HMS Howe (1940)
Message Board
Messages 1 to 24

May 21, 2013

My Grandpa served on HMS Howe all through the Second World War. I am very interested in the history of the ship and have just heard that the crew who were apart of the Arctic and Russian convoy can receive a medal. He died five years ago and as I was only ten at the time I never got chance to ask him about his life on the ship and what he did. All I know is he was chief stoker, to apply for the Arctic Star you need his rank I was wondering if anyone knew how to find this out also if anyone remembers him, his name was William John Sparrow from Mill House Lound near Retford Nottingham. Any information would be helpful as I am very interested in the history of the war era.

Thank you,
Zara Sparrow

May 20, 2013

Have just come across your site while looking for some information on Winston Churchill and HMS Howe. Found a photo in Able Seaman Edwin Clement James Reed, R.N. Collection HMS Howe (1940) page 10 that shows my father Thomas Noel Mayfield (who was a Warrant Bosun at the time) saluting Winston Churchill after piping him aboard. I also have that photo and am so pleased to have found more details of his time on Howe.

Best Wishes,
Tom Mayfield
ex boy tiff
Now in Virginia, USA

Mar. 15, 2013

My father Ronald Jones served on the Howe and this site has given a tremendous insight into his home during the war. Luckily for me and my siblings dad also took his own photos from this time so we have some that show him and his colleagues at happier times, swimming, smoking etc. Know it is a long shot but does anyone have an additional information about him??

With thanks,
Charles A. Jones
Melbourne, Australia

Mar. 5, 2013

This is a long shot but my father Sidney William Dobinson served on HMS Howe towards the end of the war.  He was a gunnery officer.  I wonder if anyone out there remembers him.  He died 30 years ago but my mother (101) is still alive.  I am going to apply for the Arctic Star on behalf of my Mum a very old Widow!

With all best wishes,
John Dominson

Mar. 3, 2013

My Edward James Guppy "Ted" from Withyham, East Sussex, served on HMS Howe as a stoker.  He was one of its first enlisted crew members and remained  with the ship until 1945.  He served in both the Atlantic and Russian Convoys  during his service. Would anyone still remember him? When he was still alive he was one of the crew who attended the Russian Embassy to receive his Russian medal, I remember how proud he was that day. I have just applied for the new Arctic Star to add to his medal collection, it is so sad he was unable to receive this in person. I am sure my dad and his mates enjoy a tot of rum every night in there new resting place.

John Guppy

Feb. 14, 2013

I was trying to find out anything about my farther serving on HMS Howe during the Russian convoys. His name was Charles Alan Gilbert. Came from Southwell in Nottingamshire. I also understand that he would be entitled to a medial is this correct.

Thank you,
Angela Nettleship

Jan. 2, 2013

I'm researching my late father's wartime service, which included time in HMS Howe. I was delighted to find the marvelous collection of photos in the Edwin C. J. Reed Collection which must date from the time when my father was on board. They include some very interesting below deck shots and some of the hands at work and help to paint a vivid picture of what life on board was like. Just thought I'd let you know how much I've enjoyed looking at them.

Thank you,
Bruce Rowling

June 9, 2012

I am looking into the history of HMS Howe upon which my father served as Sick Berth Attendant in the later years of WW2.  I have only very little of his service details - I know he was called up in 1939 and must have been about till 1942 when I was born.  My first ever memory of him was meeting him on de-mobilisation at New St Station, Birmingham probably in 1945 or 46.  He spent some time on Howe on its travels to the Pacific and during some of the Pacific engagements. We have photos of some of the places he visited and of a crossing the line ceremony. 

From memory he was on board when they visited South Africa, Ceylon, Australia and New Zealand and I believe through Suez. I wonder if your website or readers might have some information for me?  His name was CYRIL GEORGE DRAPER. Maybe you can point me in the right direction to locate service records?

Yours sincerely,
Ian Draper
Brackley, Northamptonshire, U.K.

Apr. 24, 2012

My, father Lonial Colin Barbery, served on the Howe. He was a very proud New Zealander and even more proud of the Howe. Would appreciate a note from anyone who remembers him

Gary Barbery

Apr. 4, 2012

I am trying to find info on my late fathers service during WWII. He Served on HMS Howe on Arctic convoys and he was Gunnery- I believe No. 1 Turret. His name is John Thomas Murray. Nickname Spike, dob:-August 1923. I also  know at some time he was transferred whilst at sea by bosons chair to HMS King George V . He also served of HMS Glasgow. He was stationed on Malta in the early 1950's and left the Navy in1952. Any information would be appreciated or direction as to where I may be able to find some.

John S. Murray

Feb. 21, 2013

I have now found more info on my father John Thomas "Spike" Murray. I now know he served on HMS King George V on Arctic convoys during WWII. He then served on HMS Glasgow when she went to South Africa & Later to Australia. His final ship was HMS Howe when she was part of the Mediterranean fleet. Whilst in Malta my mother & went to Malta 1952-53. If from this info anyone new him I would love to hear from them.

John S. Murray

Feb. 20, 2012

I have a mug made from the metal when they broke up HMS Howe at Inverkeithing (Thos. W. Ward Ltd.) and it is engraved:


perhaps someone may know him.

Kind regards,
Aubrey Bannister

Jan. 12, 2012

I am a British Legion Caseworker, assigned to Mr. Frank Charles Catt, ex-Stoker First Class. He served during WW2 aboard HMS Howe and holds the Burma Star (Pacific). Although a member of both the Legion and Burma Star Assoc, Frank would dearly love to make contact with any of his old shipmates. Frank is not computer literate so he has given me permission to give out his details, should anyone contact me.

Thank you Cynthia Pettit (Major Retd)
TRBL Caseworker

Jan. 9, 2012

My dad (John Needs) talked often about his beloved ship. I'm pleased to say he is 89 years of age this year, and is still going strong. It is amazing that when I first showed him the pictures on the site- he remembered everything about the ship; it's length, weight, guns, speed, displacement, everything...

We recently talked about the Howe escorting Italian ships from Taranto, the invasion of Okinawa and the Kamikaze plane that bounced off her hull back into the sea (my dad was close by as it happened.)
Obviously, if anyone remembers him on-board, he would love to hear from them...

Kind regards,
Malcolm Needs

Dec. 1, 2011

My grandfather, Frank Wickham, severed aboard the HMS HOWE during 1940 to 1945 based in the pacific. He never really spoke much about his time in service and I am trying to find more information about his time in the navy to show my Dad his son. I have an old photo which was left me, but have no idea where it was taken and all I know is it is from another ship while they are firing there guns.

Kind Regards,
Simon Wickham

May 15, 2011

I wonder if you could help me find out what relevance a boomerang, may have, regarding a Petty Officer, Frank Woolley, who was on the ship, in 1945 and was given the memento by a L Butterworth. Written on it is "Just a souvenir of your visit to Australia with the British Fleet". Frank was my late sister in law's step father and I am now in possession of the memento.

Kathy Simmonds

Mar. 7, 2011

I am searching for some information of a family member. The name is Cyril Wilson (he was born in the north and had no middle name, he may have gone by the nick name 'tug' at the time), and from what I can gather held a rank of petty officer or similar. He served aboard the HMS Howe, exact dates I am unsure of, but he definitely sailed on her when she passed through the Suez canal in 1944.

Right now there are big holes in what I know so any information from someone who knew him would be appreciated, I certainly don't expect to find any pictures, but if they do exist it would be an absolute gem..

Best regards,
Andrew Collins

Feb. 17, 2011

My mother Winifred worked on the Howe when she was in Fairfield's yard and on her maiden voyage down the Clyde! Mum is 93 now. She was an upholstery sewer and knitted guns or summat. Just kidding. She sewed mats for the base of the gun turrets - to drop shells onto when they came up from the armoury.

She remembers a crewman who took photos of her at the base of the forward quadruple gun turret and charmed her no end. She was dropped of at the "tail of the bank" - Gourock I think - before having to make her way home to Glasgow.

I found a short film of the Howe on that voyage taken from another ship but would love to see some photos of aboard ship at that time. She has vivid memories of the ward room and how sumptuous it was. If anyone has anything please post. My mums maiden name was Winifred (Winnie) Murray.

Jim Findlay

Nov. 14, 2010

My father was a stoker on HMS Howe, I have very little information apart from he joined the Royal Navy during the early part of WW2. He talked about the Atlantic Convoys and being in the Russian convoys to Ark Angel and Murmansk, and the use of hammers to remove the ice to stop the ship from sinking though the ice formation.

He received the Russian convoy medal and collected his medal from the Ambassador in London. He passed away 15 years ago and I am seeking if a fellow shipmate would have any pictures of my father. His name was Edward James Guppy " Eddie , of Hunts Farm, Withyham, East Sussex. I am also seeking his service number which may help me obtain his service medals.

Thanking you,
John Guppy

May 30, 2009

Thank you for your wonderful web site. My Father served on the HMS Howe as a Royal Marine, Ronald Plunkett. He joined the ship in Iceland as a young man of 20. He has often spoken of his mates and their adventures. It was great to be able to print a picture of the ship for my two sons, now young men of that age. Dad is 84 now and still going strong. If anyone remembers him it would be great to hear from them.

Julie Greinke (nee Plunkett)
Queensland, Australia

Feb. 6, 2009

I have just discovered your message board, and I am delighted. I am wondering if anyone remembers my father
Harold William Everill. He was from Birmingham. My father passed away in 1991, and I have been longing to
find a photograph of him in his uniform. If anyone remembers Harold, please contact me, as I would love to hear
from you. 

Thank you,
Debbie Everill Yacyshyn

Oct. 16, 2008

My father was aboard HMS Howe, Neil Buchanan, during WWII. As he is now in failing health I would be interested to hear from any of his centenaries so that I could pass any news on to him. His eyesight is now very poor.

Angela Sylvester

Sept. 16, 2008

My late father, ALBERT (bert) GORRINGE, was a Royal Marine on HMS HOWE between 1943 and 1945. Is there
anyone who has photos of the crew, on board at this time?

Stephen Gorringe

Oct. 27, 2007

I have surfed the net with the hope of gaining info on a sailor-friend whom my mother had met in 1945. The only clue I have come across was correspondence that you have with a gentleman who was a crew member of the HMS Howe. My enquiry is whether Gerry Burtenshaw can recall a crew member by the name GEORGE WATSON who had sailed on the same warship when it sailed into Cape Town Harbour (South Africa) +/- 1945.

My mother will be 90 years old soon, and as time is swiftly running out, I would like to know whether GEORGE WATSON is still alive, his address, or the address of his dependants/family. Kindly assist if at all possible. Your effort will be highly appreciated.

Beresford Pearce
Cape Town,
South Africa

Oct. 27, 2007
Reply 1

I very much regret I did not know this gentleman. I would love to be able to help you but as I am sure you realise the crew was about 1,700 strong and in a ship that size you normally know only the people you work with directly. Good luck with your search.

Gerry B

Sept. 30, 2007

I have just come across your delightful site and am just amazed at the vast amount of pictures and data therein. I was an A/B aboard HMS Howe between 1944 and 1946 and have long been searching for new pictures and have sure found them now. I have my own Battleship site and hope to add some of yours to my collection if that does not infringe on any copyrights?. Thank you so much for a truly wonderful collection.

Gerry Burtenshaw,
BC,  Canada

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Page published June 15, 2007