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Help identifying a ship

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#4
If you upload the pic ( can't access tinypic.com from this computer and neither can anyone else accessing via DII - which rules out a passel of those still serving) ) then I'm sure one of the old and bold may be able to give it a wild stab in the dark ....which is, I'm sure, what you'd like to give F-V :)


post script - if your grandad was on the Edinburgh - he was a lucky man to survive.....she was the ship on which Alistair Maclean based his first novel 'HMS Ulysses'

If your pic is of that class, the Edinburgh story would have been well known to him....

HMS Edinburgh's final voyage

On this voyage, Edinburgh carryied a 4.5-long-ton (4,570 kg) consignment of gold bullion, intended as partial payment for Allied supplies to the USSR. The 465 gold ingots, carried in 93 wooden boxes, were in the armoured bomb-rooms on the starboard side, near the first torpedo's impact point. At the time, the estimated worth of the bullion was about £1.5 million sterling.

In 1954, the British government offered the salvage rights to the Edinburgh to Risdon Beazley Ltd., a British salvage company. But the project was put on hold, due to strained political relations with the Soviet Union. In 1957, the wreck was designated as a war grave, which complicated any salvage attempts still further.

In the late 1970s, interest in the Edinburgh was reawakened, and the British government became increasingly anxious to recover the gold. This was not only because of its value, but also because there was growing fear that the wreck might be looted by unscrupulous salvagers, or, worse, salvaged by the Soviet Union, in whose coast it was near.

In the early 1980s, seasoned diver Keith Jessop won the salvage rights to Edinburgh for his company Jessop Marine. Jessop's methods, using complex cutting machinery, were deemed more appropriate for a war grave than the explosives-oriented methods of other companies.

In April 1981, the survey ship Dammtor began searching for the wreck in the Barents Sea, on behalf of Jessop Marine. After only ten days, Dammtor discovered the wreck at approximately 72°N 35°E / 72°N 35°E / 72; 35, about 400 km NNE of the Soviet coast at the Kola Inlet. The depth was 245 metres (800 ft). Using specialized cameras, the Dammtor took detailed film of the wreck, which allowed Jessop and his divers to carefully plan the salvage operation.

Later that year, on 30 August, the dive-support vessel Stephaniturm journeyed to the site, and salvage operations began in earnest. Several divers were injured during the operation, but on 15 September 1981, a diver finally penetrated the bomb room and recovered a bar of gold. On 7 October, bad weather finally forced the suspension of diving operations, but by that time, 431 of 465 ingots had been recovered, now worth in excess of £43,000,000 sterling. A further 29 bars were recovered in a subsequent operation in 1986, bringing the total to 460, leaving five unaccounted for. [5]
The Wiki article cited an eyewitness account from one of the escorting minesweepers:
Source
It is known that U-456 had made the most of a golden opportunity presented by Edinburgh altering course towards her on a fresh leg of her zigzag, and had obtained two torpedo hits, the first amidships and the second in the stern. The latter virtually destroyed the stern abaft the after turret and most of it subsequently sank including the rudder and at least one propeller. Amazingly two propeller shafts were still working, and Edinburgh though almost unable to steer, was struggling slowly in the direction of Murmansk, some 200 miles to the south, escorted by two British destroyers (Foresight and Forester) and two Russian ones.
In the minesweepers our expectation of a warm night in harbour rapidly disappeared as we were ordered to proceed to sea again at full speed to find and assist the stricken cruiser. Our captain in the Harrier, Commander Eric Hinton, took ail this in his stride. He was a fine seaman, expert in shiphandling. Beneath his unassuming and humorous manner, there was an irreducible core of courage. The minesweepers were never intended to engage enemy surface ships, but we ail knew that our Captain would never entertain the thought of running away,, even from a German battleship. My job as Flotilla Navigating Officer was not only to navigate Harrier and the sweepers under our command, but to act generally as the Captain's staff officer in organising any operations on which our flotilla was engaged.
At 2018 on 30 April, four hours after the Edinburgh had been struck, we passed outwards from Kola Inlet and began to retrace our course along the convoys track towards Edinburgh's reported position, which we naturally assumed might in the circumstances be considerably in error. By midday on 1 May we were near this position, still searching to the northward with Gossamer and Niger spread out to the westward to obtain the maximum width of radar coverage. Hussar was following somewhere astern escorting a Russian tug to the scene. That evening we ran into the edge of the ice pack and were forced to turn back to the south. In doing so we spread our search line to the eastward and by great good luck we sighted Hussar soon after midnight (it was twilight all night) and she told us that she had just found Edinburgh. Visibility was now varying from about one to five miles because of continual snowstorms.
By this time, early on 2 May, Edinburgh was still valiantly struggling to return to port, possibly making about 3 or 4 knots in a southerly direction. The two Russian destroyers, short of fuel, had left, but a little Russian gunboat, named Rubin, had round her. Foresight and Forester were circling round to provide anti-submarine protection. Soon the Russian tug was attempting to tow the Edinburgh but unfortunately she was not powerful enough to make any headway. As an alternative, Gossamer was then secured by a wire rope to the stern of the cruiser to try to keep her on a steady course, white the Edinburgh pushed away with her two remaining propellers, thereby continuing to make slow progress. Meanwhile the two destroyers, the minesweepers and the Rubin circled round to keep U-boats at bay.

I was half asleep in the charthouse when I heard a shout form Lieutenant Holgate, who was our Officer-of-the-Watch, to come up to the Bridge immediately. Going up the ladder I was thinking 'My god, this is it'- expecting to see the German battleship Tirpitz, which was stationed in Northern Norway and might well have been sent to finish off the damaged British cruiser. In fact it was a German Z-class destroyer, and her initial salvoes were straddling Hussar, who, like Harrier, was between Edinburgh and the German attackers. The time was 0627.

Admiral Bonham-Carter had signalled the Senior Officer 6th Minesweeping Flotilla previously that, in the event of meeting enemy surface forces, the sweepers were to retire under a smoke screen. Either we never received this signal or Cdr Hinton kept it to himself and chose to ignore it. At any rate, he immediately turned Harrier straight towards the German destroyer, increased to our full speed of 14 knots and opened fire with our single 4 in gun, We obtained one range of the destroyer of four miles, but our radar then went out of action with the vibration of the gunfire. Soon three German destroyers came in sight intermittently, dodging in and out of the snowstorms, and making smoke that increased the haze. Edinburgh opened fire with the three 6 in guns in her "B" turret, which was practically the only one of her four turrets still able to fire. Foresight and Forester came dashing over from the other side of the flagship and began to engage the Germans, who kept their distance at four or five miles and refrained from approaching any closer.

Seeing gun-flashes coming from five separate directions, the Germans probably imagined that they were confronting a superior force. Each of these heavy destroyers was armed (we subsequently discovered) with five 5.9 in guns in addition to torpedoes, so had they pressed in they might easily have sunk every ship in our force. However, Harrier and the other .'fleet' minesweepers looked not unlike destroyers when seen end-on, so probably the Captain's action in heading straight for the enemy had saved our lives.
Minutes later a 4-gun salvo of shells fell 500 yards from us, another straddled our forecastle and then another fell at the correct range just astern, but fortunately we were not hit. Hussar was also engaging the enemy. The action continued, with the Germans disappearing from view from time to time, until 0652 when we sighted ahead a torpedo, apparently running on or near the surface in the direction of Edinburgh. The latter had cast off Gossamer and was moving ahead, although constrained in a series of circles. Unfortunately one of these circles carried Edinburgh right into the path-of another torpedo from this salvo which was running deep and struck her amidships exactly opposite the previous hit from U-456.

It was now estimated that only the upperdeck plating and a somewhat shaky keel were holding the two ends of the ship together, and clearly she was in danger of breaking in two at any moment. Had the ship's company taken to the water in this event, few would have kept alive long enough to be rescued, the longest survival time in this water temperature being (as we knew from previous sinkings) only about 10 to 20 minutes at most.

The Admiral therefore immediately ordered Gossamer alongside his starboard side, and Harrier, his port side, and both the minesweepers began to embark the sick and wounded men, some of whom, injured in previous convoys, were taking passage home in the Edinburgh. Following this the entire ship's company was transferred, some 440 men to Gossamer and about 400 to Harrier. Fortunately the heavy sea had subsided and it was almost flat calm while this was going on.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh was listing further and further until she reached an angle of 17 degrees. Despite the list, the cruiser's "S" turret continued to fire on local control with Captain Faulkner shouting down the bearings of the German destroyers, whenever they were in sight, from the bridge to the lieutenant in charge of the turret just below him. Such was our concentration on the battle and the job in hand that it never occurred to us that the Edinburgh might capsize on top of us. It was about this time that the Rubin, having misunderstood a signal, attempted to come alongside Harrier', and in doing so caused some slight damage - of this more later.

Eventually the 6 in turret was so far depressed that the guns could no longer be brought to bear, and the whole transfer having been completed in an orderly fashion, the Admiral and his staff came on board Harrier. We lay off, expecting the cruiser to founder almost at once.

Harrier had now become the Admiral's flagship, and it was necessary to hoist the appropriate flag designating a Rear-Admiral. The nearest we had was a white flag with a red cross, but two red balls needed to be added to complete it correctly. I instructed my Yeoman to improvise these with the red ink from the charthouse, and the flag was duly hoisted.

Admiral Bonham-Carter was a jovial character, but with exceptionally sound tactical judgement and shrewd common-sense. He was imperturbable in this misfortune, but was now faced with the embarrassing fact that -the Edinburgh, despite the colossal damage caused by the three torpedoes, obstinately refused to sink. Harrier was ordered to encourage the process and fired twenty 4 in shells into the ship at point-blank range, but these had little effect. We then steamed close alongside firing depth charges set to explode at the shallowest possible depth. One of these actually rolled down the side of the ship and went off immediately underneath her, but still without result. Bonham-Carter began to think of going back on board with a skeleton crew when the Foresight re-appeared form the murk, having finally driven off the Germans. She was asked: 'Have you any torpedoes left?' - to which she replied: 'One'. It so happened that this torpedo had misfired when Foresight had fired her entire outfit at the enemy.

The Admiral now ordered the destroyer to sink the Edinburgh with her remaining torpedo, and we watched her position herself at point- blank range (1500 yards) abeam of the cruiser and saw the torpedo dive into the sea. There followed the longest two minutes that I can remember, towards the end of which the Admiral was saying: 'She's missed': but just at this moment the torpedo struck and exploded, and we witnessed the sad end of this fine cruiser as she rolled over and sank
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C

cloudbuster

Guest
#7
Whatever is is, going by the miserable conditions, grey clouds, flocks of shitty seagulls and the lifeless shoreline, I'd say the pic was taken on the Cromarty Firth.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#16
Got it.....for ease of reference a shot of the Town class Edinburgh...compare and contrast



HMS Gambia sounds like a fair shout....

The OP can get a copy of his Service record if you know his dob and Service number, which will confirm whether your grandfather was drafted to her.
 

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