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

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- HMS Victory during the Second World War -


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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

HMS Victory




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



Those known to have sailed in

HMS Victory

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Bowdell Henry. Able.Sea.
  • Bowdell Henry. Able Sea.
  • Cheetham Elijah. Able Seaman.
  • Grover Frederick Thomas. PO.
  • Gunning Edward Michael.
  • Harfitt James. Mech.1
  • Jennings James William.
  • Jones Harry Fredrick. Asst Steward.
  • Knott Archibald John. Able Sea.
  • Lornie Peter Barnard. CPO.
  • Love Gilbert. Seaman.
  • Mcpherson Richard Davidson. Steward
  • McVittie Francis Gordon. A B
  • Mitton Leonard Henry. Ldg. Signalman (d.11 Nov 1942)
  • Osborn Raymond Arthur. Able Sea.

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. Elijah Cheetham HMS Penelope

My brother Elijah Cheetham, served on HMS Penelope and was onboard when she was sunk on the 18th of February 1944. I was 8 years old at that time. Recent documentarion has come to light confirming his service record. He volunteered for the Navy on the 28th of July 1943, his service is listed as comencing on 17th of December 1943, his 18th birthday. However he began his training at HMS Raleigh on the 28th of July 1943, transferring to HMS Victory on the 5th of October.

He joined HMS Penelope on the 12th of November 1943 and served onboard until she was lost in Feb 1944. He survived the sinking and sent a letter to his mother two weeks later. Here are some extracts from that letter:

From Mess 1, Ferdola Barracks, Malta.

I'm terribly sorry I haven't written to you for the last fortnight, I have been rather ill in hospital. I am a survuivor of HMS Penelope. As you know we have been doing a lot of work on the 5th Army front and our rewards was as follows:

It was Friday morning Feb 18th and we were well on our way to Anzio to give Jerry another suprise packet, but it was us that received the suprise. All of a sudden there was a terrific explosion and everyone dived for the gangway to get on the upper deck to see what was happening. We had been torpedoed but the ship was not sinking, although it had listed badly to starboard. No one was in a panic because there were too many lads injured to start worrying about ourselves, so we did the best we could to get the injured lads to sickbay. Shortly afterwards there came two more explosions (torpedoes) and the ship split in two so it was everyman for himself. I didn't hesitate because before I knew where I was I hit the water fully dressed, including sea boots, stockings and overalls.

I tried to swim for it but couldn't because my sea boots seemed to be dragging me under. I kicked these off and my overalls. Much to my relief I was able to keep my head up even though the sea was rough. I swam about for a bit but I soon got fatigued and felt myself slipping. Family came to mind and I struck out with renewed strength. After three hours I was finally picked up and dragged aboard absolutley naked apart from my waist belt and ring. Three tots of rum sent me to sleep.

We were taken to a hospital in Naples and there I have been for the last fortnight. We were then drafted to this camp once more and I was told that I should be going home. The big nobs think otherwise. I haven't done enough time out here yet, so I must stay. That's how you get treated as a survivor. All we have been issued with is toilet gear and battle dress, so it looks as if I shall have to buy new kit myself.

There were 750 in the ships company and only 200 were saved. Terrible isn't it. I am pleased to say that Stan Lake survived. I couldn't write to you seperatley. I have had to smuggle this into the country, the ship hasn't been announced as sunk yet. We are not allowed to mention that we survived. Paddy is going home so I have asked him to post this for me in England. It doesn't get sensored there, but he insists on bringing this personally. I do hope he makes it becasue I know he will get a great welcome. Please try not to worry too much about me I'm ok now and believe me I'm willing to go back and give Jerry exactly what I received and more. Even though I'm not coming home I still have that consolation of squaring things up.

Cherrio and God bless you all. Your loving son Lidge xxxx.

Elijah joined the Black Prince in July 1944 and served onboard for the remainer of the war, he was discharged on the 8th of December 1946 as having served with very good character.

Roy Cheetham.



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



Able.Sea. Henry Bowdell HMS Revenge

My 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



James William Jennings HMS Medina

My father, James William Jennings, was drafted into the Fleet Air Arm when joining up in 1941 and served as an Air mechanic. He served on ships such as the Medina, Daedalus, Kestrel, Candor, Victory, Merlin and Nighthawk (the ship he was on when he was discharged. Most of the war he spent in South Africa. I am hoping to find out more about his shipmates and people he served with during the war. I know he was in the Royal Naval Air Squad hockey team. But apart from that I don't know much. Sadly he died in 1975, long before I could be interested in his war time experiences.

Kay Charlotte Jennings



A B Francis Gordon "Mac" McVittie MID HMS Nelson

My 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



Able Sea. Raymond Arthur Osborn HMS Howe

My 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



Seaman. Gilbert "Gibby" Love HMS Copra

Gilbert Love, known as Gibby served on HMS Victory, HMS Saunders & HMS Copra during WW2.

Josephine Killoran



Able Sea. Henry Bowdell HMS Collingwood

My 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



Mech.1 James Harfitt MiD. HMS Sturgeon

My Dad, James Harfitt (born Oct.3 1914,) went to school on the training ship HMS Indefatigable when he was 12. After leaving (with quite a good record) briefly joined Merchant Navy and then volunteered for the Royal Navy for 12 years on the 4th of September 1933. He retrained at HMS Victory as a Stoker 2nd class, at HMS Neptune as a Stoker 1st class. He volunteered for service in Submarines on the 8th of Dec. 1934. He went on to serve on the L69 and HMS Sturgeon (Titania flotilla). He was Mentioned in Despatches on the 13th of November 1940. He was promoted to Acting Ldg. Stoker on the 9th of April 1940, then Leading Stoker on the 9th of April 1941.

He was at HMS Victory from 2nd of May 1941, then HMS Drake as A/S PO, then Mech. 2nd class. He joined HMS Sirius on the 21st of Feb. 1943 and was promoted to Mech.1 on the 1 Jan.1944. serving onboard until 30 Aug. 1945. He returned to HMS Victory on the 31st of Aug. 1945 until 21st of Dec. 1945. His ashes were scattered at sea in June 1980.




Edward Michael Gunning HMS Collingwood

My 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



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




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







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