This post features photos of some of the men and women whose stories are included in “The Sea Takes No Prisoners.” We remember them as we thank them.
Rita Salmon (left), civilian child survivor of the siege of Malta: 1940 – 1942.
Beginning in June 1940 Italian and German naval and air forces attempted to either bomb or starve Malta into submission. The island was a strategic target for its location in the central Mediterranean. The island’s inhabitants faced starvation until the Axis siege of over two years was broken by the arrival of the Operation Pedestal convoy in August 1942.
Reg Gill (left), British Army medic assigned to Malta during the siege against it.
HMS Repulse survivor Ted Matthews.
The battle cruiser HMS Repulse was, along with the new battleship HMS Prince of Wales, sent to defend Singapore in late 1941. Both ships were sunk by Japanese air attack on 10 December.
Olive Swift, WRNS (Women’s Royal Navy Service).
Swift joined at age 19 and served as a motor patrol boat mechanic. WRNS personnel were affectionately referred to as “wrens.”
Mr. and Mrs. Bill West (left).
Mrs West met her future husband while he was recovering from war-related injuries in Australia. Bill was returned to duty upon recovery and left Australia. Mrs. West was transported to England in 1946 aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious as a war bride.
Nicholas Monsarrat autographing his novel “The Cruel Sea.”
Monsarrat interrupted a literary career to join the naval reserve (RNVR). He served in anti-submarine corvettes and eventually earned his own command. Post-war he wrote about his wartime experiences. “The Cruel Sea” gained worldwide acclaim.
Ted Briggs, survivor of HMS Hood.
Briggs was one of only three men who were recovered alive after the German battleship sank the Royal Navy battle cruiser Hood in May 1941.
Boys’ Training Class at Shotley.
Boy Seamen, many who began service as 15-year olds, formed the core of Britain’s professional navy.
HMS Ardent under aerial attack two months before her fateful voyage with HMS Glorious
Sole survivor of HMS Ardent, Roger Hooke, top left.
Ardent along with sister destroyer HMS Acasta were detached to escort the carrier HMS Glorious from Norway to England in June 1940. The British were ambushed by a pair of German battle cruisers and all three Royal Navy ships were sunk.
Cecil Rowse of HMS Exeter and former POW of the Japanese.
From late 1941 through early 1942 the Japanese Imperial Navy swept through the South Pacific destroying all opposition in its path. HMS Exeter; part of a loose Allied naval command of American, British, Dutch and Australian naval vessels; was sunk in the Java sea. Most of her surviving crew were held as prisoners until the end of the war.
John Moffat whose torpedo hit disabled the German battleship Bismarck.
A Swordfish torpedo plane pilot attached to the carrier HMS Ark Royal in May 1941 Moffat did not know that it was his torpedo that wrecked Bismarck’s steering gear until long after the war. Unable to maneuver, the German ship was set upon by British heavy ships and bombarded to destruction.