D-day naval casualties – retrieving bodies?

Discussion in 'War Cemeteries & War Memorial Research' started by Bart150, Aug 18, 2015.

  1. Bart150

    Bart150 Member

    I’ve been looking at the case of HMS Minster, which sank on 8 June 1944 near Utah beach after hitting a mine. 58 men were lost, ie most of the ship’s company. 10 have known graves; the other 48 do not, and their names are recorded on the three naval memorials in the UK.

    I’m wondering what happened to the bodies of the 48. Were they left in the wreck (if so, I haven’t noticed the wreck being called a war grave)? Or were they retrieved and given an appropriate burial at sea (if so, I haven’t noticed any mention of such a ceremony)?
  2. John Connell

    John Connell New Member

    Dear Bart150
    My father was a casualty of HMS Minster. According to naval records there was 72 crew lost. The dive sites have listed the wreck as a war grave and warned their members that the French government has banned any interference with the wreck. They may look but not touch.
    John Connell
  3. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    According to naval-history.net there were 58 casualties for HMS Minster when she sank after hitting a mine. They are listed here: Royal Navy casualties, killed and died, June 1944 . I think the figure of 72 quoted above includes the survivors but I can find no details.

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  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

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  5. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    I had seen that reference, TD, but discounted the figure as there were no details. There were definitely some survivors which included the Captain, A/Lt Cdr W Jackson, RNR. I think the definitive answer lies in ADM 358/4350 - HMS Minster 8June 1944 sunk by enemy action, hit mine off coast of Normandy, Enquiries into Missing Personnel.

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  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Tim,

    It probably does, but the differences point out that they would have a crew numbering ?? but seem to have collected (possibly) an unknown number of 'extra's', so will a final number ever be known?

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  7. Bob Douglas

    Bob Douglas New Member

    Gents, my late father-in-law Bill (Charles Willie Adamson) was one of the few survivors from the ship. My research suggests (at least) 3 survivors - Captain (A/LCDR W Jackson RNR, T/Lt F.G. Creswell RNVR and AB C.W. Adamson RN.
    Killed - 9; MPK 48 and DOW 1. That makes 61 - although (I've previously seen) TD's reference says 72 casualties - wounded, DOWs, MPK and killed. The link to that reference is no longer available. I've attached some documents that might assist, if you don't already have them.

    Attached Files:

  8. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    naval-history.net records Royal Navy casualties, killed and died, June 1944
    Minster, ship loss (8 June 1944)
    ANTHONY, Herbert R, Able Seaman, R/JX 532559, MPK
    ATTWELL, Robert G, Sick Berth Attendant, D/MX 66852, MPK
    BARNES, Edward G, Stoker 1c, R/KX 108766, MPK
    BARNES, Ernest, Able Seaman, R/JX 209401, MPK
    BARTON, George, Able Seaman, R/JX 181454, MPK
    BELL, Louis E, Stoker 1c, R/KX 525577, MPK
    BELL, William, Stoker 1c, R/KX 113452, MPK
    BIGGENDEN, Athol E, Chief Petty Officer Stoker, P/K 21898, MPK
    BOLGER, John G P, Able Seaman, R/JX 437150, MPK
    BUTTERY, Joseph E, Stoker 1c, R/KX 162096, MPK
    CANNELL, Charles, Act/Rigger's Mate, R/JX 180737, MPK
    CATTO, John, Ty/Lieutenant (E), RNR, MPK
    CLARK, Edwin R, Stoker 1c, R/KX 604210, MPK
    COCHRANE, Walter, Able Seaman, R/JX 224840, MPK
    CONNELL, John, Stoker Petty Officer, R/KX 100771, MPK
    CONNOLLY, Patrick J, Steward, D/LX 611991, MPK
    COULTON, Arnold, Engine Room Artificer 2c, D/MX 51860, MPK
    CRAWFORD, Alfred, Petty Officer, R/JX 202777, MPK
    CRUMP, Edward H, Ty/Lieutenant, RNR, MPK
    CULLY, Sidney J, Ordinary Seaman, P/JX 648446, MPK
    DANIELS, Colin, Able Seaman, R/JX 436463, MPK
    DEAS, David, Steward, C/LX 25464, MPK
    EARL, Frank, Able Seaman, R/JX 437031, MPK
    FOWLES, Robert, Act/Leading Stoker, R/KX 102123, MPK
    FRENCH, Robert, Able Seaman, R/JX 243614, MPK
    GEORGE, Robert W, Rigger's Mate, R/JX 243620, MPK
    GILPIN, Henry, Able Seaman, R/JX 213358, killed
    GOWANS, John, Stoker 1c, R/KX 100235, killed
    HARGREAVES, Robert, Stoker 1c, R/KX 164782, MPK
    HART, Alfred W, Ordinary Seaman, R/JX 533463, killed
    HEARN, Ernest C, Ty/Boatswain, killed
    HOODLESS, John H, Act/Stoker Petty Officer, R/KX 102151, MPK
    HOUSTON, William J, Leading Steward, D/LX 22329, MPK
    KITE, Alfred W, Stoker 1c, R/KX 117351, MPK
    LADD, Eric, Telegraphist, D/JX 173043, killed
    LANGTON, James E, Coder, D/JX 293929, MPK
    LEECH, Stanley, Able Seaman, R/JX 551278, MPK
    LOWER, Richard J, Engine Room Artificer 4c, D/MX 57158, DOW
    MARSH, Frank, Stoker 2c, R/KX 664171, MPK
    MARSH, John S, Act/Stoker Petty Officer, R/KX 125662, MPK
    MCINALLY, Joseph, Stoker 1c, R/KX 112244, MPK
    MCININCH, James, Ordinary Telegraphist, P/JX 610015, MPK
    PARKER, David R, Signalman, D/JX 216047, MPK
    PORRITT, George W, Ordinary Seaman, R/JX 533406, MPK
    POWELL, James, Stoker 1c, P/KX 125791, MPK
    REID, William, Able Seaman, R/JX 418647, MPK
    ROUTER, Edward B R, Engine Room Artificer 1c, D/M 2175, killed
    RYRIE, Alexander R, Act/Rigger's Mate, R/JX 181019, killed
    SENIOR, Clifford, Stoker 1c, R/KX 165935, killed
    STAPLES, Joseph L, Act/Rigger's Mate, R/JX 222179, killed
    STEPHEN, Alexander, Petty Officer, R/JX 166966, MPK
    STEVENSON, James W, Leading Seaman, R/JX 181153, MPK
    STEWART, William, Leading Seaman, RNR, R/6822 C, MPK
    THOMAS, Frank S, Act/Rigger's Mate, R/JX 244093, MPK
    TRIMMER, John F, Act/Petty Officer, C/J 33578, MPK
    WATSON, David, Petty Officer, RNR, R/X 1407 E, MPK
    WHEELER, Joseph, Stoker 1c, R/KX 154634, MPK
    WILSON, Herbert, Able Seaman, R/JX 436822, MPK

    I haven't counted, nor searched for where buried or commemorated, but did check if any further references to casualties in June 1944 (none).
    Hope that helps with the "official" details.

    There is always the possibility of Army or other Services being aboard
  9. My father Bill (Charles Willie Adamson) did tell me they had just picked up some Canadian Rangers that had been put ashore on D-Day. As they were coming off the beach was when they hit an acoustic mine. This could explain the discrepancies in the number of people that were killed.
    timuk likes this.

    TIM FINCH New Member

    Sorry if I'm late to this post - but I volunteer for the CWGC and look after 20 sites and 74 war graves - including one to Eric Ladd a telegraphist on HMS Minster - he was 25. It's interesting that his body was recovered and returned for burial in the UK ( Portishead) - I assume given there were some survivors that there was an almost immediate recovery/rescue operation by other ships in the vicinity and that once the bodies had been recovered it was easier to repatriate them than have them buried in Normandy? Would it not though have been the normal practice for them to have been buried at sea?
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  11. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Apart from one other, Henry Gilpin, who is buried in Portland Naval Cemetery all the other recovered bodies appear to be buried in the Bayeux War Cemetery. I imagine these were either washed ashore or picked up by vessels heading to the beaches. Whereas Ladd and Gilpin were recovered by vessel(s) heading back to UK. I don't think, given the circumstances, they would want to stop for a burial service.

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    TIM FINCH New Member

    Much appreciated Tim - I thought I'd show you a before and after my tidy up of his grave.

    Attached Files:

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  13. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    Records that I could find on Fold3

    Last two pages are of particular note, discussing casualties,







    The following two records from the Daily Log of TASK FORCE 128


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    TIM FINCH New Member

    I'm much indebted for this information. Is there anyway of finding out more about Eric Ladd's actual service record his service number was D/JX 173043.
  15. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    You need to apply to RN Disclosure Cell - full details in this link.

    Get a copy of military records of service

    Good Luck.

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    TIM FINCH New Member

    Thanks Steve - I tried that but sadly they don't have his records.

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