In Harm's Way

In Harm's Way

Superb oil painting by the late Robert Blackwell depicting HMS Kenya on her was back from Malta during Operation Pedestal. The stick of bombs exploded so close that it blew a sizeable chunk out of the port outer propeller. The large bow wave was a result of being torpedoed by the Italian submarine Alagi during the evening of 12 August 1942. The picture was commissioned for Percival Crabb's retirement in 1980.

Another oil painting by the late Robert Blackwell depicting the American oil tanker Ohio and Port Chalmers just before the deadly torpedo attack by the Italian submarine Axum. HMS Nigeria, HMS Cairo and SS Ohio were hit by the same salvo.

To purchase a copy of this beautiful book entitled: In Harm's Way, The Story of HMS Kenya simply email:
The cost is £22.80p, including postage & packing.
The author is prepared to sign and dedicate the book free of charge

HMS Kenya 'In Harm's Way'

List of Contents:

Book Reviews
Roll of Honour
Honours and Awards

In Harm's Way

The Story of HMS Kenya – a Second World War cruiser by Brian James Crabb

This book records the actions of the intrepid 'Fiji' class cruiser HMS Kenya and her many exploits throughout the Second World War and subsequent service until 1962, when she was scrapped. During the War she took part in many major events, the first of which was the pursuit of the German battleship Bismarck.
    During her convoy work she sank two German supply ships before joining the clandestine raid on Vaagsö, Norway, an operation forever known as 'The Perfect Raid'. During the winter of 1941/2, Kenya endured the hardships of the Russian convoys and in the famous Malta convoy (Operation Pedestal) where she sustained major damage to her bows. The book includes a powerful description of this heroic operation. Such was the tenacity of the enemy determination to sink the convoy, that only five supply ships out of fourteen, but one of which was the tanker Ohio, reached Valletta. This became the most bombarded convoy throughout the six years of the War, and the Royal Navy lost four of its warships in it, many others being damaged. 1945 did not spell the end of Kenya's exploits, for she later served in the Korean War before being finally decommissioned in 1959. Her full story is here brilliantly told and beautifully complemented with a hundred and six illustrations.


Book Review

In Harm's Way

by Brian James Crabb

Ship's story a tribute to brave crew

Bristol garage owner and author Brian Crabb burned the midnight oil researching his latest book – an epic history of the cruiser HMS Kenya.
    In Harm's Way (Paul Watkins, £19.95p) is the result of six years painstaking work trawling through naval records and ships' logs as well as countless interviews with survivors of the actions described. The Fiji class cruiser was involved in the sinking of the Bismarck and the commando raid at Vaagsö in Norway not to mention convoy duties to Russia and Malta – amongst the most hazardous and costly operations in the entire war.
    The ship's hair-raising history is meticulously described but the text is never short on the crucial human details which bring the ship's story vividly to life. As well as being a triumph of well-presented naval detail, the lavishly illustrated volume is full of anecdotes from a source very close to the author's heart – his father Percival. Percival, known as Buster to his shipmates, lived in Shirehampton, Bristol until his death in 1991 and served in HMS Kenya from its commission in 1940 until a football injury three years later resulted in a trip to 87th General Hospital in Nairobi.
    Percival's next voyage, on the ill-fated troopship Khedive Ismail, has already been documented in Brian's first book Passage to Destiny. Brian, who lives in Portishead, produced the books the 'wrong way round' as he feared several of the people he had interviewed – witnesses to the troopship's tragic sinking in the Indian Ocean early in 1944 – might not have lived to see the book completed.
    HMS Kenya's war went on without popular 'Jack the Lad' Buster. After arduous duties in the Med she saw further action in the East.


And she was still in the thick of things ten years later in the Korean War, before being decommissioned and finally scrapped in 1962.

In Harm's Way is a fascinating – and fitting tribute to the men and women (although none sailed in her) involved in HMS Kenya's exploits.

Review by Simon Harding – 14 January 1998.
Bristol Observer


In Harm's Way can be purchased from the author. The price of the book is £19.95p plus £2.90p postage in the United Kingdom, simply email or telephone: 01275 844229 (00441275844229 from abroad) or mobile: 07811582082 for further details.

Roll of Honour

HMS Kenya 1940 to 1962

Personnel who died while serving in HMS Kenya

Abbreviation used: dra = death recorded as

Catterall, Francis (23) Sergeant, Royal Marines, PLY/X 1560, dra 9 November 1941
Lost at sea in the Arctic Ocean. Panel 59, Column 1, Plymouth Naval Memorial
Smith David Macfarlane (38) Petty Officer, Stoker Royal Navy, D/KX 77117, dra 8 December 1941
Burial details: Section A. Grave 254, Dunfermline (Douglas Bank) Cemetery, Scotland

Payne William Harold (22) Leading Seaman, Royal Navy, D/JX 145448, dra 14 August 1942
Lost during Operation Pedestal. Buried at sea. Panel 64, Column 1, Plymouth Naval Memorial
Jones Herbert Edwin Christopher (19) Able Seaman, Royal Navy, D/JX 160563, dra 14 August 1942
Lost during Operation Pedestal. Buried at sea. Panel 65, Column 3, Plymouth Naval Memorial
Evans Harold (21) Able Seaman, Royal Navy, D/SSX 28689, dra 15 August 1942
Lost during Operation Pedestal. Buried at sea. Panel 65, Column 1, Plymouth Naval Memorial
Johnston George Usher (21) Leading Stoker, Royal Navy, D/KX 132649, dra 13 December 1943
Burial details: Grave 2. B. 2. Trincomalee War Cemetery, Sri Lanka (Ceylon)

Noble William (26) Stoker 1st Class, Royal Navy, D/KX 92151, dra 12 December 1944
Burial details: Section J. Grave 764, Glastonbury Cemetery, England
Lee Robert William (36) Able Seaman, Royal Navy, D/JX 284200, dra 4 February 1946
Burial details: Section 5. C of E Coll. Grave 40. Screen Wall Panel 9. Liverpool (Anfield) Cemetery, England
Sears, Stanley Rolfe (28) Marine, Royal Marines, PLY/X 3438, dra 23 January 1947
Burial details: Grave Reference 3. C. 18, Berlin 1939 – 1945 War Cemetery, Germany
Morgan Cecil (24) Able Seaman, Royal Navy, C/JX 153931, dra 13 June 1947
Burial details: Grave 451. Bermuda Royal Naval Cemetery, Bermuda
Cook David Victor (21) Corporal, Royal Marines, RM 7732, dra 30 March 1952
Burial details: Section 18, Grave 266, St Mary's Garrison Cemetery, Madras, India
Hay, Albert George (24) Able Seaman, Royal Navy, KX 863774 dra 3 June 1956
Burial details: Naval Allotment Row 11, Grave 11, Simon's Town (Dido Valley) Cemetery, South Africa
William Stubley (25) Able Seaman, Royal Navy, JX 858841, dra 19 August 1956
Burial details: Grave section K, grave number 1, Maala Cemetery, Colony of Aden

Author's note:
On 18 January 1963 the Colony of Aden was reconstituted as the State of Aden, within the new Federation of South Arabia. The Federation, in turn, became the People's Republic of South Yemen on 30 November 1967.
However, South Yemen has been experiencing political unrest since 2011 and has been fighting
a Civil War since 2015 (which is still going on). Apparently, parts of the Maala Cemetery are damaged
by the conflict and, because of the current unstable situation, the CWGC have been unable to effect repairs
to this ex-colonial cemetery

Honours and Awards given to members of the crew of HMS Kenya
from 1940 to 1959

For Operation 'Archery' – the raid on Vaagsö, Norway, 27 December 1941
(London Gazette 3 April 1942)

Petty Officer Cook (O) William Kefford RN, D/MX 48933
Mentioned in Despatches
Lieutenant Commander Malcolm Edgar Wevell RN
Temporary Surgeon Lieutenant John Patrick Gerard Rogerson MB ChB RNVR
Leading Seaman Walter James Courage RN, D/JX 145434

Birthday Honours List 1942
(London Gazette 11 June 1942)

Lieutenant Commander Richard George Wyndham Hare RN
Chief Engine Room Artificer Alfred Reginald Woodley RN, D/M 36174
Mentioned in Despatches
Chief Petty Officer Charles John Beer RN, D/J 93592
Chief Petty Officer Telegraphist Preston Harris RN, D/J 105296
Colour Sergeant John Francis Field, Royal Marines, Ply/22704

For Operation 'Harpoon' – passage of convoy from Gibraltar to Malta,
12 to 16 September 1942
(London Gazette 22 September 1942)

Leading Seaman William Leonard Onion RN, P/JX 193459
Mentioned in Despatches
Chief Yeoman of Signals Arthur Weston RN, D/J 97337
Able Seaman Herbert Wilfred Reay RN, D/JX 204226
Telegraphist Peter James Charles Dawson RN, D/JX 180672
Telegraphist Dennis Pritchard RN, D/JX 155685

For Operation 'Pedestal' – passage of convoy from Gibraltar to Malta,
10 to 15 August 1942
(London Gazette 10 November 1942)

Captain Alfred Spalding Russell RN
Lieutenant Commander David Selby Johnston RN
Temporary Acting Petty Officer Joseph Frank Barker RN, D/JX 137121
Temporary Acting Petty Officer Albert Victor Edwards RN, D/JX 133610
Acting Engine Room Artificer 4th Class John Ford RN, D/MX 74509
Supply Assistant Richard Owen Ladner RN, D/MX 72516
Mentioned in Despatches
Lieutenant Commander Richard George Wyndham Hare OBE RN
Temporary Instructor Lieutenant Robert Moss RN
Temporary Sub Lieutenant Clement Joseph Ryan RNVR
Chief Yeoman of Signals Arthur Weston RN, D/J 97337
Chief Stoker Ernest Horton RN, D/K 66843
Petty Officer Walter Buxton RN, D/JX 128781
Petty Officer Frederick Barnett Smith RN, D/J 106093
Temporary Acting Petty Officer Telegraphist Cyril Henry Landsdown RN, D/JX 125996
Ordnance Mechanician 4th Class George Rouch RN, D/MX 90212

New Year Honours List 1943
(London Gazette 1 January 1943)

Able Seaman Albert Horace Carter RN, D/SSX 15205
Able Seaman Cecil Stuart Roberts RN, D/SSX 16082
Mentioned in Despatches
Instructor Lieutenant Robert Moss RN
Petty Officer Walter Buxton RN, D/JX 128781
Stoker 1st Class Harold Bickerstaffe RN, D/KX 105401

Birthday Honours List 1943
(London Gazette 2 June 1943)

Warrant Engineer Mr Charles William Ruse
Chief Stoker Ernest Horton RN, D/K 66843
Mentioned in Despatches
Lieutenant Clifford Wittenham Squires RN
Chief Petty Officer Eric A'Court Fuller RN, D/J 98526
Chief Engine Room Artificer Harry Jenkins RN, D/MX 48491

Birthday Honours List 1944
(London Gazette 8 June 1944)

Chief Engine Room Artificer Colin Stevens Westaway RN, D/J 97337
Mentioned in Despatches
Commander (E) Philip Cardwell Taylor RN
Lieutenant Charles Russell Dunlop RNVR
Chief Petty Officer Harold Head Pitman RN, D/J 98128

For Operation 'Neptune' – the Allied Landings in Normandy
French Croix de Guerre
Chief Petty Officer Charles John Beer RN, D/J 93592

New Year Honours List 1945
(London Gazette 1 January 1945)

Mentioned in Despatches
Ordnance Artificer 1st Class Arthur Dane Jeffery RN, D/M 39486

Birthday Honours List 1945
(London Gazette 14 June 1945)

Chief Yeoman of Signals Arthur Weston RN, D/J 97337
Mentioned in Despatches
Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Frank William Baskerville LMSSA
Chief Engine Room Artificer Ernest Redver Head RN, D/MX 47780
Ordnance Artificer 1st Class Arthur Dane Jeffery MID RN, D/M 39486
Leading Stoker William Henry Harvey RN, D/KX 98294

New Year Honours List 1946
(London Gazette 1 January 1946)

Chief Petty Officer Cook (S) Percival Webber RN, D/M 36048
Marine Vincent James Charles Baker, Royal Marines, Ply/20826
Mentioned in Despatches
Warrant Shipwright Mr James Joseph Tudor
Master at Arms William Norman Harvey RN, D/M 39828
Chief Engine Room Artificer Frederick Charles Sandell RN, D/M 37014

For the Wind-up of the War in the Far East
(London Gazette 11 June 1946)

Mentioned in Despatches
Temporary Chief Petty Officer Telegraphist Eric Wilfred Falconer RN, D/JX 136618
Petty Officer William Arthur Williams RN, D/JX 110364

For services in the Korean War since 9 July 1950
(London Gazette 2 February 1951)

Chief Petty Officer Telegraphist Ronald Frederick August Mitchell RN, C/JX 132657
Sergeant John Watt, Royal Marines, PO/X2351
Mentioned in Despatches
Captain Patrick Willet Brock MID RN
Commander (E) Alan Funge Smith AMI Mech E, MI Mar E, RN
Chief Engine Room Artificer George Robert Dacey RN, C/MX 46516
Acting Leading Telegraphist Derrek Walter Burdall RN, C/JX 712109

For services in the Korean War – 2nd List
(London Gazette 26 June 1951)

Captain Patrick Willet Brock MID* RN
Chief Mechanician Albert Samuel Lawrence RN, C/KX 81635
Mentioned in Despatches
Commander William James Munn DSO OBE RN
Chief Petty Officer Maurice Milner Carr RN, C/JX 134863
Chief Yeoman of Signals Reginald Joseph Smith RN, C/JX 54955
Chief Radio Electrician Harold Raymond Taylor RN, C/MX 126303
Leading Seaman Arthur Henry Flook RN, C/JX 804965

US Bronze Star Medal

Captain Patrick Willet Brock MID* RN

For services in the Korean War up to 9 July 1951 – 3rd List
(London Gazette 23 May 1952)

Captain John Desmond Dillon, Royal Marines
Chief Ordnance Artificer Howard George Butler RN, C/MX 46995
Mentioned in Despatches
Acting Lieutenant Commander (S) Charles Edward Butlin RN

For services in the Korean War – 4th List
(London Gazette 3 October 1952)

Mentioned in Despatches
Captain Theodore Edward Podger RN

For services in the Korean War
(London Gazette 13 August 1954)

Officer of the US Legion of Merit
Captain Theodore Edward Podger RN

Birthday Honours List 1958
(London Gazette 12 June 1958)

Chief Petty Officer Charles Thomas Naish RN, P/JX 138546

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