World War Two - The War At Sea

 

These pages are updated as and when new information or images arrive.The stories from the sea battles fascinated me as a child and that has never waned!
Personal contributions from all over the world and never before seen images accompany many of these pages. I am most definitely NOT a conspiracy theorist so prevalent on the internet today,
I do try to present only fact. A lot of the information below has been compiled by emails from people who took part or were families of people involved and who would like their loved ones remembered.

My subs are all on one site now - http://www.submarinewarfare.uk and my Coastal Forces also on their own site http://www.coastalforces.net . Relevant links below have been adjusted.

 

1943. Record of Royal Naval Actions & Losses.
SS Allende. Her sinking, crew capture and their consequent trek across Africa. Account of the sinking of the SS Allende including eye witness report by Frank Brookes
SS Arandora Star. Sunk by U47, contained German & Italian prisoners
HMT Aston Villa. Born 1937, died 1941 in Norway
SS Athenia. How the U-30 sank, without warning, the liner Athenia on the opening day of the war. Includes an exclusive © survivors account.
SS Athelknight. Sunk by U172
The Battle of The Atlantic. The longest ever continuous battle in history. 3/9/1939 - 8/5/1945.
Atlantic Sun, sunk by the U-607. (Incomplete as yet).
HMS Audacity. The Story of the Audacity and her "previous life" as the MV Hanover, a German cargo ship. Of her capture by HMS Dunedin.
Bismarck. One of World War 2's supreme example of marine engineering.  This formidable battleship was designed for one purpose - to destroy allied shipping.  But for a monumental effort by the Royal Navy and some sheer luck, she would have done devastating damage to the Allied war effort in the Atlantic 3 pages on this beautiful ship.  Large, detailed update on her fate.
Bismarck Chart. This chart records the progress of the opposing forces during the hunt for the Bismarck.
SS Blairlogie. Sunk by U47 not long after the uboat had sunk the Athenia.
British Submarines - Not as well documented as their American and German counterparts. British Submarines operated mainly in secret missions and in the Mediterranean; many were lost on their perilous tasks. Several pages on individual submarines including never before seen items.
Coastal Forces -  An insight into what went on in the Secret War in the English Channel.
City of Benares. Childrens liner torpedoed and sunk b y the U48.
Crests Of The Royal Navy. Ships of the Royal Navy in World War 2. If you have a crest of your Royal Naval Ship of WW2, send it to me for inclusion on this page?
Convoy PQ17. How decisions by those behind desks crucified the convoy and killed many many civilian lives.
Defence Equipped Merchant Ships (DEMS). Regular forces but civilian ships.
Duncan Cameron Kennedy. A look at the life afloat of a ships Captain, who, in WW2, was Mentioned in Despatches for his heroism in a lifeboat.
Empire Mersey. Sunk by the U618.
Empire Webster.  Sunk by the U77.
Exercise Tiger. Tiger was a little known, highly secret exercise for many years, but disastrous - preceding D Day. April 1944 and 749 US soldiers lost their lives to 9 German E boats. Could it have been avoided? Did the US High Command make an almighty mess? A massive cover up ensued and lies told to relatives. Soldiers told keep it shut - or be shot!
SS Eumaeus. Sunk by Italian submarine Comandante Cappellini. Whose captain then grossly exaggerated his claims to make it look better.
SS Gairsoppa. Torpedoed by the U101
HMS Fidelity. Special Operations Ship. How a small, insignificant, British built French freighter tried to change the course of the war.
Japanese Heavy Cruiser Haguro. The last destroyer action of World War 2 in which several British destroyers found and destroyed the Heavy Cruiser Haguro. All due to a radar operator who would not take no for an answer!
The Hedgehog. Its inventor, Charles Goodeve, and how he got Churchill to accept it as a weapon against the U boat. Used with great effect by Capt Johnnie Walker.
HMS Hood. How the pride of the Royal Navy went to her doom with a shell straight through the deck into a magazine
USS Indianapolis. At 0014hrs on 30 July, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the Philippine Sea. She sank in only 12 minutes. Of the 1,196 men on board, approximately 300 went down with the ship. What went wrong?
The 'Invasion' of America! How a Jap sub sparked off an invasion panic. The people of Santa Barbara running in circles!!
HMS Kite. This has grown into over 15 pages, and now in its own site, the remarkable story of the short life of a Royal Naval Black Swan Class Sloop in WW2.  Personal items, images, transcript of the Board of Inquiry, copies of secret signals and never before seen photographs provided by Ray Holden, whose brother Tom lost his life when Kite lost hers. This is the only and original site on the internet giving so much info on this  "Walker" ship.
RMS Lancastria. Sunk by a german bomber
HMS Lapwing. 20th March 1945, sunk by U968 who radioed in as sinking a destroyer, In fact it was the Black Swan Sloop. 158 Dead.
Loch Killin & Loch Fada. life aboard the Loch Killin and her successful part of Captain Walker's Second Support Group in 1944. Its a very well written piece and a worthy read of conditions of the time.
HMT Lord Wakefield. Trawler sunk off the D Day beaches
LST 322 - the story of one man who took part in the invasions of Sicily, Salerno, Anzio and Normandy
LST 368 - This is an extensive recollection of the War of Frank Weeks, a sailor in WW2. Celebrated his 91st Birthday in 2013. Copyright © Frank/Alan Weeks March 2013
Able Seaman Lunt HMS Kite. A sailors scrapbook. Life on board two ships in WW2, HMS Camellia and then, fatefully, HMS Kite. Never before seen images thanks to his scrapbook and his grandson, Paul Masterson, Crosby, Liverpool.
Merchant Navy. The role of the Merchant Navy in World War Two.  Civilian sailors in the thick of the fighting. 30,000 civilians died in the MN in the longest battle of WW2 by enemy action.
Merchant Navy ancestors. how to trace yours.
Merchant Naval Recollections. Memories of the MN in WW2
HMS Mermaid. A sailors account of life aboard the Mermaid, a Black Swan Class Sloop during WW2
MGB's. The boats themselves and a story of a particular sailor, Norman Hine; his trials and tribulations on the seas of WW2 on board an MGB (Motor Gun Boat) with the Royal Navy. A hero of those times. New coastal site
MGB 357. Fairmile class MGB.
MGB 508. Master Standfast. A letter concerning the capture of the Master Standfast, by the Germans, in November 1943. New coastal site
Motor Launch 150. Walter Woods was Engine Mechanic of board one of Peter Scott's Flotilla. This is Walter's story. New coastal site
MTB 694. Wally Saunders own story of life aboard in World War Two. New coastal site
MTB 755. Fred A Brettell sailed this MTB, possibly out of Lowestoft. His son, Colin, would appreciate any information. New coastal site
KARL HEINZ MOEHLE at Nurnberg Trials. U Boat Commander. He volunteered to stand trial in order to clear his name.
HMS Mohawk. Sunk in the battle to destroy a German Troop convoy
HMS Petard. From Enigma Secrets to being the only allied warship to sink a German, Italian and a Jap sub in ww2.
HMS Prince of Wales. Sunk by Japanese aircraft on 10th December 1941, 3 days after the attack on Pearl Harbour
HMS Punjabi. The story of her sinking by Ken Tipper.
HMS Royal Oak. The sinking of the Battleship Royal Oak with some unique images sent to me by a forum friend.
Scharnhorst. The story of the Battle-Cruiser Scharnhorst and her death in the Battle of The North Cape.
Scottish Heather. Torpedoed by U225. But crew were not having it!!
Silent Hunters - The US submarine war in the Pacific. New page (Nov 2014) (silent hunter 4) is about the R14, taken from Life Magazine Sept 18th 1939.
SS St Margaret. Left Liverpool on 2 Feb 1943 for South America. Only to be met by the U66
SS Steuben. Like The Wilhelm Gustloff below, and by the same submarine, enormous loss of life ensued from the torpedoing of this refugee ship carrying German civilians and troops.
HM Submarine Thetis. Sank on 1 June 1939 on her first sea trial on the River Mersey. How she was raised, renamed and fought on as HMS Thunderbolt. The submarine that was sunk - twice!
U Boat War. 1939 - 1943. How close these U Boats came to winning the war for Germany is well documented. Here are my own pages on this crucial phase in the Battle of the Atlantic.  Of 40,000+ German sailors who left port; 30,000+ did not return. That's 75%!!!
U Boats losses of WW2. Chronological index
U Boat U33. A dangerous mission, and a heaven sent opportunity for the British. Enigma components were found.
U Boat U234. The U 234 and her secret cargo to Japan and how it finally did arrive there, but not as they expected!
U Boat U344. The U 344 is the one sank HMS Kite, the only "success" of its career. Contains some archive images & documents. Some information has been removed, as someone, from a u boat site, who I didn't get the material off, claimed copyright and wanted cash up front or threatened legal action to "recover" the sum of 40 euros! Therefore the information, vital to our continued quest for knowledge, has been removed and deleted from my computer.
U Boat U534. Sunk on the last day of the war and raised in the 1990s. The U 534 is now a resident on Merseyside, the home port of the Battle of the Atlantic in WW2. Images of a visit I made there in August 2000 and later. The U534 has left her home on Birkenhead docks in Feb 2008. Now at Woodside Ferry Terminal Birkenhead on The Wirral and open to the public.
Capt Johnnie Walker. He was the master U Boat hunter of the Battle of the Atlantic.  This is the story of a remarkable, yet very ordinary Royal Naval Officer who devised a deadly method of combating the threat from Germany's U boats.  He could "smell" a U boat and, accompanied by a small flotilla, took them on and won against all the odds. Includes pages on his ships, Wild Goose, Wren, Magpie, Woodcock, Woodpecker, etc. HMS Kite has her own site
HMS Westcott. Once credited with first successful; 'hedgehog' attack but now known to have sunk U581 by ramming.
HQ Western Approaches. This until recently secret and forgotten HQ was probably the most responsible HQ of all for "winning" the war. Without HQ Western Approaches and her ships Britain would have been starved into submission. Based in Liverpool, I recommend a visit to it to see for yourself. Authentically original in all aspects. Even if the signal message pad is 1986 MoD issue!!
Yamato. The pride of the Japanese Imperial Navy, her destruction by the plane that sank it. Planes torpedo's were deliberately reset, in flight, for 23 feet, UNDER the armour!
Wilhelm Gustloff. A maritime disaster that by far eclipsed events such as the Lusitania or the Athenia, the relatively unknown story of the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff by a Soviet submarine
HMS Zulu. A Tribal Class Destroyer that died as a result of Italian bombings in the Med in Sept 1942 and of Eric Bell who served upon her.
   
  My Book. It's WW2, fact, and is called On A Sailors Grave (No Roses Grow). Written by me and is now available online or order it from your booksellers. Publisher is Woodfield Publications and it costs £10.95.
Looking for images of old ships? Try http://www.photoship.co.uk/