from: DENISE O'MALLEY, 31 Aug 2018, 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|
ERA 4th Class James Brown NZ
from: John McGregor, 31 Jul 2018, 20:22
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
AB Thomas Mosley
from: John McGregor, 28 May 2018, 12:18
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 www.hmsneptune.com 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
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
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
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.
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|
Thomas Henry turner
Wireman Cyril Hunter
from: John McGregor, 30 Aug 2017, 09:08
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.
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
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.|
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.
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
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 maltagc70.com
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 maltagc70.com 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
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
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
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.
from: Leonard Dragon, 6 Nov 2016, 19:49
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!
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!
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.
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
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
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!
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
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
William AA Field
Leading Stoker Emmanuel Newton
from: John McGregor, 17 Aug 2015, 20:30
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 email@example.com 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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
HMS Neptune's RUGBY Team in 1941
from: John McGregor, 3 Nov 2014, 10:59
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|
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
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.
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.|
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...|
to Gladys from Frank
from: John McGregor, 16 Jul 2014, 19:06
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
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.|
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
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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.|
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.|
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 Canada...so 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
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.
Warrant Officer Gunner Edgar Thomas Edmans
from: John McGregor, 25 Nov 2013, 23:48
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
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.
Able Seaman WILLIAM NEWELL
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?
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
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
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|
HMS NEPTUNE Hat
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|
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
from: John McGregor, 9 Apr 2013, 09:37
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.
Chief Stoker Albert J. Barnes
from: John McGregor, 3 Apr 2013, 15:01
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.|
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)
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
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.
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.