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

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- HMS Hunter during the Second World War -

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HMS Hunter


HMS Hunter, an H class Destroyer, H35, was built by Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd. at Wallsend-on-Tyne. She was launched on the 25 Feb, 1936. She saw action duirng the Second World War and was sunk with great loss of life on the 10th April 1940, during the First Battle of Narvik. The British fleet engaged destroyers of the German Navy in Ofotfjord, Norway, and was successful in torpedoing and sinking two, the Wilhelm Heidkamp and the Anton Schmitt. On their way down the fjord they came under attack from other German destoyers and the Hunter was hit by shellfire and set ablaze, then torpedoed, and sank.

On the 1st of March 2008 HMS Hunter was located by HNOMS Tyr of the Royal Norwegian Navy, after a 14-hour search of the fjord using some experimental equipment, whilst taking part in an exercise with ships of the Royal Navy. There will be a memorial service on Saturday 8th March in the waters above the wreck.

The next ship to bear the name HMS Hunter was an escort carrier. Built by Ingalls, Pascagoula, Miss. in the USA. She was launched on the 22nd of May 1942 a merchant ship named "Mormacpenn" She was acquired by the US navy and renamed USS Block Island. She was transferred to the Royal Navy on the 9th January 1943 under the lend-lease scheme and commissioned as HMS Hunter (D80). She served through out the war, as a convoy escort and invasion support ship. She was returned to the US Navy 29th Dec 1945. The ship was sold into merchant service on the 17th Jan 1947 as "Almdijk". She was scrapped in Spain in 1965.


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

Those known to have sailed in

HMS Hunter

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Clarke Joseph.
  • Cook Stanley William James. AB.
  • Dorward Fred Pattison . Able.Sea.
  • Flannery Alfred Edward. Lt.Cmdr.
  • Flannery Alfred Edward. Lt.Cdr.
  • Flynn John Thomas. Able Sea (d.10th Apr 1940)
  • Hague John. AB.
  • Henson John C..
  • Holehouse Cyril. Able Sea. (d.10th Apri 1940)
  • Holt Alfred. Able Seaman (d.10th April 1940)
  • Kerswell Stanley William. P.O.
  • Lamb Arthur William.
  • Maddocks Frank. Sick Berth Attendant (d.10th April 1940)
  • Maidlow Henry Richard Munden. Lt. (d.10th April 1940)
  • Mann Samuel Henry. Able Sea. (d.10th Apr 1940)
  • Mann Samuel Henry. Able Sea. (d.10th April 1940)
  • McGeoch Boyd Reynolds.
  • McGeoch Boyd Heath Reynolds.
  • Mulhall Brendon. (d.10th Apr 1940)
  • Mulligan Joseph . Canteen manger (d.10th APR 1940)
  • Murphy Daniel Joseph.
  • Norton Thomas.
  • Radcliffe David. Able Seaman (d.10th Apr 1940)
  • Reeve Walter.
  • Renshaw James. AB.
  • Rowe James Stanley. Leading Steward (d.10th April 1940)
  • Smart Harold Joseph. Stoker II Class. (d.10th Apr 1940)
  • Stevens Bertie Hale. 1st Stoker. (d.10th April 1940)
  • Sweetlove Dennis.
  • Wallis William Herbert. Cook
  • Wright Frank. Chief Petty Officer

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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Thomas Norton HMS Hunter

My Grandad was on the HMS Hunter and was sunk on the 10th April 1940. He was then taken prisoner and held in what I belive to be a school where he and his fellow men hid a torch in the gutter ready to signal to the ships at sea, but in their attempt to do so the torch was knocked down the drain pipe. My Grandad was then take to Sweeden and and there he signed papers to say that he would not take up arms against the Germans again. He did this knowing that due to his age he would not be called up again to fight. He also served in WW1 where he was also sunk twice in the same day. How unlucky can one be or in his case how lucky was he to survive both wars. Are there books or organisations that I can find out what happened to the men when they were taken prisoner?

J.A. Johnson

AB. John Hague HMS Hunter

It may be of interest to some people to know that in the last couple of days the Royal Navy has located the fin resting place of HMS Hunter, sunk in the first battle of Narvik. I serve onboard HMS Albion at present, and we are conducting a wreath laying ceremony on saturday 8th March 2008 to honour the men who lost thier lives.

The memorial service,consisted on synchronised ceremonies on deck of each ship present and wreath laying over the site of the wreck. After the ceremony, the ships, HMS Albion, HMS Bulwark, HMS Cornwall, RFA Mounts Bay and NOCGV Andenes, all turned in formation and steamed over the wreck, toasting the crew who perished with a tot of rum poured over the side. As we sailed away, we signalled back by Morse: "Farewell, we'll meet again." I'm sure more details will come to light in the near future. Yours aye LMEM "Ned" Kelly

Click here to see some photos of the ceremony

Able Seaman John Hague was a 19-year-old able seaman serving in the shell room below decks. as tehship went down he had no choice but to leap into the icy seas during a blizzard where he trod water until a German ship arrived and picked up survivors. “I am so pleased and overwhelmed to know that after so many years HMS Hunter has been found and my fellow shipmates have a known resting place. I’m so sorry not to be able to go to the wreath- laying but I will be spending a quiet time at home with my family and thoughts, also my daughter in Cornwall will be laying flowers at sea for me dedicated to my shipmates.”

Ned Kelly

AB. James Renshaw gunner HMS Hunter

My father Mr James Renshaw, has recently been featured in the local paper, as one of only a handful of survivors from the ill fated HMS Hunter, which was lost at Narvic in 1940. He is in contact with a few of the other survivors but would like to know if there are any others out there who might remember him. With the recent finding of the wreck of the Hunter, it has brought the memories flooding back after sixty eight years. I have in my posssesion a photograph with the caption HMS Hunter survivors camp Gunnarn Sweden 1940. This photo features thirty two of the ships company, and my Dad is second from the right, on the bottom row. (The only one not wearing a jacket)

Here is his story:

I was born in Sheffield. After an uneventful youth, I decided to join the Navy. My brother and I applied through the recruitment office; he failed and I was successful, so I finished up with a ticket to go up to Manchester to join the recruitment group, and I was sent down to Plymouth, in the Royal Navy. After my six months’ training, I was shipped out to the Mediterranean, to join a ship that had just been sunk. This is still actually in peacetime; it was the H.M.S. Hunter, and she was reputed to have hit a mine, but she sank down to a floating level. I joined her when she had been rebuilt. The first journey that we had was to join the Spanish Revolution that was taking place. We clued up in Barcelona and took out the British Consul and all of his employees, because Barcelona was being bombed.

We had one attack, which was by small Italian fighter planes. Meanwhile, the Germans were practicing their bombing technique on the poor Spaniards. After that, we did a cruise of the Mediterranean, then came home to Plymouth, and whilst we were back in Plymouth, restoring, threats from Adolph Hitler came along, and the ship finished up joining the South Atlantic Fleet to cut off two ships that were going to cut the trans-Atlantic cable. From that, we started doing convoy duty from Halifax Nova Scotia, in Canada, to Bermuda, picking up cargo ships, grouping them in Nova Scotia, for the journey across the North Atlantic. During this, we got into a hurricane, and we had to be convoyed ourselves, as we were so damaged. After arriving in Plymouth again and being repaired, we went to cruise the North Atlantic again, and whilst we were doing the Iceland and Beyer Island run, we had a signal sent to us, to say that the Germans were invading Northern Norway, and would we kindly go up there and give them a thrashing? But it didn’t work out that way; being a junior member of the ship’s company, I was supplied with nothing more than an empty revolver. On querying as to what I was supposed to do with this thing, I was told that I’d be given ammunition when we arrived in Norway. Meanwhile, if I got into any trouble, I was to swing it around my neck. Anyway, the boat landing never came in. Whilst we were off Lofoten Island, where we’d gone to escort four mine-laying cruisers, we heard that the Germans were in Narvik and we were asked to kindly go in and sort them out. So on the tenth of April, at 4 a.m., we dashed into Narvik harbour, where there were twelve destroyers, each one with it’s own cover behind a merchant ship. Anyway, we sank four of them, then our captains decided we’d go in for a second helping, so we went in again, and by this time, the Germans were up and about, making certain alterations to their positions. We charged in and Hardy, the sister ship of The Hunter, was driven aground. My ship, having learners aboard, was having a bit of difficulty with the smokescreen. There will be no record of this anywhere, not even the Admiralty will admit it, but we had quite a few greenhorns (rookies) with us, and they were given responsible jobs such as setting off the smokescreens. Now, there were three smokescreens on the destroyer, one is on deck, one is below deck and the other is the funnels themselves. This young lad, he lit a large canister, the size of a dustbin, but he didn’t have the strength to push it overboard, thereby ending the smokescreen. So now we’re trailing around Narvik Harbour with our smokescreen coming behind us. Smokescreens are produced to go into and out of, and our following destroyer went in and out of ours, but on coming out, it plunged into the Hunter, virtually cutting her in two. I was down in the shell room supplying the ammunition, when all of a sudden, a shout went out, “ABANDON SHIP!!” I was very cautious of abandoning ship in twelve degrees below freezing, because Narvik is an ice-free harbour; the tide is so strong that ice cannot form. Anyway, I got into a life raft, and that was the last I could remember until I found myself aboard a German ship. It was a whaler called the Jan Wellen.

We finished up as Prisoners Of War under the Germans in a schoolroom, high upon a hill overlooking Narvik Harbour. We had to join a couple of hundred Merchant Navy seamen, whose ships had been captured whilst anchored in Narvik, but that wasn’t the end of it. They decided that we were to be shipped out, because they couldn’t feed us; there was no food in northern Norway, so we were to be shipped over the border into Sweden, then into concentration. We joined a parade comprising seamen, sailors, Norwegian seamen, Norwegian fishermen on a death march from Narvik to Bejer Mountain, which is on the border between Norway and Sweden. It’s a posh ski hotel. Now, I, being who I am, decided that whilst we were in this hotel, we’d make the most of what we could, so I ventures into the bowels of the hotel, the basement. Of all things, I found a box with about a gross of unusually shaped chocolate bars. A chocolate bar in Norway and Sweden in those days was finger shaped, not a slab. Anyway, I finished up with these bars, plus two oranges. I took ‘em up to what we were using as sleeping quarters and I was forced to give them out to the ship’s company. This led to me being the urchin of the gang. I finally had to entrain with the land storm from Sweden, which is the equivalent of the W.V.S., who gave us tea, cigarettes and other things. We were locked in railway coaches for a journey across Sweden. Various tactics were used to find out in which direction we were going, e.g.: if the sun is over here, the shadows will be over there, so early morning, we were heading eastwards. We arrived at a little church in a village called Gunarn. I became friendly with a little girl from outside of the barbed wire; she taught me Swedish. She wished to learn English and I wanted to learn Swedish, so between the two of us, we managed to make something of it. I learnt quite a lot, but the company we had, was taken away to another camp, because even being Navy trained, as I am, we were just that little bit above the standard required. We were then kept in one block; the Merchant Navy men all disappeared, we don’t know where they went. The next move was, the church authority decided we had been there long enough. It was a brand new church, it wasn’t blessed or anything. We had to go to another camp down in Helsingmo, which is another prison camp. Now there, I met up with a young lady, a head mistress of the local school who wished to learn English. Now, some of the features of this co-operation were quite unique. I was taken in, and the family that took me in, clothed me and fed me to a standard that was way above that which my shipmates were receiving. I was accepted into the family. The reason being, was that whilst we in England, buy the Christmas turkey, they purchase a suckling pig. A huge van comes round, selling these suckling pigs, and the pigs are fed on table scraps until Christmas. Come Christmas, it gets the chop. They were all leaning over the sty where the pig is kept and the owner of the pig is crying his eyes out. “The pig is dying, the pig is dying,” was all I could get out of him. The pig was over here, then over there and it was shivering and they couldn’t figure out why. I found the answer; I shoved my hand into the straw and found that it was wet. So, we took out the wet straw and replaced it with dry straw, in goes the pig and there goes another medal for me. I was the hero of the village at the time. Now, I was beginning to learn how to ski and all those other things that rich people do. I was becoming a local figure, insomuch as when we had our next move to a nearer camp, I was taken away for a holiday back to the first camp. Meanwhile, the British Consulate decided that we couldn’t run around like this, we’d have to be more suitably dressed. Being Englishmen, we were brought under the spotlight by the newspapers, and we were to be more suitably dresses. He never mentioned the fact that the supplies in our camp were the remnants of the 1914 — 18 situation. And you can imagine a chief stoker riding on the back of a horse, with an umbrella up and a bowler hat on; I personally had a velvet suit. But they decided that we should be measured and supplied with the necessary kit, so we all in turn received two grey shirts, a pair of grey trousers, shoes we had to provide ourselves; but we got this kit and we were beginning to look a little bit smart. That wasn’t the end of it; we knew there was something behind it.

Now, 2 ½ years are going by now, and I couldn’t get home, there was no outlet, yet it was a situation where Sweden was neutral. So the British Consulate came up with a system: they’d have three high speed boats, and they would dash in through the Skagerrak, into Gothenburg, load up during the night, with butter and coffee, dash out again, loaded with ball bearings and various other hardware pieces. They were running back with these small motor launches across the Kattegat, then the Skagerrak, into the North Sea and back to Newcastle. So he told them of this idea that in the harbour of Norway, in the Baltic Sea, there are numerous forts in which there were English owned cargo ships with no crews because they’d been imprisoned, so, would we man them? Well, obviously, yes, we’ll man ‘em. We navy men were given a job of fitting all these appliances that the navy could supply. I had a twin Lewis gun, 14 — 18 war vintage, two large sugar boxes full of ammunition, two rocket launchers on the roof, which, at the pull of a string, would launch rockets, which would open out a parachute with dangling wires, and they were supposed to make the planes run into them, but they were a total failure. Anyway, I left that particular ship, did all the necessary alterations, and being the leader of the band, I was given the job of testing by a firm called, Trellyborne Gummy Fabriek which is Swedish for Trellyborne Rubber Factory. They’d invented a survival suit. Now this survival suit consists of a boiler suit in rubber, with gloves welded on, feet welded on, and a double zip up the front, one in brass followed by another one that closed two rubber grommets together. I had to test these, so we blasted a hole in the ice, whilst we were alongside, and I had the job of getting into the 20 feet thickness of ice, getting in and testing the suits. They were remarkably good, but extremely bulky, and they had a hood. When it came to personal use, you had to take your arm out of the sleeve; if you could get your arm out of the sleeve you could get it into your trousers pockets, and you’d have a kidney shaped flask. It wasn’t to drink out of, it was for other purposes. It was designed to facilitate urination. Anyway, I finished up having to take six Lascars (Indians) as passengers. Now of six Lascars in that day, five would be workmen, one would be the boss man who would be in charge of the other five. He’d be collecting their wages and sharing out, and providing for their religious beliefs and all that. I had to train them how to put the suits on in an emergency. Anyway, came the day that we had to sail, so, there were twelve ships. I have a list and a certificate signed by Sir George Binney. He ran a system from whence we get the Binney Medal. He organised all these ships to come together, of from Gothenburg, and sailed together behind the icepack. But the big ships go in first, breaking the ice. Three of the ships did manage to make it to Newcastle. The one I was in, which carried Sir George Binney, was H.M.S. Dicto, the M.V. Dicto. Several of the ships, I still have the names of them, we had a wine carrier a Charente, which is a district in France, B.P. Newton, which was an oil tanker. The one I was on, H.M.S. Dicto, was a one-passage ship, she made one passage to South America, and they’d loaded the fuel carrying cargo holds with wheat, so there was wheat everywhere. There was no room at all for oil. She was imprisoned in a port much further up the harbour, in the Baltic. Anyway, we all gathered together and at four o’clock, we had the orders to sail. The unfortunate part about it was that the pilot who was to take us out to sea, had bought a local newspaper, and that paper reported the fact that the English ships were sailing. So all the Germans had to do was to come out and wait for us behind the ice. The first few ships were sunk, two or three of them got through, three of ‘em were captured and they finished up in Germany. The one I was on, because I had the chief with me, turned around in the ice, being a big ship, and finished up back in Gothenburg. The following day, there was a ruckus in the paper, “Why let these ships go?” I was called up with a friend of mine, to go to the Consul’s office

Now, we were living in the Salvation Army in Stockholm, and we had to turn up every day to see the Consul. I ran out, having only two shirts and one only has two collars, so I ended up wearing a silk scarf. The Consul called us in one at a time, and queried, “Why are you wearing a scarf, where’s your collar and tie?” I explained to him that I had one collar in the wash, and the other was dirty. “Well,” he said, “this won’t do y’know, you represent England, you know. Get that muffler off, and be available at six o’clock tonight.” I’d had 2 ½ years in Sweden now, no sign or sight of anybody doing anything for me. We waited until six o’clock, then suddenly there’s a knock on the door. So we opened the door and there was a fellow in a chauffeur’s uniform. So we gathered what few belongings we had; I was in a trilby hat, burgundy raincoat, silk scarf and collars in my pocket, and any toiletries that I had. He said, “Jump in the car.” So we jumped into the car. It was absolutely black, we didn’t know where we were, we didn’t know where we were going, all we knew was that we were in the taxi. So we finally pulled up outside a door, so we rushed in and when we got in, there were two Norwegian gentlemen, young seamen, and we all got chatting. We didn’t know what we were there for. The fellow came back again and said, “Right, go in there and sit yourself down.” Now, in there, was a Pilots’ dressing Room. There was everything from helmets, to flying boots to jackets. So, what do we do with all that? Well, we got rigged up in all this lot and his last words were, “Watch out there, and when you see a flashing light, run, and run like you’ve never run before.” So we’re all sitting around waiting, and all of a sudden, a light flashed, and we all rushed across the tarmac, and we came to a Wellington Bomber with its side door open. We were virtually pulled in by an airman, and he said, “Sit there, sit there, sit there. That’s your seat and that’s your toilet, there’s a pack of sandwiches and there’s your coffee. When I go like this, pull your masks down and put them on.” So, we’re all sitting there, locked in, not knowing what to do. I wasn’t going to move off my seat for that toilet anyway. So, we could hear a rumbling and we knew we were under way; we knew we were going north. We flew up and finally climbed above the height of the German fighter planes from northern Norway, up towards the North Pole and came down into Scotland, where we landed. In the meantime, I was ‘took short’ because cold weather is a natural laxative. Anyway, we arrived at an airport in Scotland, and I jumped out and opened my bowels right there on Scottish soil. We were then shepherded again, into the Officers’ mess, but they couldn’t accommodate us lying down, but we could use the lounge. Come next morning, someone decided we should have breakfast. Now, we found it very peculiar that a fighter pilot should have to pay for his breakfast; all the pilots from the fighter squad had to go in and buy their food. Anyway, we had a jolly good breakfast, y’know, we had not seen eggs and anything like that. So, a young fellow came round and wanted money. We’d no money, we’d just been in Sweden, so he said, “Somebody will have to sign for it.” So I signed my name for four breakfasts and four railway tickets from Scotland.

By dawn, we’d both decided, Stanley and I, that we’d both go back and report to the navy. We were kept incarcerated for a couple of hours until the big navy boss came. He took me to one side and he said, “Who won the cricket match at Lords this year?” We had been in contact with nothing, absolutely nothing. “Who won the cup then? Who won the Derby race meeting? “ I said, “I know nothing about any of that.” “Alright,” he said, “who’s that other bloke outside?” I said, “That’s my mate, Stanley Cooke, a seaman wi’ me. He’s been wi’ me for the last 2 ½ years.” “OK,” he said, “now you go out through that door there.” So I went out through that door there, then he called Stanley in and asked him the same questions, the final one being, “Who’s that bloke in that room there?” “That’s Jim Renshaw,” he said, “I’ve been with him for 2 ½ years.” So they finally decided that, yes, we are English, yes we are navy men. “Oh, by the way,” he said, “don’t forget to report back down to barracks.” Now, we’d got to go from Scotland, on a wartime train down to Plymouth. It took us 24 hours to get to Plymouth. I obviously went to my fiancée’s house, much to her surprise Well, we decided that we’d report in at 9 o’clock in the morning, so I went to see the bloke, I went in on my own. He said, “Who are you?” I said, “I’m Jim Renshaw.” “What’s yer number?” I gave him my number, my service number. “What ship?” and I told him. “Are you sure?” “Yes!” “Who’s that fella out there?” I said, “That’s Stanley Cook. He’s been wi’ me for the last 2 ½ years. “Alright,” he said, “Oh,” he said, “before you go, come back Monday,” he said, “and have yer bloody hair cut.” That was my greeting. And Stanley had to go through the whole lot too.

Anyway, I rejoined the navy, and they were gathering the remainders of 45 survivors. They got them out from Sweden one way, and they got them out in other different ways and they got the whole 45 seamen there, doing one particular job. The job was cleaning out female gas masks. Of course, females used gasmasks as handbags as well, and what we turned out of those handbags was nobody’s business. A lot of rude stuff there was. We were there for weeks, following the same routine, doing nothing, because we’d signed the treaty. We signed that, declaring that we would not fight any more Germans. They’d taken our fingerprints, and if we were caught again, we’d be shot. We finally finished up back in the navy and there was so little that they could do with us, that they had to discharge us. So I was one of the few discharged. Unfortunately, one of my other shipmates was on one of the other craft that was captured and he finished his time in Germany as a prisoner of war. I never saw Germany as a prisoner of war, I saw it in Norway. It’s an experience you have to live through to understand it. I eventually got married and I then joined the dockyard navy, a tug section of the Royal Navy; I join all the tugs in the dockyard. I served there for forty odd years, losing half my hand in the process. I received the Queen’s Medal.

But, you know, looking back, it was amazing how we learnt to live in such cramped conditions. 45 people in a cattle truck, a real filthy environment. We did it sleeping, standing up using one corner of the truck as a toilet. Then we were marching through twenty feet of snow, from this blasted hotel, it was on a border station between Sweden and Norway and it caters for the highfaluting skiing fraternity that we had in those days. We had Norwegians with us, and we asked, “How much further?” With their limited English, they’d say, “Four miles.” Now four miles is 6 ½ kilometres, which is a considerably longer. It was actually somewhere in the region of 25 miles and it took us the best part of a week to cover it. It’s important to note that the men were naked, absolutely naked. They swam naked from the ship; they were picked up naked, taken to a school naked, then over the border naked. They had to be told to get onto a train. This was April the tenth in 1943; the sea temperature in Narvik was averaging 12 degrees below freezing. But due to the speed of the tide, it cannot form any ice. I can recall the ship going down and I know she’s still down there. The Norwegians have made a museum of a couple of them. I’ve never managed to get back up there to, shall we say, have a look at it all? I lost every possession I had, including my bankbook, all my kit, everything went, and I finished up……….what did I finish up in? I was naked when I woke up. I was on a bunk with the chief stoker nursing me and I managed to scrounge a pair of canvas trousers, and a jersey of sorts, and in the next cabin to me was a civilian. They wouldn’t give him any leeway, but we got rumours that he was a relative of Winston Churchill. I became friendly with him, and all of a sudden, he disappeared and left his cabin open, and he left a pair of fisherman’s Wellingtons, so I nabbed them, but they were much too big. He was never heard of again. Of the Officers that were salvaged, we had one of them dead, and they made us carry him; I didn’t carry him, four lads carried him. He was dead and his entire bowel was hanging out, so I stopped the four of them and shoved it under his life jacket. Then they finally decided to cover his face and turn him over and take him away, and away he went. The Germans took him and they took the only living officer we had. I’ve never seen him since. From close on 200 seamen on the ship, only 45 of us survived. Most of ‘em, being like me, we put up with 2 ½ years of it.

I make a point to my own children, that it they go to foreign places, then they must learn a little of the language. My learning of a little of the language has stood me in jolly good stead, insomuch as they permitted me to leave the camp and go and live privately, 200 miles away with a little family. And they fed and clothed me, in fact, the son of the family (they had sons and daughters), deferred his father’s Will, he didn’t want his father’s property. Somewhere in the woods, they own a portion of land, which they have turned over to me. They made it in my name, so, somewhere in Sweden is a plot of land that I can legally claim, but I’d rather not go back, no, I’d rather not go back.

James Renshaw

AB. Stanley William James "Cookie" Cook HMS Hunter

My late father also served on HMS Hunter at the battle of Narvic and was marched into Sweden by the Germans in those icy conditions of mid April 1940 I know the Germans made him sign a declaration promising never to engage the enemy again and during his capture he made a couple of unsuccessful attempts to escape He returned to Devonport Naval Dockyard late 1943 where he served out the remainder of the war in HMS Drake a shore base but never liked it He resided in Devonport After the war he joined the Merchant navy He passed away in 1990 in Plymouth Devon If any surviving ship-members can recall my Dad -Stanley Cook (cookie)please let me know

Jim Cook

P.O. Stanley William "Jake" Kerswell HMS Hunter

My father was a survivor of H M S Hunter of Narvik, his name was Stanley William Kerswell and was a Petty Officer. He was known to the crew as 'Jake'. If anyone remembers him please email me. Many Thanks


Daniel Joseph "Joe" Murphy HMS Hunter

My uncle Daniel Joseph Murphy was a crew member on the HMS Hunter who survived the battle of Narvik on April 10th 1940. He hailed from the Skibbereen area in Co. Cork in Ireland and was more commonly known as Joe. In the naval service, Joe served in various grades as an "engineering mechanic". He died in 1985 shortly before his 73rd birthday. Joe never really talked about his experiences during the war and the information we have is sketchy. According to my mother's recollection of his story, when the Hunter was stricken, Joe and others below decks managed to make their way up on deck to find it relatively desolate. Knowing the ship was doomed, they followed their comrades and jumped overboard. Our understanding is that Joe and certain others apparently managed to make it to shore without being captured and they then began to head for Sweden which was neutral. Their journey to Sweden saw them hiding and resting by day and travelling by night under cover of darkness. In general, Joe praised the Norwegian people for helping them on their way to Sweden. (This is our understanding of how Joe got to Sweden. We would appreciate it if any other survivors (or their relatives) who travelled with Joe through Norway could provide us with any more information.) Following the battle of Narvik, my grandmother received a telegram that Joe was missing presumed dead and the family remained under this assumption for a while.

On reaching Sweden Joe was interned and he spent part of his time there working with the local farming community. After a period of time, an opportunity arose for him and other internees to help man a merchant ship with a cargo of iron ore destined for Britain. We believe the ship was called the Sketern. Joe recounted that there was a heavy fog as the ship left harbour, but the fog then lifted and they ran straight into the path of German forces. Rather than let the iron ore fall into enemy hands, the captain scuttled the ship and they were then taken as POWs. Whilst in Sweden, Joe had also befriended a Swedish girl called Evy Carlsson who subsequently wrote to my grandmother to let her know that she knew him. Evy's letter to my grandmother came subsequent to Joe being taken as a POW, because Evy described the scuttling of the ship in her letter in broken English as "ship sink self which be good". We think this was Evy's way of saying that Joe had probably been taken as a POW rather than the ship having been sunk in battle. My grandmother subsequently received a telegram (I think from the British Red Cross) confirming that Joe was a POW. We know that he was in a few different POW camps and my grandmother received a photograph of him in the form of a post card that was postmarked Marlag U. Milag Nord and dated 17.8.43. On the back, it referred to Joe as POW No. 608 in Stammlager VIII B.

The photograph was a group shot of Joe and seven other men, Joe is at the back second from left. I am not sure if the other men in the photo are also survivors from the HMS Hunter. I am posting it on this website to see if anyone might recognise any of the other men in it. While he was a POW, my grandmother began sending regular parcels to Joe via the Red Cross. The Red Cross had instructed her to leave the parcel a few pounds light so that they could also pack chocolate and cigarettes into it. The cigarettes seemingly came in as a handy bartering tool, because Joe recalled that they used to get some sort of horrible dark or black bread to eat in the camps and some of the German guards used to sneak white bread in for them in exchange for cigarettes. Joe also recalled their camp being liberated by Russian troops at the end of the war and locals running into the the camp trying to take refuge in the wake of the Russian advance. The Russians then helped the former POWs to get planes back to Britain. Joe spent another 13 years in the naval service after the war and finally retired from naval duties in 1958.

Kieran Hosford

Able Seaman Alfred Holt HMS Hunter (d.10th April 1940)

My Grandfather served and died aboared HMS Hunter, he was a torpedoer he is buried in Narvick where his body was washed ashore. I'm afraid this is all I know because my Father was only 9 months old when it happened.

Gavin Holt

Canteen manger Joseph Mulligan H.M.S Hunter (d.10th APR 1940)

My uncle was on board H.M.S Hunter, when it sunk on the 10th April 1940. His name was Joe Mulligan. He was a canteen assistant and just 21 years old. If anyone remembers him or knows anything about him I would love to know.

Vince Mulligan

Chief Petty Officer Frank "Shiner" Wright 807 Squadron

With some friends after a night of pub crawl and male bravado we enlisted in Manchester. We departed for basic training to Dundee, Scotland. During parachute practice in the local swimming pool a trainee failed to release himself properly and was left hanging in his harness head first in the water. Excepting the Drill Sergeant we all thought it funny as he was blowing bubbles under water.

Flight training took me to Canada, firstly for 4 months in Kingston, ON and then onto St. Eugene, PQ for 2 months where we experienced first hand the Canadian winter.

From November, 1944 to November, 1945 I was assigned to the 807 Squadron as a Spitfire Pilot and served on the HMS Hunter. During which we sailed through the Suez Canal stopping at Cairo and Alexandria where King Faruk of Egypt boarded. The locals seemed happy as we headed out of Cairo after we had leave on shore!

We sailed on to Ceylon (aka Sri Lanka) and to Singapore. It was here during "VJ" Day that Lord Mountbatten signed the armistice. We were docked at Greenock, Scotland on "D" Day.

Since 1957 I have lived in Canada and although I did attend two HMS Hunter reunions, I seem to have lost touch in the past four years. I will be very pleased to hear from anyone who was on the Hunter or with the 807 during this period c/o my son’s email

Frank Wright

Cook William Herbert Wallis HMS Hunter

My uncle William Herbert Wallis was a cook on board HMS Hunter when it was torpedoed in Narvik in 1940.

Unfortunately, I was never able to get too much of the story from him because of the traumatic memories involved. My uncle died two years ago aged 90. I have since found out some important information from the Historical Branch of the MOD and this web-site. I knew he was marched in to Sweden and then returned home close to Christmas 1942.

When I was younger he showed me a Norwegian flag that he obtained while in Norway and an "icelandic" jumper made in Norway and used by local fishermen. Ironically, I now live in Norway, and plan to make the journey up to Narvik and to Gunnarn in Sweden.

If anybody else has photos of the internees in Sweden, then I would love to hear from you.

John Farrier

Arthur William Lamb HMS Hunter

My Dad, Arthur Lamb who served on HMS Hunter for part of his time in WW2. He told us many stories and was proud of the time he served for his country. He had many photos that he showed us all and never forget his times on Hunter. Sadly he died suddenly aged 82 and we will all miss him dearly. He leaves his wife Olive of 52 years and 2 sons and daughter and 6 grandchildren. If any one remembers my dad we love to hear from you.

Jane Gulston

Stoker II Class. Harold Joseph Smart HMS Hunter (d.10th Apr 1940)

Harold Smart was killed at sinking of HMS Hunter.


Brendon Mulhall HMS Hunter (d.10th Apr 1940)

Brendan Mulhall was my Uncle, my Mother's brother. She had a photograph of him in his Navy uniform on display in her home in Ardglass and I knew him only through that photo. I was born in 1947 so I never new him. He did not survive the sinking of the Hunter and I believe he is buried in Narvik. I would be gratefull for any information.

Clement Milligan

Able Sea. Samuel Henry Mann HMS Hunter (d.10th Apr 1940)

Tom Mann

Leading Steward James Stanley Rowe HMS Hunter (d.10th April 1940)


Susan Phillips

Sick Berth Attendant Frank Maddocks HMS Hunter Sick Berth Reserve (d.10th April 1940)

Frank Maddocks was my maternal grandfather. He died when HMS Hunter sank. His youngest daughter (my mother) was only 18 months old at the time. His wife, Annie, raised their two girls on her own with help from Legacy. She never remarried.

Martin Kitchen

Boyd Reynolds "Mac" McGeoch HMS Hunter

My father Boyd McGeoch, who served on HMS Hunter. I am trying to find out about my late father's wartime experiences, I noticed that Alan Stevenson Cuthbutson has a printed book on survivors of this ship during WW2, if Alan could get in touch I would be most grateful.

Carole Frost

Able Sea John Thomas Flynn HMS Hunter (d.10th Apr 1940)

My mum's cousin John Thomas Flynn died when the Hunter sank in 1940. He was 19 years old, just wondering if there are any photos of the crew or anyone that served on the Hunter with him who might remember him?

Les Edwards

Boyd Heath Reynolds "Mac" McGeoch 807 Sqd.

My father "Mac" McGeoch served with the Royal Navy, Fleet Air Arm 807 Squadron on HMS Hunter. I am trying to contact Andrew Stevenson Cuthbutson, about a book on called 'Never the time nor the tide'. It is about life on HMS Hunter. I would dearly love a copy of this work, can anyone help?

Carole Frost

Able Seaman David Radcliffe HMS Hunter (d.10th Apr 1940)

David Radcliffe was my Great Uncle and joined the Royal Navy in 1933. He served in HMS Barham, HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Active and HMS Hunter. He was married only two weeks before he died. I do not know much about his Naval Service except for information obtained from his Certificate of Service. If any survivors from HMS Hunter knew my Great Uncle or served with him in any of his other ships then I would like to hear from them.

Ronnie Walsh

1st Stoker. Bertie Hale Stevens HMS Hunter (d.10th April 1940)

Bertie Stevens was my grandfather. He was 1st Stoker on HMS Hunter and went down with the ship when it sank at Narvik in 1940. If there is anyone still surviving and knew my grandfather, I would like to make contact with them. I have a photo of him also a memorial postcard.

Christine Gibbens

Able.Sea. Fred Pattison Dorward HMS Hunter

My mother was married to Fred Pattison Dorward. They were married for only 7 weeks when he was killed on the HMS Hunter at the Battle of Narvik along with petty officer James Smail whose widow became a great friend of my mother.

Able Sea. Samuel Henry Mann HMS Hunter (d.10th April 1940)

Samuel Henry Mann was my uncle. He was killed when HMS Hunter went down during the First Battle of Narvik, Norway, on 10th of April 1940. I am presently researching his history.

You have a great website. Keep up the good work. These men should be remembered.

Tom Mann

Lt.Cmdr. Alfred Edward Flannery HMS Hunter

My Father, Alfred Flannery, served on HMS Hunter at different times (I believe). He was the Medical Doctor and was on board when HMS Hunter was mined off the coast of Spain in May 1937 - In the Admiralty letter to my Father (Retirement letter) it was mentioned "…. My Lords recall that early in your Service, whilst a Surgeon Lieutenant Commander, the Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean reported that you behaved with great coolness and efficiency under most trying circumstances on the occasion of the mining of H.M.S. Hunter off the coast of Spain in May, 1937. …."

My Father was also on board when H.M.S. Hunter was sunk off Narvik. One story that I know of: My mother was an American (Elizabeth Flannery nee Duffy) and she left the USA (NYC) to marry my father in Malta on 16th. November 1937. One of the things she brought with her was her deep freeze (I did say she was an American). Well, somehow, my father managed to convince my mother to let him take it on board (H.M.S. Hunter) for the purpose of keeping medications cold. My mother was very happy when my father survived the sinking of H.M.S. Hunter but never let him forget that her deep freeze was now at the bottom of a Fjiord. I heard that story very often. After the sinking of H.M.S. Hunter, my father was in Norway for a while and whilst there he was awarded the Haakon VI Liberty medal for services rendered.

The photo is of my parents' wedding - it includes other Naval Officers that may be recognized - At the time of the wedding my father was serving on H.M.S. Active. Thank you for maintaining this website.

Terence Flannery

Lt.Cdr. Alfred Edward "Alfie" Flannery HMS Hunter

Wedding Photo Lt. CDR Flannery

My father, Surgeon Captain Alfred Edward Flannery OBE RN, served on HMS Hunter at different times (I believe). He was the Medical Doctor and was on board when H.M.S. Hunter was mined off the coast of Spain in May 1937 - In the Admiralty letter to my Father (Retirement letter) it was mentioned "…. My Lords recall that early in your Service, whilst a Surgeon Lieutenant Commander, the Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean reported that you behaved with great coolness and efficiency under most trying circumstances on the occasion of the mining of H.M.S. Hunter off the coast of Spain in May, 1937..."

My Father was also on board when H.M.S. Hunter was sunk off Narvik. One story that I know of: My mother was an American (Elizabeth Flannery nee Duffy) and she left the USA (NYC) to marry my father in Malta on 16th. November 1937. One of the things she brought with her was her deep freeze (I did say she was an American:) Well, somehow, my father managed to convince my mother to let him take it on board (H.M.S. Hunter) for the purpose of keeping medications cold. My mother was very happy when my father survived the sinking of H.M.S. Hunter but never let him forget that her deep freeze was now at the bottom of a Fjiord. I heard that story very often. After the sinking of H.M.S. Hunter, my father was in Norway for a while and whilst there he was awarded the Haakon VI Liberty medal for services rendered.

I am including a photo of H.M.S. Hunter (taken in Malta, I believe) after the mining off the coast of Spain. Also included is a photo of my parents' wedding - it includes other Naval Officers that may be recognized - At the time of the wedding my father was serving on H.M.S. Active. Thank you for maintaining this website.

Terence Flannery

John C. Henson HMS Hunter

I served on HMS Hunter.

John C Henson

Joseph Clarke Fleet Air Arm 808 Sqdn

My dad served on many escort carriers during WW2, including HMS Hunter, HMS Khedive, HMS Battler and others, with 808 Squadron. I was wondering if any of his old shipmates or their family members have any stories or remember him.

Paul Clarke

Able Sea. Cyril Holehouse HMS Hunter (d.10th Apri 1940)

Cyril Holehouse died on 10th April 1940 and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. I am trying to find information as he was my mother-in-law's older brother, who was on HMS Hunter for the Battle of Narvik. We believe he would have been around 20 years old in 1940. We know nothing of what happened to him on the day of the battle and would love to hear from anyone who has information, no matter how small.

Yassie Duck

Walter Reeve HMS Hunter

This photo was taken aboard HMS Hunter (Escort Carrier) in 1944/1945 whilst in the Indian Ocean. Some of the communications staff. I am second from left in rear rank. Any memories anyone?

Wally Reeve

Dennis Sweetlove HMS Arthur

My grandfather Dennis Sweetlove served in the Royal Navy during WW2 training at HMS Arthur and serving on HMS Hunter.

Wayne Ayling

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