the diary of signalman John Emrys Williams
a message that arrived via email from a WWII Naval reseach specialist
Verghese. He's been able to shine some light on and provide context
to some of the parts of the diary that seemd unclear...
read your website of "The Diary of Signalman John Emrys Williams"
much interest. All credit to your grandfather for finding the time
and making the effort to keep a record of his observations, experiences
and feelings during this part of his wartime service. It is well
known that most people who served in HM Forces in World War II often
did not speak to their children and grandchildren about their experiences
of war, and this is both understandable and to be respected.
legacy of those who kept diaries, wrote memoires, retained letters
and photogrphs is a lasting one for those of us in the subsequent
generation, such we may not forget their hardships, personal sacrifices
and the collective debt we owe them.
can see from some of the correspondence generated on your site that
a number of people with loved ones as your grandfather's shipmates
found the diary a valuable resource.
can help clarify some of the queries that you listed with a ?.
CSIO; entry of July 26, 1944
fact this may have been written in your grandfather's diary as CS10,
refers to the Flag Officer commanding the 10th Cruiser Squadron.
Vice Admiral Sir Frederick H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton who came aboard
Diadem on 14 July. He had been promoted from the rank of Rear Admiral
15th of June. On the 20th July this fine officer was also appointed
Second in Command Home Fleet (HF), at this time the latter commanded
Admiral Sir Henry Moore. The 10th Cruiser Squadron was an important
and Dalrymple-Hamilton was to fly his flag on board the Diadem quite
times in connection with Arctic Convoys, Bombarding Force E at Operation
Neptune, Operation Kinetic in the Bay of Biscay and Operation Urbane
was an anti-shipping strike in Norwegian waters in December 1944.
Fencer Activity, 20 odd TDDS; entry of April 19, 1944
Fencer was an Attacker Class Escort Aircraft Carrier built in the
US but transferred as one of eight such vessels to the Royal Navy
under Lend-lease by the U.S. Govt. She was returned to the U.S.
in late 1946. HMS Activity was previously a merchant ship converted
to an Escort Aircraft Carrier in April 1942. On the return leg of
this convoy, designated RA59, in atrocious weather conditions, Swordfish
aircraft from HMS Fencer sank 3 U-boats, one Martlet (ex Grumman
Wildcat) aircraft being lost. The US merchant ship William S.Thayer
was sunk by U711,192 of her complement of 235 being rescued by HMS
Whitehall. The outward force from Scapa Flow headed by HMS Diadem,
included besides these two Escort ACs descibed above, 20 warships
and one personnel ship (Nea Hellas). This latter ship had been tasked
to bring back 1336 crew of the USS Milwaukee and about 1400-1500
Soviet naval personnel required to man RN ships being sent to the
Soviet navy in lieu of surrendered Italian warships.
The Nea Hellas had to retun to Scapa with defects shortly after
sailing. The 20 ships your grandfather refers to in this operational
theatre were in fact 16 Destroyers (DDs) and 4 Canadian frigates.
At the risk of being boring (hope not) but in tribute to the crews
of these ships who sailed in these perilous waters, they were: HM
Destroyers Beagle, Boadicea, Inconstant,Keppel, Marne, Matchless,
Meteor, Milne, Musketeer, Ulysees,Verulam, Virago, Walker, Westcott,
Whitehall and Wrestler.
Royal Canadian Navy frigates Cape Breton, Grou, Outremont and Wakesieu.
Verghese, Naval Researcher WWII, Bradford on Avon, May 2010.
HMS Diadem home...