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

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- HMS Somali during the Second World War -

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HMS Somali

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

Those known to have sailed in

HMS Somali

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Carr William. Able Sea. (d.24th September 1942)
  • Davidson .
  • Ellis Leonard Walter. Stkr1. (d.24th Sep 1942)

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Davidson HMS Somali

My father served on HMS Somali and survived the sinking of 20-24 September 1942.

Jeff Donaldson

Stkr1. Leonard Walter Ellis HMS Somali (d.24th Sep 1942)

My great uncle Leonard Ellis was a Stoker 1st class on HMS Somali. She was torpedoed by a U-Boat returning with an Arctic Convoy. She was towed by HMS Ashanti for four days before breaking up, taking with her 45 volunteers manning her, inclunding Len. Does anyone have any info on what went on during those four days?

Update: The following is from 'The Admiralty Regrets' by Paul Kemp: "At 19.20 hrs on 20 September 'Somali' was torpedoed by U.703. The torpedo completely blew away the midships portion of the port side so that the ship was only held together by the upper deck and the starboard side as far down as the keel. The port turbine simply fell through the bottom of the ship. All non-essential personnel were transferred to other ships, leaving a towing party of eighty on board. The towing party were forbidden to go below and lived under a tarpaulin rigged on the forecastle. 'Somali' was taken in tow by 'Ahanti'. The weather was excellent and throughout the 21st working parties came over from Ashanti and threw overboard all non-essential equipment. However, that evening Somali's dynamo broke down and with that there was no power for the pumps. Hand pumps could not keep the water under control so all available ships contributed lengths of cable so that power could be supplied from Ashanti. Within an hour power was restored and Somali's list had decreased from 17 degs. to 12 degs. and speed was increased to 6 knots. Ashanti now desperately needed to fuel so when the oiling ship RFA 'Blue Ranger' appeared on the 22nd she simply steamed ahead of Ashanti and floated a hose down to her. Blue Ranger, Ashanti and Somali were now all linked together. By the evening of the 23rd the weather which had been fine, broke. Precautions were taken; Blue Ranger laid an oil slick ahead to calm the waves, while the trawler 'Lord Middleton' steamed astern of Somali ready to take off the towing party. But the storm proved so violent that the oil slick was quickly broken up and Lord Middleton could not get near enough to take off survivors. Just after 02.00 hours on the 24th Somali simply folded in two. The stern half sank quickly whilst the bow section sank steadily and vertically. Survivors were rescued by the Lord Middleton and Ashanti'. Kemp includes two photographs of Somali, one with a list to port just after being torpedoed, and another of the Blue Ranger refuelling Ashanti which is towing Somali. (David)


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