Hugh Martyr

ww2dbaseEver since his school days in the United Kingdom, Hugh Martyr had been interested in history, particularly naval history. His interest in history later expanded to cover the American Civil War and the German V-weapons campaign against London. He is also an re-enactor and organizer of major re-enactment events, including the 200th anniversary of Waterloo event where over 8,000 were on the field. He joined the WW2DB team in 2018.

Photographs/Maps Contributions

HMS Rajputaana (F 35) sinking in the North Atlantic Ocean, 13 Apr 1941British motor merchant vessel Beacon Grange sinking after being struck by German submarine U-552, south of Iceland, 27 Apr 1941

Timeline Contributions

Hugh Martyr has also contributed 881 entries in the WW2 Timeline. A small sample of his timeline contributions is shown below.

» 19 Jun 1940: In the morning, Italian submarine Galileo Galilei was laying immobile on the seabed in the Gulf of Aden, hiding from British attackers. The first mild symptoms of methylchloride poisoning appeared in some crew members. Meanwhile, the submarine had been detected again by HMS Moonstone who launched another depth-charge attack. Captain Corrado Nardi ordered the submarine to periscope depth, examined his adversary and noted their single 4-inch cannon and a pair of machine guns. Considering possible effects of methylchloride poisoning if the submarine continued staying submerged, and the modesty of trawler's armament, he decided to face HMS Moonstone on the surface with his two 100-millimeter guns and two machine guns. As the fight began, the bow gun's sighting mechanism on the Galileo Galilei failed, greatly affecting the accuracy of shooting. Moonstone also moved too fast for the submarine's crew to aim their cannons effectively. After about ten minutes Galileo Galilei was hit for the first time, wounding Nardi and killing several people around him. Shortly thereafter, the bow cannon was hit killing the gun crew including second in command. The cannon continued shooting, however, under command of Ensign Mazzucchi. The aft cannon soon jammed, and then another salvo from Moonstone killed all those on the conning tower including Nardi. The bow cannon continued shooting until HMS Kandahar arrived at the scene and Mazucchi, as the most senior on board the submarine, ordered Galileo Galilei to stop shooting and surrender. The submarine had lost 5 officers, 7 non-commissioned officers, and 4 sailors. The submarine was then towed into Aden by Kandahar. Though the British side claimed that the submarine's codebooks and operational documents were captured intact by the Royal Navy, and revealed the exact position of other Italian naval units, Italian survivors (including Ensign Mazzucchi) reported that every document was destroyed before surrender, and that no written operational orders were issued to Italian units, only an oral briefing between captains and the submarine command in Massawa before every mission. The claim was reported only to cover the British intelligence activities in Italian East Africa. In British service, Galileo Galilei was renamed X 2 and would be used for training purposes.

» 6 Oct 1944: 11 German Heinkel bombers carrying V-1 flying bombs took off on the evening and were met by British Mosquito aircraft from 25 Squadron, resulting in losses for both sides. HK256 aircraft crewed by British Flight Officer Jack Henderson and British Flight Officer Roland Nicholls crashed into the sea at the start of the attack; Henderson survived and became a prisoner of war but the navigator Nicholls was killed. The former Hurricane fighter pilot Flight Lieutenant Alf Marshall DFM, flying his first night mission brought down his 20th air victory in the fight which saw another He 111 bomber go down, victim of 68 Squadron pilot Flight Officer John Haskell.

» 16 Jan 1944: Returning from a raid on Oschersleben, Germany on two engines, a severely damaged USAAF B-17 Flying Fortress bomber of the 322nd Squadron of the 91st Bomber Group piloted by 1st Lieutenant Eldridged V. Greer flew as low as possible and flew over towns and villages using trees as cover from pursuing enemy fighters, whilst the gunners strafed the houses and any troops they saw. On reaching the coast Greer said he was so low that German flak towers were firing down at them and enemy fighters were not engaging as they would be strafing their own towns. The bomber "Spirit of '44" was credited with ten enemy fighters destroyed. When they landed in England the ship's nose had been shot to pieces and gaping holes were all over the fuselage and wings. Somehow none of the crew were injured. The enemy fighters were shot down on the way to the target in what was thought to be the greatest air battle of the war.

» 27 Apr 1940: The British submarine HMS Clyde (N 12), under command of Lieutenant Commander D. C. Ingram, RN departed Rosyth in Scotland, United Kingdom for her 8th war patrol. She was to carry out Operation Knife, the supplying of Norwegian forces in the Sondefjord north of Bergen with arms and ammunition.

» 17 Feb 1940: At 0200 hours, the 1,819-ton Norwegian freighter Kvernaas sailing unescorted was hit by a single torpedo from German submarine U-10 (Oberleutnant zur See Joachim Preuss) and sank after just 5 minutes 4 miles north-west of Schouwen Bank, Netherlands. The crew got off in 2 lifeboats and were picked up by a Dutch steamer Oranjepolder on her way to London, ENgland, United Kingdom, but turned back and took the survivors to the pilot station at Hoek van Holland the following day. Various sources say that the Kvernaas struck a mine.

» 31 Jul 1944: 91 Squadron RAF lost a veteran pilot when Flying Officer Paddy Schade's Spitfire XIV fighter was hit by a Tempest fighter flown by Flight Sergeant Archie Wilson RNZAF of 486 Squadron when Wilson emerged from cloud whilst chasing a V-1 flying bomb. The wing of the Tempest fighter tore off the Spitfire fighter's cockpit; both pilots were killed. Flight Sergeant Stan Rudowski of 306 Squadron (Polish) RAF was vectored onto a V-1 flying bomb approaching the town of Rye, Kent in southern England, United Kingdom, two miles west of the coastal town he attacked from below, the flying bomb slowed, looped and exploded in the sea just off the beach.

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