Dunkirk

Discussion in 'Royal Navy & Royal Marines' started by mugwortismy cat, Sep 15, 2021.

  1. mugwortismy cat

    mugwortismy cat Tenacious to the End!

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    Harold John Blackler, served on HMS Keith. HMS Keith was destroyed at Dunkirk by aircraft on 1 June 1940 when a bomb went down one of her funnels. 36 lives were lost, but 130 survived. Unfortunately 100 of those were lost when the tug they were returning to England on was sunk.

    It seems Harold survived both these disasters, records of his death state that he was serving at HMS Pembroke (which I believe is one of the land bases) rather than HMS Keith when he died, they also say that he died at Dunkirk while on war service. However the date given is 28 Jun 1940, when the evacuation ended on 4 Jun.

    Have I misread or misunderstood, or missed something?
     
  2. Chimp

    Chimp Moderator & Cheeky Human IMP Staff Member

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    Well his death was entered as "2"

    upload_2021-9-15_17-33-34.png

    Maybe he went missing prior to 28th but was only entered as died on 28th.
     
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  3. mugwortismy cat

    mugwortismy cat Tenacious to the End!

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    Thank you. That makes sense, if he was on another sunk boat but the body was not immediately recovered.

    I assume that's either when they found his body or it's when they stopped trying to locate or identify remains

    I meant to look up what those codes meant, but then I saw another record which said "Died on war service", so missed out on the fact that he was missing initially
     
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  4. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

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    Is it possible that he had had been taken prisoner?
     
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  5. mugwortismy cat

    mugwortismy cat Tenacious to the End!

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    Possible I suppose ...
     
  6. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    I’m wondering if they had to wait 28 days before the presumption of death.
    Or they searched for 28 days finally declaring death on the 28th
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2022
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  7. mugwortismy cat

    mugwortismy cat Tenacious to the End!

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    @Archie's Mum those were my thoughts too.

    Where I have had POW's I've normally found a record stating so, of course if I've not found a record it doesn't necesssarily exclude it o_O
     
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  8. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    Are there any other names that you might have come across ie rescued then lost from the tug, that could have the same death date.?
     
  9. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    I think I have solved the mystery of him being on HMS Pembroke at time of death. I haven’t checked all the casualties but Harold was Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, the other casualties that I have checked were Royal Navy. They would have been attached to HMS Keith whereas Harold possibly was attached to HMS Pembroke (or The Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham) After the war Chatham became home to the reserve (Wiki)
    Maybe the delay in dates has something to do with him being a Reserve rather than full time RN.
     
  10. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    :oops: But I did find some more volunteers killed. Their numbers begin C/LDX.
    The HMS Keith site does say that Harold was.......cause lost...air raid. So I would say he was lost presumed dead after 28 days. The others are listed as died 1/6
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2022
  11. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    Let me clarify. I think Harold was one of those killed when the bomb went down the funnel. There are forty men, named as killed, Harold being one of them, when that happened, although there is at least one death before that, 25th May, as I believe that the Keith was hit before this date as well. All forty are named along with date of death, mostly 1st June. (Cause of death was air raid) Except Harold whose date is recorded as 28th June.
     
  12. Schnurrbart

    Schnurrbart Well-Known Member

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    Translated from the wrecksite.eu about HMT St Abbs, sunk Dukirk 1st June:-
    Admiralty steam tug, 468 tons, built in 1918 by the Ferguson Brothers shipyards. Perfect twin of the St Fagan. Commanded by Major Colvin. At 9.30 a.m., when 30 minutes earlier he had docked with the sinking ´´Keith´´, rescuing Captain Berthon and 130 men on board, a bomber probably of the ´´Heinkel´´ type dropped a string of bombs just in front of the tow.
    And-
    Although they exploded a few meters from the boat, they caused very serious damage. It sinks in 30 seconds not far from the ´´Keith´´ and the ´´Skipjack
    Having a look at St Fagan
     
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  13. Schnurrbart

    Schnurrbart Well-Known Member

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    St Fagan: It looks as though St Fagan never reached Dunkirk, she hit a mine and sank around two miles from Dunkirk.
     
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  14. Schnurrbart

    Schnurrbart Well-Known Member

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    I can't verify, but I did find this "The guiding principle is that a man is entitled to pay while he is alive and no longer; where a man is missing he is assumed to be dead if he is not heard of for four weeks after the date on which notification of his being missing was sent to his relatives." Hence 28th, so it seems no body was found.
     
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  15. mugwortismy cat

    mugwortismy cat Tenacious to the End!

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    Thanks :( it was a horrible experience for all
     

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