HMS Esk

The Texel Disaster took place off the Dutch coast on the night of 31 August 1940 and involved the sinking of two Royal Navy destroyers, and damage to a third and a light cruiser.

 

The disaster was caused by a destroyer flotilla running into an unmarked minefield, which caused serious damage to one vessel; two more destroyers were sunk going to the aid of the first, and a light cruiser sent as an escort was slightly damaged by a mine on the return journey. In all, the disaster caused approximately 300 deaths, with a further 100 men injured or taken prisoner of war.

 

On the night of 31 August 1940, the British 20th Destroyer Flotilla – consisting of HMS Express,  Esk, Icarus, Intrepid and Ivanhoe – sailed from Immingham to the Dutch coast northwest of Texel to lay mines.

The flotilla was joined by part of the 5th Destroyer Flotilla consisting of HMS Kelvin, Jupiter and Vortigern.

 

While the ships were laying mines, air reconnaissance detected a German naval force moving west from Terschelling towards Britain; fearing an invasion the 20th flotilla was ordered to intercept.

 

Whilst heading for this German force, the flotilla ran into a newly laid, uncharted minefield and Express was badly damaged, losing most of her bow.

The explosion caused heavy casualties: ninety of the 175 men on board were killed or wounded, including her captain, J.G. Bickford, who was injured by the explosion.The flotilla commander, Lieutenant-Commander Crouch, moved his ship, Esk, to assist Express but the Esk also hit a mine and the vessel swiftly sank, killing all on board, save one man.  HMS Ivanhoe then went to transfer the wounded from Express but also hit a mine and was badly damaged, the explosion killing a further 53 men and wounding the majority of the crew.

 

Several life rafts, carrying shipwrecked sailors, drifted into the Dutch coast where those on board were detained by the German authorities as prisoners of war.

 

1 September brought Kelvin and Jupiter from the 5th flotilla to help rescue the shipwrecked crews and later two light cruisers – HMS Aurora and Galatea – arrived as an escort. The Ivanhoe was scuttled by fire from Kelvin and the ships returned to port.

Jupiter towed the hulk of Express until tugs could be sent out to take over.

 

On the way, Galatea hit a further mine and was slightly damaged.

The final toll of the disaster was approximately 300 killed, with a further 100 injured or taken prisoner; this was the greatest loss of life suffered by Nore Command since the evacuation of Dunkirk.

The German "invasion force" turned out to be a small minelaying unit transferring from Cuxhaven to Rotterdam.

The casualties returning from the disaster, some badly burned, contributed to the myth that a German invasion had been repulsed by the use of burning oil floated on the sea.One theory amongst British civilians and press of the time laid the blame for the disaster with Lord Louis Mountbatten.

J-W


Name: James, Richard

Rank: Stoker 1st Class

Age:39

No.P/SS 121836

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Evan and Elizabeth James, husband of Amy James, of Peckham.

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel:  42-1

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Name: Jones, Harold Victor

Rank: Electrical Artificer 1st Class

Age:41

No.P/M 28970

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Mr and Mrs Hyacinth Adams, husband of Eleanor Adam.

 

 Portsmouth Memorial Panel:  43-1

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Kent, Arthur Samuel

Rank: Leading Telegraphist

Age:

No.P/JX139786

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin:

 

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 40-3

 

 KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Macleod, Norman

Rank: Seaman

Age:20

No.P/X20830A

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Donald M and Catherine MacLeod of Stornoway.

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 44-1

 

 KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: McCappin, Wallace Boyd

Rank: Signalman

Age:30

No.P/UD/X1362

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Robert and Jane McCappin, of Belfast

 

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 44-3

 

 KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: McKenzie, Robert Allan

Rank: Able Seaman

Age:20

No.P/JX144353

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Foster and Annoe Younger McKenzie, of Falkland,Fife.

 

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 39-1

  

KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Mitchell, Herbert Sydney 

Rank: Leading Stoker

Age:34

No.P/K64404

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Edward and Elizabeth Mitchell, husband of Ivy Mitchell, of Titchfield.

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 41-3

  

KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Newman, James Frederick

Rank: Surgeon Lieutenant

Age:26

No.

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin:Son of William F and Amy C Newman, husband of joan Johnston Newman, of Wolverhampton. 

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 44-2

  

KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Perkins, Henry George

Rank: Able Seaman

Age:

No.P/J104336

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Husband of Mrs Emma Rose, Perkins, of Hornchurch.

 

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 39-1

  

KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Richmond, Henry

Rank: Engine Room Artificer

Age:37

No.P/376EC

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Thomas and Hierette Richmond, husband of Ethel Winifred Richmond, Roker, Co Durham.

 

  Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 44-2

 

  KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Smith, Robert

Rank: Stoker 2nd Class

Age:

No.P/KX 101494

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: son of Mr and Mrs Samuel S. Smith, of Birmingham. 

 

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 42-3

 

 KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Stedman, George Edward

Rank:Petty Officer

Age:29

No.P/JX128936

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Husband of Vera Pamela Winifred Stedman, of Fareham.

    

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 44-2

  

KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Taggart, James

Rank:Stoker 1st Class

Age:22

No.P/KX 90772

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of James and Elizabeth Taggart of Carlisle.

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 42-2

  

KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Waldron, Ernest Gordon

Rank: Petty Officer

Age:29

No.P/JX125931

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Frederick Ernest Gordon and Louisa Waldron, of Bognor Regnis, husband of Margaret Waldron of Bognor Regis.

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 37-3

  

KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Wood, Isaac Edward

Rank: Stoker 1st Class

Age:39

No.P/SS120641

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of William and Susannah Wood, husband of Kate Louisa Wood, of Blaby.

  

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 42-3

  

KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Jay, John Robert James Norman

Rank: Petty Officer Stoker

Age:35

No.P/KX75773

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of John and Flora, husband of cicely Hilda Jay, of Broadstone. 

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 41-2

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Jones, Lawrence

Rank: Stoker 2nd Class

Age:21

No.P/KX 101094

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of John William and Amy Jones, of Dunscroft.

 

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 42-3

 

 KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Kerr, Robert Strachan

Rank: Ordinary Seaman

Age:19

No.P/CD/X2943

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Strachan Kerr and of Annabella McLean Kerr, of Glasgow.

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 41-2

 

 KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Martin, John

Rank: Seaman

Age:26

No.P/X10780B

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Donald and Annie Martin, of Stornoway.

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 44-1

 

  KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: McDougall, Malcom Alfred

Rank: Able Seaman

Age:20

No.P/CD/X 2660

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Alexander and Mary Alice McDougall, of Clydebank, Glasgow.

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 44-3

 

 KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Meston, Charles James

Rank: Able Seaman

Age:30

No.P/J114875

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Samuel and Grave Meston, husband of Dorothy Lilian Maude Meston, of Eastney.

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 39-1

 

 KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Murray, Malcom

Rank: Seaman

Age:20

No.P/X 20211A

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of John and Catherine Murray, of Ness, Stornoway.

 

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 44-1

 

 KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Openshaw, Ernest

Rank: Ordinary Seaman

Age:19

No.P/SSx32710

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of William and Jane Hutchinson Openshaw, of Ascot.

 

  

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 40-1

 

 KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Powell, Mansell Richard

Rank: Leading Seaman

Age:25

No.P/SSX15191

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Ocavius and Getrude H Powell, of Kenfig Hill.

 

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 38-1

 

 KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Ridgway, James Robert

Rank: Stoker 1st Class

Age:47

No.P/KX 98695

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Husband of Mrs E. Ridgway of Wythenshawe, Manchester. 

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 42-2

 

 KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name:  Sparkes, Frederick Walter

Rank: Able Seaman

Age.33

No.P/JX 105925

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Walter J and Annie G Sparkes, of Portchester.

 

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 39-2

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name:  Sullivan, Thomas

Rank:Petty Officer Cook

Age:

No.P/M34699

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Petersfield.

 

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 43-2

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name:  Thomson, James

Rank: Able Seaman

Age:20

No. P/CD/X3089

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Andrew and Mary Thomson, of Glasgow. 

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 37-1

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name:  Wardman, Frederick Arthur

Rank: Ordinary Coder

Age:22

No.P/JX195305

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Arthur and Lily Wardman , of Birkenshaw.

 

 

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 41-1

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Worledge, Reginald Stephen

Rank: Able Seaman

Age:

No.P/SD/X1371

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Huand of Mrs Irene Worledge, of Brighton Sussex. 

 

 Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 44-3

  

KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Jennison, Benjamin

Rank: Ordinary Seaman

Age:18

No.P/JX 189580

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Benjamin and Lottie May Jennison.

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel:  40-1

 

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Name: Kemsley, Frank Harold

Rank: Ordinary Seaman

Age:

No.P/JX 279071

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Jesse and Minnie Kemsley, of Sittingbourne.

 

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel:  40-1

 

 KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Long, Harold Melville

Rank: Gunner (T)

Age:36

No.

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: 

 

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel:  37-2

 

 KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Mazinna, John

Rank:Able Seaman

Age:30

No.P/JX144001

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Lawrence and Alice Ann Mazzina, of Ardwick, Manchester.

 

 Portsmouth Memorial Panel:  39-1

 

 KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: McGregor, John

Rank: Able Seaman

Age:21

No.P/CD/X2950

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of John and Agnes McGregor, of Paisley.

 

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 44-3

 

  KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Mintram, Harold Lionel

Rank:Stoker 1st Class

Age:42

No.P/K57946

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Charles and Mary Mintram, husband of Henrietta Mintram, of Milton, Portsmouth.

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 42-2

 

  KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Muzzell, Charles Edward

Rank: Leading Stoker

Age:

No.P/KX81824

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Husband of Mrs Olive Alice Muzzekk, of Steyning. 

 

 

 Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 41-3

 

  KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Parlett, Francis Alfred

Rank: Petty Officer Stoker

Age:

No.P/K 61350

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Husband of Mrs Margaret Louisa Parlett, of Southsea, Portsmouth. 

 

 Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 41-2

 

  KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Prevett, Stanley

Rank: Cook

Age:

No.P/MX58418

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Charles and Jane Prevett, husband of V.G. Prevett, of Portsmouth.

   

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 43-2

  

KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Slack, Bernard

Rank: Ordinary Seaman

Age:19

No.P/SSX28984

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of George Ernest and Mary Elizabeth Slack, of Mansfield.

   

 

Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 40-1

  

KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Staples, Sidney Lawson

Rank: Leading Seaman

Age:39

No.P/J 72278

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Maurice and Ellen Staples, husband of Mary Staples, of Fareham.

 

 Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 38-1

 

  KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Sunderland, Charles Ernest

Rank: Able Seaman

Age:

No.P/JX 138917

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Jim and Lily Sunderland, of York.

 

  Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 39-2

 

  KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Toomer, Frank Percival

Rank: Stoker 1st Class

Age:

No.P/KX98409

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Husband of Mrs Charlotte Toomer, of Moordown, Bournemouth.

 

 Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 42-3

 

  KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Whitehouse, Horace Cycril

Rank: Petty Stoker Officer

Age:

No.P/KX77564

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Husband of Mrs May Whitehouse, of Birmingham. 

 

 

  

 Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 41-3

 

  KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.


Name: Wright, John William Frederick

Rank: Ordinary Telegraphist

Age:19

No.P/JX 153131

Missing since: 01-09-1940

Next of Kin: Son of Frederick and Bertha E. Wright, of Cambridge.

 

   

 Portsmouth Memorial Panel: 38-3

 

  KIA Information: Known to have been killed at North Sea of Texel.