The Scottish War Memorials Project Forum Index The Scottish War Memorials Project
Part of The Scottish Military Research Group (Registered Scottish Charity No. SC043826). Please visit our homepage at www.scottishmilitaryresearch.co.uk
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

HMS Jervis Bay, Wick

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Scottish War Memorials Project Forum Index -> Highlands - Regimental & Unit Memorials
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
IanA



Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 914

PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2007 11:37 am    Post subject: HMS Jervis Bay, Wick Reply with quote

A plaque opposite the old kirk in Wick.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
IanA



Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 914

PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2007 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Adam Brown
Curator


Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 6621
Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some backround to the loss of the Jervis bay from a Caithness website:

http://www.internet-promotions.co.uk/archives/caithness/jervisbay.htm

http://www.internet-promotions.co.uk/archives/caithness/jervisbaydetail.htm

It also lists the men from the new memorial:

Men Killed on November 5,1940:

James Anderson, Old Schoolhouse, Thrumster, married.
James Bain, 18 Wellington Street, wick, married, aged 27.
John M. Bain, 24 Kinnaird Street, Wick, aged 27.
David R. Bremner, 31 Smith Terrace, Wick, married, aged 29.
William Bremner, 5 Macarthur Street, Wick, aged 32.
John Innes, Burnside, Oldwick, Wick, married, age 33.
William B. Miller, 31 Smith Terrace, Wick, aged 27.
John C. Munro, New House, Keiss, aged 28.
Alexander Webster, 41 Argyle Square, Wick, married, age 32.


All of the the Jervis Bay fatalities can be found here on the same website:

http://www.internet-promotions.co.uk/archives/caithness/jervisbaycasualties.htm

And just a bit of background to the battle if you don't want to read all the online articles:

"On 28th October 1940 HMS Jervis Bay, an ancient cargo ship armed with a small number of obsolete guns, set out to escort 37 freighters and tankers across the North Sea.

Unexpectedly discovered by the Admiral Scheer, one of Germany’s most feared pocket battleships, the Jervis Bay's Captain immediately dispersed convoy HX84 to hide in the twilight of a rising winter storm. Outgunned and with no hope of survival, Captain Fegen and over 190 of the 256 Jervis Bay crew nevertheless then sacrificed themselves as they took the battle to the enemy in a one-sided duel with the Admiral Scheer, as they fought to secure the safe passage of the ships in their charge.

For his valour, Captain Fegen was posthumously awarded Britain’s only Victoria Cross for convoy defence."


Last edited by Adam Brown on Mon Jul 16, 2007 11:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Adam Brown
Curator


Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 6621
Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The John O’Groats Journal covered the background to the memorial last November

http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/1045/Memorial_will_honour_lost_sailors_of_the_Jervis_Bay.html


Memorial will honour lost sailors of the Jervis Bay
By Noel Donaldson

Published: 10 November, 2006

"NINE local heroes of a famous Second World War naval battle are to be honoured in Wick. The merchant seamen were among the 187 crew members of the converted passenger liner Jervis Bay who died in the bloody, one-sided encounter with a German pocket battleship in the Atlantic Ocean on November 5, 1940.
Their courage is one of the most outstanding episodes in the annals of naval history and has always had a special place in the hearts of Caithness folk.
Now, the relatives of one of the lost seamen, James Anderson, have taken steps to have the nine remembered together – in an exclusive memorial. Work is already under way on a simple Caithness stone plaque which will be erected in a municipal garden.
The nine died after the Jervis Bay deliberately engaged the enemy raider Admiral Scheer in a bid to provide an escape route for the 38-strong British convoy the merchantman was escorting.
The 14,000-ton vessel, which had earlier left Nova Scotia, found itself at the mercy of the pocket battleship's 11-inch guns. The Jervis Bay's bridge was badly hit and its steering gear was also affected but, despite the damage, the ship kept on course for its attacker.
The officer-in-charge, Captain E.S.F. Fegan, ordered his men to open up with their obsolete guns even though he knew they were no match for the Scheer's firepower. The object of the strategy was to buy valuable time for the convoy.
The German gunners quickly found their range and the Jervis Bay was pounded mercilessly with 600lb shells. Despite a number of direct hits the Jervis Bay kept on coming, with Capt Fegan displaying outstanding heroism.
Despite having had one of his arms torn off he stuck doggedly to his post, restoring morale and inspiring his men. Shortly afterwards the bridge received a direct hit, killing him instantly. (Capt Fegan was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallantry.)
Eventually, the relentless enemy fire brought the Jervis Bay to a shuddering halt. It turned on its side and orders were given to abandon ship.
Half of the 18 Caithness men on board survived. Donald Bain, George Doull, Jackie Durrand, his brother Bobby, Robert Gunn, Alexander Moonie and James Reid, all from Wick, William Oag, of Thrumster, and David Dunbar, from Lybster, were all picked up along with other survivors and landed in Canada.
Their fellow Far North shipmates who perished were James Bain (27), John Bain (27), David Bremner (29), William Bremner (32), John Innes (33), William Miller (27), Alexander Webster (31), John Munro (28 ) and 27-year-old James Anderson.
The move to have their bravery enshrined in a special memorial was led by members of Mr Anderson's family – his son James Anderson and his wife Anne, of Macleod Road, and daughters Tracy Malcolm, of Thurso Street, and Hayley Grant, who lives in Hill Avenue.
They have long felt that the courage and ultimate sacrifice by the sons of Caithness warranted recognition in their own right.
Mrs Grant (33) said: "Nothing exists by way of a memorial locally which acknowledges what those brave men did."
Her dad never got to know his father – the young James was only 15 months old when the Jervis Bay went down. Seaman Anderson was thought to have been manning one of the guns with William Oag at the time.
Initially, the Anderson family thought that the plaque bearing the nine names could be added to the Wick war memorial and contacted Alan Ferrier, chairman of the local branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland.
However, it was discovered that seven of the names were already listed as merchant navy personnel. The name of Mr Anderson snr was included at the war memorial in his home village of Thrumster and Mr Munro's name appears on the Keiss war memorial.
So the family decided to take the initiative themselves and erect a memorial specifically for the nine Caithness men who gave their lives for the benefit of others.
"It was such a big loss for one small town to have suffered from a single wartime action," Mrs Grant said. "The memorial is something that has been in our minds for quite some time and we're pleased that we have at last been able to do something done about it.
"There is nothing here that specifically marks the heroism of the nine men."
Mrs Grant said that her grandmother, Ellen Anderson, was a quiet person by nature and didn't speak much about the tragedy.
She added: "I think she regretted the fact that she and her husband had so little time together as a married couple. She always kept the photo of him in his uniform by her bedside and was obviously proud of what he had done for his country."
Mrs Grant approached John Sutherland, managing director of Caithness Stone Industries, who undertook to provide the plaque at no charge. The plaque, measuring 27 by 22 inches, will bear the names of the nine seamen lost and also an engraving of the Jervis Bay.
The Highland Council has given permission for the plaque to be erected in the remembrance corner of the garden area at Kirkhill, Wick. A service of dedication is to be held next year, probably in the spring."

And here is a follow-up article about the unveiling

http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/2247/Local_heroes_honoured_in_Jervis_Bay_ceremony.html

THE nine Caithness heroes of an epic Second World War naval encounter were remembered at the weekend in an exclusive memorial roll of honour.

The plaque was unveiled during an official ceremony in a quiet alcove at Kirkhill in Wick – a personal tribute to the local sailors who were killed when their escort ship Jervis Bay courageously distracted a German battleship to allow most of a British convoy to escape.
The ceremony on Saturday afternoon was opened by lay preacher Harry Gray, who dedicated the Caithness stone plaque to the glory of God and the brave men whose names were written in the pages of history and who, "by their courage and sacrifice, won for us the freedom we enjoy today".
A roll call listed the names of the nine whose bravery was acknowledged in the simple Caithness stone memorial: James Anderson, James Bain, John Bain, David Bremner, William Bremner, John Innes, William Miller, John Munro and Alexander Webster.
The Bosun's Whistle – a Navy tradition on such ceremonial occasions – was sounded by Wick sea cadet Frazer Wilson before the unveiling of the plaque by Commander Nigel Canty, naval superintendent at Vulcan Naval Reactor Test Establishment.
He told a gathering of 150 – including former merchant seamen and servicemen, Wick army cadets and a detachment of sea cadets from the Wick and Thurso units – that it was "a great honour" to have been invited to participate in the ceremony to commemorate "the sons of Caithness".
The commander outlined the valiant action in which the Jervis Bay had, in a "selfless, heroic action", engaged the enemy raider Admiral Scheer in the Atlantic Ocean on November 5, 1940, enabling the convoy to disperse and saving the lives of many Allied seamen.
Cdr Canty went on: "These Caithness men sailed together, fought together and, tragically, died together. It is with the deepest respect for them and their families that I unveil this memorial so that they should be remembered together."
A poem was read by Mike Kelly, chairman of the local branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland, deputising for branch president Alan Ferrier who was unable to attend because of ill health. Entitled "Ode of Heroes", the verses were composed by Cynthia Bridges, a daughter of Sam Bridges, one of the 198 sailors who perished in the bloody encounter. Sixty-five men, including a further nine from Caithness, took to life rafts and were picked up.
Following the reading, piper Leslie Campbell brought the dedication service to a poignant close with a moving rendition of "Flowers o' the Forest".
The initiative for a memorial for the Caithness sailors alone came from one of the relatives, James Anderson, and his family. It is thought that Mr Anderson's father, also named James, was manning one of the guns on board the Jervis Bay.
Some of the names are included amongst the fallen listed on the Wick war memorial but the family felt it would be fitting to have all nine of the Caithness sailors who made the supreme sacrifice remembered together.

Hayley Grant, who was present at the Kirkhill service with her father Mr Anderson and members of the family, said she was pleased that their desire to have the sailors' bravery enshrined in their own memorial had become a reality. She paid tribute to everyone who had made it possible and singled out Legion president Mr Ferrier and his branch for their considerable contribution in organising the service.
The Jervis Bay was soon exposed to withering fire from the Admiral Scheer after the converted liner sailed towards the German raider. The British officer-in-charge, Captain E.S.F. Fegan, ordered his men to open up with their obsolete guns even though he knew the were no match for the pocket battleship's superior armoury.
The German gunners quickly found their range and the Jervis Bay was pounded mercilessly with 600lb shells. Although it took a number of direct hits, the 14,000-ton Jervis Bay kept coming on.
Despite having had one of his arms torn off, Captain Fegan stuck doggedly to his post, restoring morale and inspiring his men. Shortly afterwards the bridge received a direct hit, killing him instantly. Captain Fegan was posthumously award the Victoria Cross for his gallantry.
Eventually, the relentless fire brought the Jervis Bay to a shuddering halt. She turned on her side and the order was given to abandon ship.
The courageous action enabled most of the 38-strong convoy to escape"

And also a letter from the next week’s paper.

http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/2276/Unveiling_of_plaque_was_a_memorable_occasion.html

SIR – Could we through your columns thank everyone who attended the unveiling of the Jervis Bay plaque at the weekend.
This started out as a small remembrance for the men but, due to all the support we received, it turned out to be a very memorable day.
Some families of the men travelled miles to attend the service, and army cadets, sea cadets, servicemen and the Royal British Legion Scotland all played a part.
We would like to thank the public for coming and say an extended thank-you to the following people: Jocky Sutherland and Willie MacDonald for providing the plaque and engraving it; Leslie Campbell for playing the pipes; Harry Gray for the dedication; Commander Nigel Canty, RN, for coming to unveil the plaque; Mike Kelly of the local branch of the RBLS for standing in at the last minute and reading the poem; and Alan Ferrier, who has helped us so much – we couldn't have done it without him.

Hayley Grant, Wick.
Tracey Malcolm, Wick.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Adam Brown
Curator


Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 6621
Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although he is not listed on the memorial he is repeatedly mentioned above so here is Captain Fegen's CWGC entry which includes his Victoria Cross citation.

FEGEN, EDWARD STEPHEN FOGARTY
Rank: Captain
Regiment/Service: Royal Navy
Unit Text: H.M.S. Jervis Bay
Age: 49
Date of Death: 05/11/1940
Awards: V C
Additional information: Son of Frederick Fogarty Fegen and Catherine Mary Fegen, of Knightsbridge, London.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: 34, 1.
Memorial: CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL

Citation: The citation in the London Gazette for 26th November, 1940, reads: "For valour in challenging hopeless odds and giving his life to save the many ships it was his duty to protect. On the 5th of November, 1940, in heavy seas, Captain Fegen, in His Majesty's Armed Merchant Cruiser Jervis Bay, was escorting thirty-eight Merchantmen. Sighting a powerful German warship he at once drew clear of the Convoy, made straight for the enemy and brought his ship between the raider and her prey, so that they might scatter and escape. Crippled, in flames, unable to reply, for nearly an hour the Jervis Bay held the German's fire. So she went down; but of the Merchantmen all but four or five were saved."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Adam Brown
Curator


Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 6621
Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can see what the Jervis bay looked like on this website:

http://uboat.net/allies/warships/ship/3326.html
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Scottish War Memorials Project Forum Index -> Highlands - Regimental & Unit Memorials All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group. Hosted by phpBB.BizHat.com