- HMS Collingwood during the Second World War -
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Those known to have sailed in
during the Second World War 1939-1945.
- Biggam Alex. Able Seaman
- Bowdell Henry. Able.Sea.
- Bowdell Henry. Able Sea.
- Churchill Alfred Lewis. Able Sea.
- Clark Samuel William.
- Coker Ted.
- Cox Geoffrey Norman.
- Ealden Eric George. Able Sea.
- Franklin Forbes.
- Fry . CPO.
- Gunning Edward Michael.
- Howkins Raymond Thomas.
- Langlands George.
- Line Charles Sidney. AB.
- Malina Arnold. Able Seaman.
- McVittie Francis Gordon. A B
- Osborn Raymond Arthur. Able Sea.
- Ramsey Thomas John. LdgSea.
- Scarth Norman. Able.Sea.
- Smith Albert Roy. Gunner
- Wilson Edward Walter.
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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Able Seaman Alex Biggam HMS NigeriaMy father Alex Biggam served on HMS Nigeria as an able seaman. He would not talk much about his time during the war but did tell me of the extreme cold of the Russian convoy. He was also on the Malta convoy when the ship was hit by a torpedo. The ship was sent to Charleston, South Carolina for repair. He would talk about his time there and how well the Americans treated the crew and the interest they had shown about the war.Thank you, this is a very informative site.
George Langlands HMS CollingwoodMy father, George Langlands passed away in 1989. As a child I remember seeing WW2 medals. Dad never talked about WW2 as it upset him. I recently came across a photo of his when he was in the navy.On the back of the photo I found names.
TA Freeman, F Littlejohn, R Andrews, K O'Toole 204 Gordon Rd Alfred St Nottingham, A Wallis, Jas Cunningham, EW Hayes, RS Lekovitch,D Baahly, Geoffrey Riten, K Hambridge, PW Boothroy, G Hairath (Blesides), J Williams, H Fox, LJ Wright, AJ Green, KG Taylor, K Glach, WT Arnold CPO H.M.S Collingwood Class 5 Hut.1. M.T. DIVISION 4/4/44 TO 19/5/44. Some of the names might be incorrect as the signatures are hard to read. He was born in Glasgow and aised in Canadia by his mother Georgetta Gordon Langlands. That is all the information I can find about my Dad. I never found his medals after he passed away. I think he got rid of them. His childhood and the war had been hard on him so he never told me anything. I am now aged 57 years and this is the beginning of finding information about my Dad. I would appreciate any information or links to sites as I would like to leave the information to my grand daughter. I love my Dad and I miss him terribly.Dianne Langlands
Geoffrey Norman Cox HMS EuropaMy father, Geoffrey Norman Cox, served during WW2. He volunteered at the age of 19 and joined the Minesweeper Corps. I have his service record which shows him starting his Naval career at HMS Collingwood and HMS Europa. He served on a number of ships including Eland, St Wistan, Leonidas, Forward, Marshall Sault and Beaver. He saw action in the North Sea, the West African Gold Coast and English Channel.
I would love to hear from anyone who has information about any of these ships and anyone who might have served on these ships.Melvyn Cox
Samuel William Clark HMS EagleMy grandad, Samuel Clark, joined the Navy in 1940. He trained at HMS Collingwood naval base and I have inherited a group photo taken at Collingwood. Whilst serving on HMS Eagle (an aircraft carrier ship) in the Med, the ship was torpedoed by the German U-73 submarine and sank within 6 minutes. Sam dived off and managed to stay afloat until rescued (there were two rescue boats - British escort destroyer HMS Laforey and the tug HMS Jaunty - and they managed to rescue over 900 men. 158 men were lost at sea.) Grandad was one of the lucky ones that day. He used to love to tell how he was stranded at sea with sharks swimming around him for several hours!Leah Zotiades
Able Seaman. Arnold Malina HMS FishguardMy Father was Able Seaman Arnold Malina, he trained at HMS Collingwood from 12 May 1943 August 1943 to 20 July 1943.
He served on HMS Fishguard from 1943 to December 1945. Convoy escorts in Indian Ocean from 21/11/1943 to 31/05/1945 out of bases HMS Tana, Kilindini, Kenya and HMS Lanka in Ceylon from 01/06/1945 to 31/10/1945Mike Malina
Forbes Franklin HMS ArgusMy uncle, Forbes Franklin, trained at HMS Collingwood and subsequently served on HMS Argus where he was killed. Before the war he was captain of Deal Rowing Club and after the war a boat was named after him which can still be seen in Deal Museum. Any further information would be appreciated.Paul Harris
Able.Sea. Norman "Prof." Scarth HMS MatchlessI joined HMS Collingwood as an HO volunteer Ordinary Seaman early June 1943. I had only been there two weeks when a lone German bomber, unheralded by sirens, dropped bombs on either side of the hut opposite ours (No. 26 I think). 36 were killed, with more injured. The grave of one of those killed is in Killingneck Cemetary Leeds. I must visit it again.
After Collingwood it was HMS Vernon Torpedo School to become a Seaman torpedoman, then to Scapa Flow to join the destroyer HMS Matchless (Russian Convoys & Scharnhorst battle). Then to HMS Vernon again to become Leading Torpedo Operator prior to joining Dido class cruiser HMS Cleopatra & joining East Indies Fleet. Cleopatra, carrying CinC Admiral Arthur John Power, was first ship into Singapore (behind the minesweepers) after the war ended. When Cleo came home, I was not due for demob, so stayed with the East Inies Fleet to join Fleet Minesweeper HMS Niger.
The BBC Radio World Service recently interviewed me for its 'Witness' programme about Boxing Day 1943 (the sinking of the Scharnhorst). It was broadcast several times from Boxing Day 2011 to New Years Day 2012, & can be heard now by going to their website.
On Christmas Day we had been ordered to join another convoy because it was rumoured that the Scharnhorst was out. The Scharnhorst was greatly feared. She was the most successful fighting ship of any navy during World War II and she was the bravest ship. We were full speed at 36 knots and going through those mountainous seas. It was a full gale blowing. To go through that at full speed, the bow would rise in the air and come down, hover there and come down with a clatter as if on concrete; mountains of water coming all over the ship.
We were ordered to join the 10th Cruiser Squadron - HMS Belfast, Norfolk and Sheffield. They had met up with the Scharnhorst and they had engaged her. There was a brief skirmish, then the Scharnhorst broke off - she was a very fast ship - and with her superior speed she was able to get out of range. But our vice-admiral guessed that she was heading north to attack this convoy that we had been escorting and the guess proved correct.
She had a reputation and she deserved it. There was an awe of her reputation, the excitement that we may be able to end the career of this most dangerous threat to us, to Britain, to the Allies - and fear knowing what we were up against.
It was Boxing Day when we finally met up with 10th Cruiser Squadron and the Scharnhorst. She had abandoned her mission and set off for the Norwegian fjords, which was her base and safe haven. It was pitch black and we shadowed with the use of radars. We knew that she was heading straight towards HMS Duke of York, which was cutting off her escape. She was hit by the Duke of York and was damaged and her speed was slowed. There was the Duke of York, the Scharnhorst, the 10th Cruiser Squadron with various destroyers and another cruiser, the Jamaica.
All of us met up and all hell broke loose. Although it was pitch black the sky was lit up, bright as day, by star shells - fired into the sky like fireworks - providing brilliant light illuminating the area as broad as day. Towards the end we had been ordered to fire a torpedo. Because the weather had eased a little I had taken up my action station as lookout on the starboard wing of the bridge. The Scharnhorst was close and she was lit up by the star shells and by the fires aboard her. As we steamed past to fire the torpedo I was the closest man - on the wing of the bridge - to the Scharnhorst. She looked magnificent and beautiful. I would describe her as the most beautiful fighting ship of any navy.
She was firing with all guns still available to her. Most of the big guns were put out. They were gradually disabled one by one. As we were steaming past at full speed a 20mm cannon was firing tracer bullets from the Scharnhorst. A 20mm cannon was like a pea-shooter compared to the other guns and it could have no part in this battle, but it was just a gesture of defiance from the sloping deck of her. And that's one of the things that remains in my memory - a futile gesture but it was a gesture of defiance right to the very end. I can picture that man on the sloping deck of the Scharnhorst. I can picture that man to this day. Eventually it took 14 ships of the Royal Navy to find her, trap her and sink her. At that point it went pitch black.
The star shells had finished and I presumed the Scharnhorst had been sunk. We set off to do another torpedo run to fire from the port side and the Scharnhorst was nowhere to be seen. So we slowed and we soon saw many men floating in the water - most of them dead, face down in the water, but some were alive. We switched our searchlight on and I remember our captain calling out to the men in the water "Scharnhorst gesunken?" and the reply came back "Ja, Scharnhorst gesunken", so we threw scrambling nets down and began to haul these men aboard. Thirty-six were saved out of 2,000 men.
We then received an order from the commander-in-chief to join the Duke of York. So we switched off the searchlight, pulled up the scrambling nets and steamed away. We could still hear voices calling from the black of that Arctic winter night, calling for help, and we were leaving those men to certain death within minutes. It seemed a terrible thing to do and it was. But it was the right thing to do. If we had stayed a moment too long we could have joined those unfortunate men. I can hear those voices and I grieve for those men every day of my life. I've even had someone accuse me of being a traitor because I praised the bravery of the German sailors. I can imagine their feelings as that searchlight went out and they heard that ship steaming away. I truly can imagine the feelings of those men.Norman Scarth
Able.Sea. Henry Bowdell HMS RevengeMy father, Henry (Harry) Bowdell S/N JX 275361, went to HMS Collingwood on 25th June to September 1941. His service record is as follows:
- Collingwood ( Foretop Div) Ordinary Seaman from 25/06/1941 to 02/09/1941.
- Victory Ordinary Seaman 03/09/1941 to 30/09/1941
- Canopus Ordinary Seaman 01/10/1941 23/05/1942 lent to Sphinx 29/04/1942 to 03/05/1942
- Hurworth Ordinary Seaman 24/05/1942 to 30/06/1942 Acting Able Seaman from 25/06/1942 Able Seaman from 25/06/1942
- Revenge Able Seaman 01/07/1942 to 23/11/1943
- Victory Able Seaman 24/11/1943 to 06/01/1944
- Vernon Able Seaman 07/01/1944 t6o 23/03/1944
- Victory Able Seaman 24/03/1944 to 29/11/1945 lent to Admiralty 12/01/1945 to 12/01/1945
Henry Bowdell was released to shore in class A on 29th November 1945 Photos of my Father in the Royal Navy 1941 to 1945 attached.Gordon Bowdell
CPO. Fry HMS CollingwoodI was stationed at HMS Collingwood during 2nd Nov 1943 to 14th Dec 1943 in 13 Main Top class. Chief petty officer Fry was our instructor. He was one of the old veterans. During the training he was taken ill with Malaria. He pulled through and came back to finish the course. He would have passed on by now, but I wonder how many of the class are left who do still remember him? Regards to all old shipmates.R.B.Davies
A B Francis Gordon "Mac" McVittie MID HMS NelsonMy father, Gordon McVittie (known as Mac),volunteered to join the Royal Navy in Nov.1941 when he was 17. He, in fact, altered his birth certificate so it looked as though he was born in 1923 and not in 1924 his actual birth year. His certificate of service shows that Mac's first posting was the 'Collingwood'. Presumably this was a training ship? In Jan.1942, he was sent to HMS Victory and served there until his transfer to HMS Nelson in March 1942.He stayed on Nelson until Jan.1944, during which time he was made up to Able Seaman. The certificate then shows that Mac served on a number of ships including; The Pembrook, Odyssey, Dartmouth and Vernon. HMS Vernon was where he under took training to become a deep sea diver and was instructed on the dismantling of unexploded bombs, the clearance of mines and underwater obstructions. Following this training Mac was sent to wherever he was needed in order to clear the seas and create a safe passage.It was during this time that he was twice mentioned in despatches.He then returned to HMS Victoria in Jan.1946 from where he was discharged in June 1946. Mac had very fond memories of serving on HMS Nelson and always considered this to be his ship,despite having served on many others. After the war,Mac married Norma,joined first the fire service and then the police service, from which he retired at the rank of Inspector in 1976.At the time of his death in June 1986,he was survived by Norma,two children and three grandchildren.All of whom love and miss him, especially his 'old sea tales'.Diane Parkes
AB. Charles Sidney "Soap Sud" Line HMS KildwickMy father, Charles Sidney Line who served at HMS Collingwood and later assigned to HMS Kildwick which was a Kil class Patrol sloops (Patrol Craft Escort) which was was commissioned through the Lease Lend from the U.S in July 1943.
There are no names written on the backs of these photos of my father and his Ship Mates and those that l have are on the back of photos that l will mention , i.e Soap Suds and Lagos there is another that is on the back which l have attached any information would be grateful as my Mother is still alive and would like to hear from anyone who has any information on the Ships service and any photos as well as memories, l have no picture of HMS Kildwick.
Does anybody know anything about HMS Marleborough 25th June 1943 being issued with a 3 day pass which l have also included amongst the photos and of the Ocean Daily News Paper ( Editorial office , Ships Orderly Room , Main Deck Aft ! , it is Blank on the back and looks as if it was pinned to a Ships Company Notice Board.
My Mother tells me that my Father was on ships serving as a Torpedo man but l have looked and seen that HMS Kildwick did not have Torpedos and only Hedge Hogs and Death Charges and K Guns and 20 mm & 40 mm anti Aircraft Guns, so does this mean that HMS Marlborough had Torpedos the other thing is on his Marriage Photo with my Mother that a Trade Badge can be seen that maybe either a Cannon or Torpedo.
I look forward to hearing from anyone who may know of any one in these photos.Colin Line
Raymond Thomas Howkins HMS Collingwood British NavyMy dad was called Raymond Thomas Howkins. He was from Birmingham. I know nothing about my dad's time in the war except from this photograph.I do know he was very young when he joined 15?. Apparently he lied about his age.I do not know if this is true. He talked fondly of Malta and the Maltese people. I was too young to appreciate what he did for his country and would like to find out more. My dad died in 1993. In the photo my dad is 3rd from left bottom row. He looks so young. The photo says HMS Collingwood. I do not know any dates.Karen Howkins
Able Sea. Raymond Arthur Osborn HMS HoweMy father Raymond Osborn, volunteered to join the Royal Navy just before his 18th birthday in September 1941. Prior to this date he had been a member of the Home Guard. His service dates from 17th December 1941, when he was posted to HMS Collingwood for basic training, which he completed in February 1942. After his basic training and after 3 weeks officially attached to HMS Victory, he was posted to the commissioning crew of the new battleship HMS Howe which had been launched in August 1941 and was being fitted out on the river Clyde. He remained with HMS Howe until March 1946, when he returned to the UK from the Far East. After another month or so attached to HMS Victory he was de-mobbed in May 1946.
On the Howe he was an Anti Aircraft Gunner on a bank of Pom-Pom short range anti aircraft guns. After HMS Howe was commissioned she was sent immediately to escort support duties on the Arctic convoys to North Russia and later to Iceland for Atlantic convoy support and more Arctic convoy work. In 1943 the Howe was attached to the Mediterranean fleet and took part in Operation Husky, the Allied landings on Sicily. Where she took part in the bombardment of the island of Favignana (just of the western end of Sicily) and the nearby Italian naval base of Trapani. Following this the Howe and her sister ship HMS King George V escorted two captured Italian battleships to Alexandria.
After a brief trip back to the UK for a refit, the Howe was posted to the Pacific. The voyage to the Far East was via the Suez Canal. At that time the Howe was the largest ship to pass through the canal. The passage was not without excitement, as she went aground in the shallow Bitter Lake. The journey was via the Seychelles and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka)to Sidney, Australia. Dad told me a story about Christmas Day 1944, which was spent chasing a Japanese submarine out of Sydney Harbour (I still don't know if that was true or not).
Next stop was Ackland, New Zealand, where the ships company took part in a march past. In 1945 the Howe was attached to the US Pacific Fleet and took part in the American island hopping campaign. Her last action was in the Battle of Okinawa, April to June 1945, where the Howe was one of the ships to lay down the initial naval bombardment and used to bombard the Japanese defenders throughout the battle. It was here that dad received a slight wound due to Kamikaze action. After Okinawa the Howe started her voyage home. First stop was Singapore, where the ships company marched past at the official signing of the surrender documents by Lord Mountbatten, in September 1945. The Howe then returned to the UK via he Cape of Good Hope, with stops at Ceylon, Seycheles, Mombassa, Durban and Cape Town then straight back to the UK for February 1946. Dad was de-mobbed on 1st May 1946.
I have all Dad's service documents, photos and medals, including the Russian Arctic convoy medal, the British Arctic Star brooch and (as of 18 October 2013) I am awaiting delivery of his official British award, the Arctic Star, which has been a long time coming.John Osborn
Gunner Albert Roy "Smudge" Smith HMS CollingwoodWe have a photo of my Dad, Albert Smith in uniform at H M S Collingwood. Just trying to find details or photos of his wartime service.Susan Aisthorpe
LdgSea. Thomas John Ramsey HMS WitheringtonThomas Ramsey was born in Northern Ireland. He served on HMS Witherington and HMS Anguilla. From 16th April to 24th June 1941 and 23rd June to 30th July 1944 he served at HMS Collingwood. He worked as a Radar Operator. I am interested in learning more about my grandfather's war service.Philip Irwin
Able Sea. Eric George Ealden HMS HannibalMy father Eric Ealden started his basic training at HMS Collingwood in May 1942 and left after 8 weeks' training as an Ordinary Seaman. A year later, when commissioned onto HMS Hannibal in May 1943, he was promoted to Able Bodied Seaman. He served in the theatres of war in the Atlantic, AC Europe, Africa and Italy. Like many others who served in WWII, he would never tell of what he had seen, but he used to slightly impatient with US films which "tinkered" with UK history! All he would ever tell me was about the spectacular thunderstorms, high waves and the dolphins!!!
I am extremely proud of my dad's service to his country and would to love know if anyone served alongside my dad.Carole Nowell
Able Sea. Henry Bowdell HMS CollingwoodMy father Henry Bowdell S/N JX 275361 went to HMS Collingwood on 25th June to September 1941. His service record is as follows:
Collingwood (Foretop Div) Ordinary Seaman from 25/06/1941 to 02/09/1941
Victory Ordinary Seaman 03/09/1941 to 30/09/1941
Canopus Ordinary Seaman 01/10/1941 23/05/1942
Lent to Sphinx 29/04/1942 to 03/05/1942
Hurworth Ordinary Seaman 24/05/1942 to 30/06/1942
Acting Able Seaman from 25/06/1942; Able Seaman from 25/06/1942
Revenge Able Seaman 01/07/1942 to 23/11/1943
Victory Able Seaman 24/11/1943 to 06/01/1944
Vernon Able Seaman 07/01/1944 to 23/03/1944
Victory Able Seaman 24/03/1944 to 29/11/1945
Lent to Admiralty 12/01/1945 to 12/01/1945
Harry Bowdell was released to shore in class A on 29th November 1945.Gordon Bowdell
Edward Walter Wilson HMS CollingwoodMy grandfather, Edward Walter Wilson, served in HMS Collingwood in the 1940s. If anybody has any information about him would they please contact me.Jeffrey John Richards
Edward Michael Gunning HMS CollingwoodMy father Ted Gunning joined the army at the beginning of the war in the Royal Artillery. He was transferred to the Navy as a gunner. He served on HMS Triphibian, Collingwood, Victory (3 times), Lanka and Anderson. He was in Ceylon when the war was over. He never spoke about the war. I have perused the pictures on the website but cannot find him. He had an exemplary record. I would love to find out more.Doreen Ridgway
Ted Coker HMS CollingwoodI am trying to find out more about my grandfather, Ted Coker. He entered the RNVR in 1940 as an enlisted man and was wounded in 1942. He was admitted to Great Yarmouth General Hospital. After he recovered, he trained to be an officer at HMS Collingwood. He was a beach master at the Sicily landings and ended the war in Naval Intelligence. He also served with coastal forces, I think around 1940-42. He may also have served aboard HMS Nelson. I know that post-war there was a cup named after him `The Coker Cup' which I think may have been something to do with coastal forces.Douglas Read
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