|Pic 1 - Football team, Bombay, 1942.
Pic 2 - Mauritius, 1969
Pic 3 - Brook House, 2004
On 25th November 1941 Douglas Lynd was at his action stations below the bridge of HMS Barham, when the ship was hit by three torpedoes fired by the German submarine, U-331, and she rapidly started to roll onto her port side. He immediately made his way up to the bridge by way of a series of vertical metal ladders within the bridge superstructure and emerged onto the bridge in time to see Vice Admiral HD Pridham-Whipple shaking the hand of, and saying goodbye to, the ship's Commanding Officer, Captain Geoffrey Cooke (the Admiral survived the sinking but the Captain went down with his ship). Clambering over the side of the bridge onto the by now horizontal starboard side of Barham, Lynd found himself confronted by the unscalable, razor-sharp barnacle-encrusted torpedo bulge extending along the ship's side and it was it this moment that the ship's after-magazine exploded (famously captured on film by official cameraman, John Turner), hurling him into the water. He came to in total darkness and total silence and at first assumed that he had been sucked into the sinking ship; very rapidly however, he scraped away the enveloping layer of heavy diesel oil and found himself floating in the water surrounded by debris and by other survivors. After some hours in the water he was rescued by HMS Hotspur, although ironically was nearly killed by the life belt thrown over-enthusiastically in his direction! He later discovered that of the original crew of 1311 officers and men he was one of only 449 survivors.
Born in 1922, Douglas Lynd was 17 at the outbreak of WWII. He volunteered for the Royal Navy and after completing his basic training was posted to the light cruiser HMS Ajax as a writer, this being just after HMS Ajax had completed a refit following her participation in the famous Battle of the River Plate. Further postings followed, all in battleships and mainly in the Mediterranean and in the Indian Ocean. He served variously in HMS Ramillies, HMS Warspite, HMS Nelson, HMS Malaya and HMS Barham, mainly as a signal decoder, and it was as the decoder of the incoming signal that he was first man in the Mediterranean Fleet to learn from the Admiralty that the Bismarck had been sunk.
After recuperation in Mombasa and Cape Town, he returned to Liverpool and married Doreen Fall and was then posted to India for the remainder of the War. After the War he decided to stay in the Navy and was commissioned in 1956. His various postings, all shore-based, included Malta, HMS Mercury in Hampshire, HMS Osprey on Portland Bill, HMS Daedalus in Yorkshire, HMS Pembroke in Chatham, HMS Dolphin in Gosport, and HMS Terror and with 42 Commando at Sembawang, both in Singapore. During his time in Singapore he established and ran the HMS Terror Sub-Aqua Club, as well as organising and leading expeditions in Malaya to observe and find wild life such as Sumatran rhino and giant leatherback turtles. Further postings followed, to Mauritius and to HMS Lochinvar on the Forth and he also gave occasional lectures at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich. He was disappointed that a posting to the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious was cut short when the controversial decision to scrap her was taken after an on-board fire in 1968. He ended his naval career as the Wardroom Mess Secretary of HMS Cochrane in Rosyth, with the rank of Lieutenant Commander and appointed M.B.E.
After retiring from the Navy, Lynd became Secretary of the Scottish Lawn Tennis Association in Edinburgh and used his considerable charms to great effect in persuading Scottish companies to sponsor Scottish lawn tennis, thereby greatly increasing the funds available to the Association.
Upon his retirement from the Association he travelled extensively in the Far East, visiting Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Myanmar, India, Nepal, Thailand and Sri Lanka. At the age of 67 he trekked to Everest First Base Camp, an achievement of which he was particularly proud.
In April 2006 he was diagnosed as having cancer of the pancreas. His wife, Doreen having died in 1997, Douglas Lynd is survived by their three children, Michael, David and Nancy.
His obituary published in the Daily Telegraph can be read <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=&xml=/news/2006/08/09/db0903.xml" target="_blank">here</a>.