Prisoner terrified as HMS Lion is rammed in Forth fog

Looking from HMS Lion we see Lowestoft across her bow
Looking from HMS Lion we see Lowestoft across her bow

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On April 4, 1964, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were in Scotland to open the new Forth road bridge.

The cruiser HMS Lion was on station, anchored just short of the Forth railway bridge and just a little way from Rosyth Dockyard.

The bow of HMS Lion with the cell scuttle (porthole) on the right. This is where the sailor was when Lion was hit.

The bow of HMS Lion with the cell scuttle (porthole) on the right. This is where the sailor was when Lion was hit.

In thick fog the frigate HMS Lowestoft ploughed into the bow of Lion bringing her to an abrupt halt.

Such was the force that Lion’s stowing anchor ended up on top of Lowestoft’s bow sweeping away her ensign staff.

On board that morning was Lieutenant John Edwards who now lives at Drayton, Portsmouth.

He told me everything was calm when suddenly there was an almighty crash which sent everyone running.

Looking through the gaping hole made in HMS Lion's bow. The Forth railway bridge looms through the fog.

Looking through the gaping hole made in HMS Lion's bow. The Forth railway bridge looms through the fog.

Apparently, the most frightened man was a sailor on jankers who was in the ship’s cell just before the brow.

Lowestoft must have stoved in part of the cell.

When he was rescued the sailor demanded that he never be sent back to cells again.

John retired three years later after 24 years service to a safer job in the banking industry.

All pictures taken and loaned by John Edwards.