HMS Cotswold

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by klee, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. klee

    klee Junior Member

    Just wondered if anyone on this forum may have been related to crew on HMS Cotwold, which was hit by a mine in April 1942. My Great Uncle (PO George Gee) lost his life during this incident. Would like to hear from anyone who has info regarding this.
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  2. Brian braithwaite

    Brian braithwaite New Member

    My father ,Frank Braithwaite CERA also died as a result of this mining. I would be interested in any further information and photographs that you may have. I have 4 photographs that may interest you. img016.jpg img045a.jpg HMS Cotswold.jpg img014.jpg
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  3. iangee50

    iangee50 New Member

    Hi. My Grandad was George Oliver Gee. My dad's dad.
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  4. sbettinson

    sbettinson New Member

    Hi there everyone. My Nana's brother also served on HMS Cotswold in 1942. He was killed due to the mine also.

    Our family do not have a lot of information about what exactly happened to him or if there is anyone who served with him who knew him.

    His name was William O'Neill.

    D/KX 108656, H.M.S. Cotswold., Royal Navy who died on 20 April 1942 Age 27
    Husband of May O'Neill, of Stockton-on-Tees, Co. Durham.

    Thank you Brian for posting the photos. I will ask my Nana if he is in the photo as we don't have any photos of him.

    If anyone has extra information we would welcome any contact from any relatives of those who served on the ship who may have similar photos and information. We can be contacted on 01642 882265. Please ask for Shaun or Jean.

    Thank you.
  5. Jim Coffey

    Jim Coffey New Member

    The crew would have known of the "Salt Fish" incident:
    My Dad Pat was on the "Cotswold" up to 20/4/42 when she was mined and then volunteered for combined operations as a Naval Beach Commando . He said she was a happy ship though from the stories he told he was in conflict with one or two junior officers. He had a photo of the ships company as seen elsewhere in these pages and I asked him were was he, the officer concerned found Dad other duties at that time. He admired his skipper and in particular Dickens who he thought was a fair and just man, I imagine due to his conflict with said officer(s).
    The Royal Navy is founded on traditions and is very class conscious. Dad said from what I can gather COTSWOLD skipper achieved the rank from below deck and not through privilege and so being of lower cast the COTSWOLD was always found anchored mid stream which meant to get ashore sailors were ferried to and fro. According to Dad the ships company was mainly divided into two main group North and South with a mix of betweeners and the banter between would make it a lively place to be, hence his happy ship description.
    Being from Liverpool, Bootle in particular Salt Fish would be a substantial meal particularly on a Sunday. Dad says the Liverpool lads and I'm sure other who are familiar with this delicacy would often goad the cook and other members of the crew to get salt fish for a Sunday Breakfast.
    One shore leave the cook and some Cocks (southerns) as Dad called them challenged the Liverpool lads to bring back some Salt Fish for a Sunday Breakfast when they return. Dad recalled when arriving at Liverpool Central ready to board the train to Harwrich no one had remembered to get the Salt Fish so Dad ran up to the Market and bought a few pieces.
    Arriving back at Parkeston Quay they were surprised to see COTSWOLD tied up along side other Destroyers of her flotilla, no waiting to be ferried out in midstream, ships company could just walk across neighboring ships at anytime.
    Dad was stationed on the Twin 4" gun mounted astern and I assume his mess was in the same locality Aft.
    Returning on the weekend the cook took charge of the Salt Fish and given instruction by the Liverpool lads set about preparing the Breakfast. As the preparation began to take hold the Salt Fish released it locked up aroma and filled the galley with the smells of those most familiar with this delicacy would be a hearty and welcome meal. As the aroma's made there way to heaven the audible crackle of a ships tanoy burst into life as the flotilla leader ship hailed "WERE IS THAT SMELL COMING FROM" to which the COSTWOLD replied... it is aye! "SLIP YOUR MOORINGS AND HEAD FOR MIDSTREAM" came the reply. What happened next wasn't bare thinking about but certain members of the crew were not happy I believe.
    Dad is wearing the boiler-suit with his mates I assume on the Aft (Rear) Twin 4" Gun
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  6. Jim Coffey

    Jim Coffey New Member

    Buoy Jumper Indecent.

    COTSWOLD was entering SCAPA FLOW and Dad was in the first group ashore when his immediate office assigned him the job of Buoy Jumper. Dad tried to plead his case but the said Officer had gone. Dad dressed in his uniform and thinking it would take two minutes and still catch shore leave he made his way forward.
    As COTSWOLD made her way towards the buoy Dad leaped onto the buoys frame and clambered down to its base. When he looked back COTSWOLD was disappearing into a squall and out of sight as he struggle to hold onto the Buoy. Dad said the only way he could hang on to the buoy and protect himself from the driving rain was to turn his back to the weather and fold his arm around the frame. What seemed like hours COTSWOLD edged forward and a line was dropped for the ships hawser. By now Dad said he was freezing and without his wet weather gear He had trouble undoing the shackle for the hawser with his numb hands while his officer was bawling a command as to the delay. When the hawser was attached COTSWOLD went astern to take up her station while Dad was still clinging to the buoy. The ship launch was standing by to nose to the buoy to pick dad up when a gust of wind pushed her onto the buoy and trapping the ship hawser between to two canopies of the launch. Struggle as they may they couldn’t cast off as the Officer continually lambasted the ratings. The ratings decided the only way to free the launch was to remove the aft canopy which according to Dad was fixed with large brass wing nuts and no spanners or levers to break the tension. Meanwhile the Officer continued to berate the ratings when Dad decided to challenge the Officer. After some time they removed the canopy and returned to the ship were Dad promptly made his way to the hot shower to get heat back into his body. According to Dad he’d just started to feel the heat returning when the Officer commanding arrive with two armed ratings and charged him with swearing at an Naval Officer of the Queen and ordered him to dress. Dad refused and quoted a regulation were-by a naval rating is considered dressed when wearing his cap only, so he wrapped his towel around him and frog marched to the Officer in command which happen to be Dickens. As Dads party approached, Dickens was leaning on his Dias and stroking his beard as the charge was being read. In the meantime below decks a book was being run on what penalty would be dealt out to Dad. After the charge was read Dickens ask Dad to reply, Dad said it wasn’t meant as an insult it was a term used to explain the difficulty they were having under the circumstances, On the docks in Liverpool you used words like that to get a message across as quick and to the point, you couldn’t afford to use long sentences to explain when you’re in a hurry. Dickens dismissed the charge. When he returned below decks he was well received by the bookie who made a killing and took Dad ashore to share his winnings.

    Though this is my recollection of this incident I’d be interested to know would this be in the ships log, if it exists?

    One Dads Photo's showing COTSWOLD without her Pom-Pom, also in this picture possibly the Launch in question View attachment 218151
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  7. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    All the Destroyer logbooks after early January 1940 have been, with one or two exceptions, destroyed. There is one for 1942 FEB. 16 - MAR. 7 held at Kew in piece ADM 53/115670

    HMS Cotswold: 20 April 1942; damaged by enemy action, hit a mine
    ADM 358/3180
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  8. Jim Coffey

    Jim Coffey New Member

    Thanks Hugh,
    what about diaries, knowing a bit about Dickens Naval career and pedigree I'm sure he must have had a writers hand do you know if they might exist or am I just trying to catch the wind :)
  9. Chris Knowles

    Chris Knowles New Member

    My Grandad was on this ship and told me of the night it sank. Sadly he died over 30 years ago and my recollection of the story is poor. He's in Brians Picture above. His name was Charles Ronald Mitchell, centre of this zoomed image

    Attached Files:

  10. john whitelock

    john whitelock New Member

    My grandfather Able Seaman Norman James Broom served on HMS Cotswold and was on when the mine hit off East Anglia I believe. I remember him telling me lost his friend who was a petty Officer, not sure who though as 3 killed as shown below. I found the information of those who died, which does show the names mentioned in this thread. My granddad died in 2008 aged 97, wish this thread was available then to discuss with him! I cannot find his face on the picture above though. Ive also attached his service record showing the dates he served on the ship

    BRAITHWAITE, Frank, Engine Room Artificer 2c, D/M 37010, DOW (Died of wounds); DANIEL, Reginald A A, Petty Officer, D/J 113885, MPK, (Missing Presumed Killed); GEE, George, Act/Stoker Petty Officer, D/KX 80412, MPK; LEACH, Alexander, Stoker Petty Officer, D/KX 80577, killed; O'NEILL, William, Stoker 1c, D/KX 108656, killed; SYNNUCK, Roy J, Stoker 2c, D/KX 134357, DOW

    Attached Files:

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