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Personnel => Royal Navy => Topic started by: Trixi on 11 August 2014 07:09:26 PM

Title: HMS Baldur
Post by: Trixi on 11 August 2014 07:09:26 PM
I came across a reference to HMS Baldur from an earlier topic. I found it very interesting as my father served in the RN during the 2nd WW and was based at Reykjavik. He only ever made a few references including being based in Iceland and the reception at Russian ports. I do know that he was an AB signaller and served on corvettes. I do have his service certificate which lists the ships he served on. I have also a cutting from a magazine with the heading "a ten-day battle by two tugs during an Atlantic gale, whilst towing a 2,750 ton floating dock". I know my father was one of the seamen on the floating dock. He did say that they put names into a hat afterwards to draw for a medal. He didn't get one - not that he was bothered, he was just glad to be home. I believe this happened towards the end of the war but would like to know more as very little detail was given, though an artist has drawn a picture. I have looked at various locations for information but so far no look. Can anyone help please.
Title: Re: HMS Baldur
Post by: PhiloNauticus on 12 August 2014 08:20:39 AM
If it was 2,750 ton dock, then it would have been one of a class of eight such docks built in WW2

AFD.12 - based Scapa Flow 1940 - 45
AFD.17 - Based Reykjavik 1942 - 44, then 1944 towed to Sydney, Australia via Aden & India
AFD.18 - at Oban, Scotland 1942-43 then towed to the Mediterranean for 1943-44 then to Hong Kong 1945
AFD,19 - West Scotland 1943- 45
AFD.20 - at Greenock 1943-44 then towed to Malta 1945
AFD,21 - at Belfast 1943-45
AFD.22 - West Scotland 1943 - 45 then to India 1945
AFD.26 - built and served in India 1942 - 45

If he was at Baldur, then the likely dock would be AFD.17 which was towed by the tugs Lariat and Eminent in late-1944 from Reykjavik to the Med for onward movement to Australia
Title: Re: HMS Baldur
Post by: PhiloNauticus on 12 August 2014 08:25:17 AM

See also:
Title: Re: Admiralty Floating Dock
Post by: spooks1959 on 14 August 2014 08:43:42 PM
In addition to the info on the pages listed in the message by PhiloNauticus I am attaching an article about AFD 17. Sorry the quality is not good but this is how I received it when researching into AFD 17.
Title: Re: HMS Baldur
Post by: Trixi on 18 August 2014 01:08:29 PM
Dear all,
Thank you very much for your replies. I'm sorry I've not been back since but there were technical problems with the administrator sorted out for me.
Further to your information the two tugs were Saucy and Lariat. I have attached the drawing and article relating to the actual operation that my dad took part in.
I have looked at the information and pictures. None of the pictures have my dad in them.

The article is the only information I have. I cannot even remember my dad mentioning it, though he did talk about Reykjavik and the times they spent there. He did touch on about Russia and talked a little about being a signalman and the various roles he played. He could still do morse, though much slower. I know he reached AB seaman, but he used to joke that he would get busted down and have to rise up again. Whether he was joking or not, I'll have to send off for his records to check.

I've attached my dad's postings to help.

Any help would be appreciated.
Title: Re: HMS Baldur
Post by: Trixi on 18 August 2014 01:10:36 PM
ps sorry, I did know that he served in Corvettes.
Title: Re: HMS Baldur
Post by: PhiloNauticus on 21 August 2014 02:07:51 PM

Can't see any corvettes mentioned in his service record.

That shows:

Excalibur  - New  Entry seaman training establishment at Alsager, Stoke on Trent

Rooke - Boom defence depot at Rosyth

Baldur-II (for Barbridge) - Baldur was the base at Hvitanes, Iceland; the ship served on was the Barbridge - a 730 ton 'Bar' class boom defence vessel

Pomona (for Barbridge) - Pomona was the boom defence depot at Scapa Flow, Orkney; Barbridge evidently moved there from Iceland

Rooke (for Barfoot) - Barfoot was another 'Bar' class BDV

Safeguard - Boom defence depot at Rosyth

Boom defence  vessels were specialist craft, with horns projecting beyond the bows and rounded sterns to facilitate the handling of nets and buoys that were used to provide a net or barrier to protect harbours.

His drafts are consistent with his specialist trade Boom Defence (on record as BDS)


Title: Re: HMS Baldur
Post by: Trixi on 22 August 2014 01:30:29 PM
Dear Philonauticus,

Thank you for your reply. Your breakdown is very interesting and I shall enjoy reading it all. However, my dad was very clear that he served on a corvette and that he was a signalman (flags and morse). He also spoke about the intense cold and icicles hanging from parts of the face. He mentioned at least once going to Russia and not being able to move off the dock. The Russians wouldn't allow them. He did mention firing depth charges.

Any ideas as to how this all fits in?
Title: Re: HMS Baldur
Post by: Trixi on 22 August 2014 01:51:20 PM
Dear PhiloNauticus,

I've attached a bit more of Dad's war record for your perusal.

Title: Re: HMS Baldur
Post by: PhiloNauticus on 22 August 2014 07:28:45 PM


... you might want to post that last one again...all that shows is a blank page!

All I can say about his service as shown, is that it does not reflect what you were told...  His rating is Ordinary Seaman / Able Seaman / Acting Leading Seaman, then back to Able Seaman, with the sub-specialisation of BDS = Boom Defence, and all his drafts reflect that.

If he was a Signalman or Telegraphist, then the ratings would show him with those rates...but they do not.

The one mention on the record I can see is a note "V/S" which suggests that he may have done a visual signalling course... but that was not his main trade.   

I must add that on the records shown so far, there is no hint of corvettes, or trips to Russia.
Title: Re: HMS Baldur
Post by: Trixi on 22 August 2014 10:18:00 PM
Dear PhiloNauticus,

Sorry, I've scanned it again. It seems my Dad was telling "porkies". Well I never. He was a man that wouldn't ordinarily tell "porkies", but I wonder if he did it to entertain us!

Does it mean that he never left the area of Iceland?
Title: Re: HMS Baldur
Post by: PhiloNauticus on 23 August 2014 08:19:54 AM
He wouldn't be the first old sailor to spin a good yarn.

The re-scanned doc's just confirm the courses taken etc. all of which confirm he was a boom defence specialist; In February '44 he did complete a visual signalling course (BDS) - which would mean that he was trained in signalling, but to support his boom work.

He served in England Aug '43 to Mar '44 - then to Iceland from Mar '44 to Jul'45 - to Scapa Flow (Orkney) Jul '45 to Nov '45 and finally at Rosyth, Scotland from 11'45 to Nov '46
Title: Re: HMS Baldur
Post by: Trixi on 23 August 2014 06:26:15 PM
Dear PhiloNautics,

Thanks very much for your explanation. It has helped a lot. Dad did used to tell us stories to entertain us. This obviously just one. We're still very proud of him. He was a young miner and came out of the pit onto the railways prior to reaching the age to join so that he wouldn't get stopped. Thanks again.
Title: Re: HMS Baldur
Post by: The Duck on 23 April 2016 05:03:34 PM
Hello all.
I have revisited this site and found some references to HMS Baldur.
I believe my uncle served on this vessel and would be delighted to hear from anyone who has any information.
His name was John Jenkins and he was an APO at the time. His name is inscribed on the RNPS Memorial at Lowestoft. See below.
He was believed lost at sea.

    4th February
1941, having been washed over board and presumed 'perished at sea'.  You
will appreciate my interest if Baldor was a land station.  I'd really love
to hear what actually happened as another sailor was washed over board with
him and apparently was saved but I don't know if this other sailor
survived.  Can you help, please.  Thank you for time.
The Duck


Panel 5, Column 1.


Shore Establishment

LT/JX. 218537. RN. Patrol Service. H.M.S. Baldur. 5th February, 1941. Age 37. Son of Thomas and Alice Jenkins, of Liverpool; husband of Marion May Jenkins, of Liverpool.

Notes or comments: HMS Baldur was Iceland shore base (Warlow: Shore Est. RN)
Title: Re: HMS Baldur
Post by: rickles23 on 14 May 2016 09:00:23 AM
Hi all,

I thought I recognized that photograph of the floating dock.

See attached restoration.

Being an ex-photographer I have an ability to remember photographs even after many years.