HMS Illustrious
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Messages 1 through 24

June 21, 2010

Francis (Frank) Gallacher  –  “PAPA”  –  Frank was born in Paisley Scotland on January 2, 1925, the youngest of 8 children. After finishing high school at 14 he worked in a rope factory and a pub. At 17 he joined the British Royal Navy and served during WWII from 1942 to 1946 aboard the HMS Illustrious.  

After the war he worked as barman then met the love of his life at a dance in the Cooperative Hall. Margaret and Frank were married on June 2, 1951 and had two children, Thomas and Margaret. In 1960 Frank immigrated to the US followed by his family and eventually settled in Renton where son John was born. He worked for Tradewell Warehouse for many years before retiring. 

He could build anything and generously gave of his time to help anyone who needed it. He was a very kind and quiet man but boy could he tell a funny story. Frank loved the sunshine and had many wonderful vacations in Hawaii, California and Las Vegas. He was a beautiful singer and loved to laugh. He had many good times, good parties, good friends and family, and his children and grandchildren were the pride and joy of his life. He was Margaret’s loving husband of 59 years; Father of Thomas (Diana), Margaret McGill (George), John (Diana); Papa to Jason (Roberta), Jarret, John (Janine), Genny, Alex, Jessica, Nicole, and Greatpapa to Frankie and Tommy McGill.  Also leaves behind his loving sister Martha McAllister of Edmonds, sister-in-law Bunty Gallacher of Linwood, Scotland, and many other wonderful friends and relatives. 

The family wants to thank everyone for their prayers, help and support especially Frank’s “adopted” daughters Gay and Barb. Frank died a happy man on June 1, 2010, and surely there will be a wee scotch for him in heaven. 

June 1, 2010

I am trying to trace anything that is known of Clifford Charles Shute, who joined the HMS Illustrious in 1952.   He was last heard of in 1956 and never returned home. I am researching for a family friend.

Bryan Gilbert
Mill Hill, London, England

Nov. 22, 2009

Can anyone provide any details re George Jutland Acourt (dob 5/09/16) Leading Stoker HMS Illustrious 19/02/44  to 19/12/45 PS An excellent website!

Many thanks,
Philip Sutton
Hampshire, U.K.

Nov. 17, 2009

Many thanks for a great site. My late father John William Burnell (Bill or Lofty) was an ERA. I believe he was looking after the steam catapults at the time of the Malta attack. He later went on to become a Chief ERA/Petty Officer (not sure which is highest).

Kind Regards,
Nick Burnell

Oct. 24, 2009

My Uncle flew with 1833 Squadron on HMS Illustrious. Humfrey James RN (Jimmy James) - he is mentioned in the book Carrier Pilot by Norman Hanson. Through fatigue he stalled and crashed on the downwind leg while returning to land, he was rescued. If any one knows anything about Humfrey 'Jimmy' James it would be great to hear from you.

Simon James

July 4, 2009

My Dad, CPO Yeo Sigs W. T. (Bill) Holman served on both the Furious (1938-41) and the the Illustrious (1941-45), after the US refit. He ended the war as a CPO Yeo Sigs. He joined the RNZN in 1949 and we came to New Zealand - he served in the Loch class frigates that the NZ Navy acquired post- war and did two tours in Korea. I have sent the link to my brothers and sisters. Keep up the good work.

Jeffrey Holman

William T. "Bill" Holman seen on HMS Illustrious.

William T. "Bill" Holman seen on HMS Illustrious.

William T. "Bill" Holman seen on HMS Illustrious.

June 24, 2009

I am in search of anybody that would have served with my father Ronald Henry Murrell.He served on HMS Illustrious between 1939 and 1945. Any information would be fully appreciated.

S. Lemon

June 17, 2009

I'm looking for information on Frederick Davies he came from Cardiff, Wales and emigrated to Canada after WW2.  I think he served on Illustrious in Malta when it was bombed in harbour. Not much I know but it's all I have, though there was talk he was awarded a medal. I would be grateful for any info.

Lesley Edwards

Feb. 26, 2009

We would like to hear from anyone who might remember Dennis Charlton who served on HMS Illustrious during WWII. We think he spent all his war on the ship from age 18 in 1941 to 1946. From what we know, he ended his war as a Petty Officer but as he never spoke about the war, we can only assume that his experiences were traumatic. He died in 1973 one month before his 50 th birthday. Any information would be welcome.

Jo and Gill Charlton

Jan. 15, 2008

I have just returned from Canada from England from attending to the funeral of my
Uncle Mr. Patrick Hamblin of Reading. He was a member of the OLD ILLUSTRIANS
Association. It has only been since I returned home that I have had time to think
as I am one of the two relatives he had left. My Uncle passed away on Dec. 27 2008
in Reading. He is buried in the Reading cemetery.

I have brought back to Canada a lot of his papers and also a photo album of the war
which he apparently had sent home just prior to the ship being hit and he badly
burned, anyway, I am getting off of the subject I was wondering if you could tell me
how to get in touch with the OLD ILLISTRIANS Association to let them know that he
is no longer with us. Hoping that you can help.

Susan Pellerin

Nov. 19, 2008

My name is Alan Miller. I was born in Plymouth 6/11/1947. I am researching to find my biological father. His name was/is Michael (Mick) Roberts. He may well have a middle name of John. He lived in Mary Street  Stonehouse Plymouth, Married with three children (excluding me I was adopted).

Michael served on HMS Illustrious as a Royal Marine, around circa 1947 I think his age was 22 - 24 years old aprox. I am actually trying to find out more about him, and I would very much appreciate your advice as to how I go about this in relation to the crew list archives of HMS Illustrious.

Many Thanks,
Alan MIller
Corlette, New South Wales, Australia

Aug. 24, 2008

Does anyone remember my late father Lenord Edwin Dormer who served on Lusty during WW2? I have several pictures of his time in the navy and would like to share with anyone who could tell me any more about them, one picture is Lusty in dry dock in Sydney.

Many thanks,
Lawrence Dormer

July 10, 2008

My father-in-law served on this ship, also on MTB boat 282, under Peter Scott, does anyone remember him, Thomas William Beddow, he also used to box in the Navy. From Swansea South Wales UK.

Jayne Beddow

July 3, 2008

My father Leonard (Len) Arthur Darby (b 28-09-1923 d 4-12-2005 ) served on board HMS Illustrious as a rating then as a PO in the shipwright's department. I think from '41 to 45. He had so many stories of the war and seemed to 'enjoy' his experience. The navy was always a big part of his life. 

This stayed with him for the rest of his days. He joined the Old Illustrian's Association and attended reunions with his wife Mary for many years. The day after he retired he revisited Malta. He was a friend of 'Nobby' Clark Merseyside, Reg Burton Ashbourne and many others I can't recall. Stories I do recall he said of the Salerno landings "Fear, you'll never feel any thing like that.  Bombed for two days solid." 

Trincomalee was the nicest place they visited. Bringing bananas back when the 'buz' was they were going home. The crew's play in which Charles Horton claimed he had a part, 'He didn't and I have the program to prove it." Dancing in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and Sydney, Australia Kamikaze attacks, home leave.

Phil Darby

June 18, 2008

My first ship was the Illustrious,1952 training to be a naval airman. During this time I was very seasick most days. I remember being shown the after lift, and the story of the bomb damage, a small plaque had been fitted to commemorate the occasion.


June 4, 2008

Does anyone remember my Father Douglas Denny or may have been known as Douglas Kay. He was a shortish Glaswegian and from memories of his stories he was in the fleet air arm and I am sure I remember him relating stories of his time in Malta. He was on the Deersound in 1945 in Australia where he met and married my mother, taking her home to Glasgow at the end of the war and where I was born in 1948. Dad passed away in 1987.  Appreciate any anecdotes of crew members who served with him that may assist with family researches.

Tom Kay

Reply 1
Sept. 14, 2008

My Father, Ronald Patrick Manley (from Plymouth) was an artificer on the Deersound in the Pacific. He talks of friends such as Skill Renny (Rennie, who I believe was a Geordie). They sailed to Sydney via Gibraltar, Valletta,Suez and possibly Colombo and had some escapades on leave in Sydney. I will ask him if he knew your father, and he might also be able to ask someone else.

Paul W. Manley

May 20, 2008

Does anyone remember William "Billy" Mapstone who served on Illustrious 2nd World War, he also boxed in
the navy.

Jeremy Mapstone

Apr. 18, 2008 What fantastic information. I happened to open this site and wondered it anyone could let me know how to verify that my dad Leone Borg of Sliema, Malta worked on the Illustrious in communications during the war.....I remember him telling me this when I was a child and wish to know in what capacity and who for, the Navy or the Police or ???  


Jan. 13, 2008

My father - John Walter Cologne was attached to the HMS Illustrious - born in 1925 he received his orders to join the ship after the outbreak of the war. Unfortunately now he is gone, I hold no memories of his time at war.  I would be grateful if anyone could share them with me if you were part of the crew during the action.

Rob Cologne

Dec. 12, 2007

Reference: Richard Griffin's Story & HMS Illustrious
Some brilliant new photographs here. The one alleging to be of the hanger (caption corrected) is in fact the remains of the after lift having accepted a heavy bomb. The lift lies on its edge and is seen to the left of the photograph and shows two of the several chains which supported it. I was told that there was a fighter on the lift being raised to the flight deck, armed with engine running, ready to take off and defend the ship. After the bomb exploded nothing could be found of the aircraft!

When this bomb exploded it also wrecked the ammunition hoists which supplied the after main armament (eight of the sixteen 4.5” guns). The hoists came up from the after magazines to the floor of the lift well and then divided to port and starboard direct to the four gun bays. It is especially interesting to see ships staff looking over the damage as one of these men could well have been my father who was a shipwright in Illustrious at that time. Does anyone out there remember P.O. Shipwright Wilfred George Heydon, later Chief Shipwright.

Phil Heydon
Somerset County, England

Nov. 27, 2007

Thank you (and Di Rayburn) for publishing the memories of Richard Griffin. I yesterday discovered I had a distant cousin who was killed in the attack on the Illustrious on 10 Jan 1941 - I have quickly found out a great deal more.

Kind regards,
Jacqui Bell
Leicestershire, UK

Nov. 12, 2007

Does anyone remember Harry Holford? He was my father and was on Lusty for the duration.

Jane Atkin

Aug. 19, 2007

My dad was on HMS Illustrious, and there at the battle of Taranto... He wrote some notes about his time on board just before he died. (Life in 815 Squadron, HMS Illustrious and Beyond)

Di Rayburn.

Jan. 11, 2007

I would just like to say the photos of the ship have brought back great memories for me. Even though I am only 36 my grandfather, Henry George Sedgemore, served on her during WW2. I remember being a small boy and spreading all the photos he had out on the living room floor and asking many a question. I can still see the pride in his face as he’d tell about the amount of times they were bombed but NEVER sunk, about his time in Malta and how the people of Malta helped repair her and get her on her way again. Thank you again for bring back such fond memories of my Grandfather.

Steven Arndell,
South Wales, UK

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Page published Mar. 9, 2008