HMS Hecla
Message Board

June 5, 2020

My great uncle, Thomas Page, was a Sailmaker and amongst those missing presumed killed on HMS Hecla. I would love to have been in touch with anyone that remembered him or knew what happened to him.

Jo O'Brien

May 4, 2020

My uncle Norman Brown was a petty officer on HMS Hecla. He was in charge of the sick bay. He died when the ship was torpedoed.

Steven J. Corder
Crosby, Merseyside, U.K.

Nov. 11, 2019

As usual on this day I m posting updates to my website about HMS HECLA, mostly new contacts with the families of the men who served in her:

As you know I create biographical entries for them on the website which I link to from their names on the "Crew List" of the ship's company on 11 November 1942, the day she was torpedoed and sunk. I was lucky to order the Crew List before this service was stopped.

It can be seen here with links to 70 or more entries but many of those who posted on your site are still missing:

Would you please do a post to let them know that if they send me details of their family members and, ideally,  a scan of a photograph I shall be happy to add entries for them. I am in no rush to sell the remaining 40 copies of the book but shall be very cross if I find it being offered at crazy prices after they are all gone!

Bill Forster son of
Lt(E. William Redvers Forster, RNR
HMS Venomous

Oct. 5, 2017

I'm trying to find out a bit more about my Grandfather whose surname was Igglesden. He was a radio operator and my Mum says he was on HMS Hecla when it was torpedoed. He survived, but was killed in a RTA in 1951 near his home in Devon. Can you confirm that he was a member of the crew on the Hecla please.

Yours Truly,
Mrs. L. Lambell

Reply 1
Oct. 6, 2017

Petty Officer Telegraphist Alfred E. Igglesden (J30077) was a member of the crew of HMS Hecla when she was sunk.

Michael W. Pocock

June 27, 2017

I believe my father was a crew member on HMS Hecla. He died in 1975, but the family story is that he was torpedoed and rescued by an American ship. A further addition to the story is that he was in the water with Edward (Eddie) Diggines who came from a village on Dartmoor and was possibly a cook. He would later marry one of my fathers' many sisters.

My father, George Leonard MORRELL (DoB 3.7.1920), was born in Newton Abbot, Devon. His Certificate of service shows that he joined the RN on 13 February 1939. He joined the crew of the Hecla on 25th December 1940 as a S.B.A. and became a L.S.B.A on 1st January 1942. He served until 12th November 1942 and then went to Drake in November 1942 and then RM Lympstone in December 1942. He left the RN in 1961 as a SBCPO. Any information you can supply would be much appreciated.


David Morrell

Reply 1
June 29, 1942

He is listed in the Pay and Victualing Record as having been on HECLA on 12 November 1942.

Bill Forster

Apr. 15, 2017

HMS HECLA was torpedoed off the coast of North Africa 75 years ago in November but some of the 500 men rescued by HMS VENOMOUS are still alive. It seems appropriate that a new edition of A HARD FOUGHT SHIP should be published in this anniversary year for their children and grandchildren to read.

The recent discovery in the National Archives of the official reports written by the Commanding Officers of all the ships involved in this naval disaster throw a new light on the loss of HMS HECLA, the death of 280 members of her ship's company and the rescue of 550 men by VENOMOUS and MARNE.

I am still being contacted by the families of the men who died as well as those who were rescued. The ship's company of HECLA was stranded in South Africa for five months while their ship was being repaired after detonating a mine. A week ago I was sent copies of letters received by a South African family in 1943 from the parents of two crew members who stayed with them as guests, one a survivor and the other one of those who died.

The hardback edition of A HARD FOUGHT SHIP will be published on 9 May - at less than the price being asked for the old paperback edition on Amazon!

And can be bought online at a discount with secure payment by card:

Or by completing the order form in the attached leaflet.

The back cover shows HECLA sinking and VENOMOUS entering the harbour at Casablanca on Friday 13 November with her deck crowded with survivors.

Copies can be ordered now for postal delivery in May but we would be delighted if you can join us for the book launch in London on 9 May.


The book launch will be held held at 3.30 pm on Tuesday 9 May at the Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS) in Seaford House, 37 Belgrave Square, London, by kind invitation of Rear Admiral John Kingwell RN, the Deputy Commandant.

Rear Admiral John Kingwell RN and the author, Capt John Rodgaard USN (Ret), will speak at the launch and we are hoping that some of the veterans who served on HMS Venomous and HMS Hecla will be there. Light refreshments will be served and author signed copies can be bought at the launch.

For security reasons it is essential that you pre-register for this event by replying to this e-mail.

Bill Forster
Holywell House Publishing

Dec. 5, 2014

My grandfather, James Hitchen of Middlewich, Cheshire was ships cook serving onboard Hecla at the time of its sinking. He survived the attack and lived until 1979, my grandmother would recall stories of the sinking my grandfather went through. I would to like to hear from anyone with connections with my grandfather.

Mark Adams

Oct. 25, 2014

My dad, Horace Robert James, was on watch duty when it was hit by mine on May15, 1942. I think he spent time in Cape Town afterwards when mine hit I believed he helped someone in sea not sure dad was on watch duty at time or changeling watch.

Les James

June 6, 2013

I came across your website MaritimeQuest and started having a was nice to see my Uncle George Tague mentioned in the Roll of Honour, when it was hit by a mine. Nice to see the memory of the Hecla and it's servicemen kept alive. Keep up the good work :-)

Best wishes,
David Tyrer

Nov. 8, 2012

I am contacting you to inform you that my grandfather, Albert Griffiths, was serving on the Hecla as a supply assistant in 1942. He died in Stranraer, Scotland. I would think at a Military Hospital from his injuries. I only have the basic information, but I would like to get hold of more such has his service number etc. All I have is page 1569, Vol 4 . But I do not know what the volume is. If you can inform me of anything I would be very grateful.

Most sincerely,
Barry Ashcroft

Oct. 14, 2012

I would like to hear from anyone who was a survivor of HMS Hecla. In particular anyone who has any recollection of Alfred Bicknell, Stocker 1st class. He was my grandad and my mothers dad. My mother has asked me to try this site, as she would love to hear of any stories from anyone who new him.She was only 9 years old when he died. Many thanks for any information that maybe out there.

Paul Spencer

Mar. 17, 2012

Armistice Day this year will be the 70th anniversary of the loss of HMS HECLA on the 11 November 1942. I am in contact with most of the survivors alive today and have told their stories on my web site about HMS VENOMOUS, the destroyer which rescued most of them. If any of you have stories to tell about the HECLA do please get in touch via my web site.

Bill Forster

Mar. 12, 2017

A hardback edition of A HARD FOUGHT SHIP: The Story of HMS Venomous will be published in May 2017. For information please visit my website (link showing above.)

Bill Forster

Oct. 16, 2011

I discovered during researching my family history that my uncle, Thomas David Arthur Waldock, Stoker first Class, C/KX97148 died on H.M.S. Hecla on the 12/11/1942. He was only 22 yrs old, but sadly not the youngest crew member. I think he was a keen boxer by all accounts. I would be very interested to hear from anyone who may have any recollections of my uncle, or any information, photos etc.

Many Thanks,
David Waldock

Reply 1
Aug. 16, 2015

My name is Jim Waldock, Thomas was my brother I was 1 year old when he died. Could you please contact David Waldock my nephew who I have lost contact with and give him my email address.

Many thanks,
Jim Waldock

Oct. 4, 2011

My father's war record indicates that he served on the HMS Hecla which was sunk in 1942. He survived the war which means he was a survivor of the sinking. He was Harold Alfred Lewis Kirk. Is it at all possible to confirm the above?

Many thanks & kind regards,
Pat Kirk

July 4, 2011

My father Kenneth Charles Collings (b. 7/11/1909 - d. 7/11/1989) was a Petty Officer (Hospital/Sick Bay) on HMS Hecla when she hit a mine off South Africa and was billeted with a South African family for the five months it took to repair the ship.

He was back on the ship when she was sunk by U-515 on 11/11/1942 off Gibraltar. My father was disgusted and horrified by the war and was extremely reticent to speak about it. He did tell us that he'd been torpedoed twice and that he spent most of his time "repairing men's jaws and faces, so that they could eat after being injured." Thank you for your website.

Bruce C. Collings
Collingwood, UK

Kenneth Charles Collings (standing middle) and four unidentified crewmen seen on HMS Hecla.
(Photo from the Kenneth Charles Collings, R.N. collection)
Courtesy of Bruce C. Collings

A group of unidentified men from HMS Hecla.
(Photo from the Kenneth Charles Collings, R.N. collection)
Courtesy of Bruce C. Collings

Kenneth Charles Collings (left) and three unidentified crewmen seen on HMS Hecla.
(Photo from the Kenneth Charles Collings, R.N. collection)
Courtesy of Bruce C. Collings

Kenneth Charles Collings (right) and L. Rowles possibly at Freetown, Sierra Leone.
(Photo from the Kenneth Charles Collings, R.N. collection)
Courtesy of Bruce C. Collings

Three unidentified crewmen seen on HMS Hecla.
(Photo from the Kenneth Charles Collings, R.N. collection)
Courtesy of Bruce C. Collings

Crossing the line ceremony on HMS Hecla.
(Photo from the Kenneth Charles Collings, R.N. collection)
Courtesy of Bruce C. Collings

June 2, 2011

I lost my uncle Able Seaman William Veighey on the HMS Hecla in 1942.  I was wondering if there was anyone out there who might remember him.  I am trying to find out as much information on him as possible and unfortunately I have no contact with this side of my family (my father's)  so if anyone out there could help me it would be much appreciated.

Thank you,
Suzanne Veighey

Feb. 26, 2011

My late uncle, James William Donaldson 18 years, an Ordinary Seaman, was on board HMS Hecla when it was sunk on 12 November 1942. He did not survive. I was wondering if there were any survivors of HMS Hecla who knew him.

Kind regards,
John H. Donaldson

July 5, 2010

I am a retired academic publisher whose father served on HMS VENOMOUS, the V & W Class destroyer which rescued 500 survivors of HMS HECLA when it sank on the 11 November 1942. There is a detailed account of the disaster in Chapter Eight of: A HARD FOUGHT SHIP: THE STORY OF HMS VENOMOUS. It includes photographs and paintings and first hand accounts of survivors. I set up my own imprint to publish this book which is dedicated to the memory of all those who served on VENOMOUS. The book was launched at the RN Museum in Portsmouth.

Bill Forster

April 14, 2010: George Male (left) survivor of HMS Hecla seen shaking hands with Harry Haddon, one of the crewmen of HMS Venomous D-75 which rescued him and hundreds of others after Hecla was torpedoed seen at the National Museum of the Royal Navy during the launch of the book A Hard Fought Ship: The Story of HMS Venomous.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Forster)
© 2010 Stephen Courtney all rights reserved

April 14, 2010: George Male and Portsmouth News Defence Correspondent Matt Jackson seen at the National Museum of the Royal Navy during the launch of the book A Hard Fought Ship: The Story of HMS Venomous.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Forster)
© 2010 Stephen Courtney all rights reserved

Apr. 14, 2010

I lost my uncle Brian Moss (Cook O) in the Second World War when HMS Hecla sank. If it were possible that someone is still alive that knew him then I would love to hear from them. I have been told that when visiting my grandparents the captain said he was a lovely man and stayed to help people off and was too late to rescue himself.

Andrew Clark

Reply 1
Dec. 27, 2011

My mother never knew her uncle Brian Moss, but has some information about him from his sister, she writes this:

At 18 Brian joined the British Navy where he served on HMS Hecla. Sadly my parents received the news that Brian was reported missing - his ship was torpedoed and sunk off the coast of Malta 
(? we query this)  11th of November 1942, he was just 20 years old.
If anyone can confirm the actual place where it sunk, we think probably it was off Morocco or Gibraltar, that would be interesting to know. If there is anyone out there who may know more of Brian's life at sea, we would be glad to hear of it. 

On behalf of my mum,
Kathleen Moss

Dec. 26, 2009

My Uncle Dennis Williams died when the Hecla was sunk, perhaps there is someone that knew him. He had a great mate by the name of Harry Hartley I believe. I would be interested if there is a contact.

Robert Williams
Shifnal, Shropshire, U.K.

Aug. 19, 2009

I lost my dad, Albert Mark Childs, aboard HMS Hecla I was 14 months old at the time. He was better known as Joe and had served 16 years in the Royal Navy joining at the age of 16. He served on many ships (any ship that needed a signalman) and became a 1st class signalman he was also a champion boxer for the navy. I would love hear from anyone that knew him but I doubt there would be now. I still miss not knowing him I've been told he was a lovely man.

Yours truly,
Jean Beech (nee Childs)

Nov. 30, 2008

I happened on this webpage my dad lost his life aboard HMS Hecla in WW2, made me sad and brought back memories, but proud to see HMS Hecla sails the seas again. Just in case there's an old mate out there from the ship would love to hear from you.

Teresa Young

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