28 NAVY NEWS, MAY 2002 Roval Naval Association
Legion's bell rings out again
THE SHIP'S bell of HMS Legion rang out six bells, loud and clear, at a ceremony in Cheltenham Town Hall to mark the 60th anniversary of the loss of the town's adopted wartime ship.
25-26, 1942, by German dive- bombers at Malta. The ship's bell, recovered from
The Legion was sunk on March
the sea after the war, was loaned for the occasion by Mrs Peggy Walford, daughter of the late Cdr R.F. Jcssel DSP DFC* RN, Commanding Officer of
brance, conducted by the Rev Jeremy Whales, a tribute was paid to Cdr Jessel and the ship's com- pany by the Captain's son, Tony Jessel,
are the future," said chairman S/M Jim Swain as he handed over a bosun's call, salvaged from the ship to Sgt Josh Bence, an 18-year- old Marine cadet, who said: "We are proud to be taking it forward. The Legion is something the whole town can be proud of." The occasion was attended by
survivors of the Legion and of HM ships Ark Royal, Rajputana and Cossack, civic dignitaries, mem- bers of the RNAand ex-Service associations, with five standards on display.
THE HONOUR of laying up the Australian Veterans standard in their club was greatly appreciated by the members of Portsmouth RNA.
Perth and Rockingham branches and S/M Geoff Purcell for making it possible.
The British branch thanked the
Cheltenham branch the occasion marked an end to the duties of dedication they have performed for HMS Legion over the years - they have now handed these duties to a younger generation, the Sea Cadet Unit TS Legion. "We are the past and the cadets
former MP members
Legion. Prior to a service of remem-
the • From left: David Woodcock, Joe Brown, Kenneth Cleave and Leonard Hare.
Carrier and escorts are not forgotten
ONE of the darkest tragedies of World War II - the loss of the air- craft carrier HMS Glorious and her attendant destroyers HM ships Ardent and Acasta - has been recalled with the presentation of special photo-montages to the sur- vivors.
A total of 1,530 men were lost in
the Devonport-based ships, sunk by the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in the Norwegian Sea on June 8, 1940. Hundreds survived the sinking
but died in the freezing sea over the next two days. One survivor's account tells of
suicidal attacks on the powerful German warships by the British destroyers, sealing their fate - but a torpedo from Acasta hit the Scharnhorst and forced her to retire from the scene, inadvertent-
Looking for someone?
• The plaque commemorating the loss of the Glorious, Ardent and Acasta
ly preventing a potential encounter with a near-defenceless convoy of troopships evacuating Norway. Of the 40 survivors - 38 from the
carrier, and one each from the destroyers - only three are still alive. No official tribute has been
made to the ships or the men who served in them. It was left to their relatives to commemorate the loss and keep the memory alive. They raised enough money for a
vivors - Joe Brown (88), of Horrabridge and Kenneth Cleave (82), of Newton Abbott - returned to St Nicholas' Church to be pre- sented with a framed phot-mon- tage. The
plaque in St Nicholas' Church at HMS Drake, Devonport Naval Base, which was unveiled last year. A service of remembrance was
also held on Plymouth Hoe, attended by 400 relatives and
Thornton (80), of Birkenhead, was presented with his photo-montage at the Town Hall in Bootle in a ceremony
third survivor, Fred
Commodore Madgwick. Mr Brown, a former CPO in the Glorious, said: "It was quite a sur- prise to receive the montage. "They have done such a good
friends from as far afield as Canada. More recently, two of the sur-
MEN S , ACASTAJLARDENT ^jj
THE NORWF J940
job to keep the memory alive. "I still think about it every day. I
can see the faces of the men who lost their lives 62 years ago, where- as I can't remember people I met in the last few months. "It was horrible. We were sunk
about 5pm on the Saturday and we were not picked up until Tuesday morning. "Of the 40 on our raft, there
were only four of us who survived." Mr Dave Woodcock, whose
father Jonathan Woodcock was the Master at Arms in the Glorious, and Leonard Hare, who lost his father-in-law AB Fred Oxenham in the Ardent, organised the photo- montage presentation. Mr Woodcock said: "We have
also made the montage as post- cards and sent out 500 of them. "So many people are interested
in what happened. It has been shrouded in mystery for so long. "We did not even know at first
where the ship was sunk. They could
have been in the
Mediterranean." Mr Woodcock would now like to
hear from relatives of those on the three ships or anyone interested in the tragedy, and can be contacted on 01229 462414
Bernard's big day
ONCE a Marine, always a Marine is true of 85-year-old S/M Bernard Hallas, a member of York branch, who joined in the 1930s.
finest ever", with great support for what he declared the Americans at last admit to be 'the finest Marine Corps in the world'. A highlight for Bernard was the
the RM Association Northern Region biennial reunion in Manchester - a source of great pride for him. The reunion, he says, was "the
With 350 Royals he attended
peaked at the parade on Sunday: "Over 300 of the proudest Marines ever assembled," he said, "displaying ten standards - it was a joy to behold." Watched by cheering spectators
gala dinner at which Maj Gen Whitchcad RM was the guest of honour, and to whom Bernard presented a book of his unpub- lished naval and marine poems. Bernard's pride in the Corps
they paraded to music by the Lancashire Artillery (V) Band.
H5 victims EXACTLY 84 years to the day, the 27 men lost in the submarine H5 in Caernarvon Bay were honoured at a service in St Cybi's Church, Holyhead, and the unveiling of a plaque in the local maritime muse- um.
H5 - mistaken for a German sub- marine - was rammed by the British vessel Rutherglen and went down off Holyhead on March 2, 1918.
In a tragic wartime accident, the
United States officer, Lt Earl F. Wayne Childs, Lt Sir John Henry Anson and Lt A.W. Forbes DSO, whose relatives attended the ser- vice of remembrance and the unveiling of the Welsh slate plaque. Sir Peter Anson RN and Mrs
Aboard the doomed boat was a
Knight (Forbes), with three grand- children of the Childs family per- formed the unveiling ceremony, following which they were enter- tained with guests in the Thetis Bar of the RNA Club Holyhead, which incidentally boasts a paint- ing of the H5 by local artist Desmond Jones.
During 2001-2 the following mem- bers of the Christchurch branch were honoured with life member- ship for loyal and outstanding ser- vice: Bob Rowe, Barney Burns and Bill Cross.
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THE CHURCH of St Nicholas at Heythrop was packed for a com- memorative service to mark the 60th anniversary of the loss of the Hunt-class
Bishop of Dorchester and the vicar of St Nicholas, was attended by many naval veterans, including six from the original ship's company. Led by the standard of No 6 Area, 14 standards were paraded,
Hcythrop on March 20, 1942. The service, conducted by the
supported by shipmates from throughout the area. The Last Post was sounded at
event took the unusual step of issu- ing a ceremonial tot in the church at the end of the service, prompt- ing one church-goer to remark that the aroma which lingered in the air would serve as a reminder of weeks "that the Navy was here."
the exact time the Heythrop sank stern first 60 years ago to the day. The branch which organised the
THE BRITISH FLEET &LOCKAPING NAPOLEON'S FRENCH PORTS WAS AT SEA COH77MUOUSLY FOR TWO VEARS.'
r THOUGHT IT WAS THE ffteNCfJ FLEET THAT WAS ALWAYS "AT SEA" IN THOSE WARS...
THERE was praise from chair- man S/M John Utley for mem- bers of the Wetherby branch at the branch annual meeting - and a word of thanks for S/M Vince Parks for organising a varied programme of events in the past year.
The following shipmates
were elected officers: John Utley (chairman), Alan Kemp (vice chairman), Reg Maycock
VERY MUCH A LAMP- LUBBER .
YET MY BROTHER IS
(secretary), John Hook (trea- surer), Fred Wake (public rela- tions officer). The branch meets on the
second Thursday at 2000 in the Messdeck, the Prison Officers Social Club, HM Prison Wealstun, Thorp Arch, and new members are always welcome. For details, contact Fred
Wake on 0113 281 3297 or John Utley on 01937 844871.
WELL,A LANDLUBBER 15 —
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