This is the Message Centre for Mark E
Ian Gilbert Started conversation May 25, 2005
Just been reading about your efforts in researching your father's service aboard Venus. I have done quite a bit myself on the subject as at the time your father was on board, so was my dad.
At the time he was Chief Bosuns mate, and was Mentioned in Dispatches for his work in the rescue of survivors of the Hardy. I have a number of documents from the PRO which give details about that particular convoy from the point of view of the Destroyer flotila. during my researches I managed to locate, and contact, several officers who were serving on Venus at the time. They all kindly told me what they could of the incident and the conditions of service during the convoys to russia.
I am going on holiday in a few days time, but if you want me to, I can contact you when I get back. Let me know if it's what you want.
Mark E Posted Jun 8, 2005
Dear I Gilbert
Wow - this is fantastic news!
Please let me know when you are back from your holidays, and we can have a chat and hopefully you can enlighten me a bit about HMS Venus' Arctic Convoy.
This really is exciting news, thanks - have a good trip.
Best wishes, Mark
Ian Gilbert Posted Jun 10, 2005
I'm back from my hols now so will try to give you some info about the Venus-Hardy affair.
During my researches into my father's naval service I discovered that he was posted to HMS Venus in August 1943, presumably as she was being fitted out prior to her working up trials. I am told that he was the Chief Bosuns Mate (Buffer) on board. After these were completed she was sent to Gibralter in October where she was part of an escort for HMS King George 5th,who was returning to the Clyde.
After some convoy escort work Venus was assigned as part of the protection for Convoy JW 56B. This convoy sailed on 22nd January from Loch Ewe, but Venus, Hardy etc. did not join it until the 29th after they had sailed from the kola Inlet.
During the day a number of sweeps were made by the escorts after contacts were made, but these came to nothing. Late in the evening, the Hardy group joined the convoy and took up position some miles ahead. By this time estimates of some 6-15 U-Boats were thought to be in the vicinity.
At about 04.00 HMS Hardy was hit right aft by a gnat torpedo. The U_Boat was U278.
I believe HMS Virago was first sent to rescue the surviving crew of Hardy but encountered difficulties and so Venus was ordered alongside. My father was MID for his part in this rescue work. I have contacted a number of former Officers & crew in the past who told me of their experiences at this time. Although there is some small discrepancies in their various recollections it seems that the two ships came alongside so that they were bow to bow. This enabled many to jump across as the swells allowed them to. Others, I am told, were already in the sea and scrambling nets were put over the side of Venus to enable these men to climb aboard. I was informed that my father was one of those who climbed down these nets to assist those in the water, but I can't verify this.
Because of the damage to her stern and the presence of other subs. it was deemed impractical to tow Hardy so the decision to sink her was taken. It fell to venus to fire a torpedo at the Venus, which she duly did, with the result that Hardy sank.
This is only a brief outline of the events Mark, but if you would like to contact me via this email address we can discuss it further as I have other information which might interest you; [email protected]
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