Telegraph: "Trafalgar: Foreign Fighters Did Britain Proud"

#2
Re: Telegraph: "Trafalgar: Foreign Fighters Did Britain Prou

Thank you Soleil. Unfortunately, such programmes can do little more than scratch the surface. We are all familiar with the contributions made by volunteers from Commonwealth nations but I would particularly like to see more acknowledgement given to the US citizens who joined the RN before their country entered the Second World War, as alluded to in the entry for 22 May 10 on the MCDOA website's 'Latest News' page. A forthcoming book will now tell their story. Called 'Passport Not Required - US Volunteers in the Royal Navy 1939 - 41', it is written by Eric Dietrich-Berryman, Charlotte Hammond and the late-lamented R. E. 'Chalky' White and is due to be launched by the Naval Institute Press in October.

Many of us are aware of the infamous Józef Bartosik, the Polish emigré who eventually rose to be a Rear Admiral in the RN, but there were also many other Poles employed as poorly-paid mine detectors. Having been declared Displaced Persons (DPs) following the Soviet occupation of their homeland, they remained in the UK and carried on their hazardous work until long after the war.

I'm sure there are many other deserving cases who, for want of time, won't be mentioned in the TV series.

(Edited to add a thank you to Soleil)
 

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#3
For memories of Josef Bartosik, see the pieces about HMS London on RRPedia; and 'The Bosun's Call' by Hugh Willis (which is often hilarious, and also interesting as an account of life on the Lower Deck at the end of the 1950s).

For the Americans, see 'Yankee RN' by A H Cherry, and a small plaque in the deck in the NE corner of the Painted Hall at Greenwich.
 
#4
Seaweed said:
<snip>
For the Americans, see 'Yankee RN' by A H Cherry, and a small plaque in the deck in the NE corner of the Painted Hall at Greenwich.
From the MCDOA website article:


Tablets embedded in the deck of the Painted Hall
at Greenwich to commemorate US volunteers


The three lower tablets listing the names of all 22 individuals were dedicated by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the presence of representatives of all of the volunteers' families and hundreds of guests five weeks after the destruction of the World Trade Centre in New York (9/11). A Royal Marine band played 'America the Beautiful' and 'The Star-Spangled Banner'.
 
#5
Re: Telegraph: "Trafalgar: Foreign Fighters Did Britain Prou

When the US entered the war did these volunteers transfer to the USN or stay RN? Iknow a lot of the crab eagle sqns transfered en masse to the US army air corps at the time.
 
#6
Re: Telegraph: "Trafalgar: Foreign Fighters Did Britain Prou

SARKING - I'll tell you when my copy of the book arrives but I imagine that most of them would have transferred to their own country's service. Like, for example, Lt Draper Kauffman RNVR who eventually rose to be Rear Admiral Draper Kauffman USN despite originally having been refused a commission in the US Navy owing to poor eyesight. He is regarded as the pioneer of US Tri-Service EOD and the father of the US Navy SEALS. His story is told in 'America's First Frogman - The Draper Kauffman Story' by Elizabeth Kauffman Bush (Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 2004). The foreword is written by her brother-in-law, President George H. W. Bush (George Bush Sr).
 
#7
Re: Telegraph: "Trafalgar: Foreign Fighters Did Britain Prou

Naval_Gazer said:
SARKING - I'll tell you when my copy of the book arrives but I imagine that most of them would have transferred to their own country's service. Like, for example, Lt Draper Kauffman RNVR who eventually rose to be Rear Admiral Draper Kauffman USN despite originally having been refused a commission in the US Navy owing to poor eyesight. He is regarded as the pioneer of US Tri-Service EOD and the father of the US Navy SEALS. His story is told in 'America's First Frogman - The Draper Kauffman Story' by Elizabeth Kauffman Bush (Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 2004). The foreword is written by her brother-in-law, President George H. W. Bush (George Bush Sr).
Ta for that N-G. Poor eyesight and EOD? sounds like a dangerous combination.
 
#8
Re: Telegraph: "Trafalgar: Foreign Fighters Did Britain Prou

SARKING said:
Ta for that N-G. Poor eyesight and EOD? sounds like a dangerous combination.
He probably went to Specsavers like me. :wink:


Draper Kauffman as a Sub Lt RNVR after defuzing
a German bomb during the Blitz
 
#9
Re: Telegraph: "Trafalgar: Foreign Fighters Did Britain Prou

Naval_Gazer said:
SARKING said:
Ta for that N-G. Poor eyesight and EOD? sounds like a dangerous combination.
He probably went to Specsavers like me. :wink:


Draper Kauffman as a Sub Lt RNVR after defuzing
a German bomb during the Blitz
The workers are standing well to the rear in that photo. think they know something? :lol:
 
#10
SARKING said:
The workers are standing well to the rear in that photo. think they know something? :lol:
As they were Sappers, that's extremely doubtful! :p (Inter-Service EOD joke. Sorry Les, Robin, JJ, Lyndon, etc.)

Anyway, they'd need to stand further away than that to be safe. It might be an uncharitable thought but perhaps the Navy team had breakfasted on Texas Strawberries/BITS (Beans In Tomato Sauce, i.e. baked beans)?
 
#11
Re: Telegraph: "Trafalgar: Foreign Fighters Did Britain Prou

BUMP. The first episode of this series goes out on Channel 4 tonight (Monday) at 2100:

The Untold Battle of Trafalgar
Channel 4 website said:
Nelson famously signalled the Battle of Trafalgar with the words: 'England expects that every man will do his duty'. But of the 18,000 sailors fighting for King and Country, 1,400 were not British, with 25 different nationalities in all press-ganged into serving the British King. By analysing the records of warship HMS Bellerophon, this fresh and action-packed account of the famous day reveals their fascinating story.

Documentary evidence proves the Navy recruited hundreds of black sailors, many of them ex-slaves from the West Indies and America. For many, the Royal Navy was the world's first equal opportunities employer, offering freedom, equal pay, and the chance for life-changing promotion.

This film pays tribute to the diverse nationalities that sailed on 21 October 1805, united not by patriotism, but by a unique opportunity for performance-related pay. The Admiralty promised every man at Trafalgar - irrespective of race, creed or colour - a fair share of any captured enemy ships. If they defeated the entire Combined Fleet, even the humblest sailor might become the equivalent of a millionaire.

Between these brave foreigners and a potential fortune, stood the bloodiest battle in naval history, a great storm and the mortal danger of fire, drowning or shipwreck.
The second episode is on Channel 4 tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 2100:

The Untold Battle of Britain
Channel 4 website said:
This dramatised documentary recounts how, during the most decisive phase of the Battle of the Britain, a single squadron of 34 Polish fighter pilots wreaked havoc on the Luftwaffe, in the process helping to change the course of history and overturning RAF prejudices.

From 303 Squadron's bitter struggle for acceptance when they first arrived in the UK, to the crucial part they played in averting the German invasion, and their ultimate betrayal by the Allies, this unknown story is one of the most extraordinary episodes of World War II.

Based on a diary kept by the pilots of the squadron, it is a story of increasing frustration on the part of the Poles who had already fought the Luftwaffe and now found themselves having to learn English and the RAF way of doing things. Meanwhile, as the Battle of Britain got underway, inexperienced British pilots were paying a heavy cost.

Belatedly, the Poles were cleared for active service and had an immediate impact. In their first week they shot down 40 enemy aircraft, making them the highest scoring RAF squadron. By the time the Battle of Britain was won, they had claimed 126 enemy planes. But as the war ended, their joy turned to despair as they saw their own country handed to Stalin.
 
#12
Re: Telegraph: "Trafalgar: Foreign Fighters Did Britain Prou

The British did Texas proud. Apparently over 22 of the 180 defenders of the Alamo were British.
 
#13
Re: Telegraph: "Trafalgar: Foreign Fighters Did Britain Prou

It's not all it seems,there were many American seamen in Nelsons Navy but,apart from escaping slaves,[who were cruelly discarded when war was finished and with no rights]the majority were pressed.
The law stated that you could only press seamen,or Merchant sailors.
In practice this was well ignored and overlooked,a British Frigate would stop a Merchant ship and press as many seamen as it needed.
Americans lost no time in trying to desert to get back home even if the penalty was hanging from the yard.
 

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#14
Pressing landsmen was discouraged as they were NO USE (still aren't). A merchantman returning to England could well expect her entire crew to be pressed, either enough hands were left to get her into port, or a special skeleton crew was provided who were employed for the purpose and had protection certificates. A bit hard for men who had just finished a two-year round trip to India! However a pressed man could then 'volunteer' which meant he was paid a bounty. When the ship paid off unless the hands were wanted for another ship they were paid off (often with a ticket only encashable in London or at a premium through an agent) and that was that, they were free to go back to their old life. As to former slaves, an ex-slave paid off in England was FREE following Lord Mansfield's famous judgment of 1772.
 
#15
Re: Telegraph: "Trafalgar: Foreign Fighters Did Britain Prou

I thought that was a splendid programme though I don't think the presence of foreigners was the shock to historians that was implied - I thought it had been general knowledge for years.

The intensity of the storm was news to me though - I knew there'd been a bit of roughers but I didn't appreciate how bad it was.

Good stuff.

By the way - type in 'French Military Victories' on Google and open the first option :)
 
#18
Re: Telegraph: "Trafalgar: Foreign Fighters Did Britain Prou

SARKING said:
Anyone know if the crew lists for the time are available online?
The National Archives holds a database called Trafalgar Ancestors.

National Archives said:
...Trafalgar Ancestors can be searched by surname, but also using its advanced search facility, by first name; age on 21 October 1805; birthplace; ship's name; rating and rank...
The database can be searched online here: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/trafalgarancestors
 

sgtpepperband

War Hero
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#20
HMS Victory "Trafalgar Roll"

This muster roll contains details of the entire ship's crew at the Battle of Trafalgar, including name, rank, age and nationality. HMS Victory had a crew of 820 men commanded by Captain Thomas Masterman Hardy. There were 9 Commissioned Officers, 21 Midshipmen and 77 Non-commissioned Warrant and Petty Officers, the rest of the crew comprised of Able and Ordinary Seaman, Landsmen, supernumeries and 31 boys. Also within this complement was a detachment of 146 Royal Marines from the Chatham Division, commanded by Captain Charles Adair.

Apart from the 700 English, Irish, Scots and Welsh, 18 different nationalities were represented on the Victory, at the Battle of Trafalgar.

She suffered some of the worst casualties of the Allied Fleet at the battle with 57 of her crew killed or dying of their wounds a few days later, and a further 102 wounded.

Abbot - Burton Caharty - Dutton Eaves - Lyons Magee - Rylett Sabine - Yule
 

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