Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lost in the sinking of HMS Matabele (Jan 1942)

(Top) Able Seaman Edward Anderson, R.N. (1916 - 1942)
[Courtesy of 'Whitehaven News']

(Bottom) Anderson Family Headstone
[Whitehaven Cemetery]

Able Seaman Edward Anderson was lost at sea when 'HMS Matabele' was sunk by the German U-Boat U-454 on 17 January 1942. The total ship's complement was 238. There were only 2 survivors.

For additional information click on 'Comments' below


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

(1) Family background

Able Seaman Edward Anderson was born at Whitehaven, Cumberland (now Cumbria) on Wednesday 12 January 1916. He was the son of Edward Anderson (Snr) and Hannah Anderson (nee McCourt). During WW2 the family home was at 70 Ginns, Whitehaven.

The family were parishioners of St Begh's R.C. Church, Whitehaven. Edward (Jnr) had attended Quay Street School (St Gregory & St Patrick's) and St Begh's Boys School, Coach Road, Whitehaven. Edward (Snr) had served with the Royal Navy during WW1 and afterwards was employed by the local bus company, Cumberland Motor Services (CMS).

In 1934 Edward (Jnr) joined the Royal Navy at the age of 18. Able Seaman Anderson was with HMS Drake for part of his training, when the above photograph was taken.

(2) Service in the Royal Navy

For most of his time with the Royal Navy Edward Anderson (Jnr) served mainly on destroyers. For example, during the Spanish Civil War he was on board the H-Class destroyer HMS Hunter (H35) which enforced an arms blockade on both sides of the conflict. In May 1937 'Hunter' struck a mine. The vessel was saved, but 8 of the crew were killed and 14 were seriously injured.

Able Seaman Anderson was one of those injured, with a broken thigh and receiving serious burns. He was in hospital in Gibraltar for about six months receiving treatment for his injuries.

After the outbreak of WW2 Able Seaman Anderson was serving on board HMS Grafton (H89), a G-Class destroyer, which had also been employed on the arms blockade during the Spanish Civil War. April and May 1940 was an eventful time for HMS Grafton and Able Seaman Edward Anderson. 'Grafton' was refitting when the Norwegian campaign began, but as soon as the refit was completed she was employed on escorting the convoys to Norway.

'Grafton' was then involved in evacuating the British and French troops from the Dunkirk bridgehead. But, on 29 May 1940 'Grafton' was torpedoed by the German submarine U-62, and scuttled by HMS Ivanhoe. Luckily, Able Seaman Anderson was evacuated from 'Grafton' and on this occasion made it back home.

Able Seaman Anderson was on one of the destroyers that escorted the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to America. He was allowed a short home leave on New Year's Day 1942. It would prove to be his last home leave. On 11 January 1942, HMS Matabele (G26) was detailed to escort Convoy PQ-8 from Iceland to Murmansk providing supplies to the Soviet Union.
Six days later, on Saturday 17 January 1942, 'Matabele' was torpedoed by German submarine U-454. It took a mere two minutes for her to sink. Although many of the crew managed to abandon ship, as stated above, only 2 were picked up safe from the sea.

Sunday, 07 August, 2011  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

(3) In Remembrance

(a) His parents remember

After learning of the loss of their son, Edward Anderson's parents placed the following 'family notice' in the local newspaper, 'The Whitehaven News' (Thursday 29 January 1942):

ANDERSON - On January 17th, on board a destroyer, Edward, only son of Mr and Mrs E. Anderson, Whitehaven, was killed in action.

"Thy purpose, Lord, we cannot see,
But all is well that's done by Thee".

(b) Other family notices

In January 1943 other relatives of Edward Anderson placed the following family notices in 'The Whitehaven News' to remember him (Thursday 14 January 1943):

Anderson - In loving memory of our dear cousin, Edward, killed in action, January 17th 1942.

Memories, just memories, are all that are left
Of one we loved dearly, and will never forget.

Always remembered by Leah, Yvonne, Armand, Aunt Jinnie and Uncle Armand.

Anderson - In loving memory of our dear cousin, Edward Anderson, who was killed on January 17, 1942.

Gone but not forgotten.

Ever remembered by Jim, Annie and children, 3 Gore's Buildings.

(c) CWGC citation

This is Edward Anderson's Commonwealth War Graves Commission citation:

Initials: E
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Able Seaman
Regiment/Service: Royal Navy
Unit Text: H.M.S. Matabele
Date of Death: 17/01/1942
Service No: D/SSX 15000
Additional information: Son of Edward and Hannah Anderson, of Whitehaven, Cumberland.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 64, Column 1.

(d) Always remembered

As can be seen from the photograph of the family headstone (above) Edward Anderson (Jnr) is remembered together with his parents and one of his sisters. His name is also listed on the St Begh's Whitehaven WW2 memorial and the Borough of Whitehaven WW2 'Book of Remembrance'.

(4) Acknowledgements

Cumbria County Archives & Library Service

'The Whitehaven News'

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Sunday, 07 August, 2011  
Blogger Sjp said...

Thought about Matabele, and her crew, a lot yesterday. Grandfather was gunnery officer, Lieutenant John Plumridge. I have a photo here of the crew sitting in front, and on, one of the guns and they are almost all laughing or smiling, and boy, do some of them look young! Respect to all of them. Simon Plumridge

Wednesday, 18 January, 2012  
Blogger lesley golden said...

hello sjp,
noticed your comment about your grandfather serving on hms matabele, my uncle also served and died on that ship in1942(barents sea?)you mentioned you had a photo of the gunners? though uncle i believe was a regular seamen(just a couragious as the rest you will agree)i wondered if you had an app as i believe it is called to send me the photo (i have one uncle left from 9 boys my granny had and he would be chuffed i am sure to see it.hope you dont me mind me asking. regards lesley golden

Monday, 13 February, 2012  
Blogger Sjp said...

Would be very happy to send you a copy of the photo of the crew of Matabele. Can make a copy for anyone; please email me at and we can arrange something.

Tuesday, 14 February, 2012  
Blogger Marie Griffiths said...

My great great Uncle also perished on board the HMS Matebele.
I have a pictire of him here
and a pictire with an unknown shipmate here.

Monday, 23 July, 2012  
Blogger Pl said...

I am doing research for my father in law he lost his brother on the Matabele and wants to go to the site and throw a wreath overboard in remembrance so I am trying to see about organising / joining a trip there for him next year.any information or photos of the crew would be great as he has very little to remember him by.

Wednesday, 25 July, 2012  
Blogger James mccready said...

My great great grandfather James McCready also went down on hms Matabele. Unfortunately We do not have a photo of him and we were wondering is does anyone know of some way we could get a photo of him. Would be gratefull of any information.

Wednesday, 29 August, 2012  
Blogger James mccready said...

My great great grandfather James McCready also went down on hms Matabele. Unfortunately We do not have a photo of him and we were wondering is does anyone know of some way we could get a photo of him. Would be gratefull of any information.

Wednesday, 29 August, 2012  
Blogger Minkee DJ said...

My Grandad William Charles Kindon, who was a Petty Officer Stoker, alsp lost at seam presumed missing whe HMS Matabele was sunk. I have his medals and also photos and postcards he collected from his trips away

Monday, 22 July, 2013  
Anonymous Janice Haney (nee White) said...

My Uncle William White was on the Matabele when it was sunk. My Dad is 88 years old (his brother) and if anyone could send me photos I know he would be just over the moon. is my email address or
My Uncle William was a signalman on the ship (20 years old)

Sunday, 23 March, 2014  

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