HMS Indefatigable
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Messages 1 to 24

Dec. 21, 2010

I am first grand-daughter to Frederick Charles Twist born 1927, who was a crew member aboard the HMS Indefatigable. Based on family information I believe that my grandad sailed to New Zealand, Gibraltar and Malta at various times. Looking at routes on I think that he may have been on at least two expeditions, and possible was at the Japanese surrender at Tokyo Bay in 1945. I think that it is very likely that he was second from left in the group photo in Message #15 (below) posted on 1 May, 2009 by Roy Ramsbottom (in relation to his father Frederick).

Grandad would have been about 18 years old in that photo and I think has a striking resemblance to Fred Astaire! There is a story in our family that fellow crew members placed an advert in a 'local' newspaper in New Zealand (I think) advertising for a girlfriend for him; apparently when the ship arrived there were mailbags waiting. He may even have had a Maori girlfriend! (before he met my Nan). He used to tell his grandchildren stories about deep sea diving and we would be transfixed my them; I even did a project at school about it and remember him showing us maps of countries he visited. I know that he kept maps and some medals but they cannot be located at present.

I remember a painting of sailing ships above the fireplace in my grandparents front room, I expect that he stared into that photograph many a time! I also remember that he was very particular about his appearance and can picture him now polishing his shoes! Sadly my grandfather died in 1988 (when I was 18 years old), and I would love to build up a fuller picture of his life. He used to have a gap between his front teeth, that I and my two daughters have inherited! I hope to go to the National Archives at Kew to obtain his service history next year if anyone has any tips, or may like information obtained (time allowing). If you have any more information or photos I would love to see them.

Thank you,
Amanda Jones

Dec. 1, 2010

I have been looking at your site with interest and saw the message below from Andy Anderson from October 27. I am researching the British Pacific Fleet and trying to make contact with as many surviving veterans who served in that theatre as possible. I have already met up and interviewed two former Corsair pilots from HMS Formidable, and I am now trying to contact others on other ships. I wonder please if you might be kind enough to put me in touch or pass my email on to Andy Anderson, as I would very much like to make contact with him (his
message is below). If you know of any other pilots or seamen who served in the BPF who might also have contact details, I would really appreciate you passing them on this message! Thanks very much!

Will Iredale

Dec. 1, 2010

Like 'Tug' Wilson (see message #9), I have just stumbled across the excellent MaritimeQuest web sight. I assume this is the same Tug Wilson who created the brilliant cartoons in my edition of the Fleet Air Arm song book. I was an Upper Yardman (Air ) in HMS Indefatigable from May to August 1953. I well remember the 'chitty' giving us free deckchairs etc. in Bournemouth during the time of the Spithead Review. Although we never met, I would like to thank Tug for ensuring I regularly received my 27/6 a week National Service pay. I also recall MFV trips to Weymouth & the 'double' seats in the cinema there. Memories of happy days that I would love to share with Tug sometime.

Robert Reed,
ex Upper Yardman (Air) & ex Midshipman (A) RNVR

Reply 1
Dec. 9, 2010

Sorry to say I was not the excellent cartoonist TUGG - still going I believe. Yours is the only other message I have seen since I answered the first. As an U. Yardman (White Hatband) you will not, probably remember putting a leg over each rail and sliding down to the lower hangar. I remember, among your number Lord Baden- Powel, the Earl of Sussex and Berkshire, and so on. All nice lads but their was I believe a certain amount of ragging went on from the lower deck. 

I always thought "Indefat." a very happy ship, sat on the milk tins for a major part of the year. Often up around Scotland, Scapa, Isle of Arran etc. beautiful esp with all those little bright green isles each with its own little lighthouse enclosure. Then we went to Aarhus ,well. Oh and Gib. with Algerciras, say no more. I am in HMS CONSORT Association and have a former Indefat. messmate who now lives in Los Angeles, again the only other one. The summers of our youth very happy times. Scraping and rowing whalers or cutters if you were unlucky. Nice to hear from you. Best Wishes for Christmas and New Year. 

Warm Regards, 
Tug Wilson 

Oct. 27, 2010

I served on the Indefatigable 1943 until 1946 paid off at Pompy during my time I was with 894 Seafire Squadron from the first forming of the Squadron. I would like to get in touch with some shipmates I am now in my 87 yrs.

EX Naval Airman Andy Anderson
Reply 1
Jan. 7, 2011

I would like to leave a message for Andy Anderson of 894 Squadron, he posted a message on Oct. 27 2010. I would like to know if he met or heard of my dad who was with the 887 Squadron on the Indefat. He was one on the lucky ones to survive the Kamikaze attack on April 1st. His name is Gordon Knight (since passed on) and was 21 at the time of the attack. He was a quiet sort and also hung around the TBM Avenger boys who nicked named him "Pranger" from a bad landing in Australia I think.

Many Thanks,
Eric Knight

Reply 2
May 23, 2011

I am Ken Lomax Safety Equipment for 894 Squadron and was in 42 mess. I remember you quite well.  It is nice to find that there are still some guys around from that time. I still have the squadron photo that was taken at Katakarunda. It would be nice to Hear from you.

Ken Lomax

Reply 3
Nov. 13, 2012

Dear Andy, I believe my Grandfather was in a Seafire Squadron on the Indefatigable from around the same time as you. Peter G. G. Adams passed away in 2000 and I don't know more than about where his ship sailed and that he flew a Seafire. My father remembers that he went through Ceylon and maybe visited India, and I know Peter told me about traveling through the Mediterranean towards the Pacific. The kamikaze hitting the ship sounds familiar too.

Anyway, I was hoping you could confirm or deny that he was part of the 894 Squadron or if you knew the boys from 887? The only record I found online was that he was listed as a "temporary sub-lieutenant" in '44 and '45 and that he was a "temporary lieutenant" in '46.

Thank you for your time and of course, your service,
Eruch Adams

Oct. 8, 2010

My father has passed away but he did tell me he served on Indefatigable during the Second World War. His name is John Clifford Francis Greenfield but he did have a tendency not to mention the Clifford part of his name. I can't think why! I would very much appreciate anyone who has any information regarding his service. I understand he would have been very young at that time and managed to present himself as a year older than his real age in order to serve. I understand he subsequently had a problem at his retirement age because of this but
have no details. It is likely he was known as Johnny but I did not ask him how he was known on board. I would appreciate any information.

Thank you,
JFG's daughter

July 22, 2010

I served on board in 1945 at eighteen years of age. Packing parachutes' for 1772 Sdn., for Mike Keys, also Major Cheeseman of 1770 sdn. My nick name was Nipper, is there any other Safety Equipment lads still around, I am 84 yrs old and love hear of them.

A/B Dennis P Knight S E 3
(A.K.A. Nipper)

PS: I never spent so much time playing crippage.

Reply 1
May 23, 2011

I am Ken Lomax formerly the SE2 of 894 Squadron, other SE's I remember were Ken Sergeson headquarter, Jimmy Corson and Ron Kember 887, Gordon Finnie Fireflies and several others I can't bring to mind at the moment. Would be nice to hear from you.

Ken Lomax

Dec. 15, 2009

I am trying to find more info on my Grandfather who served on a few ships that I am aware of. He was a chef His nickname was 'Pest' or 'Whippit'. Apparently he was one of the highest awarded CPO's in the navy at the time. I have a pewter mug he was given inscribed Whippit (C.P.O. Std. H Quick) In appreciation of his services as vice president of the cpo's mess H.M.S. Royal Arthur 17th November 1947. I have a sketch of him, drawn by a, Pat Rooney in 1956. I have more info on the medals  if necessary, please point me in the right direction.

Thank you,
Steve Smith

Nov. 8, 2009

My dad, Edward Davies, served in the Fleet Air Arm towards the end of the war and talks a lot about the Japanese suicide bomb that struck the vessel in 1945. I know he would love to hear from anyone that knew him he was born 1925 and came from North Wales.

Thank you,
Rhian Sonmez

Reply 1
Nov. 30, 2009

My Dad was born in 1921 so he was slightly older. I know my father was there then as he told me he was a sleep in one of the life boats at the time. Sadly my father is no longer with us but if she looks at the photo below (see message 15) my father is the shortest one her father may have known him.

Roy Ramsbottom

Oct. 20, 2009

My Dad, George Close, served on HMS Indefatigable during the latter half of WW2, in the Indian Ocean and Pacific. He was a P.O. Engines and Airframes artificer in the Fleet Air Arm and I was wondering if there was anybody who may remember him?

Jack Close

May 1, 2009

I do not know if this is of interest to Mr Brian Davies Young. This is a photo of some of the crew from the Indefatigable my Father is the smallest one in the middle he is Frederick Ramsbottom. I do not know any of the others. It may be of interest to somebody out there.

Roy Ramsbottom

Apr. 26, 2009

Its ANZAC day in Australia and it has spurred me on and I have finally found something on HMS Indefatigable. My Dad who has sadly died was Lt. E. W. Saunders and the only 2 stories I had from him were;

-he had a Canadian friend who died as a result of the kamikaze plane crash and

-after the war whilst visiting NZ the admirals barge was caught under a wharf and to save it from being crushed as the tide came in he pulled the plug and sank it.

Apparently he decided he didn't have a great Naval career prospect after that and left the navy and migrated to Australia Sydney. I don't know whether that story contained some poetic license, but it sounds good. Years later I found out he also flew torpedo planes I think. Like a lot of fathers they didn't want to talk much about their experiences. I would particularly like it if there was a photo of the crew that could be blown up a bit more (such as the one in Ceylon) to see if I could get a copy and identify Dad . Also would like to hear of anyone knowing of him. Is there an organization in Perth Australia which caters for ex servicemen/relatives from the Royal Navy or particularly the HMS Indefatigable?

James Saunders

Apr. 5, 2009

I'm the eldest son of Douglas Davies who served on the "Indefat" during its Pacific tour of duty. I'm not sure of the exact dates but I am pretty sure he worked in the galley and that he was stationed in Sydney at Woolloomooloo. I am seeking any information from any crew member or their relations who might have known my Dad during this time. My Dad passed on in the late 80's however he never talked much about his time at sea due mainly to how sensitive he was about relationships and loosing friends.

I have now lived in Sydney for nearly 30 years, Dad did make it back to Sydney a couple of times for holidays but we could never persuade him to come over and live, think he liked his English pubs too much. If anyone has a list of names of crew members who served on the carrier during this period that would be fantastic?

Brian Davies
Young, NSW, Australia

Apr. 3, 2009

I'm trying to track down an Alfred Turner who may have served on the HMS Indefatigable around 1944. He would have been around 25 years old at the time. If anyone has any information or can just at least confirm whether or not there was an Alfred Turner on the Indefatigable I would greatly appreciate it.

Caitlyn Wilson

Feb. 18, 2009

I served on Indefatigable for my six month sea training in 1954 as a boy seaman, I have tried to e-mail chalky white because he was apparently on the same commission and we both visited Casablanca if you know of him could you ask him to contact me please.  

Len Baynes (chats) P/JX 911491

Dec. 30, 2008

My father served on HMS Indefatigable in 1945. He joined the ship in Sydney and served in the Pacific and Japan as a radio operator. He was an NCO and remembers a friend who was an Artificer Engineer called Gordon
Round. As I was talking to him this evening I was wondering whether anyone remembers either or both of
these men.

Victoria Wright

Nov. 14, 2008

I have just stumbled across your site. It is superb, just like Christmas, been looking at all sorts. Looking at Indefat. today and noticed a plea from "Derek Webb" re 1951. I was in her then until 53, serving in Pay Office on Upper Yardmen ledger. There was a very distinguished roll call!  Only the best for RN UY. 

I was a Writer of course and our S & S mess was just off the Flight Deck (private sponson) abaft the Island. Long way for Libertymen and for shore galley as cook of the mess in dry dock. Oh times were hard then but very pleasant, especially when we moved off the milk cans for the Home Fleet (Training Squadron) jaunts. Long way, winter nights MFV to/from Weymouth/Portland but a good run ashore. Here is some proof (see below).

Best regards,
H. A. (Tug) Wilson  

Sept. 15, 2008

Hi, my name is George Hicks, former RAN Photographer and am trying to locate details of my Mother in laws partner, Leonard [Michael] Nowers. Michael, as we know him is now in a Nursing Home and we would like to fill in our knowledge of his early life in the RN and specifically while he was onboard Indefatigable. Any information would be very appreciated.

George Hicks

Aug. 4, 2008

I have sent the group picture of the crew of the Indefatigable (see page 1, photo 2) and have marked the man
at the top (very top of photo between propellers). I think it was my Father his name Frederick Ramsbottom. I have also sent another photo of him (see below) with two other sailors he is the one on the right. If it is at all possible and you have a higher resolution photo you could send me the bit with my father on.

Roy Ramsbottom

July 19, 2010
Reply 1

I believe that my late Grandfather Gordon Marshall, a gorgeous Yorkshireman was on the Indefatigable the same time as your father Frederick Ramsbottom as I have some of the same photos that he had, in particular the Kamikaze attack. I am wanting to find out more about his time on the Indefatigable.

Adrienne Williams
Nelson, New Zealand

Frederick Ramsbottom (right) and two unidentified crewmen seen on HMS Indefatigable during the Second World War.

Dec. 6, 2007

Dear Paul, Sean and Derek,

It was great to hear from you with your information. I would be very interested in seeing some of the photographs you have.

I recently looked on Youtube and found some film footage of the Indefatigable out in the far east during the war with commentary and planes landing on flight deck. The film was of quite good quality and you may be interested to have a look yourself, or see if you find any further information/footage.

I hope you find the above of interest and I would love to hear how you get on.

Best wishes,
Trevor Silvey

Nov. 30, 2007

My grandfather Raymond Jelley served on the Indefatigable from 42/3 onwards, he has recently passed away and I would be keen to know if anyone knew or had information about his time on the ship.

Paul Morris

Nov. 22, 2007

Just been reading posts about HMS Indefatigable. My dad was on it and new the official photographer of the ship and have loads of photos of the ship, planes and Kamikaze attack on it and the signing over on the ship. I think Mountbatten was on it in a photo?. Got the ships xmas menue pics of all the cakes, ships monkey and all; my dad was John Hough aka Hamper Hough. Hope that helps some one?

Sean Hough

Sept. 5, 2007

I served on the Indefatigable between 1951-52 as a communications rating. It would be great if you could send me any info on any body who served at this time. The captain was called Capt. Grant         

Many thanks,
Derek Webb

July 10, 2007

Just seen your message (message #1), unfortunately I don't have any info on your father but my father was an able seaman at the time of the Japanese aircraft attack. My father, John McCaffrey, died in 1977 I was 13 at the time. He told me stories about his time on the carrier which are vague now. I have tried to get any info about the crew or any stories or pictures, you are the first connection that I have came across. Would be grateful for any info however small.

Paul McCaffrey

Reply 1
Apr. 2, 2011

I am 85, I was on the Indefat from 1943 to 1946. I was sitting next to your Dad on the deck in a deck chair just by the sick bay when your dad placed his hand to shift his deck chair a little forward, it collapsed. He jumped up in great pain and went straight to the sick bay. An attendant came out and picked up the (I think it was the middle finger ) and took it into sick bay. I am sorry to tell the story but I expect he was a little embarrassed so he made it a little more interesting.


Mar. 8, 2007

My name is Trevor Silvey, I am the eldest son of Frederick Silvey who joined the ship as a replacement after the ship was hit by a Japanese plane. He served in the engine room between 1946-48.

Very sadly Frederick Silvey has very recently passed away but I am very interested in hearing from people who may have known him or can give me more information of his time on the ship.

I await in anticipation of hearing from anyone who may be able to give me further information, or from fellow crew members.

With very best wishes.
Trevor Silvey

July 29, 2007
Reply 1

Hi Paul, it was great to hear from you. I must apologize for taking some time to reply but I have recently moved but now my e-mail is back up and running.

I have seen some of the photos of the ship going through the Suez Canal and on to Singapore and it all ties in with what my father said about his story of the ship running aground and also the ferrying of troops to Singapore. As I said before my dad was a replacement for members of the crew that were killed by the Japanese plane attack. That's basically all the stories that I can think of at this time.

I do remember my father telling me about his visit to Sydney Australia. Unfortunately I too have very little information to pass to you but I hope the above helps. Dad seemed to speak more about the times he was off the ship, than on it!! It was clear however that he just loved the life and times he had.

Please keep in touch. Best wishes.

Oct. 28, 2007
Reply 2

Re AB John McCaffrey....Hello Paul, I was on the ship during the Far East time as a seaman in 8 Mess amongst others. I am almost certain that your dad was in the same mess for I believe his name to be familiar but cannot remember him.

Get in touch...
Les Wills,
Chairman HMS Indefatigable Association.

Nov. 4, 2007
Reply 3

Hello Les,
Thanks for e-mail. I was 13 when my dad died so don't have any info to help me. I remember him saying he had to have his appendix out while on the ship, does that help. He also said he had his finger trapped or cut on a machine gun on deck. Also a Japanese plane crashed into side of the ship. Does any of that sound familiar. Have you any photos of the ship or ships company.

Paul McCaffrey

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