Seaman Service No. C/X10416B
Royal Naval Reserve. HMS JERVIS BAY
Died 5 November 1940
Commemorated on Roll of Honour at St Mary's Church, Tollesbury, and on Chatham Naval Memorial
He was the Husband of Ida Mary Heard, of Tollesbury, Essex. His widow subsequently married his brother Peter only to be widowed again. He was a founder member of the Tollesbury Sailing Club with his brother Peter and between the wars would often come home from fishing and immediately go off sailing. He was a keen footballer & wildfowler. He was nick-named "Crab" and was proud to be Tollesbury born & bred. Remembered by his peers for his humorous, pleasant disposition and as a very good friend; and by his family as great fun and an affectionate brother and uncle. He had joined the RNR and was called up at the outset of the war. Apart from Peter, he had two other brothers Edgar & Joseph plus a sister Muriel. The 4 brothers formed "The Stag's Head Oyster Company" between the wars and they carried on fishing through the war. Edgar caught a mine in his nets on his smack ROSENA CK65, which was badly damaged when the mine exploded. During the 1st World War, Edgar had lied about his age & joined up at 17 and had been captured by the Turks.
In March 1940, Fegen was promoted Captain, and given command of Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS JERVIS BAY. On 5 November 1940, HMS Jervis Bay (Capt. Edward Stephen Fogarty Fegen, RN) was shelled and sunk in position 52 ¼41'N, 32 ¼17'W by the German pocket-battleship ADMIRAL SCHEER. Fegen engaged the superior enemy ship in a heroic, if hopeless, fight to give the 37 merchant ships in the convoy HX84 a chance to escape, because the armed merchant cruiser was the sole escort. Fegen knew that his ship's guns would not be able to reach the ADMIRAL SCHEER, so he broke out of line and headed straight for the German ship, opening fire once clear of the convoy, allowing the convoy time to scatter and escape. The ADMIRAL SCHEER directly hit the JERVIS BAY, setting the bridge on fire, and shattering Fegen's right arm. The JERVIS BAY's fire control, range-finder, steering gear and wireless were put out of action. The ship was hit repeatedly on her superstructure and her hull was holed in several places. Major fires started down below. The ship's White Ensign was shot from the flagstaff, but out of sheer bravado, a member of the crew, nailed it to another. Out gunned and on fire, the JERVIS BAY continued the hopeless fight against the ADMIRAL SCHEER for three hours. The JERVIS BAY was last seen by convoy HX84 at 7pm burning, but still afloat. The ship eventually sank an hour later, with the White Ensign still nailed to its temporary staff. Her sacrifice allowed many ships of the convoy to scatter and escape in the night. Capt. E.S.F.
Captain Fegen (RN) was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. Citation: "For valour in challenging hopeless odds and giving his life to save the many ships it was his duty to protect. On the 5th of November, 1940, in heavy seas, Captain Fegen, in His Majesty's Armed Merchant Cruiser JERVIS BAY, was escorting thirty-eight Merchantmen. Sighting a powerful German warship he at once drew clear of the Convoy, made straight for the enemy and brought his ship between the raider and her prey, so that they might scatter and escape.
Crippled, in flames, unable to reply, for nearly an hour the JERVIS BAY held the German's fire. So she went down; but of the Merchantmen all but four or five were saved." 190 men were lost, while 65 survivors were picked up by the Swedish merchant STUREHOLM that had turned back during the night to search for survivors.
1939-45 War Star; Atlantic Star; 1939-45 War Medal
Photograph from Flickr, courtesy of fotki.yandex.r
Peter Heard, brother of Hubert, killed 7 January 1943
The article above is from the Memorial Profile for Hubert Heard, written by Edwin Sparrow. It is similar to the section in On Our Doorstep.