The Neptune Association



Please note that this page only contains messages posted to the forum during 2006. To get in touch, VISIT THE MAIN FORUM PAGE where you can view the latest messages and add a message.

Boy 1st Class William G M Paver

from: Robert Morris Evans, 31 Dec 2006, 03:54

Many thanks to you and all members of the Neptune Association for such an informative website. Like many others I have recently started to research my family history and recall my mother before her death speaking emotionally about the loss at sea of her younger brother who she called Morris. Her family name was Paver but I struggled to find any record of a 'Morris' Paver until during a recent search of the CWGC site I found the entry for William George Morris Paver and the link is complete. I believe that I have a photo at home in the UK of William Paver in uniform which must have been taken shortly before he joined HMS Neptune and I will try to forward it to you on my return home in a few months time.

Regards Bob

Signalman Alfred Jenkins

from: John McGregor, 31 Dec 2006, 01:57

Hi Dean and G'day to you
You still haven't sent me the photo of your uncle Alfred Jenkins which we need for the next issue of MINEFIELD this autumn. Thanks for for mentioning the tape of the evocative NZ Christmas messages sent in November 1941 but never broadcast after Neptune sank. About 50 NZ's sent their family greetings including ERA James Brown who was a Neptune casualty. Revell Brownie was a Leading Seaman with duties as coxswain of the Captain's motor boat.

Revell Brownie

from: Dean Smith, 31 Dec 2006, 00:29

Regards the posting from Shane Brownie

G'day Shane, my relative Alfred Jenkins A1808 was a Signalman from Auckland who also lost his life when Neptune sank and you are right that there does not seem to be much info about the event here in NZ. I did manage to find a copy of a BBC recording of Xmas greetings home that the NZ contingent made just a matter of weeks prior to the sinking and as such it was never released. I heard Alf's voice on it and it was quite an experience. The cd was available through the sound archives in NZ ( I looked on the list of names that were on the cd and didn't see your relatives name but there was a Jim Browne from Wellington which may have been misspelt so give it a go if you are interested. I was interested to see someone who was a mate or your relative had posted a picture of him, Reg Rushton was his name. I was going to try and contact him to see if he had any Neptune pictures or may have even known Alf, did you have any contact details for him?

Petty Officer Stoker Edward J Russell

from: John McGregor, 30 Dec 2006, 23:52

Dear John Yes your uncle Edward Russell was indeed amongst the Neptune casualties and it is the first time I have heard his name. It is unlikely that a photo of him will emerge but I will ask one of our members Richard Earp who was a Stoker in Neptune and left before she sank, whether he remembers him.
I will be in touch by e-mail with further details.

Russell, Edward J., Petty Officer Stoker (S. Africa)

from: John Edward Leitch, 28 Dec 2006, 08:29

E. J. Russell was the brother of my late mom who died at the age of 89 only two years ago. We (my siblings and I) know little or nothing about him, other than that he perished on the Neptune. If anyone by any chance has any reference or photograph pertaining to E.J.R., then I would be most appreciative.

I am greatful to all those who have conceived and managed this Association; may we and our children never forget.

John Edward Leitch.

ERA 4th Class William Wright

from: John McGregor, 28 Dec 2006, 08:06

Hi Linda, Yes your mother's cousin ERA William Wright was a Neptune casualty. He left many letters and a wonderful set of photos of his fellow Engine Room Artificers some of whom left Neptune before she sank and others who perished with him. His nephew Peter William Wright of Evesham Worcestershire contacted me 18 months ago and has loaned me the collection, from which I have been able to identify 8 casualties. If anyone recognises the ERA3 on the left and ERA 5 on the right of William Wright please say so. I will send you details of Peter Wright's address by e-mail.
All ERA's did a 4 year apprenticeship including both academic and practical engineering (equivalent to a modern university degree) and they went to sea as ERA 5th class. After a year they became ERA 4th class (Petty Officer) and 2 years later after passing engineering and leadership exams they would be promoted to ERA 3rd Class (Chief Petty Officer). ERA 4th Class William Wright was 23 years old when he died.

ERA 3rd class, ERA 4 William Wright, ERA 5th class


from: linda wall, 13 Dec 2006, 11:04

Hello everyone

Ive just found this site and i am asking for help.

During my research into the family tree a family member told me that my mother,s cousin - William Wright - was lost when HMS NEPTUNE sank in 1941. I found this site and on the Roll Of Honour is WILLIAM WRIGHT, ENGINE ROOM ARTIFICER. There is also a picture of William but no personal details . Is there anyone who can help me to find out if this WAS our (BILLY) WILLIAM WRIGHT

Also could you tell me what an ENGINE ROOM ARTIFICIER did on board.

Thank you Linda

HMS Neptune 1861 census

from: John Andrews, 11 Dec 2006, 18:40

My great great grandfather served on HMS Neptune and was aboard her the night of the 1861 census where she was anchored in Malta Harbour. I have also had difficulties tracing any information on the ship.

Any information would be welcomed.

Samuel Daniels

from: John McGregor, 3 Dec 2006, 11:42

I will answer this together with another query from Alma James on 22nd July who asked about her Great-grandfather, Joseph Wiltshire, who is also listed as being on HMS Neptune in 1861. She stated "the Neptune of Trafalgar was broken up in 1818 and I cannot find a referance to another ship of that name until 1874. I would be very interested in any information you could provide. I have been able to trace him on HMS Warrior in 1871 and this would complete my records."

I found a painting of a Battleship HMS Neptune in 1878 which had sails as well as an engine which may be your great grandfather's ship. Her only claim to fame is that on being towed to the breakers in the 1880's she collided with HMS Victory causing considerable damage.

Neptune Sailing Battleship

hms neptune 1861 census

from: john griffiths, 27 Nov 2006, 12:57

Appeal for any info on the vessell HMS neptune 1861,
My gt grandfather samuel daniels from bideford devon, was listed in the 1861 census as being aboard in the harbour of Malta that night, but cannot find any info on this ship.
W F Mitchell painted hms neptune, but is possible this may be the 1881 vessel. regards john griffiths

Stoker Frank Dowling

from: John McGregor, 25 Nov 2006, 15:56

How very nice to hear from you and I have passed on your thanks to Jim Evoy nephew of Marine Jim Evoy (neptune casualty) who painstakingly attached the photos of 209 casualties to the Roll of Honour. What an unexpected bonus after you found our site! The photo was sent by a grandaughter Pamela Graham and I have also heard from Leonard Dowling, Frank's son. I am sending you an e-mail with their addresses and maybe you could contact them direct.

Stoker Frank Dowling

Francis H Dowling HMS Kandahar Stoker

from: Julie, 23 Nov 2006, 23:56

Dear John,

my daughter and I were amazed to find this site and a photo of my great uncle, Francis Dowling, a stoker aboard HMS Kandahar. I was wondering who supplied this photo and if it would be possible to get in touch with them?

We are tracing the family history so even the smallest and most inconsequential piece of information would be much appreciated.

Many thanks to all those involved with creating such a wonderful tribute to these brave people.

Best regards,
Julie and Fay

Able Seaman James Smith Brooks

from: John McGregor, 19 Nov 2006, 07:01

Dear Lynn
Thanks for your message of 25th October about your uncle Able Seaman James Brooks. Please let me know if you find James' son John. Did your mother know he was buried in a named grave in Tripoli? Next April when the Neptune Association is going to Malta and Tripoli, we will be visiting the graves of James and at least 5 other Neptune casualties buried in the Tripoli War cemetery. Would any of your family be able to join us? - see details on Malta/Tripoli page.

Leading Seaman Revell Brownie RNZN

from: John McGregor, 4 Nov 2006, 15:59

By extraordinary coincidence, a photo of Revell Brownie of the New Zealand Navy on the upper deck of Neptune, has been sent to me by a friend of his - Petty Officer Reg Rushton who was an Able Seaman in Neptune in 1941 but left before she sank. It is a historic photo as behind Revell are two Carley rafts lashed beside 'B' Gun Turret. His right elbow is resting on one and the other is behind him. Norman Walton the one Neptune survivor, confirmed before he died last year that one of these must have been the actual Carley raft which saved his life. In the centre of the raft, you can see two paddles. Beside Revell's right knee is the bottle screw slip which would release the raft when struck by a hammer. It just required a sharp blow.
Shane - it is great to hear from you and please confirm from your family records that it is indeed a photo of Revell.

Leading Seaman Revell Brownie

Leading Seaman Revell E Brownie

from: Shane Brownie, 2 Nov 2006, 19:28

I am researching my family tree and came across my "grand uncle" Revell Ernest Brownie, who was on the fateful HMS Neptune 19th Dec 1941 sailing. I am trying to find out as much about Revell as possible. He was from Levin in New Zealand, and served as a leading seaman on HMS Neptune. I would appreciate any information or photos from anyone relating to Revell.

I have purchased a copy of the book "Neptune's Legacy", and am hunting down a copy of the New Zealand equivalent "Almost HMNZS Neptune" by Jack Harker. I must say I have found the story behind Neptune fascinating, and find it amazing that so much attention is given to certain military campaigns in NZ, but have never heard of this tragedy where 150 kiwis lost their lives.

Good luck to all and many thanks for reading my posting,

Shane Brownie

Walter Thorne (amendment)

from: Clare Sinnott, 26 Oct 2006, 11:30

After talking to my mother and Aunt i would just like to apologise as i stated my Grandfathers name was Walter JOSEPH Thorne when infact it was Walter JAMES Thorne, My apologies.

Able Seaman JamesSmithBrooks

from: Lynn Griffin, 25 Oct 2006, 16:10

I am writng on behalf of my mother Margaret who is very pleased to have found out about this site regarding James Smith brooks who was her uncle.
Uncle James had two sons James and john and we have found out some exciting news that john is alive and we are in the process of tracing his address.

Will keep in touch
Many thanks

Leading Seaman Albert Price

from: John McGregor, 25 Oct 2006, 07:00

Hi Clare To hear of Albert Price is amazing. If you look on the website at the story of Norman Walton the one survivor of the 765 crew, the last man alive with him after 5 days on the Carley Float was Albert Price who died after being rescued. Over those 5 days they all died around them. Norman always spoke of him with great affection. I spent many years serving with the RN in Plymouth and like you, went to the memorial on the Hoe many times. How wonderful we have a link with Albert's widow.

Mechanician Wally Thorne

from: John McGregor, 25 Oct 2006, 06:57

Yes, your grandfather is on the list of those killed in HMS Neptune and last year we dedicated a Memorial at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire with all the names inscribed including your grandfather's. Do please scan in his photo and post it on the FORUM page. We need his photo for the next edition of the book MINEFIELD. You are presumably the daughter of Norah or Joy. Wally had done well in the Navy. He would have joined as a Stoker and in his mid 20's he would have been specially selected for two years academic engineering training at the end of which he became a Mechanician. When serving in HMS Neptune he was a Mechanician 4th Class which means a Petty Officer, with a clear career route to Chief Petty Officer, Chief Mechanician and sometimes to Engineer Officer.


from: Clare sinnott, 23 Oct 2006, 16:23

Walter Joseph Thorne was lost on HMS Neptune he was my Grandad.
He left behind his dear wife Margerate Thorne and two little daughters, Nora and Joy, he was only 30 years old.
I will endeavour to post a photograph of My grandad on here.
True heros, acting to protect our safety and freedom. God Rest your souls and thankyou
If anyone wants to contact me feel free.
My nan died of altzimers a few years ago but she always loved her "wally" and never took another husband he always remained the love of her life.
I worked as a nursing auxilary in plymouth in a care centre and by coincidence another widow of the neptune heros was one of my patients, she was Violet Price ... her hubby was Albert Price I believe, she was a dear sweet woman and I loved her very much.

Able Seaman James Brooks

from: John McGregor, 15 Oct 2006, 08:54

Dear Mark Your message is more interesting than you realise. Your great uncle James Brooks is buried in Tripoli war cemetery - one of the 10 Neptune casualties in named graves in Libya. He must have made strenuous efforts to survive, possibly in a carley float which eventually washed ashore. My records show he was married to Elizabeth McGhee of Glasgow. Did she ever know he was buried rather than being lost at sea? Did he have children and have you a photo of him? Please send your address.


from: Mark Cunningham, 12 Oct 2006, 20:04

Hi. Able Seaman James S Brooks of The Neptune was the brother of my grandmother. Reading through the site really brings home to me the fact i have a real hero in my family line, and that makes me very very proud.

Marine George Blackwell

from: John McGregor, 1 Oct 2006, 06:25

It was very good to hear from you. I am always really pleased to hear from direct descendants of Neptune casualties. Somehow it makes their sacrifice more bearable in that they left us behind to remember them.
I have looked up your grandfather on the Commonwealth Wargraves printout and yes he was a Neptune casualty - one of 72 Royal Marines on board (including a brass band). I have just counted up the number of families of RM casualties who have made contact and amazingly it is now 33 out of the 72 who died. I am attaching a group photo taken in August 1941 which may include your father.

15 Royal Marines taken 17 August 1941

George Blackwell (Marine)

from: Martin Ferriday, 28 Sep 2006, 22:40

My Grandad George Blackwell was on board HMS Neptune when she was sunk in 1941 only a month after my Father was born.My father never new his father so any information or pictures would be gratefuly received and appreciated.

CPO John McCready

from: John McGregor, 28 Sep 2006, 06:36

I have checked with the Commonwealth wargraves website and cannot find an entry for your father. He wasn't serving in HMS Neptune. Can you confirm the exact spelling of McCready and I will have another check. If you were 5 years old then you will have his date of death.

Chief Petty Officer John McCready

from: Ian G. McCready, 27 Sep 2006, 08:23

John McCready was my father and he died when I was 5 years old.

I believe that he was on a vast number of ships during the war including the HMS Nigeria.

I have the Burma Star in my possession so I presume that he served out there as well as the North Atlantic.

Does anyone know of him ??

I would appreciate any information that anyone could give me.

Ian G. McCready

Stoker James Mallice

from: John McGregor, 26 Sep 2006, 07:37

Dear Ann How interesting to hear from you and to learn about your father James Mallice who served in Kandahar. How sad that he died after the war when you were just 7 years old. I will send by e-mail attachment the excellent photo of the whole Kandahar crew taken in 1941 and maybe you can find your father on it. Do you know his rank and specialisation? Please send your address and telephone number and I will write with fuller details.


from: Ann Thomson, 16 Sep 2006, 23:08



Boy Seaman Reginald Hosking

from: John McGregor, 16 Sep 2006, 14:28

It was very good to hear from you. Yes, I saw your message on the FORUM page and apologise for being slow to answer it as I have been so busy with other Neptune matters. I am always really pleased to hear from Neptune relatives. My father was one of the 764 casualties. I was four years old at the time and vividly remember my mother getting the news.

I have looked up your uncle on the Commonwealth Wargraves printout and yes Boy 1st Class Reginald Hosking was a Neptune casualty. How interesting that you were named after him.

Have you a photo of him? Please send your address and I will write with fuller details.

Reginald Hosking Boy Seaman

from: Reginald Hosking, 7 Sep 2006, 19:54

My Uncle who as you can see I was named after was a casualty of The Neptune and up until December 2005 I believed he perished on The Hood. My Father who himself served on minesweepers died ten years ago but passed away believing this information to be true.While visiting some freinds in France we spoke of my family and being that they were regularly on the internet managed to discover this new information regarding my uncle.Thank you for this site and for enlightening me on this cruiser which up until now I had no knowledge of or even heard it mentioned in any of the many war films that have been made.I would like to know if there is a model of The Neptune available or a painting because up to now I have cherished is a model of the wrong cruiser. The Hood.
Regards and best wishes to all members Reg Hosking

Petty Officer Stoker William Ball

from: John McGregor, 17 Aug 2006, 21:08

Dear Pam It is very good to hear from you and yes, Petty Officer Stoker William Ball was indeed amongst the 764 casualties who died in HMS Neptune. Have you a photo of William? How interesting that he left a wife and children in South Africa. I will contact you by e-mail, and if you send your postal address I will send the recent newsletter and details of our Neptune Association.

William Frederick Ball

from: Pam Tilly, 13 Aug 2006, 14:49

My Uncle William F Ball, (Stoker) on my mother's side died when the Neptune was sunk in 1941. I would appreciate any info that is out there. I think he left a wife and three children in South Africa but not sure as my mum died some years ago and she was the youngest.

HMS Neptune

from: Alma James, 22 Jul 2006, 01:03

My Great-grandfather, Joseph Wiltshire, is listed as being on HMS Neptune in 1861. However, the Neptune of Trafalgar was broken up in 1818 and I cannot find a referance to another ship of that name until 1874. I would be very interested in any information you could provide. I have been able to trace him on HMS Warrior in 1871 and this would complete my records.

Alma James

James Donaldson

from: John McGregor, 21 Jul 2006, 06:25

Thank you for contacting us on the Neptune website forum page. Yes Able Seaman James Nolan Donaldson is indeed amongst the 764 casualties who died in HMS Neptune. The Commonwealth wargrave lists him as the son of Jonathan and Anna Donaldson of Belfast. How are you related and have you a photo of him? My father was also a Neptune casualty.

jams donaldson

from: WILLIAM DONALDSON, 10 Jul 2006, 18:04

jameshim donaldson died on hms neptune anybody infor on

Able Seaman Bill Phipps

from: John McGregor, 26 Jun 2006, 06:30

Dear Phil I have replied by e-mail. I look forward to your photo of Bill

Able seaman Bill Phipps

from: Phill Cotterll, 21 Jun 2006, 18:39

Can you send me a blank email to and i will reply with phots of bll and my adress for posting newsletter to.

regards Phill

Chief ERA John Glanville

from: John McGregor, 21 Jun 2006, 06:14

Dear John The photo came from Mrs Rosemary Jeffrey one of our members who lives in Lancashire, a niece of your father Chief ERA Glanville. I have sent you her address by e-mail

The photo is also included in the book "Minefield" which can be purchased through the website, but alternatively I can send you a copy if you send a card number and expiry date - £13 including postage to South Africa.


from: John R Glanville, 9 Jun 2006, 10:27

On checking the Roll I see a photograph of my Fathers & Mothetrs Wedding, presumeably reception, either in Simonstown or close to FishHoek in South Africa. I never sent the photograph and would dearly like to know where it came from to be posted on the Roll.
Please help me with the origin.
John Glanville

great-grandfather served in HMS Neptune (battleship) 1861

from: John McGregor, 9 Jun 2006, 07:00

Dear Keith I haven't any information on the crew of ships named HMS Neptune other than the one sunk in World War 2. You could always write for your great-grandfather's service record, saying you are the next of kin. Write to The 2nd Sea Lord's Department, DPNS(N)2, Building 1/152, HM Naval Base Portsmouth, PO1 3PX. Ask for his service record saying he served in HMS Neptune in 1861.

HMS Neptune c1861

from: Keith Stevens, 8 Jun 2006, 12:35

Hello John

I am trying to find any details regarding an earlier HMS Neptune. My Wifes 2x Great Grandfather was listed as '2nd Captain Fore Top' on the 1861 Census when the ship was docked in Malta.

Can you confirm the accuracy of this information? perhaps point me in the right direction regarding further research?

Many thanks


Stoker George Hinson

from: John McGregor, 8 Jun 2006, 07:12

Dear Caroline It is very good to hear from you and yes, Stoker George Hinson was indeed amongst the 764 casualties who died in HMS Neptune. Have you a photo of George? I will contact you by e-mail, and if you send your postal address I will send the recent newsletter and details of our Neptune Association.

George A Hinson

from: caroline tyrrell, 2 Jun 2006, 20:27

Hi, i have just found your website and have been looking for information for my father who lost his uncle George A Hinson Stoker when HMS Neptune was sunk. He knew it went down with all hands and i have just informed him of your site. I will ask him for any photos of my great uncle and would be pleased to send any he finds to you. I am surprised so many people have got in touch with your website and i would be interested to hear more about your association. Many thanks Caroline.

Able Seaman Bill Phipps

from: John McGregor, 2 Jun 2006, 07:22

It is very good to hear from you and yes, Able Seaman William Phipps was indeed amongst the 764 casualties who died in HMS Neptune. Have you a photo of Bill? I will contact you by e-mail, and if you send your postal address I will send the recent newsletter and details of our Neptune Association.

able Seaman Bill Phipps

from: Phill Cotterill, 29 May 2006, 14:48

I am a relative of Bill Phipps who was lost on the Neptune and have some photos and memorabilia.

If anyone wants to contact me or any relative need any info please feel free to leave a message on the site. I visit the web site about one a week.

Phill Cotterill
Birmingham England

Cigarette Case

from: Helen, 27 May 2006, 01:11

I have a cigarette case made of tine (looks silver), it has been in my care for 30 years. Wood have bought it in Aussie or New Zealand second hand shop. It has the words MHS NEPTUNE with Neptune holding a folk/spear above the words. Is it of any value to anyone, and if so, who should I contact? Thanks Hele

william thomas gwyn

from: teresa lewis, 11 May 2006, 03:12

Dear John, Thank you for your reply, my sister is at this moment making a copy of my grampas diary, there are a few personal things which she wants to edit out, and yes there are quite a few photograhs, but we are a big family and they are spread out among us all so I am ringing around trying to round them up, would you know why he left the neptune a year before the sinking ? as we want to find out as much as we can and get things written down for the grandchildren, thank you again will get copy and photographs to you a.s.a.p Teresa

Reginald Peat, Henry Walpole

from: John McGregor, 4 May 2006, 05:38

Dear Christina

Thanks for making contact about your relatives Leading Seaman Reginald Peat and Stores Assistant Henry Walpole both New Zealanders, and I confirm they are both Neptune casualties. No, we haven't had any information from relatives before on either of these two men. We have done very well with New Zealand casualties in that we have heard from relatives of about half of the 150 who died, and have photos of 60 of them.

Henry Walpole is of particular interest to me. Did you know that he is buried in a named grave in Tripoli? There are at least 9 Neptune casualties buried there and we will visit their graves next April when the Neptune Association makes a visit to Malta and Tripoli. Henry is one of those who made a supreme effort to survive and either reached the shore in a dying condition many days after Neptune was sunk, or his body was washed up.

Reginald Peat Leading Signalman

from: Christina Giannakakis, 30 Apr 2006, 11:40

Dear John

I have just found out this week that my grandmother's cousin, Reginald Peat and my Father's partner's brother, Henry Walpole , were both lost at sea with the sinking of the Neptune. They were part of the New Zealand contingent . Do you have a photo of Reg Peat in your archives ? I know he was 21 when he died but very little else. Any information that you could give me would be very appreciated . Many thanks for keeping history alive.


Christina Giannakakis

Stoker Francis Gilmour Blackstock

from: John McGregor, 29 Apr 2006, 05:18

Dear Michelle, Thank you for making contact concerning your grandfather. I will leave your message on the website, but can't hold out much hope of any information coming out. Strangely enough it is easier to get info on those who died in Neptune on 19 Dec 1941 than on those who survived. You could always write for your grandfather's service record, saying you are the next of kin. Write to The 2nd Sea Lord's Department, DPNS(N)2, Building 1/152, HM Naval Base Portsmouth, PO1 3PX. Ask for his service record saying he served in HMS Neptune in 1935.

HMS Neptune - Francis Gilmour Blackstock

from: Michelle Waskett, 26 Apr 2006, 11:25

I am looking for any information about Francis Gilmour Blackstock for my mother, his daughter, Heather. All we know is that he was born in 1905 in Hamilton, Lanarkshire and according to Mum's birth certificate in 1935 his occupation was listed as a Stoker on HMS Neptune. He died, we believe, in 1979. Any information would be appreciated.

Petty Officer Stoker William Thomas Gwyn

from: John McGregor, 25 Apr 2006, 06:39

Dear Teresa

Thanks for making contact about your kind grandfather. He left the ship just a year before she sank so would have known many of the crew who died on 19th December 1941. I would be fascinated to see a copy of his diary after war broke out. Did he leave any photographs of fellow crew members? The recently published book MINEFIELD contains the photos of 209 of the casualties as well as photos of men like your grandfather who left before she sank. We are building up our photographic collection almost daily.

william Thomas Gwyn

from: Teresa Lewis, 23 Apr 2006, 20:12

I know my grampa bill did not die on "NEPTUNE" as he died on sept 2 1965 aged 61, I was only 7 at the time but still remember him as the kindest of men, if any body has any information I would love to hear from them, thank you, Teresa


from: Teresa Lewis, 23 Apr 2006, 19:54

Can you help me? my grampa William Thomas Gwyn S.P.O, who"s diary starts, on board Neptune, (War is imminent so I have decided to keep a rough account of my experiences, times, dates, etc, absolutley truthful in every detail. W.T.Gwyn. aug 22nd. 1939) it contains lots of information and dates,such as oct.16th, Air raid on fleet at Scapa, "SOUTHHAMPTOM" "EDINBURGH" and "MOHAWK" damaged, 3 killed 25 injured. 4 German planes brought down, German radio announces "ARK ROYAL" "REPULSE" and "HOOD" sunk, this is absolutely untrue, it tells his descriptive story of searching for "GRAF SPEE", dec 8th through to dec 19th "GRAF SPEE"s crew all interned in Buenos Aires, South Ameica, her captain commits suicide by shooting himself. This is an almost daily account of his time on board, a lot of it heart breaking, july 10th 1940 The Italians are firing now, the "NEPTUNE" bears a charmed life, our captain is a genius he steers us through the very jaws of hell. there are no more entrys after july 20th 1940.


from: John McGregor, 18 Apr 2006, 13:36

Dear Corrinne

My apologies for being slow to answer. It is very good to hear from you and yes, Chief Shipwright WILLIAM JAMES BATT was indeed amongst the 764 casualties who died in HMS Neptune. We have heard from relatives of many of the Artificers but he is only the third Shipwright we have come across. We now have photos of 255 casualties, but the vast majority have been sent in by their families. I will contact you by e-mail, and if you send your postal address I will send the recent newsletter and details of our Neptune Association.

I haven't heard of Shirley Temple visiting HMS Neptune but you never know.


from: corrinne, 9 Apr 2006, 20:56

yes its me again!my brother came up with an interesting thought.our grandad was on a ship that shirley temple visited to entertain the troops.i'm sure she may have visited lots of ships and i'm not sure if it was the neptune but as grandad was on many ships i thought it might jog someones memory.thank you in great anticipation.

Cook William James Baker

from: John McGregor, 9 Apr 2006, 06:23

It is very good to hear from you. Thank you for your remarks about the website and it is always most rewarding to hear from yet another relative of someone who died in HMS Neptune. Cook William Baker was amongst the 764 casualties and he could well be your mother's half-brother, but the Commonwealth wargraves print-out does not give any more details. Have you a photo of William? I will contact you by e-mail, and if you send your postal address I will send the recent newsletter and details of our Neptune Association.

A way of positively identifying him is to write to The 2nd Sea Lord's Department, DPNS(N)2, Building 1/152, HM Naval Base Portsmouth, PO1 3PX. Ask for his service record and quote HMS Neptune in your request. This will tell you whether he came from Tring, Herts. It may cost you £30.

William James Baker

from: Bob Ellerton, 4 Apr 2006, 12:27

I've just come across your excellent site after looking for such a repository of "HMS Neptune" data for several years. My mother's half-brother William James Baker died at sea off Malta around 1941, and I am convinced that he was one of the casualties on Neptune.

However, the crew list shows merely "William Baker, cook" without any indication of where he came from or his parentage. If I could prove that he came from Tring (Herts) then I would happily conced that this was the same Baker.

His father had exactly the same names, and his biographical notes can be seen on my webpage:

Any help or hints as to where I could get more clarification would be most welcome.

Keep up the good work on the website!

Regards, Bob (Cambridge)


from: corrinne, 4 Apr 2006, 09:36

Please does anyone out there have any info on my Grandad?

HMS Neptune

from: corrinne, 3 Apr 2006, 20:34

I cant believe after all these years of trying that I have found information about the Neptune.My Grandad was William James Batt,Chief Shipwright.I would so love to hear from anyone who can give me any info on him and would dearly love a photo if anyone has one.I am going to order the books as soon as I've done this!I cant tell you what a difference this will make to myself and my brother as we have sought something like this for ages.I look forward to hearing from you.Fingers crossedX

Stoker Herbert J Payne

from: John McGregor, 3 Apr 2006, 16:04

Dear Janet

My apologies for being slow to answer. It is very good to hear from you and yes, Stoker Herbert J Payne was indeed amongst the 764 casualties who died in HMS Neptune. We have heard from relatives of no fewer than 28 of the Stoker branch and we now have photos of 255 casualties, with the vast majority being sent in by their families. Have you a photo of Herbert? I will contact you by e-mail, and if you send your postal address I will send the recent newsletter and details of our Neptune Association.

Herbert J Payne

from: Janet Stonestreet, 3 Apr 2006, 14:27

Does anyone remember a Stoker called Herbert J Payne, he was my husbands grandfather.

Signalman Wally Jenkins

from: John McGregor, 16 Mar 2006, 07:30

It is great news that you heard you uncle's voice on the NZ radio tape for the first time after 64 years. It must have been very moving. Please send your postal address either on this page or by e-mail to me johnmcgregor at so that I can send you more details.

What happened to the survivors, is something I have thought about throughout the last three years of investigation. I reckon about half the crew would have been able to abandon ship, with the rest being trapped, and over half the sixteen Carley floats would have been launched. We only know what happened to the 14 man Carley float with our one survivor Norman Walton which drifted 90 miles in 5 days and was found off Misurata. There are ten Neptune casualties buried in named graves in Libya (at Tripoli, Misurata, Benghazi, Tobruk). No rescue attempts were made from Malta.

Alfred (Wally) Jenkins

from: Dean Smith, 6 Mar 2006, 20:35

Sorry John
Have been away on leave I have been doing some more research on Neptune and have been to the Naval Mueseum here in NZ, they have a small display about the Neptune with some memorabilia donated by families however it does not have a lot of detail. I have some items that I will donate to them to add to the picture.
For those interested the guys at the mueseum seemed to think that there was a Neptune memorial in Blenheim (NZ).

John I was curious there seemed a reasonable opportunity when Jaguar was dispatched to pick up survivors from Kandahar I think it was, to also search for Neptune survivors as the number of days that passed contributed to a lot of the deaths due to exposure. Was an organised search carried out at all?

I have also listened to the archive recording from the NZ crew and there was my relative Alfred Jenkins! Fantastic stuff!

Dean Smith

Petty Officer Frederick Weiss

from: John McGregor, 13 Feb 2006, 06:16

Dear Michael

How good to hear from you. Yes, Petty Officer Frederick Weiss is amongst the Neptune casualties. We have now heard from relatives of 267 of the 764 who died. We have some group photos but very few faces are identified and it is the first time I have come across the name Weiss. I will be in touch with more details by e-mail.

Later message on 17 March:
Michael - No response from my e-mail message which you may not have received. Please send your postal address and I will send further details.

Petty Officer Frederick Weiss

from: Michael McIver, 12 Feb 2006, 14:06

Petty Officer Frederick Weiss of HMS Neptune was my uncle on my mothers side,due to the break up of her family at a very young age she never knew him.Does anyone possibly have an old picture of him or any other information,I would be most grateful to hear from you.

Marine Jim Evoy

from: John McGregor, 9 Feb 2006, 22:31

Hi Jim

I would say the uniform is definitely Royal Marine - see cap badge and buttons - not Irish Guards. Jim was on board when Neptune got to the River Plate a couple of days after the battle so the photo could easily have been taken in Buenos Aires.

Anyone who can identify the Marines in this photo taken in August 1941, please do so in this forum. Marine Ronald Dubber is 2nd from the left back row and Sergeant Bill Crocker is on the right front row.

15 Royal Marines on board Neptune

Location query

from: Jim Evoy, 9 Feb 2006, 14:09

Hi John,
This photo has been a mystery to me for a long time. I thought the chap on the left could be my grandad, an Irish Guard in his youth.
Printed on the back of the photo is 'FOTO UNIVERSAL VIAMONTE 353 2 PISO'
which thanks to the internet is tentatively identified as an address in Buenos Aires. A photo of Marines in 'Minefield' suggests the uniform as that of a Marine so he's probably my great uncle James EVOY.
I don't know if this is a pre-Neptune photo. Is it possibly related to the GRAF SPEE incident?
Best wishes,
Jim Evoy

Jim Evoy RM Buenos Aires?

Signalman Alfred (Wally) Jenkins

from: John McGregor, 9 Feb 2006, 07:05

Dear Dean

Its an amazing advantage having the website. Am delighted you have found a message from your uncle on that recording of the New Zealanders' Christmas greetings from 64 years ago. Someone said we should update the NEWS page and remove old messages but will definitely keep that information on it.

Later I have tried your e-mail address without reponse. If you let me have your postal address by e-mail to johnmcgregor at I will send more details.

Signalman Alfred (Wally) Jenkins

from: Dean Smith, 5 Feb 2006, 22:59

Many Thanks for the reply John, I discovered on your fantastic site some details regards some recordings made just prior to the sinking of HMS Neptune by the NZ contingent as Xmas greetings home.
I went on to the Radio NZ Archives website and unbelieveably there is a voice greeting home from my relative Wally Jenkins! I have ordered a copy and am looking forward to hearing it, such a shame my grandmother is no longer alive as she would have been thrilled to have heard this unreleased recording.
It's thanks to your website that I found this and I'll be looking at some of the books published also.
I have found a photo of Wally and one of his mates on the Neptune so I will try and send it in via the site.

Cheers Dean Smith

Signalman Alfred Walter (Wally) Jenkins

from: John McGregor, 4 Feb 2006, 06:55

Dear Dean

How good to hear from you. Yes Wally Jenkins is one of the Neptune casualties. We have plenty of New Zealand members of the Neptune Association and relatives of over 50 NZ casualties have made contact. There aren't any NZ group photos but three books have now been published with plenty of photos of NZ individuals - see the website heading BOOKS.

I will contact you by e-mail with further details.

Signalman Alfred Walter (Wally) Jenkins

from: Dean Smith, 31 Jan 2006, 03:56

I am researching the service history of a relative of mine: Alfred Jenkins RNZN A/1808 who was killed on HMS Neptune and was interested if there were any pictures of the NZ complement around anywhere or indeed any info on the NZ contingent?
Many Thanks
Dean Smith

Leading Seaman William Pritchard

from: John McGregor, 30 Jan 2006, 06:58

Dear Linda

How good to hear from you. Yes William Pritchard is one of the Neptune casualties. Have you got a photo of him? We have just published the book MINEFIELD including 209 casualty photos (see the website BOOKS page) but there will be a second issue. I will contact you by e-mail with further details.

William Pritchard Leading Seaman

from: Linda Pitt., 27 Jan 2006, 22:23

I am researching my family history and William Pritchard was my Great Grandfather who was killed on board HMS Neptune. I have read the ships fate during WWII. I would be greatful of any information and photographs.

Ordinary Seaman John Smith

from: John McGregor, 21 Jan 2006, 08:17

Dear Debbie

How very good to hear from you. Your uncle must have been Ordinary Seaman John Smith who is on the list of casualties. We don't have a group photo of the Neptune ships company. We have used photos of individuals sent by families in the recently published book MINEFIELD.

hms neptune

from: debbie smith, 18 Jan 2006, 19:56

My great uncle died on hms neptune.His name was John Smith.I would love to know if anyone has photos of the crew.If so please email me.

Able Seaman Leslie Lacey HMS Kandahar

from: John McGregor, 7 Jan 2006, 20:41

Dear Eileen
Many thanks for the superb photo of your uncle Able Seaman Leslie Lacey together with five friends on board HMS Kandahar. This is just how the photo facility on the Forum page should work. I think I know the identity of the smiling face back row centre. He is still alive and I am checking it with him.

Photograph Leslie Lacey & others

from: Eileen Boyt, 6 Jan 2006, 08:31

This photograph was taken on HMS Kandahar. Les is to the left in the back row. The photograph does not have the names of the others so I have no idea of who they are. Does anyone recognise them? It would be wonderful to know.

Leslie Lacey

HMS Kandahar - Able Seaman Leslie Lacey

from: Eileen Boyt, 6 Jan 2006, 08:21

Hello John
I am so pleased to have found this website. Leslie Lacey was an older brother to my mother in law, Beatrice. I have photographs & the Navy will of Les but reading the history of the sinkings and the information on this site & in the other postings, make the whole thing more tangible and real. Beatrice often speaks of Leslie and still misses him very much. I know she will be delighted to learn that there is a special memorial to everyone who died and I hope to take her along to see it when the weather is warmer.


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