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

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- HMS Heron during the Second World War -

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HMS Heron

   HMS Acheron was an A-Class Fleet Destroyer, launched on 18th March 1930, built by John I Thornycroft at Woolston. Atteh outbreak of war she was undergoing repairs at Portsmouth and did not join the 18th Destroyer Flotilla based at Portsmouth for patrol and convoy defence in the English Channel until October. However further repairs were needed and on the 12th of December she was taken back into the dockyard. She was not deployed again until April of 1940 when she joined the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow for Convoy defence and screening duties in support of the landings in Norway.

She took part in Operation Alphabet, escorting Ark Royal in June and at the end of the month returned to Portsmouth to have 3inch high angle guns fitted. Soon after returning to duty in the English Channel she was damaged during a dive bomb attack 10 miles south of St Catherine's Point. Once again she returned to Portsmouth for repairs and whilst there was seriously damaged in an air raid, with two crew members being killed and another three injured.

Repairs were completed in December but she hit a mine off the Isle of Wight during post refit trails and sank quickly. 167 of the ship's crew and 25 Dockyard workers who were onboard for the trials were lost, only 19 survivors were rescued.


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

Those known to have sailed in

HMS Heron

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Brewin Frank. Able Sea. (d.17th December 1940)
  • Brooks Harry O.. Stoker (d.17th December 1940)
  • Crunden Ronald Allenby. Able Sea. (d.17th Dec 1940)
  • Cutts Howard. Able Sea. (d.17th Dec 1940)
  • Dobson Joseph. Able Sea. (d.17 Dec 1940)
  • Doust Frederick James Thomas. Stoker 1st Class (d.17th Dec 1940)
  • Hannabuss John Henry. Ord.Sea. (d.17th Dec 1940)
  • Ireland Chapman. Sea.
  • Kelly John Charles. PO Stwd (d.24th Aug 1940)
  • Matthews Reginald William. Able Sea. (d.17th Dec 1940)
  • Mclean Harold. Able Sea.
  • Mcpherson Richard Davidson. Steward
  • Owen Edna Grace.
  • Parnwell Francis. Stkr2. (d.17th Dec 1940)
  • Perkins Christopher Harry. Able Sea. (d.17th Dec 1940)
  • Pitcher Stanley George. Able Sea. (d.17th December 1940)
  • Putman Silvester Joseph. PO. (d.17th Dec 1940)
  • Spratt Thomas Plimmer. Able Seaman (d.17 Dec 1940)
  • Whitworth Tom. Able Sea. (d.17th Dec 1940)
  • Worthington Alfred. Able Sea. (d.19th Dec 1940)

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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There are 1 pages in our library tagged HMS Heron  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Second World War.

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Able Seaman Thomas Plimmer Spratt HMS Acheron (d.17 Dec 1940)

This is my Uncle Tom who went down on the Acheron in 1940. he was 21 years old. I think it is now too late to contact anyone who might have served with him. He was also on the HMS Hood for a while.

Joyce Curtin

Stoker 1st Class Frederick James Thomas " " Doust (d.17th Dec 1940)

Frederick Doust was my Great Uncle who served on the destroyer HMS Acheron. He was stoker 1st class and went down with the ship at the age of 39 leaving behind sisters, wife and children.

Glenda Marshall

Able Sea. Alfred Worthington HMS Acheron (d.19th Dec 1940)

Paul Worthington

Able Sea. Reginald William Matthews HMS Acheron (d.17th Dec 1940)

Able Seaman Reginald Matthews was my Grandfather. He served with the Royal Navy since the age of 16. He left in 1935 when my father was born. He was called up at the start of WW2 and served on HMS Acheron as a stoker until his death in December 1940. He was 35 years old and left behind his wife and my fathe.

Debbie Lancastle

PO Stwd John Charles Kelly HMS Acheron (d.24th Aug 1940)

John Kelly was my uncle, he was one of the three casualties when HMS Acheron was bombed whilst in Portsmouth Harbour. John was an orphan at birth having been abandoned by his mother. His wife was Dorothy Kelly (nee Mellor). He had four children, John, Keith, Joan and "Dinks" who lives in New Zealand and is about 85 years young. I am researching the family tree so any info would be appreciated.

Michael King

Able Sea. Joseph "Forger" Dobson HMS Acheron (d.17 Dec 1940)

Joseph Dobson was my mam's brother and he was killed on the Acheron, I don't know too much, despite my searching. I'm not sure if he was killed in the initial air raid at Portsmouth, or when the Acheron went down off the Isle of Wight. He was an Able Seaman, so would have been known to some of the survivors; infact, seeing how small the crew was, he was probably known by all of them. I've only seen one photograph of him, and he passed before my mother was born.

My brother and I (Joe's nephews) both went on to serve in the RN, so maybe it's in our blood after all. I wish I'd known him, but I would also like to know more about him. RIP those who were killed.

Ian Harris

Able Sea. Ronald Allenby Crunden HMS Acheron (d.17th Dec 1940)

Ronald Allenby Crunden was my great uncle serving on HMS Acheron. He also served on HMS Hood at some point. His two brothers, Frederick (my grandfather) and Sydney, were also killed in action.

Andy Crunden

Sea. Chapman Ireland HMS Acheron

My uncle, Chapman Ireland, who is now nearly 95 was aboard the Acheron when it was sunk. He was one of the survivors. He went on to serve in the Far East with the Royal Navy. He has the Atlantic star and the Burma star.

Wilma Daly

Able Sea. Howard Cutts HMS Acheron (d.17th Dec 1940)

Howard Cutts went down with his ship, aged 21.

William  Dyer

Stoker Harry O. Brooks HMS Acheron (d.17th December 1940)

Harry O. Brooks was my mother's first husband, and what I have to tell is from my late mother, backed up by a search on an Ancestry website. Harry served on HMS Acheron and went down with her off the Isle of Wight on 17th December 1940. Born in Nottinghamshire in December 1915, married in June 1939. His name is on the War Memorial on Portsmouth Sea Front. I was born in 1948, after my mother remarried. Not much to tell of a man I never knew, but I salute him. My father and grandfather served and survived.

Graham Lever

Able Sea. Harold Mclean HMS Acheron

My uncle, Harold Mclean, who was on leave from the HMS Acheron at the time of sinking. Any information would be appreciated.

Jim Mclean

PO. Silvester Joseph Putman HMS Acheron (d.17th Dec 1940)

Silvester Putman was my maternal grandfather, he was 32 when he died, leaving a pregnant wife, and a 20 month old daughter. My Nan never re-married.

Paul Woolerton

Able Sea. Tom Whitworth HMS Acheron (d.17th Dec 1940)

Tom Whitworth, gunnery Able Seaman, served aboard HMS Acheron. He is survived by his wife for 73 years and remembered every day. A regular sailor, pre-war serving in the China station. He feared he knew what was coming and married only a few short months before he died while on weekend leave.

Stephen Proctor

Able Sea. Christopher Harry Perkins H.M.S. Acheron (d.17th Dec 1940)

Christopher Harry Perkins P/SSX29931 served as an Able Seaman on H.M.S. Acheron. He was lost when the Ship was sunk on 17th December 1940. He was 21 years old. He grew up in Killamarsh in North East Derbyshire. Sadly, I know nothing of him but my mother, who was only a child at the time, grew up in the same village and has never forgotten him. I hope his parents found peace.

Keith Nichols

Stkr2. Francis Parnwell HMS Acheron (d.17th Dec 1940)

Francis Parnwell served on HMS Acheron, he was the son of Constance Emma Parnwell, his father, Francis H Parnwell, had died in 1938.

Carol Malone

Able Sea. Frank Brewin HMS Acheron (d.17th December 1940)

My uncle Frank Brewin was an able seaman aboard HMS Acheron. He was 21 years old when she went down in 1940. He had been transferred from the HMS Hood.

Rebecca Sheehan

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

Edna Grace Owen Fleet Air Arm

My mother was in the Fleet Air Arm. She served on HMS Merlin, HMS Spartiate in 1944, HMS Fledgling, HMS Heron as a specialist air mechanic and HMS Merlin in 1944-46 from where she was released in November 1946. She died in 2002.

Owen Daunt

Ord.Sea. John Henry Hannabuss H.M.S. Acheron (d.17th Dec 1940)

John Henry Hannabuss, Ordinary Seaman, died on HMS Acheron on 17th Dec 1940. My uncle I never met and brother to my father. John was 21 when he was lost.

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