HMS Fame

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Crew of HMS Fame

Found an old photo of my dad taken during WWII and which I haven’t seen since about 1980. Thought this was lost forever. It is also the only photo I know of him taken during the war.

He is the one stood higher than the others on the left and hanging onto the rigging.

1aIMP

The photo was badly damaged, but I’ve repaired it as best I can (see below).

On the back of the photo is the photographer’s stamp, with the address in Hoylake (across the Mersey from Liverpool).

Edit March 2016
I am grateful to Mr Michael Thomas (whose father was also on HMS Fame at the time) for providing me with a copy of The Liverpool Daily Post of Tuesday 22 August 1944 which has this photo on page 4. The report also confirms it is Commander Currie in the photo.

The original photo as I found it.

Untitled-Scanned-01

Below;

My late father.

Dad

EDIT; January 2013
Since meeting with my dad’s former shipmate Ted ‘Shiner’ Wright, I can confirm this is HMS Fame and that the photo was taken in Liverpool though the date is still unknown. Ted is on the back row, 2nd from the right. For some of Shiner Wright’s memories of HMS Fame, please see here;
http://aircrashsites.co.uk/history/able-seaman-ted-shiner-wright-hms-fame/
Able Seaman Ted 'Shiner' Wright, HMS Fame

Links

Portrait of R A Currie, some years later by which time he had risen to the rank of Rear Admiral.
www.npgprints.com/image/675386/walter-stoneman-robert-ale…

Image of HMS Fame about to ram U-69 off Newfoundland, an action which took place while my dad was serving on HMS Fame, 17 Feb 1943.

www.military-art.com/mall/images/800s/dhm0969.jpg

U Boat Net
www.uboat.net/allies/warships/ship/4384.html

Naval History Net
www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-10DD-23F-Fame.htm

42 comments on “HMS Fame
  1. amyrey says:

    Always fascinating to find old family shots like this. Hard to imagine the experiences of our parents, but it is great to catch a glimpse of the lives they led. They all look so remarkably happy, even though they must have lived through some tough experinces. You did a top notch job on the repairs.

  2. nondesigner59 says:

    Great repair job and excellent detective work.. Well done.

  3. Keartona says:

    I had a look at this in original size and there so much detail and so many faces.
    I wish I knew more about my grandads time in the Royal Navy. All we know is that he was ‘Chief engine room artificer’ which I believe is something to do with being in charge of one of the engines or boilers. He never spoke of any of it.

  4. **Hazel** says:

    What a lovely photo Ian, great to have photos of our parents when they were young. You have done a great repair job, a very worthwhile thing to do to preserve this precious photo!
    Amazing the information you have found about the photo! My father joined the army because of hostilities I think and was an Officer’s Batman in Germany, Holland and Ireland, that is about all I know apart from that his wedding bans were read in Ireland:-)

  5. P_H_I_L_L says:

    Good job on the retouching Ian, very impressive.

  6. Pleasureprinciple2012 says:

    A really nice original photo with lots of stories held within it, you have done a really great job of "fixing" the shot. Detective work up to scratch as usual…

  7. andyholmfirth says:

    A wonderful bit of history.So many stories in those faces.

  8. 5DII says:

    Excellent investigative work and a good story.

    Well done.

    Bill

  9. cgullz says:

    gosh your dad was a looker!

    i love the match in investigative skills with deduction here, and the repair work is amazing! fantastic re-find, and definately in good hands.

    do they have RSA’s (for returned servicemen) in the UK – perhaps if there is something like this at Liverpool they too will have photos?

  10. bill_fawcett says:

    Fantastic job of photo restoration Ian and a very interesting piece of detective work! As usual, an extremely interesting narrative. Well done!

  11. Mustang Koji says:

    Ian, your father looked so care free in the photo; I do wonder what was truly going on in his mind during those days…

    As usual, Ian, you’ve done phenomenal research and a superlative job in restoring as well. I do notice there is no battle damage in the photo but there is what appears to be a sailor front and center with an arm in a sling. Have you looked into what the box that’s stamped "D. C. Pistol" means?

  12. Tech Owl says:

    Superb piece of history Ian – looks like you spent quite some time repairing too. Your deductions ring true to me as a casual observer

  13. Ian D B says:

    Many thanks everyone. Doing this has taken my mind off things a bit…

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/27955898@N07]
    Yes, it is a shame you have nothing on him, but you might be able to do some digging around with his name. You could also get hold of his service record which would identify the ships he was on, and then you could determine what action the ships saw during the war.

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/29551624@N03]
    Good idea Ang, I do need to revisit the museums of Liverpool if not servicemen’s associations now I have this photo, see what they might have there, see if I can pin the location down. Have looked at some photos on the internet, trying to identify that building behind. I look just like my Dad by the way, lol.

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/50742523@N05]

    Well spotted Koji. I was going to mention that, but thought it was too much detail. It is a box containing something called a Depth Charge pistol, which was the detonation mechanism which fired when the bomb reached a certain depth. Destroyers and Corvettes coming in and out of Liverpool were U-Boat hunters, escorting the convoys across the Atlantic. What I cannot find anything about is the Mk IX bit – I’d need a book on Depth Charges to find out more about that. There was a Mark 9 Depth Charge used by the US Navy, but that was later in the war. Doubt this is the same.

  14. Neal. says:

    My Father-in-law was involvd in "The Corfu Incident" and it took us years to find out anything about it, then someone gave us a book about it and there in side was a pic of him as a wee lad carrying one of his comrades coffins, my wife is his spitting image too. I never met him as he died of cancer years before I met my wife, sailors just have that devil-may-care attitude too.

  15. Hotpix [LRPS] Hanx for 1.5M Views says:

    Wow, cracking cleanup job and a real piece of history Ian!

    Seen in my contacts photostream……{.?.}

    Tone
    Hotpix http://www.hotpix.org.uk

    365-259 Macro Detail Of Pink Tulip Anthers and Stigma

    Walk a year in my shoes, share 100 ipod trax with me, see whats up my street or visit my world beyond the red.

  16. SolarScot. says:

    Ian im sure this has been a tough time for you lately,ive lost the net for the last few days so im sorry i havent been on sooner. these old pics can be a bit frustrating when there is nothing written on them but i think you did a good job ferreting out as much info as you could,have a peaceful Wednesday

  17. michele ciavarella says:

    extraordinary testimony, my friend!

  18. Ian D B says:

    Thanks again guys.

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/31878512@N06]
    Hi Neal, always good to hear from you. That’s a great story about your father-in-law. Be good to see you back on Flickr,

  19. cgullz says:

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/maycontaintracesofnuts] thought you might,v 😉

    that building in back does look pretty distinctive. i did the same thing for an old family shot i had, matched with one on flickr believe it or not!

  20. Ian D B says:

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/29551624@N03]

    Amazing what we have access to just by doing a spot of typing!

    I might get myself to Liverpool over the next week, see what i can find. Or even see, it may still be standing…

  21. IANLAYZELLUK says:

    Fantastic. A Gem.

  22. pasujoba says:

    Missed these Ian , had an internet search ,as I am sure you have , but cannot link any thing in the shot to an F Class destroyer It doesnt look to be behind the bridge /main deck structure but also doesnt look to be particuarily like the rear ‘castle’ either .
    But nevertheless it is only small and is almost certainly HMS Fame.
    You really look a lot like your Dad .

  23. Ian D B says:

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/32431958@N07]

    That threw me as well Paul. The shroud he is hanging onto can only be one of a couple of places on the ship. I spoke with my older brother afterwards, he also recalls it being of HMS Fame. Wish I had a more detailed photo of Fame or Firedrake. Have ordered a couple of books off Amazon, see what I can find…

  24. bandman12 says:

    To echo, this is a great "repair" job and great to read your knowledge and extrapolation of what story is behind this photo. Very nice.

  25. McAlister says:

    Great repair job Ian – I really should do that with a load of our old photos.

  26. huw_hw says:

    Great job with the photo; thank you for taking the time to put so much personal detail and detective work which goes with the photo. Great stuff..

  27. crusader752 says:

    Wonderful photo Ian – amazing when you look at all their faces you wouldn’t think there was a war on as they all look so carefree ..and happy too!
    I notice there’s a couple of civvies in there (plus the chap with his arm in a sling?) so my guess is your on the right track with the vessel being handed over to the new command.
    In my experience these old veterans of WWII (and subsequent wars) and in most cases the ones who say the least command my greatest respect, as nearly always when the truth finally comes out, it’s them who have usually contributed the most.

  28. Ian D B says:

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/29288836@N00]
    Thanks Rob. And thanks also [http://www.flickr.com/photos/frank_deweck] [http://www.flickr.com/photos/kirstymcalister] [http://www.flickr.com/photos/51809269@N08]

    You may be right there Rob. My Dad would have loved the internet though, he’d have been on various forums I reckon. He died at the end of 1996, just as the internet was about to take off. He only started to talk about it when I started to develop an interest and ask questions; until then, he just thought, like a lot of people, it was something to put behind them. Also we valued war vets less back then. You know, characters like Uncle Albert in Only Fools & Horses, being seen as a boring old man, always going on about the war? Now that generation has almost gone, we are at last beginning to treasure them and their memories. For Britain and Commonwealth and for the USA, it was our finest hour and they were our finest generation, they created the world we live in now, they set the standards.

  29. Verfain says:

    A treasure of a photo. Thank you for adding this, and the others to Dad’s Navy.

  30. Ian D B says:

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/verfain]
    Thank you, it’s an interesting group!

  31. johnboy 1947 says:

    It was nice to find this photo, My wife’s uncle served on this ship and died on board, 14th April 1944, How he died we do not know, Perhaps he was also on the photo, His name was Robert Roy Francis 1922-1944. Thanks J M H.

  32. Verfain says:

    I must tear myself away from this page.
    Otherwise I shall be following Leads Tangents and Folk who have commentated all day!
    So good also Ian D B to see the original.

  33. Ian D B says:

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnboy1947] [http://www.flickr.com/photos/verfain]
    Thanks guys. Always good to follow leads and head off at tangents Verfain!
    Johnboy1947, good to hear from you. My Dad was on board HMS Fame at the time of the death of your wife’s uncle. In April 1944 HMS Fame was patroling the Western Approaches, defending Atlantic convoys against U-Boat and Luftwaffe attacks in that area which extends from the British Isles west of Ireland to a point south of Iceland.
    I have noted that Able Seaman Francis was reported as missing presumed killed. He was perhaps swept overboard and lost at sea? I have had a quick look around trying to find a shipping report for that date, have so far found nothing but it appears there were no Royal Navy shipping losses that day, so probably the weather wasn’t a factor and no record of action (of which I am aware) in which Fame was involved? It could have been a simple accident. If you know when he joined HMS Fame (does your wife have a copy of his service record?) you’d be able to identify whether he was on board at the time this photo was (probably) taken. I have some books at home, will take a look through them this evening, see if anything comes to light.
    Ian

  34. Idolblu says:

    Hi there, we’ve just found this site with your photo. Thanks for sharing !
    My step father is in the photo (top row second right). He lives with us here in Liverpool, he was 90 last October 2012 and has only been able to remember 2 names on the photo at the moment, but is going to apply his mind to remembering any others. He also remembers Bob Francis and the circumstances when he went overboard. He was on the Fame 1942 to 1946. He said he would be pleased if you wanted to converse with him.
    Regards, Mike B

  35. Ian D B says:

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/92209230@N06] Idolblu

    So good to hear from you Mike! I hope your step father is able to recall some detail for the family of Able Seaman Francis? I also hope he likes this photo – great to be able to pick him out!

    I am sending you a mail via Flickr. I note you are new to Flickr, so if it isn’t obvious how to access mail just hold the cursor over your icon at top right of the page and pick Flickrmail from the drop down list.

    Does he recall where and when this photo was taken, by any chance? I have pieced things together as best I can with a few clues and a lot of research, but can’t be sure I have got it right.

    Ian

  36. Graham says:

    That top shot is a wonderful piece of history, Ian. A nice tribute.

  37. Jonathan Winehouse says:

    I have the same box it is a depth charge pistol box dating to 1941-mine is stamped hope this helps

  38. Jonathan Winehouse says:

    It’s the mark ix depth charge used 1942-43 maybe earlier

  39. Michael Thomas says:

    I came across your photo unexpectedly, searching for info about HMS Fame in WW11. A great restoration job.

    My father, Gareth Morgan Thomas, also served aboard Fame. He joined the ship after it had undergone repairs and conversion into an escort destroyer in Aug / Sept 1942. His service record shows that he left Fame in September 1945. My father died in 2007 and unfortunately I missed the opportunity to talk with him about his war experiences. A big regret now.

    Nevertheless, Petty Officer Gareth ‘Thomo’ Thomas, a radio mechanic aboard ship, had a camera and took many photos (of varying quality) of Fame’s escort operations and his fellow crew members. Unfortunately no dates or details are attached to the photos.

    However, one photo appears to have been taken close to the position of your photo. The background to the photo appears to show identical features of Fame’s infrastructure. In the foreground several of the crew are hauling a large number of fish across the deck, possibly following use of depth charges.

    I also have a detailed photo of HMS Fame at sea and many photos showing the build-up of ice on the destroyer’s decks. There are also shots of the crew in more relaxed moments. I’d be happy to forward some pics to you if of interest.

    Michael Thomas

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Michael it’s great to hear from you, thank you for your comment. Our fathers would have known each other, they were on Fame at the same time! Is your dad in the photo above?

      I feel for you not having spoken with your dad about his time in the Royal Navy. I had some conversations with my dad but wish I’d done more. We took that generation for granted and now they’re nearly all gone.

      I am very interested to hear he took some photos though and I’d love to see them. I’d add them to this page with your permission? But whatever you have I’d really like to see them. My email is IanDB@gmx.com

      I keep searching for photos of HMS Fame in the hope of seeing more crew photos. There are a few photos on google image searches which were taken at the same time as the one above, a couple showing the officers and the sailor with his arm in a sling. By the way I think this photo was taken after returning from Convoy SC-104 which I wrote about here if you’re interested;
      http://aircrashsites.co.uk/history/western-approaches-convoy-sc-104/

      Ian

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