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MichaelBully

Zeebrugge Raid

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domwalsh

Hi Michael,

i suppose it's stating the obvious that there were men already on the Mole, but i have to say i have no recollection of anyone specifically suggesting that they didn't help when they could or should have done so. Perhaps Paul can shed some light on this? He's done more general research on the raid than me.

I always think that Hawkings was hard done by in being merely MID when an almost identical act by Bradford earned a VC. Have you ever tracked down any descendants?

best,

Dom

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sadsac

Hello Dom, agree - the award of `Gongs' could be viewed as much of a Lottery, at times.

Here are the awards of `Mentions' to Hawkings and Bradford ;

BRADFORD George N Killed Lt.Cdr. RN 79D137

Iris 11 - In Command Seaman Storming Party Vice Admiral Dover 23.07.18 N/E

Operations on Belgian Coast 23.04.18 Zeebrugge & Ostend

Mentioned in Despatches

Great bravery in securing "Iris11" to the Mole.

He climbed to the top of a derrick with a mole anchor on it, leaped on to the Mole, secured the anchor and was shot, falling into the water between "Iris 11" and the Mole.

HAWKINGS Claude E.V Killed Lt. RN 79D149 N/E Vice Admiral Dover 23.07.18 N/E

Operations on Belgian Coast 23.04.18 Zeebrugge & Ostend

Mentioned in Despatches

Was Second in Command of the Seaman Storming Party on "Iris 11", and showed great bravery.

The swell alongside the Mole made "Iris 11" bump heavily and rendered the use of the ladders extremely difficult, many being broken up. Lt. Hawkings ascended the first ladder, secured the anchor and was then shot, and fell on to the Mole.

Sadsac

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sadsac

And here Dom, the award of VC to Bradford ;

BRADFORD George N N/E Lt.Cdr. RN 79D271 & 272 Vindictive - Iris 11

Vice Admiral Dover Patrol 17.03.19 G Zeebrugge Operations on the night of 22-23.04.18 VC (Posthumous)

For most conspicuous gallantry at Zeebrugge on the night of 22-23rd April, 1918.

This officer was in command of the Naval Storming Parties embarked in Iris 11.

When Iris 11 proceeded alongside the "Mole"great diffficulty was experienced in placing the parapet anchors owing to the motion of the ship. An attempt was made to land by the scaling ladders before the ship was secured. Lt. Claude E.H. Hawkings (late Erin") managed to get one ladder in position and actually reached the parapet, the ladder being crushed to pieces just as he stepped off it. This very gallant young officer was last seen defending himself with his revolver. He was killed on the parapet. Though securing the ship was not part of his duties, Lieutenant-Commander Bradford climbed up the derrick, which carried a large parapet anchor and was rigged out over the port side; during this climb the ship was surging up and down and the derrick crashing on the Mole; waiting his opportunity he jumped with the parapet anchor on to the Mole and placed it in position. Immediately after hooking on the parapet anchor Lt.Commander Bradford was riddled with bullets from machine guns and fell into the sea between the mole and the ship. Attempts to recover his body failed.Lt.Commander Bradford's action was one of absolute self-sacrifice; without a moments hesitation he went to certain death, recognising that in such action lay the only possible chance of rescuing Ïris 11"and enabling her storming party to land.

Sadsac

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MichaelBully

Hello Dom and Sadsac

It was only after looking at Paul Kendall's book again yesterday evening, that I became aware of the possibiity that men from HMS Vindictive had reached the Mole already, whilst HMS Iris was trying to berth. I missed this in previous reading of the book. I will E mail Paul about this but even better if he feels like posting his opinion here.

In respect of Hawkings, if his body fell on the Mole, I thought that it would have been found. I have met one Zeebrugee buff on line from Belgium who thinks that Hawkings' body probably fell into the sea.

With the darkness and sheer chaos of what was going on, mis-identification was possible.

Claude Hawkings has at least one relative in Hove.

The whole question of honours post-Zeebrugge did generate a great deal of contention, I will post a bit more on this in the next day or two.

Regards

Michael

Hi Michael,

i suppose it's stating the obvious that there were men already on the Mole, but i have to say i have no recollection of anyone specifically suggesting that they didn't help when they could or should have done so. Perhaps Paul can shed some light on this? He's done more general research on the raid than me.

I always think that Hawkings was hard done by in being merely MID when an almost identical act by Bradford earned a VC. Have you ever tracked down any descendants?

best,

Dom

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sotonmate

Michael

Read through this thread for the first time since my contribution on January with interest. The name Carpenter rang a bell deep inside my "Age-Effected Almost Forgotten Database" and I have now found a 33 page account by the good Captain entitled "The Attack on the Mole -and After" among a compendium of WW1 stories published in 1936 by Odhams Press.

Not sure how this relates to any other work he may have published or if there is anything additional therein.

If you have an interest I can digipic the pages and mail them to you. If so please PM your link.

There is also an illustration which will reinforce the comments earlier about whether the Mole was higher or lower than the Vindy,shown as higher.

Sotonmate

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sadsac

Dom, Michael, Sotonmate, as he gets a `mention' here is the award of VC to Carpenter ;

CARPENTER Alfred F.B N/E Captain RN 79D096 Vindictive

Vice Admiral Dover 23.07.18 G Operations on Belgian Coast 23.04.18 (Zeebrugge & Ostend)

VC & Promoted to Captain 23.04.18

This Officer was in command of Vindictive. He set a magnificent example to all those under his command by his calm composure when navigating mined waters, bringing his ship alongside in darkness. When Vindictive was within a few yards of the mole the enemy started and maintained a heavy fire from batteries, machine guns and rifles on to the bridge. He showed most conspicuous bravery, and did much to encourage similar behaviour on the part of the crew, supervising the landing from the Vindictive on to the mole, and walking round the decks directing operations and encouraging the men in the most dangerous and exposed positions. By his encouragement to those under him, his power of command and personal bearing, he undoubtely contributed greatly to the success of the operation. Captain Carpenter was selected by the officers of the Vindictive , Iris 11, and Daffodil, and of the naval assulting force to receive the Victoria Cross under Rule 13 of the Royal Warrant, dated 29th January, 1856.

Sadsac

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MichaelBully

Greetings Soton Mate and Sadsac, will PM you with E mail address SM, thank you for very kind offer, I already have 'The Blocking of Zeebrugge' by Captain Alfred F.B. Carpenter' so if the piece from the anthology you have is an extract, I may have seen it already.

I have already mentioned looking at National Archives CAB45/268 and ADM116/1811, there is some interesting material in respect of Admiral Keyes' disdain for Captain Carpenter.

Personally I noticed from Captain Carpenter's book and from ADM 116/1811 that the author maintained that Lt. Edward Hilton-Young , after being wounded states

"I personally found him subsequently walking round the decks minus coat and cap, bandaged and smoking a cigar whilst encouraging and directing the men...."

Most peculiar, with the amount of oil and potentially explosive material around on the decks of HMS Vindictive during the raid, was Hilton-Young really smoking a cigar ?

The particular copy I have of Captain Carpenter's book seems to have a history of its own. My partner found it for me in a secondhand book shop : Inside the owner of the book signed it, I can't read the signature,on the first page, but dated 26.7.40 then states again 'H.M.S. "Newcastle" at Plymouth 26.7.40 .

The book also has a stamp with "O.C.R.M. Dec 1943 H.M.S. "Unicorn".

I like to think that this edition and the Raid on Zeebrugge itself gave some naval men inspiration during World War II

Regards

Michael Bully

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MichaelBully

Looking again at Ltn Claude Hawkings from HMS Iris. An obituary in the 'Brighton Herald' of May 4th 1918 stated that

"Hawkings entered the Senior Service just ten years ago, joining as a Naval cadet".

Not sure what this means, I can't find his date of birth but he was aged 22 when he died at Zeebrugge.

Does this mean that he joined some naval college such as Dartmouth when he was 12?

Claude Hawkings is also honoured on the memorial at All Saints Church in Hove to pupils of Marlborough House School who died during the Great War. Not sure how we would have combined being a pupil at Marlborough House school and being a Naval cadet?

Regards,

Michael Bully

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David_Underdown

Was Marlborough House a prep school? Could have attended aged 9-12, then entered Dartmouth (or I've an idea the youngest went to Osborne at that time)

Have you found his record on the TNA website? that might give more clues

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MichaelBully

Hello David. I can't locate Ltn. Hawkings' records at the TNA.

Marlborough House was a prep school, and at the time was in Hove,and not far from the family home. So yes this makes sense, he could have left at 12 to have entered Dartmouth or Osborne. Any idea where the entry records could be for Dartmouth or Osborne?

If this is the case, interesting that the Marlborough House School included him on the memorial , though he had left the school ten years before.

Know that Hawkings served on board HMS Erin.

Regards,

Michael Bully

Was Marlborough House a prep school? Could have attended aged 9-12, then entered Dartmouth (or I've an idea the youngest went to Osborne at that time)

Have you found his record on the TNA website? that might give more clues

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MichaelBully

Dom, I have been thinking over the question re. HMS Iris berthing . Maybe I have been reading too much into this......perhaps unit ( for want of a better term) had their specific instructions on what they had to do during the Raid, and HMS Iris was responsible for their own berthing?

Regards

Michael

Hi Michael,

i suppose it's stating the obvious that there were men already on the Mole, but i have to say i have no recollection of anyone specifically suggesting that they didn't help when they could or should have done so. Perhaps Paul can shed some light on this? He's done more general research on the raid than me.

IDom

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David_Underdown

He actually has two records by the looks of it (haven't actually downloaded either):

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=D8124444

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=D7615947

Hopefully these links will work, if not, just stick Hawkings in the surname search box on this page http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/royal-naval-officers-service-records.htm (towards the bottom)

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MichaelBully

That's excellent David. Did not manage to find these when I was searching. Many thanks indeed. Michael Bully

He actually has two records by the looks of it (haven't actually downloaded either):

http://discovery.nat...ls?uri=D8124444

http://discovery.nat...ls?uri=D7615947

Hopefully these links will work, if not, just stick Hawkings in the surname search box on this page http://www.nationala...ice-records.htm (towards the bottom)

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Regulus 1

Hi,

This is the Zeebrugge buff, lol.

There exist a few accounts from both British and German side on the last moments of Brock, and it is now clear that Brock was attacking some of the gun emplacements at the end of the Mole, he and Künne killed eachother in a man to man fight. An attack at least worthy of a VC !

Concerning Harrison, there's no doubt that he is the man on the photograph also shown in the book of Deborah Lake.

However conserning Hawkings there is a possibility that he has wrongly been identified by the CWGC after the war as being a RNAS officer instead of RN, and this body was found near the Mole much later.

There exists also a document which suggests that there are 3 burials in the grave of the 2 unknown officers, of which I have a copy. There is no possible doubt about it that Brock and Harrison are buried at Zeebrugge, and I have strong suspicion that Hawkings is also.

Best from Johan

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MichaelBully

That's amazing news Johan re. Hawkings, whom I am particularly researching...and also pleased to read your opinion as regards the others. I have thought it surprising that Ltn. Hawkings' body was not found if his body was left on the Mole.

Had wondered if his body had in fact fallen into the sea. Perhaps mis-identification is also a possibiliy, would like to think that he was buried with all due honour.

Regards

Michael

Hi,

This is the Zeebrugge buff, lol.

There exist a few accounts from both British and German side on the last moments of Brock, and it is now clear that Brock was attacking some of the gun emplacements at the end of the Mole, he and Künne killed eachother in a man to man fight. An attack at least worthy of a VC !

Concerning Harrison, there's no doubt that he is the man on the photograph also shown in the book of Deborah Lake.

However conserning Hawkings there is a possibility that he has wrongly been identified by the CWGC after the war as being a RNAS officer instead of RN, and this body was found near the Mole much later.

There exists also a document which suggests that there are 3 burials in the grave of the 2 unknown officers, of which I have a copy. There is no possible doubt about it that Brock and Harrison are buried at Zeebrugge, and I have strong suspicion that Hawkings is also.

Best from Johan

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Regulus 1

Michael,

This is where I mentioned the document from after the war, as you will see a lot of mystery about this all !

 

Best from Johan

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MichaelBully

Thank you for directing me to this thread Johan. Do you have the record references at the NA that were consulted ? Best wishes, Michael

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Regulus 1

Michael,

I don't have them, sorry, maybe Dominic Walsh could help you on this matter

Best from Johan

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DannyManta

Enjoyed this topic you lot know your contacts. Dan

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MichaelBully

Returning to HMS Iris, have been reading 'Lost Vocies of the Royal Navy-Vivid eyewitness accounts of life in the Royal Navy from 1914-1945 ' by Max Arthur.

This work contains an account by Private Alfred Hutchinson of the Royal Marine Light Infantry -who was on board HMS Iris in which he states ( departing from the 'Raid)

'We waited about quarter of an hour for those who had got ashore to return.What did surprise me, when we were hit on the way out, was the sight of NCO's diving over the side.

No one had given the order to abandon ship, and never did. That shocked me."

Has anyone else heard of such occurences during the 'Raid ?

Regards

Michael Bully

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domwalsh

Michael,

I was privileged to meet Alf and attended his 100th birthday party. I also sat down with him another time to get his memories on tape. He was a grand fellow but, understandably, the detail was somewhat haphazard. I believe Max interviewed him at about the same period. This reference to NCOs jumping over the side surprised me and in 35 years of studying the Zeebrugge Raid I have never seen anything even remotely similar mentioned. I think we can probably discount it as the product of a fading memory.

Cheers,

Dom

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MichaelBully

Thanks for your comments Dom, had wondered. I had never read of any such claim from any other source. I am sure that you're right. Regards, Michael Bully

Michael,

I was privileged to meet Alf and attended his 100th birthday party. I also sat down with him another time to get his memories on tape. He was a grand fellow but, understandably, the detail was somewhat haphazard. I believe Max interviewed him at about the same period. This reference to NCOs jumping over the side surprised me and in 35 years of studying the Zeebrugge Raid I have never seen anything even remotely similar mentioned. I think we can probably discount it as the product of a fading memory.

Cheers,

Dom

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