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Author Topic: Service record research - P.O. Telegraphist W. Humphries - D/JX144022  (Read 407 times)

pidgeonpost

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After more than 2 years away from the forum I'm back trying to pick up again on my father's service during WW2.

I got some great help on here with my previous post, but things have moved on a little since then as I received an additional document from Navy Command that shows some details that are missing from his hand-written record.

I've scanned his original Certificate of Service and the typewritten record (both attached) I later received from Navy Command in the hope that perhaps others can add some meat to the bones so that I can complete the history of his service that I'm putting together.
The period I'm particularly interested in is between 21st October 1942 and 9th February 1945.
The certificate of Service shows his association with Excellent II (his pay base) and 'Evolution' followed by assignment to Hannibal and Byrsa only.

The typewritten document received later shows he also spent time on the following ships or bases:
     Naval Base Algiers (did this have a name?).
     W/T Station Fort Beri (presumably somewhere in Algeria - any clues please)?
     Scythia (RMS Scythia maybe)?
     Hannibal again.
     94th General Hospital (location unknown).
     Hannibal again!
     Passage (2-3 days - Algiers to Castellammare?)
     RNB Caserta
     HMS Braganza (haven't investigated this yet).

I'd like the history to be a record for the family, but I'm wondering if I should make it available elsewhere, though I'm not sure where. I also have his audio record of his service which could perhaps also be made available if there's likely to be any interest as it does add a human side to things.

If anyone would like to add to what I know I'd be really grateful.
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Noel Clark

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Some random comments.
94th General Hospital. In Chichester (England). Moved to Algiers in 1942.
Hannibal. Naval base Algiers/Taranto from 1st January 1943. C--in-C Mediterranean moved from Hannibal to Byrsa 9th July 1944.
Byrsa. Naval base at Bougie, Algeria, moved October 1943 to Castellammare, Naples.
Braganza. Naval base at Bombay. Commissioned 1st January 1943.
Caserta. There was an Allied Forces Headquarters (AFHQ) there. See http://cloudobservers.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2011/07/TWMPP-John-Physick.pdf

Hope this is of some small use.
Noel
"Marvellous Melbourne"
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PhiloNauticus

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Shown at Evolution 21 Oct 42 to 31 Dec 42
 - Evolution was the name given to a section of Excellent at Chelsea Court, London SW3

then Hannibal 1 Jan 43 to 26 Jul 44
 - Hannibal was the name of the naval base at Algiers


followed by Byrsa 27 Jul 44 to 8 Feb 45
 - Byrsa was the naval base at Naples at this time
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pidgeonpost

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Thanks Noel and PhiloNauticus for your comments; they all add to the jigsaw!

94th General Hospital. In Chichester (England). Moved to Algiers in 1942. I thought originally he may have been hospitalised after he survived the sinking of H.M.S. Huntley, but she was sunk in January 1941, and he was hospitalised from 22/6/44-13/7/44. I need to listen to his audio diary again perhaps.


Fort Beri. Can't find any references to this online.


Scythia. Again, I still haven't got any further on this one.


Braganza. A bit of a mystery as I'm not aware that he ever got to India. Perhaps he was reallocated.


Apologies for my late acknowledgement of your posts - have been away.


Thanks again.

« Last Edit: 19 August 2018 01:07:41 PM by pidgeonpost »
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Noel Clark

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I did a little bit more on Scythia. I have little doubt that this refers to SS Scythia, torpedoed off Algiers on 23rd November 1942. I downloaded file BT 389-26-147 from The National Archives, London, some 13 pages on cards. After being torpedoed she was berthed in Algiers harbour. The cards are all over the shop, but a close examination shows that she entered the harbour on 25th November.
She was designated as a Naval Accommodation Ship on 7th December 1942. The card says "To be used as Naval Accommodation Ship at Algiers, DSTO Algiers 1427/7 Dec."
Scythia sailed for Oran on 10th January 1943, where she arrived on 14th January. She was repairing at Oran on 25th January, and sailed from Oran on 31st March, arriving at Gibraltar on 12th April 1943. The card says "DD Gibraltar cap comp(?) 15/5."
Humphries' records show "Duty" on/at Scythia from 1st-5th January. A guess on my part, but he was possibly on board checking out equipment etc. as she was being readied to move to Oran.

I too have found nothing on a "Fort Beri." I wonder if the spelling/interpretation of the writing is correct? I recently downloaded a war diary from TNA that was entitled "Hanlot Base Remount Depot." "Hanlot" turned out to be "Hautot."

Noel
"Marvellous Melbourne"
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pidgeonpost

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That's a good bit of work Noel - thank you! An aspect of my Dad's service record is the very short duration of some of his postings - sometimes only a few days, so what you suggest seems perfectly plausible.
Fort Beri isn't mentioned on his Certificate of Service, only on the additional information from the RN archives. This will have been transcribed from some other document so perhaps there was a transcription error at that stage.
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pidgeonpost

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I knew I had a photo somewhere of my Dad wearing a uniform that didn't seem to be Royal Navy issue. Yesterday I found the photo and I intended to post it here to see if anyone else had an idea of what uniform it might be. However, a note on the back of the photo has answered the question - it's Army uniform, presumably British.
While in Algiers they were billeted ashore in the gymnasium of a school. There was a lot of bombing by enemy aircraft and the gymnasium was hit. There were a number of men killed and those that survived lost their kit and were somehow kitted out with army uniforms. Dad's audio diary mentions that during the night some men were restless and got up to make tea using 'Tommy cookers'. The gym had high windows and there was some speculation that the light from the cookers may have made the building stand out as an obvious target.
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James_harvey

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Re: Service record research - P.O. Telegraphist W. Humphries - D/JX144022
« Reply #7 on: 01 September 2018 01:06:37 PM »

RN wore navy blue battle dress during ww2

Very similar to army battle except blue not khaki
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pidgeonpost

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Re: Service record research - P.O. Telegraphist W. Humphries - D/JX144022
« Reply #8 on: 01 September 2018 01:56:37 PM »

Well thank you James - much appreciated. Unless there are any design differences I'll probably never know. I'll have a search online though.
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James_harvey

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Re: Service record research - P.O. Telegraphist W. Humphries - D/JX144022
« Reply #9 on: 02 September 2018 12:54:36 PM »

They are wearing naval caps so pretty certain the service dress will be blue

There are a few books available on naval uniforms during ww2
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