Gun craft tragedy 1943 site, Freshwater West

Glink to Welsh translationun craft tragedy 1943 site, Freshwater West

In April 1943 many bodies were washed ashore at Freshwater Bay after the loss of three military vessels in the same storm. The deaths of 85 members of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines would have been avoided had two of the vessels been granted shelter earlier.

In 1943 the Allies were preparing for an invasion of mainland Europe. Various support vessels were designed, including the Landing Craft Gun (LCG). This was designed to fire on enemy positions as the forces approached the shore, then to land men and equipment and thereafter form a static gun position.

LCG 15 and LCG 16 were built by Harland & Wolff in Belfast. They were to be delivered to Falmouth by 79 sailors and Royal Marines. Approaching Pembrokeshire, the shallow vessels – not designed for rough seas – ran into a storm. For reasons which were never explained, the authorities at Fishguard refused to allow the LCGs to shelter in the harbour there. The vessels had to press on to Milford Haven but began sinking as they passed St Ann’s Head. Lifeboats could not help. LCG 15 sank in darkness on 25 April, with no survivors.

An old fisheries protection vessel, HMS Rosemary, came to the aid of LCG 16 and dispatched six crew members in the ship’s lifeboat. All six occupants drowned after the boat was overturned. Later LCG 16 also sank, again with all hands lost.

Some of the bodies were never found, and the site of the vessels’ sinking was declared a war grave. Thirteen of the bodies washed ashore could not be identified. They were buried at Milford Haven cemetery as unknown sailors from LCG 15, LCG 16 or HMS Dinosaur, the training establishment in Scotland where many of the victims were based.

A memorial to the men who died that night can be found a short distance up the hill from Freshwater West beach. Researcher Steven John has placed details of the men on his website here.

With his kind permission, we have summarised the details for easy reading on mobile screens. To see the summaries, choose one of the vessels below.

View Location Map

LCG 15
LCG 16
HMS Rosemary

Other MILITARY HiPoints in this region:
Remains of RAF Flying Boat – salvaged from underwater in Pembroke Dock
Remains of East Blockhouse – Tudor stonework and later military remains 

Wales Coastal Path Label Navigation anticlockwise buttonNavigation clockwise button
 

 

LCG 15

  • Frederick Edward Albin, Marine, PO/X 113000, Royal Marines. Died aged 18. Commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire.
  • John Henry Bickle, Leading Motor Mechanic, C/MX 116002, Royal Navy. Son of George Edward and Amy Bickle, of Camelford. Died age 20. Buried at Davidstow (St. David) Churchyard, Cornwall.
  • Leslie Victor Brackley, Marine, CH/X 2851, Royal Marines. Son of Walter and Kate Jane Brackley, of Kingsbury, Middlesex. Died age 21. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery. 
  • Peter Campbell, Marine, CH/X 2848, Royal Marines. Son of Daniel and Rose Campbell of Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland. Died age 24. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery. 
  • Norman Albert Christian, Marine, PO/X 110832, Royal Marines. Son of William and Florence A. Christian, of Nottingham. Died age 18. Commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire.
  • William Colin Clay, Marine, PO/X110768, Royal Marines. Son of Walter and Mary Clay, of Whitchurch. Died age 18. Buried at Whitchurch Cemetery.
  • Victor Walter Cowie, Marine, PLY/X 110108, Royal Marines. Died age 18. Commemorated on Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.
  • Delwyn Davies, Marine, PLY/X. 108897, Royal Marines. Son of Bertie and Olive Davies, of Llansaint. Died age 18. Buried at Llansaint (Seion) Calvinistic Methodist Cemetery. Also commemorated on Kidwelly war memorial.
  • Edward Jack Derrick, Leading Stoker, P/KX 91780, Royal Navy. Son of Thomas and Agnes Kelso Derrick; husband of Marion Derrick, of Silksworth, Co. Durham. Died age 24. Commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire.
  • Frederick William Charles Derrick, Marine, PO/X 114089, Royal Marines. Son of Edwin and Frances Beatrice Derrick; husband of Margaret Irene Derrick, of Milton, Southsea, Hampshire. Died age 18. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery. 
  • John Gledhill, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX 373341, Royal Navy. Son of Albert and Clara Gledhill, of Elland; husband of Vera Gledhill, of Elland. Died age 31 years old when he drowned on the night of 25 April 1943. Buried at Elland Cemetery.
  • Donald Herbert Goldsmith, Lieutenant, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Son of Herbert Charles and Agnes Julia Goldsmith, of Orpington, Kent. Died age 32. Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
  • Edward Hindmarsh, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX 352687, Royal Navy. Son of Baxter Hall Hindmarsh and Sarah Alice Hindmarsh, of Wallsend, Northumberland. Died age 20. Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
  • Edward John Hughes, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 416212, Royal Navy. Son of William and Mary Hughes, of Llanfairpwll, Anglesey. Died age 18. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery. Also commemorated on Llanfairpwll war memorial.
  • John Herbert Kerfoot, Sergeant, CH/X 1234, Royal Marines. Son of John Rowland Kerfoot and May Kerfoot; husband of Sheila Noreen Kerfoot, of St. Helens, Lancashire. He drowned on the night of 25 April 1943, aged 26, Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
  • Keith Edward Chambers Knight, Marine, CH/X 106938, Royal Marines. Died age 19. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery. Also commemorated on Wrexham war memorial.
  • Frederick Wilfred Light, Marine, PO/X 110831, Royal Marines. Son of Sydney Charles and Evelyn Mary Light, of Fareham, Hampshire. Died age 18. Commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire.
  • James McArdle, Ordinary Telegraphist, C/JX. 358916, Royal Navy. Son of Mr and Mrs James Nicol McArdle of Scotstoun, Glasgow. Died age 20. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery. 
  • Thomas McDonald, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 363964, Royal Navy. Son of Joseph and Florence McDonald, of Nitshill, Renfrewshire. Died age 19. Commemorated on Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.
  • Edmund Geddes Marsden, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX 351783, Royal Navy. Son of Norman and Helen Marsden, of Overton, Yorkshire. Died age 22. Buried at Sitlington (Middlestown) Cemetery, Yorkshire.
  • Arthur Thomas Marsh, Corporal, PO/X 3599, Royal Marines. Son of Joseph and Sophia Marsh; husband of Florence Ellen Marsh, of Kingsbury, Middlesex. Died age 25. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery.
  • Edward William Mitchell, Marine, PLY/X. 109151, Royal Marines. Son of William Bates Mogg and Florence Mogg, of St. Paul's, Bristol. Died age 18. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery.
  • James Carson Muir, Wireman, D/MX 103366, Royal Navy. Son of Robert Carson Muir and MaudMuir, of Auchinleck, Ayrshire. Died age 19.  Commemorated on Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.
  • Arthur Daniel O'Connell, Wireman, D/MX. 103936, Royal Navy. Arthur was the Son of Howard and Ethel M. O'Connell, of Swindon, Wiltshire. Died age 19. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery. 
  • Raymond Parden, Marine, PO/X 114182, Royal Marines. Raymond was the Son of Bernett and Sarah Parden, of Shipley, Yorkshire. Died age 18. Buried at Shipley (Nab Wood) Cemetery.
  • Henry James Peckham, Stoker 2nd Class, D/KX 159446, Royal Navy. Henry was the Son of Mr. and Mrs. H. J. Peckham, of South Lambeth. Died age 21. Buried at Lambeth (Tooting) Cemetery.
  • Allan Roxburgh, Lieutenant, Royal Marines. Allan drowned on the night of 25 April 1943, and is Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
  • James Scott Russell, Marine, CH/X. 109274, Royal Marines. James was the Son of Alexander and Elizabeth Russell, of Glasgow. Died age 18. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery. 
  • Edgar Anthony Stephenson, Marine, PO/X110640, Royal Marines. Edgar was the Son of Edgar Joseph and Margaret Stephenson, of Evesham. Died age 18. Buried at Evesham Cemetery.
  • Tom Alan Taylor, Able Seaman, P/J 112151, Royal Navy. Tom was the Son of Thomas and Emma Taylor; husband of Mary Isabel Taylor, of Bulford, Wiltshire. Died age 35. Buried at Botley (All Saints) Churchyard.
  • Cyril Stephen Tickle, Leading Seaman, C/JX 188073, Royal Navy. Died age 29. Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial.
  • Arthur Sydney Underwood, Ordinary Telegraphist, D/JX 359229, Royal Navy. Son of Frederick William and Florence Hilda Underwood, of Horfield Bristol. Died age 19. Buried at Bristol (Greenbank) Cemetery.
  •  Harold Warrington, Ordinary Seaman, P/JX385984, Royal Navy. Son of Sylvester and Elizabeth Warrington, of Tranmere, Birkenhead. Died age 19. Buried at Bebington Cemetery.
  • Wilfred Herbert Watts, Marine, PO/X109054, Royal Marines. Son of Sidney Herbert and Daisy Alexandra Watts, of Horsham. Died age 18. Buried at Rusper (St. Mary Magdalene) Churchyard.
  • Joseph William Wilkinson, Marine, PO/X109733, Royal Marines. Son of H Wilkinson and Rose Lilian Wilkinson, of North Benfleet. Died age 22. Buried at Southend-On-Sea (Sutton Road) Cemetery.
  • James Neilson Wishart, Sub-Lieutenant, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Son of David and Margaret L Neilson Wishart, of Kirkcaldy; husband of Elise G. Wishart, of Kirkcaldy. Died age 31. Buried at Kirkcaldy (Hayfield) Cemetery.
 

 

LCG 16

  • Donald Backhouse Armstrong, Marine, PO/X 113138, Royal Marines. Son of Joseph and Mary Jane Armstrong, of Castle Carrock, Cumberland. Died age 18. Buried at Castle Carrock (St. Peter) Churchyard.
  • Thomas Beet, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 364499, Royal Navy. Thomas was the Son of John William and Edith Beet, of Oxspring, Yorkshire. Died age 19. Commemorated on Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.
  • Charles William Bell, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX 352316, Royal Navy. Died age 19. Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
  • Edward Blakely, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX 339362, Royal Navy. Son of Henry and Sophia Blakeley, of Gateshead-on-Tyne, Co. Durham. Died age 20. Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
  • Douglas Arthur Burgass, Lieutenant, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Douglas was the son of Archibald Harry and Edith Mary Burgass; husband of Kathleen Audrey Burgass, of Mapperley Park, Nottingham. Died age 39. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery.
  • Roy Burnett, Marine, PO/X 110235, Royal Marines. Son of Edward Arthur and Louisa Kate Burnett, of Chandler's Ford, Hampshire. Died age 18. Commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire.
  • Eric Carr, Ordinary Telegraphist, C/JX 359877, Royal Navy. Son of John William and Emmeline Carr, of Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire. Died age 21. Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
  • George William Cartwright, Marine, CH/X. 3213, Royal Marines. Son of Matthew and May Cartwright; husband of Jean W Hughes Cartwright, of Dennistoun, Glasgow. Died age 24. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery.
  • James Henry Clegg, Marine, PLY/X 4091, Royal Marines. Son of James Henry and Annie Clegg, of Huddersfield. Died age 20. Commemorated on Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.
  • John Henry Thomas Clowes, Marine, CH/X. 2375, Royal Marines. Son of John and Florence Clowes, of West Haddon, Northamptonshire. Died age 22. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery. 
  • Richard Harry William Cole, Marine, CH/X 109391, Royal Marines. Son of Francis Knight Cole and Lilian Maud Cole, of Langham, Rutland. Died age 18. Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
  • James Coyne, Corporal, PLY/X 788, Royal Marines. Son of Annie Mulholland Coyne; husband of Jane Coyne, of Glasgow. Died age 28. Commemorated on Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.
  • Frank Stuart Bulkuley Cranmore, Wireman, D/MX 105424, Royal Navy. Died age 20. Commemorated on Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.
  • William Henry Davis, Marine, PO/X. 113006, Royal Marines. Son of William Henry and May Davies, of Birmingham. Died age 18. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery. 
  • John Dick, DSM, Leading Stoker, P/KX 92859, Royal Navy. Son of Andrew and Isabella Dick, of Inverkeithing, Fife. Died age 23. Commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire. Received the Distinguished Service Medal for gallantry earlier in the war.
  • David Elliott, Marine, PO/X 110870, Royal Marines. Son of Albert Edward and Alice Maud Elliott, of Edgehill, Liverpool. Died age 19. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery. 
  • Duncan Moffat Gillan Gibb, Motor Mechanic, C/MX 116886, Royal Navy. Son of John and Katherine Gibb, of Falkirk, Stirlingshire. Died age 20. Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
  • Patrick Burnett Gordon, Marine, CH/X. 109418, Royal Marines. Son of Mrs J Robb, of Kirkton of Logie, Aberdeenshire. Died age 18. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery. 
  • James John Arthur Hall, Marine, CH/X 106075, Royal Marines. Died age 20. Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
  • John Ernest Harrison, Ordinary Telegraphist, D/JX 340482, Royal Navy. Son of Charles and Mary Elizabeth Harrison, of Surfleet. Died age 19. Buried at Surfleet (St. Lawrence) Churchyard.
  • Charles Ellis Hawthorne, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 366573, Royal Navy. Son of Arthur and Sarah Ann Hawthorne, of Byker, Northumberland. Died age 22. Commemorated on Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.
  • Percy William John Howard, Marine, CH/X 111751, Royal Marines. Son of Sidney Herbert and Elizabeth Ann Howard, of Surbiton, Surrey. Died age 19. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery. 
  • Douglas Edgar George Hunt, Marine, CH/X 2697, Royal Marines. Son of Albert Jeffreys Hunt and Adeline May Hunt, of Coulsdon, Surrey. Died age 21. Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
  • Kenneth Gordon Lancaster, Marine, CH/X 109373, Royal Marines. Son of Joseph Gordon and Frances Annie Lancaster, of Newtown, Carlisle. Died age 20. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery.
  • Boyd Carmont Whincup Milns, Sub-Lieutenant, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Son of Henry and Lucy Annie Milns, of Hyde Park, Leeds. Died age 34. Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
  • David John Brown Mitchell, Sub-Lieutenant, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Son of David Brown Mitchell and Helen Mitchell; husband of Doris Alexandra Mitchell, of Aberdeen. Died age 26. Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
  • Frederick Thomas Bertram Patching, Stoker 2nd Class, C/KX 153789, Royal Navy. Son of Thomas and Rose Ada Patching, of Dartford, Kent. Died age 19. Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
  • John Sigley, Marine, PLY/X 109057, Royal Marines. Son of John and Annie Sigley, of Everton, Liverpool. Died age 19. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery. 
  • Clifford Smith, Able Seaman, P/JX 290174, Royal Navy. Son of James and Annie Smith, of Buxworth, Derbyshire. Died age 21. Commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire.
  • Joseph Stone, Marine, PO/X 110866, Royal Marines. Son of Benjamin and Florence Elizabeth Stone, of Wednesbury. Died age 19. Buried at Wednesbury Cemetery.
  • William Henry Swift, Marine, PLY/X 108011, Royal Marines. Son of Jane Swift, and stepson of Thomas Johnson, of Liverpool. Died age 19. Commemorated on Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.
  • Albert David Wheal, Marine, CH/X 101513, Royal Marines. Son of William David and Sarah Emily Wheal, of Dagenham, Essex. Died age 21. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery. 
  • Thomas White, Marine, CH/X 108814, Royal Marines. Son of William and Emily White; husband of Constance White, of Wardle, Lancashire. Died age 18. Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
  • John Thomas Williams, Able Seaman, P/SSX 15515, Royal Navy. Son of Thomas Charles and Margaret Williams, of New Silksworth, Co. Durham; husband of Amelia Williams, of New Silksworth. Died age 29. Commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire.
  • Douglas Frederick Wright, Leading Seaman, C/JX 248211, Royal Navy. Son of Owen and Bertha Wright; husband of Gladys Margaret Wright, of Finchley, Middlesex. Died age 26. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery.
 

 

HMS Rosemary

  • Herbert Balmforth Holmes, Able Seaman, P/JX 261483, Royal Navy. Son of Charles Western Holmes and Mary Holmes, of Thornhill Lees, Dewsbury; husband of Ivy Holmes, of Savile Town, Dewsbury. Died aged 27. Buried at Dewsbury Cemetery, Yorkshire.
  • Dennis Hulatt, Able Seaman, P/JX261240, Royal Navy. Son of Alexander and Elsie May Hulat; husband of Iris Hetty Hulatt, of Rushden. Died age 27. Buried at Rushden Cemetery, Northamptonshire.
  • George Thomas King, Able Seaman, P/J 104350, Royal Navy. Husband of Ivy Mabel King, of Enfield. Died age 36. Buried at Enfield (Hertford Road) Cemetery, Middlesex.
  • Geoffrey Lambert, Leading Seaman, P/JX 143261, Royal Navy. Geoffrey was the Son of Thomas William and Annie Marion Lambert, of Tankersley, Yorkshire. Died age 24. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery.
  • James Arthur Poynting, Able Seaman, P/JX. 130095, Royal Navy. Son of Arthur John and Edith Poynting; husband of Lottie May Poynting, of Rockhurst, Gosport Hampshire. Died age 32. Buried at Milford Haven Cemetery.
  • Robert William Smith, Able Seaman, P/JX296180, Royal Navy. Son of John Thomas Smith and Edith Elizabeth Smith, of Millfield, Sunderland. Died age 20. Buried at Sunderland (Bishopwearmouth) Cemetery.