H.M.S. St. Vincent, Officers & Instructors 1956 - 1957

Two of the most Famous images, well known to Vincent Boys. The painting of Jack Cornwell that hung in the Seamanship Block and John Jervis, Lord St Vincent.

Photographs that I have. Can you supply any for that period? Below are Capt Hayes 1956),Capt Hawkins (1957), The Padre Ambrose Weekes who became the Bishop of Switzerland, Lt Ripper Duncan 2nd DO, Commander Pope, Lt Cdr Pinfield, Gunnery Officer, Lt D Barnham, now Rev Barham Anson DO and, Unknown CPO - was his name Thompson?


BELOW IS Lt Cmd D Robertson-MacDonald who was New Enties Divisional Officer when I joined. This is him on the Class Photograph as well, please name as many as you can

Captain Hayes leaves St Vincent

September 16 1998 TIMES OBITUARIES Vice-Admiral Sir John Hayes, KCB, OBE


Hayes was aboard HMS Repulse as signals officer, and lucky to survive her sinking.

Vice-Admiral Sir John Hayes, KCB, OBE, Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland, 1966-68, died on September 7 aged 85. He was born in Bermuda on May 9, 1913.

In an adventurous career afloat, John Hayes was at the heart of two melancholy episodes endured by the Royal Navy during the Second World War. As signals officer of HMS Repulse, he was among the survivors of the sinking of the battlecruiser and the battleship Prince of Wales, when the two capital ships were eliminated from the Far East naval equation by Japanese aircraft in the opening days of the Malayan campaign. Later, while on Arctic convoys, he was a close witness to the events which led to the catastrophe which befell Convoy PQ17. His written record of events was part of the evidence in a libel suit later brought by the convoy escort commander against the author David Irving.

The son of an Army doctor, John Osler Chattock Hayes (always known as "Joc" from these initials) spent much of his childhood in Bermuda before joining the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth in 1926. Undersized until reaching the age of 17, Hayes passed an inconspicuous four years in an environment which, with its at-the-double discipline, cold baths and compulsory sport, out-spartaned Sparta. A love of music that was to last a lifetime seemed slightly eccentric; solitary instrumental practice periods did not fit easily into the energetic timetable.

He survived life in the midshipmens' gunroom of the battleship Royal Oak in the spit-and-polish Mediterranean Fleet, but was then able to enjoy the magic of the China Station as it was in the halcyon days of the mid-1930s in the cruiser Cumberland.

He was next in the West Indies, then the Persian Gulf in the sloop Fowey, supporting Britain's diplomacy amid the Trucial States. As well as navigating in these notoriously shallow and reef-infested waters, he was also the ship's Accounting Officer, being paid an extra 2s 6d a day for the privilege of being courtmartialled should his accounts not be in order. It was said that more navigators suffered this way than through the grounding of their ships.

The outbreak of war sent him to the ancient cruiser Cairo, protecting the East Coast collier convoys upon which London, in those days, depended. A serious strain-induced deterioration in his eyesight sent him ashore in early 1940, but the Admiralty later relented and, fatefully, Hayes found himself aboard the battlecruiser Repulse.

With the threat posed by Japan in the autumn of 1941 she was sent with the battleship Prince of Wales to Singapore, where, in a forlorn effort to prevent the capture of Malayan airfields, the two ships were sailed to the north-east where they soon came under air attack.

As Signals Officer, Hayes was on the upper deck abaft the bridge, where he had a terrifying view of the preliminary high-level bombing attacks - which hit one of the boiler rooms - and the subsequent waves of torpedo-bombers approaching at low level. Despite brilliant shiphandling by Captain Tennant, Repulse was hit by four torpedoes and sank in eight minutes with the loss of 500 lives. Hayes's movements "were then dictated by gravity ... bouncing off the red-hot funnel ... the flag lockers which were now awash ... and so overboard helplessly and down for what seemed a long time". Dazed and blackened with fuel oil, he watched the Prince of Wales also sink, and was then picked up by the destroyer Electra and returned to Singapore.

Assigned to the operational staff, Hayes liaised with the Army in the evacuation of Johore, his exit over the causeway making him the last free Briton on the Malayan mainland for some years. After several adventures he was taken to Batavia in the cruiser Jupiter as Singapore fell; both Electra and Jupiter were subsequently sunk in the Battle of the Java Sea. A nerve-racking voyage to Ceylon in a slow Dutch inter-island coaster was followed by a troopship to Liverpool.

He was next appointed Operations Officer to Admiral Hamilton, commanding the First Cruiser Squadron and escorting Arctic convoys to Russia, Hayes was intimately involved in the events which led to the catastrophe that befell Convoy PQ17. When ordered to scatter by a First Sea Lord mistakenly fearful that the battleship Tirpitz was on the loose, two thirds of its ships were sunk. Hayes's pencilled report of the proceedings, flown to his C-in-C by Walrus amphibian in order to preserve radio silence, was later used as evidence in the libel suit brought by Captain Broome, the escort force commander, against David Irving's 1968 book The Destruction of Convoy PQ17 - an account, according to Hayes, that contained "vicious fabrication".

Hayes's war ended in the Mediterranean on the staff of the C-in-C based in Malta, with a satisfying involvement in the liberation of Greece and its rescue from communism. After the war Hayes was promoted early to captain and appointed to command of the frigates on the South Africa station. But recurrent eyesight problems deprived him of his chance to command a large ship and he considered himself highly fortunate to make rear-admiral in 1962, and even luckier to be appointed second-in-command of all Western Fleet ships at sea in 1964.

His final post was Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland, from which he retired in 1968. He was Lord- Lieutenant of Ross and Cromarty, Skye and Lochalsh, 1977-88. His autobiography, Face The Music (1991), unconsciously paints a portrait of a sensitive, deep-thinking man with a strong sense of history, able to illuminate with a skilful and affectionate pen the spirit of the sailors he knew so well.

He is survived by his wife Rosalind, their two sons and one daughter.


Vice-Admiral Sir Ernle Pope, KCB, Commander Allied Naval Forces Southern Europe, 1974-76, died on May 21 aged 76. He was born on May 22, 1921.

While serving as a young lieutenant in the destroyer Lively, Ernle Pope suffered the rare distinction of being sunk twice in one day. In May 1942 the turning point of the hard-fought Mediterranean campaign was still a year away and the Royal Navy's grim determination not to lose Malta - and to interdict supplies for the Axis armies in North Africa - was leading to many losses. Intelligence of a convoy bound for Benghazi prompted sorties by the destroyers Jervis, Jackal, Kipling and Lively from Alexandria.

On May 11 these ships were attacked by German bombers from the expert Fliegerkorps II, sinking the Lively. At sunset, a heavy attack by another squadron sank the Kipling, which had rescued many survivors from Lively, as well as badly damaging the Jackal. Next morning, Jackal had to be abandoned and sunk by a torpedo from Jervis, which retired carrying the 650 survivors.

Before this disaster, Lively had been living up to her name. Arriving in the Mediterranean in October 1941 and forming the celebrated Force K with her sister, Lance, and the cruisers Penelope and Aurora, she was based mainly in Malta, escorting five Malta convoys and conducting forays against Axis shipping. One night in November, Force K, using Enigma-decoded intelligence, intercepted a convoy going from Naples to Tripoli, and by clever tactical use of radar managed to sink all seven of the transports and the Italian destroyer Fulmine. Pope, as "third hand" of Lively, was mentioned in dispatches for his gallantry, skill and resolution in this action.

Later in the month, Penelope and Lively sank two German transports west of Crete. Force K conducted other harassing operations until March 1942 when it took part in one of the finest actions of the war, the Second Battle of Sirte. With brilliant tactics, Admiral Philip Vian's light cruisers and destroyers fended off the Italian battleship Littorio and three heavy cruisers, suffering only minor damage. Unfortunately, much of the convoy they were protecting was subsequently sunk by aircraft before it could reach Malta.

After his sinkings, Pope was appointed second-in-command of the destroyer Brilliant, escorting convoys to Oran in support of the American invasion of North Africa, before being sent home in 1943 to specialise in communications. As flotilla communications officer, he served with the British Pacific Fleet against the Japanese in the destroyer flotilla leaders Quilliam and Grenville, and was again mentioned in dispatches for his distinguished service in the Far East.

The son of a naval officer, John Ernle Pope entered the Royal Navy at Dartmouth in 1935 and was a midshipman in the cruiser Cornwall on the China station at the outbreak of war. In the Indian Ocean, Cornwall took part in the hemisphere-wide operations to find the pocket battleship Graf Spee, as well as operations with the Free French at Dakar in September 1940. Pope then returned to England for a sub-lieutenant's training course.

After the war, he spent two years on exchange with the Australian Navy, based with his wife and children in Sydney but with much time at sea. Promoted to commander in 1954, he then served in the signals division of the Admiralty.

It was his talent for driving and motivating people which led to his next two successful tours, first as the second-in-command of the boys' training establishment HMS St Vincent at Portsmouth and then as second-in-command of the carrier Centaur. Promoted to captain, he was appointed assistant chief of staff for communications to the Nato Commander-in-Chief Northern Europe, based near Oslo. This was followed by command of the destroyer Decoy and, from 1966, command of one of the Navy's two largest aircraft carriers, the Eagle.

Operating at first in the Far East, Eagle was a notably efficient ship, which, under Pope's command, played a part in the realignment of British defence policy from East of Suez to the North Atlantic. In 1968 the largest maritime exercise yet staged, Silver Tower, illustrated the new strategy, with Eagle as a useful part of the American-dominated Strike Fleet.

Pope was promoted to rear-admiral in 1969 and appointed Flag Officer Western Fleet Flotillas. This was a seagoing appointment with responsibility for the operational efficiency, morale and career prospects of the Western Fleet destroyer and frigate force. Pope's formidable personality inspired considerable awe; it was prudent to be very much on the alert with everything shipshape when steaming in the same waters as the flotilla admiral.

His reputation as a severe but humane disciplinarian followed him to his next post as chief of staff to the Commander-in-Chief Western Fleet, based at Northwood in Middlesex. This was a time of transition and budgetary decline which meant evolving new methods for countering an increasingly capable Soviet naval threat and ways to maintain Nato's maritime cohesion and credibility.

Pope's final tour, as vice-admiral, was to be at Naples as the Commander, Allied Naval Forces, Southern Europe. He was appointed KCB on retirement in 1976.

In retirement he devoted many years to the running of the Royal Naval Association, the nationwide club for retired naval people of all ranks. He was also a leading figure in the Historic Churches Trust for Hertfordshire and in welfare programmes for the disadvantaged in Malvern.

He married Pam Davies in 1945, but that marriage was later dissolved. He is survived by his second wife, Bunny, and the five sons of his first marriage

WANTED BY ME - HMS St Vincent Magazines published between November 1956 and Feb 1957. Copies will do. I will pay copy costs.

WANTED BY ME - HMS St Vincent Any Photos taken between Nov 13th 1956 & December 1957.

Some books written by St.Vincent Shipmates

"Face the Music" By Vice Admiral Sir John Hayes, Captain at St Vincent 1956. Pentland Press ISBN 1872795056

"Face the Music"- Buy it Today!

"1 must tell England" by George Treadwell. There is a large chapter on his impressions of the early days at St.Vincent, George was at St. Vincent - Class 25 in 1927. (Avon Books ISBN 1 86033 111 4).

"I must tell England"- Buy it Today!

"Action Stations" - Memoirs of a Small Ship Sailor - by Frank S Gardner. This book was recently advertised in Navy News. Frank started his Boy Seaman training at St.Vincent in March 1939, and after moving to the Isle of Man completed his training the following March. Newton ISBN 1 901405 00 1)

"Action Stations"- Buy it today

·         My St Vincent page

·         Royal Navy opening page with LINKS to my other ships.