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Labeline

Zeebrugge. Identifying the dead

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Labeline

Hi all

 

i seem to recall reading somewhere that there is a report taking statements from crew members in which the dead from the Zeebrugge raid were identified by those that found them or saw them killed. I would like to read it to see if there is any record of where my Great Uncle, Able Seaman Frederick Robert Scott was found. Is it available online as I live in France so visiting the National Archive isn’t easy. Can anyone also explain how it was that so many of the men killed were repatriated to the U.K. rather than being left behind. Many thanks.

 

 

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horatio2
15 minutes ago, Labeline said:

Can anyone also explain how it was that so many of the men killed were repatriated to the U.K. rather than being left behind.

Presumably because they were killed in their ships and not on shore.

Robert Scott (like tthers) may have been wounded on shore but he managed to get back to VINDICTIVE somehow.

Edited by horatio2

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GrenPen

I would concur with Horatio2 that a lot of men got killed on the vessels, in particular the Iris II taking a direct hit as the parties were assembled and were about to disembark. In other cases, wounded men such as J31736 Albert McKenzie would have been taken back to the sick bay and survived, or would have subsequently died of their wounds.

 

When the raid was over, the men of the Seamen Storming Parties returned to HMS Hindustan, and collected their kitbags. A number of kitbags were uncollected. Without recourse to any source material, it appears the men had several days leave before they returned to the Grand Fleet.

 

In some instances, the Admiralty sent letters to next of kin, to advise they were missing in action, but could have been taken prisoner. At the same time, for men whose deaths were witnessed, their next of kin were simultaneously sent letters, often from wounded men recovering in hospital, offering their condolences and recounting the circumstances how they died. This made the Admiralty look incompetent.
 

There are two files containing correspondence relating to Zeebrugge Casualties. These paper files have not been ditigised. Contained within those files are several forms, "Evidence as to Officers or Men on Missing Lists". They give eyewitness accounts as to some of the men who died, but not all. I did not see such a form for J16005 Frederick Robert Scott.

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GrenPen

The references for the files at Kew are ADM 116/1655 and ADM 116/1656 respectively.

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Labeline

Thanks for the information. Family stories get lost in the passing of time but my father can remember his mother telling him that when they brought Fred’s body home his knuckles were red raw as if he had been involved in a fist fight. We have no idea as to how he died but he was not badly damaged as if he had been hit by shrapnel. Although he died fighting from Vindictive he was on Hindustan’s muster list. His Memorial Plaque Scroll shows him as HMS Hindustan. His funeral took place in Wimbledon the following week with full military honours.

Edited by Labeline

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seaJane

As I understand it, HINDUSTAN was a depot ship for the Zeebrugge Raid ships, so Fred would have been "borne on the books" as one of her crew, but serving aboard VINDICTIVE for the raid itself.

 

 

 

Edited by seaJane

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Labeline

Indeed Hindustan was a holding ship but his service record shows he was a part of its crew from 1917. Despite that he is shown on the list of the dead from HMS Vindictive. My cousin is finding a lot of things relating to our family history and especially Fred. It wouldn’t surprise me if somewhere in his treasure trove is a letter to his parents. Time will tell.

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horatio2
8 hours ago, Labeline said:

Indeed Hindustan was a holding ship but his service record shows he was a part of its crew from 1917. Despite that he is shown on the list of the dead from HMS Vindictive.

seaJane is quite correct. He was a seaman volunteer from the ship's company of HINDUSTAN and continued to be 'borne on the books' of that ship. It is a quite different matter how the Zeebrugge casualties were presented and entirely reasonable, in my view, that they should be listed under the ships from which they fought.

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Gunner Hall
On 13/03/2020 at 12:45, horatio2 said:

Presumably because they were killed in their ships and not on shore.

Robert Scott (like tthers) may have been wounded on shore but he managed to get back to VINDICTIVE somehow.

Yes, one of my grandfather's ran his own plumbing business in both wars. He sadly, got the job of providing and sealing  the lead coffins that were, at the time needed for bodies not in the best of condition. He was never away from the ship repair yards 

 

 

 

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