Royal Navy Research Archive Forums

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length.
Advanced Search  
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10
 on: 07 February 2019 03:32:31 am 
Started by Noel Clark - Last Post by Noel Clark
I'm looking for definitive information on HMS Grasshopper, commissioned 1939 in Hong Kong and destined for the Yangtse River gunboat flotilla based in Shanghai. Ultimately torpedoed in 1942.
I have conflicting information on this vessel. Most sources agree that she did reach Shanghai in 1939. She was definitely involved in the landing of 36 bluejackets in Foochow in late June 1939. Some sources have it that she, along with a sister ship HMS Dragonfly, left Shanghai on 3rd October 1939 bound for Hong Kong and thence Singapore, and did not return to the Yangtse. This is consistent with an Admiralty decision on 2nd October 1939 to withdraw 5 gunboats from the Yangtse flotilla, and a report on 4th October that two (unnamed) had left.
Other sources say that she remained with the Yangtse flotilla until December 1941, and was transferred to Singapore only when the Japanese entered the war by bombing Pearl Harbour and at the same time took over the concessions territories in China.
I have a source that says Grasshopper was undergoing a refit in Singapore in June 1940, and another saying she was at Penang in December 1941.
The eligibility for the 1939-1945 Star for one of the sailors on Grasshopper is documented as service from 10th June 1940 to 21st April 1941.
The above seems to indicate that Grasshopper did indeed leave Shanghai for Singapore in 1939 rather than 1941. How can I prove one way or the other? There are ship's logs for Grasshopper for January and February 1940 (none after that), but neither have been digitised.
I would appreciate any help.
Thank you,

 on: 29 January 2019 08:30:56 am 
Started by Bins59 - Last Post by Ekrabappel
Sorry, missed the header. Yes, definitely Dartmouth. If official then Dartmouth may hold its own historical archive.

 on: 29 January 2019 08:26:54 am 
Started by IAN OLIVER - Last Post by Ekrabappel
Long shot but might be best identifying the harbour from the hills in the back ground. If you can obtain the ships logs then it will have the dates when at that harbour. A long process though.

 on: 29 January 2019 08:22:31 am 
Started by Duneane - Last Post by Ekrabappel
I suspect the serial number has nothing to do with the person in the photo but was used by the photo processor to catalog the photos.

 on: 29 January 2019 08:20:12 am 
Started by Bins59 - Last Post by Ekrabappel
Not much information to go on.  Not even a country.  You may be better identifying the building first. There are cannons in the back ground so I assume a military (naval?) academy. Good luck.

 on: 29 January 2019 08:16:45 am 
Started by Ekrabappel - Last Post by Ekrabappel

I have a pet past time that involves purchasing old family photo albums and trying to work out where the photos were taken and, if possible, the name of the family involved.  The information I learn from this activity is fascinating.  Anyway, I recently purchased 2 albums that were from the same family. Unfortunately there are no names annotated on the album or the back of the photos. There are some dates however and these show that the photos are from 1913 (or earlier) through to the 1920s.  There is little chance of identifying the family except for several photos of a man in naval uniform and a ship.  Fortunately the name of the ship was written on the back the photo. It was the H.M.S. Yarmouth Belle.  I obtained an image from the net which confirmed the ship in the picture was the H.M.S. Yarmouth Belle, a converted mercantile paddle steamer used for mine sweeping from 1915-1920 and assigned the number 929.  There were several photos (attached) of the officer with the crew (one with a life ring with 929 on it!) plus several of the officer by himself.  From these photos I have several questions I am hoping you can help answer.
1. What rank was the officer? From what I can gather he was a lieutenant. Is this correct? Can anything be added to his position/rank from the photos?
2. Is it possible to obtain the crew details of the Yarmouth Belle? I am hoping that if I know his rank and have a crew list then I will have a name! Where would I need to look/contact?
3. There is a photo of the chap wearing a white uniform plus a pith helmet. From what I can gather the pith helmet was used for the blue uniform, not white. Is this correct?
4.  This last question is actually related to another image from another album. It features a monument to the Zeebrugge raid (very interesting reading) erected at Zeebrugge.  Surprisingly there are no modern images or references to this monument. Is it still there or moved? Did the Germans destroy it during the occupation in WW2? Odd that there is nothing about this monument on the net bar some very old photos.

Kind regards


 on: 19 December 2018 09:19:19 am 
Started by EwenS - Last Post by spooks1959
Thank you for pointing out the inconsistencies in my SMITER narrative and for supplying the information you nave gleaned from your own research. At present the RN Research Archive web sites undergoing ‘rolling maintenance’ to upgrade the site navigation bars but I will return to the history of SMITER in the New Year and an update should follow sometime in January 2019.

Merry Christmas

 on: 18 December 2018 05:08:34 pm 
Started by EwenS - Last Post by EwenS
I’ve just been catching up on the latest updates in the Royal Navy Escort Carriers pages and especially that of HMS Smiter.

The narrative for HMS Smiter for the period September to December seems to me to be incorrect in that it seems to conflate two different ferry trips that she made with Spitfires.

On 2nd September 1945 HMS Smiter left Trincomalee having taken on board the Spitfire F.XIV of 132 squadron RAF (Squadron Code FF) and the personnel of 7155 Servicing Echelon. This squadron had been based in southern India since it arrived from the UK in January 1945, first with Spitfire VIIIs until it converted to Spitfire F.XIVs in May 1945. It did not serve in the Cocos Islands.

It sailed for Hong Kong and joined other ships of Operation Armour en route, including the LSIs Glengyle and Llanstephan Castle, LST9 and 304 and the cruiser HMCS Ontario. These ships arrived in Hong Kong on 11 September 1945. The routing was via Malacca Strait.

Instead of flying off the Spitfires on arrival at Hong Kong, it was decided to take them off by lighter as their engines were deemed in need of a thorough check over. Offloading occurred on 15th September and the first flights were begun on 19th September, with a single aircraft, building to 12 by 23rd September.
Smiter then sailed again from Hong Kong on the 26th September after embarking passengers.

The information about 132 squadron has been extracted from the Squadron ORB for September 1945. Unfortunately the ORB for August is missing from the records at the National Archive so I can’t tell exactly when the Spitfires were loaded aboard Smiter in Trincomalee, but it will have been a day or so earlier.

136 Squadron (Squadron Code HM) was based in the Cocos Islands between April and October 1945 with Spitfire VIIIs. According to Ken Rosam’s “Operation Pharos and the Cocos / Keeling Islands” HMS Smiter arrived off the Islands on 14th October 1945 and “embarked the personnel and crated aircraft of 136 squadron”. It then sailed for Malaya. This date is confirmed in Halley’s “The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force and Commonwealth 1918-1988”, unfortunately without any specific mention of Smiter. The next base given in the latter is Kuala Lumpur in Malaya from 24th October 1945 again with Spitfire VIII. It did not begin to receive Spitfire XIV until February 1946.

So I believe that the correct narrative should be for Smiter to leave Trincomalee on 2nd September 1945 with 132 squadron, arrive Hong Kong on 11th September, unload and leave again on the 26th September. She would then probably stop at Singapore en route to Cocos Islands, arriving there on 14th October. She then loads 136 squadron and takes that unit back to Singapore (Wiki has it at Tengah in Singapore before reaching Kuala Lumpur) where it is offloaded. 136 squadron then re-assembles its aircraft before flying up to Kuala Lumpur by 24th October 1945.

 on: 18 December 2018 03:22:11 pm 
Started by stuart kilminster - Last Post by stuart kilminster
Wow I am so impressed, a Big Thank you PhiloNauticus, this is a cracking site to be on, going though the posting, and reading the answers and replies, is interesting to say the least,, A big thank you to you all.

 on: 17 December 2018 12:06:05 pm 
Started by stuart kilminster - Last Post by PhiloNauticus
Service Record
   from 30 Oct 95      A shore base/naval barracks located at Chatham

Wildfire      from 1 Nov 95      Base at Sheerness: it was a group of old ships used for accommodation/training
Anson      from 7 Oct 95      Battleship, built 1886.  At this time, she was serving in the Mediterranean, based at Malta.  Apart from the usual exercises, visits to Corfu; Piraeus; Crete; Cagliari; Salamis; Marmaris; Gibraltar; Patras. Returned England Jan 1900
Pembroke   from 1 Feb 00      see above
Severn      from 21 Sep 00      ‘Mersey’ class Cruiser, built 1885. Then based at Harwich, serving in the Reserve fleet as a Coastguard depot
Pembroke   from 24 Jul 02      see above
Venerable   from 12 Nov 02      Battleship, built 1899. Mediterranean Fleet; based at Malta. Usual exercises and visits to Gibraltar, Greek and Italian ports
Pembroke   from 1 Aug 05      see above
Blenheim   from 1 May 1907   Cruiser, built 1890, converted to a depot ship for destroyers in 1907, based at Chatham; some exercises and home port visits (Harwich etc)
Pembroke   from 30 Nov 11      see above
Crescent   from 1 May 12      Cruiser built 1892. Serving with the Home Fleet; used at this time to carry out new crews for ships on foreign stations
Dwarf       from 9 May 12      Gunboat built 1898. Your man would have joined her at Gibraltar. Gunboat then deployed to West Africa – Monrovia; Douala; Lobito; Lagos; Accra; Sierra Leone. Returned to England June 1913
Pembroke   from 5 Jun 13      see above
Columbine    from 25 Jun 13      An old sloop, original name Wild Swan, built 1876 and employed as a depot at Rosyth 
Pembroke   from 12 Feb 15      see above
Penelope   from 19 Feb 1915    Light Cruiser, built 1914. During WW1 based at Harwich as part of Commodore Tyrwhitt’s famous “Harwich Force” (

Ships details:
Anson, see:
Severn, see:
Venerable, see:
Blenheim, see:
Crescent, see:
Dwarf, see:
Penelope, see:

Other notes from the Record:
Note at the bottom he was ‘2nd class for conduct’ in 1902. This was a punishment, involving extra work or drill no shore leave. It was awarded to persistent offenders ... 
Conduct: on the right-hand side is the yearly assessment of Character (that is conduct) and ability. Character was graded VG (Very Good), Good, Fair, Bad.    In the early years he seems to have been a problem – mostly VG but drops to Good and then Fair.  He is also noted as serving 7 days in cells in 1896. 
Ratings – Sto 2 – stoker 2nd class initially, but seems to have got his act together after 1902, being promoted to Ldg Sto = Leading Stoker and the Sto PO = Stoker Petty Officer.

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10