Telegraph: "Trafalgar: Foreign Fighters Did Britain Proud"

Discussion in 'History' started by soleil, Jun 27, 2010.

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  1. 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)
  2. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    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.
  3. 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'.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. Re: Telegraph: "Trafalgar: Foreign Fighters Did Britain Prou

    Ta for that N-G. Poor eyesight and EOD? sounds like a dangerous combination.
  7. Re: Telegraph: "Trafalgar: Foreign Fighters Did Britain Prou

    He probably went to Specsavers like me. :wink:


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

    The workers are standing well to the rear in that photo. think they know something? :lol:
  9. 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)?
  10. 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
    The second episode is on Channel 4 tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 2100:

    The Untold Battle of Britain
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    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.
  14. 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 :)
  15. Re: Telegraph: "Trafalgar: Foreign Fighters Did Britain Prou

    Anyone know if the crew lists for the time are available online?
  16. Re: Telegraph: "Trafalgar: Foreign Fighters Did Britain Prou

    The National Archives holds a database called Trafalgar Ancestors.

    The database can be searched online here:
  17. sgtpepperband

    sgtpepperband War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    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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