HMS Illustrious
Message Board
Messages 25 through 49

Sept. 8, 2013

My grandfather was killed on HMS Illustrious on 10 Jan 1941. He was a CPO gunnery section. His name was James Smyth. We have very little knowledge of his life. If anyone has any connection or knowledge we would be very interested.

Marie Smith

June 16, 2013

I am writing with regard to my great uncle, Benjamin Burnett Grant. He served with the Illustrious from 2 June 1943 till 29 January 1945. He was a Naval Airman 1st  Class when he died on 29 January 45 when the ship was hit by friendly fire during a Kamikaze attack. I would be grateful for any information on him or the time that he was on board.

Thanks and kind regards,
Michelle Carmichael
Edinburgh, Scotland

Reply 1
May 19, 2015

I was on the flight deck waiting to re-arm and refuel returning aircraft when Action Stations sounded. Being completely exposed the mechanics dived for cover into a small corridor at the front of the island. One side was open to the sea, but the flight deck side had a sturdy steel door. To save space I climbed on top of a steel chest, only later did I find out that it was full of very sensitive detonators! There was a dull thump from above and flakes of paint showered down from the deck head. When things quieted down we piled out. A single aircraft was on the deck, and three bodies lay beneath it. I don't know their condition just that they weren't moving. A PO was trying to organise the removal of the body of the gunner whose position had a direct hit from a shell fired by an escort vessel. As usual, we were told nothing of the incident and life resumed to normal immediately.

Thomas Thomson
Ex Ldg. Air Mech.(o) 1833 Sdn.

June 16, 2013

My father George McKenzie (Aberdeen) served aboard the Illustrious during WW2. He often spoke about being in Malta during the War.  He died in 1991 and the family are trying to put together a family tree.  We would like as much detail as possible about our father's time during the War... e.g what he did on board, his navy record etc. We don't have a photo of him in his uniform either. Any help you can give us would be most appreciated.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. We love the site!!

Debbie McKenzie

May 26, 2013

I am trying to get the medals for my father Francis Merrett/Merritt. It seems that they have no record of him when he was in the Navy in which he served on the HMS Illustrious as a Stoker First Class to other Ships. He was also in the Merchant Navy and served with the Cable and Wireless after his term of service finished with the Royal Navy. Does anyone remember him? If you can help please contact me.

Your truly,
Diana Merrett

Reply 1
June 19, 2013

I have been looking at your web-pages on HMS Illustrious as my father served in her from May 1942 until January 1946. I notice the message above from Diane Merrett relating to her father, of whose service there appears to be no record. You might like to let her know that in the list of ship's company published in the 1944-5 Beacon Annual (p. 87) F. Merritt - Sto. is clearly listed in the Engine Room Department.
(See Nominal List of Ship's Company of HMS Illustrious)

Yours sincerely,
Alan Deighton

Mar. 7, 2013

I'm looking for information on Ronald James French he came from Sussex and he served on Illustrious in Malta when it was bombed in harbour and was killed Jan 10th 1941 aged 19yrs along with other brave comrades. As his remaining younger brothers and sisters are still with us it would be nice if anybody has any stories or photos of Ronald as our family photos never survived the war. I would be grateful for any possible info. 

Many thanks,
Graham French
Brighton, UK

Feb. 4, 2013

I was wondering if someone could help me about the following. Namely, just for my hobby, I trying to collect as much as possible info and documentation about 100 years of aviation history over our county.  To make a long story short,  I learned from a former Belgian Air Force pilot's (killed in a T-33 crash later on) flight book that he once flew in a Fairey Firefly of the Royal Navy. That time, this air force pilot was in a conversion course learning to fly a Bristol Sycamore helicopter and most likely, once he was winched onto the deck of HMS Illustrious. I can give you following info about this event:

Date: 06 May 1954
Airplane:  Fairey Firefly
Airplane number: 201
Pilot: Lt. Cdr. J. L. Treloar
2nd pilot: BAF pilot
Return flight: from H.M.S. Illustrious to Yeovilton.

Can anyone help me how I can get to know what the plane's serial number was they flew that day. Also what the code tail letter (s) was for airplanes on the H.M.S. Illustrious. Any info about Lt. Cdr. J. L.Treloar is always welcome too. Thanking you for your kind attention and looking forward to receive an answer.

Kind Regards,
Johnny Janse
Bekkevoort, Belgium

Jan. 17, 2013

I am trying to locate the records of my late father. He served 'HMS ILLUSTRIOUS' during the war. I have a number of photos of him and thought someone might be able to assist me or at least point me in the right direction to see his military record. I would very much appreciate if you would be able to assist.

Many thanks,
Alan Miller

Dec. 13, 2012

Could you please help or advise me on how I can get information about squadron FAA 815, my father Noel Gissing was a listing in this squadron in WW2 on the Aircraft Carrier HMS Illustrious, 1940? Also how to find records about him when serving at HMS GANGES at Shotley Suffolk around 1938 onwards Any help would be much appreciated.

M. J. Gissing

July 15, 2012

My wife is the niece of D/JX255231 LEADING SEAMAN THOMAS THOMPSON PARKIN, died through his injuries, he was badly burnt when a plane crashed while landing. He was transferred to a hospital ship and ended up at Ceylon, where he died 24-3-1944 at Trincomalee. He is buried at Trincomalee war graves, we have photos of his grave. I would like for my wife, and Tom's sister who has sadly passed away, to make Tom's place on the ROLL OF HONOUR complete [Died of wounds] instead of Death unknown.

Respectfully yours,
George Hunter

July 8, 2012

My Great Uncle, George Whyler, Marine, PLY/X 1898, from Nottingham, served onboard the Illustrious, but was killed in the attack on 10th Jan 1941, aged 21. I know that he is commemorated on the memorial at Plymouth, but we have conflicting family history about his death. One report is that he was buried at sea following the attack, the other story is that he was buried in Malta, when the Illustrious docked there for repairs. I have checked the war graves commission, but they only show a listing for the Plymouth memorial. Would anyone on here, who may have served alongside him know, or could anyone suggest another option to find the answer.

Love the site,
James Singer
Newark on Trent, UK

May 10, 2012

My brother, Alexander Bowman, was an Able Seaman on HMS Illustrious from, as far as I know, 1940 till 1945. Sadly he died in 1960 and I don't know what his duties were on HMS Illustrious.

Jim Bowman

Apr. 13, 2012

I have a great b/w photo of this carrier I've dragged around for 60 years. I'm 66 and emigrated to Australia in 1970. My father was Chief ERA, Edwin Jeffrey Jones and on duty during the Battle of Taranto surviving but hospitalised because of severe diesel fuel ingestion and associated complications. He was a member of the HMSI Association and attended the reunion in Malta some years back aboard the newer
replacement HMS Illustrious. He died in Colwyn Bay, North Wales on 23rd October 1991.

I have my Dad's copy of Kenneth Poolman's "Illustrious" published by William Kimber, London 1955. I'll pick up some further memorabilia from the HMSI Association for my collection of material from this and other ships my
father served on - HMS Worthing, Forth, Suprise, Adventure, & Repulse, plus others I'm still tracking down.

David Jones
Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

Jan. 21, 2012

My great uncle, Harry Fitzpatrick, was killed on the HMS Illustrious and I am trying to contact Paul Hoggins (Message #34) who said Harry was his Grandfather - which means we are relatives. I would really like to make contact with him if he is interested. Harry's sister, Ellen, was my grandmother. It would be excellent to share any info we have - and to say hello!

Maggie Mackenzie

Dec. 24, 2011

My late father, Raymond John Smith, known as "John" served on HMS Illustrious from Nov 1943 - Oct 1945. He passed away in 2009, having never really spoken of his time in service to country and I am trying to locate as much information as I can to build a picture of him to keep for his grandchildren. I have managed to obtain his rudimentary service record and am aware the ships squadron was 810 during his time onboard. His rank was "Acting Petty Officer Radio Mechanic".  

I would love to know if anyone has information/stories and/or photos which may show my dad. He was moved (lent) around to many ships (probably due to his skill set) - including HMS Pioneer, from which I have some photos with him in, but any new ones would be great. My mum never got much info out of him in their 60 years together, so anything anyone can provide would make her very happy also.

Kind regards,
Tim Smith
Thetford, U.K.

Nov. 1, 2011

Delighted to have just discovered your website. My Dad served on the Illustrious during World War Two. His name was Terence Finnegan and he was born on 4th November 1920 in Liverpool. We have some photos which he treasured. He passed away just two years ago. He often spoke of his crew mates and sadly of those who were killed in action. Is it possible to find a crew list or any information on those who served in the Royal Navy on this ship at the time?

Yours sincerely,
Veronica McDonnell

Oct. 18, 2011

I discovered your website and found some fantastic pictures. My particular interest is HMS Illustrious. My grandfather, Harry Fitzpatrick, was killed when the carrier was bombed near Malta on January 10th 1941 but I know little of his role. What particularly excited me was the picture of 806 Squadron that pops up on the message board because that was Fitz's squadron when he was killed. I've seen enough pictures of him to be fairly sure that he is not in that line-up (it doesn't specify when it was taken) but I would love to ask the provider of the picture (Ern Ringwood) if Harry Fitzpatrick is a name he has come across. My grandfather was a Telegraphist Air Gunner who was an Acting Leading Airman at the time of his death. He is named on the Fleet Air Arm Memorial at Lee on Solent in Hampshire. Thanks for your time and thanks for the website.

All the best,
Paul Hoggins

July 14, 2011

Would you show the photo and if those who are alive contact me.

Ern Ringwood

806 "B Flight" Squadron HMS Illustrious, Ern Ringwood is seen middle row, 3rd from right.

Feb. 22, 2011

Please does anyone know of my late father, Able Seaman Harry Binns, he was in the navy during the war and later served on the Kingston Line, Hull as a stoker. I believe he might have been involved in rescuing another crew member when his ship was hit but I don't know the name of the ship.

Kind Regards,
Vivienne O'Shea

Feb. 20, 2011

I am doing some research for my husband whose father was Harold Knight Stoddard-Howell. He was on the Illustrious when it was bombed on 10/1/1941.  His rank was Air Artificer, Petty Officer.  He was attached to the 815 Swordfish Squadron.  We know he was injured and spent time in Malta convalescing,  His Navy Records show that he was on the Illustrious from 24/11/1940 until 13/2/1941 when he went to Grebe in Alexandria.  Has anyone any other information on when he rejoined the Illustrious after he was injured??  Do you know of any other places we can research on the Illustrious.

Diane & Richard Stoddard-Howell
New Zealand

Reply 1
Oct. 4, 2011

I live in East London, UK.  On clearing out my loft recently, I have discovered a certificate of motor insurance dated 1937/38 and two handwritten request forms requesting leave dated 1939.  It definitely is maritime-related, as it says Ship's Book No.2, mess 48, Watch 2nd STB, and the name on all of these documents is H. K. Stoddard-Howell. Please can you pass these details, and my email address, to Diane and Richard and they are more than welcome to email me if they think these papers relate to their family and I will happily post them.  The documents are not in good condition unfortunately (quite dirty and dusty as they were found in the rubble of my loft) and this is all that I have relating to Mr. Stoddard-Howell. I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Jan. 16, 2011

After reading Richard Griffin's account of life in 815 Squadron in the 40's on the HMS Illustrious aircraft carrier on this web site how can I find out any more info about the men etc of this squadron? My father was in the 815 Squadron on the HMS Illustrious in the 1940's and is mentioned in Richard's account, how can I find out the other pilots or crew members names and records on this aircraft carrier, also records of the  navy cadet school HMS Ganges, Shotley, Suffolk for 1938 onwards. Any help would be much appreciated.

M. J. Gissing

Nov. 21, 2010

My father Carson Gray was Ship's Writer on Illustrious I have a piece of the Kamikaze plane which he brought back. He was from Belfast and died several years ago. I recently found his Burma Star medal with his Pacific clasp. He received 7 medals during the war.

Kind Regards,
William Gray

Oct. 24, 2010

My father Roy Evans was a sailor on the HMS Illustrious After the war I have a few pics some are a plane crashing into the deck. Thanks for your website.

Simon Evans

Oct. 12, 2010

How do I find a list of crew members and photos for HMS Illustrious 1939. looking for information on Edward Cooke (now sadly passed away) who served on this ship. Not sure which year.

Ray Worth

Sept. 17, 2010

We are HMS ILLUSTRIOUS ASSOCIATION and were unaware of your website until our National Chairman found it yesterday. We were originally the Old Illustrians, founded just after the Vth ILLUSTRIOUS was commissioned. We changed our name so that members of the Ship's Company of the Vth ILLUSTRIOUS could join. We still have 44 members who served on IVth ILLUSTRIOUS in WWII. We have a total of 262 members, full and associate. I will put your website address in our September 2010 newsletter. Maybe some of our members knew the people who are mentioned in your entries. Do please give my details to anyone who mentions the Old Illustrians on the Message Board. Thank you.

Diane Coleman
National Secretary

Aug. 20, 2010

My father, William Foot, was on the Illustrious during WW2. Around 1942, he visited some relatives in Washington on a days leave. He had dinner with them and even had his photo taken for the local newspaper - a copy of which I have. Recently, they sent me a leather cigarette case which he gave them. It is engraved with 'H.M.S. Illustrious' - a very special memento! It was great to look at the photos on the website. Is there any way I can find out exactly when he was on the ship?

Margaret Finch

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Messages 25 through 49
Message Board
Page published Mar. 9, 2008