HMS Formidable
Message Board
Messages 1 through 24

Feb. 8, 2012

My father served on the Formidable during the Pacific campaign. His name was Eric Robertson and he came from Woking in Surrey and he worked in the boiler room. Sadly he passed away in 1990 but left me with mementos of his time onboard including medals and numerous photos. I have only just discovered this site and would be happy to share any information or talk to anyone who may still be around, possibly anyone who may have known my dad.

Dave Robertson

Jan. 8, 2012

I am so pleased to have found your website. My father, Peter Gleadhill, served on HMS Formidable between 1943 and 1945. He was on board the ship during the Kamikaze attacks in 1945 and has left us a photograph album full of pictures of the ship, the crew, the aftermath of the attacks and many of the ship and the crew in Sydney. He was very proud of his war experience and his brave colleagues on the ship, many as young as him (19 at the time). For many years he corresponded with someone in Sydney, but I do not remember who this was.

After leaving the Navy he lived in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire for the rest of his life, working as a Post Office telecommunications engineer. He married my mother, Doreen, in 1948 and had two sons, Bryan in 1954 and me in 1957. My father died aged 67 in 1993 after many years of heart problems. Is there any way of finding more details of his time on the ship, the various routes he travelled etc? Before he died he was very quiet about his wartime experience and I think the Kamikaze incidents affected him greatly. I would love to know more about his history on the ship.

Best regards,
David Gleadhill

Dec. 18, 2011

I'm currently doing some research on my grandad Patrick Carral who was a leading air mechanic on HMS Formidable 1943-1946 I believe. I am interested in the medals he should have received as he no longer has them, due to his kids (my father) losing them when they were younger. I would appreciate all the help I can get and if anyone knew may grandfather please get in touch.

Kindest regards,
Victoria Carral
Edinburgh, Scotland

Nov. 16, 2011

My father, George "Sharks" Bolton, served on HMS Formidable from around 43 - 46 spending a lot of time in Australia. His memory is fast failing now, but I believe he was a gunner, and he tells the story of falling off the ship into the water, claiming that he spent time in the "brig", having been charged with abandoning ship! It would be fantastic if anyone remembers him. At 86, he is still physically fit, but sadly is an Alzheimer's sufferer. I look forward to hearing from anyone. I am very proud of him and the effort he, along with many others gave to the campaign.

Laurence Bolton

Nov. 16, 2011

It is so wonderful to see so many people telling their stories on this forum.  My grandfather, Kenneth (Ken) Wardell, was a gunner on HMS Formidable and I am hoping there are people out there that remember him. He sadly died a few years ago and I miss him terribly. He told me some wonderful stories over the years - never anything about the horrors he must have seen, all fond memories of the people he met and the places he visited. I know he must have seen some terrible things but he chose not to talk about them. I'd love to know if anyone remembers him.

Kind regards,
Rebekah Allen

Kenneth Samuel Wardell seen at left.

Nov. 7, 2011

This is a note to the descendant of Brummie Williams. My father, Leslie George Robinson, knew him very well. He was only talking about him yesterday 6/11/11. He was my father's friend on board, and they used to cover for each others duties. Brummie was covering for my father on the day he was killed, as my father was in the sick bay. He says that he still thinks about him every day, as it could very well have been him that lost his life on that day. He holds him in extreme fondness as he gave his life instead.

Terry Robinson

May 30, 2011

My late father, Alf Pipe, served on HMS Formidable as a Royal Marine during WW2, he would never talk much about what happened, but I know that he saw some terrible things, I am very proud of him.

David Pipe

May 13, 2011

GEORGE HESELTINE :   17 May 1924 - 12 April 2011

It is with the greatest sadness that the family of aircraft technician George Heseltine inform you that he has passed away. He served with immense pride on HMS Formidable during World War II in the Pacific and Australia. He never forgot friends he made or those he lost during that time.

Karen Anderton  

May 10, 2011

My father Louis Henry Browne served on the HMS Formidable during WWII. I would love to hear from anybody who knew him.

Leonard Browne

Feb. 26, 2011

My father was also on Formidable during the Pacific campaign and had some photos of the aftermath of the Kamikaze attacks. He was working on an aircraft when the first one hit an punched a hole in the flight deck approx 12" diameter. His ran was  Killick (?) and his name was Dave Thomas (Tom) he also worked on the aircraft  but, I think, Hydraulics etc and not the engines. I remember him saying they did a course on Seafires but then they were hardly used.

Derek Thomas

Reply 1
Mar. 2, 2011

Killick is RN slang for a leading hand (seaman) it derives from the word for a small anchor - the arm badge of a leading seaman is a single small anchor.  Leading hands can be found in most of the trades of the junior ratings.

Robert Edmonds

July 17, 2010

My father Dennis Challener served on HMS Formidable during the pacific campaign and was proud to have done so. He didn't talk too much about it, unless he had a few rums, he was attached to the pom pom guns, does anyone remember him ?


Apr. 4, 2010

My granddad was Petty Officer George Hinkins who was killed by a Kamikaze on the 5th April 1945. I was just wondering if anybody knew him and has any stories they could pass on to me.

Andrew Hinkins
Manchester England

Reply 1
Apr. 24, 2011

I am replying to the request for information on George Hinkins. My father Phillip Derrick Evans served aboard the Formidable and his action station was the P2 pom pom that George died on. My father met with some of the relatives of George around 20 years ago. I am not sure if the person requesting information was present at the meeting.

David Evans

Reply 2
May 11, 2011

My son forwarded your e-mail to me. I am George's son David and I think we met at the reunion. I was trying to get some recognition for my father, I suppose I have never forgotten how concerned your father was that George never received an award. However, after much work I did receive a letter from Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope GCB OBE ADC The First Sea Lord (shown below).   I am sure if your dad were still alive he would have a few choice words to say about the letter, unfortunately I think its as far as I can go. I feel content now, a form of closure I suppose, so thanks to your dad and God bless all the crew of the old Formidable.

David Hinkins

Jan. 11, 2010

My late father, Richard RODGERS served on board the Formidable during the latter part of the war, when she served around Okinawa, upon the return to Sydney my father was demobbed and married my mother in 1948. I would be keen know if any person has any knowledge of my father.

Mike and Lyn Rodgers

Nov. 15, 2009

My father Archibald McInally served on HMS formidable from 7th January 1942 till 7th December 1947. Sadly my father passed away on the 13th of November 1982, I am hoping someone can tell me what medals stars etc that my father would have received in his time in the navy. He also served on HMS Renown from 23rd August 1939 till 19th July 1941. I would also be grateful for any photos or information concerning his time in the Navy as we are putting together our family history.

Rachel Edgar (nee McInally)

July 21, 2009

My father, Bob Hines, Dental Surgeon RNVR, served on Formidable and I have a very detailed handwritten log of events on board, while in the Pacific, with many photos - especially of crew and of Japanese planes.  Does anyone remember him?

Allan Selway

June 3, 2009

I am a former Royal Marine who served aboard HMS Formidable in the Pacific Fleet during the end of the war with Japan. I am now 84 years of age and fumbling around on my computer found your page. Wonderful to see the old ship again as I was on board when we where hit twice in one week off Okinawa. And returned to Sydney for repairs, this was way back in 1945.

We left a number of shipmates in Australia who had married over there and there must have been a lot who returned later to live there. I most certainly enjoyed my visits on shore leave. No doubt the changes to Sydney has left it unrecognizable to when I was there in Wooloomooloo docks. (If that is how it was spelt). Goodbye for now I hope this gets to you.

Joe Jones
Birmingham, West Midlands, England

May 31, 2009

It is my sad duty to report the passing of James "Jim" R. Steel on May 22, 2009. Jim served in
Formidable, Colossus and Glasgow during World War 2. He died peacefully at age 88, and was privately cremated. In lieu of flowers, a donation in memory of Jim to the Lyell McEwin Health Service Palliative Care Unit, would be appreciated.

Jan. 24, 2009

My father, Harry Coopey (think he was nicknamed 'Chick') also served on the Formid, as he called her. He rarely
talked of the trauma of the war, always focusing on the comradeship and the japes that he and his buddies got up to. I'm not sure when he joined the ship but was told by a friend of his that he was on the flight deck during one of the kamikaze attacks (probably 4th May 1945) and that sailors either side of him were killed by the blast. 

It puts his reluctance to talk into perspective. Sadly Harry, who otherwise lived in Gloucester all his life, died suddenly in 1996 aged 74. He was a wonderful dad and I have a son who bears his name. Dad underwent training in the United States where he had a whale of a time - he and the other British sailors seemed to be as popular over there (Portland, Maine?) as the Yanks were over here. 

On board ship he was (I believe) an engineer, specializing in aircraft engines. He certainly talked about the Corsairs, Avengers and Hellcats and I treasure taking him to the Fleet Air Arm museum at Yeovilton a few years before he died. They had a picture sequence and a sound recording of the kamikaze attack. I'm sure it was very emotional for him to see those pictures and stand in front of a genuine Corsair there, in all its glory.

I've attached a picture of Dad together with a scan of Neptune's warrant which was awarded to the first timers crossing the equator on 25th February 1945, as the ship steamed to join the Pacific Fleet ahead of the final months of the war.

My sincere best wishes go to all surviving crew members, please pass them on if you are able. 

Chris Coopey

Harry Coppey


Crossing the line certificate

Jan. 23, 2009

I believe my father, Bob (or Robert ) Relf, served on the Formidable after the war. I would love to find out if anyone out there knows him. He was 82 yesterday and I would love to surprise him with a few names!!

Many thanks,
Ray Relf

Nov. 10, 2008

My late father, John A Candy, was on HMS Formidable. We had a couple of photos of the time she was hit by a Kamikaze. He never had much to say about the time of war, I never pressed him to talk. He did say that he boxed for the ship I don't know how true that was I never questioned him. He was in the brig more than on the deck apparently, I believe he was a anti-aircraft gunner. We still miss him.

John Candy Jr.

July 7, 2008

My father Sgt Eric Buss RM served on HMS Formidable during the Pacific Campaign. He also went to Manila to pick up Australian POWs, the sight of which must have affected him deeply as it was not spoken about until he was dying of lung cancer and so painfully thin that he mentioned at one time that "I look just like those poor devils we brought back from Manila". I would very much like to know if anyone remembers him. I am in contact with Andrew Ramsey and Joseph Jones RM if anyone remembers them also.

All Dad's memorabilia has been put into Museums now. His medals etc. have gone to the Royal Marines museum, his photo albums sent to the Naval museum in Portsmouth, his prewar photos to HMS St Vincent in Gosport and HMS Malabar in Bermuda. Before doing so I put all the photos on the web. His copy of The Formidable Commission is now in Alberta Museum Canada, I have enclosed a copy of the wonderful letter that I received. Dad joined the police force on demob, but he always said his happiest days were while he was in the Marines and my dearest wish was granted when I had a Royal Marine bugler at his funeral.

Best wishes,
Sandra Meacock

Sgt. Eric Buss RM
Sgt. Eric Buss RM (top right)

May 8, 2008

My brother, Percy Stanley Williams, served on HMS Formidable and was killed in action by the Japanese Kamikaze off Okinawa in May'45, aged 19.............does any of the "crew" have any recollections or memories
of him? I believe his nickname was Brummie Williams. I would be most grateful to hear if you have.

Pauline Wilkinson.

Reply 1
May 25, 2008

I see your brother was on the same ship as my dad and at the same time, but I can t ask him as he is a nursing home with Parkinson dementia and can t remember much now.  I will try when I go to see him if he knew your brother it's worth a try he did tell my cousin all about being hit by a Kamikaze as she was doing a family tree.     

Janet  Bond

Mar. 17, 2008

My Dad was on the Formidable in the Pacific at the end of WW2 also taking POWs to Sydney after the war. His
name was Arthur Higgins, it would be nice to know if anyone knew of him.

Kind Regards,
Brenda Wells

Feb. 18, 2008

My dad was on the HMS Formidable in WW2 can any one remember him, his name is Jimmy Miller or he may have had nickname it would nice to hear from any one who knew him.

Janet Bond

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Page published Sept. 6, 2008