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

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- HMS Bonaventure during the Second World War -

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HMS Bonaventure

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

Those known to have sailed in

HMS Bonaventure

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Bragg Sidney Robert. PO. (d. )
  • Chisholm John George. Ord.Sea. (d.31st Mar 1941)
  • Fraser Ian Edward. Lt.Comm.

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There are 1 pages in our library tagged HMS Bonaventure  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.Sea. John George Chisholm HMS Bonaventure (d.31st Mar 1941)

My cousin, Jackie Chisholm, was an only child and volunteered 14 March 1938, aged 16, unbeknownst to his parents. His training was aboard the HMS Caledonia at Rosyth, and after serving as a Boy 1 on board the Drake and Hermes, he joined the Bonaventure in May 1940 as an Ordinary Seaman.

The Bonaventure was torpedoed and sunk south of Crete on 31st March 1941 with many lives lost. Jackie's name is on Plymouth Naval War Memorial on Plymouth Hoe, dedicated to sailors who have been lost at sea. He was 19 years old when he died.

Sue Holland

Lt.Comm. Ian Edward Fraser VC. HMS Sahib

Ian Edward Fraser was born in Ealing, London. After working on merchant ships and serving in the Royal Naval Reserve, he joined the Royal Navy at the outbreak of the Second World War. Whilst serving on the submarine HMS Sahib in 1943, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for "bravery and skill in successful submarine patrols." In 1944, at age 24, he became a Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve, and volunteered to serve on the X craft midget submarine depot ship HMS Bonaventure from 7 November 1944 to July 1945.

The citation for his VC was published in a supplement to the London Gazette of 13th November 1945 and reads: "The King has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the Victoria Cross for valour to: Lieutenant Ian Edward Fraser, D.S.C., R.N.R. Lieutenant Fraser commanded His Majesty's Midget Submarine XE-3 in a successful attack on a Japanese heavy cruiser of the Atago class at her moorings in Johore Strait, Singapore, on 31st July, 1945. During the long approach up the Singapore Straits XE-3 deliberately left the believed safe channel and entered mined waters to avoid suspected hydrophone posts. The target was aground, or nearly aground, both fore and aft, and only under the midship portion was there just sufficient water for XE-3 to place herself under the cruiser. For forty minutes XE-3 pushed her way along the seabed until finally Lieutenant Fraser managed to force her right under the centre of the cruiser.

Here he placed the limpets and dropped his main side charge. Great difficulty was experienced in extricating the craft after the attack had been completed, but finally XE-3 was clear, and commenced her long return journey out to sea. The courage and determination of Lieutenant Fraser are beyond all praise. Any man not possessed of his relentless determination to achieve his object in full, regardless of all consequences, would have dropped his side charge alongside the target instead of persisting until he had forced his submarine right under the cruiser. The approach and withdrawal entailed a passage of 80 miles through water which had been mined by both the enemy and ourselves, past hydrophone positions, over loops and controlled minefields, and through an anti-submarine boom."

S. Flynn

PO. Sidney Robert Bragg HMS Bonaventure (d. )

My father, Sidney Bragg, was always a joker and full of fun. He was on the Bonaventure from 23rd Dec 1943 until 5th December 1945 and finished as a Petty Officer Radio Mechanic. His fellow sailors knew he was always ready for some fun and decided they would give him a fright by offering to take him down on one of the midget submarines to test it. He was told to sit cross legged in the stern and they proceeded to dive and then those on board the Bonaventure lobbed hand grenades through the water to test it for leaks!

He would tell us stories about rigging up wires around the hatches and connecting them to batteries so that they would kill cockroaches. Another story was that he would wedge himself in a corner and eat three breakfasts when it was so rough no-one else was eating!

Although it was war of course, my father always said the best days of his life were in the Navy. He died in 2004 aged 89.

Frances Salmon

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