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HMS Queen of Kent. Incident 28 Feb 1945

wallace

Midshipman
Can anyone throw light on what happened to the paddle minesweeper HMS Queen of Kent (ex HMS Atherstone WW1) when she was in the vicinity of Antwerp on 28 Feb 1945? Seven of her Junior Rates were killed probably as the result of a V2 rocket. VMT
 

kecliff

Newbie
I was a member of the crew. I remember it well even though it was 66 years ago. The day was Wednesday 28 February.We were tied up alongside the wharf in Antwerp harbour. The time was midday . I was chatting on the mess deck to three other members of the crew awaiting the arrival of lunch. A V2 rocket landed on the ship or very near. Two of the four members were killed outright , the third died some 48 hours later. I was wounded by a piece of shrapnel going straight through my right foot. I am not aware of the actual number of casualties. You say there were seven killed I thought there were considerably more. As far as I know the dead were buried in a small cemetary at Duffel near Malines. I was evacuated to a Canadian Army hospital between Antwerp and Brussels. Eventually evacuated to the UK and discharged from the RN. I received a war pension for two years . My foot is now OK. There is more to this story if I had the space. If you require futher info please let me know. Kenneth Cliff C/JX 406240
 

soleil

War Hero
Yes, a warm welcome to Rum Ration, Ken. I look forward to reading more from you.
 
Welcome aboard, Ken. Antwerp was certainly a dangerous place:
Further advances by Allied troops took ‘P’ Party 1574 to Le Havre, Flushing, Breskens and Antwerp, Bremen and Hamburg. The latter three ports were cleared of bombs, mines and booby traps by all four ‘P’ Parties who had met there and worked in unison.

At the time Antwerp was the third largest port in the world, with thirty miles of wharves and many miles of river quays. It is important to relate that out of this specialist group of four ‘P’ Parties, comprising of no more than forty bomb and mine disposal divers, only one man was killed. This ironically happened when an Able-Seaman was off duty in an Antwerp cinema which received a direct hit from a rocket bomb (V1)...
Of all the 'P' Party divers who cleared the harbours of France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany of unexploded ordnance, including booby traps, from immediately after D-Day, this was the only casualty.
 

Ciderman

Newbie
Hi there! I googled "Queen of Kent" and lo! Here I am! My father, John (Jack) Bennett was a member of the crew of this ship and told us much later about the Antwerp incident. He was ashore at the time, luckily. I have a photo of the graves of those who were killed in a Hoboken cemetery. The RN is the reason that I ended up in New Zealand as dad was on loan to the RNZN , he liked the place and stayed.
 

Alhfd

Newbie
Any further info?

I was a member of the crew. I remember it well even though it was 66 years ago. The day was Wednesday 28 February.We were tied up alongside the wharf in Antwerp harbour. The time was midday . I was chatting on the mess deck to three other members of the crew awaiting the arrival of lunch. A V2 rocket landed on the ship or very near. Two of the four members were killed outright , the third died some 48 hours later. I was wounded by a piece of shrapnel going straight through my right foot. I am not aware of the actual number of casualties. You say there were seven killed I thought there were considerably more. As far as I know the dead were buried in a small cemetary at Duffel near Malines. I was evacuated to a Canadian Army hospital between Antwerp and Brussels. Eventually evacuated to the UK and discharged from the RN. I received a war pension for two years . My foot is now OK. There is more to this story if I had the space. If you require futher info please let me know. Kenneth Cliff C/JX 406240

Any further info on the incident would be more than welcome. My uncle (Roland Negus) was one of those killed on that day.
 
Hi to Ciderman, alfhd and kecliff.

Many thanks for the info provided. I now have a picture of HMS Queen of Kent and a recent one of the war grave of John (Jack) Killalea, who is mentioned on the back of the photo of cidermans. Jack was uncle to my wife but she never met him, all we had was an old photo of the grave and written on the back was the grave number. In our search for him we found the grave at Schoonselhof Cemetery, Antwerp, Belgium, which is of course in Hoboeken. It is dated 2nd March 1945 rather than 28th February 1945 so I guess he could have been stood with you Ken on that day? I have searched the navy-net site but can't find the group picture mentioned, any chance of a copy please ciderman? I'm going to pass this information around the older relatives and see if it sparks off any memories.

Post 12 http://www.navy-net.co.uk/community...kent-incident-28-feb-1945.50457/#post-1192440

Post 11 http://www.navy-net.co.uk/community...kent-incident-28-feb-1945.50457/#post-1191913

Post 2 http://www.navy-net.co.uk/community...kent-incident-28-feb-1945.50457/#post-1040306
 

chris007

Newbie
My name is Chris and I am the niece of Tommy Neil who died on 28th February 1945 and is one of the names on the back of the photograph. I have been trying off and on to get any information about Tommy and after paying £30 for records I eventually found this site (oh if only I had found it sooner). Tommy's father died very young as he never really recovered full health after being badly injured in WW1. His mother moved her children from Glasgow to Rothesay, Isle of Bute, Scotland - he had an elder brother Harry, an elder sister Christine and a younger sister Irene.
When WW2 broke out Harry joined the RAF as a navigator bomber but Tommy could not sign up with them as he was too young but joined the Navy instead. Tommy was killed on 28th February 1945 but Harry was killed 3 months before that which wiped out the men of the family. War was never discussed again as their mother never got over it. I was born in 1942 so only have sketchy whispers to go on. I have no pictures of Tommy in his uniform and any information that anyone can give me would be absolutely wonderful. I am trying to piece together details of the family to pass onto my grandchildren as they are now at an age where they can appreciate what our ancestors fought so bravely for. I have searched the site but cannot find the picture that the names are written on the back of, but this is very new to me and I need to find my way better round the site. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Peaceful and Enjoyable New Year.
 
Hi Chris 007 The photo is by ciderman and is on #10 above. The picture it seems is not aways there so if it is missing here is a link http://smg.photobucket.com/user/ciderman_nz/media/Archival/Hoboeken.jpg.html which may help. The photo shows 2 sailors standing one at each end of a row of graves with wooden crosses. The graves now have proper stones and can be viewed on the internet if you search under war graves and Belgium.

http://www.forces-war-records.co.uk...O103&NO=6810&gclid=CNOcovXRyMICFcPJtAod6iMA_Q

http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/91800/YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL
 

Jan Totte

Newbie
8 man of HMS Queen of Kent are buried at Antwerp military burial ground “schoonselhof Hoboken”. Hoboken is now a district of Antwerp after a fusion in 1976. By watching the graves my eye fell on the 8 nearly identical mark stones, side by side, all sailors on the same ship, fallen in the harbour of Antwerp on 28 februari 1945. Interested in what happened with that ship, some googling got me in this direction.
 

chris007

Newbie
I was a member of the crew. I remember it well even though it was 66 years ago. The day was Wednesday 28 February.We were tied up alongside the wharf in Antwerp harbour. The time was midday . I was chatting on the mess deck to three other members of the crew awaiting the arrival of lunch. A V2 rocket landed on the ship or very near. Two of the four members were killed outright , the third died some 48 hours later. I was wounded by a piece of shrapnel going straight through my right foot. I am not aware of the actual number of casualties. You say there were seven killed I thought there were considerably more. As far as I know the dead were buried in a small cemetary at Duffel near Malines. I was evacuated to a Canadian Army hospital between Antwerp and Brussels. Eventually evacuated to the UK and discharged from the RN. I received a war pension for two years . My foot is now OK. There is more to this story if I had the space. If you require futher info please let me know. Kenneth Cliff C/JX 406240
Hi Kenneth,
My name is Christine Meeks (Chris007) and I would really like to know more about one of the people you were talking to as he was my uncle. His name was Tommy Neil, he was 21 years old and from the Isle of Bute in the west of Scotland and he died on that day. Any information you can give me would be brilliant - keep safe.
Kindest regards
Christine
 

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