Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Sinking of HMS Duchess (Part 2)

Since the publication of my book Collision in the Night about the story of the life and sinking of the destroyer HMS Duchess it has since come to light the story of one of her lost sailors from a relative who saw an online post and contacted me to tell me all about them.

It was the very early hours of 12th December 1939 that the Duchess was part of a task force escorting the battleship HMS Barham home from the Mediterranean that a collision occurred and the smaller destroyer turned turtle before sinking off the Mull of Kintyre in the Irish Sea. Over the years the story has not been looked into until I began my research around 2004 and started gathering information. It took me around 15 years to piece together what little was still available.

Tim Webb wrote to me to say that his grandfather, Petter Officer George Webb, was a stoker on board the Duchess, using his mothers name instead of his real surname (Vetter). Tims father was only ten years old at the time of the sinking and he died in 2000 after finally knowing that his name was etched into the Chatham war memorial.

Here is a scroll that adorned their house for many years as a reminder of George. Today the Webb family is very proud of their links and Tim immediately purchased a copy of the book to read about what really happened the night the ship went down.

The book Collision in the Night - The Sinking of HMS Duchess is available on Amazon and priced at £7.

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