actual fact she was alongside what was the coaling pier, later to become Trinity House pier. On this occasion I lived in West street and heard the explosion as the bomb went through her paddle box, many adults, including my father went down to the quay to try and help.
Regards Robert
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 7th July 2008, 11:39
Peter4447 Peter4447 is offline  
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
My location
Posts: 0
Hi Robert
I have only ever heard that the mines were laid by a Donier bomber by parachute at night.
Dad joined 176 Battery at Harwich as a Territorial in 1936 and never spoke about what AA defences were in place.
Because this incident took place very early in War it is possible that no AA weapons were actually in place at that time, as the emphasis was on the defence of the harbour from a seaborne invasion. Certainly there were 2 x 9.2 guns but these could not have been used in an anti-aircraft role. Both the searchlight (now the Harwich Yacht Club building) and the 2 Guns in the battery by Cann's Jetty could only have been used for coast defence as again they were in roofed concrete and brick emplacements.
I have no idea as to what the situation was for AA defence on the Landguard side either but I am wondering if, perhaps, at that very early stage in WW2 that until shoreside AA cover became available, if the air defence for Harwich had to rely the guns of the warships that were moored in the harbour.
Your comment about the spring tides is interesting. Although the new Wharf has changed things dramatically, I can well remember on one occasion as a youngster that the tide went out a very long way indeed off Harwich beach and uncovered areas you could rarely walk on. When paddling around in my wellies I picked up literally handfulls of live .303 ammunition there were hundreds of them scattered everywhere and a knuckleduster! Dad was with me at the time and the rounds were very quickly consigned again to the deep!
Peter

Last edited by Peter4447 : 7th July 2008 at 11:46.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 8th July 2008, 23:39
benjidog benjidog is offline
member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
My location
Posts: 0
Robert,

You will find that a lot of material on the Internet gets copied from one website to another by people that do not check the original source material. As a result of this, you cannot necessarily trust what you find just because it appears in several places. We all fall for this from time to time.

If you check out the entries in the SN Directory you will find that we try and quote the sources of information so that you can check them. If it is another website at least you can see where we got the information from even if it is wrong. many websites do not give sources so there is no way of correcting errors.

Regards,

Brian
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 9th July 2008, 14:48
ROBERT HENDERSON ROBERT HENDERSON is offline  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 1,680
Brian
I understand what you are saying regards information of the internet, but living at Harwich I heard some information from adults and other RN people who used my parents public house. One version correcting me is that it was a Dornier aircraft, another is that it was German ships, which I find hard to believe that they got into the Harbour without being challenged, as there was a boom across the entrance from Languard point with an examination vessel on constant duty. I also know frrom actual personal experience that other versions of wartime at Harwich are wrong. It comes to a point as to what version do you believe. I have a book of the History of Harwich written by my old school History Master, while I cannot refute his version of events before I was born, I do know that some of the later events he describes are not exactly wrong but do contain inaccuracies.
Regards Robert
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 9th July 2008, 16:07
Peter4447 Peter4447 is offline  
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
My location
Posts: 0
Hi again Robert
It is always difficult to separate fact from fiction.
Dad often said that the RA Gunners on duty at Beacon Hill had reported an aircraft flying low over the harbour shortly before 'Gypsy' was mined.
Whilst I did not wish to disagree with Steve about the mines being laid by 3 German destroyers, like you I just cannot believe three warships could actually have got that far into the harbour. It would have been one heck of a risk because had they have been spotted the very heavy coast artillery both on the Essex and Suffolk sides and the searchlights would have ensured that they would not have got out again.
The 9.2s were a very accurate weapon and you may recall the little mast that stuck up out of the water for years close by Landguard Point. This was a Pelton SS Co coaster that was mined and was often used as target practice by the Beacon Hill battery. Although they never 'knocked' it down can you imagine the effect those guns would have had on a destroyer. Plus of course, I think the RN destroyers and MTBs would have been very hot on their heels as they tried to get away across the North Sea.
Mum also used to talk about the awful sound of the Stuka bombers making their attacks, so I assume 'Marmion' would have been lost during one of these raids.
Kind regards
Peter
I take it you are referring to Len Weaver's Book. I have a 1st Edition signed by Len and I note there is one exactly the same on E Bay at the moment with an asking price of £ 40.00!
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 9th July 2008, 17:15
ROBERT HENDERSON ROBERT HENDERSON is offline  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 1,680
Hi Peter
As far as I can recall there were no artillery covering the harbour from the Suffolk side, I think theirs was more the North sea side. Landguard Point had really big concrete blocks erected in case of invasion. The Harwich side if you remember had a raised wall at the end of the beach, there used to be a coastguard lookout there when Harwich had a steam lifeboat, that was reactivated but manned by men from the Royal Artillary but no heavy Ack Ack guns.
Where the Harwich sailing club is now was a green leading to the promenade, underground air raid shelters were built there and covered over with earth from the excavation, those of us that lived in Lower Harwich used to play there as kids. Further along there were tennis courts belonging to the local council, these were taken over by the RAF as a barrage balloon site, a few days after we had a storm you would see women walking around town with shopping bags made of barrage balloon material. On the other green, just before the low lighthouse, known locally as the umbrella was a search and heavy Ack Ack battery and then of course the one you describe at Barrack Hill. The Harbour entrance from the very beginning of the war had a boom defence in position with a guard ship in permanent position. Harwich Quay was not closed off untill approx. the begining of 1944 and the Felixstowe ferry was still running untill about that time, so we could still see the ships alongside, the were several paddle steamers, some as Ack Ack ships others as Barrage Balloon ships.
The old blue funnel would have been a lot different different to your day, I cannot remember all the different navy ships based a Parkeston Quay, one lot stick out in my mind were Hunt class as they always had their speakers blaring out across the harbour playing A hunting we will go. In gas house creek we had motor Patrol boats and MTBs I cannot remember which group of those played RUN Adolf RUN RUN RUN. In fact nearly every flotilla had there own signature tunes if I may call it that.
As for the Marmion that was a lone bomber, I actually went with my father to the quay when that happened, he fought in a cavalry regiment during the first world war and spent 24 years as a regular soldier, he told my mother who objected to me going that he wanted me to see the reults of mans inhumanity to man. I never actually saw the sight but could hear the screams of men being boiled alive.
Regarding the raids your mother described, these were mostly machine gunning the streets, although we did have several incendiary raids, the worst one hit Bernhards tailoring factory, again the boys were running around in blue serge trousers and the girls in skirts of the same material, one's loss another's gain.
We did have other bombs on the town, I remember those, most of the adults said that there were jettisoning bombs when the could not get through to London. Again this may be true or supposition, luckily most bombs near Harwich fell into the water, so considering the amount of different Naval Vessels there I guess we were fairly lucky.
Yes! the book I was referring to was by Len Weaver. Four years ago I was at Harwich for my younger brothers funeral, and Len Weaver was still alive in a nusing home in Dovercourt, my eldest son used to visit him as apparently Len had no close family.
Regards Robert
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 9th July 2008, 17:34
markwarner markwarner is offline  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 878
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter4447 View Post
Robert
A story was passed down amongst the trainees at HMS Ganges that was still doing the rounds in the mid 1960's that the laundry at HMS Ganges was haunted, as this is where those members of the crew who were killed were first taken.
The haunted laundry story was still being told when I was at Ganges in '75.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 7th November 2010, 16:04
j p foynes j p foynes is offline  
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 12
Hms Gipsy

Robert

The full, accurate story of when, how and why GIPSY was sunk appears in my 2008 booklet "Who Was To Blame For The Loss of HMS Gipsy" (see British Library Integrated Catalogue online).
My "The Battle of the East Coast 1939-1945" also includes it. These were based on a great deal of archival research and correspondence with the responsible ships' officers.
Other accounts, including some websites and posts on this site, are not accurate.
If of interest, let me know. E-mail jpfoynes@aol.com is easiest for me. I'm happy to answer questions as well as sell the books, which (direct from me) are more or less non profitmaking ventures. (Amazon copies vastly dearer).

Regards

Julian (J P) Foynes


QUOTE=ROBERT HENDERSON;229736]Hi Peter
As far as I can recall there were no artillery covering the harbour from the Suffolk side, I think theirs was more the North sea side. Landguard Point had really big concrete blocks erected in case of invasion. The Harwich side if you remember had a raised wall at the end of the beach, there used to be a coastguard lookout there when Harwich had a steam lifeboat, that was reactivated but manned by men from the Royal Artillary but no heavy Ack Ack guns.
Where the Harwich sailing club is now was a green leading to the promenade, underground air raid shelters were built there and covered over with earth from the excavation, those of us that lived in Lower Harwich used to play there as kids. Further along there were tennis courts belonging to the local council, these were taken over by the RAF as a barrage balloon site, a few days after we had a storm you would see women walking around town with shopping bags made of barrage balloon material. On the other green, just before the low lighthouse, known locally as the umbrella was a search and heavy Ack Ack battery and then of course the one you describe at Barrack Hill. The Harbour entrance from the very beginning of the war had a boom defence in position with a guard ship in permanent position. Harwich Quay was not closed off untill approx. the begining of 1944 and the Felixstowe ferry was still running untill about that time, so we could still see the ships alongside, the were several paddle steamers, some as Ack Ack ships others as Barrage Balloon ships.
The old blue funnel would have been a lot different different to your day, I cannot remember all the different navy ships based a Parkeston Quay, one lot stick out in my mind were Hunt class as they always had their speakers blaring out across the harbour playing A hunting we will go. In gas house creek we had motor Patrol boats and MTBs I cannot remember which group of those played RUN Adolf RUN RUN RUN. In fact nearly every flotilla had there own signature tunes if I may call it that.
As for the Marmion that was a lone bomber, I actually went with my father to the quay when that happened, he fought in a cavalry regiment during the first world war and spent 24 years as a regular soldier, he told my mother who objected to me going that he wanted me to see the reults of mans inhumanity to man. I never actually saw the sight but could hear the screams of men being boiled alive.
Regarding the raids your mother described, these were mostly machine gunning the streets, although we did have several incendiary raids, the worst one hit Bernhards tailoring factory, again the boys were running around in blue serge trousers and the girls in skirts of the same material, one's loss another's gain.
We did have other bombs on the town, I remember those, most of the adults said that there were jettisoning bombs when the could not get through to London. Again this may be true or supposition, luckily most bombs near Harwich fell into the water, so considering the amount of different Naval Vessels there I guess we were fairly lucky.
Yes! the book I was referring to was by Len Weaver. Four years ago I was at Harwich for my younger brothers funeral, and Len Weaver was still alive in a nusing home in Dovercourt, my eldest son used to visit him as apparently Len had no close family.
Regards Robert[/quote]
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 7th November 2010, 16:13
j p foynes j p foynes is offline  
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 12
Peter

Interesting message...
You might already have them, but, with regard to Len Weaver's book and the GIPSY (1939) in 1994 and 2008 I wrote books which deal with the sinking of this destroyer. The second, bigger, one, has a brief account, but the second "Whose Fault Was The Loss of HMS Gipsy?" (about 60pp) was based on detailed research into the original Admiralty files, and correspondence with her last surviving officer.
Do check me out on British Library Integrated Catalogue.
Much of the Gipsy material on websites is inaccurate.
I also have fully researched accounts of the Marmion and many other Harwich incidents.
I can supply either book at cost price (far below Amazon).
But I'd also be happy to answer any researchers' questions.
My e-mail is jpfoynes@aol.com

Regards

Julian J P Foynes)



Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter44
47;229722
Hi again Robert
It is always difficult to separate fact from fiction.
Dad often said that the RA Gunners on duty at Beacon Hill had reported an aircraft flying low over the harbour shortly before 'Gypsy' was mined.
Whilst I did not wish to disagree with Steve about the mines being laid by 3 German destroyers, like you I just cannot believe three warships could actually have got that far into the harbour. It would have been one heck of a risk because had they have been spotted the very heavy coast artillery both on the Essex and Suffolk sides and the searchlights would have ensured that they would not have got out again.
The 9.2s were a very accurate weapon and you may recall the little mast that stuck up out of the water for years close by Landguard Point. This was a Pelton SS Co coaster that was mined and was often used as target practice by the Beacon Hill battery. Although they never 'knocked' it down can you imagine the effect those guns would have had on a destroyer. Plus of course, I think the RN destroyers and MTBs would have been very hot on their heels as they tried to get away across the North Sea.
Mum also used to talk about the awful sound of the Stuka bombers making their attacks, so I assume 'Marmion' would have been lost during one of these raids.
Kind regards
Peter
I take it you are referring to Len Weaver's Book. I have a 1st Edition signed by Len and I note there is one exactly the same on E Bay at the moment with an asking price of £ 40.00!
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 7th November 2010, 16:22
j p foynes j p foynes is offline  
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 12
Robert, Peter

See my other (private) messages.
The merchant ship used for target practice off Landguard was SS SWYNFLEET (mined early 1942). There were several coast artillery and AA guns on the Suffolk side. MARMION was sunk at Trinity Pier, in April 1941, by bombs from a regular night bomber, not a Stuka.
See my THE BATTLE OF THE EAST COAST 1939-1945 and WHOSE FAULT WAS THE LOSS OF HMS GIPSY (e,g on British Library Integrated Catalogue, or Google Books) for full and accurate accounts of all this wartime Harwich history. I still have copies of both books, available at cut price. (sorry about the plug, but Ship Nostalgia does have several Gipsy questions)!)
There's a review for the first-named book on Google.
Harwich Society can also vouch for me.

J P (Julian) Foynes.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 7th November 2010, 16:23
j p foynes j p foynes is offline  
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 12
Hms Gipsy

Robert

The full, accurate story of when, how and why GIPSY was sunk appears in my 2008 booklet "Who Was To Blame For The Loss of HMS Gipsy" (see British Library Integrated Catalogue online).
My "The Battle of the East Coast 1939-1945" also includes it. These were based on a great deal of archival research and correspondence with the responsible ships' officers.
Other accounts, including some websites and posts on this site, are not accurate.
If of interest, let me know. E-mail jpfoynes@aol.com is easiest for me. I'm happy to answer questions as well as sell the books, which (direct from me) are more or less non profitmaking ventures. (Amazon copies vastly dearer).

Regards

Julian (J P) Foynes


QUOTE=ROBERT HENDERSON;229736]Hi Peter
As far as I can recall there were no artillery covering the harbour from the Suffolk side, I think theirs was more the North sea side. Landguard Point had really big concrete blocks erected in case of invasion. The Harwich side if you remember had a raised wall at the end of the beach, there used to be a coastguard lookout there when Harwich had a steam lifeboat, that was reactivated but manned by men from the Royal Artillary but no heavy Ack Ack guns.
Where the Harwich sailing club is now was a green leading to the promenade, underground air raid shelters were built there and covered over with earth from the excavation, those of us that lived in Lower Harwich used to play there as kids. Further along there were tennis courts belonging to the local council, these were taken over by the RAF as a barrage balloon site, a few days after we had a storm you would see women walking around town with shopping bags made of barrage balloon material. On the other green, just before the low lighthouse, known locally as the umbrella was a search and heavy Ack Ack battery and then of course the one you describe at Barrack Hill. The Harbour entrance from the very beginning of the war had a boom defence in position with a guard ship in permanent position. Harwich Quay was not closed off untill approx. the begining of 1944 and the Felixstowe ferry was still running untill about that time, so we could still see the ships alongside, the were several paddle steamers, some as Ack Ack ships others as Barrage Balloon ships.
The old blue funnel would have been a lot different different to your day, I cannot remember all the different navy ships based a Parkeston Quay, one lot stick out in my mind were Hunt class as they always had their speakers blaring out across the harbour playing A hunting we will go. In gas house creek we had motor Patrol boats and MTBs I cannot remember which group of those played RUN Adolf RUN RUN RUN. In fact nearly every flotilla had there own signature tunes if I may call it that.
As for the Marmion that was a lone bomber, I actually went with my father to the quay when that happened, he fought in a cavalry regiment during the first world war and spent 24 years as a regular soldier, he told my mother who objected to me going that he wanted me to see the reults of mans inhumanity to man. I never actually saw the sight but could hear the screams of men being boiled alive.
Regarding the raids your mother described, these were mostly machine gunning the streets, although we did have several incendiary raids, the worst one hit Bernhards tailoring factory, again the boys were running around in blue serge trousers and the girls in skirts of the same material, one's loss another's gain.
We did have other bombs on the town, I remember those, most of the adults said that there were jettisoning bombs when the could not get through to London. Again this may be true or supposition, luckily most bombs near Harwich fell into the water, so considering the amount of different Naval Vessels there I guess we were fairly lucky.
Yes! the book I was referring to was by Len Weaver. Four years ago I was at Harwich for my younger brothers funeral, and Len Weaver was still alive in a nusing home in Dovercourt, my eldest son used to visit him as apparently Len had no close family.
Regards Robert[/quote]
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 28th February 2012, 00:29
Hugh White RIP Hugh White RIP is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 1
HMS Gypsy, Newcastle, Ulyssus and Patrollor

Hi all I just wanted to say I've been reading through this thread with great interest, especially as my father, Hugh White, was on the HMS Gypsy when it was mined.

I wrote to him shortly before he died and asked if he could give me some information about his WW11 Naval experiences, as he never really spoke much about his time in the Navy at all.

He was born in Maryhill Glasgow in May 1921 and joined the Royal Navy in November 1938. He emigrated to Geelong Australia in 1985 and died there in April 2002.

The following relates to just some of his experiences such as in relation to the HMS Gypsy.

He wrote ''May 1939. Passage on a troopship to Alexandra in Egypt. Joined HMS Gypsy as an ordinary seaman. A flotilla of ships made up the Middle East Fleet. It was peace time.

Went to Malta (heading?) for Port Said and it was in Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea September 1939 that the Captain cleared lower decks which meant we all had to muster. I remember his words to this day. He said some of us have been training for weeks, some months and some for years for War. Two months later he was dead.

We were ordered back to the UK. It only took two days through the Suez Canal to Alexandria. Two days to Malta and two days to Gibraltar. We picked up a convoy for the UK and the speed dropped. It took us 10 days to get to the UK.

We were put on Dover Patrol. We picked up three German Airmen in a raft and took them into Harwich. Leaving port I was securing a lifeboat for sea when we hit a mine. I believe everyone below decks died. I was blown into the sea. It was covered in oil and there were fires everywhere. I saw some some terrible sights. I was pulled into a raft. 34 survivors out of a 100, Captain included.

The Navy was very short of trained personnel so we got a fortnights survivors leave and then were sent to Scapa Flow. I spent about a week on the depot ship, Iron Duke, and then joined HMS Newcastle. I was now an Able Seaman.

We patrolled about the Northern Atlantic. It was dark most of the time up there. We did a few Convoy Trips to Murmansk Russia. We lost a lot of ships and personnel on these trips.

Ships don't run forever and we were due a refit which is boiler clean, engine repairs etc and we went to Hebburn on the Tyne. That's where we were during Dunkirk.

After the refit we went to the Mediterranean. Everything was hush hush so when we were issued with tropical gear and sun helmets I thought of the far east. We steamed south and and arrived in Freetown West Africa. That's where we were when the River Plate Battle took place. The Graf Spee was scuttled outside Montevideo so we carried on south up the other side to Durban South Africa and from there to the Suez Canal and Alexandria where we joined the Convoy for Malta. They called that stretch of water Bomb Alley. We got hit forward by a torpedo. No-one hurt but with the bow of the ship blown off we had to steam back to Alexandria at a very slow speed. Outcome - we tried to go south to Durban for repairs but the monsoon weather put paid to that. Back to Port Said. Concrete bulkhead put in place across the bow section.

We ended up in Bombay. They put in temporary plates which let us steam to Boston USA for permanent repairs. I got two weeks leave to visit my two aunts in Hartford, Connecticut.

Leaving USA we relieved the Cumberland on South American Patrol. We sailed up and down the coast of South America for 9 months. We were allowed into a neutral port every month so I visited a few places such as Montevideo, Rio De Janeiro, Buenos Aires to name a few. We were only allowed into port for 24 hours.

After 9 months we went to New York for a boiler clean then back to the UK. HMS Newcastle went for a major refit.

I was drafted to the HMS Ulysses - another destroyer. I was 3 years on the Newcastle and only one year on the Ulysses. During that time we were involved in the landing of troops in France. I was a leading seaman on the Ulysses and had passed for Petty Officer.

I was drafted to the HMS Patrollor Aircraft Carrier. It was a Merchant Ship with a flight deck welded on. War came to a close. Aircraft were removed from the hangers. Went to Clydebank where they installed bunk beds in the hangers and in any spare space. I was Acting Petty Officer in charge of troops embarking. We went to Guam and picked up African - American troops as it was only after the War that US personnel mixed. Home. War over. I was on 4 ships over 7 years and saw a bit of the World.''
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 21st September 2013, 02:08
robear44 robear44 is offline  
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 1
Hi just thought I would add,that my father James Flood was on the ship when she struck the mine,was on the bridge and blown into the river and like others swam to the Felixstowe side.Unfortunately for him and a few others he had only been on the ship a matter of hours and had not been entered as ships crew.He and I think he said there were about six others, consequently got no survivors leave had to report to Portsmouth for redrafting and were questioned as to where there kit was.He always said the ship hit the mine because they were on the wrong side of the channel .He went on to serve in the Whitshed and the Oribi and being a regular ended up in the far east at the end of the war.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off



Search the net with ask.com
Support SN
Ask.com and get


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.