Royal Navy and Maritime Book Reviews PROVIDED BY - Rob Jerrard

"Ships that deserve to be Remembered"

H.M.S. Janus "J" Class Destroyer


Photo supplied by (David Williams) who's Grandfather was lost with the sinking of Janus - the photo was sent as a Christmas card, possibly in 1944. David said; "My grandfather George Evans died on HMS Janus. He was the coder on the ship. The ship sailed out of Portsmouth - his name is listed on the War Memorial. He was 38 when he died and left a wife and two daughters."

The following Information by Ron Douglas.

Membership Secretary, Royal Naval Association,

Southern Ontario Branch, Canada.


Operation "SHINGLE" at Anzio.

HMS JANUS was one of several destroyers in the Flotilla, There was also HM Ships JERVIS, LAFOREY, TENACIOUS and INGLEFIELD. There were many more, but I cannot remember them all.

I was on the anti-aircraft cruiser, HMS Spartan,(Modified Dido Class) (my first ship). there was also aircraft carriers, 4 cruisers and approximately 20 destroyers. Two American ships, the Davis & Jones were used as jamming signal ships.

This operation was called "Shingle" under the command of Rear Admiral Mansfield commanding the 15th Cruiser Squadron.

On the 23rd January 1944, a beach head was established for the British Forces landing on Peter Beach. The Red Alert was sounded and I can recall this was to alert all gunners to their stations.

The Janus and the Jervis had been giving fire support for two days, but in the meantime approximately 30 or 40 Luftwaffe aircraft came over the area. They would circle the area at a very high altitude and let go their bombs. These bombs were made with maneuverable flight surfaces so that a crew member in one of the bombers could control the bomb and direct it to it's target. Hence the reason for the two American jamming ships to try to jam the radio signals that were used to guide the bombs. Unfortunately, some got through and the Janus was hit on the bridge and focsle by an arial torpedo. She broke in two and capsized with the loss of 100 or more officers and men.

There were only 90 survivors. (From Janus,)(in an article in Warship World Vol 6 No 10 Spring 2000 it says that Jervis rescued 5 officers and 77 men from Janus) The reason I know this is because I met some of those men in Naples after my own ship was hit by a radio guided bomb. Once again the American ships failed to jam the radio signals. On the 29th January at around 1900 our ship sank with the loss of sixty lives. Us survivors were picked up by the cruisers HMS Dido and HMS Delhi and taken to Naples.

A couple of the Hospital ships that were in the area were also hit.

Anzio wasn't the ideal place for a young 18 year old to be in January 1944, many of us had nightmares after this bombardment. However time heals all wounds.

Many matelots had shell shock and some developed pneumonia with the amount of salt water in their lungs and died.

Can you supply Photos or details on any of this Operation?