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HMS Barham in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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HMS Barham


HMS Barham

HMS Barham was built by John Brown of Clydebank, Glasgow, she was launched on the 13 October 1914. She saw action during the Great War taking part in the Battle of Jutland.

During the Second World War Barham was part of the East Med fleet

Known movements of HMS Barham during the Second World War.

  • 12 December 1939 Barham was involved in a collision with HMS Duchess off Mull of Kyntyre following which HMS Duchess sank.
  • 28th December 1939 Torpedoed by U30 below Canteen Flat, off Flannan Isles. To Liverpool for repairs.
  • June 1940 Left Dry Dock Liverpool.
  • July 1940 Firing Exercises Scapa Flow.
  • August 1940 Arrived Freetown
  • 23rd September 1940. Barham took part in the Bombardment of Dakar.
  • 26 September 1940 Barham swerves to avoid 3 torpedoes, which stuck HMS Royal Sovereign. HMS Royal Sovereign is towed by HMS Barham to Freetown.
  • November 1940 Gibraltar.
  • 6th November 1940 To Malta with HMS Berwick & HMS Glasgow. Joined East Med. Fleet.
  • 11th Novenber 1940 Barham attacked Taranto with HMS Illustrious. Then to Alexandria.
  • 2nd January 1941 Bombarded Bardia.
  • 28 March 1941 Battle of Matapan, Barham helped to sink Italian cruiser Zara.
  • April 1941 Bombarded Tripoli.
  • 25 May 1941 Bombarded Scarpanto airfield.. A Stuka bomb exploded in a turret of Barham.
  • 27 May 1941 covering last supplies to Suda Bay Crete.
  • 01 June 1941 Crete evacuated.
  • June 1941 Through Suez Canal to Durban for repairs.
  • Sep 1941 Returned to Alexandria, bombarded Tripoli.
  • 24th November 1941 Sailed from Alexandria, Egypt.
  • 25th November 1941 Barnham was hit by 3 torpedoes and sunk.


    25th Nov 1941 Ship Lost

    If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.

Those known to have sailed in

HMS Barham

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Briffa Joseph. PO Stwd. (d.18th Apr 1941)
  • Davidson Andrew Fraser. Ord. Seaman (d.25th Nov 1941)
  • Hall Thomas. Able Sea.
  • Hall Thomas. Able Sea.
  • Lynd Douglas.
  • Marmara Joseph.
  • Mosley Gerald Edward Percy. Shipmate 2nd Cl.

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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There are 1 pages in our library tagged HMS Barham  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Second World War.

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Ord. Seaman Andrew Fraser Davidson HMS Barham (d.25th Nov 1941)

Andy Davidson

My dad's brother, Andrew Fraser Davidson was killed on board HMS Barham.
Bill and Andy Davidson

This is the only photo taken of my father, Bill and his brother together.
Taken during training in the Isle of Man

Taken during training in the Isle of Man, Andy is marked with an X.

Andy's group at HMS Caledonia

Andy's group at HMS Caledonia

Drew Davidson

PO Stwd. Joseph Briffa HMS Fiona (d.18th Apr 1941)

Hi my name is Ray Falzon and I would like to know about my mothers uncle. He served on Barham in WW2. He was maltese, a big guy and please if you have any photos I would be happy to see them as I know few things about him. His name was Joseph Briffa. Thank you for your time.

Ray Falzon

Joseph Marmara HMS Barham

I would like to know more about the wreck of HMS Barham which I have my grandfather on board that day of wreck. My grandfather's name is Joseph Marmara one of those who survived that day.

Richard Marmara

Able Sea. Thomas "Ron" Hall Gunner HMS Manchester

Thomas (Ron) Hall was born in South Shields, Co. Durham on 11 April 1917, the family home being in Hebburn-on-Tyne. Although christened Thomas, he was always known as Ron by his RN friends and his wife's family - no-one knows why! At the age of 16 he joined the Royal Navy as a Boy Sailor. After training at the shore base HMS Ganges, he was sent for gunnery training at HMS Excellent, Portsmouth.

At the outbreak of war, he was serving on HMS Glasgow, but was transferred to HMS Barham, where he was wounded in May 1941. Barham had been assisting with the withdrawal of Allied forces from Crete, during which time she was subjected to almost constant German attacks. The gun turret in which Thomas was serving was hit, and he was the only one to emerge from the wreckage.

Posted ashore in Alexandria on 2nd July for rehabilitation, his next ship would be the Cruiser HMS Carlisle. On 9th April 1942, Thomas joined HMS Manchester, which had been assigned the role of escort to convoy WS-21S - better known as Operation Pedestal - the convoy which would save Malta from starvation and surrender. On 13th August, whilst rounding Cape Bon, Manchester was crippled by Italian torpedoes and was later scuttled off Kelibia Roads, Tunisia. Thomas survived and was taken prisoner and interned by the Vichy French at Laghouat in Algeria.

With the landing of British and American troops in Morocco and Algeria as part of Operation Torch on 8th November 1942, Thomas and his shipmates were able to return to England in December. After 8 months ashore, Thomas was assigned to the Destroyer HMS Janus, which provided artillery support for the Allied landings at Anzio on 22nd January 1944 under Operation Shingle. Janus was sunk the next day by a German air attack. Thomas was again saved, but the experience of being sunk for a third time would have a lasting effect on his nerves. He was invalided out of the Royal Navy in November 1945, and died in 1973, aged 55.


Able Sea. Thomas "Ron" Hall HMS Janus

Thomas Hall, always known as Ron, was my father, and he joined the RN in 1933, aged 16. He trained as a gunner at HMS Excellent Gunnery School, and served on HMS Revenge, HMS Boreas and HMS Wild Swan before the war. He became an Able Seaman in 1936, and in 1937 joined the cruiser HMS Glasgow.

In January 1941, he was drafted to HMS Barham, and was in the gun turret when a Stuka bomb exploded there in July. He was the only survivor of the gun crew. He was sent to HMS Sphinx Naval Camp, Alexandria, Egypt for rehabilitation, and at the end of July went to HMS Carlisle. There then followed a period of leave in Portsmouth before joining HMS Manchester in April 1942.

On 13th August, Manchester was hit amidships by two torpedoes fired by Italian torpedo boats, and was subsequently scuttled, being too damaged to save. 312 of the crew were rescued, but after being in the water for several hours, Dad and several others got ashore in Tunisia, where they were interned by the Vichy French in Laghouat, Algeria, where conditions were horrendous and without compassion. They were liberated by Allied forces on 19th October during Operation Torch.

After a period of shore time, Dad was sent to HMS Janus in July 1943. As part of Operation Shingle, Janus provided artillery support for the Allied landings at Anzio. On 23 June 1944, she was hit and sunk by a torpedo from a German He111 aircraft. Thomas again survived, but after spending time on shore at Portsmouth, and 3 months at HMS Merganser, Aberdeen, he was invalided out of the Navy on 9 November 1945.

His nerves were in a bad way, not surprisingly, but after a few other jobs, he joined the Merchant Navy in 1954, and served as a steward on the Cunard ships Queen Mary and Samaria. Stomach ulcers forced him to leave after a couple of years, and he became a painter, decorator and signwriter.

He died on 31st January 1973, aged 55, after suffering stomach operations, and the removal of one lung. His medals - the 1939-45 Star, Atlantic Star, Italy Star and War Medal - plus a short history, can be found at Eden Camp Modern History Museum, Malton in N. Yorkshire.

Carol Milburn

Shipmate 2nd Cl. Gerald Edward Percy Mosley HMS Barham

Gerald Mosley

Gerald Mosley & Friend in Laghouat POW Camp

Gerald Mosley & Fellow Inmates At Laghouat POW Camp

Gerald Mosley & Fellow POW's In Laghouat POW Camp

Gerald Mosley served aboard HMS Barham as a Coader. He survived the sinking and later served on HMS Havock Until she was run aground after action against the Italians. He was interned in Laghouat POW Camp Algeria until released by the Americans.

Lee Lidbury

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