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

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HMS Royal Arthur

   60th Searchlight Regiment, a Territorial unit, was formed by the redesignation of 9th Battalion Middlesex Regiment in 1938. They were mobilsed in August 1939, just before war broke out as part of 40th Anti-Aircraft Brigade, 2nd Anti-Aircraft Division, tasked with providing anti-aircraft defences for the area north of London. In August 1940, all the Territorial Anti Aircraft units became part of the Royal Artillery, owever, the regiment continued to wear its Middlesex cap badge and buttons, with RA collar badges. At the height of the Battle of Britain regiment was transferred to 41st (London) Anti-Aircraft Brigade, 2nd Anti-Aircraft Division which was responsible for defending the Airfields in East Anglia.


28th May 1940 Memorial Defended

26th Jul 1940 Aircraft Brought Down

17th Aug 1941 Posting

26th Jul 1943 Aircraft Brought Down

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

Those known to have sailed in

HMS Royal Arthur

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

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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John Carey Class 112 HMS Royal Arthur

John Carey is seated front row last on the right

My Uncle John Carey was in class 122 at Royal Arthur.

Chris Town

Desmond Field class 48 HMS Royal Arthur

Was sent to HMS Royal Arthur on 4 September 1941 and joined Class 48.

Desmond Field

William John Taylor HMS Royal Arthur

William John Taylor HMS Royal Arthur 1943

This photograph is of Class 78 (Signals) at HMS Royal Arthur Sep-1943 to Mar-1944. My Father, William John Taylor, is front-row first left.

Brian M Taylor

Jennie Roe

My mother, Jennie Roe, was posted to HMS Royal Arthur for the duration of the war, first at Skegness then Corsham. She died on the 20.09.07 and among her paper work we have found The Souvenir Programme for the GRAND VICTORY BALL on the 7.06.1946. It has been signed by Janet, Joy Barber, Doreen, Bobbie, Connie Cockroach and Ethel. Are any of you still around and do any of you remember Jennie Roe?


Percy William White HMS Royal Arthur

My grandfather, Percy William White (born in 1913 in Sherborne, Dorset), trained at HMS Royal Arthur at Skegness. Unfortunately he passed away before my sister and I were born, so I never got to hear any of his wartime memories. My mother and grandmother never spoke much about him as his death caused my mother (then only 16) to have a nervous breakdown. From the odd snippets of information we gathered from our mother and grandmother before their deaths, my sister and I believe Percy's death was suicide - possibly a result of Post Traumatic Stress?

I would be very grateful if anyone can provide me with any information about him, his training, or where he was stationed during WWII, as this could help my sister and I to get to know the grandfather we never met

Laura Hardy

Raymond Charles Bath HMS Royal Arthur HMS Lockleven

I am looking for information on my grandfather and the people he spent his time with during his training. His name is Raymond Charles Bath. He was at HMS Royal Arthur from 4th July 1940 until sometime in January 1941. His first ship was HMS Lockleven. This ship was apparently based in Grimsby and was attacked in Bridlington.

My Grandad was a Telegraphist and I think his class number whilst at HMS Royal Arthur was W28.

Jonathan Bath

Sig. Reginald Gould HMS Pembroke

I have recently been given a list of ships my father was on during WW2 and I have been unable to find a lot of them in the records on line. As he passed away 7 years ago I am unable to ask him.

This has always been a great fascination to me and I want to make some record of his times to pass on to future generations .. so I was wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction where to find more information? The only one I have really found alot about is the Royal Arthur .. the others are

  • Scotia Mercury
  • Fox
  • Europa
  • Oystermouth Castle
  • Prophet
  • Pembroke

Clare Gould-smith

Ldg. Coder. William Horace Whitmey HMS Cape Portland

My father William (Bill) Horace Whitmey served at HMS Royal Arthur from 7th July 1943 to 15th July 1943.

Stuart Whitmey

Stoker 2nd class Norman Tearle (d.31st May 1940)

My Uncle, Norman Tearle was killed aged 20 during operation Dynamo 31st May 1940. I am trying to establish which boat he would have been serving on at the time of his death. He was called up for service in March 1940 and killed on 31st May. The Tearle family web site pays tribute to Norman's courage and sacrifice. There is a worldwide Tearle "meet" on Sat. 17th July 2010 and I would welcome being able to take along any further answers on this day. We are particularly remembering and honouring all family who gave their lives in both wars.

I do have a photo of Norman with Royal Arthur class 102. If there are any survivors' relatives' from that class using this site, I would be most happy to receive contact. I am the last surviving member from this branch of our family.

Catherine Brunton-Green

Claison Meredith Class 220 HMS Royal Arthur

Class 220, HMS Royal Arthur

I attach a photograph in my possession of Class 220, HMS Royal Arthur, taken during WW2. It came to me via a relative who knew the mother of one of the men photographed. He is Claison Meredith, back row, 5th from the left. He survived the war and was later an Anglican vicar (in Weston-Super-Mare at one time I believe). Originally he was from Neath, Glamorganshire, Wales.

Paul Sambrook

Asst Steward. Harry Fredrick Jones

Harry Jones served onboard:
  • HMS Royal Arthur - 25 July 1944 - 08 August 1944
  • HMS Duke (Anson Division) - 09 August 9144 - 12 September 1944
  • HMS Victory - 13 September 1944 - 06 December 1944
  • Lent to RAF - 07 December 1944 - 15 February 1945
  • HMS Victory - 16 February 1945 - 14 May 1945
  • HMS Gozo - 15 May 1945 - 10 September 1945
  • HMS Victory - 11 September 1945 - 01 April 1946
  • HMS Mayina - 02 April 1946 - 09 June 1946
  • HMS Victory - 10 June 1946 - 10 January 1947

Tracy Pink

Killick George Bryant Spendley

Looking through some old family photos I came across one of my father, George Spendley, in the class of 1945, Royal Arthur. I know many stories of his naval career, but I don't know much about the Royal Arthur.

Alison Crowe

Stoker. Sydney George Beeching HMS Kittywake

My father and mother both served in the Second World War. Both enlisting in England. My father Sydney Beeching, enlisted in the Navy and after spending some time at Royal Arthur served at Pembroke and on the Kittywake from 20 December 1940 to 2 July 1943 according to his papers. Then he served on Pembroke 4 Steadfast from 3 July 1943 to January 1946. He also went to America on the Queen Mary when she went over for refitting as a troop carrier.

My mother was a telephonist in the Air Force but I don't know much about her postings or anything other than she was stationed at different airfields around Kent. Her name was Barbara Edna Bayly.

Heather Osborne

Tel. John James Harrison HMS Dundonald (d.6th June 1944)

My Uncle John James Harrison, was in class 201 of at Royal Arthur. I believe it would have been taken in 1941 but I do not have a precise date. He was killed on D-Day and is buried just outside Caen in France.

Stwd. Percy Raymond Linsey LST.420 (d.7th Nov 1944)

I have been researching my uncle Percy Linsey who died in active service on the 7th of November 1944. He was travelling to the Walcheren Islands on LST420. As they were trying to land in heavy seas it became impossible. So they were instructed to return to England. As they were leaving Walcheren, unfortunately, they hit a mine and the craft broke up.

I have had quite a good response over the last few years. However I have come to a standstill. I was just looking on this website and spotted all the Royal Arthur pictures. I don't know if my uncle is on any of the pictures. I would be gratefull for any copies of any group photos.

My uncle was Percy Raymond Linsey, he served on: HMS Royal Arthur from 4th of May 1943, HMS DrakeII from 8th June 1943, HMS LakerII from 20th August 1943, HMS Caroline, HMS Domett from 20 September 1943 and LST 420 until 7th of November 1944.

Any other information would also be helpful and appreciated.

Christopher Raymond Antcliffe

Ord.Sig. Denis Peter Dalby HMS Royal Arthur

Denis Dalby trained at HMS Arthur between November 1943 and March 1944.

Graham Dalby

Gilford Charles "Gil" Purr HMS Royal Arthur

Gilford Purr, known as George in later life, was a Radio Operator at HMS Royal Arthur having joined up from the Merchant Navy in 1942 when he witnessed the scuttling of the Graf Spee in Montivideo Harbour on one of his trips. He met his wife Joan Foy, who was a telephonist on the main switchboard at HMS Royal Arthur and it was whilst he was chatting her up during one night shift that the base was bombed and the switchboard room ceiling was blown in and he left his post to go and rescue his wife to be. Any other information from this time on either of them would be great

Alan G. Poole

Sidney Eric Smith HMS Royal Arthur

My paternal Grand-father, Sidney Eric Smith, was at HMS Royal Arthur training camp in Skegness during 1943 as I have a picture of him there which he wrote the date on. He married my Grand-mother, Peggy, on the 15th May 1948. I was wondering if any person may remember him. I know it's a long shot with a surname like Smith but I don't have any other information, apart from what happened after the war.

Tel. Joseph Thomas Gale HMS Royal Arthur

My father, Joseph Thomas Gale, was a telegraphist at Royal Arthur from 27th September until 3rd April 1940. I have his certificate of service and am trying to trace the ships he served on until 9th October 1945.

Mike Gale

Stkr. Arthur Sidney Frounks The Ryde Queen

My late father's name was Arthur Sydney Frounks and he was born in Taunton, Somerset on 3 June 1916 and passed away on 17 December 1998. He served during the Second World War and was stationed at HMS Royal Arthur Class 112 in Skegness.

I know he served on the Paddle Steamer the Ryde Queen which I am led to believe was a minesweeper. I also know from things which my late father told me one ship which he was on was blown up and he got sucked through the funnel on the ship and I believe it was only my father and seven other officers who survived.

I am trying to trace his naval records, any information which anuone may be able to give me will be of great help I am trying to set up a family tree.

Kevin Frounks

Pearl Daphne Harvey

My mother, Pearl Harvey, married Albert Edward Briggs (Tedd) one of the three survivors of HMS Hood, in Derbyshire England. She was from Southend-on-sea, Essex and he from Redcar, Yorkshire. They were married on 20th March 1943 and I believe they met in 1940 and again on HMS Arthur after the sinking of HMS Hood. I would much love to hear any stories and anecdotes from colleagues or sons and daughters form those times. I have photos of them as a pair in 1940, and after and Mum in WRNS' uniform plus a photo of their wedding in 1943, which I can scan and upload if anybody remembers them.

Elizabeth Hoy

Ernest William Robert Tugwell

My father Ernest Tugwell was in Class 21. HMS Royal Arthur from 9th of July 1942 until 25the Jan 1943, training for signals before moving to HMS Pembroke which, I believe, was was at Chatham.

In the picture he is in the 2nd row from the front, 5th from left. he was born in October 1923 so he was just 19 years old.

Robert Tugwell

Peter Sydney Dowden HMS Arthur (d.21st February 1942)

Peter Sydney Dowden was my grandfather and served on HMS Royal Arthur until his death there on 21 February 1942. I was told there was some sort of bombing or bomb accident at the camp and his death was recorded as killed in action. I would be interested if anyone else knows what this incident was.

Martin Nicholson

Sig. Geoffrey Swinnerton HMS Eaglet

I happened to stumble across this website during a search I conducted looking for information on my Great Grandfather's naval career during World War 2. In the group photo of Royal Arthur Class 101, sixth from the left standing in front of the concrete pillar, is my Great Grandfather Geoffrey Swinnerton. We have an old copy of this photograph at home! From Royal Arthur he was sent to HMS Eaglet in Liverpool where he appears to have been based when on dry land.

He worked on merchant ships during the war, sailing to the USA, however he spent much of his career sailing back and forth from Britain to Murmansk and Archangel in Russia as a member of the Arctic Convoys. He spent a great deal of time there and as a result developed respiratory problems, a consequence I imagine of the brutal weather conditions and the fact he spent time in the water at some point, which contributed to his death in 1967. Other than this information I am yet to fill in the gaps.....

Helen McFeely

Wilfred Haynes HMS Byrsa

I am researching my father, Wilfred Haynes. Dad was probably better known as Bill. Prior to joining up he was a P&TO in Redditch, Worcestershire. Dad was born in 1920 in Levenshume, Manchester. He never spoke about the war in any form and now it's too late to ask him as Dad passed away. In the photograph Bill is 1 row from the back, 2nd signalman on the left.

His service included postings at: HMS Byrsa (Naples) and HMS Euroclydon (Malta) from 1942. After the war he married and moved to Bridge Farm Beoley, one of several residences. I'd be very grateful for any information.

Simon Haynes

PO Edward Charles Smith HMS Nelson

My grandfather Edward Smith, joined the Navy at outbreak of War. He was initially assigned, with his best friend, to HMS Hood. On completing his initial training at Skegness. When he was due to join Hood he contracted pneumonia and ended being reassigned to HMS Nelson his best friend however went down with HMS Hood.

Dave Smith

PO. James Mollison Lowson HMS Royal Arthur

James Lowson, class 207, HMS Royal Arthur

I recently acquired a photograph of my father James Lowson at HMS Royal Arthur. I knew that he was in the R.N. during the 2nd WW but nothing else as it is something he never talked about. I suspect he was involved in Combined Operations as he had some memorabilia with that insignia on it. At his demob. he was suffering from a serious illness that at the time was diagnosed as jaundice, contracted from bad food. He also had some bad nightmares for a while about people drowning, which I suppose, is consistent with service in the Navy.

James Murray Lowson

Sea. Leslie Dodson HMS Royal Arthur

Leslie Dodson, Class 175 HMS Royal Arthur

I found this old photograph amongst my mother's possessions after she died. It is a photograph of HMS Royal Arthur Class 175. My father, Leslie Dodson is pictured in the top right.

Stephen P Dodson

MidShip. Edward Albert Chambers HMS Royal Arthur

Edward Albert Chambers - Class 148 HMS Royal Arthur

Edward Albert Chambers - Stoker RN

Edward Albert Chambers served from 1943 - 1946 as a stoker and he was on Royal Arthur from 18th March 1943 - 12th April 1943. I have always been interested in my granddad's navy history. But since his passing, and with my nan not being able to tell me much, I have been using the internet without much luck. So was wondering if anyone knew my granddad. I would love to get in touch for any information or stories.

Carrie-Ann Ford

Hedley Settle Rowley HMS Royal Arthur

This photo of HMS Royal Arthur, Class 82, is thought to be in the spring of 1945. My father, Hedley Rowley, is on the second to back row, on the far right. I understand that following his training he served in a signals unit based in Admiralty Arch. He died in 2010.

John Rowley

Stkr. Aubrey Dennis Cant HMS Royal Arthur

Aubrey Cant trained in Class 145 at HMS Royal Arthur.

Larry Cant

Frank Drabble HMS Royal Arthur

My Dad Frank Drabble was in the Navy during WW2 and these are a couple of pictures he had of his service, not sure if they would be of interest but I am sure someone will recognise either a relative or maybe themselves. Dad died 2 years ago at the age of 84. I believe he had something to do with the catering side of the Navy.

Richard Drabble

Bmdr. Thomas Leslie Delaney 60th (Middlesex) Searchlight Regiment Royal Artillery

Training camp at Towyn, North Wales.

Rotterdam 1944

Diary 1944/1945

Diary 1945

My father Thomas Delaney lived in Bradford West Yorkshire and served in the Middlesex Regiment during WW2, which he survived. He told me he was on the searchlight batteries. He appeared to be stationed at several cities around the UK, but notably at Golcar above Huddersfield, when the garrison was at the Huddersfield Town football ground on Leeds Road.

According to his diary he departed Southampton on the 26th of November 1944 for Ostend before going on to Nijmegan in Holland. He returned there in 1945 following the end of hostilities in Europe. He also served in Belgium during this period and Plettenburg in Germany from August to October 1945. He was billeted in empty houses in Rotterdam and a sugar factory in Pattershock. I also know he stayed with a Dutch family.

I have enclosed some photographs. One shows the training camp at Towyn and the other at Rotterdam in 1944. Also his diary which may give a feel for how meticulous he was. I now realise I was conceived when he was home on leave in August 1945 before he returned to Germany!

Trevor Delaney

L/Stkr. Douglas Gerald Blackburn Fleet Air Arm

I have just received my father Jed Blackburn's service record - he joined at HMS Royal Arthur in Skegness in October 1945 at the age of 17 and went on to serve on various ships and in the Fleet Air Arm. Like many men he was reluctant to talk about the war and his service life so details are sketchy but he remained a tar to the end of his days and died wearing a naval t-shirt. His service record ends in January 1948 - he died in his mid 80s and was fit as a flea up the end - I am entering his details purely to add his name to Royal Arthur's list so that his spirit can rest peaceful with his Navy friends where I believe he'd want to be - RIP - goodbye xx

PO. Russell Simpson HMS Europa

Russell Simpson

Sadly My Dad Russell Simpson from Lynemouth, Northumberland passed away in October 2014 aged 95 years. We have just found his RN diary .... no-one knew it was there. He was in the Royal Naval he joined HMS Royal Arthur in Skegness.

He then went onto HMS Europa and HMS Lady Shirley, and HMS Fairy Knowles at Tobermory (Note there was no HMS Fairy Knowles and this may have been a colloquial term for being absent at a hospital.) In 1941, he had a accident at the dock and went to hospital in Killearn and then onto The Cottage hospital in Oban. He was there for a long duration learning to walk again. Dad was the only seaman who was off on leave due to his injury when The Lady Shirley got torpedoed off Gibraltar on the 11th December 1941 and the men on board were captured and some lost at sea. He often said somethings were meant to be! He then joined HMT Helier2, an anti-submarine search vessel, at Milford Haven. Dad describes his job in the diary as in The Atlantic escorting ships and destroyers in rough sea and missing mines. He went to Australia and Tasmania and returned from Australia on The King George.

Anne Routledge

Tel. John Harry Cushing HMS Nelson

Our Dad, John Harry Cushing, joined the Royal Navy on the 23rd March 1943 at the age of seventeen and a half and was trained at HMS Royal Arthur, HMS Cressy, HMS Mercury and HMS Vicas as an ordinary Telegrapher. He joined HMS Nelson in December 1943.

He remained on the Nelson until September 1945. Following the Japanese surrender in Singapore, we think he was transferred to the mine sweeper, HMS Friendship, and was released to shore on the 17th September 1946. Dad died in Swanage in May 1987. Apart from his war service medals we think we have his Navy Knife, which is inscribed 'Cunnery Lockspike Bosum'.

PO. John DePellette

John De Pellette trained at HMS Royal Arthur and served as DEMS Gunner.

Yvonne Findlay

Stoker. Sidney James Ives HMS Bedouin

Sidney Ives was born in south London on 10th September 1917. He enlisted in the Royal Navy on 27th May 1940.

He served on HMS Arthur, HMS Pembroke, and HMS Bedouin which was sunk by the Italians and was in the sea for 10 hours before being rescued and taken prisoner. He was later handed over to the Germans and was in a POW camp for almost 3 years, he escaped twice but was recaptured both times. He was also on the long march across Europe.

He lived on his own in Chatham, Kent but needed extra care, so moved to Pembroke House, a care home for ex Navy personnel. He has short term memory loss but can remember lots of stories of his time in the Navy.

William Chesney

William Billinghurst HMS Arthur

The trainer in this photograph is my grandfather, William Billinghurst, who was in the Royal Navy most of his life. He died in 1964. If anyone has any information or stories about my grandfather & the crew of HMS Royal Arthur, I would appreciate hearing from you.

Errol Billinghurst

Kenneth Leigh Baker HMS Royal Arthur

Below is a picture of my late father, Kenneth Leigh Baker who was at HMS Royal Arthur at the outbreak of the war in 1939. Below this is an extract from his war memoirs. It may give some people looking for information an insight as to what went on at the time.

"Some of you will remember the winter of 1939-1940; it was cold, in fact very cold on the east coast. Returning from Christmas leave, the railway line at Peterborough was blocked by snow and it was several hours before the train could get through to the coast.

We had no heat in the huts where we slept; some fellows in my class of 52 seamen brought back electric heaters and worked them off the electric light flex very efficiently. This went on for some time, until one night a hut was burnt down and that was the end of our heating; all electric fires were confiscated!

During a particularly cold spell one of the fellows found his false teeth frozen hard in a tumbler of water at his bedside.

But for all of this we kept very fit, we were fed well and given plenty of outdoor exercise, including 'square bashing' and PT, together with seamanship tuition. Apart from the usual knots and splices, bends and hitches, we were instructed and taught the 'cats-paw', 'sheepshank', 'monkeys first', 'turks head' and warming, parcelling and serving - several others which have escaped my memory after more than fifty years.

Every Saturday morning the whole establishment, except those on duty, fell in for a march of about ten miles along the coast, wet or fine, led by the Royal Marine Band in a van, followed by the senior class with rifles and fixed bayonets. Each class of about 50 was led by a Chief or Petty Officer and we marched in those days in columns of four. In the middle of all of these columns was another Royal Marine Band, so you can imagine it was most difficult for 800 or more men to keep in step! Gradually a sense of belonging to a large organisation started to creep into us all and we started to value the comradeship of our 'mess mates' and which was to last throughout the war.

Every Sunday morning we fell in by class on the parade ground for church parade and one had to be either Church of England or Catholic. As there was only one padre, Church of England, all Catholics were required to leave the parade ground until after the church service. Accompanied by the R.M.Band we sang lustily all of the old hymns which I had learnt at Crusaders. Just one big male choir, in those days there were few WRNS in the Navy. We also learnt for the first time naval prayers which later, when at sea, brought tears to my eyes. Such as lines like 'be pleased to receive into thy Almighty and most gracious protection the persons of us thy servants and the Fleet in which we serve. Preserve us from dangers of the sea and from the violence of the enemy'. Oh yes, I would sometimes mutter to myself these inspiring words.

The Commodore, Captain or Commander would read the lessons and after the grace from the Padre and the usual reports from the class leaders, the parade would march off to the strains of the R.M.Band.

Shore leave would then be played over the tannoy such as 'leave to port watch from 12 noon to 21:00' followed by 'livery men fall in'. After inspection by the Officer of the watch we handed in our station cards, which would indicate we were ashore, then about 400 men were let loose on the town. The local single-decker bus going to and from town, about 5 miles, was known as the 'libery boat'. One evening I went with some pals to the local Methodist church and after the service we were invited back to the home of the local grocer for 'big eats' and with so much outdoor exercise we were always hungry. The grocer had two nice daughters, so we went to church quite often to be invited back home by Mum and Dad. Like all matelots, we were always complaining about everything amongst ourselves and especially to the grocer and his family that "we wanted a ship". Eventually that day came when our class passed out and my pals and I each received from the grocers family ... a toy battleship!

Tony Baker

Gunner George "Jammy" Priestley Royal Artillery

My father told me the story when I was young. He said when they where hit he was 32yrs old and next to him was a young lad of about 18yrs and he said "We're going to go down Mr help me rip this door off and throw it in" He then took his boots off and jumped in so my father did the same and they paddled holding on the door till the bad swimmers came and tried to climb on it and it sank my father always said the young lad saved his life as they were on the outer of the swimmers and a small Dutch fishing vessels picked up the outer ones but couldn't take many as it wasn't large enough so he ended up in Holland and spent two weeks there before looking for troops to go back to and always had a photo of his Dutch girlfriend he met

Ruth Woodcock

Tel. Alfred Douglas "Dicky" Moore HMS Atlantic Isle

Alfred Moore served in the Royal Navy on Winston's Special Convoys (WS)

I'm writing my Dad's memoirs. Father recently died, so I am continuing to probe his life story without any input. There is simply nobody left in the family who knew him as a child or young man. Anyway, I have now received details, such as they are, from Naval Command of his Naval service during WW2. It cost 30 to have the records dug out and transmitted to me and they are very sketchy indeed. His record sheet has next to no information on it and so the archivists resorted to the Pay and Victualling Records to compile a table of dates and places. Disappointing. Dad was at HMS Royal Arthur in 1942, age 19, and trained as a telegraphist. On the basis of the dates provided by Naval Command I have managed to trace the schedule of the last of the WS convoys (WS33) - on which my father sailed from Clyde to Durban in South Africa on a DEMS carrying troops, including RAF personnel who were returning to duty in the Med. The convoy was escorted into Gibralter where his ship was fitted with toilet facilities for the African troops who were picked up later. This was on the SS Antenor. His papers include details of the increasingly dreadful conditions on the ship as it travelled along the east coast of Africa, picking up troops at various ports. From there he travelled to Durban and HMS Afrikanda for onward transportation to Tristan da Cunha aka Job 9, later commissioned as HMS Atlantic Isle. He worked at a gun loader/later as a gunner on one or more of these ships, earning an extra 3p a day on top of his naval pay. I don't suppose there is anyone still alive who remembers him from those years?

Donald Frank Kassell HS. Cap Saint Jacques

Don Kassell

My father Don Kassell volunteered on his 18th birthday and was sent to HMS Royal Arthur for training. He was trained as a nurse and sent on the Hospital ship Cap Saint Jacques which sailed to South Africa, India and Ceylon amongst others.

Janette Menday

Gnr. Ronald Frederick Hale Royal Artillery

My dad, Ron Hale along with his older brother Harry were retreating to Dunkirk. As my dad suffered from badly blistered feet, when an abandoned motor bike was found Harry got him to ride it and said that they would meet at Dunkirk. When dad got to the beach he walked along crying out "Harry Harry!" The soldiers laughed and mimicked him, but they found each other.

My dad was too short to man the guns so he drove the "ammo" trucks. He hated the flies in Egypt and wouldn't emigrate to Australia because of it. He was at Anzio and got very upset when an Indian soldier refused to leave the foxhole.

Jean Tyson

Samuel Howard "Taff" Mitchell

My father-in-law, Samuel Howard Mitchell, was learning the Butchery trade in Pontypridd until he decided to volunteer for the Royal Navy during the 2nd WW. The Navy took over the Butlins Holiday Camps during the War and Howard was sent up to Skegness Camp to do his Part 1 Training, this had been named HMS Royal Arthur. From tere he was then sent to another Butlins' Holiday camp at Pwllheli, its Naval name being HMS Glendower. He finished his training there and was then to be sent to HMS Drake, Plymouth. From here he was then posted to Naval Party 7049 or (1749) land based in Germany where he remained until Sept 1946. Leaving Germany he was then posted on HMS Urania until he got demobbed in March 1947 his rank at this time was Acting Leading Steward.

He then rejoined the Royal Navy at HMS Drake in November 1950 doing a months refresher course there to bring himself up to date, then on to Brittania Naval College Dartmouth where in March 1951 he got made Leading Steward and posted to HMS Apollo. After the Apollo he went to the carrier HMS Illustrious (31/1/1953 Leading Steward Royal Navy, DLX 752742, HMS Illustrious) where he was made a Petty Officer and left in March 1953. He was then landbased at HMS Drake and Mt Wise. In February 1955 he was posted to the carrier HMS Eagle until January 1957. On then as Captains Steward landbased at HMS Raleigh, Cornwall. From her on to HMS Blackwood then RNAD Culdrose, then back to sea joining HMS Tiger (early 1960's) in the far East. On leaving the Tiger he went to Commodores Personal Steward at HMS Drake. In 1964 he was again posted to HMS Eagle until Feb 1967 when he then went back for 12 months to Mt Wise, Devonport. A further 12 months was then spent at RNAD Culdrose, Cornwall where he then left the Navy as CPO Steward LX.752742

Mr T A Williams

Cliff Kelly-Walley HMS Royal Arthur

I joined the Royal Navy in October 1943, Royal Arthur, where I trained as a telegraphist at Kelvin Park, Glasgow and HMS Scotia. I was then drafted to HMS Tyne and served on Manus Island at the wireless station.

Cliff Kelly-Walley

Thomas Wicks

Thomas Wicks trained in Class 165 at HMS Royal Arthur


CPO. Peter Barnard Lornie HMS Queen Elizabeth

Peter Lornie joined the Royal Navy on August 20 1940. His initial rank was that of Assistant Steward. He was promoted to Leading Steward in February 1941. In January 1943 he was posted to Petty Officer Steward and in January 1945 to a/COG Steward. He was discharged on 26th December 1945.

Peter was posted to the battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth in January 1941 and on 11 February was promoted to Leading Steward. Queen Elizabeth had been rebuilt twice between Wars. She re-joined the Fleet at Scapa Flow in February 1941 and served in the Atlantic and later in the Mediterranean. Peter was on board when HMS Queen Elizabeth was attacked and sunk at her moorings in Alexandria Harbour by Italian frogmen on 19 December 1941.

On 9 May 1942 he joined the cruiser HMS Sirius as a Petty Officer Steward. HMS Sirius was a Dido-class cruiser built in Portsmouth. Her keel was laid in April 1938 and she was launched on the 18 September 1940, and commissioned 6 May 1942. Peter served on HMS Sirius as Petty Officer (Steward) and one of his officers was Commander Richard Colville (later to become Press Secretary to the King and subsequently to Queen Elizabeth. (Peter would receive a Christmas Card from Colville postmarked Buckingham Palace well into the post war period). Peter served on board Sirius until she was bombed on 17th October 1943 and he was injured and hospitalised with multiple wounds to the right hip, thigh, shoulder and left ankle being closed up at his action station while the ship was engaging enemy aircraft. He was wounded as described consequent on the ship receiving a direct hit and several near misses. 14 men were killed and 30 wounded. Sirius returned to Alexandria and later sailed to Massama in Eritrea for repairs.

On 5 January 1945 he joined Force W as an acting Chief Petty Officer (Steward) and was part of Naval Party 2420 serving in the Far East. It has not been possible to determine which ship he served on at this time.

2420 Flag Officer Force W & Staff (attached to Admiralty 10.44 - 11.44/left UK for Delhi 20.11.44/to Chittagong area 12.44/ to Burma (Akyab) 02.45/ Force W to Delhi 05.45/ in India to 08.45/embarked BULOLO*) Chittagong 01.45/Akyab 02-03.45/Kyaukpyu, Ramree Is 04-05.45/Delhi 06-07.45/Bombay08-09.45/BULOLO 09-10.45/ Singapore 11.45 - 01.46/ title lapsed 02.46

Peter Lornie was discharged on 26 December 1945. Peter was awarded the Burma campaign medal along with 39 - 45 Star, Africa Star with North Africa Bar, France and Germany Star and War Medal.

Record of Service 1940 - 45

  • Royal Arthur 20 August 1940 Assistant Steward
  • Victory 2 27 September 1940 Assistant Steward
  • Queen Elizabeth 14 January 1941 Assistant Steward
  • Queen Elizabeth 11 February 1941 Leading Steward
  • Victory 15 January 1942 Leading Steward
  • Sirius 9 May 1942 Leading Steward
  • Sirius 27 January 1943 Petty Officer Steward 17 October 1943 - Injured in bombing attack
  • Victory 2 April 1944 Petty Officer Steward
  • Argus 8 August 1944 Petty Officer Steward
  • Victory 6 December 1944 Petty Officer Steward
  • Odyssey (Force W) 1 January 1945 5 January 1945 a/COG Steward
  • Braganza (NP.2420) 1 June 1945
  • Victory 7 September 1945
  • Victory 26 December 1945 Released Class A

Stkr. John William "Jack" Hill HMS Royal Arthur

My dad was at HMS Royal Arthur from 12th March 1941 to 17th April 1941. He went on to serve on HMS Victory, HMS Rockingham, HMS Ferret, HMS Quebec and HMS Copra. He was a stoker 1st and 2nd class. He service records only go up to 1943, so I don't know which other ships he was on after that, although I remember him talking about HMS Keppel.

Sally Redden

Robert Oliver Grainger Royal Artillery

My father joined the Army as a teenager around 1934. He served in the Royal Artillery and did a lot of driving. In 1942 he met up with his brother in Calcutta whilst on a short leave.

S Wright

Steward Richard Davidson "Mac" Mcpherson Steward HMS Drake

My Dad should be writing this as he was known to be the biggest story teller. I know very little about his service except what I am reading on his Certificate of Service.

He served the Royal Navy between April 1943 and August 1944 when he was discharged and although the writing is difficult to read it looks like he transferred to the Army. He would not speak about his service so no one knows exactly when he left the Army if in fact he did join.

His Naval Service is listed below.

  • 1/4/1943 to 3/5/43 Royal Arthur training
  • 4/5/43 to 21/6/43 Drake
  • 22/6/43 to 9/8/43 Heron
  • 10/8/43 to 16/8/43 Drake
  • 17/8/43 to 30/9/43 Reads like Faust
  • 1/10/43 to 23/2/44 Drake
  • 24/2/44 to 5/7/44 Boscowan
  • 6/7/44 to 19/7/44 Victory
  • 20/7/44 to 24/8/44 Drake

Karen Smith

Mech. John Achilles Daunt HMS Royal Arthur Fleet Air Arm

My uncle, John Achilles Daunt, served at:
  • HMS Royal Arthur from 22nd June until 1st July 1943
  • HMS Gosling from 13th July until 18th September 1943
  • HMS Daedalus from 14th September until 17th October 1943
  • HMS Gannet from 24th February 1944 until 19th March 1944
  • HMS Daedalus from 17th October 1944 until 12th December 1944
  • HMS Merlin from 13th December 1944 until 17th January 1946
  • HMS Flycatcher March 1946 and HMS Dipper April 1946.

    He left the Navy in August 1946 to join the Palestine police and was killed in March 1947. He is buried in Ramleh War Cemetery.

    I have copies of the certificate of service S-459. What does UCH/77477 in the `Nature of Decoration' mean in the section medals, clasps?

  • Owen Daunt

    Arthur Ernest Wesson

    I have a photo of my father, Arthur Wesson, in Class 222 at HMS Royal Arthur. I think he may have been involved in signals and he spoke about twice being sunk on destoyers.

    David Wesson

    Dirk Antoon Schoots HMS Royal Arthur

    My father, Dirk Antoon Schoots, was a war volunteer from Holland. In May/June 1945 he was at HMS Royal Arthur (Skegness), in June/October 1945 at HMS Glendower (Pwhelli) and in October/November 1945 at HMS Excellent (Portsmouth or Plymouth).

    Corry Schoots

    Stwd. Richard Stranack RN Patrol Service (d.8th Aug 1945)

    My uncle, Richard Stranack was a Steward and saw service in the Royal Naval Patrol Service (Harry Tate's Navy). His number was LT/JX229268. He died in the service on 8th August 1945. Does anyone remember him or have photos of Class 104, Royal Arthur?

    Richard Lee

    Alwyn "Bill" Spencer HMS Duckworth

    I am trying to contact anyone who was in class 226 of Royal Arthur, for a family friend called Bill Spencer real name Alwyn. He is deperate to contact some of his old naval mates he went on after the induction to serve on the Duckworth. If you know him please get in touch so he can share some of his wartime memories.

    Val Ingram

    Ralph J. Goodfellow HMS Royal Arthur

    I was at HMS Royal Arthur in September 1943. I was a volunteer and became a Stoker in the Royal Navy.

    Ralph J Goodfellow

    Freddie Briscoe HMS Victory

    My dad, Freddie Briscoe (deceased) was at Royal Arthur from 7th August 1940 until January 1941. He was a physical education student before he joined up. His first ship was HMS Victory (17th January 1941 until 29th January 1941).

    Paddy Briscoe

    Ian Brown HMS Dauntless

    I served on HMS Royal Arthur, HMS Dauntless and HMS Ranpura from 1943 to 1945. I was a CW candidate and would welcome any pics.

    Ian Brown

    Alun Jones HMS Royal Arthur

    My father, Alun Jones served on HMS Royal Arthur, Skegness between 31st December 1941 and 22nd June 1942 as Yeoman of Signals. I have a photo dated 25th March 1942 showing "Class 115".

    Hefin Jones

    Percy William Woodley HMS Pembroke

    Enlistment Notice

    Certicate of service

    I came across my great granddad, Percy William Woodley, war enlistment notice letter and service record from when he was in the Royal Navy. My great granddad was enlisted on Monday 30th Nov 1942 and trained at HMS Royal Arthur at Skegness until 7th of January 1943. He later joined HMS Pembroke.

    Jennifer Dawson

    Robert Sloan Crawford HMS Royal Arthur

    My father Robert Crawford was at HMS Royal Arthur Aug 1940 until Jan 1942 but I know nothing else about his war time service.

    Robert Crawford

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