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The Tragic Loss of HMS Galatea

14th December 1941

 

HMS Galatea in 1937

 

 

Page Owner Jean Strange
Please make contact using our form with your information 

 

Union Jack Flag with HMS Galatea tally

Background Information

That Fateful Night

The Roll of Honour

Warship Week Project

List of Attachments and Links

Picture Gallery

The Union Jack flag with 109 tallies stitched on it, including HMS Galatea, as shown on the right (third up from the left on the flag).  These pictures were kindly donated by Tim Nelson who purchased the flag in an antique sale.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
H.M.S.
Galateawas one of four ships of the Arethusa Light Cruiser Class; the other three were Arethusa, AuroraandPenelope:

Name

Builder

Date Laid Down

Date Launched

Date Completed

Fate

ARETHUSA

Chatham Dockyard by Parsons

25 Jan 1933

6 Mar 1934

23 May 1935

Survived a hit by an airborne torpedo in November 1942.  Both "A" and "B" turrets were put out of action, there was significant flooding and a serious fire.  She limped back to port and returned to service nearly 13 months later.  She was broken up at Troon in 1950

AURORA

Portsmouth Dockyard by Wallsend

27 Jul 1935

20 Aug 1936

12 Nov 1937

Survived a 1100lb bomb. Transferred to China Nationalists in 1948 and renamed Chung King. In 1949, under the Chinese Communists, it became Tchoung King; she was lost in March of that year, was salvaged and returned to service as Hsuang Ho in 1951 followed by Pei Ching and Kuang Chou before becoming a harbour hulk.

GALATEA

Scott's Shipbuilding Company

2 Jun 1933

9 Aug 1934

14 Aug 1935

Sunk 14 December 1941by U-557; see below for full details.

PENELOPE

Harland & Wolff

30 May 1934

15 Oct 1935

13 Nov 1936

18 February 1944: Hit by one torpedo from U410 while steaming at 26kts followed by another 16 minutes later which sank her at once.  Both hits were aft of the engine and boiler rooms.

 

Displacement

First pair 5,220, second pair 5,270 tons in standard fit and up to 6665 to 6715 tons deep load.  This was upgraded to 7180 to 7400 tons.

Dimensions

506 feet overall x 51 ft x 16ft 6in with subsequent increase to 18ft 1in mean deep load.

Machinery

Parsons geared turbines with four shafts powered by four Admiralty 3-drum boilers producing 64,000 s.h.p.giving a top speed of 32.25 knots.  The oil capacity was 1250 to 1325 tons, later reduced to 1115 to 1150 tons.

Armour

Box protection to ammunition spaces comprising armour between 1in and 3in thick, 2.25in deck armour over the belt and steering gear, with bulkheads and turrets having 1in protection.

Armament

Six 6in Mk XXIII, four 4in QF Mk V HA ( Aurora and Penelope had eight 4in QF Mk XVI HA), two 3-pounder saluting (not Penelope ), six 21 in TT aw, 1 aircraft (not Aurora )

Complement

450

Despite their weaknesses this class gave good service in European waters.  The Arethusa Class was similar to Perth but was without the 'X' turret and they were an attempt to build a useful but smallest possible cruiser.  An unfortunate feature of the substantial box protection was that the 4in HA guns were a considerable distance from their magazines.  Between 1940 and 1941 the aircraft and associated catapults were removed.  The 4in Mk Vs were replaced by four twin Mk XVIs in Galatea in December 1940 and in Arethusa in September 1941.  All had two quadruple 2 pounder pompoms in 1940 to 1941 replaced by two 40mm quadruple Bofors in Arethusa in 1943 to 1944; finally these were replaced with eight to eleven 20mm Bofors.

HMS Galatea in the Grand Canal, Venice

Galatea saw much war service as she had taken part in the Norwegian campaign  and the evacuation of the British army from France in May/June 1940; she also took part in rounding up the Bismark.  A detailed account of the ship's history was found on www.warships.net which is no longer active on the internet; the content is reproduced below:
"Galatea was a cruiser of the "Arethusa" class, built and engined by Scotts of Greenock and authorised in the 1932 naval building programme. She was laid down on 2nd June 1933, launched on 9th August 1934 and completed on 14th August 1935. Her armament consisted of six 6" and four 4" guns and she carried two triple revolving 21" torpedo tubes. Of 5,220 tons standard displacement, her overall dimensions were length 506 feet, breadth 51 feet and draught 15.75 feet. She had turbines which gave a designed hp of 64,000 to equal 32.5 knots, although a mean speed of 33.1 knots was achieved on her acceptance trials.

On Sunday, 14th May, 1939 the on-board concert party "The Racketeers" presented a show for the ship's company.  It is with thanks to John Mitchell, son of Wilfred Mitchell that we are able to show a picture of the musicians (see Mitchell on the Roll of Honour below) and to present for you a copy from an original programme; the quality is not good but here it is.  And here is another programme that the "Racketeers" gave on H.S. Atlantis with a cartoon, this one is undated.

At the outbreak of war in 1939 she was serving with the Mediterranean Fleet, where she remained until March 1940. She returned to the UK and joined the 2nd Cruiser Squadron of the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow on 4th March. From 21st to 23rd March she took part with the Squadron and eight destroyers of the Home Fleet in a sweep - called Operation DU - into the Skagerrak. In April she took part in Norwegian operations and although bombed, was not damaged.

On 10th May, with HMS Arethusa, she arrived at Ymuiden, Holland, to escort three merchant ships which were to carry gold bullion from there, to Southend, England. They left on 11th May.

On 26th May she bombarded positions at Calais and formed part of the covering force for Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk.

Towards the end of June HMS Galatea brought home the British Ambassador to France and the Ministers for Canada and South Africa from Bordeaux, arriving at Plymouth on 24th June.

During July and August she was based on the River Humber and early in September she sailed for Sheerness. On 7th September bombs fell close during an air raid, and on the 9th September a mine exploded close under the starboard bow, near the Tongue Buoy. She was out of action for four months. including a refit at Chatham, Kent.

On 20th January 1941, after the repairs and refit, HMS Galatea arrived at Scapa Flow and on 26th sailed with HMS Nelson, and a number of other ships to carry out a sweep for the German warships Scharnhorst and Gneisnau which were assumed to have passed through the Great Belt on 23rd. She returned to Scapa on 30th January in company with HMS Arethusa. On 8th February she sailed again, with HMS Aurora and others to search for an enemy warship which had been sighted by HMS Ramillies, returning on 13th.

On 23rd March, and again on 5th April Galatea left Scapa Flow with HMS Aurora to cover minelaying operations off Iceland and the Faroe Islands, and on 13th April, she left again with Arethusa for Seydisfjord for a reconnaissance of the Icelandic harbours. On 19th both cruisers sailed for a patrol between the Faeroes and Iceland after a report that the German battleship Bismarck was at sea. She continued patrolling this area until the middle of May.

On 22nd May 1941 she left Scapa Flow with HMS King George the Fifth (KGV) and others to watch for Bismarck and Prinz Eugen which were reported to have left Bergen, Norway, and she continued with operations until Bismarck was sunk on 27th May, when she arrived at Reykjavik with HMS Prince of Wales. On 29th June she left the Clyde as part of the escort for convoy WS9B en route to join the Mediterranean Fleet via the Cape of Good Hope. She arrived at Alexandria in mid-August and joined the 15th Cruiser Squadron.

At the end of the month she took part in Operation Treacle, which was the relief of the 18th Australian Infantry Brigade at Tobruk by the Polish Brigade, after which she returned to Alexandria covering HMS Phoebe which had been hit by an aircraft launched torpedo off Bardia.

In the middle of September, Galatea was sent with HMS Naiad to reinforce HMS Coventry and others in the Red Sea. On the night of 20/21st October 1941, along with Ajax and Hobart, she bombarded an enemy battery east of Tobruk.

On 21st November, she left Alexandria with the Mediterranean Battle Fleet for Operation Landmark which was support for the Libya offensive. On 6th December she left Alexandria again, with HMAS Hobart and others to join the commissioned supply ship Breconshire and escort her to Alexandria."

All this activity was eventually to come to an end on 14th December 1941.

Source: Naval Historical Branch - 'The Admiralty Regrets - British Warship Losses of the 20th Century', Paul Kemp  


U-557 - A German Type VIIC Submarine
The two pictures below were kindly provided by Willi Weiss in December 2009 for use on this web site.

U557 U557 had a displacement of 749 tons, its dimensions were 220ft 2in x 20ft 4in x 15ft 9in. It had two shafts powered by two diesels plus two electric motors developing 1,400b.h.p and providing a top speed of 17 knots on the surface and 7.6 knots submerged.  Its armament was five 533mm TT (4 bow and 1 stern), one 88mm C35 and one 20mm C30.  It had a complement of 44 officers and ratings.

The keel was laid down 6 Jan 1940 by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg; commissioned 13 Feb 1941 by Oblt. Ottokar Arnold Paulsen.  He continued with command from Feb 1941 to December 1941 with promotion toOttokar Arnold Paulssen Kapitänleutnant (right)

 

The boat's career was 3 patrols in 1941:
February to May 1st Flotilla (Kiel)
May to November 1st Flotilla (Kiel/Brest) front boat
December 29th Flotilla (La Spezia) front boat
(A full diary of its actions is recorded in U-BOAT OPERATIONS OF THE 2ND WORLD WAR, Volume 2: Career Histories, U511-UIT25 by Kenneth Wynn)

Its successes were recorded as 7 ships sunk for a total of 36,949 tons including Galatea.

 


THAT FATEFUL NIGHT

U-557left Messina for operations in the Eastern Mediterranean on 9 December 1941 and patrolled in the area between Alexandria and Tobruk.

Meanwhile, Galatea was under the command of Captain E.W.B. Sim as a unit of the 15th Cruiser Squadron; Force B was returning to Alexandria from an unsuccessful search for Italian convoys going to Benghazi.  On the night of 14th December 1941 Galatea was attacked by German dive bombers; the attacks persisted for about seven hours. Just before midnight, when north west of Alexandria, Galatea became a target for U-557which hit her with two torpedoes in quick succession.  The cruiser turned over and sank in three minutes, this is reported variously as being at 31deg 12 min (or 17min) N, 29deg 15min E.  

469 men were killed
Captain Sim with 21 of his officers and 447 ratings  
About 100 survivors were picked up by the destroyers Griffin and Hotspur

U-557 headed back to reach the base of the 23rd flotilla Salamis.  At 18:06 on 16 December it gave a short radio signal that she was 18 hours before the port and the crew were no doubt still congratulating itself after having sunk a British Cruiser.  

-------------------------------------------

This is the original report of the sinking by the High Command of the Armed Forces ( Oberkommando der Wehrmacht):
Meldung des OKW vom 16.12.1941: 
Ein Unterseeboot unter Führung von Kapitänleutnant Paulsen griff im östlichen Mittelmeer vor Alexandria einen britischen Kreuzerverband an und versenkte durch Torpedotreffer einen Kreuzer, der nach gewaltiger Explosion in der Mitte durchbrach und innerhalb weniger Minuten unterging.
Translated:
Report of the High Command of 16/12/1941: 

A submarine under the command of Lieutenant Paulsen made an attack in the eastern Mediterranean off Alexandria on a British cruiser which was hit by torpedo and the cruiser broke after a massive explosion in the middle and sank within minutes.

-------------------------------------------

It so happened that on the same day, at 18:00, the Italian motor torpedo boat Orione left the port of Suda on Crete. The commander was unaware that a German U-boat was in the area of Crete. When he saw a submarine at 21:44, heading in a northerly direction, he decided to ram it supposing it to be British.   U-557sank immediately with all hands (43) lost in the position as given by the Italian Commander of 35deg 33min N, 23deg 14min E; that is on the 16th parallel west of Phalasarna on Crete.

During investigation of the incident it was realized that the message about U-557had reached the Italian Navy at 22:00 or later. 

A theory has been put forward that Galatea sank so fast because the Captain had given permission for bulkhead doors to be opened.  He was possibly convinced his ship was safe, being close to Alexandria, and as there had not been any reports of hostile craft in the area. - this has not been proven.

A report of the sinking was filed by Reuters, I am sorry but I do not know who that reporter was nor the source of the article - it was just a newspaper cutting that was given to us. It is a fairly graphic account - Click Here

A second report, another graphic eye-witness account, was reported in The News of The World newspaper (date not known but was probably early January 1942) by Mr. Larry Allen, Associated Press, war correspondent - Click Here

We have received a letter written by one of the survivors of that night, to read it Click Here


THE ROLL OF HONOUR
The Roll of Honour was published in the The Times newspaper on 12th February 1942 - the leader read, "The Board of Admiralty regrets to announce the following casualties sustained in H.M.S. Galatea, the loss of which was announced in January last.  Next of kin have been notified:-"

We have a copy of the newspaper page and would be delighted to consult it for anyone with an interest, please contact my wife (Jean Strange) for details using the link at the top of this page.

The reason for our interest in Galatea is that a William (Billy) ROGERS, the late brother of my mother-in-law, was one of those lost on that December night in 1941.  My wife Jean would be delighted to hear from anyone connected with the ship, especially from any survivors or their relatives.

Where links are shown from the names in the information they point to photographs or more details

We have found out about the following men who lost their lives on Galatea; for most we are in communication with, or aware of, a relative and ask you to get in touch if you would like to link up with them.  

Please note:
We do not add a name from the Roll of Honour until someone with an interest
has contacted us about that person and given us permission to add his name.

AGNEW William James Cpl. PLY/X 1108 Aged 27 years.  He left a wife Lilian.  In contact with Grandson who works for Plymouth City Council Parks Department.  He said that one of the parks he maintains is Devonport Park which has in it a memorial dedicated to HMS Galatea. It is about 15 foot tall, 4 sided, with lead writing about the ship.  It is tucked away in the corner of the park in a quiet area not really used by the public so it is unknown by many people. Later contacted by his Granddaughter who sent this photograph of four sailors - William is on the far right.
ANDERSON, Alexander Massy, War Correspondent Reuters  
website: http://www.newseum.org/scripts/Journalists/nameBrowse.asp
ALLEN, James Leslie., A.B. D/JX162744 (known as Barney) Joined up at 15 years of age. In contact with nephews and great nephew.
ARSCOTT, Ralph Fernley, Sto.1 from Dartington, Devon.  There is a plaque to his memory in Dartington church  He had two sisters: Joan & Viola, plus a brother Victor. Contact is Victor's son. There was a family web page dedicated to Ralph but the link is broken and we cannot find a new location; if you find one please let us know.
ASHBY, Sydney F., P.O. Writer (TY) C/MX58100. In contact with two cousins.  Sydney was also known in the family as Harry.
ASHTON, Walter William, Sto.1 C/KX104682.  Aged 24 years, from North Kensington, London.
Contacted by his Niece.
BARMAN, William E.R.A. D/MX74258 Aged 23 years from Barrow in Furness.
Contact cousin.
BICKERSTAFFE, Edmund, Royal Marine, PY/X100083 , aged 24.  He was engaged to be married to a friend of his sister, she remained a family friend until she died in 2004.  The family were from Hull.  In contact with great-nephew.
BICKFORD, Frederick George, Sto. 1 D/KX 104400 aged 21 years from Swansea.  Contacted by his Nephew who sent Fred's photograph, plus another of a training school class 120 HMS Arthur.
BOULTER
, Lionel George T/A/Gnr (T) R.N., Aged 40 years. Contacted by his grandsons; family from Gloucestershire. There was a service held for Mr. Boulter and the Captain at a small village in Gloucestershire. Lionel is mentioned on a stone plaque in a little church in Weston Burt, Glos. as well as the Plymouth Naval Memorial.
BOWKER, Samuel, bugler Royal Marines. Aged 21 years from Manchester. Contacted by his niece.
BOWLES, Walter Benjamin Sto. P.O., C/K61589 Aged 39. He left a widow. Contacted by his Son and a grand-daughter..
BRINKWORTH, David, Sto. 1 D/KX95099 from Grangetown, Cardiff aged 21 years.  In contact with a great-niece and also a nephew who has in his possession a poem, which he believed was written onboard entitled "When the British Lion Roars" It is signed HMS Galatea 7/9/40.  Please email for a copy.
BROWNE, Bertie Cecil, Sto. 1, D/KX108551 aged 20 years from Norwich.  Contacted by his great-nephew.
BULFORD, Mervyn, A.B., D/JX152320 Aged 18 years from Fraddon.  In contact with his niece.
BURCH, Albert Edward Wedlock E.R.A. D/MX48707  Aged 26. He left a wife Margaret and 2 children, he was originally from Plymouth.  In contact with daughter and grandson.
BUTLER, Richard Ellis, A/Commdr.  Known as 'Doughy'. Aged 42 years. Contacted by his God-daughter, now aged 87 years (2009) she remembers the Butlers who lived next door to her Granny in Blackheath, London.
CALVER, Clifford R.,
Warrant Engineer, Age 30, born in Plymouth.  Family moved to Gorleston on Sea, Norfolk sometime before 1925. Served his apprenticeship on the shipyard but because of lack of work joined the Navy and was stationed at Portsmouth. He served on various ships and travelled widely. He left a wife Gwendoline who died in February 2005 aged 91 years having never remarried. We were contacted by his niece. His name is recorded in the book of remembrance in Gorleston-on- Sea, Norwich Cathedral, on the war memorial at Great Yarmouth and the Plymouth war memorial.
CHAPPLE, Courtney John, A/Elect. Art.4 D/MX62312 Aged 23 years from Plymouth.  In contact with his cousin's daughter.
CHINNER, Richard, Royal Marine, PLY/X3617. Aged 18 from St. Just, Cornwall.  He had only been in the Marines for 6 weeks; one of 12 siblings, in contact with a niece.
CHILTON, Robert (Bobby) Sto. 2, D/KX121016, 55 Mess.  Joined the Navy in January 1941, he died aged 24 leaving a wife and son aged 8 months in Foulridge, Lancashire.  We were contacted by his son who was sent copies of letters and a picture of Galatea left him by his grandparents.  Robert had been a painter in the employ of Colne Corporation, Lancashire; he had been connected with the Holy Trinity Church, Colne, and was a member of the Colne Rescue squad.
CLARK, Fred James, Ldg. Sto. D/KX81331  Aged 30 years from Bedminster, Bristol.
In contact with his Grand-Nephew: Steve who lives in Bankok.  Fred's niece contacted us after Steve(her Grandson) had told her about the website.  She has a photo of Fred at Weymouth when the fleet was in to celebrate the jubilee of the old King George and Queen Mary. She remembers standing on Fred's shoulders watching the King and Queen in their open carriage.
CLARKE, Frederick Charles, Leading Stoker A/Sto P.O. Ty, D/KX82306 from West Bromwich, in contact with his Grandson.
CONACHER Alex A.B., P/JX275226  Aged 22 years from Dundee.  (Listed in The Times as CONAGHER, confirmed on Commonwealth War Graves Commission website as CONACHER)  In contact with a nephew.
COULSON, W.F. (Frank), Ord. Smn., D.JX208659.  Aged 35 years. He left a wife Ivy Beatrice in Newport, Monmouthshire.  In contact with his great nephew. 
COWLEY, Reginald A. Ord. Tel. D/JX213906 Aged 24 years.  In contact with Reg's friend's son. Previously worked for the Coal Board in Shirebook, Nottinghamshire and his father was the pit policeman.
COOPER, Walter, Sto.1  D/KX106023 Aged 30 from Manchester.  He left a wife: Lucy, 2 sons and 2 daughters his youngest was 8 months old.  In contact with his Grand-daughter and Great Grandson.. 
CRAFT, Walter George, A.B., D/J105295 aged 33, born in Walthamstow, London.  He left a wife Salvina and two daughters in Sliema, Malta. In contact with the two daughters and grand children in Malta.
CRICHTON, John. Lt (E), aged 35. He left a widow Emma in Newfoundland. In contact with two of his sons.
DARKE, Norman, Boy 1, D/JX166599 Aged 17 from Torquay, Devon - In contact with his great niece.
DAVIDSON, Alexander, Royal Marine, PLY/100684 from Aberdeen, aged 21, in contact with great niece and a great nephew.
DAVIDSON, William, Sto. 2 C/KX127510 Aged 34.  Contacted by a family friend.
DE HAYES, Arthur Vernon, C/KX122092 Stoker 2nd Class.  Aged 20 years from Loughborough, Leicestershire, in contact with his brother who sent copy of News of the World article written by Reuters reporter (See below).
DENLEY, Ernest Norman P.O. Stoker, D/K62467, from Devonport, aged 37.  In contact with Grandson. 
DOHERTY, Albert E., Smn. R.N.R., D/X18508A , Aged 30 from Liverpool, in contact with a niece.
DOYLE, Thomas, A.B., D/JX 253400, Aged 27 years.  Son of Peter & Julie Doyle.  He left a wife in Liverpool.  In contact with Grandson.
DUBERY, George, Royal Marines., Cpl., PLY/122256. Aged 40 years from Perranporth, Cornwall.  In contact with Grand-daughter and  a nephew.
EDWARDS, Ernest Walter, A.B., D/JX156266. Aged 44 from Devon. In contact with Great Grand-daughter.
ENGLISH, Samuel, Cook, D/MX56632.  Aged 30 from Wishaw, Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, contact relative of his grand daughter.
EVANS, John, A.B. Royal Naval Patrol Service, LT/JX198877. Aged 27 years. Contacted by Great Niece and by a Great Nephew in the U.S.A.
FENLON, James, Sto.1,  D/KX105417. Aged 22 originally from Liverpool, moved to Banbury in Oxfordshire just before the war to work at the Whately Hotel.  He left a wife Hilda. She had a daughter Angela on 26th September 1941 a telegram was sent telling him of the birth.  A photograph of the baby sent to him later was tragically returned with the letter saying he was lost in action.  In contact with the daughter and grand-daughter.
FENTON, Leon A/Ldg. Sto. (Ty), D/KX92832. Aged 23 years.  Left wife Dorothy May in Grimsby. Served on Galatea from its commissioning.  In contact with nephew, who told us that his Father was serving in Alexandria in 1941 and met up with Leon.  They went to a cinema, during the evening a coded message was broadcast telling crew members to report back to the ship. He never saw his Brother again.  He witnessed an explosion off the coast of Alexandra, not realising it was the Galatea. His Nephew has sent us a printed copy of the "Galatea Gazette" dated September 1935-1936.  It has 125 pages (too long to reproduce here) and was originally printed at St. Joseph's Institute, Hamrun-Malta.  See picture of front page. The first page describes the Gazette as "Being an attempt to tuck a few strands of interest, parceled with strips of humour and served by C.T.Dean, C.Y.S., M.S.M.
FISHER, Donald, Supply Assistant D/MX 66177.  Aged 24 years, from Sutton Coldfield.  Contacted by a teacher researching the names on a memorial at his old school: Bishop Vessey's Grammar School.

FOGG-ELLIOT, Lancelot, Commander (E), Aged 39 from Staindrop, Barnard Castle in County Durham, one of four brothers, he is remembered on a WWII plaque at Staindrop. Contact great nephew.
FOOTE, Hubert J., Leading Steward, P/LX21849.  He was only married 3 months before the loss of HMS Galatea.  Contact: son of Hubert's widow by second marriage.
FORD, John Bensley, Ldg.Ck.(S), D/MX51362.  He came from Kingstanley near Stonehouse in Gloucestershire.  Died aged 25 leaving a wife and daughter aged 9 months.  He met his wife whilst stationed in Plymouth, where his daughter was born. In 1941 the blitz was so bad he arranged for them to move to his parents' home in Kingstanley where they stayed until after the War. In contact with his daughter. 
FRIEND, Leonard, Ord. Smn, D/SSX35918. Aged 18 years from Paignton, Devon. Contact younger brother and his son-in-law.
GEDGE, Ronald Henry, Musn., Royal Marine, MNE.RMB/X721. In contact with a niece.
GILL, Ronald Kitchener, Ord. Smn C/JX 230175 from Windsor, Newfoundland.  Contacted by his niece's husband and a Great Niece.
GILLEY, William Henry P.O. Stoker, D/KX92410. From Ivybridge, Devon. Also served on HMS Hood and HMS Renown among many others. He was in the Navy for 35 years and was 50 when he died.  He should have retired in 1940 but because of the war kept on serving.  In contact with his Grandson. 
GOLDING, George Frederick, Boy1, C/JX180513.  Aged 17 from Acomb, Yorkshire. Contact: nephew who found name on Royal Navy War Memorial at Chatham.
GOURLAY, Alexander, A.B., D/JX141836. Aged 24 years. Youngest of six, three boys and three girls, from Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland.
In contact with his nephew.  The family have a great number of letters and photographs of Alex, some of which originated on board HMS Galatea and we are pleased to share on this web site.
GREENLAND, Douglas Carter, Royal Marine, PLY/X3910. Aged 19 years, youngest of eleven children. Contact niece.
GREENWOOD, Bernard (known as Bunny), Sto.1, D/KX112288. Aged 21 years from Garston, Lancashire. Previously worked for Gas Company. Contact is the daughter of Bunny's fiance. They had met when she was 15 years old and got engaged on her 21st birthday.  She still wears his engagement ring to this day, alongside her husband's, at aged 87 years (2006). 
GREENWOOD, John Grenville, A.B., C/JX 157662.  Aged 18 years.  Son of John and Betsy Greenwood of Alford, Lincs. In contact with a niece.
HALL, Richard, Chief Stoker, D/K66885. From Abertillery, Monmouthshire. Contact: Great Nephew,
HARRAS, Walter Sydney, Royal Marine, PLY/510. Aged 29 years.  In contact with niece.
HARRIS, Edward George, nickname "Sonny", Ch. P.O., D/J108439. Aged 34 from Bromley, Kent. Contact nephew.
HARRIS, Ronald D., Boy, D/JX166767. Aged 17 years from Droitwich.  Contact is a local history researcher and friend of Ronald's Brother.
HARRIS, William Thomas T/A/Gnr., R.N. In contact with Daughter Janet and Granddaughter Michele. Aged 37 when he died and left behind a wife Anne May Harris, eldest son 14yrs William (Bill), 2nd eldest Anthony (Tony) 12yrs, daughter Audrey 10yrs and a fourth child Janet only 6 months old.   Can anyone identify the chap with William in the photograph?
HARRISON, John, Boy First Class, C/JX 182025 Aged 17 years from Worcester Park, Surrey.
HARTGROVE, Arthur Edwin, Ck.(S), D/MX72725. Aged 25 years from Harpoole, Northamptonshire.  In contact with Great Niece.
HARTSHORN, Frank, Sto. 2, P/SKX1028. Aged 19 years From Holmewood, Chesterfield, Derbyshire. Contacts: Brother-in-Law and a nephew.
HAYWARD, William Ronald Bevan A.B., D/JX138662. Aged 24 from Littledean Hill, in the Forest of Dean.  He had just changed shift with his shipmate Jack Lake (Ginger) when the ship was hit.  Ginger survived.  Contact: A nephew who kindly provided this photograph that was framed and hanging on the wall of his grandmother's cottage and was later in his mother's home.  He tells us that the flags flying are the white ensign on the stern with the Saltaire on the main mast plus a red flag with a blue square in the corner on the main mast. We acknowledge the photographer, identified on the rear of the photograph, John Abrahams, Naval Photographer, Queen Street, Portsmouth.
HENDERSON, Alexander Charles, Petty Officer, D/JX 128187.  Aged 31 years.  Son of William and Alice Henderson of St. Budeaux, Devon.  He left a widow Hannah.  In contact with his Son, Alec.
HENDERSON, Harold, James William, T/A/Wt. Shipwt. R.N.,  Aged 43 years of Stoke, Devenport. He had retired from the Navy and was on Reserve List when war was declared and he was called up.  Contact is a great niece.
HENWOOD,  Hugh Desmond, Ord. Smn., D/JX 161403. Aged 18 years from Newquay in Cornwall.  Contact is a second cousin once removed.  
HINGSTON, F.T.F 'Tommy'. A/Shipwt 4, D/MX51883. 21 years of age and just passed his Warrant Officer exams before he went down with the ship, brought up in Plymouth.  In contact with a niece.
HITT, Dudley Baillie, Wrtr. R.N.V.R., D/DX53. Aged 20 years from Plymouth.  Contact is a niece, who sent in copies of his letters and Christmas Greetings; a slightly different newspaper article dated January 20 1942 also written by Larry Allen and a letter of condolence from his former employer.
HOLLAND, Henry J., Boy 1, C/JX171679. Aged 17 from Kent.  Contact is a niece.
HUGHES, William John Elwyn, A.B., D/JX154500. From Abertillery, Monmouthshire. He was only 20 when he died but had apparently joined the RN as a fifteen year old.  In contact with a cousin.  Photograph taken about 1940 and the woman with him is his older sister, Rowena.
IRVING, James William, Leading Seaman, D/X 142163. A Geordie, born in Wallsend.  In contact with 2nd cousin.
JACKSON, James Sto. 1 D/KX93097. From Ballydare, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.  Contact is a family friend.
JACKSON, Ronald Edward. C/JX172840 Telegraphist. Contact nephew.
JENKINS, Eric Fenner Rowland, Sto. 1, D/KX107449 Aged 24 years.  Contacted by a researcher in Neath, South Wales.
JOHN, Luther Gerwyn, A.B. D/SSX 20103 from Swansea. Contacted by son of his cousin who sent this photograph..
J
OHNSTONE,  William (W.F.), Elect. Art.1,  D/M39328.  Aged 38 years.  Left a wife Frances Rigby from Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset.  In contact with daughter's daughter-in-law.
JOLLY, Frank Samuel, Sigmn, D/JX 246779.  Aged 29 years, he left a widow in Shoeburyness, Essex.
Contacted by a Great Niece. Awaiting photograph.

JONES, Kenneth Harry, Sto. 1, D/KX 92328  Contacted by his nephew
JONES, Patrick Roy, Sto. 1, D/KX8988205. From Devon. Contact niece and other family in Australia.
JOPE, Norman Richard., D/MX66990, Supp.Asst. Age 24 years from Plymouth.  In contact with great-niece.
KAY, Donald William, Sto., D/KX112298. Aged 25 years from Denton, Lancashire. Contact: great nephew
KEAN, Carol Reuben, Boy Telegraphist D/JX 17017 Aged 17 years from Dalbeattie, known as Bunt. Contacted by his Great Niece. The family do not have a photograph of him, so were pleased to find him on the photograph Galatea Boys Football Team
KELLY, Samuel, A.B., D/JX 191522, Aged 21 Son of Nicholas and Honora Kelly of Windsor.  In contact with a niece.
KENNEDY, Lewis Robert Edward, Lieutenant E.  Aged 25 years.  Son of Mr. & Mrs. R. C. W. Kennedy.  He left a widow Dorothy Betty Kennedy in Wye, Kent.
KERSWILL,  Alfred Sydney, Royal Marine, PLY/X100349. Aged 27 years from Plymouth.  In contact with his Great Nephew.
KIMBER, James, A.B., D/J103361. Called back to service from the reserve.  Had only been on Galatea for a couple of months having transferred from HMS Kandahar which was sunk by a mine a few days after HMS Galatea.  In contact with his Son.
LAWRENCE, George Edward, Royal Marine, Cpl, PLY/X 2826.  Aged 24 years, he left a widow Ruby. Contacted by the niece of his best man at his wedding.
LITCHFIELD, Frederick Albert, Sto.1, D/KX 113044.  He left a widow in Kidderminster.  Contacted by

LOBB, William Henry, Sto. 1,D/KX103667. Aged 26 from Plymouth. he left a widow: Violet.  In contact with distant relative.
LOVE, Robert Albert, Royal Marine Band, Musician, RMB/X 1006.. Aged 17 years from Bournemouth, Hampshire.  Affectionately known in the family as Bobbie.  In contact with his Sister Lena.
LOVELL, Dudley Hugh, Signalman, D/JX155923. Aged 19 from Cork, Republic of Ireland.  In contact with his nephew.
LUGTON, John, Ord Tel., D/JX212512. In contact with Great niece.
MARSHALL, John James Obrien, A.B., D/JX237994. Aged 21, from Dundee. Contact Grandson.
MARKS, William Gordon, Royal Marine, PLY/X3618 . From Newquay, Cornwall.  In contact with a researcher with the same surname.
MARTIN, Albert Fredrick James, Band Master in Royal Marine Band, 2RMB/702. Aged 38 years, he was from Datchet in Buckinghamshire and left a widow. Contact: great nephew.
MARTIN, William Matthew P.O. Cook (S), D/MX/50508  Aged 28 he left a widow. Contacted by his niece.
MATCHETT, Vivian, "Twinem", A.B., D/JX184764. From Hillsborough, Co Down, Northern Ireland, aged 20/21.  He was one of 12 siblings, was interested in pigeon racing.
MAYNARD, Herbert John, Musician, Royal Marine Band,  RMB/2862.  Aged 34 years, he left a widow, son aged 5 years and daughter 1 year living in Plymouth. Our contact is his Son Colin. Herbert joined as a boy musician aged 14 years 10 months in 1921.  He served on HMS Malborough, followed by HMS Valiant, HMS Tiger, HMS Kent,HMS Ramilies, HMS Effingham, HMS Royal Oak and finally HMS Galatea. He also boxed as a boy and as a senior for the Corp.  His son has a silver oar stamped HMS Kent 1933 presented to each member of the winning whalers crew..
McCALLISTER, William,Boy 1, C/JX 188549. Aged 17 years, from Nottingham. In contact with his niece.
McLAUGHLIN,Thomas, A.B., D/JX 144906.  Aged 20 years.  Son of Barney and Ruth McLaughlin of Limavady, Northern Ireland.  In contact with a Great Great Nephew.
MILLER, Joseph, A.B. D/JX 184264 Aged 22 years from Glasgow. Contacted by his cousin.
MILLS, Sydney Norman, A.B., P/JX148904. Aged 20 years.  
Son of Arthur and Clara Mills from York.  Contact Nephew.
MITCHELL, Wilfred Sinclair, A.B., D/JX 148928.  Joined the Navy as a very young man, serving on HMS Emerald, Hood and Rodney before joining the Galatea on her sea trials.  Contacted by his son who sent several photographs, including one of his father in the HMS Galatea band called the "Rhythm Racketeers" in which Wilfred played guitar.
Also contacted by the grand-daughter of his niece.  The family was from Bideford in Devon where the niece still resides.
MOODY, Richard Joseph, Sto.1, D/KX 113333. Aged 21 years, left a wife.  Contacted by his niece.

MOORE, Hamilton Johnston Leader, Marine, PLY/X 3263. From Belfast. In contact with son-in-law of Brother.
MORGAN, Ernest (Ralph), Ch. Sto., DK62331. Aged 37, left a wife Gwendoline and one son aged 4 years. He was from Barry in Glam. South Wales and joined the Navy at an early age. Ralph was stationed in Plymouth with his wife when his son Trevor was born in 1937. War came and incendiaries coming through the roof of their home in Devenport drove Gwen and Trevor back to South Wales. They were still there when the dreaded telegram arrived notifying them of Ralph's death. After Gwen's death in her effects a telegram was found dated and timed on the 14th Dec. shortly before midnight which Ralph Morgan sent to his wife and son wishing them a Happy Christmas. We don't know how long the 'gram took to reach them, but the ship must have been hit moments after it was sent?
In contact with Trevor and his wife in Alberta, Canada where they have been for the past 33 years.
MORGAN, Thomas Lewis, A.B., D/JX127239. Aged 32 years.  Contacted by a Grand-daughter and later by a Grandson..
MUIRHEAD, William, Sto. 2, D/KX118130. Aged 26 years from Bootle, Lancashire.   Contact Son and daughter-in-law.
MUSTOE, Desmond, P.O. Wireless Telegraphist, D/JX 138312. Contacted by his sister.
NORRIS, Ronald Frederick Lionel, Marine, PLY/X3730. Aged 19, he is commemorated on panel 59, column 3 of the Plymouth Naval Memorial on the Hoe overlooking the Sound.
O'NEILL, Dennis Stephen, A.B., D/SSx31956. Believed to have served in the wireless room. He was from Dublin, Republic of Ireland.  Contact: nephew.
ORCHARD, Albert Frederick Charles, Ord. Smn, D/JX253704. Aged 26 years from Ridge, near Wareham, Dorset, he left a wife Edith.   Contacted by a nephew.
ORCHARD, Kenneth Russell, Ord. Smn, D/JX206269, Aged 25 years, son of Dr. James Russell Orchard and Eleanor Hope Orchard from Bristol.  In contact with a nephew..
PALFREYMAN, Charles Sydney Ch.P.O. ERA3, D/MX54262. Believed to have served aboard her from her launch. In contact with a great nephew.
PARSONS, David J., A.B.,  R.N.V.R., D/MD/X2995. Aged 22 years from Wallasey, Cheshire. Contact: Great niece.
PEARCE, Claude Henry, E.R.A. 4, D/MX64418. Aged 23 from Truro, Cornwall. Contact friend of widow.
PEARCE, Harry Nicholas, Sto.1 D/KX 104144 from Plymouth.  Contacted by his nephew's wife on his behalf.
PEARCE, Norman Trevanion, E.R.A. 3, D/MX54210. Aged 28 from Flushing in Cornwall. We have been contacted by his daughter who was only 5 months old at the time of the sinking..
PILGRIM, Thomas Edward, A.B.  P/JX 203079.  Aged 24 from Belvedere, Kent. He had 2 sisters and a brother. His name is on the Portsmouth memorial.  Contacted by his nephew
PURCHASE, Reginald, Mechn. 1st Class, D/K 62203, Aged 40.  Son of Thomas and Mfanwy Purchase.  He left a wife Beatrice Purchase in Devonport.   In contact with husband of Granddaughter.
RADFORD, Ronald James, Leading Telegraphist, D/JX 152327.  Aged 21 years.  In contact with a niece.
RENFREW Alexander, Ord. Smn. D/JX215017. Aged 21 years, from Glasgow.  In contact with a Great Niece.
REYNOLDS, William, aka "Billy", Signalman, P/SSX25066. From Birkdale, Lancashire.  Aged 21 according to the CWGC but 18 according to his friend Gordon Johnson). His parents were William and Lily Reynolds of Birkdale.  Gordon's story about his friendship is on Billy's page.
RICHARDS, Harold Francis, Sto. P.O., D/KX61858. Contact:  Great Grandson.
ROBERTS, Samual George, P.O. Cook, D/MX49456.  He is commemorated on panel 55 column 2 of the Plymouth Naval Memorial.  In contact with a cousin.
ROBINSON, Harry, Royal Marine, PLY/X100433. Aged 21 years from Darwen, Lancashire. In contact with nephew.
ROBINSON, James Totten, Ldr.Smn. D/J 106611.  Aged 35 years. Son of John and Bella Robinson. He left a widow Emily Jane Robinson in Portland, also a Son. We were contacted by his granddaughter who told us that her husband was also in the Navy and in the 1980's was stationed on the new Galatea.  Apparently it was the practice to lay a wreath where HMS Galatea went down on their way through the Med.
ROBINSON, John, Smn. R.N.R., D/5892D.  Aged 37 years, he left a widow  Contacted by his Grand-daughter.

ROGERS, William Lewis, "Billy", A.B. Signals, P/JX224055. From East Dereham, Norfolk, aged 25.  Was conscripted at the beginning of the war.  He left a wife, Amy, and son David aged 12 months.  He was educated  at the Paston School, North Walsham.  He was interested in cricket and football.  Billy was my uncle.
ROOTH, Edwin, A.B., D/SSX 26731. Aged 20 years.  Son of William and Elizabeth Roth.  Contacted by a niece.
ROWARTH, Ronald Ralph, Telegraphist, D/JX162699. Aged 18 years from Cheshire.  
WOULD HIS NEPHEW HOWARD WHO CONTACTED US BACK IN 2006 PLEASE GET IN TOUCH AGAIN..
SAIT, Cuthbert Eric, Ch. P.O. Steward, P/L 12818. Contact: Granddaughter.
SANDFORD, Walter, a.k.a. 'Snowy' because of his blond hair, Sto. 1, D/KX113340. From Blackburn.  He had recently married Lilian on a weekend leave.  She always thought that he would come back as the telegram had said 'presumed dead'.  However, in 1945 she married again and 8 years later had a daughter, who contacted us with their story. 
SCOTT, Eric, A/Ord. Art.4, C/MX 53226. From Gillingham, Kent.  In contact with his nephew. 
SEAGROATT, John Thomas, A.B., C/JX126523. Aged 31 years.  
WOULD THE NEPHEW THAT CONTACTED US BACK IN 2002 PLEASE GET IN TOUCH AGAIN, AS A DISTANT RELATIVE IS TRYING TO MAKE CONTACT..
SEAMARKS, William George, Mech. 2, D/KX84870.  Aged 26 years.  In contact with Nigel Seamarks, Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire.
SEDDON, Kenneth, Boy 1st Class, D/JX180666. Aged 17, from Crescent Road, Bolton, Lancashire, Contacts: a great nephew and a step-brother.
SEVIOUR, Douglas Henry, Sto.1, D/KX111627. From Mells in Somerset.  Contact: a nephew
SEXBERY, Desmond Walter, Ord. Smn., C/JX181923.  From Norwich.  He left a brother Ken and three sisters, Rosemary, Molly and Audrey.  Contacted by brother Ken who also supplied the photograph of Desmond.
SHERLOCK, John James Bruce, Wrtr., D/MX69177.  Aged 25 years.  He left a wife Phyllis Marion of Acton, Middlesex.  In contact with distant cousin.
SHUTTLEWORTH, William, Petty Officer, D/JX130557.  He left a daughter, in contact with her daughter-in-law.
SIDDELL, Edward, Royal Marine, PLY/X 694.  In contact with his Granddaughter who sent this photograph of his passing out parade around 1924. He did his training at Lympston barracks in Devon.  Edward is pictured on the third row from the front and is third from the left
SILVERWOOD, John, E.R.A. 5, D/MX74211. Aged 20 years, from Burley, Lancs.  Contact cousin and a niece. There are 3 surviving brothers Raymond, Marshall & Douglas, one of whom we are now in contact with.
SIMCOCK, James William, Sto. 1, C/KX96631.  Aged 21 years from Sandbach Cheshire.  Contact: nephew.
SMITH, Cyril John, Telegraphist D/KX 104400 Royal Navy Volunteer (Wireless) Reserve. Aged 23 years from Kingsthorpe, Northampton. Contacted by his Nephew who told us that Cyril worked for the BBC at Daventry Empire Radio Transmitter before the War and was also a keen radio amateur. He had previously served on HMS Capetown, HMS Nile and HMT Morroto before joining HMS Galatea in 1941. He is also remembered on a Roll of Honour at Broadcasting House in London, which was unveiled in 1948 with a service of remembrance.
SMITH, John Thomas, Royal Marines, Cpl., PLY/X1635. Aged 22 years. Contact: Son.
STANYON, Leslie Lawton, He preferred to be called Bob Stayon, Sto. P.O.,, D/KX83357. Aged 33. In contact with great niece.
STREET, Harry, A.B., D/SSX26649. Aged 22 years.  Left a widow: Christina and Son:Jack  Contact: Nephew.
STRUTHERS, Arnold, Sto. 1 D/KX 88702. Aged 23 years, left a widow Mary Ann Golightly from Tyne Dock, Co.Durham.  Contacted by his Great Niece who was helping her son with a school project.
SUMMERS, James Stephen, A.B., D/SSX 16877 Aged 27 years from Peterhead, Aberdeenshire.  Contacted by his niece in Holland 
SURKITT, Trevor, A.B., D/JX154609. From Cambridge, age 19, in contact with Malcolm Surkitt and a daughter of Trevor's cousin
SYKES, Alfred Edward, A.B., D/SSX 29970.  Aged 20 years from Chadderton in Lancashire.  Contacted by his nephew.
SYMONS,  John Henry, Leading Wireman, D/MX62466. Aged 21 years from Cheswardine, Shropshire.  In contact with nephew.
TAIT, Robert William, Royal Marine, PLY/X2204. Aged 21 years, from Edinburgh.  Contact:  nephew.
TALBOT, Frank Avery, Warrant Engineer R.N. Aged 32 years  contact: Granddaughter
TAYLOR, Leonard, Petty Officer DJX 129819 Aged 29 years.  He left a wife Thelma of Peverall, Plymouth.  Contacted by wife of his Great Nephew.
THOMAS, William, Chief Engine Room Artificer, D/MX53003. Age 29 from Penryn, Cornwall. DOB 07.10.1912 Did apprenticeship with Silley Cox & Co., The Docks, Falmouth 1928-33. Joined RN 1936. Married Roma Trethewey at Plymouth Dec. 1940, no children, contact nephew.
THOMPSON, Robert Forsyth, A.B., D/SSX17232. Aged 24 years from Bellshill, Lanarkshire.  In contact with two great-nieces.
THOMPSON, Thomas Francis, Sto. 1, D/KX 108206. Aged 21 years
TROUGHTON, Robert Walter, Signalman. D/JX 211616.  Son of Walter and Ellen Elizabeth Troughton.  He left a widow Elsie Wilhelmena in Banstead, Surrey.  We were contacted by a school in Epsom that were doing some research into their "Old Boys" that were killed in WW2.
WAKEFIELD-SMITH, Charles,Royal Marine,PLY/X3308. Aged 22 years from Wandsworth, London.  He left a widow Ella.  In contact with Nephew.
WALL, Lionel Hugh, Ord. Smn., P/JX 253338, Aged 27 years from Weston Supermare. He left a wife Gwendoline.   In contact with his Son in Canada.
WALTERS, Edwin Luke, Sto. 1. D/KX11898. Aged 21 years, from Droitwich.  Contact local history researcher.
Also contacted by his Great Nephew.
WALTON, William Henry, Ldg. Sto, D/KX84374. He was 28 at the time of his death and married to Alice, he was the son of James & Bertha Walton of Higher Openshawe, Lancashire. In contact with his nephew.
WELLS, Roy Gordon, Ord. Smn., C/JX230230. Aged 26 years from Newfoundland. Contact great-nephew.
WHITLOW, Thomas, Engine Room Artificer 4th class,  D/MX 61565 from Reddish, Stockport, Cheshire.    Contacted by his great nephew.
WICKS, George Alfred, A.B., P/JX151473. Aged 20 years. He boxed for the Navy under the name of Buddy Wicks.  His sister thinks he is possibly on the 'Galatea Crew in Alexandria' photograph, "the one on the right with arms folded"  Contact: Niece.
WILLIAMS, Albert John, Eng. Room Artificer 4th Class, D/MX157887. Aged 22 from Caerphilly.  Heard from his niece in Australia but she did not leave a contact address.
WILLIAMS, Henry (Harry), Telegraphist, D/SSX28272. Aged 20, son of Henry and Evelyn Williams, Ancoats, Manchester.  In contact with nephew.
WILSON, Arthur Grosvenor, A.Ldg.Smn, D/SSX166596. In contact with his son who was 3 months old at the time the ship sank.  He has sent copies of photographs of Galatea in the ports of Alexandria, Haifa, Limassol and Silema Creek in Malta and several others of the members of the ship's company; these can be found in the Gallery.  Also contacted by his nephew; we were able to put him in touch with his long-lost cousin.
WILSON, Herbert, P.O. Sto. D/KX 80034.  Aged 31 years.  He left a widow.  He is remembered on Panel 52 Column 1 of the Plymouth Naval Memorial.  Contacted by his Grandson, son of Herbert's youngest daughter.
WILTSHIRE, Arthur Frederick, Sy Ch. P.O., D/M39186. Aged 34 from Wiltshire.  Left a wife in Ivybridge, Devon.  Contact: Niece.
WORRALL, Herbert, A.B., D/JX192852. Aged 22 years from Tyldesley, Lancs.
He was transferred to Galatea from his usual ship HMS Devonshire because of fog delaying personnel.  In contact with cousin, who ascertained this information from Herbert's girlfriend of the time..
YENDLE, William James, A.B., D/JX156766. Aged 20 years from Falmouth, Cornwall.  
Contacted by deputy editor of The Packet Group of Newspapers who was writing an article about the concern of the sisters of A.B. Yendle about a local memorial garden where they place poppies every year.

Relatives of the following survivors of the incident have been in contact with us:

CARNE, Sidney James, from Cornwall.  His family are preparing his story for inclusion on the website.
CLARIDGE
, J.W. Lt. Cdr. rescued by HMS Hotspur.  In contact with Grandson. 
DAVIES,  Jeff, C.P.O (Painter) picked up by destroyer after swimming for 3 days, he never talked about the event with his family.  He was an Artificer when he joined in 1936, served until 1953 when he was invalided out with TB.  He remained in Plymouth until his death in 1987.  In contact with his son.
FERRETT, Alan George, Survivor rescued by Hotspur after several hours in water. He was a Supply Assistant. Family comes from Boscastle, North Cornwall. He was asleep in the forepeak when the torpedoes struck; on reaching the deck he said that he didn't need to be told 'abandon ship' as the situation was already critical. He dived over the side, spent several hours in the water before being picked up by HMS Hotspur. Contacted by son after father's death.
GODDARD, Albert James, better known as Gunner Jim Goddard. He died in 22nd November 2007. Contacted by his Grandson 2 years later who told us that just before he passed away the family had a get together to say their last goodbye.  That night Jim told them that the boat was torpedoed and how he didn't want to leave his family behind; he was in the sea for what he said was forever before being rescued.
GRANGE, Thomas, Ord. Tel. from Shipley, Yorkshire. He died in 2002 just 3 days short of his 82nd birthday.  In contact with his Son, who sent us a copy of his Father's memoirs entitled 'A Sailor's War'   An extract relating to HMS Galatea is included. {Also see the entry for Cyril Smith John Smith, who did not survive the attack, where there is a photograph of him with Thomas}
HARRIS, John from Stourbridge.   Contacted by his daughter.
HIGMAN, Kenneth James joined Navy at 15 as a boy seaman in 1929.  By June 1940 he had reached the rank of Petty Officer on board Galatea.  His recollections to his daughter of the sinking was that he was on watch the night the ship went down.  He said that it went down very fast and that those down below in their bunks didn't have a chance. He lost his two front teeth, they were broken off in the escape from the ship. He was in the water for a long time and swallowed a lot of oily water, which affected his stomach. Thinking of his family back in England, he willed himself to stay alert and not give up hope of a rescue.   There were others with him some who gave up and went under.  This memory stayed with him for the rest of his life. He died in 1969.  His brother survived the sinking of the Exeter and after the War it was a family joke not to go on the Torpoint ferry with either of them.  In contact with Daughter and Son-in-Law.
KEARNEY, James.  He was 20 years old when the Galatea sunk.  He died in Ireland in September 2002.  Contacted by his Son in Australia, who sent in his story.  Also contacted by his daughter Pauline.
KIRVELL, Albert,  His son had a newspaper clipping showing that survivors were shipped to Durban, South Africa. Died from lung cancer believed to be caused by working with asbestos on the ships' boilers.  Contact: Grandson
LAKE, Jack E. (Ginger) A.B. D/JX154237  contact: nephew of Jack's friend Billy HAYWARD.  Billy's sister kept in touch with Jack for some years. 
MACKIE, Harold John, P.O. (known as Jack) contact: nephew who said that his uncle who married his mother's sister, lived in Bolton.  When he went to their flat with his Mam and Dad, Jack would talk to them about the war. He remembers him talking about the sinking of his ship HMS Galatea and how he said that when he was in the water he clung on to a piece of coconut matting, which saved his life. He last saw his uncle when he went to Liverpool to join his new ship HMS Kite (he did say that when he left the ship was like a rusty bucket and should not go to sea), but it did go to escort a Russian Convey where it was sunk by a U boat and his uncle did not return.  He left a wife and son.
MASSEY, William.  Aged 17 years.  He joined the Navy in January 1941 having signed on as a Boy for seven years service.  He received his Gunner's badge in October 1941.  He was lucky to survive and lived a good life until he died in 1998 aged 74 years.  Contacted by his half brother.

MCLEAN, Robert Burnett, A.B. Sto., Contacted by his daughter Francis who told us that her father had just turned 23 years of age when his ship was sadly lost.  He had just finished his watch and it was too hot to sleep below deck, so he decided to sleep above on deck.  About ten minutes. later as HMS Galatea was hit by a salvo of torpedoes, the force of the explosion had catapulted him off the deck and into the ocean.  He was rescued about 2 hours later.  Another sailor who was with him in the water prayed to God that if he survived he would become a priest, he survived and kept his word and did become a priest. Robert died in 2001 of a heart attack.  During his life he always spoke proudly of HMS Galatea and his many friends that he sailed with.
MILLER, W., Survivor.  He was one of those in the water for 6 hours before he was picked up. This was the 2nd ship that had sunk with him on board.  He was on HMS Calypso when it sunk in early 1940.  He only just made it out of the engine room.  He swore he would never sleep below again, as a consequence he was on deck when the Galatea was torpedoed.  He was adamant that was what saved his life.  After surviving being sunk twice he was sent back to a training establishment.  Died in 1997. Contact:  Grandson. 
NEAL, Thomas Joseph nickname: Tubby Neal. Pictured 3rd from right (with hat on back of head) on Galley Crew photo. Contact: daughter.
NEWEY, Geoffrey aged 19 at the time, wireless operator. Picked up by HMS GRIFFIN. He wrote an account of the sinking which we hope to feature shortly.
NICHOLSON, Leslie, He was discharged as medically unfit in 1943. He died in 1991 aged 78 years
contacted by his daughter.
SEDDON, Henry, Petty Officer, D/SMX 842073. Known as Harry.  He survived after spending some time in the water. Unfortunately a telegram was sent to his wife in Haydock, Lancashire saying that he was missing, presumed dead, but they had mixed him up with the boy Kenneth Seddon who had died.  When Harry returned home he visited the family of Kenneth Seddon in Bolton with some personal effects. He also served on HMS Wayland and Norfolk. He died in 1997. We were contacted by his son who was born in 1950 - he still has the telegram! 

TATEM, Jack, C.P.O., from Portscatho, Cornwall, rescued after two hours in the water. After the war ended he worked at Devonport Dockyard for 20 years. Contact not related.
WORTLEY, Jack, died in 2002.  Our contact knew him in his last years and had obtained a photograph of HMS Galatea for him from the Naval Museum and had it framed - he was moved to see a picture of his old ship. Jack told his friend that he was on the toilet when the first torpedo struck, had he been at his post he would have been killed. He said that the force of the explosions took the door off the toilet and by the time he pulled his pants up he was treading water.
Also contacted by Jack's Son-in-Law who told us that Jack had written his memoir which was in the Second World War Experience Museum in Leeds.

SURVIVORS STILL ALIVE - JANUARY 2007
WHITING, James Ernest  He will be 89 in August 2008.  Contacted by his Nephew, who has copied and sent him all the pages from this website about HMS Galatea and the men that were lost.  March 2008 We have heard directly from Jim Whiting who and he has written his story for us; it is on his name linked page above.
BOULTON, Donald Henry, DJX164045  see his story and two photographs on his page.  We are in contact with his son and daughter-in-law.
REES, Howell.  I spoke to him on the telephone in May 2009, he is aged 92 years.  He told me that he was transferred to HMS Galatea 2 months prior to the sinking, having survived the shelling of HMS Janus. Howell had a lucky escape on Galatea, having only just handed over to his relief at midnight - 5 minutes later he would have turned in and been in his hammock down below - those who were down there were all killed. When the ship was struck he got on to the upper deck, it was keeling over and he took one flying leap to land in the water, but he landed on the side of the ship and injured his behind. He was in the water for 3 hours.  He remembered that 14th December was his sister's birthday and wondered what she would think if she knew where he was. He was picked up and later transferred to South Africa.  The news of the ship's sinking was kept secret until February when it was announced on the radio.  His father and brother who were miners in Wales heard the report and were devastated.  Prayers were said for his soul in the church at which he was a choir boy. They only learnt that he was alive when a parcel arrived from South Africa - the South African people allowed them to send a package of food home. Howell stayed on in the Navy after the war and became a Petty Officer and taught radar.

We are also in touch with a relative, or aware of the following who were on Galatea prior to the fateful voyage:
CAINE, Larry, gunner, was not on board that night; he had been reassigned as they had too many crew.  He lives in North Wales.  On being shown details on the website by a neighbour's relative he wanted to get in touch with the relatives of Walter Craft in Malta.  Walter and he had been friends on board Galatea.  He was usually in the gun turret on the other side of the ship to his when at action stations. He has provided us with a copy of a photograph of himself and Walter in a line up when the ship was being inspected by Admiral Jack Tover. Larry remembers an occasion on board Galatea when the ship hit a mine, he said it was raining mud and fish when the plume of water from the explosion shot upwards.
JOSE, N.R., Chief E.R.A., was drafted to a shore base a few weeks before the incident and transferred to the 8th Army.  He died in 1978. We are in contact with his widow who still publishes, every year, a memoriam in her local newspaper the Falmouth Packet:

"HMS Galatea - in memory of all who lost their lives on
HMS Galatea, December 15 1941.
Age will not weary them nor the years condemn."

We are also in contact with his son Eric. His grandson is a Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Navy.
NETHERSOLE, Ron.  In contact with his nephew, who sent us several photographs. One appears to be a 'crossing the line' ceremony.  He thinks the one of Ron with a friend is possibly Kenneth Seddon.  The picture at sea he thinks is possibly from Galatea with Griffin and Swordfish.
PALMER, Ronald "Peddlar",  Petty Officer and then Chief Writer from April 1938 to Feb. 1940.  The only reason he left Galatea was that he was taking promotion exams to become a Warrant Officer.  In contact with grandson and he has kindly provided us with an account of his grandfather's time on Galatea.     Click Here
Sadly Ron Palmer died on Wednesday, 6th June 2007 aged 96 years.
PEARCE, Ernest Edward, A.B.  He was serving on board HMS Galatea when he died on 28 October 1940.  His death was registered in Medway, Kent, but his body was returned to his home town of East Dereham in Norfolk and he is listed on the memorial there.
http://www.dereham-rollofhonour.org.uk/index.html


WARSHIP WEEK PROJECT
For Warship Week of November 15th to 22nd 1941, the citizens of West Bromwich were raising money through National Savings towards the building costs of HMS Galatea. It was the intention that a commemorative book would be carried on-board during Galatea's active service and be returned to West Bromwich when victory was achieved with the signatures of Commander and Crew. Of course this was overtaken by events and the intended metal plaque was never placed on the ship.

The commemorative book (click for pictures - return with Browser Back button - Book - Frontice-piece) was continued with all citizens of West Bromwich allowed to sign it providing they had made savings during Warship Week. has been carefully archived in Smethwick Archives.  Members of the West Bromwich Local History Society are researching with the intention of compiling a book of their town during WW2.

Further information about the project may be obtained from Ms Pauline Lawley, 102 Vicarage Road, West Bromwich, West Midlands, B71 1AG.  Pauline is also interested to hear from people whose family or friends served on HMS Galatea or indeed from anyone with wartime information relating to the West Bromwich area during WW2.


List of Attachments and Links

Reuters report of the sinking

Eye-witness account of the sinking

A survivor's letter

Photographs in The Roll of Honour

Commemorative book

                and its Fronticepiece

Ronald Palmer's account of his service on Galatea

Detailed account of the Galatea's history

Wikipedia page for HMS Galatea