ERA Desmond MacCauley
from: John McGregor, 29 Dec 2005, 06:36
Many thanks for the photo of your uncle ERA Desmond MacCauley and well done for being the first to take advantage of the facility for sending photos on the Forum page. In fact we have already received this photo (I thought it was sent by you) and it has been included in MINEFIELD, the pictorial tribute to those who died in the two ships - published November 26th 2005.
Forum message from David Dunne
from: Robert MacAulay, 17 Dec 2005, 03:06
|David posted a request for photos of Neptune casualties with out a address. I have one of Desmond MacAulay.|
Stoker 2nd Class Eric Sanders
from: John McGregor, 16 Dec 2005, 06:49
How good to hear from you. Yes Eric was one of the 764 killed when Neptune sank in Dec 41. Please contact me by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org)and I will send yoi further details.
The current HMS Neptune is the Clyde Submarine base at Faslane in Scotland. Virtually all submariners go there for work up so you may have seen a plaque in the Chapel for our Neptune.
from: Steve Sanders, 16 Dec 2005, 02:13
|Eric was my Uncle that I never met and my father talked of him often. I have just found this site and I thank you for Keeping the spirit of the Neptune and Eric alive.|
I saw a plaque for HMS Neptune when I was in the UK doing a submarine course. Was there a land depot named HMS Neptune?
Neptune & Battle of River Plate
from: John McGregor, 9 Dec 2005, 06:35
I saw your previous message but didn't know the full answer. According to Churchill's "The gathering storm" page 421, Neptune was ordered towards Montevideo but hadn't got there when the Battle of the River Plate took place on December 13th. I understand she re-fuelled in Rio de Janiero. On the date you asked about (Dec 8th 1939) Neptune was about 2500 miles away so couldn't have been over-flown by a Brazilian aircraft. John McGregor
Neptune in Brazil
from: Romulo Figueiredo, 7 Dec 2005, 23:28
I am a Brazilian Air Force retired officer and a researcher on aviation history.
Some time ago I sent a complete message via The Neptune Association forum at http://www.hmsneptune.com/forum,
looking for some information about an eventual HMS Neptune approach to the Brazilian coast in the WW II, specifically on the Graf Spee hunting in December of 1939. Could you help me in finding any report about a Brazilian plane overflying that vessel or tell me where it was on 08 Dec 1939?
Romulo Peixoto Figueiredo
Rio de Janeiro - Brazil
HMS Kandahar - Albert Edward Cooke (Dickie) - Able Seaman
from: John McGregor, 1 Dec 2005, 22:53
Many thanks for your moving message. Yes Albert Cooke was one of the Kandahar casualties dying on 20 Dec 1941. The Neptune Assocoiation represents both Neptune and Kandahar and the Memorial built at Alrewas remembers the casualties of both ships. I will be in touch by e-mail with further details.
HMS Kandahar - Albert Edward Cooke (Dickie) - Able Seaman.
from: Alan Pallett, 28 Nov 2005, 16:41
|Dear Mr McGregor,|
I was adopted 10 days after birth and whilst i always knew i was adopted i made no attempt to trace my natural parents until Christmas 2004. I traced my mother, Grace Evelyn Cooke, who is now 79 years old and lives in a small village in Norfolk called Nordelph. We have been writing to one another for nearly a year now. In one of her letters she told me that her eldest brother "Dickie" had been killed in the war when he was 18. She was only 15 at the time and I can tell that the loss of her brother was a very traumatic event in her life and pain and sadness are still evident. She wrote that "Dickie" had trained at HMS Ganges but I had no other information and as you can imagine I did not want to ask further questions in case I caused my newly found mum some distress. I decided to trace my uncle myself and came across your website for HMS Neptune, which gave me the details of the sad events of the 19th/20th December 1941. I have not found an association for HMS Kandahar and would ask if one exists? or does the Neptune Association cover both ships because of their unique and tragic association.
My mother also told me that a Memorial for "Dickie" had been errected at his school (Elmwood Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey), but when I made enquiries I was told that no one remembered the site of the Memorial and the school had been almost destroyed by fire in 1988. This saddened me because it is so important that all those lost in the war should be remembered. I was so pleased to read about the Memorial to the ships companies of HMS Neptune and HMS Kandahar that has been built at the National Memorial Arboretum at Burton on Trent in July this year. Whilst I have only just found out about the Memorial during my trace I will be visiting it and pay my respects to "Dickie" and his comrades.
I would like to contact any survivors who knew "Dickie" and could tell me about him as a person.
I hope you can help.
Reply to Colin Sainty
from: John McGregor, 24 Nov 2005, 07:04
Thank you for your kind remarks. How good to hear from you. Are you by any chance related to Warrant Engineer Ernest Sainty? If so relatives of 35 of the 44 officers who died have made contact. Quite extraordinary after all these years.
Message from Colin Sainty
20 Nov 2005, 14:55
|i don,t know what to say just a good site&thanks|
William Griffiths able bodied seaman
from: Margaret Grace, 9 Nov 2005, 11:42
|Recently I have come across this website and have found the name of William Griffiths able bodied seaman. I believe I am his neice. I have several photographs of him in uniform which if it is possible I would like to post on your website.|
He came from Liverpool and was aged 22 when he died. His sister, my mother, died in 2000 and all she ever wanted was for him to be remembered. I have read all that was put on the website and I am very moved and proud, as my mother would have been.
I believe he also served on the HMS Ghurka ... he was sunk before but I do not know for sure whether it was the Ghurka or not...... If only my Mum could have seen his name on the Roll of Honour and known that a memorial to all the men of the Neptune was finally erected.
Leading Seaman, Harold Flaherty
from: Tim Davies, 3 Nov 2005, 19:16
|My great uncle was Leading Seaman, Harold Flaherty.|
His brother Arthur served in the 8th Army and fought at El Alamein. His brother John served in North Africa and was decorated in the field of battle at the Mareth Line by Montgomery in March, 1943.
from: Gary Johnston, 26 Oct 2005, 10:55
|The book Neptune's Legacy is no longer in print although Arcturus Press have less than perfect copies available at £14 including P&P. There is a slight colour print error on the cover.|
Was it known to the navy that there was a minefield in this location?
from: John McGregor, 25 Oct 2005, 22:43
All the official accounts say that "Force K ran into an unexpected minefield at a depth of water and distance from land that made it totally unexpected". I have spent 3 years trying to make sense of this statement. The official wreck position for Neptune is 20 miles north of Tripoli but I think she is much closer. The massive minefield (1800 mines) was laid by the Italians in May and June 1941. It stretched from 3 to 13 miles from the Libyan coast and I reckon Neptune struck about 12 miles from land. We lost the submarine Undaunted on May 13th and then two more submarines (P32 and P33) in August 1941. After that the area was left well alone until December 1941 when Force K was trapped. Whether or not Neptune's Captain had been fully briefed about the full extent of the minefield has been successfully obscured. I am quite sure that the higher command of the Navy in the Med knew the minefield was there but whether the full detail was known is questionable.
from: Michael Regan, 24 Oct 2005, 11:23
|Was it known to the navy that there was a minefield in this location?|
Cyril Wright, Leading Seaman
from: Christine Carkeek, 12 Oct 2005, 12:48
I am great niece of Cyril Wright, Leading Seaman of HMS Neptune. My late father (who passed away on 26th August 2005) Graham (Peter) Carkeek who served on HMS Achilles, and myself, was very active in the commemoration of Neptune Day for many years, celebrated at Taita RSA, Wellington, NZ. My late Auntie Lorna Smith (sister of Cyril) attended proudly every year wearing the 'Mother's Medal'. My Dad was instrumental in orgnaising the celebrations in Christchurch when Norm and Irene came to NZ.
When Dad and I travelled to the UK in 1995 for the 50th Anniversary of VJ Day we stayed with Norm and Irene. We arrived in Pudsey staying in a B&B. We rang Norm the next morning, he arrived and insisted we get in the car and come and stay at his home. How wonderful! The boys went to the local RSA and Irene and I watched the video of their NZ tour consuming most of a bottle of Irish Mist liquor which they had looked forward to taking the top off themsleves! What a superb stay and a couple of wonderful hosts!
We had heard Irene passed away and only tonight through the website have learned of Norm's passing. I remember his humility, sense of humour, and zest for life, albeit Norm didn't seem to recognise being the only survivor of something so historic, poignant to so many, and so special.
Dad would've been very sad, as I am, to learn of Norm's passing and offer my condolences. I will look forward to any response.
Most sincerely yours,
Stoker Albert Bennett
from: John McGregor, 12 Oct 2005, 07:59
It was good to hear from you on 11th October 2005, concerning your uncle Stoker Albert Bennett, who is indeed on the Neptune casualty list - one of 764 who were killed with just one survivor. It was the fifth worst loss of life from any ship in World War Two. I'm sorry to have been so slow to respond but you didn't leave an e-mail address. I wrote to you on 19th November using your postal address with full details. If you see this message please let me know you have got my letter.
A Bennett, Stoker
from: G Bennett, 11 Oct 2005, 20:54
|I am so pleased I have found this site.|
Four years ago when my brother passed away I discovered my uncle's medals etc (A.BENNETT. STOKER) I have now had these put into a display case and am very proud of them.
I visit the arboretum quite often so will make a special effort to visit the Neptune's site.
regards Geoff Bennett.
A hat from HMS Neptune
from: Teri Florman, 1 Sep 2005, 06:59
|I am not a family member of anyone on the Neptune, but I am an interested party. I am employed at the Salvation Army in USA and have recently come across a hat the was from the HMS Neptune. I am a history buff, and instantly Knew that this hat had to have some historical significance due to the age etc. I have been researching information on your sight, and would like to know more. The name in the hat is M. Pocula. I did not find this name in your roll of honor so my guess is this hat is from a seaman before the sinking. I am very interested to find more out if possible and/or information on where else to contact. I appreciate your help. Teri|
Able Seaman Thomas Donaldson
from: John McGregor, 31 Aug 2005, 05:49
|Dear Alexander Thomas Donaldson MacDonald|
It was good to hear from you on 5th August 2005, concerning your uncle Able Seaman Thomas Donaldson of Stockbridge Edinburgh, who is indeed on the Neptune casualty list - one of 764 who were killed with just one survivor. It was the fifth worst loss of life from any ship in World War Two. I'm sorry to have been so slow to respond but you didn't leave an e-mail address. I wrote to you in October using your postal address in Gibraltar with full details but no response. If you see this message please try again.
Regards John McGregor (son of Pay Commander Jack McGregor killed in Neptune)
from: Alexander Thomas Donaldson MacDonald, 5 Aug 2005, 15:41
|Thomas Donaldson was my Dad's uncle (my great uncle). My Dad and family, as far as I know, all come from Edinburgh. I was the first boy born (1950) after his death and I was given his name to keep his memory alive in the family.|
My father never knew what really happened to his uncle, except that his ship had been sunk in the Med, until now: I am going to give my Dad this information today.
It has been quite emotional to read the first hand account of Norman Walton and I thank you very much for all this immense amount of information. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need any further info.
Alex T.D MacDonald
from: Don McLean, 5 Aug 2005, 03:03
|My father often told me about my cousin John McLean and about his loss on the Neptune.|
from: Tracy Dudley, 31 Jul 2005, 14:20
|My "uncle" Ernie Shortland died in action aboard HMS Kandahar in dec 1941. I would like to speak/contact anyone who can help me find out more about the crew and ship as i am currently working on my family history and would like to find out more.|
James G Leckie
from: Anne Hill, 26 Jul 2005, 06:08
|I am a niece of James G Leckie rnzn who went down with the Neptune. He has always been highly revered in our family, and I cannot tell you how pleased I am to have found this website today.|
I feel really emotional having just read the details of the Neptune's sinking, and would never have known them if not for this site.
I have just had contact with Jim's wife who will be 91 in a couple of days. She never remarried and still misses Jim and loves him till this day. I can imagine her delight when I tell her of this site.
Thank you so much for remembering the Neptune for people like us who still care.
Regards, Anne Hill. New Zealand.
Brothers Francis and Charles Thorp
from: John McGregor, 21 Jul 2005, 23:01
We have also heard from Celeste Watt who presumably is a cousin of yours. Her e-mail address is email@example.com
Francis Desmond and Charles Edward Thorp
from: Kevin D E Johnson, 20 Jul 2005, 15:46
|Both my uncles, Francis Desmond Thorp and Charles Edward Thorp from South Africa were missing, presumed dead, when Neptune was sunk in 1941.|
I should be very grateful to hear from anyone who knew or knew of them.
Thank you very much
Boy 1st Class Stanley Street
from: John McGregor, 18 Jul 2005, 22:37
What a strange tale. Did you hear of your uncle's name from your father? When were you born? You will just have to put it down to the Neptune factor. Those who died in such numbers so long ago seem to be communicating with us all as though they want the full story exposed.
I will write to you but give me a few days as the dedication ceremony for our memorial near Burton on Trent was held last weekend and I have masses of loose ends to tie up.
Regards John McGregor
In a message dated 16/07/2005 00:13:27 GMT Daylight Time, spencer.street
Hi John, Thank you very much for your reply, I didnt know anything about my uncle until today and was amazed to find out he was called Stanley William Henry Street, My real name is Stanley and 5 years ago my wife and I had a son and we named him William Henry Street, without knowing that was my uncles name!! Strange how things turn out. I havent had time time to read your attatchment but I will tomorrow. If possible I would love to receive a copy of your newsletter and the print out on my uncle from the commonwealth wargraves commission.
My Address is 31 Pounds Street, Moretonhampstead, Devon. TQ13 8NX
Once again many thanks
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, July 15, 2005 10:44 PM
Subject: HMS Neptune
How very good to hear from you concerning your uncle Boy Seaman Stanley Street, and I confirm he was amongst the casualties. I am pleased you found our website. I attach an account I wrote of what happened to Neptune and also the obituary of the one survivor Norman Walton who died on April 20th this year aged 84. The obituary was published in the Telegraph and Times and received widespread interest.
If you send me your postal address I will send the last newsletter and the print out on your uncle from the Commonwealth Wargraves commission.
Regards John McGregor Chairman Neptune Association
Stanley William Henry Street
from: Spencer Stanley Street, 15 Jul 2005, 19:57
|Hello. my name is Spencer Street. For a few months now I have been reserching my family's past and discovered that my uncle was aboard HMS Neptune. His name was Stanley William Henry Street, boy 1st class, and was 17 when Neptune was sunk. I hope this will add some interest to your Association.|
Midshipman Edward Robinson
from: John McGregor, 14 Jul 2005, 22:29
|Dear Carl and Sarah|
I was so glad we had a brief moment to speak last Saturday. Yes I would love to see an copy of Eric Robinson's story. As a submariner, I know about the amazing exploits of the submarines going up the Dardanelles in 1915, and knew that E15 went aground and later that we damaged it severely to prevent it falling into Turkish hands. I didn't know how it had been achieved and that it was the work of Eric Robinson. In the classic book "By Guess and by God" it states that "E15 ran aground near the Kephez minefield inside the entrance to the Dardenelles and was later destroyed by an expedition in two picket boats from the battleshios Majestic and Triumph." Did the other picket boat leader also get a VC?
If you write about Eric, I think you ought to include what happened to his sons.
I enclose several photos of the Dedication service.
My best regards John McG
Edward (Tim) Robinson
from: Carl Clayton, 6 Jul 2005, 12:02
|My wife's uncle Edward (Tim) Robinson was Paymaster Midshipman on HMS Neptune. He was the son of Rear Admiral Eric Robinson VC. His brother Patrick served in the RAF and also died on active service.|
Reply to Pamela Graham
from: John McGregor, 1 Jun 2005, 22:27
How very good to hear from you concerning your Grandfather Stoker Frank Dowling, and am pleased you found our website. I attach an account I wrote of what happened to Neptune and also the obituary of the one survivor Norman Walton who died on April 20th this year aged 84. The obituary was published in the Telegraph and Times and received widespread interest.
If you send me your postal address I will send the last newsletter and the print out on your grandfather from the Commonwealth Wargraves commission. Please fill in the form on the newsletter so we can keep track of the numbers coming to the dedication service. We have gone to great lengths to get all the names correct on the memorial to the 2 ships being unveiled on July 9th. We are expecting 350 from all over the UK and some from NZ, Australia and the USA.
I am also attaching an amazing photo of the whole Kandahar crew. You may be able to spot your grandfather in it.
My regards John McGregor (son of Pay Cdr Jack McGregor who died in Neptune)
Francis Henry Dowling
from: Pamela Graham, 29 May 2005, 12:24
|My Grandfather Francis Henry Dowling (Frank) was killed when the Kandahar was mined. He was a Stoker 1st Class. If there is anyone out there who recognises the name, it would be nice to hear from you. My Mum and Aunt will be attending the Memorial Dedication on the 9th July.|
Reply to Brendan Walsh
from: John McGregor, 28 May 2005, 22:29
I can't reply to you as you haven't put an e-mail address.
John McGregor (son of Pay Cdr Jack McGregor Neptune casualty)
P.O James Carthy
from: Brendan Walsh, 21 May 2005, 03:45
|Having just learned of your Association through the obitury coloumns of the international edition of the Daily Telegraph (sad death of Mr. Walton) I would like to send you the following information about P.O James Carthy. He was my mother's brother (my uncle) and when he enlisted, the recruiting officer neglected to put "Mc" before his name. This omission has been carried through to the memorial in Plymouth. Another small error is his place of birth. Although the address is generally correct, his county of birth is Meath (I was born in the same house!) It is the Post Office in Garristown that is in Co.Dublin.|
Sorry if this letter is "picky" but thought you might like to know. On a more positive note you may be interested to know that I have his campaign medals which have been passed down to me. These are: The Africa Star,The Atlantic Star,The 1939-1945 Star and the War Medal-all packed in a small cardboard box together with a note from the Secretary of the Admiralty.If you have any information about his previous postings I would be grateful if you could let me know.
It is good to know that the crew of the Neptune are remembered through your organisation and I'm glad to have found it on the Net.
Yours Cordially - Brendan
from: David Dunne, 19 May 2005, 02:53
|I am looking for any photographs of Neptune crew members. My great uncle, Frederick Abell, was among those who paid the highest price, and I would love to speak with anyone who knew him or has any pictures from that sad time.|
Lieutenant James Knowles
from: John McGregor, 18 May 2005, 19:55
How very good to hear from you. The first thing I need is your address and Tel no and I will then send you the newsletter and other information. We are unveiling a memorial to all the 836 who died in Neptune and Kandahar at the National Arboretum in Alrewas on July 9th. Lieutenant (E) James M Knowles is how your mother in law's first husband's name will appear.
My mother also married again in 1952 when she had given up hope of my father being released from some obscure POW camp. We are having a members meeting on Plymouth Hoe next Sunday 22nd May in conjunction with the Gloucester Association - a similar cruiser to Neptune that sank with 714 casualties. Their POW's ended up in a Stalag Luft camp in Poland and 41 survived a 800 mile forced march in front of the advancing Russian army to the Western zone of Germany, being released by the Americans. So no, I don't know what happened to the Neptune POW's who I believe were taken (100 according to an Italian report). I have the names of 10 of the 14 men on the Carley float with Norman Walton. Also the names of 10 Neptunes who are buried in named graves in Libya. Relatives were never told this. James Knowles' name wasn't amongst them, but another Engineer Officer - Donald Wilson is buried in Tobruk.
The more I get into this tragedy the weirder it becomes. Do tell me your father's name. Was he near Malta at the time of the Neptune tragedy and if so what does he remember of it?
John McGregor (son of Paymaster Commander Jack McGregor)
from: Olivia Clark, 16 May 2005, 14:10
|My mother in law is living with us now but her first husband, Jimmy Knowles, was killed on Neptune. I think he is listed as Lt IM Knowles.|
Is any more known about the other men who are not mentioned in Norman Walton’s account? It was reading his obituary in The Times that drew my attention to your association.
I also have my father who served in the Royal Navy throughout the war and is still alive today. he was sunk 3 times, once in Malta, and once in Norway. He never talked much about it all but it has affected him greatly to have lost so many friends.
I feel a tremendous sense of gratitude to all these men.
From Olivia Clark
Musician David Dick Royal Marines
from: John McGregor, 14 May 2005, 07:44
How good to hear from you and sorry to be confused by answering your second e-mail first. Yes Musician David Dick is one of the 764 men who died in HMS Neptune. My father was another. The obituary of the one survivor was in the Daily Telegraph today. I know Deal well and play golf at the Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club.
It is good news that you have a photo of him. Can you get a copy to me quickly? We are publishing a Pictorial Tribute to those who died and you may just be in time for him to be included.
Please send me your address and telephone number and I will send details of the Neptune Association. You will see from our website that we are dedicating a memorial on July 9th at the National Arboretum at Burton on Trent with all the names of those who died.
David Dick Cranham
from: David Dick Cranham, 11 May 2005, 19:50
|I am named after my uncle, Musician David Dick, who I believe can be seen seated left in your photograph of Neptune's band.|
Known as Davey he was one of 5 children: 2 brothers Robert and William who both still survive, and 2 sisters Elizabeth and Catherine (Kitty) my mother, both now deceased.
At the time of his death the family lived at 16 Circular Road, Betteshanger Colliery, Deal, Kent. Davey enrolled in The Royal Marines School of Music in Deal at the age of 15 where he was taught the violin, trombone and trumpet. He was 21 when HMS Neptune was lost.
I was born on 3-12-43 in my grandmother's house in Betteshanger and given the name David Dick in his memory.
My father who was serving in the Royal Engineers made a wall plaque incorporating his cap badge, which remained on the wall of our house above his colour photograph until my mother's death in 1999.
RE: Permanent Memorial donations
from: John McGregor, 6 May 2005, 12:50
|Please send all donations, including those from abroard, in memory of the late Norman Walton and of the late Commander Peter Harris, direct to the Appeal Co-ordinator at 21 Church Close, South Walsham, Norfolk, NR13 6DW. Cheques should be made payable to The Neptune Association.|
We are delighted to report that the appeal has now raised over 80% of our goal. The pyramid is already in place at the National Arboretum and looks magnificent. The plaques and the crests are now being created. Thank you to all those who have given us such splendid support since the appeal was launched on l9th December 2004.
Permanent Memorial donations
from: Greg Mau, 4 May 2005, 09:44
|Several people are looking for a way to make a donation to the Neptune Association towards the Permanent Memorial on behalf of the recently deceased Peter Harris who had worked with the Neptune Association and who's uncle The Rev. T. Harris RN was the ships' Chaplain.|
Please provide specifics as to how the donations should go about.
from: John McGregor, 19 Apr 2005, 19:41
You will have to e-mail Donald O'Mara lll to find out how you are related. He is about your age and lives in the USA. If you had a Neptune powder compact your Dad's mother or female relative must have been close. How infuriating to get it stolen.
If you are interested in history, according to every history book written on the Neptune tragedy says words to the effect that "Neptune ran into a minefield about 20 miles to the east of Tripoli at a depth of water and distance from land which made it totally unexpected." I have found that virtually every word is untrue.
You can find the membership application on the website under "Membership". I will be away for 5 days from Thursday but if you gove me your address I will send some details.
In a message dated 18/04/2005 18:23:27 GMT Daylight Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
well I'm amazed!
I am currently tracing my dads side of the family and I have come across
this branch of the family but had no way of contacting them to ask about
I'm unsure how we're related but Dad had told me about them, I was born in
Limerick but live in the UK now. I'm 32 but fascinated by Military history
and regularly do living history events for schools, one of which is a WRNS
rating from 39-45. We even do talks at Bletchley park.
Thank you so much for your help-I had a lovely powder compact from Neptune,
which I lent to a museum for a display and it was stolen/lost. I was very
unhappy about it!
I'm interested in joining as an associate member, can you give me more
from: John McGregor, 17 Apr 2005, 19:36
|Dear Katie |
You left our first message on the Forum and am delighted I can answer it. Yes I have been sent 2 photos of Donald O'Mara which are attached. They were sent by his daughter Pamela J Brant of 575 S.Lyon #10, Hemet, California 92543. Donald's grandson Donald O'Mara lll has also made contact from e-mail address: email@example.com
How are you related to Donald and where do you live?
My best regards John McGregor Chairman Neptune Association
Able Seaman Donald Henry O'Mara
from: K. O'Mara, 12 Apr 2005, 16:03
|Relative of Able Seaman, Donald Henry O'Mara,P/JX 261454.|
Would love to be able to identify him on a photograph but can't-family have no photos of him, can anyone help?
© 2005 The Neptune Association, Registered Charity No 1103413.