In memory of HMS Dunedin and her Men

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″

Woodley, (Harry) Henry George James

Hannover prize crew

Harry Wooley is Second from left in the front row.

Harry Woodley Photo Album

A sample from Harry’s Photo Album








Biographical Notes

Harry Woodley joined HMS Dunedin in 1939 and survived her sinking. He was part of the prize crew that took over the captured German merchant ship, Hannover, in March 1940 in the Caribbean.

Harry died in 1993.

April 2010:

After the war, Harold wrote about HMS Dunedin and her sinking. I am grateful to his daughter, Carolyn Woodley, who generously made his original account available to the Dunedin Society. At the time of writing, we have what appears to be the first half of his account. We hope that the rest of it will turn up too.

Over the next few weeks I will be uploading Harold’s account in segments. Click on the links below.

Part One: Freetown

Part Two: Concert Party and Preparing to Leave Freetown for the last time

Part Three: Monday 21st November – Dinner then into the South Atlantic

Davis, RH

Jim Davis

Albert CookeConscripts - Skegness training, end 1939 3rd row on left end

john miles with bill gill and jim davis











Biographical Notes

Joined in 1939 in Scotland. Served on Northern Patrol, in Caribbean and Atlantic. Jim shared a raft with Petty Officer Butler, Able Seaman John Miles (pictured above, seated between Jim on the right and Bill Gill on the left), and Able Seaman Harry Cross. Their raft was the second or third one to be rescued by SS Nishmaha. See also Rafts and Rescue.

Jim is currently the President of the Dunedin Society.

On return from Bermuda in 1940, one of Jim’s comrades gave him a poem that he had written, called No Regrets. Click here to see a copy of the original, but the text is reproduced below:

No Regrets

We’ve left the blazing tropics, left the heat behind,
Left the sweat and safety, for the travail of our kind,
We’ve parted from the romance, that tended us awhile,
Headed for our native land, that’s fighting Hitler’s guile.

Prickly heat has irked us and ‘dhobie itch’ as well,
Without a ‘rubber seaboot’, we’ve worried more than hell.
‘Roaches marched in thousands, then called on thousands more,
While flies settled on our carcase in groups of several score.

We’ll miss our grapefruit breakfast and ‘nanas’ for our tea,
Miss the swims and beaches, and the flying-fish at sea,
Miss the ‘whites’ to swank in, mourn the iced drinks,
And some will miss the ‘Colonel’ who stutters now methinks.

For the ark of stars is waning, and the moon has drawn her veil
And breathless nights now mock us, as we dare Atlantic’s gale.
The temperature has fallen and we swap our fans for fires,
Yet still our pulse runs strongly, for Britain’s need is dire.

So all regret is but a phrase, we’re stronger than our fate,
Our Island Home demands us back, the swines are at our gate.
We go without a coaxing, we’ve wished it all along,
We’re going back to Britain to swell the Victory song!!!!