In memory of HMS Dunedin and her Men
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Remembrance Service and Reunion, 22nd November 2014

The HMS Dunedin Service of Remembrance and Reunion will take place at the Portsmouth Naval War Memorial, Southsea Common, on Saturday 22nd November 2014 at 1200hrs. 

To all members of the HMS Dunedin Society

We are looking forward once again to welcoming you to our annual gathering to mark the 73rd anniversary of the sinking of HMS Dunedin. We are delighted to advise that the service will be conducted by the Reverend Colin Noyce OCM (RN) and an Order of Service will be distributed on arrival at the Memorial.

Following the service we will be holding an informal gathering in the Royal Maritime Club (RMC). Hot Lunch/sandwiches may be pre-ordered from the Compass cafe on the morning of the service which will help to speed matters up upon our return. Tea and coffee will be available as well as a full bar. Lunch will be taken at the front end of the restaurant.

As the Reunion is to be held on a Saturday we hope that many of you will be free to join us. There will be a chance in the afternoon to mingle and Dunedin Society members will, as usual, answer any questions you may have about HMS Dunedin as well as anything concerning the life of the ship and her crew during the ship’s war service.

Dinner

In the evening a members’ dinner will be held in Horatio’s Restaurant at 7 pm. All are welcome to join in. Please note that the cost of the meal for non-residents is £15.75 per person (no increase from last year).

Booking

It is important for planning purposes that we know how many people will be taking part during the day so it would be very helpful if you could please advise David Allen (email address below), by no later than the 8th November whether you or your relatives will:

1) Attend the Memorial service

2) Be requesting Lunch

3) Wish to join members for Dinner

We recommended that you make your arrangements as soon as possible.

Email: darby3134@btinternet.com

Accommodation

Should you wish to stay at the RMC we have negotiated a reduced rate for Room/Breakfast and three-course dinner at £47.50 single or £88 in a twin/double per night.

You must make your reservations directly with the RMC, making sure you mention you are a member of the Dunedin Society. Their advance booking line is: 023 9283 7681 and further information can be found at www.royalmaritimeclub.co.uk

Other hotels are available within the Portsmouth area.

Car Parking

Parking on site is on a first come basis. Road parking scratch cards are available for £2.50. Opposite the Club is the Historic dockyard parking offering 50% off relevant stay, but you must have tickets stamped by hotel reception and they can only be redeemed 7am-7pm when pay kiosk operating.

National Memorial Arboretum Alrewas Monday 24th November

As usual there will be a small service conducted at 13.30hrs and very kindly organized by Bas Bowyer at the HMS Dunedin Plinth, followed by Wreath Laying and planting of crosses. Dunedin members from the Midlands are cordially invited to attend. The Order of Service will be distributed at the service.

Dunedin Society Costs

Remember, the Dunedin Society can only operate if its members make voluntary contributions towards its running costs. You can donate online at our new website www.hmsdunedin.co.uk. You can find the PayPal button on the home page or here.

 

Kind regards

David Allen, Events Co-ordinator

Minnie – the ship’s Cat

Minnie - the ship's Cat

“Ship’s cat HMS Dunedin. Lost when ship was sunk by U-boat on 24 November 1941”

Minnie & Kittens

Photograph sent home for Christmas 1940, by Lt-Cmdr Sowdon: His caption is – “Minnie eats her dinner but her family was fidgety so had to be held”

Thanks go to Tommy Handley and Anne Randall (Lt-Cmndr Sowdon’s daughter) for these photographs.

Holland, Sandy

Casualty Office WRNSCPO Sandy Holland was one of the first six women to join the WRNS in May 1939 and was later stationed at Devonport. She remembers Dunedin in dry dock in March/April 1941. She recalls that the ship was urgently needed even though she wasn’t ready, so it was essential to “turn the boat around” very quickly. To help, she and some other Wrens went on board Dunedin to the ship’s office to help with the paperwork for three days so that the ledgers could be landed before Dunedin sailed.

Having been aboard Dunedin and knowing a number of the Plymouth-based ratings, Sandy took a special interest in Dunedin when was lost. Indeed, she sent many of the telegrams to the families of the Plymouth ratings.

Sandy is pictured, second from left, front row. The caption on the back reads:¬†¬†” The Casualty Office WRNS taken about 1942 who dealt with HMS Dunedin Devonport ratings in 1941″

Commander Jim Suthers

Dunedin Loth Cruiser In a joint operation with the carrier HMS Eagle, Dunedin was dispatched on 29th May 1941 to search for an enemy supply ship (not known at the time to be the Lothringen), reported as being somewhere in the region of 25 degrees North, 34 degrees West. After extensive searching, Eagle’s Swordfish aircraft spotted the tanker on 15th June and Dunedin, with one boiler out of action, made best speed to the scene. Dunedin found Lothringen damaged (from attacks by the Swordfish, including Jim Suthers) but still afloat as the Merchant Navy crewmembers had refused to scuttle her.

When Eagle arrived later in the evening, Dunedin had the situation well in hand and the Lothringen was ready to be steamed to Bermuda. This was an important capture. Not only did it deny the Germans vital oil supplies for their U-boats, but also important Enigma material was found where it had fallen behind a filing cabinet in the wireless room.

In October 2006, a few months before he died, Jim Suthers wrote the following to the Dunedin Society:

My involvement with the Lothringen begins as described on page of 103 Blood in the Sea,” three other Swordfish from Eagle joined him (Camidge) around 3 pm”. We circled the German ship, continuously emptying a drum of 303 ammunition, courtesy of our rear gunners, on her whenever there were signs of movement on her decks. My observer, not my regular one, suddenly asked me over the inter-com whether I would carry out a low run over Lothringen, as he had something he wished to drop on her. I wasn’t keen (an understatement !!), and I asked him what was he planning on dropping. He replied that he had a lidded tin into which he had urinated and wanted to get back at the Germans following the bombing of his parent’s house. Very reluctantly I agreed and having informed our air gunner also unenthusiastic, I flew very low over the Lothringen at mast level and the object was lobbed over the side of my Swordfish the lid not detaching I am glad to say. No attempt was made by German crew members to fire at us, although we must have been sitting targets. By now Dunedin’s boarding party’s boat was coming alongside Lothringen and we had the frustrating view of seeing confidential books being thrown into the sea. There was nothing we could do about this without risking hitting the Dunedin’s boarding party. All of us in Eagle were impressed with the accurate intelligence information provided by the Admiralty not of course knowing anything about Bletchley Park at that time.¬†¬†

Here is an extract from¬†Jim’s obituary, published in the Daily Telegraph¬†on 27 March 2007. ¬†Click the image to enlarge.

Cdr Jim Suthers Obituary