Crew Name Search
Photos & video
Press & letters
I send out two newsletters each year, one in the Spring and one in the Autumn.
At the moment I am preparing the Spring newsletter while the east wind howls outside, bringing the temperature down to below zero, and sounding like a harbinger of a cruel winter. This causes me to look forward eagerly to our annual dinner which should coincide with balmier weather.
The dinner will be held on Saturday May 18th in the Royal Sailors Rome Club, Queen St:,Portsmouth.This year,for the first time, it will be held in the Nuffield Lounge (on the right of the main foyer) Instead of in the main dining room. The time 1730 for 1800.
The menu, chosen by the Committee is: -Crofters Soup * Roast Beef wi th Yorkshire Pudding Roast and Croquette Potatoes Broccoli and Baby Carrots Fresh Fruit Sal ad with Cream Coffee and hats A glass of wine will be served during the dinner, and further wines may be purchased from the waitresses. Provision can be made for those who are vegetarians, or who require a special menu.
The dinner will be preceded by a minute's silence In memory of those who cannot be with us, and this will be followed by a toast to Barham. For the toast a tot of rum will be provided for each male diner, and a glass of sherry for each lady.
The actual cost of the dinner itself is £15.75 per head but as the Association's funds are reasonably healthy, due to generous donations and a substantial legacy, the Committee have decided that H. N. S. Barham survivors should pay only £5 per head for a ticket and Associate Members and guests £15. If you wish to attend will you please complete the attached slip and send it to me with the appropriate remittance before May 8th.
Cheques should be made out to HMS Barham Survivors Association. Applications for tickets should be accompanied by a stamped addressed envelope. To facilitate the preparation of a table plan please PRINT your name and the name(s) of your guest(s) clearly on the attached slip. Please also state the name(s) of those with whom, or near whoa you wish to sit. It has been decided that we should hold a raffle after the dinner, and all contributions will be gratefully received You are again reminded that the dinner Is also our A.G.M. and it therefore provides an opportunity for anyone to comment on the way that the Association is organised and run.
It Is also an opportunity to propose the replacemnt of any member of the Committee, or to reinforce the Committee by joining it.
The post of Secretary is still open, and there is a vacancy; for at least one other Committee member. Please therefore consider: volunteering for one of these vacancies, or as a replacement for any of the existing members.
A booking has been made to hold the 1997 dinner in the Nuffield Lounge of the Club on 17th May 1997. It is hoped that as many as possible will attend the Morning Service in St: Ann's Church, in the Dockyard, at 1000 on Sunday May 19th (1996). On 18th October 1995 the Association was represented at the annual Seafarer's Service in St: Paul's Cathedral by George Parker, Bill and Eileen Graves, Joy Fisher and Phyllis Coleman. When the Field of Remembrance was opened at Westminster Abbey on 9th November 1995 three poppy crosses and two badge crosses, in memory of those who lost their lives in the ship, were planted in the R.N. and R.M. sections by George Parker. George also arranged for a poppy wreath to be laid at his local church.
Mrs. Blake, the niece of Royal Marine Kenneth Gurney (who lost his life in the ship) took part in a Remembrance Day parade and laid a wreath in memory of Earham at the Cenotaph in her home town of Sandbach,in Cheshire. Our Remembrance and Wreath Laying Service held in Westminster Abbey on Saturday 25th November 1995,was again well attended. Slips were returned indicating that 125 people would be attending the service, and although it was impossible to carry out a count at least that number were present.
The service was sincerely and sympathetically conducted by thc resIdent canon, Canon Donald Gray. During the service the Association's standard was paraded by George Parker. The beautifully prepared wreath was again donated by "Flowers by Patricia" of Morden,Surrey, and was laid at the foot of one of the candlesticks by two of our survivors, Tommy Cropp and David Holmes.
A wreath in the form of a White Ensign was again donated by John Cross and was laid at the foot of the other candlestick.
Among those attending was Mrs Hockaday,the 94 year old widow of the ship's schoolmaster, who lost his life in the ship, and the great grandson of Surgeon Commander Sorley, who also lost his life in the ship. The Surgeon Commander's granddaughter asked whether it was possible to introduce her to someone who had known her grandfather.
After all these years I had little hope but I introduced her to Cdr: Wolfe who, it transpired, not only knew her grandfather but had played tennis with him.
Another welcome attender was Graham Usher, the son of Professor Usher, to whom I had referred In Newsletter 1/95,Grahaxn, wbo also has Barham as a Christian name, Is to be ordained, and is due to take up a curacy in a church just outside Middlesbrough.
He visited his future church and was amazed to find that it had a stained glass window dedicated to a midshipman who had lost his life in HMS Barham The service was also attended by members of the H.M.S.Griffin Association, who also joined a group of us who went for a natter and a cup of tea in the Union Jack Club after the service.
One of the members of the "Griffins", Stan Deighton, took a half dozen photographs during the service, mainly of the wreath laying and the standard, and I have passed them on to those involved. They wish me to thank Stan on their behalf.
From time to time I receive letters asking if I have any knowledge or specific members of Barham's ship's company I usually reply that in a battleship it was impossible to get to know anyone other than members or one's own branch.
I must therefore ask whether anyone has any knowledge, or memories, of the following :- Ldg: Sea: Ernest Webb,and Ord: Sea: Albert Smith (sometimes known as "Joey"), both of whom lost their lives in the ship. Wallace Buff,a survivor, who was an Ord: Sea: at the time of the sinking. Jackie Stones who had served in the ship and was probably an A.B. (gunnery).
I am always delighted to find new Associate Members and have recently added two to our list. They are The Han: Anthony Colville, whose father was the Flag Lieutenant in Barham at the end of the First World War, and Samuel Booth who lost his twin cousins, Royal Marines James and William Littleford, when the ship was sunk.
It is with equal sadness that I have to list those Members and Associate Members who have passed away since the last Newsletter was issued. William Rogers, who had earlier been an attender at our dinners. He suffered a stroke and had been resident in a nursing home some time before his death. Steve Ketteridge (in Australia). Steve did not serve in Barham but was a member of H.M.A.S. Nizam's ship's company when she picked up our survivors.
A very pro British regular correspondent he regarded it as an honour to have helped in saving the lives of our shipmates. Ernie Jones in Australia).Ernie, one of our survivors, attended our earlier dinners before emigrating to Australla.He remained a constant correspondent until prevented by ill health. The correspondence was then continued by his wife Nay. Ernie wrote several touching poems,some of which were read out at our dinners, and one of which appeared in the order of service on our 5Oth Anniversary. Albert Ratclife.Albert,one of our Associate Members was an attendee at the Remembrance Services in Westminster Abbey.
Ken White, another of our survivors, Ken was a Writer at the time 0± the sinking former attendee at the Abbey services he bad been out of touch with us for some time. I was notified of his death by his son. Ted Wilkinson an Associate Member who did not attend the dinners or services but who was a contributor to the Association funds. Eric Gash, one of our survivors, who was a regular attender at our earlier dinners but ill health prevented him from attending in recent years.
In the Daily Telegraph, some little while ago, I saw an obituary notice for Lt: Cdr: Hughie Hodgkinson. Lt: Cdr: Hodgkinson was the 1st Lt: of H.M.S.Hotspur, who picked up most of our survivors. He made a vivid (voice) recording of the sinking of the ship, which was rewritten in Denis Muskett's book "Tubal Cain". Letters of condolence were sent to all bereaved families, and where appropriate a donation was made to a charity. that Aforce Following on from my mention in the last Newsletter that Cdr Craig Waller had suggested that a "flotilla of oak trees should be planted in the National Memorial Arboretum in memory of the ships that ±crmed the 5th Battle Squadron four of our members submitted contributions.
These together with the £100 donated from our funds should provide almost enough for Barham's oak tree. Unfortunately Cdr: Craig Wailer's letter to Navy News seeking further contributions was published incorrectly and gave the impression that the trees were to commemorate the ships' activities during World War 1 and not their activities throughout the whole of their service. His correcting letter does not appear to have been published.
I have in the past commented on the appearance of the name Earhamin unexpected places. I have recently been informed that there is a nursing home called Barham Manor in Western Parade Soutbsea. We have of course all followed the career of Lifeboat Barham, with interest, since its launch, and the Coxswain and members of her crew have been welcome members at our dinners. Sadly she has now been replaced by a more modern boat at Gorleston on Sea.
I understand however that she is not being scrapped but is being put in reserve and may be used on the West coast of Ireland. John Cross maintains our friendship with the crew and has been to sea in the new bcat,named u5ma Eeta",meaning "we are working together" Earlier I mentioned Steve Ketteridge of HMS Nizam; Steve was,of course,a member of the N Class Destroyers Association, in Australia. I correspond with the Secretary of the Association and send him copies of our newsletter, Just before Christmas he sent me a card containing a photograph of a plaque commemorating the N Class Destroyers which was to be dedicated in the North East corner of Garden Island on February 22nd.Besides bearing the names of the ships the plaque also shows their battle horiours.
It also pays tribute to what the Australians call "The Scrap Iron Flotilla", HMS Stuart and some of the V's and W's, and also the Q Class. Before I finish I wish to thank all those very kind people who send me books and blocks of stamps throughout the year. Although I always write to thank those who make cash donations, unless asked not to do so, I feel that writing to thank the givers of stamps defeats the object.
They are of course gratefully received, and are a great help towards preserving our funds, A member of the British Legion who borrowed my copy of the photo of Barham entering Grand Harbour,Malta, to have it copied, has given me the negative. It is therefore available if anyone wishes to borrow it to make a further
| last updated:
13 July 2013