USS Branch DD-197
HMS Beverley H-64
Message Board

Mar. 17, 2022

I am trying to obtain a photo of my uncle, Cecil Cousins, who served on HMS Beverly as an ordinary signalman and who died when she was torpedoed by U-188 11th April 1943. I am the only direct line family member left alive no who is interested in what happened. He was my mothers favourite brother, being the youngest boy of a family of seven. I believe that one of the survivors was at the naval training school HMS Ganges when my brother was there in the middle sixties. In those days we did not have the capabilities to track down any information about my uncle and although my brother said the survivor told him something of what happened that night my brother didn't like to ask too much in case of waking bad memories. My brother also forgot to give me his name at the time. I am unable to ask if he remembers as he was killed in a work accident in 2003.

Kind regards,
Christine Gush (Mrs)
Dec. 21, 2021

My uncle, Maurice Costello, was an able seaman on HMS Beverley, he was twenty-one years old and my mother (his sister) named me after him and I bear his name with pride! After years of non-action by the U.K. Government I was able to obtain his Arctic Star service medal when they finally recognised all those brave service personnel  who served and also lost their lives on the Arctic convoys.

My uncles mum (my grandmother) claims on the day of the sinking she  heard him calling to her from his bedroom at her home. She was convinced that something dreadful had happened to him, sadly she was right. Thanks and gratitude to all who perished.

Maurice Nash
Proud nephew of my Uncle Maurice Costello
Aug. 22, 2019

I have just started researching HMS Beverly. My grandfather's cousin and best friend was Rodney Athelstan Price -commander of the Beverly when she was lost. I would dearly love you to post this on your site in the hope that anyone with more details about what happened and more survivor accounts may come forward. From reading your site and some others it seems this tragedy of Hero's had a very sad end with a corvette depth charging the survivors when the sinking Hulk of the Rodney was picked up on sonar,So sad!

My grandfather who was a Padre himself lived to over 101 years of age and we were very close but I could tell even then he was still very broken up inside about the loss of his best friend and cousin.

Best regards,
John Langton

Nov. 11, 2017

I've just found this message board, very interesting reading. My uncle James Wynne was lost on the Beverley. I only knew the ship name he was on. The page has filled in some more details about him. I was also a military man having severed in the Royal Air Force for 26 years, left in 2001. I can appreciate how horrible it would have been to die at sea as I was part of the Falklands Task force sailing from UK.

Kind regards,
Stephen James Wynne

Nov. 15, 2015

I have just found your site and I thought the below information may be of interest to other people who have previously contributed. I was adopted shortly after my birth, 10 years ago I began tracing my birth family starting with my mothers side, having completed that I then was given information on my father. It turns out his father (my grandfather) Robert Horton was one of the four survivors of HMS Beverley. The information I have attached is all I know as sadly I never got to meet my birth father as he passed away earlier this year. 
I would be interested in any comments you may have.

"Bob Horton, also known as Maxi, was born in Spital in 1919. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he joined the Royal Navy. He served aboard H.M.S. Glasgow on convoy escort. The ship was torpedoed in 1940, but managed to limp back to port in Cape Town. Bob then joined another convoy escort, this was H.M.S. Beverley, an ex-U.S. destroyer named Branch.The ship was adopted by the Welsh town of Merthyr Tydfil. (My Mother's birthplace.)

After a number of escort duties, H.M.S. Beverley was damaged in a collision with another ship on 9th April 1943, whilst escorting a convoy to North Russia. She was badly damaged and became an easy target for U-boat, U.188. on 10th April. Bob had just finished his watch duty, he was feeling very uneasy for some reason and had got into bed with his coat still on, it was this coat that probably saved his life. The torpedoes struck and the ship began to sink very quickly, leaving no time to free all the life rafts. Some men jumped overboard, but Bob stayed on the ship. As she keeled over, his coat spread out and kept him afloat long enough to reach a raft, along with about six others.

As H.M.S. Beverley went down she was picked up on a corvette's sonar and she began depth charging, which killed many of the men in the water. Bob lost track of time in the freezing cold, but could see that the others on the raft had slipped off and died one by one. Later a corvette came along looking for survivors, the crew could hear him but could not see him, they called out that they would be back and in two hours they returned. He was hauled up on deck, then given a hot bath and rum.When he asked about his fellow crewmen, he was told that he was the last rescued of only four survivors out of 143 crew.

Bob mainly suffered with frostbite to his feet. He was well known and liked in Dedworth, living in a flat at Lesley Dunne, Wolf Lane. Despite his failing eyesight and with his white stick swinging, he would make his way round the corner to The Wolf. P.H. for a couple of pints. He would take it in good humour when told he was on another sinking ship. When the Wolf closed, Bob decided to start using the Sebastopol, his eyes were getting worse but he still made his way through Foster Avenue and up Clewer Hill Road, slowly and steadily. It was his discipline and determination which kept him doing this more than the beer.

Bob passed away on December 23rd 2008 and truly deserves to rest in peace. I am grateful to his son, John who helped me tell Bob's story, he said his Father would have been proud to have his story put on the internet, particularly by someone he had known for a long time."

Helen Stanney

Nov. 18, 2014

My uncle Sydney Manfield was aboard HMS Beverley when she was lost as the result of being torpedoed by UBoat 188. I was born in 1944 and named after the ship and consequently have carried the female spelling of this name ever since, talk about a boy named Sue!. As the UK Naval Museum said, "I was lucky it was not one of the Flower Class" A tragic loss of some very brave men, I understand only 4 survived, thank you for my freedom.

Beverley Legg
Nerja, Spain

Nov. 11, 2014

My great uncle John Cragg served on on the Beverley, he was a Leading Stoker. I have discovered a letter from him written to his dad (shown below). This letter was found in my Great Grandma's home (John's mother) after she passed away. In the letter he talks about a journey to Canada and some of the workings of the boilers. I have only just started to research this and so was pleased to discover the website. In response to Colette Hodgkinson niece of stoker Bruno Darby, I have only just discovered the forum and so missed the service in York this year, but will hopefully will get there next year. I had no idea a book had been written. In response to Glen Shadrake subject to my dad's permission I would be happy to scan a copy of the letter to you, or anyone else who may be interested.

Beverley Russell
Barrow in Furness, Cumbria, U.K.
Great Niece of John Cragg

May 24, 2014

It will be Memorial Day here in the U.S. on Monday. I have been reflecting on the sacrifices my family suffered in two world wars. Recently I discovered that my grandfather, William Blake, was a lead stoker on HMS Beverley when she was sunk. If anyone has photos of the crew, particularly the engine crew, or any recollections from the survivors, I would greatly appreciate being contacted.

Thank you,
Glenn Shadrake
Venice, California

Reply 1
June 3, 2016

I am also the grandson of William Blake, my mother (now deceased) was his only other child and have done a fair amount of research on him and the ship. I have become aware that my uncle Frank has been corresponding with Glenn, but with it being a Blake family matter, my sister and I would like to take over the dialogue now and have asked Frank to withdraw, as he is only related by my parents marriage. Can you please give my contact details to Glenn Shadrake, if he wants to share the information and photos I have amassed with him directly?  

Thanks and regards,
Alan Horner

Nov. 18, 2013

I would like everyone to know that every year on Remembrance Sunday there is a service in Beverley Minster in Yorkshire and a parade to the memorial gardens to the Memorial to HMS Beverley. I went this year and I have photographs if anyone would like me to e mail them... please get in touch. I met the wife of the author of the book about HMS Beverley. It would be lovely in 2014 if more people connected with HMS Beverley attended and laid a wreath. There were 4 laid this year.

Colette Hodgkinson,
niece of Stoker Bruno Darby
killed on HMS Beverley aged 21 years

May 29, 2013

Does anyone have any information on Bruno Darby 1st class stoker who was lost on the Beverley. Does anyone know if any of the four survivors are still alive? Also I would be very grateful for any crew photos.

Thank you,
Colette Hodgkinson

Aug. 29, 2012

Does anyone have any information on Gordon Henry Courtney WRAGG who was lost on the HMS Beverley when torpedoed in 1943?

Suzanne Oakley

Sept. 2, 2011

My uncle, Lachlan Hart, was a stoker on board when the Beverley went down. I am trying to piece together many different aspects of the Beverley for my family as I grew up with stories of my uncle from my father and wondered if perhaps you knew if his name came up in any articles or his picture perhaps. I would appreciate if you could let me know and thank you for your assistance.

Kind Regards,
Elizabeth Titterton

Nov. 5, 2010

I have recently read some of the mail on your site regarding HMS Beverley. Sidney Manfield was on board this ship when she was lost at sea. His daughter - my cousin - Patsy is still alive and living in the south of England. I would be very grateful for any pictures that you may have of the crew and the ship as I am putting together the history of the family for Patsy.  

I know that Sid had ginger hair and Patsy has inherited this from her father, Patsy does have a picture of her father in his naval uniform. Sidney's wife Eileen was my late mother's sister and when my brother was born in 1944 Eileen asked my mother to name my brother Sidney, my mum didn't particularly like the name but she did name my brother Beverley after the ship. I think my brother would have preferred to have been called Sidney as he feels that Beverley is a girls name!

Joanne Williams

Jan. 31, 2010

I have been researching HMS Beverley for many years as my grandfather, George Batchelor A/B, was lost on the vessel when she was sunk. I know a lot of history about the ship and people who served on her. A couple of days before the ship was sunk I believe she was in collision with a merchantman SS Cairnvalona in which the Beverley's degaussing and sonar gear was damaged. Commander of convoy told the ship to return to Nova Scotia, but they decided to stay 'to make the numbers up', even though the ship was effectively blind to any submarine attack. Several years ago I contributed a lot of information for a book that was published on the ship. I am also able to contact many families of the ships company. Perhaps you would be kind enough to post this, so anyone can feel free to contact me.

Nick Woods

Mar. 6, 2009

My father William was an engineer on the Beverly, I have a few pictures that are sort of interesting, some of which appear to be sailors being helped out of the water onto the Beverly. It was many years before I found
out who my real father was, I was born in Belfast my grandfather was a plumber in the Belfast ship yard (I'm told he also worked on the Titanic but I really don’t remember LOL. If anyone would like to contact me feel free.

Carole Beverly Farquhar Holladay
Twin Falls, Idaho

Mar. 4, 2009

I'm researching my family history, and have discovered that my Great Grandfather, Michael Tracey, was one of the casualties when HMS Beverly was sunk in 1943. I am trying to get more detail of his naval career, I believe he was a stoker, so thank you for this interesting background.

Alan Wallace

Aug. 22, 2007

My uncle (Neil Campbell) was one of the survivors of the Beverley! My mother tells me that a telegram had arrived telling them he was missing, believed dead, and it was some time before they knew otherwise.

Christine Wood

Reply 1
Nov. 11, 2007

I write in response to the message from Christine Wood on 22nd August this year wherein she states that her uncle Neil Campbell was one of the survivors of HMS Beverley. Is it possible to ask her please if her uncle ever spoke of any of his fellow seamen? Particularly if he knew whom else survived?

My brother, Raymond Gayfer was 19 when HMS Beverley was destroyed. The last words he spoke to Mum (at the front gate as he left) was that she was not to worry – the ship wouldn't come back, but he would. He would be 84 now, and it is not impossible that he is somewhere, maybe unable to recollect his family.

Thank you in anticipation,
Wendy Adams (Mrs)
Willowfield, Silverleys Green, Cratfield, Suffolk

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