Private Papers of Captain G J A Lumsden DSC RN

Catalogue number
  • Documents.18268
Subject period
  • whole: 1 file
private papers

History note


Content description

A detailed word-processed memoir (48pp, written 1990) entitled 'One Mans War At Sea', and covering his service and experiences, 1939 - 1945, as a Navigating Officer in the seaplane carrier HMS ALBATROSS (August 1939 - January 1940), sailing to Sierra Leone as war was declared (September 1939), the inaction in Freetown, applying for a more active posting, appointment to the destroyer HMS KEITH (19th Destroyer Flotilla) (January - June 1940), the phony war, his wife being transferred by the WRNS from Rosythe to Naval HQ Dover (she later joined the FANYs), the evacuation of the Dutch Royal Family and Dutch troops, evacuating British wounded at Boulogne (May 1940), coming under attack from German Stuka dive bombers and shore machine gun fire, abandoning the bridge and his Captain, David Simson, being shot and killed in front of him, taking the ship out, returning to Dover and temporarily Captaining the KEITH, embarking for Dunkirk, evacuating men and returning for more, air attacks, descriptions of HMS KEITH being hit and sinking, a tug which rescued him also being hit, swimming to shore and walking into Dunkirk, travelling to Dover, being Mentioned in Despatches, appointed Navigating Officer of the light cruiser HMS PHOEBE (mid 1940 - July 1943), convoy duties, sailing round South Africa to Egypt, joining 7th Cruiser Squadron, the evacuation of troops from Greece and Crete (April - May 1941), covering the Syria landings (June - July 1941), transporting troops to and from Tobruk (August - September 1941), PHOEBE being hit by a torpedo, sailing to Brooklyn Naval Yard, New York, USA, for repairs, acting as First Lieutenant and Executive Officer, hearing of the attack on Pearl Harbor while in New England, returning to the UK (April 1942), various duties, returning to the Mediterranean to relieve the Siege of Malta (August 1942), German and Italian air attacks, moving to the Pacific (September 1942), sailing north to take part in the North African landings but PHOEBE being hit by a torpedo off Pointe Noire after several errors led to a submarine not being noticed (October 1942), repairs, sailing to Brooklyn New York again and the perilous crossing, arriving in January 1943, leaving PHOEBE and returning to the UK in a LCIL, the rough crossing and damage off Bermuda, a time at the Navigation School near Portsmouth, being appointed Navigator of the heavy cruiser HMS SHEFFIELD (July 1943 - May 1944), patrol duties, guiding RAF planes to attack German bombers, supporting the landings at Salerno (Operation Avalanche) by bombarding the coast (September 1943), more patrols in the Mediterranean and escort duty near Iceland, sighting the German battleship SCHARNHORST, the battle of the North Cape (December 1943), with good descriptions of the action, coming under fire, the chasing of SCHARNHORST and her sinking by HMS DUKE OF YORK, the return to Scapa and narrowly avoiding crashing into a boom, receiving a bar to his DSC, repairs to SHEFFIELD, acting as escort for the Royal Navy carrier force attacking the German battleship TIRPITZ, going on a Staff course at Greenwich Naval College (June - October 1944), hearing the bombardment of the D-Day landings while visiting his parents, V1 flying bombs disrupting his course, joining the aircraft carrier HMS VENERABLE (October 1944), preparations for the Pacific war, spending VE Day in Malta (May 1945), sailing to the Far East via Australia, the war ending before they left Australia, and his account ending in September 1945.

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