West Wales War Memorial Project
West Wales War Memorial Project

Pembroke Dock (HMS Puckeridge) Memorial

H.M.S. Puckeridge (L 108)

 

HMS Puckeridge was a Hunt Class Destroyer, which had been built by J S White at Cowes and was commissioned on 30 July 1941.

 

On 13 December 1941, while steaming past the Welsh coast from Portsmouth to Liverpool, Puckeridge was attacked by German aircraft and sustained a direct hit on the Quarter deck which set off an explosion in her magazine. The ship sustained horrific damage and began to list heavily to starboard and was also on fire. The steering gear was damaged, but the engines still worked and Puckeridge began to steam towards the safety of Milford Haven before the steering gear jammed. The battered ship was taken under tow and brought into the safety of Pembroke Dockyard.

 

Eighteen men had been initially killed during the attack, while over twenty more were badly wounded, and were taken ashore at Pembroke Dock. Twenty-one men died of their wounds that same day, while one man died a week later at Haverfordwest Hospital, making a total of forty one men dead. Fifteen bodies were identified and were buried in Pembroke (Llanion) Cemetery; one man was buried in Bath (Locksbrook) Cemetery; one in Eastleigh Cemetery; one in Glynneath Cemetery; one in Marlow Cemetery; two men in Haverfordwest (City Road) Cemetery (one unidentified); and another in Portsmouth (Kingston) Cemetery; while twenty men remained unaccounted for, listed as missing presumed killed. These men are all commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. At least six of the missing were buried in Llanion Cemetery, with the familiar white CWGC Portland Headstones marking their graves; while another unidentified man is buried at City Road Cemetery, Haverfordwest. These grave stones are each marked:

‘A SAILOR

OF THE

SECOND WORLD WAR

H.M.S. ‘PUCKERIDGE’

13TH DECEMBER 1941’

 

The badly damaged destroyer was then repaired and refitted at Pembroke Dockyard until July 1942, before being sent to Plymouth for modifications and then to Scapa Flow. She was deployed on escort duties thereafter before being despatched to the Mediterranean to take place in Operation Torch and remained there on escort duties. At about 20.15 hours on 6 September 1943 she was en route to Oran when she was hit by two torpedoes which had been fired at her by the German submarine U-617 and sank about forty miles east of Gibraltar. Sixty two men were lost in her sinking, while 129 men were rescued.

© IWM (A 17388)

 

HMS Puckeridge, casualties from bombing on 13 December 1941.

 

Edward Bastable, Chief Petty Officer, P/JX 127305, Royal Navy. Edward was born at Garranebane, Co. Kerry on 26 May 1910, the son of Arthur and Anne Bastable, and was a regular Royal Naval officer. He was 31 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941, and is buried in Pembroke Dock (Llanion) Cemetery, in Grave Ref. Sec. X. C. of E. Grave 128.

Herbert Francis Betts, Ordinary Seaman, P/JX 264381, Royal Navy. Herbert was born in Fulham on 10 September 1910, the son of Arthur Henry and Caroline Margaret Betts. He married Elsie Batho, of Hanwell, in 1939. Herbert was 31 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, on Panel 50, Column 1.

 

William Bonner, Able Seaman, P/JX 143033, Royal Navy. William was at St. Nicholas, Aberdeen on 21 January 1909, the son of William and Davidina Bonner; husband of Gwendoline Bonner. He married Gwendoline Thomas, of Lewisham, London, in 1931. William was 32 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, on Panel 47, Column 2.

 

Herbert Reginald Bourton, Electrical Artificer 1st Class, P/MX 45804, Royal Navy. Herbert was born at Bury St Edmunds on 3 May 1903, the son of John and Alice Elizabeth Bourton, and was the husband of Kathleen Lillian Bourton, of Hilsea, Portsmouth. He was 38 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941 and was brought home for burial in Portsmouth (Kingston) Cemetery, Hampshire, in Row 16. Grave 21.

 

James Braithwaite, Engine Room Artificer 4th Class, P/MX79862, Royal Navy. James was born in Liverpool on 14 May 1906, the son of Ishmael and Mary Braithwaite, and was the husband of Jane Ann Braithwaite, of Manor Park, Slough, Buckinghamshire. He was 35 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941 and was brought home for burial in Glyn Neath Cemetery, Wales, in Block D. Grave 728.

 

Walter Edward Brewer, Ordinary Seaman, P/SSX 35624, Royal Navy. Walter was born in Southampton on 16 May 1925. He had not long been in the Royal Navy before being posted to H.M.S. Puckeridge. Walter was just 16 years old, and the youngest member of the crew, when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, on Panel 50, Column 1.

 

Harry Commons, Chief Stoker, P/K 66428, Royal Navy. Harry was born in Bath on 4 February 1900, the son of Alfred and Bertha Commons, of Walcot, Bath. He married Dorothy Lillian Commons, of Bath, in 1922. Harry had enlisted into the Royal Navy on 4 January 1921 and trained as a stoker, first on coal fired ships then qualifying on oil fired ships. He was posted to Puckeridge after her launch. Harry was 41 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941, and was brought home for burial in Bath (Locksbrook) Cemetery, in Section F. Row L.

 

David Frank Crow, MID, Petty Officer, P/J 109258, Royal Navy. David was born at Lewisham on 28 August 1908, the son of Walter and Annie Maria Crow. He enlisted into the Royal Navy on 9 January 1924 and saw considerable service before the war. He married Rosalie Alice Godwin, of Bournemouth, Hampshire, in 1940. He was 36 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941, and is buried at Pembroke Dock (Llanion) Cemetery, in Grave Ref. Sec. X. C. of E. Grave 151.

Jack Evans, Ordinary Seaman, P/JX 291531, Royal Navy. Jack was born on 10 March 1909, the son of Percy Richard and Matilda A. Evans of Southampton. He married Doris Lilian Wrenn, of Hamworthy, Poole, Dorsetshire, in 1937. He was 32 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941, and is buried at Pembroke Dock (Llanion) Cemetery, in Grave Ref. Sec. X. C. of E. Grave 126.

Murdo Ferguson, Seaman, P/X 7136A, Royal Naval Reserve. Murdo was born on 4 March 1907, the son of Murdo and Betsy Ferguson, of Stornoway, Isle of Lewis. He was 35 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, on Panel 60, Column 2.         

 

David Leonard Finch, Engine Room Artificer 4th Class, P/MX 61620, Royal Navy. David was the son of William and Alice Mary Finch, of Sidcup, Kent. He was serving aboard the destroyer H.M.S. Puckeridge when she was attacked by German aircraft off the Welsh coast on 13 December 1941, and was one of 41 men killed aboard her that day. David was 24 years old, and is buried at Pembroke Dock (Llanion) Cemetery, in Grave Ref. Sec. X. C. of E. Grave 127.

Reginald John Flux, Ordinary Seaman, P/SSX 35585, Royal Navy. Reginald was born on 12 May 1923, the son of Arthur Charles and Emily Flux, of Romsey, Hampshire. He was serving aboard the destroyer H.M.S. Puckeridge when she was attacked by German aircraft off the Welsh coast on 13 December 1941, and was one of 41 men killed aboard her that day. Reginald was 18 years old, and is buried at Pembroke Dock (Llanion) Cemetery, in Grave Ref. Sec. X. C. of E. Grave 152.

Arthur Sidney Fones, Ordinary Seaman, P/SSX 35629, Royal Navy. Arthur was born at Penn, Staffordshire on 25 May 1922, the son of Arthur Fones, and of Lilian Fones. He was just 19 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, on Panel 50, Column 2.

 

Douglas Rex Gilder, Able Seaman, P/JX 237274, Royal Navy. Douglas was born in Oxford on 25 December 1916. He married Vera Helen Maud Simms, of Oxford, in 1939. Douglas was 24 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, on Panel 48, Column 1.

 

Edward Albert Harding, Supply Assistant, P/MX 81237, Royal Navy. Edward was born in Paddington, London on 21 February 1911, the son of James and Isabella Harding, of 9 Philip Terrace, Royal Oak. He was 30 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941, and is buried in Pembroke Dock (Llanion) Cemetery, in Grave Ref. Sec. X. C. of E. Grave 139.

Victor Charles Anthony Harper, Chief Engine Room Artificer, P/MX 22618, Royal Navy. Victor was born on 16 July 1900, the son of William and Bessie Harper; husband of Theresa Dorothy Harper, of Hilsea, Portsmouth. He enlisted into the Royal Navy for 12 years on 16 July 1918 and saw service on several ships between the wars. He was 41 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941, and is buried in Pembroke Dock (Llanion) Cemetery, in Grave Ref. Sec. X. C. of E. Grave 125.

John Henderson, Petty Officer Supply, P/MX 55389, Royal Navy. John was the son of David and Elizabeth Henderson, and the husband of Isobel Henderson, of Dunfermline, Fife. He was 23 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941, and is buried at Pembroke Dock (Llanion) Cemetery, in Grave Ref. Sec. X. C. of E. Grave 141.

Bernard Walter Patrick Jenkins, Ordinary Seaman, P/SSX 35230, Royal Navy. Bernard was born in Gibraltar on 26 April 1923, the son of Bertie Walter and Elizabeth Jenkins. The family later lived in Southwark, London. He was just 18 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, on Panel 50, Column 3.

 

Gordon Eric Powell Johnson, Chief Ordnance Artificer, P/MX 51468, Royal Navy. Gordon was born on 28 March 1914, the son of Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Johnson, of Earley, Berkshire. He married Edna Saxon at Birkenhead early in 1941. Gordon was 27 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941, and is buried in Pembroke Dock (Llanion) Cemetery, in Grave Ref. Sec. X. C. of E. Grave 154.

Ronald Jubb, Petty Officer, P/JX 143002, Royal Navy. Ronald was born on 2 August 1918, the son of Ernest and Lucy Jubb, of Derby. He married Winifred Alice Fuge, of Gosport, Hampshire, early in 1941. He was 23 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, on Panel 46, Column 2. Winifred married his younger brother Cyril in 1948 and died in Hampshire on 23 August 1910.

 

Gordon Lawrence, Petty Officer Telegraphist, P/J 66603, Royal Navy. Gordon was born on 26 July 1901, the son of George and Margaret Lawrence, of Brighton, Sussex. He was 41 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, on Panel 52, Column 2.

 

Arthur Raymond Lawson, Leading Seaman, P/JX 141163, Royal Navy. Arthur was born on 11 July 1918, the son of Arthur and Annie Lawson, of Devizes, Wiltshire. He was 23 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, on Panel 46, Column 3.

 

Roderick Macinnes, Seaman, P/20504A, Royal Naval Reserve. Roderick was born on 19 September 1920, the son of Neil and Kate Macinnes, of Stornoway, Isle of Lewis. He was 21 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, on Panel 60, Column 2.

 

Richard Melling, Able Seaman, P/JX 219784, Royal Navy. Richard was the son of Richard and Ellen Melling, of Newburgh, Lancashire. He was 23 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, on Panel 48, Column 3.

 

Thomas Albert Montgomery, Able Seaman, P/ED/X 1615, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Thomas was the son of William and Rebecca Agnes Montgomery, of Belfast, Northern Ireland. He was 21 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941, and is buried at Pembroke Dock (Llanion) Cemetery, in Grave Ref. Sec. X. C. of E. Grave 138.

Frederick Henry Nixon, Able Seaman, P/JX 153271, Royal Navy. Frederick was born in Woolwich on 26 December 1915, the son of Francis Sidney and Annie Nixon. The family later lived in Kildare, Irish Republic. He was 26 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941, and is buried at Pembroke Dock (Llanion) Cemetery, in Grave Ref. Sec. X. C. of E. Grave 155.

Alexander Overton, Shipwright 4th Class, P/MX 72090, Royal Navy. Alexander was born on 21 March 908, the son of James and Annie Elsie Overton, of South Shields, Co. Durham. He married Mary Isabella Searle, of South Shields, in 1920. He was 33 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941, and is buried in Pembroke Dock (Llanion) Cemetery, in Grave Ref. Sec. X. C. of E. Grave 156.

George Herbert Parker, Sick Berth Attendant, P/MX 57560, Royal Navy. George was born on 9 August 1920, the son of Sydney Dewey Parker and Ellen Parker, of Carlisle, Cumberland. He was 21 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, on Panel 57, Column 2.

 

Walter James Pearce, Ordinary Seaman, P/SSX 35226, Royal Navy. Walter was born at Tottenham on 24 February 1921. He was just 20 years old when he was mortally wounded during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941 and died that same day at Haverfordwest Hospital. He is buried in Haverfordwest (City Road) Cemetery, in Grave Ref. Cons. Row 1. Grave 2.

Edgar Ernest Rooke, Engine Room Artificer 4th Class, P/MX 59253, Royal Navy. Edgar was born on 27 July 1915, the son of Edgar R. Rooke and Sarah Emma Rooke, of Bembridge, Isle of Wight. He was serving aboard the destroyer H.M.S. Puckeridge when she was attacked by German aircraft off the Welsh coast on 13 December 1941, and was one of 41 men killed aboard her that day. Edgar was 26 years old, and is buried at Pembroke Dock (Llanion) Cemetery, in Grave Ref. Sec. X. C. of E. Grave 153.

Leslie Sharpe, Petty Officer, P/JX 128199, Royal Navy. Leslie was born on 19 September 1901, the son of Charles and Florence Annie Sharpe, of Eastleigh, Hampshire. He was 31 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941 and was brought home for burial in Eastleigh Cemetery, England, in Section L. Grave 222.

 

Charles Arthur Simmonds, Canteen Manager, Navy Army and Air Force Institute. Charles was born at East Cowes, Isle of Wight, on 27 June 1906, the son of Walter Charles and Julia Simmonds. He married Adelaide Chase in 1930. Charles served for the Navy, Army and Air Force Institution, better known as the NAAFI, aboard H.M.S. Puckeridge. He was serving aboard the destroyer H.M.S. Puckeridge when she was attacked by German aircraft off the Welsh coast on 13 December 1941, and was one of 41 men killed aboard her that day. Charles was buried at Pembroke Dock (Llanion) Cemetery, in Grave Ref. Sec. X. C. of E. Grave 129.

Albert James Smart, Ordinary Seaman, P/SSX 35610, Royal Navy. Albert was born on 3 April 1920, the son of Frederick Joseph Garrett Smart and Minnie Smart, of Aston, Birmingham. He was 21 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, on Panel 51, Column 2.

 

Ernest Edgar Smith, Able Seaman, P/JX 131091, Royal Navy. Ernest was born at Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent, on 3 July 1911, the son of Frederick and Annie Smith, and was the husband of Nellie Smith, of Copnor, Hampshire. He was serving aboard the destroyer H.M.S. Puckeridge when she was attacked by German aircraft off the Welsh coast on 13 December 1941, and was one of 41 men killed aboard her that day. Ernest was 30 years old, and is buried at Pembroke Dock (Llanion) Cemetery, in Grave Ref. Sec X. C. of E. Grave 140.

Geoffrey Stone, Leading Seaman, P/JX 141037, Royal Navy. Geoffrey was born on 29 December 1917,  the son of Arthur and Janet Mary Stone, and the husband of Florence May Stone, of Farnley, Leeds, Yorkshire. He was 23 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, on Panel 47, Column 1.

 

Frederick George Strudley, Petty Officer, P/JX 151469, Royal Navy. Frederick was born on 24 June 1920, the son of Charles Owen Strudley and Elsie May Blythe Strudley, of Marlow. He married Peggy Irene Edith Jackson, of Lowestoft, Suffolk, early in 1941. He was 21 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941, and was brought home for burial in Marlow Cemetery, England, in Section A. Row H. Grave 12.

 

Reginald Arthur Thompson, Able Seaman, P/JX 160083, Royal Navy. Reginald was born on 2 March 1922, the son of John Edgar and Alma Beatrice Thompson, of Nottingham. He was just 19 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, on Panel 49, Column 3.

 

Peter William Tyte, Able Seaman, P/JX 207587, Royal Navy. Peter was born on 1 May 1922, the son of Edward William and Mabel Tyte, of The Crescent, Sea Mills, Bristol. He was just 19 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, on Panel 49, Column 3.

 

William Norman Walker, Ordinary Seaman, P/JX 264382, Royal Navy. William was born at Norbury, Surrey, on 18 November 1910, the son of William Frederick and Elizabeth Walker. He married Doris Ethel Davies, of Carshalton, Surrey, in 1935. He was 31 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, on Panel 51, Column 2.

 

Robert Stoker Wilson, Leading Seaman, P/JX 143675, Royal Navy. Robert was born on 8 September 1919, the son of Minnie Wilson, of Blyth, Northumberland. He was 22 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, on Panel 47, Column 1.

 

Sidney Wisdom, Ordinary Seaman, P/JX 272657, Royal Navy. Sidney was born on 18 February 1909, the son of Charles William Wisdom, and of Margaret Ann Wisdom, of Herne Hill, London. He was 31 years old when he was killed during the bombing of H.M.S. Puckeridge on 13 December 1941. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, on Panel 51, Column 2.

 

There are at least five CWGC headstones in Llanion Cemetery which mark the graves of some of the members of the crew of H.M.S. Puckeridge who were killed but not identified and were buried in the cemetery. Nineteen of the men killed have no known grave and as a result are commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. These unidentified graves are a permanent memorial to those who died on Puckeridge and have no known grave and can see seen in a similar light to the tomb of the unknown soldier in Westminster Abbey: a place to come and commemorate these missing men.

Two Sailors of the Second World War (HMS Puckeridge) Llanion Cemetery

Two Sailors of the Second World War (HMS Puckeridge) Llanion Cemetery

An Unknown Sailor of the Second World War (HMS Puckeridge) Haverfordwest

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Website News

4 May 2017. Welcome news this morning that a new CWGC headstone has been erected in Laugharne for Domingo Mobile, a sailor who I found to be buried there a couple of years ago. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

8 March 2017. Some more good news today. Another un-commemorated Welsh sailor, Samuel Arthur Griffiths, of Tredegar, has today been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

8 February 2017. Some more good news today. Another un-commemorated soldier, Llewelyn Owen Roberts, of Penmaenmawr, has today been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

7 February 2017. Some more good news today. Another un-commemorated soldier, Isaac Owen, of Seven Sisters, has today been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

20 December 2016. Some good news today that another uncommemorated soldier, Private Thomas Owen Davies, of Machynlleth, has been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC following my research. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

30 November 2016. At long last my latest book has been published: Welsh Yeomanry at War. Please see the Steve’s Books page of the website for details.

23 November 2016. Some good news today with the acceptance of another Welsh soldier, Percy Griffin Williams, of the Welsh Horse Yeomanry, for commemoration by the CWGC following my research. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for details.

 

15 November 2016. I would like to thank the people of Laugharne, especially the members of the Laugharne and District Historical Society, for their welcome during their recent History Event on Saturday when I visited to make a talk about how researching the Laugharne War Memorial inspired me to create this website and to begin my writing career. It was a very interesting day and was well attended by the locals.

26 Sep 2016. After a lot of hard work I have finally managed to identify a soldier from Gwaun-cae-Gurwen, Morgan Price James, who since the early 1920’s has been commemorated by the CWGC under the wrong name, James Morgan. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for details.

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