HMS Armada ~ 1951
HMS Bermuda and HMS Warrior entering Grand Harbour, Malta ~ 1953
HMS Birmingham & HMS Newfoundland
Birmingham, Newfoundland & Warrior ~ Singapore ~ 1954
Raising the Breconshire, which I believe to be a tanker, Marsa, Malta ~ April 1954
She was towed to Trieste to see if repairs were possible, they weren't, and she was scrapped
In December 2001, I received an email from Mr. Des Johnson whose father-in-law was chief engineer on this ship during all its service including the time she was sunk. She was sunk on 27th March 1942 by a Stuka dive-bombing her, the bomb exploded in the engine room killing many of the crew. A raising attempt occurred in April 1954.
In August 2004, I received an email from JLB who wrote,
"Reasons for my interest are that in the case of Breconshire, my father who passed away in August 1997, was the electrical engineer on RFA Sea Salvor which was assigned to take part in the salvage of the Breconshire. I am positive that the photo attached to your page in fact shows RFA Sea Salvor (top of picture) during that assignment. It is very evocative for me to think that my father was in fact in that photo when it was taken!
I think one of the other two ships is the Barhill which was as far as I know, also assigned to the task. Interestingly, both these ships were also assigned to salvage the remains of FOG-ALYP - the COMET JET airliner which crashed off the coast of Elba and the salvage of which resulted in the solving of the mystery surrounding the numerous earlier Comet crashes. My father was also involved in that project for which with other crew members of RFA Sea Salvor, he received a commendation from Lord Mountbatten then Admiral of the British Fleet in the Mediterranean.
In the case of HMS Gambia, I recall as a young child in Senglea, Malta where I was born, admiring the many Royal Naval ships that were buoyed in the Grand Harbour in full view right in front of our house. The Gambia was a frequent visitor and with the many other British and international ships, was much admired. Given the visits to that port during the times you mentioned, I theoretically would have "seen" your father as I was certainly there during that period."
In September 2012, I received another email from JLB who is now wondering about the date of April 1954 when the Breconshire was raised.
I am a little puzzled as to whether I have been wrong for the last 50-plus years, in my belief that my father was in fact in Elba at that time, on Sea Salvor with Barhill, involved in the salvage of the Comet air plane - FOG-ALYP. I know ( at least I think I do ) this air plane salvage was begun some time in January 1954 or a little later and I am now wondering whether it was all over by April which would have to be the case, if Sea Salvor and Barhill were indeed at Marsa, in April 1954.
We would be extremely grateful if anyone can confirm the dates of the of the salvage of FOG-ALYP and the Breconshire and any details of that ship, Sea Salvor and Barhill.
A history of the Breconshire can be found at
The Red Duster - Glen Line Fleet
The Sea Salvor was involved in the salvage of the Comet since at least February 1954. Here's some clippings from the time.
Captain (D) Med by Bos'ns Chair from HMS Chieftain to HMS Gambia ~ 1950
Fuelling HMCS Crusader from HMS Warrior ~ 1953
USS Des Moines
USS Des Moines ~ 1952
This picture was kindly sent to me by Ray Holden in January 2002, and shows the heavy cruiser HMS Exeter being taken into Devonport after the Battle of The River Plate. On the 13th December 1939, the Exeter, Ajax and Achilles put the German pocket battleship Graf Spee out of the war. Details of this action can be found at Defence Journal . One of Ray's relatives was aboard her at the time.
Gothic ~ carrying Her Majesty the Queen ~ 1953
HMS Glory ~ July 1950
Fleet Boat Regatta at Marmarice, Turkey
This page created 14th June 1999, last modified 17th October 2012