In 1992 the veterans who served on the
three ships were photographed and exchanged memories of that long night
off the coast of north Africa. Some like Les Proctor who lives in
Ottowa, Canada, Fred Lemberg from New Zealand and Fred "Slinger" Woods in
Australia had come a long way to meet their old shipmates.
Wreath laying ceremony at the War memorial in Stratford with Rev B.S. Nichols on left
Courtesy of Fred Lemberg
Reunion of veterans of HMS Hecla, HMS Marne and HMS Venomous at Stratford on Avon in 1992
Left: George Male, Monty Moncrieff, Fred "Slinger" Woods, Les Rowles and Harry Cliffe (back row) and Lt Surgeon Steve L. Hetherington and Capt John Coleman (front row)
Right: Harry Haddon, Cyril Hely and Ron Hargrave
Cadets of TS Venomous, the Sea Cadet Corps unit at Loughborough, marching to the anniversary service
Crew member of the survey ship HMS Hecla A-133 join the veterans who survived the sinking of HMS Hecla
Front Row from left: Norman Johns (stoker), Stan Jusom (AB), Fred Lemberg (AB), Les Proctor (EA3) and Henry Huntley (EA4) with LS Setterfield and Alex O'Donnell of the survey ship HMS Hecla seated
Alex O'Donnell mailed: "Yes, that's me front right, age 23. Myself and 'George' Setterfield never bought a drink all day!
The hangover was, to this day, the worst I have ever experienced!"
Middle row: Ron Harris, Les Rowles, Peter Lee (AB), C. McKerney, McLoughlin
Back row: Unidentified, Monty Moncrief (SBA), Ted Colman (EA), J.Coulton (AB), B. Hughes (STO)
Courtesy of Fred Lemberg
|Muriel Abbott, Muriel (HR), Cheltenham.
Bales, Jim and Vera, Gt Yarmouth, Norfolk.
Barrett, “Lofty” and Ruby, Petersfield, Hants.
Bell, Jean (HR), Farnborough, Hants.
Badman, Tony (HR), Yeovil, Som.
Bicknell, John & Louie, Solihull. W. Midlands.
Brierley, Charles & Annie, Rochdale, Lancs.
Brown, Ken & Tessa, Helston, Cornwall.
Clancy, Mary (HR), Plymouth.
Clayton, Bill & Doreen, Plymouth.
Cliffe, Marie (HR), Frodsham, Cheshire.
Colclough, Tom & Margaret, Barnston, Cheshire.
Coleman, Ted & Kath, Budleigh Salterton, Devon.
Coulton, Jim & Nellie, Preston, Lancs.
Marilyn Crotty (HR), St. Austell. Cornwall.
Davies, Ian & Margaret, Grimsby, Lincs.
Dawe, Audrey & Mike (HR), Plymouth.
Derrick, Walter (HR), Weston-Super-Mare, Som.
Dwane, J, Fareham, Hants.
Estop, Chris & Mary, Redmarley, Glos.
Eustace, Reg & Dee, Apperley, Glos.
Gordon, Eddie, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Greenall, Ken & Shiela (HR), Prescott, Merseyside.
Greystone, Denis & Isabel, Finchley, London.
Mr. R. Hall (HR), Plymouth.
Harbour, Peter (HR), Manchester.
Hellyer, Reg & Brenda, Bognor Regis, West Sussex.
Hinchcliffe, Kathleen (HR), Oldham, Lancs.
Howells, Harold, Bridgenorth, Salop.
Hughes, Bryn & Florrie, Burry Port, Dyfed.
Hunter, John & Joyce (HR), Aldershot, Hants.
Huntley, Henry & Rita, Waterlooville, Hants.
Johns, Norman & Pru’, Bideford, Devon
Juson, Stan & Marion, Seaford, East Sussex
Mrs. E. King & Eira (HR), Swansea.
|Kirkman, Alex, Troon, Ayreshire.
Kneebone, Arthur & Thelma, East Looe, Cornwall.
Lancaster, Bob & Philis, Doncaster.
Lee, Peter & Margaret, Biddulph, Staffs.
Lee, Ray & Margaret, Loughborough, Leics.
Lupton, Ken & Barbara (HR), Buxton, Derbyshire.
Male, George, Borehamwood, Herts.
Moncrieff (A), Monty, Rosyth, Fife.
Mc.Donald, Earlston, Berwickshire.
Harry (Jim) HR
Helen (Rose) HR
Mc.Kerney, Jim & Edith, Plymouth.
Mc. Loughlin, Tom & Florrie, Plymouth (Sons, Tom Jr. and Stephen)
Patch, Wally, Glastonbury, Som.
Mr. Porter (?) Dover, Kent.
Procter, Les, Kanata. Ontario, Canada
Rowles, John & Andrew (2 brothers), with partners Denise & Val (HR), Bristol.
Sevenoaks, John (HR), Hereford.
Smith, Peggy (HR), Sidmouth, Devon.
Skelhorne, Simon (HR), Newton le Willows, Lancs.
Stanley, Eric & Betty, Woodchurch, Wirral, Cheshire.
Mrs. S. Stevens (HR), Keighley, N. Yorkshire.
Stoner, Charkes, Edmonton, London.
Storey, Philip (HR), Kings Lynn, Norfolk.
Suffield, Oliver & June (HR), Hampden in Arden, Warwickshire.
Thick, Christine (HR), Plymouth.
Thompson, Cecil (HR), Yarmouth.
Threadgold, Mrs.Margaret (HR), Sowerby Bridge, W. Yorks.
Torkington, Mrs. E. (HR), Stockport.
Walton, Charles & Ellen, Chester.
Waring, Harry & Gloria, Stratford, Ontario, Canada
Mr. K. Welsh HR), Sakenham, Norfolk.
Witham, Kathy & Peter (HR), Leigh on Sea, Essex.
Mr. N. Woods; Noel, Sylvia & Robin (HR), Harow. Essex.
Mr. Whitty, Philip (HR), Blandford Forum, Dorset.
Alan and Anne Akred, Kings Lynn, Norfollk.
John Anderson, Bridport, Dorset.
Lush, Arthur (MR), Burnley, Lancs.
Mr. Pipe (MR), Chipping Sudbury, Glos.
Reaney, Cyril & Betsy, Derby.
Snashall, Fred & Thyra(?), Grays, Essex.
Watts, George, Brighton.
F. William ‘Bungay’ May, Birkenhead.
Faulkner, Geoff & Joan, Chichester, West Sussex.
Bowler, Arthur, Oxford.
Campbell, Alex & Barbara, Reading.
Collister, W.L. Port Erin, I.O.M.
Hely, Cyril & Dorothy, Manchester.
Mansell, Mervyn & June, London.
Reid, Alan & Dorothy, Ormskirk, Lancs.
Thomas, Fred & Vi, Goostrey, Cheshire.
Only three of the men aboard HMS Hecla on the night of the 11 - 12 November were still alive
and two of them lived in Australia. There was no reunion on this anniversary but the families of the men who died that night and
the lucky ones who survived will remember them on Armistice Day. You
can click on the links below to read the stories of the three men who
were alive 75 years after Hecla was torpedoed and sunk.
Fred "Slinger" Woods was born in Lancashire and was a member of the Sick Bay team on Hecla and
lives in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, Australia, with his daughter Lorraine. who mailed me this
month: "My Dad is actually in hospital at the moment, recovering from
an operation to fix his broken hip. Unfortunately he fell onto the
concrete floor in the garage a few weeks ago. I tell you, he's a
tough old nugget. I'll let him know about Reg Bishop, but he
won't be able to see the photos, until he is allowed out of the rehab
ward, in a couple of weeks time." Sad to say "Slinger" Woods passed away in February 2018.
born in Birmingham but lives in Melbourne, Australia, and and his
grand daughter mailed me some time ago that: "Pa is in a nursing home
now. He had a rough year and was very ill. He has recovered and is now
cheeky as ever. Pa is not remembering people and events as much now." I
have lost contact with Les Mortimer's family but am hoping he is still
alive today in 2019.
I have recently been contacted by
a great nephew of Charley Stocker, the elderly AB who who helped save
the life of Les Mortimer only to loose his own when he became trapped
in the scrambling net as Venomous accelerated away to follow an Asdic contact for the U-Boat which sank Hecla.
Reginald H Bishop JX351192 is fit and well and lives with his wife in their home near Norwich.
I was contacted by his son earlier this year:
"My 94 year old father, Reg Bishop, was a member of the crew on board HMS Hecla when she was torpedoed and he was one of the lucky ones picked up by HMS Venomous after a considerable time in the water."