Hereward wakes memories

HMS Hereward leaving Portsmouth Harbour

HMS Hereward leaving Portsmouth Harbour

Alan Sanger and his cousin Audrey (with their backs to the camera) are in the centre of this historic blitz picture taken at Fratton.

Bomb site boy is revealed, 76 years after blitz on Portsmouth

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Peter Gregory’s family heirlooms of HMS Hereward’s part in the evacuation of Crete in 1941, sparked a swift response from many of you.

One of those who got in touch was Alan Deadman, of Macaulay Avenue, Paulsgrove, Portsmouth, whose father Alfred was also on board the Portsmouth-based destroyer which was eventually sunk in the battle.

Like Peter’s father, Don Gregory, Alfred was also captured by the Italians and was marched from the toe of Italy to a camp just outside Naples.

He died in 1989.

He enclosed a Christmas card he sent to his wife, Alan’s mother, from the camp in 1943 and a shot of Hereward sailing out of Portsmouth Harbour.

Alan’s uncle, George Hesseycorr, was also serving in the ship but did not survive the sinking.

And then Mr Hessey’s son, David, contacted Remember When. He said: ‘Both my father and my uncle were serving in the ship when it was sunk while evacuating allied forces from Crete.

‘My father, George Hessey was lost, but my uncle, Alf Deadman, survived as an Italian prisoner of war until repatriation.

‘There is another son of a Hereward sailor lost at Crete living at Leigh Park.

‘His father Bruce Fisk is one of the 76 from the ship’s company listed by the Admiralty as ‘missing believed killed’.’

He added: ‘The Hereward survivors used to attend the reunion of HMS Bonaventure in Plymouth, because when Bonaventure was torpedoed on Palm Sunday 1941, Hereward picked up the survivors.’

And the pictures of Hereward also struck a nostalgic chord with Eric Bentley, of Catisfield Road, Southsea.

‘The H class, such names,’ he said. ‘Hotspur, Hero, Hostile, Havoc, Hardy and Hereward.

‘Hard names, hard life.

‘To see a number of destroyers leaving Scapa Flow at speed against a setting sun was an experience never to be forgotten.’

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