The Neptune Association


Welcome to the HMS Neptune public forum, designed to exchange information related to HMS Neptune and HMS Kandahar. By scrolling down this page, you can read the many messages here relating to Neptune. Don't miss the older messages from 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008-2010 and 2011-2012. If in difficulty loading photos it is because they use too much memory. Just write the text and I will make contact. To get in touch, simply ADD A NEW MESSAGE in the forum, or email John McGregor directly using the address shown here:

johnmcgregor AT hmsneptune DOT com

Bruce Garlick

from: John McGregor, 13 Sep 2021, 17:23


I have picked out Bruce's message and sent it as an attachment

Dear John,

Many many many thanks. Choking up hearing his voice. Cant tell you how touched I am you took the time to share. Our family lost a number of men in WW1 & WW2 and my cousin Bruce was an only child so his loss was I am sure especially devastating to his parents. His father, George Octavius Garlick was a WW1 veteran of North Africa, Suez, and France who managed to make it through numerous battles until 1917 before being wounded at Messines Ridge.

My great grandfather was a stretcher bearer, my grandfather was a spitfire pilot who was shot down by Adolf Galland in 1941 and spent 4 years in captivity and Bruce Garlicks cousin, my other great uncle Brian was killed piloting a bomber. Several other relations were killed as well, but Bruce is the only one I am aware of that we have a voice recording of. Very special. Thank you again sir.

Warm regards,
Hyrum Palmer
US Army (Ret)

Able Seaman Bruce Garlick

from: John McGregor, 13 Sep 2021, 14:27

Good to hear from you Hyrum. Yes your Great Uncle Able Seaman Bruce Garlick was one of the 63 NZs who left a Xmas message on Track 6 of the recording . You are the first relative of Bruce to make contact. Have you a photo of him as we have not got one? The detail I have is GARLICK, Able Seaman, BRUCE CAMPION, A/1885.H.M.S. Neptune. Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve. Age 22.
Son of Octavius George and Margaret Helen Garlick, of Epsom, Auckland.

I am not sure how to produce a wav.file from the very large Mb Radio NZ sound archives recording but will get help! If I succeed I will use your email address and send it as an attachment.

Looking for recording of Bruce Garlick on xmas greeting

from: Hyrum Palmer, 5 Aug 2021, 17:49

G'Day all,

Just would like to hear the recording of my cousin Bruce Garlick who was recorded on the xmas greetings record. He was my Great Uncle's only son and I have never heard his voice. If anyone can point me to where I can hear the recording or share a wav. file etc, it would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers from America.

Warm regards,
Hyrum Palmer

Able Seaman John Glancy

from: John McGregor, 11 Jun 2021, 17:54

Hi Liz

Good to hear from you and I have sent an email to Sheila and copied to you so hope you get in touch with each other

Able Seaman John Glancy

from: Elizabeth Lewis, 16 Apr 2021, 10:07

John was my Great uncle, his sister Mary was my nan. Could Sheila Linton, his daughter in law get in touch.

John Glancy

Able Seaman William Miller

from: John McGregor, 6 Mar 2021, 05:53

I have been to see his grave in Tripoli twice. It was so moving to see the six named Neptune graves in the beautifully kept Tripoli cemetery in the plot with 20 graves probably also from Neptune. William tried so hard to survive. They were on a Carley float and all died while paddling towards the Libyan shore and nearly making it. Now we have a photo it has already been placed on the website Roll of Honour.

Able Seaman William Miller

from: John McGregor, 6 Mar 2021, 05:48

I have been trying for the photo of William Miller ever since the first contact from a relative in 2009 and several since. He was one of the 6 whose bodies are buried in the Tripoli War cemetery which I visited twice in 2007.

Grave of William Miller b 9 june 1916 d 19 december 1941,

AB William Millar, HMS Neptune

from: ronald bell, 2 Mar 2021, 10:42

William Miller was my uncle i am attaching
his photograph to be used at your discretion,
and also to make it available to Mary Hodges
my cousin who posted jan 21st 2020 asking for his photo
i have no contact for her

William Miller, b 9 june 1916 d 19 december 1941, Aboard HMS Neptune

Neptune Model

from: John McGregor, 27 Dec 2020, 12:26

Hello Graham

Thanks for posting your magnificent 6 foot long model with 150 NZ's manning the upper deck. On our website MODELS page kept up to date by Rorie Grieve who visited you in 2009 he has devoted much of the MODELS page to your model which is both the biggest and shows the most accurate detail. Those interested should click on the photos to see the excellent detail of all parts of HMS Neptune as she was in 1941. Now we have found her wreck lying not far from Tripoli this model has been invaluable in identifying features.


from: GRAHAM AND FAY BEESON, 19 Dec 2020, 21:21

WE WILL REMEBER THEM 19th December2020:
On this day we in New Zealand remember the tragic loss 19-20th December 1941 of HMS NEPTUNE and the destroyer HMS KANDAHAR and all those who lost their lives and the one survivor. Built by Graham Beeson in memory a almost 6ft camouflaged model of Neptune as at the time of her sinking is on permanent public exhibition at the Royal New Zealand Navy Museum, Torpedo Bay, Devonport being honored and remembered daily. The model has 150 figures representing the number of New Zealand crew including the New Zealand twin 16 year old boys.


AB Bertram Lewis Kandahar

from: John McGregor, 11 Dec 2020, 11:07

Hello Tony

Thanks for the photo of Bertram - still valuable in spite of being just 12 when taken and is posted on the website Roll of Honour list of Kandahar casualties against his name.

Able Seaman Bertram Harold Lewis

from: Tony Davies, 26 Nov 2020, 20:22

Uncle Bert was my mothers brother. As I was not born until 1951 I never knew him. He was one of 5 children of Joseph Albert Lewis and Mabel Lewis. Joseph Albert was killed in a mining accident in British Columbia in 1934. My grandmother had returned to Liverpool after my grandfathers death and lived there during the war. Among my late mothers cherished possessions was a Christmas card for 1941 which Bert had sent to her. My mother was in the ATS and the card was sent to her care of my grandmother. It was redirected from Liverpool on 12 December. I do not have a photograph of Bert in uniform but I attach one taken 7 years earlier when he was only 12.

Bertram Harold Lewis

Ordnance Artificer Edward Hughes

from: John McGregor, 15 Nov 2020, 12:13

Hello Susan

It is good to hear from you. The Ordnance Artificers were trained on the naval apprenticeship scheme lasting two years either at Fisguard in Cornwall or Caledonia in Rosyth. They looked after all engineering aspects of the large and small guns, the main ship's armament. There were just 8 OA's on board Neptune.

The photo of Edward was sent by Arthur Airey a nephew and we have also been contacted by niece Jody Wood who also had the photo.

Ordnance Artificer Edward Hughes

from: susan hillier, 11 Nov 2020, 15:36

Dear John

I never met my uncle Edward ( known as Teddy ) and have only 1 photo of him which is on your site. I know very little about him and would be grateful for any information you may hold. I have searched the forum but am unable to find anything.

Thanks for your help.


Leading StokerTimothy McSweeney, Jr

from: John McGregor, 10 Nov 2020, 11:37

Hi Sean

It is good to hear from you and assume that you would be a first cousin but one generation down. We do not have any photos of Timothy but since grandchildren of his O'Brien mother are still alive could you contact them to see if a photo of Timothy exists? I have found that families hold onto photos of the casualties and your grandmother would not have thrown it away.

Timothy McSweeney, Jr

from: Sean O'Brien, 24 Oct 2020, 12:42

We just found out how he died. He was my father's first cousin; but he died before my Dad was born. Only grandchildren of his mother Hannah O'Brien McSweeney are still alive. Wondering if you have any photos of Timothy; we have no idea what he even looks like.

Happy to find this site and discover how he died.

Chief Stoker David Phillips

from: John McGregor, 27 Aug 2020, 08:25

Hi Gareth

We have been in email exchange and am delighted to say that I have added the photo of your uncle Chief Stoker David Phillips to the Roll of Honour and amended his entry with the information from the newspaper clip.

Chieff Petty Officer David Phillips

from: Gareth J Phillips, 23 Aug 2020, 13:46

the photo this time !

Chieff Petty Officer David Phillips

Chieff Petty Officer David Phillips

from: Gareth J Phillips, 23 Aug 2020, 13:42

Dear Sir
I was wondering if you could put this picture of my great uncle on your site please.
Kind regards
Gareth J Phillips

Stoker John Alfred Crennell

from: John McGregor, 16 Jul 2020, 13:39

Dear Phillip

How very good to hear from you about your father Stoker John Alfred Crennell who served in Neptune until May 1941 and left before her tragic sinking in December 1941. How fascinating to hear about him scoring the only try but it is difficult to work out when the match was played. The Neptune Rugby team was very strong with several good New Zealanders playing. I did indeed include an article about the Neptune rugby team in a newsletter written in spring 2011 and will send you a copy. In due course I hope to add a page to our website to show all those ex-Neptunes who left before she sank and thanks for his photo. I have 422 photos of casualties attached to the Roll of Honour. He had a good career with his DSM and Yangtse Black Swan clasp and a shame about his long Service medal!
Stoker John Crennell who left Neptune in August 1941 5 months before she sank.
Stoker John Crennell who left Neptune in August 1941

Father Stoker John Crennell

from: Philip Crennell, 7 Jul 2020, 18:49

Greetings John, My father was John Alfred Crennell stoker, he served on HMS Neptune from 24th May 1938 to August 1941 when he returned to the UK to undertake a course of some kind. One of his claims to fame he told me me was to play rugby against a springbok team at Newlands in the Cape, they were beaten 33-3 with my dad scoring the only try ! I can't remember if it was the Neptune or not he was playing for, do you have any photographs of the Neptune rugby team ? He must of known a lot of the crew who were sadly lost only 17 weeks after he left the ship after being on her for over three years. He went on to earn a DSM on the Normandy landings aboard LCI(L)130 and received a Yangste clasp on his GSM as he was aboard HMS Black Swan during the incident. He was always sorry he never received his Long Service Medal, he had a bust up with a Royal Marine guard on Simon's Town Dockyard gate who wanted to take a bottle of rum from him after a night out in Cape town ! He received 90 days detention at HMS Afrikander but got 12 days off for good behaviour ! Kind regards to all, Phil Crennell.

Able Seaman Eddie Vazey

from: John McGregor, 6 Jul 2020, 11:19

Here is the photo of Maureen with her children Marie, Sarah and Andrew when they heard Eddie speaking 71 years after his death.

Maureen Bowmar with her children Marie, Sarah and Andrew

Able Seaman Eddie Vazey

from: John McGregor, 6 Jul 2020, 10:47

Hi Ian

Having made contact we have had an excellent email exchange about how Eddie Vazey came to stay with your grandparents in Cardiff 1941 and met your mother aged 14. I have also put you in touch with Sarah Thorpe (great niece of Eddie) and both have enjoyed the contact. I am attaching him with his brother Charlie in Alexandria in 1941.
I was delighted to hear you had listened to the recording of the NZ 1941 Christmas messages and had heard Eddie speaking.

Eddie with soldier brother Charlie at Alexandria 1941

Able Seaman Edward (Eddie) Henry Vasey

from: Ian N Taylor, 6 Jul 2020, 10:12

Ive tried to resubmit twice without success Can you please tell me what constitutes accented and special characters so I can establish whats preventing submission and correct Thank you Ian N Taylor

crossed the bar

from: Michael Newton, 29 May 2020, 14:00

it is with regret that i have to inform you that my dad Michael Newton (son of leading stoker E Newton HMS Neptune) has crossed the bar last night 28/05/2020

Michael's granddad Leading Stoker Emmanuel Newton

Petty Officer Steward David Charles

from: John McGregor, 21 May 2020, 09:47

Hello Hayley

It was really good to hear from you about your cousin PO Steward David Charles who died in Neptune. Until your message we had neither details of his parents, where he came from or a photo. I will be adding these to the website Roll of Honour later today. How sad that he was their only son. In all we have 422 photos of the 836 who died in the two ships Neptune and Kandahar and have heard from relatives of another 81 who could not find a photo.
I will email you with other details which I always send to new contacts.

Petty Officer Steward David Charles

David William Charles RN Died aboard Neptune

from: Hayley Thomas, 19 May 2020, 11:01

David was the only son of Thomas E Charles and Elizaberh Hardwick from Peterchurch Herefordshire. He died aboard HMSNeptune off Tripoli on 19th December 1941. REMEMBERED WITH HONOUR. Hayley a distant relative 2020.

Able Seaman William Miller

from: John McGregor, 22 Jan 2020, 12:17

Dear Mary It is very interesting to hear from you and I know you have been in touch before. Yes your uncle William Miller is buried in one of the six named Neptune graves in Tripoli War cemetery - photo taken last year attached. William obviously tried very hard to stay alive and nearly made it. His grave is amongst another 20 graves just marked "Soldier known unto God" which, very probably, are other Neptune casualties. The 61 of us who went on the pilgrimage to Tripoli in 2007 visited these graves and paid our respects. The Defence Attache in Libya visited the Commonwealth Wargraves cemetery last month and confirmed the graves had not been damaged during the unrest in Libya. Despite messages from a number of William Miller's relatives we still do not have a photo of him.

Defence Attache Libya standing between Neptune graves of Turley & Pugh 8Nov2019

Uncle William Miller

from: Mary Hodges, 21 Jan 2020, 19:13

Hello. I am wondering if anyone has a photo of Able Seaman William Miller who lost his life on the HMS Neptune. He was killed on my mother's 15th birthday. I have never seen a photo of him so I can't pick him out of the many group photos I have found.

Thanks and Regards. Mary Hodges
Grave of AB William Miller remembrance Sunday 2018
Grave of AB William Miller remembrance Sunday 2018

Stoker Joseph Freeman Allen

from: John McGregor, 28 Dec 2019, 11:50

Dear Joey Thank you so much for your message on the FORUM page. It took me a while to realise that we had been in touch before in February 2011 and that your great uncle was Stoker Joseph Freeman Allen who died in HMS Neptune. It always gives me pleasure to make contact with relatives of the crew. Previously Anne Wright made contact and corrected Joseph's mother's maiden name to Porter which is shown on our website Roll of Honour. She lives in Newcastle. I know we established at the time that neither of you you could find a photo of Joseph which is sad but if a photo emerges I would be grateful if you sent me a copy.

The coincidence of going to HMS Drake on 19Dec 2019 and finding the WW2 Naval plaque doesn't surprise me too much as these coincidences keep on occurring. It is as though the spirits of those who died are saying 'Dont forget me'! On that same day I got a message from the Naval Attache in Tripoli to say he was standing in the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery amongst the graves of 6 Neptune sailors whose bodies had been washed ashore in 1941 and taken to Tripoli for burial. I did know about the Neptune graves and have seen them twice on visits to Tripoli.

HMS Drake, Roll of Honour - Joseph Allen

from: Joseph Graham, 26 Dec 2019, 10:40

Just before Christmas I was meeting a friend of mine at HMS Drake, Plymouth, to go for a few Christmas drinks and I went to the mess at HMS Drake senior rates mess to meet him. I had never been in there before and while waiting I went onto the lounge, there on the wall was the WW2 Naval roll of honour. I went over to have a look for HMS Neptune and found it on the plaque. The reason it was so strange was when I noticed the date, 19th December 1941, (it was the 19th December 2019!!)

I was quite moved as I was named after my great uncle, my name being Joseph Freeman Graham, he was my Gandmas brother. I served 23 years in the Royal Marines and was I always lead to believe he was on the Memorial in Portsmouth. I have since located him on the cenotaph at Plymouth. This may appear unimportant but it touched me when I saw HMS Neptune on that Roll of Honour

HMS Drake, Roll of Honour

Midshipman HK Dean

from: John McGregor, 25 Dec 2019, 20:49

Dear Paul

Thank you so much for making contact and sending your message on the FORUM page. If you can get permission to loan me the notebook I would much like to see it. I was also at Christs Hospital from 1949, a bit later than Harold Dean. Way back in 2003 I was in touch with Harold Dean's daughter and she sent me his typed account of what he reckoned had happened to Neptune and remarked how highly he regarded Captain Rory O'Conor. Seeing his notebook would be much better!

H. K. Dean Paymaster Midshipman

from: Paul noon, 22 Oct 2019, 19:17

Good evening John
My brother in law has come across the diary of H.K. Dean, Paymaster Midshipman HMS Neptune Sep1940-Aug1941.
Its a comprehensive diary from 7th May to the end of August 1941.
It contains an officer list, personal letters, naval messages, pictures, sketches and some details of the final
misfortune HMS Neptune suffered.
I think it should be in the a naval society museum or national naval archieve.
If you can give me your email I can send over more pictures.
I'll ask my brotherin law if i can loan you the Diary in the meantime

Paymaster Midshipman Harold Dean's Diary

Boy Seaman John West

from: John McGregor, 10 Sep 2019, 07:14

Dear Lynette
Thank you for making contact and how tragic that John's last letter got returned unopened. Many of the relatives have reported similar. I have attached a photo of John which is the only one I have of him.
Boy Seaman John West
Boy Seaman John West

John Edwin West

from: Lynette Stevens, 5 Aug 2019, 14:48

John Edwin West died when HMS Neptune went down. He was only 17 years old and a friend and neighbour of my father.
I have just been given a letter that my father wrote to him in December 1941 which he didn`t get in time and it was returned to my dad. So sad.

Letter arrived too late

Marine Ronald Young

from: John McGregor, 25 Jul 2019, 10:32

Dear Lynda

Thanks for making contact. It is the first message we have had about Ronald Young. Despite a careful search of the passing out parade photos of Royal Marines in 1940 we cant find one of Ronald. Nor does he appear in any of the group photos.

Ronald Young

from: Lynda Weir, 11 Jun 2019, 14:14

I was wondering if you possibly had any information about or photo of Ronald James Young who served on HMS Neptune but died in 1941?
Many Thanks,

Marine Dennis Dale

from: John McGregor, 25 May 2019, 15:19

Dear Sharon Thanks for making contact about the names on the Harbury War Memorial, Warwickshire which includes Marine Dennis Ira Thomas Dale. I am glad we have corrected his name on our website Roll of Honour page. I am attaching a photo of Dennis Ira Dale.

Marine Dennis Ira Dale

Marine Dennis Dale.

from: Sharon Hancock, 3 Jan 2019, 16:30

I am currently researching the ten men who died in World War 2 and are recorded on the War memorial in the village of Harbury, Warwickshire. One of these is Marine Dennis Dale and I was delighted to find his photograph on your excellent site. Dennis Ira Thomas Dale (The Marines have him wrongly as Ivor) was born in Harbury on the 19th September 1916. He was therefore 25 when he died on HMS Neptune. he was the son of Ira and Daisy Dale nee Batchelor. His father was a farm labourer but was serving as a Private in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment at the time of his birth.

ERA 4th Class James Brown NZ

from: John McGregor, 31 Jul 2018, 20:22

Hi Barry

Thanks so much for the photo of James Brown. How did you get hold of it? I gather you are a researcher in Canterbury. His photo has been added to the website Roll of Honour.

Could you now add the Photo of Able Seaman Gordon Murray NZ to the FORUM and I will post it on the Roll of Honour too?

My regards John McGregor

Engine Room Artificer James Brown RNZN

New Neptune photos

from: Barry O'Sullivan, 23 Jul 2018, 03:05

I have two photos for your site.
G Murray and J Brown
Please credit photos to 'The Christchurch High School Old Boys' War Memorial Magazine 1939-1945' circa 1947
AB Gordon Murray NZVR

AB Thomas Mosley

from: John McGregor, 28 May 2018, 12:18

Dear Helen

Many thanks for your message and it is splendid to hear from you. We haven't got a photo of Thomas Mosley and please send as an attachment and I will add it to the Roll of Honour on the website By hitting on Roll of Honour and then in the search box on Mosley it will show the details we have for him. You will see that for most of the casualties we have the details of his parents, his age and home town. Maybe you could supply these details and I will add them to his entry on the roll of honour.

My best regards John McGregor (son of Paymaster Commander Jack McGregor Neptune casualty)

67 Island Wall Whitstable Kent CT5 1EL

Able Seaman Harry Miles

from: John McGregor, 2 Apr 2018, 09:52

Dear Wayne

I fear I am unable to help you with this. We don't hold records of those who left Neptune before she sank. In spring and summer 1937 Neptune was operating off Gibraltar undergoing intensive action station drills in case they were required for hostilities during the Spanish civil war. She then went south to Simonstown where she spent christmas.

The Neptune in 1937

from: Wayne Miles, 8 Mar 2018, 06:48

Greetings. My Grandfather Harry Miles served in the Royal Navy 1916 to 1945, as an AB Gunner.
I served a modest 10 years myself, and am a mission to research and piece together his Naval history.
He was on the Neptune Jan to August 1937
She sailed Pompey 21st January 1937 for Spring Cruise with Courageous, Nelson, Esk, Crusader and Exmouth.
There is Pathe film footage of her leaving Pompey harbour

The next info I have established is that Harry leaves her in August 1937, after which the Neptune sails for Capetown arriving in October.
Can anyone tell me where Neptune was between Feb and August 1937, have any photos or have any relatives who were on board at this time.
I must congratulate you on this web site, keeping alive the memory of those who gave all for us.

Humphrey Daniel Rees

from: Tudor Rees, 28 Nov 2017, 20:03

Here's the group photo

Senior Supply Assistant Humphrey Daniel Rees With Two Neptune Colleagues

Leading Supply Assistant Humphrey Rees

from: John McGregor, 23 Nov 2017, 21:59

Dear Tudor
Thanks so much for your kind remarks about the website. We have put a lot of hard work into it over the last 10 years. It has been so rewarding to make contact with so many relatives and descendants of Neptune casualties.

You have a fascinating collection of documents from your uncle Humphrey Rees. I am glad we have produced what we know about him, his age and parents names and home address but will add the details you sent. All this took many hours of research helped by the Commonwealth War Graves commission whose records we transcribed for each casualty. We have the ability to add two photos to each record on the Roll of Honour so please send the best photo of Humphrey in uniform and the group photo of him with his Neptune friends. Many may have left Neptune in Chatham in March or April 1941 but some would have stayed on board and perished when Neptune sank.

Regarding Minefield we published the 2nd edition in November 2010 after a massive analysis and effort by Adrian Fewins and members of the Committee. The 1st supplement was produced in October 2015 and the 2nd supplement in October 2016. For the immediate future we have run out of steam but more and more relatives continue to contact us.

I will be in touch by email and please include your postal address.

Humphrey Daniel Rees

from: Tudor Rees, 13 Nov 2017, 22:21


I forgot to ask just now. Could you please also confirm whether any new edition of Minefield is in prospect and if not the most recent edition available

Many thanks
Tudor Rees

Humphrey Daniel Rees

from: Tudor Rees, 13 Nov 2017, 22:18

Good Evening John

I hope this finds you well

Can I firstly say thank you so much to you and all those who assist for all the hard work in maintaining this fascinating website and the preservation of such a precious memorial and remembrance

As it happens I am starting to put this message together on Remembrance Sunday so it has a special resonance

For the family history that I'm currently compiling I am currently putting together a chapter in respect of my Great Uncle Humphrey Daniel Rees who was Leading Supply Assistant DMX 58686 on HMS Neptune which was his first ship having joined up in 1938

I have long known that my Great Uncle was one of the entire ship's company bar one tragically lost off the Mediterranean coast of Libya on 18 December 1941 when Neptune was lost in the large minefield laid by the Axis forces but I have only recently become aware of this wonderful HMS Neptune website whilst in the course of compiling the family history

From the Roll of Honour I see that his loss is confirmed and that his name is on the Plymouth Memorial

Also from the Forum pages which I have read from beginning to end I am assuming that his name is also on the HMS Neptune pyramid memorial at Alrewas

The full address for my Great Uncle was 22 St Mary Street Aberavon (I have given the old Anglicised spelling Aberavon that would have been used at the time which was well before the name was subsequently changed to the authentic Welsh Spelling of Aberafan) Port Talbot Glamorgan

As stated on the Roll of Honour my Great Uncle was son of William James Rees and Rhoda Winifred Rees

Also he was the younger brother of Aubrey Glyndwr Rees and William Rees Junior and elder brother to John Ivor Rees (my father) all of whom served in WWII the latter JI Rees as an Ordinary Seaman

My Great Uncle was born in 1919 and was unmarried when he died

I have inherited my Great Uncle's scrapbook which he kept recording his time on HMS Neptune It includes

his Freedom of the Seas certificate

a postcard photo of the ship itself with his handwritten message on the back to his parents confirming his posting to the ship

numerous photos of Uncle Humphrey and family when on shore leave further photos of him in uniform some by himself one with colleagues whose names I do not know although of course others may

postcards that he sent home from the numerous countries visited by HMS Neptune in the course of its Atlantic operations in 1939

photos that he took of action including the assault by the Italian Fleet at the Battle of Calabria and

the front page of the 7 January 1942 edition of the New Zealand News reporting the release of confirmation of the loss of HMS Neptune

I am not sure which of the above might be considered of particular relevance for inclusion on the Roll of Honour so I thought it might be best of I just emailed you first without copying this email to the Forum for a preliminary view

I have managed to digitise all of the above already including the cover of the scrapbook so emailing them to you or posting them straight to the website should be straightforward

All the very best
Tudor Rees

Stoker Thomas Turner

from: John McGregor, 20 Sep 2017, 09:49

Hello Paul
It is good to hear from you and your grandad was lucky to have left Neptune before she sank. Thank your for the excellent photo which will be posted on the website under ex Neptunes - those who left the ship before she sank.

My grandad

from: Paul langley, 18 Sep 2017, 21:17

I have a photo my grandad Thomas Henry turner with a HMS Neptune sailors hat on just like to know if there's any info as grandad never mentioned nothing of the war
Grandad in dark navy uniform just like to know more ?
Thomas Henry turner

Wireman Cyril Hunter

from: John McGregor, 30 Aug 2017, 09:08

Dear Gwen

It was very good to hear from you and to hear you are a great niece of Wireman Cyril Garland Hunter In November 2010 we published the 2nd edition of our book Minefield and covered the various specialities such as 'Seamen' and 'Stokers' with photos and words from relatives about each individual. The smallest section was titled 'Wiremen' but we have a lot of information about them. Quoting from the book:

There were just eight Wiremen in HMS Neptune all young men aged from 19 to 22, and employed on board as electricians. They were doing their electrical apprenticeships in the shipyards when called up and the Navy got them cheaply as they were paid as junior ratings, not as naval apprentices. Slowly more and more information is emerging about these eight men who are shown together on the Plymouth Hoe War memorial (not Kershaw who died in HMS Prince of Wales). They seemed to have been good friends and would have lived together on the same messdeck.

Of the eight we have good photos of three of them and other photos of several unidentified Wiremen which could include a photo of your great uncle Cyril Garland. If you go to our website and click on GROUP PHOTOS and Wiremen you will find the collection of photos sent back by Wiremen Edwin Gray to his fiancee before Neptune was sunk and they all died.

Wireman Cyril Garland Hunter

from: Gwen Hunter, 29 Aug 2017, 20:51


Wireman Cyril Hunter was my Great Uncle, unfortunately I have only today found out his fate. My Grandpa died in 1976 when my mum was only 17. So my family don't really know much about my grandpas siblings.

I would be very grateful for any information/pictures of/about Cyril.

Thank you


Augustas O'Malley

from: DENISE O'MALLEY, 31 May 2017, 19:59

HMSJupiter /Kevin Hart message posted 25 march 2017 please can you pass my email on to Kevin or his to me I am also a great neice of Gus O'Malley i have a photo of Gus from HMS Tamaki and am only to happy to share with Kevin my grandad was Gus's brother and yes he was HMS Jupiter born 1919

Stoker 2nd class Augustus Michael O Malley

from: John McGregor, 26 Mar 2017, 07:00

Researching the Commonwealth War Graves website, it states that Gus O'Malley was sunk in HMS Jupiter serving in the Java Sea in the Far East on 27th Feb 1942. So it appears he was NOT a Neptune casualty after all.

Kevin - I wonder why your mother was so certain he was sunk in HMS Neptune?

Stoker 2nd class Augustus Michael O Malley

from: John McGregor, 25 Mar 2017, 00:12

Dear Kevin

This is an intriguing message. Stoker 2nd class Augustus Michael O Malley is not on the Neptune casualty list of New Zealanders who died in HMS Neptune. However the Commonwealth War graves list shows he died on 27 February 1942 and is commemorated on the New Zealand Naval Memorial at Devonport Auckland.

Another New Zealander Able Seaman Lloyd Lord's body was found floating on 27th February 1942 off Tobruk 800 miles from where Neptune was sunk and where it is believed he was buried. It is possible that he was on another Carley raft with Lieutenant Wilson who is buried in Tobruk.

Kevin - do you live anywhere near the memorial at Devonport, Auckland? I hope you are able to find the photo of Gus as we do not have one. It seems likely that we must add Gus to the Neptune casualty list. I will be in touch by email.

Augustus Michael O Malley

from: Kevin Hart, 1 Mar 2017, 23:30

My mother god rest her passed away recently and lost is a photo she cherished of her brother "Gus" O Malley who died on the Neptune in 1942/
I would very much like info or even a photo to pass to my child who would be his grandniece so that my mothers much loved brother will not be forgotten
Thanking you for any possible reply


Stoker Elick Burns

from: John McGregor, 9 Feb 2017, 08:33

Dear Amanda Thanks so much for making contact and we haven't heard from Elick Burns' relatives before. No we haven't got a photo. The interesting thing about Elick is that he was 38 and was probably married to his South African wife for several years and may have a family out there. We have a contact in South Africa (Denise Austin) who may be able to help with research. I was also interested that Elick came from Wales. I will be in touch by email.

Re: Ellick Burns - Stoker

from: Amanda Jones, 4 Feb 2017, 19:24

I have just started to research my family tree and have become aware that my great great Uncle Ellick Burns who was a Stoker died on HMS Neptune. What I did not realise was that he got married in South Africa and I believe lived in SA even though originally from Wales? If you could give me any further information about my great great uncle or if there exists a photograph I would be most obliged.

Many thanks

HMS Neptune hat, white plastic

from: Lee Smith, 21 Dec 2016, 16:24

Inside is the name "Sta Swann". Above the name, barely legible is an inked name, possibly added years later: "Blakely", I think.

The name "Swann" appears to have been written on the underside of the cap, difficult to read.

I have not found the name Swann or Blakely above.

I have had the hat for many years, at least 40, and cannot remember how I came by it. I'd like to return it to a family member or a museum for the Neptune.
Two names inside cap:
HMS Neptune cap

Marine Oswald Gilbert Willis

from: John McGregor, 12 Dec 2016, 08:26

Dear Colin Thanks so much for making contact about your uncle Marine Oswald Gilbert Willis. It so happens that we have a photo of him when he passed out of the Royal Marine Kings Squad in June 1940 before being drafted to Neptune. If you go to our website, hit the Roll of Honour, and enter Willis on search it will take you straight to the details we have for him together with the photo. We published our book Minefield in November 2010 dedicated to all the casualties and the Kings Squad photo was included on page 181 and the photo of Oswald is on page 183 and below. You can buy the book for 15 pounds including postage by applying to our Secretary Mrs Maureen Hayhurst,Beck Side, Old Manor Farm, Manor Road, Wick, Bristol, BS30 5RG. I will contact you by email.

Message from Colin Allen

11 Dec 2016, 12:52

Hello my uncle was on hms Neptune and my mother around Christmas time always remembered her brother lost at this time
I knew it was around 75 years ago and started looking around to see if anything was on the internet about this tragic event
He was Oswald Gilbert Willis and I understand he was a marine onboard Neptune
He was the oldest child of my nan and grandad and only 20 years old when he died
He had two younger sisters and three younger brothers
It was good to find this site and knew that people can still remember those
Lost 75 years ago
Would love to see anything you have about him

Colin Allen

Maltagc website

from: John McGregor, 24 Nov 2016, 07:44

Dear Mr Hudson

I am delighted to hear that you have put a link from the Malta George Cross website to ours.

regards John McGregor

HMS Neptune

from: S A M Hudson, 13 Nov 2016, 19:03

I note that today (Remembrance Sunday 13 November 2016) there were many views of our website for 18-19 December 1941, and was moved to realise that these dates mark 75th anniversary of the loss of Neptune and Kandahar. I have taken the liberty of adding a link to the Association on the maltagc70 diary page - an amendment which will take effect on 18 December 2016. Yours, S A M Hudson, Editor, maltagc70.

Able Seaman John George Gratton

from: John McGregor, 13 Nov 2016, 09:50

Dear John

Your uncle John George Gratton was indeed a Kandahar casualty. The information we have is that he was the son of George Gladstone Gratton and Gladys Gratton but we have no information of his age or where he lived or a photo. I have an excellent account of the Kandahar's final 24 hours written by the ships doctor and will also send you a photo of the whole crew by email.

My Uncle John George Gratton

from: John George Gratton, 11 Nov 2016, 11:27

Good morning
I am trying to find as much information as possible about my uncle and namesake Able seaman John George Gratton. He was killed aboard HMS Kandahar on the 19th December. Does anyone know the circumstances surrounding his death and what he was like?
Any photos etc etc.
I did hear his lifeboat was hit my an exploding gun turret, whilst trying to rescue personnel from HMS Neptune.
Any information would be greatly appreciated.

NAAFI Canteen Manager Leonard Sly

from: John McGregor, 10 Nov 2016, 20:25

Dear Leonard

How very good to hear from you and thank you for sending the photo of your uncle the NAAFI Canteen Manager Leonard George Hayle Sly. The cap badge shows he had previously served in HMS Norfolk. I have already posted his photo on the Roll of Honour. The Neptune NAAFI organisation consisted of three Canteen Assistants under a Canteen Manager who held the honorary rank of Petty Officer. We have already received photos of the three Assistants, Cedric Curtis aged 21, Peter Jones aged 17 and William Tinsley aged 15 the youngest man on board so we now have the full Canteen staff. They were often youngsters who were so keen to join up they lied about their age.

Leonard Sly

from: Leonard Dragon, 6 Nov 2016, 19:49

Dear Sir
My Uncle Leonard George Hayle Sly was NAAFI manager when HMS Neptune sunk. My mother always wanted to know more about it, but she didn't have much information. not even the name of the ship. Sadly she died before I was able to find your site. I have informed all of my cousins of the information I have found thanks to you. most of them had little idea of the details they were all very pleased with what I had been able to find out. we also had another uncle George Tracy lost when HMS Hebe sank in similar circumstances, I have a photograph of Leonard Sly. we would be pleased if you could include it. I think the cap band is Norfolk.

Leonard George Hale Sly. RN

Able Seaman Edward Hussey

from: John McGregor, 30 Jun 2016, 06:38

Hi Kimberley How nice to hear about your Great Grandfather Able Seaman Edward Hussey. You are the first of his family to make contact. The details we have are that he was aged 31 the son of William Robert and Florence Sarah Hussey, of Willesden, Middlesex; Husband of Elsie Hussey. These details are on our website Roll of Honour page. How sad that your grandfather never met him, Were there any other chidren? Do you have a photo? I will be in touch by email.

HUSSEY, Able Seaman, EDWARD JOHN,D JX 125404

from: Kimberley Allan, 27 Jun 2016, 19:35


I'm looking for more information on:

HUSSEY, Able Seaman, EDWARD JOHN,D JX 125404
(my Great Grandfather from my Mothers Fathers side)

who died aboard HMS Neptune.

My Grandfather never met him and we have very little information at the moment, any help would be greatly appreciated!

Kind Regards

Leading Signalman Harry Armfield

from: John McGregor, 24 Jun 2016, 09:28

Dear Tony Thanks so much for the splendid photo of your grandfather which is already posted on our website Roll of Honour. Thanks also for the details you sent and how sad your father never met Harry. He will be included in our next edition of the supplement which is being published in October. It is in honour of all the Neptune casualties.

Leading Signalman Harry James Armfield

from: Tony Armfield, 22 Jun 2016, 08:58

I am attaching a photo of my Grandfather, Harry James Armfield, service number 1868, who was a Leading Signalman on the Neptune. He was in the Royal Navy until he emigrated to New Zealand in 1936 settling in New Lynn, Auckland. At the outbreak of WW2 he joined the RNZNR and was ultimately transferred to the Neptune late in 1941. My father was born in 1939 just after his father left for war so unfortunately never met him.
The site you are administering is a terrific memorial to men who made the ultimate sacrific and I applaud your efforts. Thank you!
Tony Armfield

Leading Signalman Harry James Armfield

Stoker Richard James Symes

from: John McGregor, 2 May 2016, 17:40

Hello John Welcome to the Neptune Association and thank you for your nice remarks about the website. It is also most valuable that you have sent a photo of your uncle Stoker Richard Symes which I have added to the Roll of Honour. Can I assume that it is him in the photo and the child is a nephew or niece? I will be in touch by email.

stoker Richard James Symes

from: John Svendsen, 2 May 2016, 08:40

this is a wonderful site thank you. My mother's brother Dick was affectionately known as "bubbles" because of his resemblance to the child in the Pears soap advertisement

at home in Weston in Gordano

Stoker - William Brian WHITE "Chalky"

from: John McGregor, 28 Apr 2016, 08:40

Hi Donna Its very good to hear from you about your 1st cousin twice removed Stoker Brian White. We haven't heard from his relatives before but of the 150 NZ's on board we have contact for 96 of the casualties and photos of 86 of them. It would be great if you can find a photo of Chalky from your family records. I will be in contact by email.

Stoker - William Brian WHITE "Chalky"

from: Donna Stewart, 27 Mar 2016, 03:02

Hi, what a great website, I only re-discovered about H.M.S. Neptune after going back through some old research. Does anyone have any info or photos of William Brian White. He was born in 1918 to Albert Edward WHITE and Olive HARTLEY
Brian as he seem to have been called at home, was my 1st cousin twice removed. Anything greatly appreciated, and I have a lot of WHITE info to share, on the New Zealand side.
Thanks and regards Donna Stewart, New Zealand.

Neptune memorabilia

from: John McGregor, 26 Mar 2016, 06:55

Dear Leslie
There isn't a central collection point for Neptune memorabilia but I hold a lot of information about crew members and am happy to receive more. I now realise you are related to Neptune casualty Able Seaman Harold Taylor. I will be in touch by email.

Harold Taylor AS

from: leslie and sandra taylor, 18 Feb 2016, 23:30

Is there a collection of memorial items pertaining to the ship's crew?

ERA 4th Class Albert Sturgeon NZ

from: John McGregor, 31 Jan 2016, 11:58

Dear John

Thanks so much for your message concerning your uncle ERA Albert Victor Sturgeon NZ. You are the first of your family to make contact. The details we have are that he was the son of John and Julia Sturgeon of Dunedin and he was married to Winifred. Do you have a photo? I will send you an email. Meanwhile here is a photo of five NZ ERA's who would have been his friends (William Newman, Snow Wolf, front row - D'Arcy Heeney, Noel McGee, Alan McLeod)

H.M.S Neptune Crew 1941

from: J. R. Sturgeon, 28 Jan 2016, 04:53

I am currently carrying out rescearch into my family history andwould like to enquire from all who may have records or knowledge of Albert Victor Sturgeon from Port Chalmers Dunedin New Zealand wh served on HMS Neptune as an Engine Room Artificer 4th Class.
I am the only surviving male member of the Sturgeon family in new zealand and would welcome any information about my uncle whom i never met,
John R Sturgeon.

William AA Field

from: Elspeth Pearson, 20 Jan 2016, 13:17

Hi John!
Such excellent news that there are some surviving family members from the Field family. I'd be happy for them to have my email address or to make contact in what ever way suits them.
Thank you so much and please give my regards to Doreen and Robert!

Happy 2016!

Petty Officer Cook William Field

from: John McGregor, 11 Nov 2015, 07:59

Hello Elspeth Thanks so much for making contact. It so happens that we have good information on your great uncle from his son Robert Field and his widow Doreen who is still alive aged 93 - one of the last of the Neptune widows. Both live in Whitby and I will be in contact by email with their addresses and telephone numbers. All the Neptune casualties are commemorated on our memorial at the National Arboretum, Alrewas.

William Archer Albert Field

from: Elspeth Pearson, 5 Nov 2015, 13:56

Hello everyone!
Thank you for the site and all the hard work that must have been put into it to keep those important memories alive of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
I have been researching my family tree and have discovered that my great Uncle William Archer Albert Field Petty Officer D/MX 50456 was on the Neptune December 19th 1941. I have one photo of him, but know very little else, whether he had friends,when he joined the Navy if he has a grave site or is on a plaque somewhere, I would love to know just anything about him.
thank you so much
Elspeth Pearson

William AA Field

Leading Stoker Emmanuel Newton

from: John McGregor, 17 Aug 2015, 20:30

Hi Sharon

I will be in touch by email.

Stoker Emmanual Newton

from: Sharon Bowditch, 10 Aug 2015, 21:32

Grateful if you could advise if you have a contact e mail for Michael Newton - I am a Charmouth relative.


Able Seaman Harold Duncan

from: John McGregor, 9 Aug 2015, 20:36

Dear Nigel Thanks for the kind remarks about the website. We spend a lot of time on it! I am pleased you found the photo of Harold on our Roll of Honour and fascinating to hear of his boxing family.

Plumber Henry Vercoe

from: John McGregor, 5 Aug 2015, 14:24

Hi Neale Thanks for the contact again. Sadly the letter didn't get through so please send again as an email attachment to me at There is a size linit of 100Kb on attachments to the FORUM page.

Letter from my Great Uncle Henry Vercoe

from: Neale Dickson, 2 Aug 2015, 07:17

Hi Again
This a letter sent by my Great Uncle to my Grandfather, who was kept back for essential services. The brother mentioned is our Great Uncle Morris in the NZ Army. Morris and Harry met in Alexandia not long before this letter.
This give you a bit of an insite into what the men were thinking at the time.
The Verla mentioned is my mum and Alva my grand Mother.

Letter from Malta

Able Seamen Alf Simpson and Bob MacDonald

from: John McGregor, 1 May 2015, 06:06

Dear Judy Thanks so much for the lovely photos of the twins with Bob MacDonald between them. It is so important to us to get yet another casualty photo and Bob's is in time for the MINEFIELD supplement which has a closing date of 31 May. Also thanks for the group photo of the six. I will add Bob MacDonald to the website 'Roll of Honour page' and the group to the GROUP PHOTOS page to see if any are recognised. I will be in touch by email for further details.

Alf Simpson and Bob MacDonald

from: Judy Simpson, 19 Apr 2015, 02:08


Here is a group photo of my grandfather (Frank Simpson), his brother Alfred (Alf) Simpson, Bob MacDonald and others from Neptune. Taken in Stanley Bay, Alexandria Egypt circa November 1941.

Judy Simpson
Alf Simpson, Bob MacDonald and others from HMS Neptune during shore leave in Stanley Bay, Alexandria
Neptune - Shore Leave - Stanley Bay, Alexandria Egypt

Alfred (Alf) Simpson and Robert (Bob) MacDonald

from: Judy Simpson, 16 Apr 2015, 21:48

Alf Simpson (Able Seaman) was my grandfather's (Frank Simpson) identical twin. Alf joined the Navy and Frank joined the Army. In November 1941 they met up in Alexandria, Egypt and spent the day together while Alf had shore leave. A little over a month later my grandfather received news that the Neptune had sunk and his brother was lost.

Our family has a number of photos from the shore visit in November 1941. Along with Alf, there was also another Able Seaman, Robert (Bob) MacDonald that appears in a number of the photos. It appears that Bob and Alf were close. It would be wonderful if Bob's family may come across this post at some time. I will upload some photos once I have them digitised.


Able Seaman Jum Hull

from: John McGregor, 15 Apr 2015, 07:29

Hi Chris It is so moving to hear of the exploits of the Neptune Rugby team in 1941, and to find that the Hull family carried on the Rugby tradition to such a very high standard. It must have been quite a shock for the Battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth's team to be beaten 46-0 by a cruiser with half their complement.
What position did you play for Auckland?

I will be in touch by email Chris, and will send you the 2011 newsletter with the photos of most of the team.

Able Seaman Ross Buckley

from: John McGregor, 12 Apr 2015, 09:25

Dear Elaine Thanks so much for your message about Ross Buckley's 98 year old sister. No we haven't heard from her before and yes we would very much like information on Ross. We are producing a supplement to our book Minefield later this year. Please ask Marie if she has a good photo. As it happens Ross is included in a group photo supplied by the family of another NZ casualty Stan Kingdon.

Back row: Able Seamen BertramWinsor, GeorgeDennison, JohnSmith, EricHaines, Stanley Kingdon, EdgarHolden, Front Row: Able Seamen RossBuckley, CecilWood, Leading Seaman RegTurley and Able Seaman FrankCalder

Ross Buckley (Neptune)

from: Elaine Fitness, 9 Apr 2015, 13:33

My neighbour is Ross Buckleys sister. She is about to turn 98 in July. She is still driving etc. She still talks about Ross and how much she misses him. Her name is Marie Couper. Do you have much information on Ross.

Telegraphist Howard Walters

from: John McGregor, 8 Apr 2015, 17:34

Thanks Mervyn for your most interesting message about Telegraphist Howard Walters. Aged 21, he was indeed a Neptune casualty and since his parents were from Kingswood, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, I feel confident that the original Memorial was correct. So on behalf of the Neptune Association, please would you get the record corrected on the UNi9 Memorial so that Howard is commemorated.

Yours is the first message we have received about Howard so it is most welcome. Of the 836 men who died in the two ships Neptune and Kandahar, we have heard from relatives or friends of 462 casualties and have photos of 380.

Howard Walters.

from: Mervyn Philpott, 28 Feb 2015, 20:28

Hi, I want to clarify that the above Telegraphist was a student at St Pauls' Teacher training College, Cheltenham, prior to being called up. When I was there there was a memorial to those ex students who hsd lost their lives in WW2 and his name was included. A visit last summer to the now UNi9 of Glos. there was a new memorial and no H. Walters, but a H. Watkins. I can find no link to enable me to access his service record to see what his education was, as I would like the record put right.
Could you help?
Many thanks

Able Seaman John Glancy

from: John McGregor, 27 Feb 2015, 11:09

Hello Sheila Thanks so much for your message. The most interesting news is that John left a two year old boy behind when Neptune sank. Please let me know his name and I will add it to John's page on the Roll of Honour. It is likely that John joined Neptune in April 1941 in Chatham when she returned to England for a two month refit. Most of the Seaman ratings who had been on board for some years were drafted away. When she sailed from Chatham in May she went out to the Med via South Africa and didn't return. Neptune's previous history was:
Xmas 1937 to May 1940 South Africa & South Atlantic
May 1940 to March 1941 Mediterranean

Yes - your husband as a direct descendant can find out John's service history from the 2nd Sea Lords department, Room 117, Portsmouth Dockyard PO1 3LS

Glancy - John

from: Sheila Linton, 24 Feb 2015, 19:03

I would like to confirm the sailings of Neptune before she sank.
Does anyone have the schedule for 1938?
I'm especially interested to know if it was in Scottish waters.
Also, does anyone know how I can find out when someone joined the ship.
John Glancy sadly died when it sank... leaving a 2 year old boy, my Father-in-law.

Able Seaman John Merryweather

from: John McGregor, 12 Dec 2014, 22:26

Dear Jean Thanks so much for making contact concerning your uncle Able Seaman John Merryweather and for your kind remarks about the website. You are the first of his relatives we have heard from and we would much like a photo of John. Could you scan one from your sister's album and either post it on this page or send it to me (email address as above)? Then I will attach it to our website Roll of Honour against his name which is listed among the South African casualties. I see that John was married. Did he have children?

Later (8 Jan 2015) Photo of John received from Jean's sister

Able Seaman John Merryweather Neptune

from: Jean Hale, 10 Dec 2014, 16:52

What an excellent site this is!

Able seaman Merryweather was my mother's brother, seconded to the royal navy.

He is remembered on a war memorial at Simonstown, Cape Town, South Africa.

are there any photos that you have perhaps acquired, or are you still looking for pictures. I think there may be one or two in a family album my sister has.

Thank you

Jean Hale

Petty Officer Stoker William Ball

from: John McGregor, 10 Dec 2014, 16:50

Hello Richard By lucky chance I can answer a number of your questions thanks to previous contact with Lynette Ball (one of your cousins?) In the photo you have attached, William is on the right, with his mother Bertha in the middle and Sidney Shawyer on left who married William's sister Dolly.

William was aged 37, the son of Bertha Ball from Southampton, and was the husband of Ellen Ball (nee Gaffney) of Capetown South Africa

William's sisters were Eva, Mabel, Nelly, Gladys, Maggie and Dolly. His sons were Eddy, Cecil and Richard and his granddaughter is Lynette Ball.

I will be in touch by email

William F. Ball

from: Richard Ball, 10 Dec 2014, 06:51

Hi John

Trust you are well.

I Just stumbled across this website and absolutely loving it, great thing going here, thank you for what seems like a lot of hard work.

I was looking for some details on my grandfather, William F. Ball Petty officer stoker, as we are trying to complete a family tree. Unfortunately we don't have any documentation on his life as it was lost in some mishap at his last home in Simons Town Naval Base, South Africa.

I wonder if you could, through your network and records, tell me if you have any details/any form of identification of him. Or if not if you could point me in the right direction of who would possibly have these old records.

Thank you most kindly, appreciate your efforts on this site.


Some form of celebration

Musician Dennis Greaves

from: John McGregor, 12 Nov 2014, 12:27

Hello Peter and welcome to the Association. You are the first relative of Dennis Greaves to make contact. No we haven't got a photo or any information on him. I will email you to get his age and parent's names so that I can add them to the Roll of Honour. Meanwhile here is a photo of 15 Royal Marines taken on 17 August 1941. We know it shows several bandsmen.

Musician Dennis Greaves

from: Peter Firm, 4 Nov 2014, 11:09

I am researching my mothers first husband Dennis Greaves He was lost on the Neptune in 1941, he was a musician.
I see the marvellous photos taken of the band and wondered if anyone can identify him amongst them, also if anyone has any information regarding Dennis it would be greatly appreciated.


Pete Firm.

HMS Neptune's RUGBY Team in 1941

from: John McGregor, 3 Nov 2014, 10:59

Dear Tony

James Coote was indeed in the rugby team and I have added his photo to your message. I will forward a copy of our Spring 2011 newsletter which featured what we knew of the team with the photos of 11 of the 15 players. One South African in the team was the very tall Leading Seaman Van Rensburgh but we haven't yet received a photo nor that of New Zealander Ronald Clark. If anyone can oblige...?

Robyn Johansen (niece of Neptune casualty, Stoker Douglas Gregory RNZN) found this article while searching the internet, and was most excited to find what a good rugby player her uncle was. Published in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force News service, it was written in Cairo on November 25th 1941, and describes the excellent rugby side which HMS Neptune could put out:

"A fine Rugby football record has been established by the first fifteen from the cruiser HMS Neptune. Needless to mention, there is a New Zealand influence, for 150 of the ship's company come from the Dominion and eight out of the team are New Zealanders, the remainder being Englishmen and South Africans. In the five matches the team has played they have scored 198 points, and have never been beaten. Their proudest achievement was their defeat of HMS Queen Elizabeth, the flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet, by 46 points to nil. The tall scoring somewhat awed the spectators who in some cases jocularly admonished the victorious team to "keep it down a bit." Matches have been played on the hard, ice-cracked ground at Scapa Flow and on the hot sands of Egypt, for the Neptune's is a touring team doing a man-size wartime job. They head for a port, and when they get there, issue and receive a challenge, The Captain of the team is the ship's padre, an Englishman who stoutly avers that the only way to keep a New Zealander quiet about Rugby football is to mention Twickenham, Prince Obolenski and a defeated All Black team in one breath. New Zealanders who play in the team are Jum Hull (Wellington), D'Arcy Heeney (Gisborne), Ronald Clark (Christchurch), Douglas Gregory (Gisborne), Bill Campbell (Christchurch), James Might Coote (Auckland), Edward Ruddick (Auckland), Kenneth Garrett (Auckland), and Roy Atkinson (Napier). D'Arcy Heeney is the nephew of Tom Heeney, who will be remembered as New Zealand boxing champion at his weight. He receives letters fairly regularly from his more famous uncle, who is still at Miami Beach, and is keeping very fit."
I replied to Robyn as follows:
Many thanks for your lovely message about the rugby team. The success of the team has been mentioned in many of the letters from relatives including the ones from my father, who wrote on 4th October 1941:
"Went ashore yesterday and watched our Rugger team beat an Army battalion yesterday by 20-0. Our team is very good and is composed of Devonians, New Zealanders, and South Africans plus the Padre, Schoolie, and North. The outsides are really good."

and on 1st November 1941:
"We have a very good rugger team on board which so far has beaten every ship or shore side it has played. The team consists of about eight New Zealanders, one South African, three officers and three English ratings, and as we are a West Country ship we can turn out a second team nearly as good as the First. The team would have beaten any team I saw in Shanghai quite easily including the U.S. Marines. For once we have a surplus of good backs, who really pass the ball and are fast."

I realised that the 2nd edition of MINEFIELD contained the photos of five of the eight New Zealanders (Heeney, Gregory, W Campbell, Ruddick and Atkinson) and all three officers - the Padre, the Reverend Tom Harris; the schoolmaster, Douglas Metcalf and Lieutenant the Hon Lord John North.

I asked Robyn to track down the families of the remaining New Zealanders and within a fortnight, she had succeeded. A remarkable rugby family was that of Able Seaman George 'Jum' Hull whose niece, Barbara Upham wrote:

Hi - I am the daughter of Daphne McLellan (nee Hull). I was only a toddler when my Uncle went to war so there is not much I can tell you about him. My Uncle was always known as 'Jum' - he was never called by his proper name - the story goes that when my grandfather came home from seeing him for the first time he meant to say he looked like Jacko (a monkey) - instead he said Jumbo and the name Jum stuck for the rest of his life.

My Uncle's brothers and sisters were all very sports minded as is the next generation down. My brother, George McLellan - named after our Uncle and born after our Uncle left for overseas - represented Wellington at both rugby and cricket. Jum Hull's brother, Dick Hull played rugby for Wellington and was an All Black trialist and his son, Michael Hull captained both Northland and Waikato for some years.

Coote James M Able Seaman RNVR A1882

from: Tony Goodwin, 16 Oct 2014, 06:56

The College Rifles rugby Football Club has a small Museum and is looking for any information relating to James who was a member of the club. I have sent them a photo of a Neptune cap tally and other info I have at hand. Neptune had a rugby team, do we know who was in it?

Leading Stoker Tom Forster

from: John McGregor, 15 Oct 2014, 11:40

Dear Peter I have corrected the spelling of your uncle's name. Thanks for the Xmas dinner photo which seems to be taken ashore somewhere in South Africa. Hospitality must have been provided for the crew - only a few are Stokers but if anyone recognises a relative, please let me know.

Roll of Honour

from: Peter Thorman, 6 Oct 2014, 16:08

Hi John I was looking at the Roll of Honour and noticed that Tom Forsters name is spelt Foster. I am sending you another photo, Christmas dinner aboard the Neptune.

Leading Stoker Thomas Forster

from: John McGregor, 5 Oct 2014, 06:55

Hello Peter Thanks so much for making contact and especially for the excellent photo of Thomas Forster. I have already added it to the website Roll of Honour. It will be included when we produce a supplement to Minfield in about a year's time. I will be in touch by email.

Leading Stoker Thomas Forster

from: Peter Thorman, 27 Sep 2014, 14:58

Hi John this is a photo of my Uncle Tom my Mothers older Brother who died on the Neptune. On the back of the photo it says Groot Schur Park, Durban, South Africa. 1937
P. Thorman

Leading Stoker Thomas Forster

Ordnance Artificer Reginald Jones

from: John McGregor, 10 Sep 2014, 17:51

Hi Jason Thankfully the photos have been restored to the Roll of Honour including those of your uncle Reginald Jones. Well done for noticing it.

Ordnance Artificer Reginald Jones

from: John McGregor, 25 Aug 2014, 06:43

Hi Jason

You are right. For some reason the photos of many of the casualties on the Roll of Honour have disappeared. This is probably a memory issue and we are investigating. Meanwhile here is a photo of your uncle (right) with a fellow OA.

Missing photo's

from: Jason K. Jones, 18 Aug 2014, 16:07

Hi John,hope you are well. I was viewing roll of honour today and noticed that the photo's of Reginald Jones(my uncle) and also Edward Hughes,both 'Ordnance Artificers' seem to have 'gone missing'?? All other photo's I looked at were there as normal.
Thanks, Jason.

How many got ashore?

from: John McGregor, 10 Aug 2014, 19:09

Hi Alyson
Able Seaman Norman Walton was the only man to have survived the tragic sinking of Neptune. He became a prisoner of war in Italy and was released in 1943. When I asked the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for a list of all those killed, I was stunned to find that not all were lost at sea but some were buried in Libya and one in Malta who shot himself when he found that all his mates had perished. It is likely that the ones in Libya were bodies washed ashore or were on another raft found off shore. We will probably never know what happened to them but I wish to pay tribute to the following brave men who had struggled to stay alive and nearly made it.

Lieutenant Donald Wilson
Able Seaman Lloyd Lord (NZ)
Able Seaman James Brooks
Able Seaman William Miller
Able Seaman Cyril Pugh
Leading Seaman Reginald Turley
Stores Assistant Henry Walpole (NZ)
Stoker Robert Walton
Cook Carmelo Parnis (Malta)

Survivors in Tripoli

from: Alyson Pendleton, 27 Jul 2014, 10:27

Can any one tell me how many bodies were collected from the water and buried in Tripoli.. I am looking for information on John E West boy seaman - Captains Boy to Captain Rory O'Conner...

Alyson Pendleton

to Gladys from Frank

from: John McGregor, 16 Jul 2014, 19:06

Hello Gillian

There isn't much to go on. Maybe you could scroll down the Roll of Honour and find someone called Frank but it is a long shot.

to Gladys from Frank

from: Gillian Prowse, 13 Jul 2014, 09:14

I recently found a small wooden bible in my late grandmother's belongings and the inscription inside reads "to Gladys from Frank", 1941 HMS Neptune Egypt. Grandma was called Gladys Leach and i think Frank was a relative. I wish I could find out more!

Band Corporal Reginald Martin

from: John McGregor, 2 Jul 2014, 20:23

Hello Iain

Thanks so much for making contact and it is splendid to hear that your grandfather is now 100 years old. Please send him our regards. It is also good to find that we have had his photo for the last 10 years on our website. We now know the names of over half of the Neptune band playing on the jetty at Simonstown in 1939.

Photo of the band

from: Iain Martin, 23 Jun 2014, 02:56

The front page of the site contains a photograph of the Neptune's band when in Simonstown SA. The middle of the three trumpet players is my grandfather, at that time Band Corporal Martin. Reginald Albert "Pincher" Martin met his wife Beth in SA whilst serving on the Neptune. They married in Wynburg 20th April 1939.

He recalls his return to Portsmouth in 1941. Then doing some training on HMS Britannia at Dartmouth whilst awaiting HMS Frobisher to be readied. It was during this time he learned his old ship and so many of his friends had been lost. I don't know he has ever got over the feelings he experienced from the loss. he has never really spoken much about his 22 years service which included all of WWII, D Day and Korea aboard HMS Belfast.

However, I visited him recently for his 100th birthday and found him in good form. Still keen to sing the old tunes. He remains married to Beth, and this April they celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary.

Iain Martin Calgary Alberta Canada

Able Seaman William Billinghurst

from: John McGregor, 22 Jun 2014, 09:39

Hello James Thanks for making contact. Your grandfather's photo shows he was an Able Seaman. He was probably employed on one of the gun turrets at action stations. Neptune had 8 x 6inch guns and 8 x 4 inch guns as well as Oerlikon anti aircraft guns. On a normal working day he would have been in the Forecastle, Main Top or Quarterdeck part of ship. This would have involved lots of cleaning and painting and general maintenance.

hms neptune

from: james billinghurst, 7 Jun 2014, 07:25

This is my granddad on the left wearing the hms neptune hat his name was william billinghurst I'd like to find out more about him and what he did on this ship

Lt. E.C.Mc Dougall

from: John McGregor, 27 Apr 2014, 09:48

Hi Philip I understand that Edwin Mc Dougall was invalided off HMS Neptune just before she sailed from Alexandria for Malta on 27th November 1941. He was replaced as the specialist TAS (Torpedo & Anti submarine) Officer by Lieutenant Coulton who was a survivor from the sinking of HMS Latona on 25th October 1941, but sadly died in Neptune - the tragic fortunes of war.

A fellow officer sent a photo of Edwin sleeping in a deck chair!

Lt. E.C.Mc Dougall

from: Philip Davies, 20 Apr 2014, 19:42

Dear All
I am researching the long and interesting career of Lt.Edwin Claud McDougall(later Commander)who was serving on Neptune in 1941 any information welcome particularly how and why he was not on board on the fateful night.
thank you
Philip Davies

Warrant Officer John Dallen's christening photo

from: John McGregor, 10 Apr 2014, 07:45

Hi Phil You are right, your father is 2nd from right. The newsletter included a photo of John Dallen being baptised in the upturned ships bell on board Neptune at St Helena in 1937 by Chaplain Thomas Harris who later died when Neptune sank. In left centre is John's father, Colour Sergeant Norman Dallen, Sergeant Major of the Garrison in his distinctive red sash. The curly little girl sitting on the bollard cover in front of the Chaplain is John's five year old sister Norma. The tall Marine in the centre is Gerry Saunders and his wife is the lady in the pretty white dress, John's godmother Vera Saunders. Her daughter is on the bollard cover in matching hat. The capped Marine on the right is John Edmondson. They were serving in the St Helena Garrison. Maybe Charles Plain and the other Marines in the row behind were fellow Musicians invited to play at the Baptism.
This is also the first time we have seen a clear image of the upturned ships bell. If and when we find the Neptune wreck, it is the one item we want to retrieve. It is a beautiful highly polished brass bell.
In the centre is John's father, Colour Sergeant Norman Dallen, Sergeant Major of the Garrison in his distinctive red sash.\n The curly little girl sitting up on the bollard cover in front of the Chaplain is John's five year old sister Norma. The tall Marine just to the right is Gerry Saunders and his wife is the lady in the pretty white dress.

Musician Charles Plain

from: Philip Plain, 6 Apr 2014, 07:36

Dear Maureen ,
Received latest news letter. I thought you might be interested to know that my father Charles Plain who died in Neptune is in the photo of the christening in your item 7. He is the one second from the right next to John Edmondson. Photo of my father playing the saxaphone in the Neptune band attached.
Hope you are well. Kind regards
Phil Plain

Musician Charles Plain playing the saxophone in Neptune Band

ERA Noel McGee

from: John McGregor, 27 Mar 2014, 07:48

Dear Blair How very good to hear from you. You are the first contact from ERA Noel McGee's family. We have heard from the families of over 100 of the 150 NZ's who died in Neptune and have photos of 76 of them. My first question is whether you have a photo of Noel. I would attach it to the Roll of Honour on our website. At some stage we will be producing an annex to the 2nd edition of 'Minefield' and will need a paragraph or two about Noel. I would be delighted to send you a copy of this book. How will you pay for it? It is £15 plus postage of about £9 to NZ.

Later - photo of Noel now received

ERA Noel McGee

from: Blair Solomon, 8 Mar 2014, 07:47

Hi there John "MCGEE, NOEL F., ENGINE ROOM ARTIFICER" was my grandmothers brother. My father is named after him. I'm interested in getting a copy of your book. Can you please give me a link to purchase a copy. If there
is any information I can help with just sing out and I'll do my best.

Regards Blair Solomon

William John Elloitt Meech

from: John McGregor, 21 Feb 2014, 14:53

Hello Edward Your dad was lucky he left both ships before they were sunk. If you send a photo of him in uniform, I will add it to the website GROUP PHOTOS page for the ex-Neptunes. I will be in contact by email.

First crew of Neptune

from: Edward Meech, 9 Feb 2014, 13:03

My father -William John Elloitt Meech - joined HMS Neptune on the 23 Feb 1934 as Leading Signalman, and was promoted Acting Yeoman on 3rd August 1934. He left the ship 4th September 1934. This is all the info I have at the moment. It comes from his Certificate of Service, the original of which I have. I can find no photos or any notes about the few months he spent aboard. He did keep some notes and photos of some of his travels with 'Grey Funnel Line'. He went to Neptune from Victory (barracks) and left apparently, directly to the Hood.
Do you have Neptune's log or any info about the shakedown cruise?

Joseph Bennett

from: John McGregor, 5 Feb 2014, 08:13

Hi Deryn
Welcome and thanks for making contact. Your father was lucky to have left Neptune when he did. Do you know his branch? Interesting about the certificate. Could you send me a photo of your father in uniform? Recently we have put the photos of those who served in Neptune before she sank on the website GROUP PHOTOS page.
If you go to the DIARIES page on the website you will see three war diaries written by Chief Petty Officer Jack Evans, Ordinary Seaman John Smith and Leading Signalman John Evans which cover the period from the outbreak of war in 1939 to February 1941 when Neptune arrived back in Chatham.
I will be in touch by email.

Neptune 1937- freedom of the seas certificate

from: Deryn Jenkins, 1 Feb 2014, 16:18

My father died in 1991 I was only 27. His name was Joseph Bennett he served on HMS Neptune circa 1937. I have come across the above certificate dated 1937 as war broke out. On the back of the certificate my father has recorded each day where HMS Neptune docked and sailed from for about 18 months and in the log he mentions other ships enemy and friendly. I do not know a lot about my father's war history. I was born in 1961 he had left the Royal Navy then. I am interested to know more but unsure where to start. I would be grateful for any ideas any one has.

Thank you Deryn Jenkins( nee Bennett)

William J Rogers - boy Bugler

from: John McGregor, 9 Jan 2014, 15:21

Hello Diane I am glad to say that his nephew in law Simon Westlake has sent us a photo of William. Aged 18 he was the youngest Royal Marine on board. There is also a photo of 15 Marines posted on the FORUM on 7 October 2010, and William is on the far right of the back row. Simon's mother in law reconised him immediately, saying it was typical of him to have his arms dangling at his side.

William J Rogers - boy Bugler

from: Diane Rogers, 8 Jan 2014, 21:18

I am looking for any info on my Fathers youngest brother William J Rogers,
aged 18yrs. He was a Boy Bugler on the Neptune, his first ship I believe.

Dad has passed on, so any info would be great.

Kind regards,

Diane Rogers (Melbourne)

Able Seaman Abel Keefe

from: John McGregor, 3 Jan 2014, 08:13

Hi Darren The info on Abel Keefe is that he died aged 19, and was the son of Isaac and Maud Keefe, of Hillgrade, Newfoundland.

Two nieces, Suzanne Keefe-Byrne from Ontarion and Donna Keefe from Herring Neck, Newfoundland have been in touch.
Abel Keefe's photo is taken from the Kingdon group photo on the book MINEFIELD page 76. It is however, inscribed "a Newfoundler, Windsor". Abel was from a large family and a number of his sisters who are still alive believe it is their brother. There were two "Newfies" in Neptune and the other family (Winsor) have also identified him. How much of a family likeness can you see in this photo? I suspect Neptune was his first ship.

Abel Keefe

from: Darren Keefe, 30 Dec 2013, 01:29

It is nice to be able to see a picture of my uncle that I have heard my dad talk about. Abel was born and raised in a small fishing village called Burnt Cove, which is now called Newville, Newfoundland. The house that he grew up in still stands and my Uncle John, Abel"s brother has turned it into a small museum. Abel came from a large family and all of his brothers and sisters are still alive except his oldest sister. I see that Susanne, my cousin has contacted you before and I am just wondering if there is any more info on uncle Abel's navy life. Like where he trained and served. Any info would be welcome.

POMA Harrop

from: John McGregor, 11 Dec 2013, 09:37

Hi Cathy I have checked the casualty list from Neptune's sinking on 19 December 1941 and there is no one called Harrop. POMA stands for Petty Officer Medical Assiistant. Harrop probably served in the shore Base HMS Neptune at Faslane sometime between 1966 and the present day and must have been given the tankard as a leaving present.

HMS Neptune

from: Cathy, 7 Dec 2013, 06:02

Dear all, While antique hunting I found a pewter tankard with the following inscription, 'P.O.M.A (DOC) HARROP From P O's Mess H.M.S. NEPTUNE'... Does this mean anything to any one of you? Looking at the pewter and wear, it seems most likely that it is post 1939. I have tried to research any crew members from both the dreadnought HMS Neptune and the WWII era HMS Neptune and could find very little to nothing... I am assuming the POMA stands for Petty Officer Master at Arms??? Can anyone shed light on this position or anyone named HARROP or DOC HARROP? Was there a petty officer's mess hall/room on the WWII era HMS Neptune? Was it common in the British navy to give pewter tankards? Any information that anyone could provide would be sincerely appreciated. I found the tankard in by all rights it probably shouldn't be here should it?

Thank you all and this website was especially moving. Please post to this site or email me. This is a mystery I would like to run down. Cathy

Stoker Herbert Payne

from: John McGregor, 5 Dec 2013, 17:02

Dear Janet I know there is room on page 128 to put more information on your uncle Herbert but we have 229 copies of the 2nd edition to Minefield in stock. Sales have gone well with well over 450 sold but we won't be publishing a 3rd edition in the next year or so. There are some (but not many) errors to correct as well. Since publication in November 2010 the relatives of another 49 casualties have made contact and we intend to publish an Addendum to the 2nd edition to cover them. Meanwhile here is the Christmas card sent in December 1941 by Herbert to his parents.

Herbert Payne (p128)

from: Janet Stonestreet, 26 Nov 2013, 16:51

Good afternoon
I was wondering how the book sales were going regarding a reprint of Minefield so more details can be added to Herbert Payne (stoker) on p128.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards
Janet Stonestreet

Warrant Officer Gunner Edgar Thomas Edmans

from: John McGregor, 25 Nov 2013, 23:48

Hi Andrea

Thanks so much for making contact about your great grandfather Edgar Edmunds. We have been in touch with his son Ronald and daughter Edie who gave us the details published in the book 'Minefield' which includes his photo looking very smart, having been recently promoted from Chief Petty Officer to Warrant Officer. I will email you with further details.

Edgar Thomas Edmans

from: Andrea Bartlett, 30 Oct 2013, 20:27

Hello John,
I am trying to find out information about my great granddad, Edgar Thomas Edmans. I know he was a gunner on the HMS Neptune, aged 41.
Having served in the British Army myself, I am trying to find out about my ancestors service history.
Is there any other information on his service with the HMS Neptune? My family has very limited information about him.
Any help in this matter would be much appreciated.
Kind Regards
Andrea Bartlett


from: John McGregor, 2 Oct 2013, 18:52

Hello John Yes your great uncle was indeed a Neptune casualty. He was an Able Seaman not a Stoker and was aged 40 when he died. The detail from the Commonwealth War Graves is:
NEWELL, Able Seaman, WILLIAM ALFRED, C/J 87862. H.M.S. Neptune. Royal Navy. 19th December 1941. Age 40. Son of Thomas Henry and Emma Amelia Newell; husband of Doris Lily Newell, of South Tottenham, Middlesex.

So many of the wives hoped against hope that her husband was a Prisoner of War and would be released when the war ended in 1945. William's name is on our memorial at the National Arboretum, Alrewas near Burton on Trent. I will be in touch by email. Have you a photo of him?

HMS Neptune

from: john harding, 25 Sep 2013, 22:21

Hi there, my Fathers Uncle or My grandmothers brother was on the Neptune as I found his name on the memorial a few years ago as my grandmother had the ships mixed up.
His name was Bill or William Newell (knows as Bill i think) and also believe he was a stoker.
He had been in the Navy since a boy sailor in world war 1 and had done well over 20 years service but due to WW2 had to remain in I believe, so he would have been quite middle aged when the Neptune went down.
I have no books so far would love some reccomendations on where to start
with thanks.

I also dont know if this is accurate but was told the telegram said missing in action presumed dead, and his wife always kept hope that at the end of the war he would come home apperently

Sailor's cap

from: John McGregor, 24 Sep 2013, 21:44

Hi Ken If the cap had a white cap cover it would probaly be from the Clyde Naval Base at Faslane. In WW2 they just wore blue caps. Dusty is a common nickname for Miller, Rhodes and several other surnames so it would be very hard to trace the owner


from: Ken Maynard, 22 Sep 2013, 01:12

I recently came across a HMS NEPTUNE blue and white sailor's hat and began to research the hat and found our about the tragedy & loss on Dec. 19, 1941. The hat has the name "DUSTY" written on the inside. Would anyone know who Dusty is? Thanks Ken

Neptune 1861

from: John McGregor, 20 Sep 2013, 21:52

Hi Theresa I have been asked this question before but only have details of the cruiser sunk on December 19th 1941 so can't help you. (see answers on 18 Nov 2007, 3 Dec 06 and to Alma James on 22 Jul 06). She may have looked like this Turrett battleship!

Neptune Crew 1861

from: Teresa, 19 Aug 2013, 20:11

I am researching my family tree for William Conlin born in Fermanagh, and in 1861 Census I have found:
1861 England Census
Name: William Conlin
Age: 22
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1839
Relation: Ordinary 2d Class (Ordinary Seaman)
Where born: Fermanagh Co, Fermanagh, Ireland
Civil Parish: Vessels
Town: Malta Harbour
County/Island: Royal Navy
Registration District: Royal Navy
Sub-registration District: Royal Navy
ED, institution, or vessel: Neptune

William Conlin is a crew member on board Neptune in 1861, and I would like to find out if I can get his records or any information. When I enter his name to search on Royal Navy records, I cannot find any William Conlin form Fermanagh, and I would be really grateful if you could help me in any way,

Frederick Charles Ballinger

from: John McGregor, 2 Jul 2013, 06:34

Hi Rose It is very good to hear from you. Your grandfather's name has come up from two contacts but you are the first relative to make contact. He was remembered well by Richard Earp who left Neptune before she sank. Frederick was the leading hand in charge of his messdeck and a good friend. Thank you for sending the photos of Fred and his wife Rosette Amelia de Klerk on their wedding day.

Frederick Charles Ballinger

from: Rose Krugess, 1 Jul 2013, 21:19

My grandfather Frederick Charles Ballinger went down on HMS Neptune on 19 dec1941. I have photos of him and my gran. She kept the newspaper clipping of the sad event.
I would love to know more about him . He was stoker petty officer Frederick Charles Ballinger and was married to Rosette Amelia De Klerk.
Thank you for sharing more about the event and people.
Rose Krugess

Stokers Clifford and John Hall

from: John McGregor, 15 Jun 2013, 20:08

Hello Cliff Thank you so much for the excellent photo of the three Hall brothers. We published the 2nd edition of Minefield without having photos of either Clifford or John Hall which is a shame. There were 6 sets of brothers serving on board Neptune. I will be in touch by email.

Stokers Clifford and John Hall

from: Cliff Hall, 12 Jun 2013, 15:17

HI John
I would like to share this photograph of my Dad and his two brothers. My Dad is the one in the army uniform and his two brothers are Clifford (on the left) and John Hall. Clifford and John were stokers on the Neptune when it went down. This photo was taken shortly before they died and was the last photo of them all together which was sent to their Mother in South Africa (which is where they were from) with a message from them on the back.
Best regards
Cliff J Hall
PS I was named after them!

Leading Stoker Phillip Ballantine Kelly

from: John McGregor, 9 Jun 2013, 14:51

Hi John Thanks for the further information on your uncle. I now have Leading Stoker Phillip Ballantine Kelly as the one time sailor in Neptune who left before she sank through being given compassionate leave.

John Cleator Kelly

from: mark kelly, 24 May 2013, 08:46

Hi John, further to my email I have now found some history to the photo I originally sent.
The picture was of John Kelly, however he had just joined the navy and wanted to see what he would look like so he asked his older brother Phillip Ballantine Kelly if he could try his uniform on.
Phillip Kelly was a career sailor joining the Navy in 1936 and being posted to HMS Neptune as a leading Stoker.
he was just before Neptune sank put off the ship as his mother had died and granted leave.
Phillip Kelly's Mother by dying prob saved his life which must have been an awfull time for him.
Phillip, one of four brothers and his father were all in the Navy in WW2 but the only one to stay in after.
After Neptune he was posted to HMS Ark Royal and became a CPO.
John Kelly in the photo was on destroyers on the arctic convoys all survived the war.

Able seaman Ronald William DALE

from: John McGregor, 15 May 2013, 09:43

Dear Mike

Thank you for making contact. As in my last reply to Mark Kelly, we do not hold records of the many who served in Neptune but left before she sank. I have confirmed that your grandfather was not a casualty. If you are the next of kin you can apply for his service record to 2nd Sea Lord's Department, Room 117, Victory Building, HM Naval Base Portsmouth, PO1 3LS

Able seaman Ronald William DALE

from: Michael Wilcox, 10 Apr 2013, 17:29

I am trying to research my grandfathers service recorded. Any information or pictures would much be appreciated.
All I know is that he was -
Able Seaman Ronald William DALE
Service No. CJX918590
HMS Neptune

Many Thanks,


KellyJohnCleator Seaman

from: John McGregor, 9 Apr 2013, 09:37

Dear Mark

Your uncle must have served in Neptune but probably left her in Chatham in March 1941 when she returned there for a short refit. We do not have records of the many who served on board between 1933 and 1941 but left before she sank. If you are the next of kin you can apply for his service record to 2nd Sea Lord's Department, Room 117, Victory Building, HM Naval Base Portsmouth, PO1 3LS

Seaman John Kelly HMS Neptune

from: mark kelly, 4 Apr 2013, 09:04

Hi Last week one of my relatives gave me a photo of my Great Uncle John Cleator kelly in uniform wearing the pennant of HMS Neptune.
I am wondering if the photo (inc) is of a wartime sailor as his uniform is all black.
How can i find out when he was on this ship as he has passed on and I cant ask.
Best Regards
Mark Kelly

Chief Stoker Albert J. Barnes

from: John McGregor, 3 Apr 2013, 15:01

Dear John

How fascinating to know about your parents living with Albert Barnes parents during the war years. Yes we have heard from Albert's son who was also called Albert. He lives in Cornwall but I do not have an email address for him. I have attached a photo of his father taken on a beach with some shipmates in 1934. He is central in the dark shirt.

Chief Stoker Albert J. Barnes

from: John Fowler, 28 Mar 2013, 02:35

When I was born at the end of the war, my parents lived with Chief Stoker Albert Barnes' parents in Swindon, Wilts. Am interested in locating where his parents' are buried and if he had any descendents. I believe he was married. I wonder if you have any information. I went through your postings.


John Fowler,
New Orleans

Steward Thomas.R. Wood

from: John McGregor, 13 Feb 2013, 09:19

Hi Ian Thank you for making contact and sending the excellent photo of your great uncle. We now have photos of almost 400 of the 837 who died that night in the two ships Neptune and Kandahar. I will be in touch by email with further details.

Steward Thomas.R. Wood

from: Ian Smith, 11 Feb 2013, 09:56

Hi I have been carrying out some research into my family history which sadly brought me to this site. My great uncle was a serving member on HMS Neptune the night she was sunk. Sadly its not been until more recently that I've managed to gather enough information to enable me carry out research.
My grandmother, would not talk about the loss of her brother, made all the worse by me also joining the armed forces (Army), and its only after both my grandmother and grandfather passing away that I have managed to find information which I have passed onto my father.
If anyone has anymore information that would be wonderful.
My uncle was, Thomas.R. Wood and he was a Steward on HMS Neptune.

I have attached a photo that belonged to my grandmother of my uncle (on the left)

Kind regards,

Ian Smith

ERA Joseph Clee

from: John McGregor, 1 Feb 2013, 22:50

Dear Alison It is very good to hear from you and I am attaching a photo of the Kandahar engine room branch in which you mother's fiance probably shows. There are six ERA's in the front row either side of the Engineer Officer Lieut Cdr Havegal and two 4th Class ERA's in the second row just behind him. We believe these to be Rupert Wilson who died and Blair Mitchell who survived - identified by his widow. Please send Joseph's photo. I will be in touch by email.

Joseph Clee HMS Khandahar

from: Alison Forster, 31 Jan 2013, 21:22

Dear Members

My Mother who is now 91 was engaged to Joseph Clee, Engine Room Artificer, HMS Khandahar. Did anyone's relative from the ship know of him? She has always had his picture on display and has never really recovered from his loss.She was 21 when Joe was killed.He had joined the Navy a few years before the war.I was brought up with the story of this ship and its loss.She did marry.

As she was a fiancee she never received any of his effects, if there were any left.

Does anyone know if there is a pennant or anything similar that I can buy for her now? I think it would really be a great thing for her.
I will try to get the photograph and post it on line.
Kind Regards
Alison Forster

Stoker Eric Sanders

from: John McGregor, 30 Jan 2013, 09:23

Hi Carol and thanks for making contact about your uncle Neptune casualty Stoker Eric Sanders. Previously we have heard from his nephew Steve Sanders in Australia who sent the attached photo, and from his niece Samantha Sanders. We are delighted to hear from all relatives and I will email you with details of our Association.

Re Eric Sanders

from: Carol Leach (nee Sanders), 28 Jan 2013, 15:15

Looking on your site with photos and messages regarding the men on Nuptune.

Someone was asking for information on Eric Walter Sanders.

Eric was my uncle please email the above address if you would like information regarding Eric or his family.



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