The Names on the War Memorial: Selsey 1939-1945

Alan Dennis Abery, died 13th April 1940

Alan was one of the first Selsey boys to enlist in the services, volunteering for the Navy. Alan was a stoker on HMS Cossack, which was patrolling off the Norwegian coast in the spring of 1940.

HMS Cossack was part of a force of destroyers that advanced up Narvik Fjord, in Northen Norway, to attack some Nazi destroyers that were sheltering there. The attack was successful, and HMS Cossack destroyed a shore mounted howitzer gun. Alan was killed in the exchange of fire. He was 18 years old.

HMS COSSACK (FL 7087) Under tow. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205120571

 

Fred Brown, died autumn 1941 

Fred was originally from Lincolnshire, he joined the Navy as a boy sailor, in 1926. He married Gertrude Lawrence in 1932 and came to live in Selsey. 

He chose to serve on submarines and was on HMS Triton when war broke out. He rose to the rank of Petty Officer, and in 1940 he was serving in the Mediterranean. He was due for home leave in the autumn and set off on HMS Tetrarch, which was a submarine returning to Portsmouth. It never arrived. In December 1941 the Admiralty officially announced Tetrarch was lost.  

The likely resting place of the submarine is thought to be off the coast of Sicily, where the Germans had laid a large mine field. 

HMS TETRARCH (FL 5702) Alongside the coaling jetty at Blyth. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205120475

 

The Fullick Brothers 

Alfred Percy Fullick, died 8th August 1940 

Alfred Fullick. Selsey Remembers 1939-1945 published by the Selsey Society in 1995

Percy was part of a large Selsey family. He joined the Navy aged 24 at the outbreak of war. 

An able seaman on HMS Wilna, he was doing costal work. His patrol boat came under heavy attack from Luftwaffe planes while south-east of the Isle of Wight. Percy was killed during the exchange, and is buried in the Haslar Naval Cemetery. 

 

Frederick Roy Fullick, died 25th April 1941 

Frederik Roy Fullick, source: www.hmshood.com

Fredrick was the youngest of the Fullick brothers and he joined the Navy as a boy sailor straight from school. In 1941 he was an able bodied seaman on the battlecruiser HMS Hood. On the 24th of May, HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales sighted the German Battle Ship Bismarck travelling with the cruiser Prince Eugen, in the North Atlantic between Greenland and Iceland. A battle commenced, the Hood was vastly out gunned by the Bismarck and was hit in the middle of the ship, which split in two and sank immediately with a loss of over 1200 lives, including Fred. He was just 20 years old. 

On the 27th of May, after a three day chase, the Bismarck was sunk approximately 200 miles west of the French port of Brest. 

In 2016 the ships bell of HMS Hood was retrieved from the wreck and is now in the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The ship lies 1 and a half miles down in the Denmark Straight and the recovery was performed by a team using a remote vehicle. The recovery was organised by and funded by Paul G. Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft. It is a memorial to all who died. 

HMS Hood 1924. Photographer: Allan C. Green 1878 – 1954, Restoration: Adam Cuerden

 

George Cox, Charles Charrett, and Francis Hugh Twycross Raines, died 25th November 1941

George moved to Selsey with his parents when he was 10 years old. Like so many, he joined the Royal Navy as a boy sailor at 15 years of age. When the war broke out he was an experienced able seaman. He served in the Mediterranean in 1941 aboard HMS Barham, a battle ship.

On the 25th of November, she was steaming off the Libyan coast when she was attacked with 4 torpedoes fired at close range by a German U-boat. The 31,500 ton battleship turned on her side and sank in less than 5 minutes. Most of the crew, including George at 32 years of age, were lost. 

Charles Charrett,  whose parents had retired to Selsey was also a regular Navy man, having joined as a boy sailor. He had been posted to HMS Mohawk, which had been sunk by an Italian destroyer, but had been rescued. He was then posted to HMS Barham and, like George Cox, went down with her, aged 29.  

Frances Hugh Twycross Raines was known as Hugh. Originally from South Bersted, his family moved to Selsey. He was commissioned in the Royal Navy, and was serving on HMS Barham as a Pay Midshipman. He was 22 years old when the Barham was sunk. 

The 25th of November 1941 was a hard day for Selsey. 

All three of these men are on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

HMS Barham. Photographed during the mid-1930s, following her 1931-34 reconstruction. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph #NH 63077

Pathé News newsreel cameraman, John Turner, was aboard the adjacent HMS Valiant during the shocking sinking of HMS Barham, and captured the final moments of the ship on film. The footage can be watched on the British Pathé YouTube channel, here. Viewer discretion is advised.

 

John William (Jack) Donaldson, died 9th June 1940

Jack was the second of four Donaldson brothers who grew up in Selsey. He was a regular RAF pilot having taken a short service commission in 1931. He was in the No. 1 Fighter Squadron. In 1938 he was promoted to Squadron Leader, and in 1940 saw action with 263 Squadron in Norway. He received the Distinguished Service Order for gallantry, for shooting down 6 enemy planes and putting 8 more out of action. 

During a second tour in Norway, using the same old fashioned biplanes, the Gloster Gladiators were brought to an end by the evacuation of the British forces from Narvik, on the 3rd of June. The pilots and aircraft were embarked on HMS Glorious, on the way home the Glorious accompanied by the destroyers Acasta and Ardent, encountered the German warships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, a furious battle ensued and Glorious and the two destroyers were all sunk with great loss of life, including Jack. 

Gloster Gladiator. Photo taken by an employee of the British government prior to 1956. Source: www.wikipedia.com
HMS Glorious. U.S. Naval Historical Photograph #NH6079. Source: www.wikipedia.com

 

Peter Frank Kennard-Davies, died 10th August 1940 

Born and bought up in Selsey, Peter had become a naval cadet at 16 years old, but was turned down because of eyesight problems. At the outbreak of war he joined the RAF. On the 3rd of August 1940 he joined the No. 64 Squadron based at Kenley in Surrey flighting a spitfire. His plane LI039 was shot down over West Langdon, he managed to bale out and was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital but he died of his wounds on the 10th of August. 

He was 19 years old.  

One of ‘The Few’

 

John Alfred (Jack) Pennycord, died 14th October 1939 

Jack was a regular Navy man before the war. At the outbreak of war he was serving on HMS Royal Oak, which was moored at Scapa Flow. On the night of 13/14th October 1939, a Nazi submarine U-47 infiltrated the harbour and torpedoed the Royal Oak. 810 of the 1234 officers and men were killed, including Jack. He was 32 years old, and left a wife and two daughters, the second of which was born a month after he was killed. 

Scapa Flow is a natural harbour in the Orkney Islands, it was a major naval base for the British Navy in the second world war. 

HMS ROYAL OAK (FL 12252) Underway. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205120981

 

Louis Hall Mitchell, died 28th May 1940

Eric Henry Tadd, died between 21st May and 8th June 1940

These two young men were killed during the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk 

Louis had joined the army at 14 as a boy soldier, and had served in India. He left the army and came to live in Selsey, but when the war started he was called up, as he was on the army reserve list, to join his old regiment the Royal East Kent. The East Kent formed part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). On May 10th the Nazis invaded Holland and Belgium pushing the BEF back to the coast at Dunkirk, where on the 27th May the evacuation started. There were not enough ships to remove the soldiers, so small ships from all along the south coast, fishing boats, pleasure crafts, yachts set off to Dunkirk to rescue as many men as possible. Sadly Louis was killed before he could be rescued.

Eric Tadd was born in Selsey, and was a groundsman at the Selsey Golf Club when he was called up and joined the Royal Engineers. His division was one of the two left behind in France after Dunkirk. He was killed in a battle in the Somme region of northern France. His exact date of death was unknown. He is buried in the War graves Cemetery in Abbeville. 

DUNKIRK 26-29 MAY 1940 (NYP 68075) British troops line up on the beach at Dunkirk to await evacuation. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205194324
DUNKIRK 1940 (HU 41241) Three of the armada of ‘little ships’ which brought the men of the BEF from the shores in and around Dunkirk, to the safety of British warships and other vessels. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205083524

 

Donald Harry Woodhouse Hunnisett, died 5th April 1943

Harry Richard (Dick) Stuart Hunnisett, died 21st July 1944

The Hunnisetts were a well known Selsey family. They owned the beach huts which stood on the cliffs in front of the Marne Hotel at the end of Hillfield Road, and rented out pleasure boats. Don and his brother Dick lived for the sea, he enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1940, and served on the mine-sweeping flotilla working along the Channel Coast. 

On the night of the 4/5th of August 1943 he was on a trawler ‘Red Gauntlet’ patrolling with other craft off the Thames Estuary. They were attacked by 7 enemy E boats and the Red Gauntlet was sunk off Harwich.  

Don’s body was recovered and permission was given for him to be buried at Church Norton. His Funeral in St Peter’s Church was a very special occasion, symbolising a special tribute to the many lives lost at sea where no funeral could be held.  

Dick was the elder brother and at the outbreak of war he joined the RAF and became a sergeant air gunner in Bomber Command. He survived many hazardous raids on Germany. He was serving in the No. 90 Squadron, flying in Lancasters. Following D-day he was flying a raid into enemy territory and was shot down on the 21st July near Eindhoven in Holland. He is buried there.

Minesweepers under Attack, Thames Estuary, October 1940
John Alan Hamilton (1919–1993). Photo credit: Imperial War Museums

Post by Dr. Lesley Bromley

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