Bill Lee, called to Eternal Patrol September. 2nd. 2017.
Bill had been amongst the early founding members of
the Australia Branch, he was a regular attender and supporter
until a few years back when his hearing impairment frustrated his
to meetings though he kept in touch.
Photograph is Bill with his WW11 colleague the late Tom Gould. VC.
who visited us in Western Australia.
Lee. W.H. (Bill) AB. ST. 92 Australia Branch.
S/m Service: 1943-1947.
Boats: Trenchant, Trump,
Keith Bishop. Membership Secretary.
Keith at K13 dinner a few years ago, the flask was being handed round, a man with a heart as big as his stature and a stalwart of the 'Submariners Association'
Ken Holtham. R.I.P.
Ken Holtham. L/Telegraphist.
26 Aug 1923 – 20 July 2017
Ken served in the Royal
Navy from Jan 1941 to 1953 He served on Acheron, Sahib, Spiteful, Stoic, Sturdy, Tabard, Talent, Trenchant and Drake. He became a Prisoner of War from 4/5/43 to 12/8/44 after surviving when Sahib was Depth Charged to the surface before sinking. He escaped,
and was sheltered by an Italian family, the daughter of which, Elena, he married after the war. He sadly lost Elena (Nonna) in 2014 after 69 years of marriage. There are not many Submariners who survive a Depth Charge Sinking of a Submarine, then escape from
being a POW, get tortured and shipped to Germany for further interrogation, escape again, then nearly getting executed as a spy by a Polish Regiment that liberated the Italian farm where Ken was in hiding. His life was saved by the multi linguistic skills
of his wife to be Elena, He then returned to UK to continue his Naval Service as well as ‘nipping’ back to Italy to marry Elena who was a teacher.
Details with regards the sinking
and escape are in a Book called ‘Some were Lucky’ by George Underwood. Ken was a founding member of the Submariners Assn (Derby) in 1980, and has held continuous membership of SOCA, SA & DS Derbyshire undertaking many posts, and appointed as
President in 2010. Ken has always been active in the Submariners Groups, and will be sorely missed for his wise wisdom and advice. A true hero and ultimate gentleman who will be sorely missed by his daughter Mary, his Grandchildren and great Grandchildren
and without doubt, his incredible SA friends
Captain “Tubby” Crawford, who has died aged 100, was one of the last survivors of the 10th Submarine Flotilla, known as the “Fighting Tenth”, and the doyen of the “Perishers”.
The Perisher course, now formally known as the United Kingdom Submarine Command Course, was introduced in 1917 to qualify officers to command submarines, and is one of the toughest
tests of stamina, mental agility and leadership in the world.
The training has kept pace with developments from the rudimentary equipment of the early
20th century to the age of nuclear propulsion, computers and advanced communications, but it has maintained its purpose of preparing students for war in the most unforgiving of
Since its inception, just 1,164 British officers, 408 Commonwealth and a few foreign officers have passed the course and joined this elite of men.
last month some 280 graduates gathered at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, to mark the centenary of the
Perisher, Crawford was to have been the guest of honour, but he was
too ill to attend.
Nevertheless, his health was toasted as the most revered of Perishers, having qualified in wartime.
Lindsay Coulton Crawford, always known as Tubby for his cherubic looks, was born on June 27 1917 near Cuckfield, Sussex, but spent his early years as a child of Empire. Theywere not easy
In 1918 his father, a former colonial railway engineer serving with the Royal Engineers, was invalided home from Salonika with malaria, and postwar he received a land grant in Kenya.
The family reached their new home after three months’ trek by oxcart to Trans-Nzoia on the Uganda border.
Life was primitive, money was short and the task of
establishing a coffee plantation in the bundu was beyond an ailing and inexperienced man.
Aged six, young Crawford was sent to Nakuru for his first formal schooling, and in early 1924 he and his younger brother Peter
undertook the three-month journey home, in the care of strangers, to Merton Court prep.
With their limited education both boys struggled, though Crawford gained a place at Dartmouth,
and his brother Peter would go to Cambridge. In November 1925, however, they were summoned by the headmaster to be told that their father had died, and that their
mother would be
returning home in straitened circumstances to live in the Isle of Wight.
Joining Dartmouth in January 1931, he thrived and his exemplary career in the Royal Navy was a testimony
to his courage and resilience.
As a cadet and midshipman, Crawford served in the light cruiser Exeter, showing the flag in South American waters, under Commodore Henry Harwood who
in 1939 would lead his
squadron into victorious battle over the German pocket battleship Graf Spee at the Battle of the River Plate.
Next, Crawford served in the battleships Malaya and Revenge in the Home Fleet, before returning to Portsmouth for the sub-lieutenants’ course, during which he volunteered for “the trade” as
the submarine service was called. In 1938 he become familiar with
Mediterranean waters while serving in the submarine depot ship Maidstone, and in 1939-40 as a junior officer in
the submarine Sealion he saw service in the North Sea.
In August 1940 he served briefly as first lieutenant of the training submarine L23, before being appointed in December 1940
as first lieutenant of the submarine Upholder under the command of the illustrious Lieutenant Commander Malcolm Wanklyn VC, DSO** .
Upholder’s first war patrol was from Portsmouth
to Gibraltar, thereafter Crawford served under Wanklyn on 16 patrols in the Mediterranean. Each patrol lasted two to three weeks, with 10 days between patrols to rearm and refuel in Malta. These rest periods were frequently
interrupted by air-raids, at which point Upholder dived to the bottom of the harbour. When it was realised that under the glassy waters the hull could be seen, it was
with blue paint.
Crawford studied Wanklyn as he became more and more daring in his attacks on enemy shipping. Their first success came on January 28 1941, when Wanklyn damaged the
7,400 ton German supply ship Duisburg; Wanklyn would go on to sink a cruiser and two 19,500 ton troop transports in one day.
Once, when under a temporary
commanding officer, Upholder was surprised by German aircraft while on the surface entering Malta. The captain was hit and fell, unconscious, down the trunking leading from the conning tower to the control room. Crawford seized
command, dived Upholder, and turned out to sea again, making the signal to another British submarine: “Air attack. Stay dived. Captain shit.” It was several minutes before a correcting
signal was sent: “For shit read shot.”
Crawford was awarded his first Distinguished Service Cross for his skill and enterprise.
In November 1941 returned home for his Perisher, and after a short period in command of the training submarine H50 he was appointed in June 1942 to the submarine P51, later renamed Unseen,
a new boat being built at Barrow in Furness.
In November 1942 he and Unseen were nearly lost when off Toulon he was attacked by a Vichy French destroyer. Diving to 120 ft,
he could not hold his depth, and sank to 345 ft, well beyond the safe diving depth of a U-class submarine, while being depth-charged. He did not know, but external valves on ballast tanks had been damaged. As the hull
pressure, he recalled: “We were naturally getting a bit anxious.”
It was four hours before he could creep away
and surface. To celebrate, Crawford ordered a diving helmet to be sewn on to Unseen’s Jolly Roger when the following month he entered
Malta. As the new boy he spent Christmas
on patrol off North Africa, alternately launching torpedoes and being bombed and depth-charged, and then increasingly throughout 1943 he
put to use the lessons he had learnt from
Crawford with the crew of Unseen, the Jolly Roger with bars indicating the number of ships sunk or damaged; the daggers on the left indicate secret operations
Crawford undertook patrols to intercept ships on passage to and from North Africa, and soon sank three supply ships off Tunisia, followed by another in
the Tyrrhenian Sea in
February 1943, and continued his successes the next month with two more sinkings. For three months in the summer, using
folbots (folding canoes) and chariots (two-man human
torpedoes) he reconnoitred the coast of Sicily.
During the Allied landings there,
Unseen became a navigational beacon off the east coast of the Pachino peninsula. Crawford recalled seeing the invasion fleet through the periscope and telling
his first lieutenant: “Well, I’m going for a cup of ki [cocoa]. Call me as soon as
anything happens.” He put his feet on the sofa and slept through the first night of the
invasion of Sicily.
When he resumed regular operations, Crawford showed on September 21 1943 that he had not
lost his eye, and with one salvo of torpedoes aimed when his targets were overlapping, and despite a heavy sea and air escort, he achieved the remarkable result of sinking two ships
– the German minelayer Brandenburg and the radar direction ship Kreta. Later that yearUnseen moved to a base in Maddalena, Corsica, to support military operations
north-west coast of Italy and southern France.
When Crawford brought Unseen back to Britain in March 1944 he had completed 18
war patrols; of his peers, between one third and one half lost their lives during the conflict (and Wanklyn himself had been lost in April 1942).
He was awarded a bar to his DSC and mentioned in despatches for gallantry, skill and devotion to duty.
He commanded the submarine Oberon in
1944 in home waters, and commanded Tireless in the Far East 1944-46.
Postwar Crawford held numerous submarine-related appointments, and two
general service appointments: one on the staff of the Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet in the battleship Vanguard 1951-53 and another the command of
the frigate Loch Fada 1955-56.
Promoted to captain in 1959, he commanded the submarine depot ship Forth 1961-62. He was chief staff officer
to the Flag Officer, Submarines based at HMS Dolphin, Gosport 1962 -64, and in 1965-68 Commodore Superintendent, HM Naval Base Malta.
was imperturbable, professional, gentle, possessed of a brilliant sense of humour, and self-effacing. He left no memoir and when he chose to write a short book, His Majesty’s Submarine Upholder (1972), it was about Wanklyn, the captain whom he had admired so much. In retirement he and his wife lived quietly, supported
the WI and the RNLI, and were stalwarts of the Royal Naval and Royal Albert Yacht Club, Portsmouth.
He married Margaret Hendy Lewis in 1944,
and she survives him with their twin son and daughter: two sons predeceased him.
Captain “Tubby” Crawford, born June 27 1917, died
June 28 2017
Recent Death Notices are reported in BRANCH NEWSLETTER.
Recent Death Notices are noted in current NEWS LETTER
I'm saddened to learn of the death of John Crossman, probably the most popular of all the guides at the Royal Naval Submarine Museum in his time. He was kind, funny, knowledgeable and patient even if he was a little
frail. In the end, he gave up guiding to look after his wife.
He joined the Royal Navy at HMS St George on the Isle of Man in the Second World War as a Boy Seaman and trained as a gunner. he later
saw service on the Arctic Convoys for which he received his Arctic Star three years ago. He went on to serve on HMS BELFAST and took part in the D-Day bombardment. I think he became a submariner after the war.
S/m Service: 1947-1953
Boats: Astute, Aurochs, Tabard & Sanguine.
Life was improved simply through knowing John.
RN Submarine Museum.
In July 1945, with the war in Europe won, the allies focused on defeating Japan. Our American allies were initially unimpressed by the midget submarines - Admiral Chester Nimitz, commander-in-chief of the allied
Pacific forces, described them as "suicide craft" - following problems with an earlier model, the X-Craft, which tried to sink the German battleship Tirpitz. In 1945, however, Washington realised the mini subs were the only way to cut two vital Japanese underwater
telegraph cables off Japanese-occupied Saigon. The task was given to the XE-4 manned by (Australian) Lieutenant Max Shean, Sub-Lieutenant Bergius, Sub-Lieutenant Ken Briggs, Sub-Lieutenant Ben Kelly and Engine Room Artificer Vernon Coles.
Born: March 25, 1925;
Died: March 3, 2017
'The Herald' 24 Mar 2017
Squires: a modest man who eschewed honours
VICE ADMIRAL ROBERT “TUBBY” SQUIRES, who has died aged 89, helped to commission Britain’s first nuclear-powered submarine.
In 1960, when he was appointed first lieutenant of Dreadnought, there were no nuclear-qualified submariners, and Squires, two doctors, a constructor officer and Dreadnought’s future captain, Peter Samborne, began their training
in the newly created nuclear physics department of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.
There, “Jason”, a small nuclear reactor, was installed in the cellars of the 17th-century former
royal palace in south London.
Next, Squires attended the US Navy submarine school. Admiral Hyman G Rickover, the autocrat in charge of the USN’s nuclear programme, had ruled that no British
officer was to set foot in one of “his” submarines, but Squires and two chief petty officers briefly joined USS Skate in 1962, shortly after she returned from having surfaced at the North Pole.
Squires moved on to USS Swordfish for a happy and instructive nine months while the submarine deployed from her base in New London, Connecticut, through the Panama Canal to Pearl Harbour. Squires made many friends for life among his American contemporaries.
Returning to Britain, he stood by Dreadnought while she was building at Barrow-on-Furness. She was the seventh ship of her name and was powered by an American S5W reactor, a design made available as a result of a US–UK
Mutual Defence Agreement. Her launch by the Queen, symbolically on Trafalgar Day, October 21 1960, owed much to the drive of the First Sea Lord, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, and his relationship with the US Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Arleigh
Burke, who had overruled Rickover.
The successful sea trials of Britain’s first nuclear-powered warship, and its commissioning on April 17 1963, owed much to the loyalty, efficiency and reliability
of Squires, and to his leadership, tact and cheerfulness.
A soldier’s son, Robert Risley Squires was born at Farnham Royal on February 11 1927, and educated at Summer Fields, Geelong Grammar
School and Eton College. He entered the Britannia Royal Naval College, then still at its wartime home of Eaton Hall in Cheshire, in 1944, and was awarded the King’s telescope on passing out.
underwent training in the destroyers Wizard and St James and battleships Anson and King George V, joining the last of those in Tokyo Bay on the evening of the signing of the Japanese surrender. He saw the Far East, Australia and South Africa, and, while a
midshipman, was recognised as an outstanding young officer.
In 1948, attracted by the prospect of early command in a small unit, he volunteered for submarines and was fortunate to be taught his
trade over the next two-and-a-half years in the submarine Tabard by several war-experienced and much-decorated submariners. They, in turn, recognised him for his brains, initiative and energy.
was not so lucky in his next boat, spending what he called “a formative year” with a captain “with whom I could agree almost nothing”.
Squires passed the Submarine Command
Course (the “perisher”) in 1955, and his first command was the submarine Aurochs, the mantle of command falling easily on his shoulders. Aurochs was long overdue for refit and dogged with engineering problems, and Squires’s task was to steam
his boat to Singapore, where, he recalled, she “sank thankfully on to the blocks of the floating dock”.
From 1965-68 he commanded Warspite, the Navy’s third nuclear submarine,
which he steamed to the Far East and back. In 1969 Squires attended the Joint Services Staff College, then spent two years in his only desk job, as Assistant Director of Naval Warfare in Whitehall. But his strong preference was for the sea, and in 1973 he
took command of the frigate Hermione, in which, briefly, one of his officers under training was the Prince of Wales.
Two years as captain of the Third Submarine Squadron at Faslane was followed
by commands of the destroyer Bristol (1975-76), the frigate Ajax (1976-77) and the 8th Frigate Squadron (1976-77). In August 1976, Ajax sailed for Canada, taking part in Nato exercises. The ship visited St John’s, Halifax, Ottawa, and Oshawa on Lake
Ontario, some 350 ft above sea level and more than 500 miles from the sea.
Oshawa was the port for the town of Ajax, which had been named after the cruiser of Battle of the River Plate fame. The
frigate received the freedom of the city – and two of the ship’s company wooed and won Canadian wives.
Squires was promoted to Rear-Admiral and appointed Flag Officer, First Flotilla,
in 1977; from 1978 to 1981 he served as head of his profession as Flag Officer, Submarines.
Promoted to Vice-Admiral in 1982, he became Flag Officer, Scotland and Northern Ireland, before retiring
in 1983. He loved Scotland and the Scots and returned to Edinburgh to enjoy the debenture seats at Murrayfield bought by his wife. He was delighted when she was invited to launch Tireless, the third Trafalgar-class nuclear submarine for the Royal Navy.
Squires was not inclined to waste words and at first meeting could seem a little forbidding, but he had a well-tuned sense of humour, was innately kind and interested in others. He was a modest man who eschewed honours,
even the knighthood offered him at the end of his career. He retired to the Isle of Wight, where he was a Deputy Lieutenant.
Squires married Sue Hill in 1955. She died in 2008. He is survived by
their two daughters.
Vice Admiral Robert “Tubby” Squires, born February 11 1927, died June 30 2016
Arthur Melling. HMS/m Saracen.WW11.
Tributes to Royal Navy hero, 92, who twice escaped Nazis
A BOLTON ex-Royal Navy submariner, who twice escaped from the Nazis during the Second World War,
has died, aged 92.
Arthur Melling falsified his age at the outbreak of war in 1939 to enlist in the Royal Navy and after training, joined the crew of the submarine HMS Saracen.
The ship became notorious and feared in the Mediterranean, launching regular torpedo attacks and sinking Italian and German shipping, as well as attacking enemy ports, before being severely damaged by depth charges
from the Italian corvettes Minerva and Euterpe off Bastia, on the French island of Corsica, in August 1943.
She had just landed three British agents on Corsica to spy on Axis forces and organise
the Corsican Resistance on the strategically crucial island.
A plaque commemorating this has been erected in Bastia.
In 2015, the wreck
of HMS Saracen was discovered and photographed on the seabed, at a depth of 1,385 feet (422m) off the coast of Corsica, where she remains as a war grave.
Saracen was scuttled by her crew the following
day, Saturday August 14, because her captain, Lt Michael Lumby, did not want to sink his boat on unlucky Friday 13.
This meant the entire crew staying underwater until 2am the next day before he
ordered his chief engineer to open the vents with the submarine's engines still running.
Along with other survivors, Arthur was pulled from the water by the Italian crew and handed over to the Germans
as a prisoner of war.
He twice escaped, once from a prisoner of war camp and the second time from a transport train travelling through Italy.
A hole was blown through the roof of the carriage he was travelling in and Arthur climbed out and ran, under fire from the German guards, down an embankment, then swam over a river before being given shelter by sympathisers on a nearby farm.
The Germans had confiscated prisoners' boots so Arthur escaped barefooted and the Italians on the farm made him footwear from an old tractor tyre.
on the run in Italy and joined up with bands of Italian partisans who were harrying the Germans, several times only just managing to evade recapture, on one occasion because he had learned to speak Italian and managed to convince a German patrol that he was
a local peasant.
Arthur witnessed the Allied landings at Salerno from his hiding place in the hills and later reached the American lines where, instead of being hailed a hero, he was subjected to
solitary confinement and intense interrogation and came close to being shot as a spy.
He eventually convinced the Americans of his identity and was repatriated, to the amazement and joy of his parents,
who had been informed he was missing presumed dead.
After the war Arthur became a master butcher and owned two shops in Bolton.
he went into the construction industry as a concrete floor-layer.
On retirement he and wife Doris lived in Cyprus for eight years before returning to Bolton, eventually settling in Falkland Road,
In 2010 Arthur received a huge surprise from the Italian seaman who had rescued him from the sea back in 1943.
had contacted the Saracen Veterans’ Association, who provided him with Arthur’s contact details, the outcome of which was a nostalgic reunion in Venice of the two former adversaries.
Christmas the Italian seaman sent Arthur and Doris a cake he had baked specially for them and this was featured with pictures in The Bolton News.
Arthur leaves wife Doris, six children, 13 grandchildren
and 21 great-grandchildren.
Steven Thompson, news editor.
The Bolton News. 13/5/2016.
16 June 2016 • 6:40pm
Lieutenant Commander Andrew Prideaux, who has died aged 98, fought in two submarines of the “Fighting Tenth”
flotilla based in Malta before retiring from the Navy to become a solicitor.
From April 1942 to April 1943 he was first lieutenant of the submarine Unrivalled, one of 26 American and British submarines
which were positioned as navigation beacons to guide Allied landing forces to the beaches of North Africa in November 1942, and to intercept attempts by the enemy to interfere with landing operations.
In the first phase of the operation Unrivalled’s station was off Algiers, until on November 9/10, when she was moved to the west of Sicily to reinforce the patrol line there. Then, over Christmas 1942, she joined the famous “Fighting Tenth”
submarine flotilla based in Malta. In the New Year, Unrivalled patrolled the Gulf of Hammamet, where she engaged a tug with her gun and drove it ashore, but was forced to dive by fire from shore batteries. Later she harried enemy shipping by gunfire, torpedo
and scuttling charges.
In February, south of Messina, Unrivalled sank several ships and was counter-attacked by the enemy using depth charges. Early in March she carried out the first of several
surveys of the shores of Sicily by launching “folbots” – folding canoes with two-man crews from COPP (Combined Operations Pilotage Parties), but in operations between March 4 and 6 all the folbots were lost. The official history recorded
that “miraculously the landing places did not seem to be compromised and in spite of these difficulties the surviving COPPs brought back enough information”, but Prideaux remained haunted by the loss of so many brave men.
The next patrol was against shipping off Palermo when Unrivalled was heavily counter-attacked by anti-submarine vessels but was able to withdraw undamaged. On April 1 she was en route to a new patrol against shipping in the Tyrrhenian
Sea. Turner watched while four RAF Blenheims tried to sink an Italian cargo ship and then surfaced and sent Prideaux to board and sink it with scuttling charges.
In a subsequent attack on a tanker
escorted by three ships, she fired four torpedoes, hitting with all four. The main target, the Italian Bivona disintegrated but Unrivalled suffered an accurate counter attack, and with only one torpedo left and not yet in her patrol area, she was recalled
Prideaux then returned to Britain where he attended the “perisher”, the demanding course needed before he could qualify for submarine command.
He was awarded the Distinguished Service
The son of a solicitor, Andrew George Prideaux was born on March 10 1918 in west London. He was educated at Eton and entered the
Royal Navy as special entry cadet in 1936.
He served as a midshipman in the warships Rochester, Norfolk and Rodney. Much of his early seatime was spent in the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean, but
the outbreak of war found him in the cruiser Dunedin in the South Atlantic. Prideaux always wanted to be a submariner, an ambition which was reinforced when he found that he suffered from seasickness in heavy weather and he realised that submarines were steadier
when submerged. He was horrified, however, when he heard that Dunedin had been sunk in November 1941 with the loss of many of his friends.
After completing his submarine training in August 1941
and following a brief spell as a spare officer in the submarine Ambrose, Prideaux joined the submarine P36 which was based in the besieged island of Malta.
On February 15 1942 P36 torpedoed and
damaged the Italian destroyer Carabiniere off Taranto. But eight days after he had left her, P36 was bombed and sunk in Sliema harbour. Prideaux now joined P45, which, following a decree by Churchill that submarines should have names not numbers, was renamed
In May 1943 he took command of the submarine L26 with instructions to deliver the boat to Halifax, Nova Scotia. With a young crew and an elderly boat, he relied on basic navigation skills
and used a lead line with a plummet to fix his position off the fogbound coast of Nova Scotia.
In America in 1944 he met and married Eleanor Broome, of Philadelphia. His new wife followed him by
air to the Bahamas where L26 was training, and there she insisted he buy Nibby, the first of many black cocker spaniels, who travelled to Canada in Prideaux’s boat. When the escort carrier Patroller brought young brides as passengers from the United
States, Nibby came too.
In 1945 Prideaux took command of the submarine Seneschal but the Pacific war ended before she was ready for sea. The following year he joined the British Mission in Greece,
working with the Greek Navy in their submarine base in Salamis. Later he briefly commanded the submarine Tantalus, before spending two years in Naval Intelligence. He was subsequently responsible for Submarine Escape Tank Training, making the first ascent
in a newly built tank on July 23 1954.
Andrew Prideaux was a keen supporter of the Submarine Museum at Gosport. When visiting the museum ship Alliance with younger members of his family it was clear
that he had never forgotten how the boat worked.
After leaving the Navy in 1957 he became a solicitor and lived at Eridge, East Sussex. Prideaux’s wife predeceased him as did a daughter in
2014. He is survived by his son.
Lt Cdr Andrew Prideaux, born March 10 1918, died May 17 2016
Toms CO HMS/m. Ambush. 7th S/m Division
John Hervey, Submariner.
Born: 14 May 1928, in London.
Died, 27 May 2016, in Hampshire,
The placid Paisley silk-weavers who were the ancestors of Rear Admiral John Hervey would have blanched at the daring tasks his twentieth-century naval overlords asked him to do.
As a commander of nuclear-powered hunter-killer submarines, Hervey was one of a select body of modern British buccaneers who in the 1960s and 1970s stealthily explored the Arctic, gleaning high-quality intelligence
on the then Soviet Union’s sea-power when, Hervey later explained, “they think no-one else is around.”
It meant trailing the Russian vessels up close – so close that with the
limitations of the sonar equipment the British boats carried, together with the restrictions on its use that silent snooping imposed, the risk of collision and an unmarked, deliberately forgotten, watery grave was ever present.
The rewards were deemed worth the risk. Hervey was made OBE in 1970 for his command of the submarine HMS Warspite, in which, in 1968 and 1969, he and his crew obtained valuable and highly secret information, Yet that same command brought
for Hervey a court-martial, and, for his men, the fright of their lives, after Warspite, trailing a Soviet “Echo II” cruise-missile-carrying submarine in the Barents Sea, and unable reliably to tell its depth or distance, ran into it.
“There was an awful bang, and crushing, and scraping”, it is recalled. Warspite tilted steeply, and heeled to starboard. “There were alarms on all of the panels, red lights flashing, bells ringing.”
She swung back, hit the Soviet boat again, and heeled over a second time. Hervey, in the Control Room, oversaw an emergency procedure to surface, had engineers prevent the boat’s nuclear plant from shutting down,
and set course for base at Faslane on the Clyde.
Hervey was judged to have “incurred their lordships’ displeasure” ; and though he received no punishment, so sensitive a matter was
the damage that a secret sheltered anchorage on Scotland’s west coast was found so that shipwrights could make cosmetic repairs, lest it be seen by Soviet reconnaissance aircraft.
A fin was
badly damaged and the conning tower was bent. Later repairs took 28 days. The world was told, when the tale leaked out, that Warspite had hit an iceberg. The incident is recounted in “The Silent Deep”, by Peter Hennessy and James Jinks (2015).
The importance of Hervey and his fellow submarine commanders, primed for action by constant danger and incident during the Cold War – his was far from the only bump – emerged when the Falklands conflict
erupted with Argentina in 1982. Submariners were the men chosen to lead Britain’s force against the enemy.
In that year Hervey would be in a crucial post, that of British Naval Attache in Washington
DC, while his immediate successor in 1969 as commander of Warspite, John “Sandy” Woodward, by then, like Hervey, a Rear Admiral, became commander of Britain’s Task Force battle group sailing to the South Atlantic. The Task Force Commander-in-Chief,
too, Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse, at headquarters in Northwood, London, was a submariner.
Hervey negotiated vital assistance from the US Navy in matters including signals intelligence.
Even the presence of Sea Harrier jump-jets on Woodward’s flagship aircraft carrier HMS Hermes, and the carrier HMS Invincible, for which only helicopters had originally been envisaged, was owed in part to work
by Hervey in a previous post at the Ministry of Defence between 1971 and 1973.
Hervey had further helped Britain’s Falklands forces make best use of electronic warfare, a new element that
during the conflict was still being got used to. His recommendations, made while Deputy Chief of Allied Staff at Nato headquarters, Northwood, from 1976 -80, were by 1982 still being implemented.
retired in 1982 after a 30-year career in which he had served in an unusually large number of boats, and had commanded two destroyers, HMS Cavalier from 1966-67, and HMS Kent, from 1975-76. His first submarine command was the diesel-electric HMS Aeneas, from
1956-7. After Warspite he became Flotilla Operations Officer to Flag Officer Submarines until 1971, then commanded the Second Submarine Squadron at Plymouth from 1973-5. He was appointed CB in 1982.
descendant of French Huguenots who came first to Scotland, then moved to London in the 1860s, John Bethell Hervey was the only child of a destroyer commander who served in the First and Second World Wars. He longed from boyhood to join the Submarine Service,
after learning of the daring rescue in the United States in 1939 of submariners from USS Squalus, which sank during a test-dive.
Hervey married, in 1950, Audrey Elizabeth Mote, always called Liz,
whom he met through friends at Greenwich while attending a course at the Royal Naval College there. They would have two sons and a daughter. The family followed him to postings around the world, including Canada, Malta, and Malaysia. Liz died in 2015; his
children survive him. Hervey’s daughter lives in Edinburgh.
Of fellow submariners, in what has long been known as “The Trade” , Hervey, a much-loved commanding officer who took
care to avoid aloofness from his men, reflected: “ I thought those are the sort of people that I’d like to be with.”
ANNE KELENY. TheScotsmanNewspaper.
Arthur Melling & Gt-Grandson. 90th Birthday
Dave Summers receiving his Certificate of Appreciation
Lee, Summer's. “We are here to remember and talk about your colleague, shipmate, friend, our dad, and the children’s pa. Not to forget my mums soul mate and husband for 58 years.
Our mum cannot be
here today as many of you know she has Alzheimer's and lives in her own world now. We thought long and hard as a family but decided that in her interest she should not be here. She believes dad is alive and well, and we have no intention of letting her know
the truth over and over again. She remembers dad as he was a number of years ago, and that is how we want it to stay. This service is about David my dad and I am stood here because no minister can talk about him the way I can. Friends and family have contributed
to what I plan to do say and I make no apologies if I get a little upset, and I am sure I will not be the only one. It is easy for me to talk about my dad, but emotionally it racks up as being one of the hardest things I will ever have to do.
Our Dad and family: Dad was born David Summers in Hinckley Leicestershire to parents Lewis & Phyllis May and he had a younger brother Pete. Dad’s early life was quiet hard with his father
joining the Royal Navy and he had to become the man of the house at a young age. He left home when he could and he too joined the navy, where he received an education in school and in life. He loved my mum Patricia who he called min, and he met her when
she was five on the school playground. Well that is the story mum has always told and said dad pursued her until he agreed to marry her on 1st June 1957. It is one of the few stories mum talks about and dad just agrees. He was a very wise man my dad.
Mum was dad’s rock and loved and looked after him through thick and thin. She was there by his side and followed him all over the world with
two kids in tow fending for herself, putting up with whatever the navy threw at her and at times that was quiet a lot. Some of the memorable moments that stand out as I grew up were how much fun they had together. The many parties they had, including, one
as a child where I thought the whole crew of an Israeli submarine was there, there probably was. These types of parties were notorious and continued throughout their life, my dad was happiest in the sunshine cooking on a barbeque in a pair of shorts and
flip flops, socializing with friends and having a shandy or two. Dad had a penchant for dressing up in grass skirts and sarongs when he could, my mum would throw him around the dance floor all night long jiving and sloshing, and of course plenty of island
dancing. Those who can recall can see him in their mind doing the nobly knee knocking dance, with my mum doing the hoola hoola next to him. After a party session my mum would nag dad about how much he had drank and then put him to bed with that Dave Summers
grin all over his face. They both loved to be on stage getting involved in activities and games and never minded making fools of themselves especially if it was in the name of fun. Dad was the ultimate competitor at anything he did including his main passions
golf and bowls. Mum and dad’s navy years meant travelling around the world living in Australia, Malaysia and Singapore. This world travelling was to reappear again l
They moved to Nottingham when dad left the navy in the Seventies for work and cheaper housing. Dad eventually got a job at the Evening Post as head of security and surrounded himself with ex-servicemen, who
he could rely on.
My dad lost his parents when they were in their 60’s almost within weeks of each other. With his half of the money from the sale of their house my parents purchased
an apartment in Spain and spent as much time as they could there. Dad hated the cold dark winters of England and loved the sunshine of Spain, and obviously the golf.
How many people do you know who fall over on a golf course in Spain sober and
break their leg, but my dad managed it? Dad during his life broke many bones and damaged himself a lot, I am not sure how much of this was contributed by the rum in his system. Mum retired quiet early from being a district nurse and midwife in the Bingham
area and by chance dad was made redundant a short time later after 16yrs at the post. This was a blessing for them and meant they spent more time in Spain especially during the winter months. When dad was in Old Blighty he spent time gardening and looking
after the birds in his back garden, continuing to play golf at Stanton and bowls at Bingham.
After many years of enjoyment in Spain they sold the apartment, and took all the
family on a fabulous holiday all over the States. We still talk about that trip today. Following their time in Spain, mum and dad started on what l would describe as their cruise years, travelling all over the world. They loved visiting different Countries
and putting on their fine clothes to dine on the P&O cruise liners. They were still getting up on stage for any competitions and dancing the night away. They visited our Aussie and Canadian relatives and went to New Zealand to see long lost friends. They
travelled to the north and south poles, the Caribbean and South America’s. One of their favourite places was The Cook Islands, hence the music today as you entered the room and when you eventually leave.
Mum and dad were grandparents at an early age and Dad loved all the kids. He often told me this was due to the fact he missed out on mine and my sister Anne's early years due to being at sea. When the grandkids and great grandkids
came along he really enjoyed being with them, and that is borne out with the way they loved him back.
Mum and dad would have Kris and Carli for weeks in Spain, and dad would constantly be waiting on them making them egg in the island for breakfast, swimming
and teaching them to dive.
When the first lot of great grand kids came along Ethan and Lily dad continued where he left off with Kris and Carli. He would spend as much time
with them as he could. We then had the additions of Maya followed by Oliver Jennifer, and Seth. Dad said he was lucky he had great grandchildren as none of his family had lived long enough to see theirs.
The cruising lifestyle they loved was taken away from them, when several years ago mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. It was dads turn to be mum’s rock. He looked after her until he could no longer, and eventually mum deteriorated
so much she ended up in hospital and finally the care home where she lives today at Cotgrave. It was soul destroying for him watching the woman he loved disappear day by day, but he carried on selflessly for years ignoring his own health.
Dad loved the sea; I have broken this down to a number of components, the Royal Navy, submarines, his ship mates and the bond they have for each other. Dad loved his years in the navy and joined at
the age of 15yrs, he started at HMS Bruce in Fifeshire for his education and training in the Navy; this is also where he met his lifelong friend Pete Curtis. Dad particularly loved his submarine years. What made it special was his shipmate’s, which is
shown by the turnout today. Those who couldn't get here have written and given their apologies. The submarine service had a lot of influence in molding dad into the person that everyone knew. Dad was a great story teller, and all the good ones were usually
based on him being in trouble or drunk or a combination of both. If you don't know the stories then you will have plenty of time to find out about them later. Some of my favorites I will never forget and will pass onto my grandkids.
Here are a few titles to remind those who have heard them before. Shark in the swimming pool.
Attacking the insurgents up the Malaysian river
Crocodile pool swimming competition. Contracting ‘Malaria’ on the submarine and being flown back to Australia Meeting his brother in a bar in Aussie and then shanghai-ing him.
Giving fags to change ships to avoid going to war. Promising his dad he would never get a tattoo if he could join the navy. If you have a favourite story hopefully you will share it
later at the British Legion at Radcliffe on Trent. All of you are invited for snacks and stories. There will be dad’s memoirs and information about his life on the walls with later in their lives, photo albums for people to look at and talk about. You will be able to see how young you used to be. Dad was chairman and secretary for the Royal Navy and Submariners Association over many years. On 9th January last year dad was presented
with a citation for his outstanding services to the submarine service. Admiral Sir James Perowne came to Nottingham and presented it to him. We as a family managed to keep this a surprise until he walked into the room and saw all his mates. He believed
he was going out to celebrate my sister’s birthday in town, how shocked he was when he found out the truth. This was a great night for him and a proud night for us his family. Unfortunately Sir James could not be here today, but he has sent a message
that he has asked to be read out. As it was Mac and his colleagues who put my dad forward for the award. It is only right that Mac should read it and say a few words from the Submarine Association.
. Any donations today are going towards the Nottingham Submariners branches new Standard, a flag to lay-people here. Dad was involved in purchasing the original standard, so it is only appropriate that he is involved in replacing it a bond is made
between men who live together in a metal container under the sea for long periods of time. This is summed up in a naval prayer. I would now ask Jim to come and read the Submariners prayer. Thank you Jim. My son Kris’s wife Aimee knew dad for only a couple
of years or so, she visited mum and dad at their home regularly, It is interesting that Aimee became a midwife in Bingham 20 or so years after my mum retired. Aimee has written a poem that I would like to read.
I knew you just a little while you always made me smile.
You had a twinkle in your eye.
It was easy to see why
You treated me to memories of your Submarine life
The trials and tribulations of leaving your children and wife
You had so many stories
you would regale
Over Sunday lunches I enjoyed your every tale I will not weep beside your grave
you do not lie therein
The memories I have I’ll save and tell them to my kin.
you for open arms you gave I know you sail elsewhere now
Perhaps below the waves.
" I would like to give you a minute of peace and quiet so you can think about the person you knew as our dad and pa Dave Summers. Thank you. Sally and I visited Hell Fire Pass
in Thailand a couple of years ago and we did a tour of the death railway built by servicemen of all Countries and locals. We listened to a poem called ‘Mates’ written by Duncan Butler an Australian survivor of Hellfire Pass. Dad visited the same
spot a few years before us and agreed with me about the poems message. I am going to attempt to read it as the audio version makes me very emotional.
I've travelled down some
Both crooked tracks and straight.
An' I've learned life's noblest creed,
Summed up in one word … "Mate".
thinking back across the years, (a thing I do of late)
An' this word sticks between my ears;
You've got to have a "Mate".
Someone who'll take you as you are,
Regardless of your
An' stand as firm as Ayres Rock
Because 'e is your mate.
My mind goes back to '42, to slavery and 'ate,
When man's one chance to stay alive
Depended on 'is Mate.
With bamboo for a Billy-can an' bamboo for a plate.
A bamboo paradise for bugs was bed for me and "Mate".
You'd slip and slither through the mud
And curse your rotten fate,
But then you'd 'ear a quiet word:"
Don't drop your bundle
And though it's all so long ago,
This truth I 'ave to state:
A man don't know what lonely means
Til 'e has lost his "Mate".
If there's a life that follers this, if there's a Golden Gate,
The welcome I just want to 'earIs just, "Good on y' Mate."
An' so to all that ask me why we keep these special dates,
Like "Anzac Day" … I answer: “WHY!? -
We're thinking of our Mates."
An' when I've left the driver's seat, an' handed in me plates,
tell ol' Peter at the door, “I’ve come to join me Mates."
I would like to believe that dad is with all mates again. My dad loved socializing and would
talk to anyone anywhere, anytime. He made friends wherever he visited and has maintained many of them. These friends live all over the world. When I have talked to these friends and relatives they have all said the same thing that they loved my mum and
dad and the world will be a sadder place without them and what a good man he was.
A number of my parents friends have been close to my sister, my wife Sally and the kids over the years
as we grew up and we have a great deal of affection towards them. I do not need to name them, they know who they are, and a number of them are here today. There are some groups and friends that I do want to mention.
His golf buddies, his bowls friends.
The Probus members, the Mason's, the Submariners Association and Royal Navy Association.
I do want to make a personal thanks to his close friend and Wednesday night drinking
buddy Barrie, my mum and dad cared for you and Sandra like family and I know you will miss him, but don’t forget we are still here for you though.
I want to thank Paul
and Mac for what you did whilst dad was in hospital, those visits you arranged made him so happy talking about the old days Pete Curtis his lifetime shipmate has travelled here today He wrote Well Dave my old mate by now all the pain will have gone. You were
the first one to get the Pier Head jump to the great unknown will sorely miss our regular Wednesday night spinning a Dit on the phone By now you will probably have found a quiet and secluded Kibosh adjacent to an alcoholic watering hole and hopefully
reserved a future bunk for mewed had great times together which I will never forget If by chance I see you in the tavern we'll smile at each other and say, ‘those were the days my friend’.
Thank you Pete for being here today, it means a lot. I want to thank Wayne and his family for being here especially after the loss of Pete, dad's younger brother last year, it is still very raw for them, dad will miss his secret
drinking buddy Den, Len, David and family, are going through an awful time dealing with your loss and are thoughts are with you. Thank you Crossroads and especially Martina and Jane for helping make dads life a little easier as carers for mum. I want to thank
Martin Lowden who could not make it here today, he must rate as one of the best G.P.s, and Bingham has ever had. Thank you to the staff at the hospitals and Field House plus the doctors at Radcliffe who made my dad’s last days dignified and as pain
free as they could whilst that awful disease took him from us.
I want everyone to think about my mum who has no idea what she has lost in her life, and all our family who will deal
with dads death one day at a time. My sister Anne has been absolutely brilliant in helping put everything together. With what we have faced over the last year, it has brought us a lot closer. I am sure Anne has had a huge amount of support from Jim and my
rock has been Sally throughout this ordeal, I would like to thank you on behalf both of us. There is a huge amount I would like to say but the time we have here will not allow. I want to thank everyone who came today and knew my dad and appreciated him
for the generous, salty old sea dog he was. Please join us back at Radcliffe and continue to talk about the great man he was, and the good things that took place throughout his life. Dad and I talked a lot near the end of his life, and he said to me that he
had no regrets as he had a full and wonderful life, he said he was very lucky to have his life and family. My sister wrote we are very proud to have had such a loving and fun character as a father and a man who never lost his ‘twinkle’! The
Aussie Bush Hat will be sorely missed around Bingham town. I will hopefully see you all at the Radcliffe British Legion afterwards and Thank you My last words today are I Love you Dad.
Sub Lt David Balme
6 January 2016
Quiet naval hero who rescued Enigma machine dies aged 95
The naval family has lost a quiet hero whose actions helped change the course of the Battle of the Atlantic – and World War 2.
The bravery of Sub Lt David Balme in the chilly waters of the North Atlantic off Greenland in May 1941 ensured the most prized piece of equipment in the German war machine fell into Allied hands: the Enigma coder.
The bravery of Sub Lt David Balme in the chilly waters of the North Atlantic off Greenland in May 1941 ensured the most prized piece of equipment in the German war machine fell into Allied hands: the Enigma coder.
Balme, who died at the weekend aged 95, led a boarding party on to crippled U110 when the submarine was brought to the surface by depth charges after the boat attacked a convoy.
The U-boat’s captain Fritz-Julius Lemp – a seasoned submariner who had infamously sunk the first ship in the Battle of the Atlantic, the liner Athenia, on the very first day of WW2 – lost his head and ordered his
men to abandon ship, without first destroying top secret material and equipment.
While the Germans jumped into the Atlantic, a 20-year-old David Balme and small team of sailors climbed into a rowing
boat with simple instructions: Get what you can out of her.
Balme, who’d been in the Navy for seven years, could not believe the Germans “would have just abandoned this submarine”
and was convinced U110 was either booby-trapped, or armed crewman were still on board, lying in wait.
Instead, the boarders found U110 deserted. Telegraphist Allen Long quickly located the coding
device which looked like a typewriter. Long “pressed the keys and. finding results peculiar, sent it up the hatch”.
Balme’s party spent six hours salvaging what they could from
U110, all the time compressed air hissed from broken pipes and the boat shook under the distant detonations of depth charges being dropped as the convoy escorts harried other suspected German submarines.
Bulldog tried to tow the crippled U110 to Iceland, but she foundered the following day. The destroyer continued on to Scapa Flow in the Orkneys, the RN’s main base in both world wars, where the ‘typewriter’ was handed over to an intelligence
officer. “We have waited the whole war for one of these,” he gratefully thanked Balme and his shipmates.
The salvage operation – codenamed Primrose – was, the Admiralty ordered,
“to be treated with the greatest secrecy and as few people allowed to know as possible.”
And so when George VI presented David Balme with the DSC for his part in the mission later in
1941, the monarch apologised that “for security reasons” the award could not be higher. But he did tell the junior officer it was “perhaps the most important single event in the whole war at sea.”
The Enigma machine and accompanying codebook ended up at Bletchley Park, where they would be exploited by maths genius Alan Turing and his colleagues, allowing some German radio traffic to be read by British intelligence.
The story of the seizure of the machine by Balme and his shipmates was kept secret until the mid-1970s and ‘Hollywoodised’ in 2000 in the blockbuster U571; the fictionalised account has American submariners,
not British destroyermen, rescuing Enigma from a crippled German boat.
David Balme’s career in the RN after Bulldog/U110 was no less dramatic; he commanded a detachment of gunners protecting
a merchant ship on the Malta convoys (which was sunk), transferred to the Fleet Air Arm as an observer and flew missions in the Mediterranean; and was the youngest lieutenant commander in the RN when promoted to that rank.
After the war he worked in the family wool business in Hampshire.
Navy News.January 2016.
A.W.C. (Tony) Eldridge DSC. Lt. RNVR.
Tony "Lofty" Eldridge, who has died aged 91, led the last human torpedo attack of the Second World War, which sank two Japanese ships off
On 27 October 1944 Eldridge was a recently promoted sub-lieutenant when he and his number two, Petty Officer Sidney “Butch”
Woollcott in the chariot Tiny, and Petty Officer W S Smith and Ordinary Seaman Bert Brown, in the chariot Slasher, took part in Ceylon Secret Operation 51. Their weapons were human torpedoes or chariots, each 30ft long and 2ft 6in in diameter, which the two-man crew rode astride. They were built by the crane-makers Stothert and Pitt of Bath . Each chariot had an endurance of five or six hours and a speed of about four-and-half knots and carried a separable
Eldridge and the two chariots were carried into action by the submarine Trenchant which surfaced off Phuket on a perfectly
calm night, by the light of a brilliant moon, which made navigation easy but exposed the chariots to detection. Eldridge recalled: “We launched
from the submarine HMS Trenchant to attack a target in Phuket Harbour in Thailand. To reach our target we travelled on HMS Trenchant from Trincomalee
in Sri Lanka, a distance of some 1,240 miles, which the submarine covered in seven days. On the night of the attack, as Butch and I dressed, we included our personal weapons, 25 gold sovereigns, silk maps, button compasses sewn into our clothing, and we each included a cyanide capsule.
part of our training Butch and I did a survival course in the jungles of Sri Lanka when we were told of the terrible things that men captured by the Japanese had been subjected to. Butch and I decided that no way would we get captured, and that was going through our minds as we set off on our chariot.
When we launched from Trenchant it was into lovely clear warm water, so different from the freezing murky cold waters of the UK that we had trained in. We left the submarine at around 22.00 hours and we were under the ship at 00.30.”
Eldridge added, “When you’re piloting a chariot under water you can’t see far ahead
and we stayed above the water until we saw the mast of the Japanese ship that was our target. That’s when we dived and kept going under water
until we came up against the bottom of our target, which was covered in barnacles.”
Reaching his target after a six-and-a-half mile passage
at 00.30, Eldridge and Woollcott tried to attach their warhead to the ship’s bottom, but this was so covered in barnacles that the magnets would
not stick, so they placed a clamp on the bilge keel and tied the warhead with rope to the clamp. Once attached, the timer was set for six hours later. Eldridge and Woollcott shook hands, boarded their chariot and headed out to sea towards Trenchant.
On reaching Trenchant they were surprised to be told by Lieutenant-Commander “Baldy”
Hezlet, who thought he had heard enemy propeller noise, to scuttle Tiny and Slasher. At 06.32 the following morning Hezlet summoned Eldridge to the
periscope with a cry of “There she goes!” and through the eyepiece Eldridge saw debris fly into the air to twice the height of the mast.
He watched as the second of two ships quickly sank.
On their return to Trincomalee, Eldridge and his fellow charioteers stood on the casing of Trenchant
and were cheered into harbour. He was awarded the DSC for great courage, daring and devotion to duty and the others were awarded the DSM: their medals were sent to them through the post.
Anthony William Charles Eldridge was born at Tunbridge Wells on July 16 1923. He was educated at the Skinners’ School, where he became
a Senior King’s Scout and he was a lance- corporal in the Home Guard when he joined the Navy in January 1942 at the age of 18.
service in the Hunt-class destroyer Cleveland on coastal convoy duties he joined HMS King Alfred, shore establishment for officer-training in September 1943.
He volunteered for special service without knowing what was involved, and only learnt when he arrived at the submarine school, where he began diver-training.
In April 1944 he began training on chariots.
After the war Eldridge was employed on salvage and mine-clearance work but in 1946 he was demobilised,
leaving the Navy as a lieutenant. He briefly took up farming before joining International Computers Limited in London.
In 1954 Eldridge emigrated
to South Africa where, still with ICL, he installed successive generations of information management systems to clients over a wide area. In 1960 he relocated
to Rhodesia, where he joined the British South African Police Reserve and was attached to its anti-terrorist unit. After 18 years’ service he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, but on Rhodesia gaining independence as Zimbabwe, Eldridge moved back to South Africa, settling at Gonubie, near East London.
Eldridge became chairman of the local South African Legion, Provincial Chairman and then Life Vice President of the South African Legion. He was also chairman of both the gardening
club and the Naval Officers’ Association in East London, living by his motto “Get up, show up and get on with it”.
He returned to England in 2004, where despite becoming blind through macular degeneration he was active and vigorous until his death. He remained engaged with
the British Legion, rarely missing a submariners’ reunion or parade, however foul the weather, and took particular delight in obeying the ceremonial
After he had been taught to type and use a computer by Blind Veterans UK, he found renewed pleasure in reading the
newspapers, especially Navy News.
He also paraded each year at the Cenotaph. “Standing on parade,” Eldridge said, “I think back to when I was a charioteer. I remember the bitter cold that went into my bones as most of our training as a submariner was done in the cold waters around the UK. Even to this day I tend to put more clothes on than other people as that memory of cold stays with me today. I also remember my friends I had trained and served with. God bless them all.”
He wrote an autobiography, Just Out of Sight (1998), and left an audio-history at the Imperial War Museum.
In 2004 Tiny and Slasher were found in the southern Andaman Sea after the seabed had been exposed by the Boxing Day tsunami.
He married Dorothy
Perkins in 1950, who survives him with two daughters and a son. Another daughter predeceased him.
Tony Eldridge, born July 16 1923, died April
Obituaries: The Telegraph.
Sadly a stalwart of both the Submariners and Submarine Coxswains Associations. CPO Cox’n L.F. (Tex) Golding has set sail on his final patrol in his 90th year.
He was a long-time member of the Gosport Branch, also serving as the Association’s National Membership Secretary for many years, being instrumental in the change from paper to computerised records. No doubt he will be sorely missed as he was a
well-respected and well known member, who attended numerous reunions. Tex served in Submarines from 1947 until 1969 in the following Submarines Tactician, Aurochs, Auriga, Anchorite, Sleuth, Solent, Scorcher, Artemis, Thermopylae, Totem(2) and Tapir. No doubt
your thoughts will be with Tex’s daughter in law Anne, granddaughter Sarah and family at this difficult time.
David Watts (Hon. National secretary)
HMS Tapir in Launceston, Tasmania Early 1946.
Photo supplied by Roy Steadman
Jim Appleton’s Obituary
Jim was born on 9 April 1925, in rural Yorkshire, where his parents ran a farm near the coast; from early days he was interested in the new radio technology & when
he later joined his local Sea Cadets, he trained as a Telegraphist.
As soon as he was able, Jim joined the RN, aged 17, as an OS Tel, sometime
from 1942 onwards; after basic & further Tel training, Jim joined his first ship HMS GLASGOW (L/C), during 1943, in time for a trip to Murmansk, as part of the escort for a Russian Convey; I believe that Jim suffered from frostbite & that a Russian
‘Doctor’ attempted an early version of a skin graft, with only a cup of Vodka as an anaesthetic (leaving Jim with a lifelong dislike of Vodka)!!
In Dec 43, GLASGOW was involved in an action with German destroyers & T/B’s, in the Bay of Biscay; after this action they were attacked by Luftwaffe A/C, using their new radio controlled ‘Glider’ bombs; GLASGOW received some damage
from these actions & on their return to base, the ship was docked for repairs & the crew moved into the nearby HM Barracks.
Within a few
days, Jim & a few others received a draft chit to FORT BLOCKHOUSE, at Gosport & O/A, there Jim realised that he had been ‘volunteered’ for service in Submarines; O/C, of his SM Training in Mar 44, Jim served in the following SM’s.
H34 (WW1 Vintage), she was mainly used for SM training; Dutch O10, both these SM’s were based in Home Waters; PORPOISE (minelayer), based at Trincomalee, Ceylon;
TRENCHANT, Jim joined this at Trincomalee, on a ‘pier heard jump’, as a replacement for his cousin, who had missed an important incoming signal & TAPIR (with fellow member, former ERA Roy Stedman), paying off in April 1946.
Jim was demobbed in the UK & he joined the British ‘Y’ Radio Intercept Service (this later evolved into what’s now known as GCHQ) & he was
originally based at a coastal station in Yorkshire.
Jim later moved to Ceylon, via a memorable journey to the Far East on the Trans-Siberian railway,
in this service & later served on a small Radio Intercept Station based at the Cocos Islands.
During one of my visits to Jim, when he was
at a Mosman Park Nursing Home, he told me of an incident, whereby they were resupplied by the passing British Cunard liner, AQUITANIA (this was by an arrangement with the Clunies-Ross family, who then owned the Cocas-Keeling Islands & the Cunard Shipping
Line); I believe that this occurred in the late 1940’s.
As AQUITANIA was far too large to get too close to Cocas due to the shallow waters
& reefs, a boat was sent out from the island, to pick up the stores, normally packed in barrels; off-watch volunteers from the intercept station were allowed to participate in these trips.
On the occasion that Jim was involved, the sea was rough & their boat capsized/swamped, but the crew were all rescued by a boat from the AQUITANIA; however the mighty liner had a schedule to maintain & its Master
decided to keep going for their next port, which was Fremantle.
So Jim & his companion/s had an enforced break from their duties at Cocas
& were later landed at Fremantle & eventually made their way back to Cocas, after an interesting break from their normal routine.
some 10yrs in the ‘Y’ Intercept Service, Jim moved on & later moved onto Fremantle, WA.
Ken Read followed with personal &
SOCA-WA memories (see below); there were several close friends of Jim who gave their memories; his old friend Alan Caddy, gave a very good talk, followed by Jim’s good friend Mary West’s daughter & finally Mary herself.
A Friends Farewell
"My name is Ken Read
an associate and life member of the Submariners association.
I would first like to extend our enormous
gratitude to Mrs. Mary West and Mr. Alan Caddy for their unfailing friendship, assistance and care over many years to our highly esteemed Life member Jim Appleton. Both of them have their own lives and crosses to bear, but gave their time unstintingly to
help Jim who had no kin. Mary and Alan treated him as though he was an older brother, and even to this day, have continued to do so.
Jim had enjoyed a very interesting career both in the Royal Navy and civilian life, but suffice to say, his more private and personal life with two marriages was something like a Shakespearean tragedy, but I won’t go into that.
I became aware of Jim in about 1979. He was the extremely dedicated Hon Secretary of the Submariners Association, as well as being
an Administrator of a mental health department in what was known as Pyrton in Bassendean. As such he has a splendid office and a secretary.
As Secretary of the Submariners Association, Jim had received an appeal from the UK seeking funds to help preserve the wartime constructed submarine ALLIANCE. He placed an ad in The West seeking donations to which I happily donated.
Jim contacted me asked of my naval background and suggested we meet at his office in Bassendean, not far from my then home. I was impressed.
Jim was writing to Earl Mountbatten who was to visit Australia, and invite him to the Annual Periscope Service in Fremantle in Oct 1979. Very sadly, Mountbatten’s murder in August 79 precluded this.
As I was a former ‘Bunting Tosser’ /Signalman with the ability to type, Jim probably saw someone who could assist
with the idea of issuing a monthly newsletter for the ex- submariners in WA. He suggested that I should apply to join the association as an associate. I was accepted, submariners are not fussy, and so Jim and I developed the monthly 4-page newsletter which
has now been vastly improved over the years, with better technology and more capable editors. .
Sonja, Jim, and I enjoyed a very friendly and lengthy association from 1979 until our final rendezvous in Osborne Park Hospital last Saturday week, the day before he died on 1st Feb. I have very fond memories
of Jim and the lengthy conversations we enjoyed before his memory started to fail him. In fact towards the end, he no longer recognised many of the people who cared for him. His memory loss greatly concerned him.
Farewell Jim, Rest
in Peace, I will remember you always, I salute you".
David Gilbertson. WW11 Veteran . Unrivalled, Tireless, Tapir.
DAVID JOHN GILBERTSON. 27th April. 1925 - 10th DECEMBER 2014
David John Gilbertson was born in Mile End London on 27th April 1925, son of William, a
Hammerman on the Docks and Catherine who worked well into her 70’s cleaning pubs. David didn’t have an easy life growing up in the Council Buildings in Poplar, but he spoke about his family with love, especially his sister Josie, who he spoke with
almost every day right up until he died. They were a close family, and a very healthy, hearty family who never looked their age, my favourite photo of David and Josie’s mother is on her 100th birthday, whisky in one hand, cigarette in the other, blowing
out the candles on her cake! We all expected David to replicate that photo, minus the cigarette, but cancer had other ideas, and he left us on 27th October this year exactly 89 ½ years old.
I had the absolute privilege of knowing David all my life, he introduced me to people as
his niece although we had no blood ties, I would like to share with you a little about David and how he came into my family’s lives, David was a Submariner as many of you know. He joined the UK Royal Navy at the age of 18 in 1943 he was trained in RADAR
and subsequently moved to the submarine service. In 1946 his submarine the Tireless made a trip to Australia on an exercise named "Showing the Flag" where the submarine visited many ports in Australia, when they were in Hobart, David was in a pub and started
up a conversation with a local couple who happened to be my grandparents Ann & Ric, they spent an hour chatting exchanged addresses and agreed to meet up for lunch the next day, well, David being young and sometimes not quite attentive to the rules, apparently
outstayed his time ashore and was confined to ship the next day and didn’t meet up with my grandparents, my grandmother Ann wrote to David when he was back in England and he wrote back and so on. David left the Navy and he joined the Post Office in 1947
and his fiancée Eleanor (he called her Nellie) took over the writing duties to Ann, David and Eleanor married in 1949 and David had moved to Bletchley to work on the recovery of specialized equipment from Bletchley Park. My grandparents had been sending
care packages to David and Eleanor right through the period from 1947 onwards during rationing to help them through very hard times.
David was promoted to Technical Officer Instructor at the Bletchley Park Engineering Training Centre in 1951 and transferred to the Central Training Centre in
Staffordshire in 1955. In 1958 David was promoted to Assistant Executive Engineer and transferred to the Telecommunications Headquarters Department in London to the duty of design of Telecommunications equipment for use in Hazardous Situations (Explosive).
In 1962 he was granted release from British Telecommunications to take up duty as Telecommunications Training Officer with the East African Post and Telecommunications Dept in Tanzania .He was promoted to Principal Training Officer Tanzania in 1964 in order
to develop a Training Centre and Training Dept. He carried out these duties until returning to BT Headquarters on design duties in 1968. After a few months in HQ he was promoted to Executive Engineer as Head of Engineering Training and Principal of the Engineering
Training Centre in Cardiff.
In 1978 he was accepted by the United Nations as Project Manager to develop a Training Organisation for the Burmese Post and Telecommunications Dept. In 1978 he was promoted to Senior Executive Engineer in British Telecomm and was accepted by the Scottish
Region of BT in absentia as head of Training. He left Burma and returned to the UK after an absence of two years to take up duty in Scotland. After approximately three years He was invited to transfer to the South Eastern Region of BT and take up the responsibility
for selection of staff and to be the Principal of a new Residential Training Centre at Dorking Surrey where he spent a very happy and productive three years until his retirement in 1985.
Ann and Eleanor continued to write to each other and share news all through the years no
matter where Eleanor and David were living, and my grandmother shared the news as each new grandchild was born, and what they were up to as they grew up, she would read parts of Nellie’s letters to me and I was fascinated by the letters from the lovely
tiny lady from England, who was in Africa or Wales or had been on holiday in Canada. When my grandmother died in 1979 my grandfather asked me to continue to write to Nellie, so I took over the communication, and as the years went passed it was my children
who grew up in letters to Nellie and David, and then we had phone calls and photographs, they were like another set of parents living overseas.
When wife Eleanor died in 1998 David found it very difficult to be comfortable in the house that they had built in Sussex, he came to Australia for a visit and
we finally got to meet him, we took him on a 2 week tour of Tasmania. Then he started looking into Home Exchanges as they offer the opportunity to experience living in different places as a member of a community and not as a person temporarily on holiday .Over
several years David arranged exchanges in Waco US, San Francisco US – where he stayed with a gay couple and took great care to mention that he definitely had a separate bedroom!, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Perth. He had made good friends in Brisbane
and Perth, as both cities had branches of the Submariners Association. He finally decided he no longer wanted to live in the UK, but couldn’t live in Melbourne near us as it was too bloody cold; he tossed up between QLD and Perth but decided on Mandurah
and with the help of his very dear friend the Late Ron McKenzie, bought his unit here, he was so very happy here.
So thank you to all of his neighbours here at Erskine for making it such a happy, friendly place for him, thank you to his friends at Submariners, thank you to
his very close friends who he thought so much of, and spoke about so much that I felt I knew each and every one of you before I even met you. And I am so very happy that in 1946 my grandmother dragged my grandfather into a pub in Hobart and she started chatting
to a very handsome young English submariner named David and that hour led to a lifetime of friendship and love.
On behalf of his sister Josie and her family I would like to say a very short prayer;
Eternal Rest, Give unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he Rest in Peace. Amen
Thank-you to Mrs Karen Derby for the above contribution.
Rear-Admiral. David Cooke, who has died aged 59, was a Cold War submariner, and on several occasions took his boats close to the Russian coast to eavesdrop on Soviet military secrets.
David John Cooke was born on August 15 1955 in Valletta, the Maltese capital, where his father was serving with the Royal Navy (both his
father and grandfather were rear-admirals).
At Tonbridge School he
excelled at rowing, and in 1973 he entered Dartmouth. Three years later he began 18 years’ service in submarines.
His first boat was Oberon, which was fitted with special equipment and carried intelligence analysts in order to listen in to
Soviet operations, and Cooke undertook patrols in the Mediterranean and the Baltic. He then took the course for nuclear submariners before specialising in navigation.
In 1981 he was recalled to Oberon, which patrolled in the Mediterranean,
and after the Falklands conflict he was navigator of the nuclear submarine Warspite, detailed to carry out two three-month patrols off the islands in the South Atlantic – in the event, one of these lastedfor 111 days after the relieving
boat broke down.
On the 1984 “perisher”, the stringent qualifying course for potential submarine commanding officers, Cooke was one of only two candidates who passed. He then spent a few months as an operations analyst, and in 1986
became first lieutenant of the nuclear-powered submarine Trafalgar, which operated mainly in American waters and carried out the successful trials of the Navy’s Spearfish torpedo.
Cooke’s biggest challenge came in the years 1986 to 1988
when he took command of the submarine Onslaught, which was specially fitted for eavesdropping operations.
Details of his three patrols in the Mediterranean and three in the Baltic are still secret, but on one occasion Onslaught managed to remain unobserved in the Baltic for seven weeks while carrying 17 intelligence specialists
in addition to its crew of nearly 70. In 1989 Cooke was appointed MBE.
In 1991 Cooke served in the American nuclear-powered submarine Cincinnati before
taking command of the Royal Navy’s Torbay (1992-94), which he took on patrol in the Arctic Ocean.
There followed a run of desk jobs in Whitehall, where he planned and budgeted for underwater warfare systems ; on promotion to captain he
became responsible for the budgets for all submarine warfare equipment (1996-98) before heading the team which implemented the Blair administration’s Strategic Defence Review. In 2000-1 he commanded the frigate Cumberland, then returned to Whitehall in
a newly created tri-service appointment in which he advised the Navy, Army and RAF on priorities on their £7 billion annual budget for equipment.
On promotion to Rear-Admiral in 2004, Cooke was appointed Deputy Commander of Strike Force
Nato at its headquarters in Naples. His next appointment was at Fleet headquarters,where he commanded all Britain’s naval assets, including the Royal Marines;
in addition he was appointed chief of the submarine service. On his retirement in 2009, he was appointed CB (both his father and grandfather had been similarly honoured) .
Cooke then began a second career as Clerk to the Christ’s Hospital
From 1988 h was a Younger Brother of Trinity House, and
from 2008 a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights.
a boy, Cooke had been an Airfix model enthusiast, and it was a passion that he continued to pursue in adult life. He enjoyed painting, with painstaking accuracy, the
uniforms on model soldiers . In later life he was a keen member of the Southwark Bridge model railway group, for which he scratch-built wagons and scenery.
David Cooke married, in 1980, Sarah Jane Keeble, who survives him with their daughter
and two sons.
Rear-Admiral David Cooke, born August 15 1955,
died December 1st. 2014.
Toby Weston. DSO. DSC.
Commander Toby Weston, who has died aged 95, won a DSO and a DSC as a submariner in the Second World War.
On June 13 1944, Weston, then 23, was commanding
the submarine Satyr on a patrol in the Norwegian Sea. It was submerged when, 25 miles west of the Lofotens, he sighted a U-boat. Unable to get into an attacking position, he surfaced and gave chase but soon realised that he could not overtake.
Two days later the same thing happened, but when he sighted a third U-boat he closed to 3,000 yards and fired a full salvo of six torpedoes. The first two exploded prematurely, but two hits were scored, and through
the periscope Weston saw U-987 break in half and sink. Shortly afterwards he sighted a fourth U-boat, but Satyr had not had time to reload its torpedo tubes. Weston was awarded a DSO for his service on submarine patrols.
Tobin Subremont Weston was born in Somerset on April 10 1919 and educated at Clifton College. He entered Dartmouth in 1937, and his first ships were the cruiser Cornwall and the battleship Ramillies in the Mediterranean. He served
in the cruiser Norfolk during the Norwegian campaign, before volunteering for the “trade” and joining the submarine school at Fort Blockhouse, Gosport, in September 1940.
His first submarine
was Otway, a “clockwork mouse” for destroyers practising their anti-submarine tactics, as well as for candidates for the submarine commanding officers’ qualifying course.
he joined P-34 in the “Fighting Tenth” submarine flotilla based in Malta. Weston thought it remarkable that on every patrol P-34 found a convoy carrying supplies to Rommel’s Afrika Korps, and only after the war did he realise that the interceptions
were cued by intelligence (Ultra).
When four boats out of the flotilla of 12 were left, Weston became first lieutenant of Una for the journey to Alexandria . When the city was evacuated under the
threat of Rommel’s advance, Una moved to Haifa, from where Weston, suffering a bout of sandfly fever, returned home .
He completed his “perisher” successfully in 1942, but in October,
within two hours of taking over his first command, the obsolescent H-28, he ran aground on the Irish side of the entrance to the river Foyle. Returning to harbour he collided with a destroyer, and was subsequently court-martialled, but acquitted.
Weston left H-28 in February 1943, suffering a return of his fever; but he was cured by the offer of command of the new S-class submarine, Satyr. He undertook one patrol off Iceland before joining the 9th Submarine
Flotilla based at Dundee and consisting of British, Dutch, French and Norwegian boats. Over the next 18 months Weston undertook seven patrols off Norway in which he took part in the rehearsals for the midget submarine raid on the German battleship Tirpitz,
and ran aground when navigating Satyr past a Norwegian fishing fleet
On December 19 1943 Weston was on patrol off Stadtlandet when he saw a seaplane-carrier escorted by two destroyers, and fired
five torpedoes at 2,800 yards. He was promptly and heavily depth-charged. Flooded aft, the boat began to sink by the stern and, despite frantic bailing, struck the rocky bottom at 350ft.
sent everyone to their bunks to rest and conserve oxygen, and they sat on the seabed until he heard the sound of the counter-attack draw away. When he ordered the main ballast tanks to be blown, however, Satyr shot to the surface, where it was attacked by
aircraft and shore batteries. Weston ordered Satyr to dive, and again hit the bottom. He made a third attempt to rise before he could take control of the sub and level off. It was an hour and a half before Weston was able to withdraw slowly towards Lerwick.
Weston later described this episode as “a little contretemps”. He was awarded a DSC.
Post-war he commanded the submarine Aeneas . Other appointments
included second-in-command of the cruiser Kenya and Staff Officer Submarines on the British Joint Services Mission in Washington, DC.
Weston retired in 1959 and joined the hospital equipment manufacturer
Nesbitt-Evans, where he became managing director. Under his leadership the company became the only one to produce a hospital bed which met a new standardised “King’s Fund” specification, and by 1974 Nesbit-Evans was selling 10,000 beds a
year, or about half the NHS’s annual requirement. He retired aged 65, but five years later returned to buy out his old company.
Toby Weston married, in 1953, Beryl Charlotte Carter, a Wren
whom he had met in Malta, who survives him with their two sons.
Commander Toby Weston, born April 10 1919, died September 28 2014
Captain Brian Baynam. RN.
Captain Brian Baynham, who has died aged 92, was a distinguished submariner who broke a naval taboo on the number 13.
In 1965 Baynham was Captain 3rd
Submarine Squadron, based in the depot ship Maidstone at Gareloch, when the newly-built Osiris arrived for its initial work-up. There was widespread consternation when the pennant number on its conning tower was seen to be S13.
The submarine K13 had foundered on trials at Gareloch on January 29 1917, drowning many of her crew; and Baynham knew that since then no British submarine had since carried a pennant number ending in 13 (when K13 was salvaged it was
renumbered K22). Even in the Second World War — when submarines were numbered in the 200, 300 and 400 series — the numbers 213, 313 and 413 were omitted.
The decision to avoid 13 had
been taken at the highest level in the First World War, after the K13 disaster, but the Admiralty’s file on the subject was overlooked when the Oberon-class submarines were built in the 1960s; Osiris was the thirteenth of her class. Baynham was urged
by his staff to telephone the Admiralty to complain that an error had been made. He decided, however, to accept the hand he had been dealt and to proceed with a six-week period of equipment trials and training to bring Osiris into operational service.
Led by a highly professional young officer, Lt-Cdr Sam Fry, an enthusiastic submarine crew proved themselves first-class. Baynham went to sea in Osiris several times and was pleased with progress; and when the time
came for Osiris’s final inspection, it was suggested that he reward the crew with an extra day to their coming long weekend by moving the last day of trials forward to the Thursday.
Baynham realised that the date for the inspection was Friday August 13 — and insisted that it should go ahead as planned. The inspection was successful, and afterwards he attended a dinner for 13 guests in Osiris’s control room. Fry inaugurated
The Thirteen Club, whose member wore a tie emblazoned with dolphins (the submariners’ emblem) over the number 13.
Brian Harries Gordon Michael Baynham was born on September 26 1921 at Midleton
, Co Cork, the son of an inspector in the Royal Irish Constabulary, and educated at St George’s, Weybridge, and Wimbledon College.
As a midshipman, Baynham served in the cruiser Nigeria on
Arctic convoys and in the destroyer Keppel. Although, at well over 6ft tall, he was an unlikely submariner, he began training in September 1942, and four months later became fourth hand of the submarine H44 under the command of Lt (later Admiral) Ian MacIntosh.
MacIntosh took Baynham with him when he moved to Sceptre, one of the parent submarines for Operation Source in September 1943, when several midget submarines were towed across the Norwegian Sea to attack the German
On New Year’s Day 1945 Baynham crashed his motorcycle while returning from a party. His three months in hospital was made bearable by the opportunity to court one of the nurses, Jill Fraser, whom he married in 1948 .
In 1949 Baynham took command of the submarine Sea Scout. Among various other appointments, in 1959-60 he commanded the frigate Torquay, and from 1969 to 1971 the guided missile destroyer Norfolk.
After retiring in 1971 he signed on at the labour exchange and became a successful travelling salesman in the Home Counties dealing in office furniture. He then became a director of the Chamber of Shipping.
Brian Baynham’s wife died in 1994, shortly after they had emigrated to New South Wales; he is survived by two sons and a daughter.
Captain Brian Baynham, born September
26 1921, died August 2 2014
Lt Cdr. Philip Cookson.
Lt-Cdr Philip Cookson, who has died aged 82, perfected underwater techniques for the covert landing of Royal Marines and later served in the Sultan of Oman’s Navy during the Iran-Iraq War of
From 1965 to 1967 Cookson commanded the submarine Oberon, based in Singapore during the Konfrontasi in Malaysia. While the Royal Marines and the Gurkhas made effective use of the
Royal Navy’s helicopters to penetrate the thick jungle in search of their enemy, Cookson used Oberon for secret surveillance of the shore and to land teams of the Special Boat Service.
the start of the Konfrontasi there was no covert way to launch the SBS from submarines — as in the Second World War, they had to surface and launch inflatable craft or canoes . Cookson perfected a technique whereby marines of the SBS left the boat two
at time from the escape trunk while the submarine was still submerged. They would breathe from air bottles attached to the outside of the boat until their party was complete, and then swim ashore. One of his SBS passengers was the young Royal Marines officer,
Paddy Ashdown, later leader of the Liberal Democrats.
Oberon was fitted with a primitive form of air-conditioning and was able to maintain six-week long patrols ; but there were few washing
facilities, and Cookson would return from patrol with a brilliant red beard which caused his children to flee from him in terror.
Philip Francis Cookson was born on October 25 1931 in Bristol,
where his father was the doctor at Clifton College. Both his parents died young, and Philip and his younger brothers were brought up by their three older sisters . He entered Dartmouth in 1944, and in 1953 volunteered for the submarine service; as a junior
officer he led an agreeable bachelor life based in Dorset, Malta and Northern Ireland while serving in several boats. These included Explorer, an experimental submarine powered by highly unstable high-test-peroxide, known unaffectionately to her crew as “Exploder”.
In 1960 he passed the submarine commanding officers’ qualifying course, and his first command was Seraph, one of the most celebrated submarines in the Navy on account of its wartime clandestine work.
In 1961-62 Cookson commanded the minesweeper Bronington (which would later be commanded by the Prince of Wales), and after a spell attached to the British embassy in Madrid , from 1966 to 1964 he commanded the
submarine Alaric . He was then in charge of the Submarine School at HMS Dolphin at Gosport (1969-70).
His last appointment in the Royal Navy was from 1971 to 1973, when he helped to establish
a new Nato command structure in Portugal, one of the aims of which was to monitor the movement of Russian submarines through the Straits of Gibraltar. In three years he helped to build an organisation which grew from 20 people based at a suburban villa outside
Lisbon into a fully-fledged headquarters in a modernist building on the Tagus employing several thousand staff.
After leaving the Navy Cookson joined a company called Expanded Metal, negotiating
contracts in pre-revolutionary Iran, Egypt and Nigeria . Then, an unsuccessful application to become captain of the Sultan of Oman’s new yacht led to his being appointed chief operations officer of the Sultan’s navy. It was a life of fully-staffed
houses, swimming pools and sunshine . Cookson oversaw the creation of a new naval base, and then, at the height of the Iran/Iraq war, was appointed head of the naval arm of the Omani Intelligence Agency. Among his responsibilities was briefing visiting statesmen,
politicians and journalists.
In 1988 he started a new career as secretary to the Federation of Manufacturing Opticians, and only in the mid-1990s did he finally retire.
Philip Cookson married Nicola Cathcart-Walker-Heneage in 1962; she survives him with their two sons.
Lt-Cdr Philip Cookson, born October 25
1931, died June 28 2014
Vernon (Ginger) Coles.
Chief Engine Room Artificer Vernon "Ginger" Coles, who has died aged 94, took part in the Second World War in several daring raids using four-man midget submarines, known as X-craft.
X-craft were 51ft long, 5ft 9in in diameter with internal headroom of 4ft 8in and powered by a reliable 42-horse power Gardner diesel engine giving a range of 1800 nautical miles. Each carried two 2-ton explosive charges
to be placed under the bow and stern of the target and detonated by a time fuse, set from inside the submarine.
For Operation Source, the attack using midget submarines on the heavy German
warships Tirpitz, Scharnhorst and Lützow, which were hiding in the northern Norwegian fjords, Coles was the designated engineer and steersman of X-9. He recalled: “As the German fleet would not come out to fight, X-craft were the only means of sinking
German ships that was likely to work.”
The craft, manned by passage crews, were towed by normal submarines into position off the Norwegian coast, where attack crews were to take over. “During
the training exercises,” Coles continued, “it was realised that the manila tow-ropes stretched under tension and, after anything up to five days, snapped. The best tow-ropes were the nylon ones used by the RAF for towing gliders, however the RAF
were only willing to supply three ropes
When, on September 11 1943, six X-craft left their base at Loch Cairnbawn, one of the suspect manila ropes was attached to X-9. “The line snapped
at the parent submarine end and the weight of 500ft of wet 4in manila rope attached to the bow of the X-craft dragged it down to below the safe diving depth and beyond. The towing crew, Sub-Lieutenant “Paddy” Kearan, Able Seaman “Darkie”
Hart, and Stoker “Ginger” Hollet were all lost.
“I honestly thought Tirpitz would have been blown sky high,” Coles continued. “And if everything had gone to plan she
probably would have been, what with 12 tonnes of explosive under her – that would have broken her back without a doubt. But the real problem was the tow ropes. I lost three very close friends. Three dedicated people – Ginger Hollett in particular.
He and I were the only two engine room people in the crews and he was a bubbly fellow, full of life and always working, doing something for the betterment of the boat.”
As it turned out, three of the remaining boats, X-5, X-6, and X-10, (later portrayed in the film Above Us the Waves (1955) starring John Mills,) extensively damaged Tirpitz. But nine men had been lost (three in X-9)
and six taken prisoner. Two VCs, four DSOs, one DSC, one CGM and three MBEs were awarded.
Next Coles teamed up with the Australian X-craft captain Lieutenant Max Shean, first lieutenant Joe Brooks,
and diver Frank Ogden for Operation Guidance. A lesson of Operation Source was the potential for confusion during multi-craft attacks, so on April 14 1944 Shean’s X-24 was towed to Norway for a solo attack on shipping in Bergen harbour. Explosive charges
were successfully laid under a German merchant ship, Barenfels, and 24 hours later, sick and suffering from headaches caused by the stale air in the boat, Shean and his crew rendezvoused at sea with the submarine Sceptre to be towed home. Coles had steered
X-24 continuously for 19 hours. Shean was awarded the DSO for his courage, and Coles was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award then available to ratings for bravery and resourcefulness, barring the VC.
Max [Shean] was the only captain I would sail with,” Coles said later. “When we went into Bergen one would have thought we were going on exercise. He was cheerful, confident and pleased that we were doing
something useful with no thought of not coming back.”
After D-Day the X-craft were deployed to the Far East for Operation Sabre. When the experienced submariner, US Admiral Chester Nimitz,
Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas, first saw one of the midget submarines he declared it a “suicide craft” which had no place in the Allies’ order of battle. But when orders came from Washington to cut two underwater
telegraph cables off Japanese-occupied Saigon, he soon pressed them into service. Shean designed special grapnels to hook the cables and Coles manufactured these in the workshops of the depot ship before they set off, once more under tow, from Queensland to
the Mekong river.
On July 31 1945 they began a submarine trawl for the cables, and after Coles had steered X-E4 across the river several times he snagged a cable and was suddenly brought to a halt.
Just 13 minutes later a diver, Australian Sub-Lieutenant Ken Briggs, returned with a short length of cable as souvenir. Coles continued to steer underwater across the Mekong, and a second cable was found an hour later; this time Sub-Lieutenant
Adam Bergius emerged from the airlock brandishing a length of cable as proof that it too had been cut. Coles was mentioned in despatches.
Vernon Coles was born on April 16 1920 at Tilehurst,
Berkshire. Orphaned at the age of 5, he was brought up by an uncle and aunt. He left the local school at 14 to become an apprentice toolmaker at Huntley Boorne and Stevens, manufacturers of biscuit tins which are now collectors’ items
Inspired by Sunday school outings to see the fleet in review atWeymouth, he joined the Navy in 1938. His first ship was the
destroyer Faulknor, one of the hardest working destroyers in the fleet, which was the first ship to sink a German U-boat, and in which Coles took part in the Norwegian Campaign in 1940, served with Force H in the Mediterranean on the Malta convoys, and escorted
convoys to Russia and across the Atlantic. He volunteered for submarine service in 1942.
Post-war he served in submarines in Sydney and Singapore, and twice in Malta before leaving the Navy in 1952.
He then joined the Ministry of Public Works and Buildings, worked
in Malaysia and at Abingdon, and was chief engineer for the Americans at their base at Greenham Common before taking a position with Van Oord, a dredging company.
A Freemason, he also enjoyed speaking
about his wartime exercises at schools and after dinner.
Vernon Coles married Marie Weaver in 1948. She predeceased him in 2010 and he is survived by their two daughters and a son.
Vernon 'Ginger’ Coles, born April 16 1920, died May 2 2014