H.M.S. Scarborough in her tropical scheme of white with a buff funnel
My late grandfather on my father’s side joined the Royal Navy in 1919. He eventually left the service in 1945 - he was due to leave in 1939 but for obvious reasons this was deferred - with the rank of Petty Officer. He certainly appears to have gotten around and served all over the world - from home to the Far East although as yet I cannot see if the Mediterranean featured. I have most of his service records but trying to decipher some of the penned commanders, dates and titles etc is not easy! He seemed to have alternated between shore based duly and then being assigned to various ships has required. In no particular order he served at various times during his career on HMS Quillian - a Q class destroyer, HMS Manxman - the fast minelayer, HMS Marshall Soult - Marshall Ney class monitor, HMS Cyclops - a fleet storage ship, HMS Leamington - ex USS Twiggs a four stacker and HMS Scarborough - a Hastings class sloop. The shore stations he was based at, again at various points in his career, included HMS Pembroke, HMS Tamar II and HMS Wildfire.
His period of service on HMS Leamington coincided with the fateful decision given to the convoy PQ17 to scatter in July 1942. At the end of July 1942 he was moved off HMS Leamington and his commanding officer described his service as “Very satisfactory”.
His entire record records a succession of ‘satisfactory’ or ‘very satisfactory’ and although I do not remember him (he died when I was two or three) by all accounts he was a dapper, well dressed and fastidious man.
The main reason for writing this post is because aside from having his service records I also have an album compiled of photographs taken when he served aboard HMS Scarborough on her cruise of 1934. There is around a hundred pictures or so therein and below is a selection of them showing the Royal Navy between the wars.
One of the ship’s boats from the German Light Cruiser Emden
There are a lot more pictures of various aspects of the cruise - lots of ports and approaches to them, shots of the landscape from the sea and of various other ships - either in port or at sea. There are a number of pictures of the ‘crossing the line’ ceremony as well as various concert party style antics. I must take the time out to look into these in more detail as the collection represents a fascinating glimpse into the life of a sailor serving on a Royal Navy warship during peacetime.
I do not remember my grandfather but having these items of memorabilia in my care as his oldest living male descendant serves to give me an insight, however slight, into one aspect of his life.