I am an ex Chief Yeoman RN, and have lived in Perth, Western Australia for 40 years. I have just discovered your excellent website, congratulations, it really is first class, but to business....
On reading Navy News for July 07 page 14 regarding HMS Manchester, I was deeply concerned to read that the Captain (Harold DREW DSC, RN) was court-martialled and dismissed the service for "prematurely scuttling his ship", which (it is believed) saved three quarters of his ships company. To be dismissed one's ship is an awful penalty, but to be dismissed the service in time of war, when Captains of his experience were vital, seemed to be an outrageous verdict of a court-martial held in camera. Do you know if he was 'dismissed the service', or, as your website states 'ever given another command at sea.' I tried the Royal Naval Museum to see if they ahead any access to Court Martial transcripts, and they referred me to the National Archivers at Kew. This was 'too hard basket' for me at this distance, but I'm fairly sure that if access was possible to the C.M. records you would have obtained them.
Could you please forward the following letter to Frank Smith, aka Frankie the Filter. Thanks.
Is my watch still under guarantee? I have for the past 23 years been shaking it like you advised, to get the second hand back on the pin in the middle of the watch face but to no avail. All my family and friends have had a go, especially at Crimbo when I bring it out for one of our party games in the hope we have someone who is dextrous enough to get it back on. It's a lovely time-piece with a backward movement, till the big hand gets wedged against the second hand, so if you could help that would be great as I have now got carpel tunnel syndrome from all that shaking!!
Tony (Tanky) Shingler.
P.S. The Madonna tape you sold me is in Mandarin!!
Global 87: Some years ago I wrote the following request (see bottom of piece for update) : Global 86: Scott Hayward is still trying to find the 'lost' film of this 1986 deployment. The ships he remembers on the deployment were: HM Ships Amazon, Manchester, Beaver and Illustrious. Joined up with HMS York for a few weeks around Hong Kong also; and of course, there were several RFA ships involved. It is thought the working title was 'Navy Blue(s)' - can any readers and/or participants on Global 86 help to restart this initiative? Scott will be ably assisted in the pursuit of the information by a long standing friend and remarkably talented amateur historian - Ashley Browne HMS Amazon 1985-87 - although he doesn't know it yet!
UPDATE: After much searching and after working with the Royal Gibraltar Police (who were looking to track down the footage as part of their ongoing investigation with Hampshire Police into the disappearance of sailor Simon Parkes in 1986 -
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/police-search-gibraltar-for-sailor-missing-since-1986-541527.html), the footage has at last been found safe and well in the archives at the Imperial War Museum! It is currently being scrutinised by Hampshire Police. May I ask all of those who have contacted me in the past about this to do so once again; as recently, my archived Outlook emails have all gone TU...I shall be happy to keep you in the loop on developments as I try to get my hands on it. It all depends on its security status of course although I can't see anyone being overly excited in unpicking the intricacies of a few seacat and 20mm's these days? 14/12/2088 email@example.com.
Via Ken Hinchliffe - January 2009 (Apologies for the delay in getting this information onto the website - paperwork went missing!).
I have now added photographs of HMS Eagle, Manchester, Foresight, Cairo and Nigeria - all of which were sunk or badly damaged during the Malta Convoy 'Operation Pedestal'. Also included, is the address of your website beneath HMS Manchester's photo see - www.melbournestar.co.uk/Operation_Pedestal_Ship .
Again thanks for the link and good luck to all of you involved with HMS Manchester Association.
Very many thanks your kind words regarding our website. It is comments such as yours that make all the effort involved very worthwhile. With regard to Captain Harold Drew, we have spoken to Maurice Broad, the secretary of the cruiser boys association, and he has given me the following information:-
Captain Drew was interned by the Vichy French Authorities, along with a large proportion of the ships company. Following the success of Operation "Torch" they were released and returned to the UK early in 1943. Captain Drew was subsequently appointed as Captain in charge of Maintenance at Scapa Flow. Following the Board of Enquiry / Court Martial, as a result of the loss of HMS Manchester, he was given a staff appointment in Bombay working with the Indian Navy (late 1943 - 1945).
He was subsequently appointed Director of Recruiting 1946-47 - he was Chairman of the Victory Celebration Committee, for which he was awarded the CBE. Harold Drew won the DSC aged 21 in 1917, he was a gunnery specialist and he became ADC to King George VI in 1948. He then became Deputy CinC of the Indian Navy in the acting rank of Commodore (48-51) and was involved in the re-structuring of the Indian Navy. He retired in 1952 and died in 1987 in his 92nd year.
We have also learned that there is to be another dive on the wreck of Manchester later this year and permission has been given to enter the wreck - it is a war grave - and we understand experts will then try to establish if the ship could have been saved.
We hope this information is of use to you, and pleasing - and a relief - for us that the information on our website appears to be more accurate than that featured in the Dockyard Dandy.
Sincere Best Wishes
Ian & Steve
Global 86 Film Crew -
A few details on the Global film crew for Tony Shingler.
There were 3 lots of 'Phots' dumped on the Manchester for the Global trip due to the Illustrious (of current TV fame) having a major fire in one of its main gearboxes and being delayed on deployment for about 4-5 months. I came into contact with them more than most because as the RN members had an aircraft on their badge, it was deemed that they were to be part of the Ships Flight for divisional purposes. Largest Lynx flight in history, but useful when the hanger needed bollocking out for rounds.
There was a CPO Phot Les Warr (last rumoured to be scenes of crime phot for Somerset and Avon Constabulary) plus a Killick Phot for stills. They stayed with the Manchester for the whole deployment.
A slack handful of other RN phots who were a movie team, departed after the Hong Kong visit.
The civvie team, led by John Tippy (producer) who had 1 cameraman (had filmed a team of 'yoofs' quad biking across the Sahara), an assistant cameraman, and a sound man. They stayed on for the full trip. I seem to remember that there was a competition to name the film with the winning entry being 'Sailor Blue'. Whether or not this was taken up, I don't know. Rumour also said that it was only ever shown by Anglia TV.
There was also someone I can't remember who 'cause it was last year some time, who had been on the Illustrious and was asking similar questions on the Navy News web site. Maybe worth a few questions in that area.