'We fought them in Gunboats' hand written insert info 1944

Discussion in 'History' started by ml05039, Nov 11, 2010.

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  1. Hello All,

    I recently came into possession of a first edition of the aforementioned book published in 1944 and there is some interesting information on the inside front page that with your help I would like to decipher. It reads as follows: (by the way, the writing is difficult to read at times so what might be a C might also be a G!)

    Bill Wallek, Harrogate, Feb 1944...

    Wallek. PO - W 88x32923
    HMSS B. Gl(e or i)y (S or D)eal
    c/o (C or G).P.O London

    I hope some of you can make sense of any of this - I think HMSSB must refer to a submarine and maybe the gentleman who wrote this was a CPO but I can't decipher just what the numbers and some of the capital letters stand for.. Any idea if the POW actually stands for Prisoner of War in this case? Maybe the number after it is his POW number? Interesting stuff! I look forward to your input!

  2. Yeh I'm just reading up on him now before having a crack at the book! I have just moved out a student house and a guy who used to live there left loads of really good naval books in the garage, saves a trip the Smiths! He's a doctor in the Navy now. That's my winter store of reading material sorted then!
  3. Steam Gun Boat SGB3, HMS Grey Seal.

    Several interesting references at:


    The Numerals after his name would be his Official/Service No.

    Care Of "GPO LONDON". That was the 'postcode' for a central sorting office in London (probably Mill Hill) where RN Vessel's mail would be batched up for onward despatch all over the globe.

  4. Re: 'We fought them in Gunboats' hand written insert info 19

    Petty Officer W. Wallek, Service No. 88X32923 (The '88' should be two letters or a letter followed by a slash. See here for some examples.)

    HM SGB Grey Seal was a Steam Gun Boat commanded by the famous naturalist Sir Peter Scott, son of Capt Robert Falcon Scott RN (Scott of the Antarctic).

    On 27 July 1944, the destroyer HMS Stevenstone, on patrol with HMS Bleasdale, embarked casualties from HM Steam Gunboats Grey Shark and Grey Seal which had been in action against a German convoy and its escorts off Pointe de Barfleur. For details see 'The Battle of the Narrow Seas' by Peter Scott.
  5. Thanks a lot Bob thats fascinating, its amazing how these little tit bits of information can be deciphered to give such an insight. It turns out I was pretty far off the mark with my guesses!! :p
  6. Re: 'We fought them in Gunboats' hand written insert info 19

    Drat! Beaten to it. Well done Bob. :wink:
  7. Re: 'We fought them in Gunboats' hand written insert info 19

    Thank you everyone for your respective tit bits of info! It really is fascinating what can be derived from a few lines of scribbled text.. Ten pages in and a great read so far!
  8. It was SGB9 Grey Goose that Peter Scott commanded, not Grey Seal.

    My dad was an AA gunner who served on Grey Goose under Peter Scott (hence my name!) from her working up in 1942 until March 1943, where he was drafted to MTB622, from which he became a prisoner of war a month after joining her and her loss in action off Terschelling.

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