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Thread: HMS Welshman - RAF casualties

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    Default HMS Welshman - RAF casualties

    This afternoon I attended the annual memorial service in St George's Centre, Chatham, for HMS Welshman, a Fast Minelaying Cruiser, which was torpedoed on 1st February 1943 while doing a re-supply run between Malta and Alexandria. The reason that I attend is because on the Memorial there is a plate giving the names of 7 RAF personnel who had been injured in Malta and were being transported to the mainland for treatment and then back to the UK. Unfortunately, they were lost when the ship sank, there names were:-

    Sgt W Smith
    Sgt R Stevenson
    Cpl K Davies
    Cpl W Essex
    LAC R Bond
    LAC G Lamb
    AC2 W Brown

    At the service I had the honour to parade my RAFA Branch Standard.

    Robin.

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    Hello Robin,

    At 17.15 hours on 1 Feb, 1943, U-617 fired a spread of four torpedoes at a vessel identified as cruiser of the Dido class and observed two hits and a boiler explosion. At 17.55 hours, the ship capsized and sank by the stern after two hours. The victim was HMS Welshman (M 84) (Capt W.H.D. Friedberger, DSO, RN) which sank 35 miles east-northeast off Tobruk, Libya. Nine officers and 139 ratings were lost, also an unknown number of military passengers (among them two civilians and four aircrew members that had been badly burnt in a plane crash on Malta)*. Only a few survivors were rescued by HMS Tetcott (L 99) (LtCdr R.H. Rycroft, RN) and HMS Belvoir (L 32) (A.LtCdr J.F.D. Bush, DSC, RN).

    http://www.uboat.net/allies/merchants/ships/2614.html

    The seven airmen mentioned by Robin, are:

    521466 Sgt William SMITH RAF - Serving in HMS Welshman.
    541565 Sgt Roy Matthew STEVENSON RAF - Serving in HMS Welshman.
    913563 Cpl Kenneth Frederick DAVIES RAFVR
    573854 Cpl William Russell ESSEX RAF
    541180 LAC Ronald Douglas BOND RAF - Serving in HMS Welshman.
    646479 LAC Gerald Barry LAMB RAF - Serving in HMS Welshman.
    184479 AC2 William George Charles BROWN RAFVR

    All commemorated on the Malta Memorial.

    *Be interesting to see what GRO War Deaths says about their units.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 2nd February 2010 at 13:25.

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    Hi Col.

    Interesting information on the personnel. During the afternoon I spoke with a couple of the survivors who were present at the service and although it was 67 years ago their recollections were quite clear, they said that they were in the water for a few hours after the ship sank and it was very dark when the rescue ships arrived. One of the survivors, a PO Stoker, remembers that when the ship was loading in Malta, he was off duty, and helped with getting the casualties on board and making them comfortable, and they were placed below on the aft mine deck. Unfortunately, when the ship went down, the casualties were lost.

    Robin

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    Default mixed crews

    Another interesting example of RAF working within a ship crew. Were they gunners or something else? Would be very curious to know.
    Dee

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    Also have as casualties of the HMS Welshman and buried El Alamein War Cem.:

    537562 Cpl (Fitter.IIA) Leonard HARVEY;
    1100450 Cpl (Clerk GD) Henry S. HYSLOP, and
    1025060 Sgt (Fitter/Armourer) Leonard A. KEARSLEY.

    Henk.

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    All the names above are listed simply as HMS Welshman on the GRO list. Col, are the names of the plane crash airmen included in your list?

    Using Geoff's site, they are the only seven RAF names on Malta memorial for that date.

    The three men Henk listed are also listed as HMS Welshman.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Dennis,

    At the moment, I have no idea. We need to establish when they sustained their injuries before we can determine that.

    I'm working on it.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 2nd February 2010 at 16:25.

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    Hi.

    On the St George's Centre HMS Welshman Memorial, the only RAF names present are the seven that I gave, these are on a separate plaque below the main memorial, the three extra names are not mentioned on either memorial.

    Robin.

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    Although listed as "HMS WELSHMAN", were these chaps really members of the crew? The only reason that RAF men would have been official crew members (rather then passengers) that I can think of would be that they were the servicing personnel for a Walrus allocated to the ship, but so far as I know most aircraft allocated to RN cruisers would have been removed by this stage of the war. Any comments. Was WELSHMAN ever fitted with an aircaft catapult?
    David D

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    Hi all, there is no more info about the RAF men as it is stricly RN but someone may find it interesting:

    http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-07ML-Welshman.htm

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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