Fri May 30th 1941 Liverpool

A message from Reykjavik, Iceland stated last night that the only three survivors of H M S HOOD ,the battle cruiser sunk by the BISMARK off Greenland have landed there.

They are Midshipman DUNDAS, Signalman ? BRIGGS and Seaman R. TILBURN whose home is Leeds.

H M S HOOD had a normal compliment of 1,341

Among the deaths are Capt Ralph KERR and Lieut Bernard STUBBS, son of Lieut Col Sr Russell KERR. During the last year he served in the BENLAW which flew the flag of Admiral STURDEL at the battle of Jutland. From 1918 was Commander of Patrol boat and the Destroyer COSSACK. Promoted Captain in 1935 commanded 21st Destroyer Flotilla Home Fleet, later 2nd Destroyer Flotilla Mediterranean.

Lieut Bernard STUBBS. R.N.V.R before the war broadcast commentaries on naval matters.

June 4th 1941



The only officer to survive the HOOD disaster Midshipman William DUNDAS, age 17 is now in Iceland. His mother recieved a cable from him to say he was well and hopes to soon be back in Britian. DUNDAS had just left Dartmouth and was on his first voyage. His Grandfather the late Capt DUNDAS served in the Crimea as a midshipman at the age of 12.

Two H.M.S. HOOD officers were yesterday announced, "missing believed killed" They are Lieut Commander A.R.T. BATLEY. R.N.V.R. son of the late Mr and Mrs S.T. BATLEY of Whitkirk Leeds, and Lieut Commander J.G.P BROWNRIGG. R.N. of Rockland Helensburgh and eldest son of Canon R.G.P. BROWNRIGG also Lambert Charles SHEPHERD [no rank given] only son of Major and Mrs SHEPHERD of Bangor Northern Ireland formerly London.

The death in action of Lieut Commander William Alexander ELLIOTT. R.N. of H.M.S. MASHONA a destroyer of the tribal class which took part in operations against the BISMARCK last week and was sunk the following day in a heavy attack by German aircraft.

Wed Jun 25th 1941

Enemy aircraft which attacked our minesweepers on Monday destroyed by H.M.Trawler SOLON, Sub, Lieut J. S. WATT, R.N.R.

During engagements H.M. Trawler NOGI, Lieut Com, J. N. CARRIS, B.N.R was damaged by bombs,she was taken in tow by H. M. Trawler CONTENDER, Skipper A. E. KATTLESS.R.N.R. and SOLON but subsequently sank three wounded casualities.

Sat Jun 28th 1941

The board of the Admiralty regrets to announce that the Sloop H.M.S, GRIMSBY, Com K. S. d'ARCY. R.N, has been sunk, next of kin of casualties informed.

Sat Jun 28th 1941

Prison Ship Captured

78 British Merchant Men freed

Details are available of how the 78 British Merchant Navy men were liberated from a nazi prison ship the ALSTERTOR

W. G. JOHNSON of Ilfracombe Steward of the S.S.RABAUL victim of a German raider tells the story to a correspondent at Gibralter.

The prisoners on the Alsterton cheered themselves hoarse in the hold, when I told them with my eyes glued to a tiny rivet hole of the approach of British destroyers.

Suddenly the speed of the ship increased we sensed rescue was near,. I could see through the peep hole only the mast of the German ship. Pulsing with exitement we felt the vessel then slowing down, I recognised the German for British Warship, I shouted,"GLORIOUS NEWS".

Madly happy and cheering the hatch was flung open, daylight flooding in, a German Officer said, "British Warships have us fast, we are abandoning ship you may have the big boats and raft".

The British Destroyers came alongside the ship there were terrific explosions as scuttling charges went off, lots of debris rained down. We saw the prison ship rear at the stern and plunge vertically into the sea.

We are the luckiest men alive, we were in 24hrs steaming off Bordeaux and had given up hope.

The RABAUL was sunk at 1am on May 14th by an ex-merchant ship armed with 6ins guns, 20 high explosives were fired at point blank range, 8 crew and 1 passenger were killed, we left the burning ship on rafts and were picked up by the raider.

Many of us were wounded including myself and were treated by raiders Doctor. We were treated well and conditions were good, we slept in bunks and extra hammocks between decks, we had 4hrs a day on deck for exercise.

The raider sank another ship the TRAFALGER, 12 crew were killed rest of the crew were taken on board.

We were 17 days aboard and then transfered to the cargo ship JAPARA, the conditions were extremely bad, 78 of us jammed together in the hold sleeping on sacks, food and ventilation were bad. We were aboard 16 days and on June 15th put aboard the ALSTERTOR, an ex fruit ship fitted as a prison ship. We had no harsh treatment even when I was caught throwing a bottle message into the sea.

ALSTERTOR bombed by British flying ship June 22nd 78 men rescued.


Copyright 2002 / To date