|THE LOSS OF HMS QUORN
Petty Officer Stoker Royal Navy: H.M.S. QUORN
Service No: P/KX 97698
Date of Death 3 August 1944
Walter was born in Crawshawbooth in 1920 near Rawtenstall in Lancashire. By 1943 Walter was living at Thistledown, Peldon.
15 September 1943 Walter married Joan Baldwin at Peldon Parish Church. She was a Peldon girl and lived at Lodge Cottage at the end of Lodge Lane. She was the daughter of George Baldwin, a stockman, and Annie Baldwin née Wyncoll.
After Walter's death, Joan married again, Douglas H. Jervis, and at some time during their long marriage moved to Cambridgeshire. Joan lived to 97 and died in 2019.
HMS QUORN was an Escort destroyer Class: Hunt (Type I) Pennant: L 66 Built by: J.S. White & Co. (Cowes, U.K.) Laid down: 22 Aug, 1939 Launched: 27 Mar, 1940
Commissioned: 3 Aug, 1940. HMS QUORN then joined the 21 Destroyer Flotilla at Harwich.
The flotilla was tasked with convoy protection, anti-shipping and patrol duties. QUORN would stay with this flotilla for the whole of her commission.
In April 1941 QUORN was superficially damaged by two delayed action bombs that exploded twenty metres from her port quarter.
German raider KOMET
In August 1941 whilst on passage from Harwich to Chatham, QUORN set off a mine forty metres off her port bow. She was repaired at Chatham Dockyard. These took until September 1941 to complete. In April 1942 QUORN hit a mine that blew a 9 foot by 15 foot hole in the port side of the ship. She was towed to Harwich and then to Sheerness where repairs took 4 months to complete. On the 13 October 1942 QUORN was one of the five destroyers that intercepted the German auxiliary cruiser KOMET in the English Channel.
Komet was sunk and two M-class minesweepers were heavily damaged and set on fire. An hour later a second patrolling force of the same operation engaged a group of escort vessels, sinking an R-boat and damaging a T-boat. In June 1944 QUORN was an escort for convoys of personnel during Operation Neptune, the naval support of Operation Overlord, the D-Day Landings. On 3 August, she was hit and sunk during a heavy attack on the British assault area by a force of E-boats, explosive motorboats, human torpedoes and low flying aircraft. Those that survived the initial attack spent up to eight hours in the water before being rescued, and many of these perished. Four officers and 126 ratings were lost.
HMS QUORN (Lt. Ivan Hall, RN) was sunk by a German "Linsen" explosive motorboat or a German "Neger" manned torpedo off the invasion area. This is an eye witness account by Norman Ackroyd (a survivor) of the events of the night of 3rd August 1944:
"The ship had been part of the beach head defence force for some nights before, on the night of August 3rd we sailed as normal just before dusk and went to all night action stations (I was part of No 3 guns crew on the quarterdeck) again as normal, this time however we were accompanied by an American radar ship and we were informed over the tannoy that at dawn we were going in close to Le Havre in order to bombard the e-boat pens. The American ship was to control the shelling. Just before midnight however there was a massive explosion amidships and I understand we had been hit in the boiler rooms, the ship broke in two, and sank in a few minutes. I personally was blown overboard by the blast and found myself in the water fully dressed. A large number of my shipmates must have gone down with the ship but there were quite a lot of us in the water. The American ship left the scene at full speed which caused a lot of resentment at the time but it was explained to us later that if she had stayed she would possibly have sustained the same fate as the QUORN. A lot of those with me in the water did not last the night but quietly slipped away, I was in the water for eight and a half hours before we were picked up by an armed trawler looking for us, by that time we were only a small band. We were informed after that the ship had been sunk by a German human torpedo on which the pilot sat on a type of torpedo which had an explosive torpedo slung underneath and that the German pilot had been picked up by another of our destroyers of the defence force. We were also told that we had run into a number of these torpedoes which were being carried into the beach head by the tide but as a result of the QUORN being sunk the alarm had been raised and the other torpedoes had been dealt with."
1939-45 War Star; Atlantic Star; 1939-45 Defence Medal; 1939-45 War Medal
Commemorated Commonwealth War Dead / Memorial Reference: Panel 85, Column 2, Portsmouth Naval Memorial and at Peldon.