April 10 – Roll of Honour

The major NI loss on this day was in HMS Hunter which grounded in an attack in the first Battle of Narvik in WW2. See account below. Etaples Military Cemetery south of Boulogne in France is frequently mentioned in records. There was a major concentration of military hospitals in the area. The lay out of Etaples is distinctive being located amongst coastal dunes and forestry.

Photo – The CWGC Arras Memorial commemorates over 34,700 men who have no known grave – most of whom died during the Battle of Arras which started 09/04/1917. Over 50,000 Commonwealth servicemen were killed in the six-week campaign.

Representing their comrades who died on this day

1917                                         HMHS SALTA
Hospital ship. See post on this site today.

+McGEE, Hugh
RAMC. Private. 5742. Died at sea 10/04/1917. Aged 26. Attd. His Majesty’s Hospital Ship Salta. Born 1891 Ballycastle. Son of Hugh and Ellen McGee. Ste. Marie Cemetery, Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, France

+DAWSON, Eveline Maud
Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Nursing Service. Matron. Died at sea 10/04/1917. Drowned in sinking of hospital ship ‘Salta’ on 10/04/1917. She had been a missionary and had worked for eight years in St. Catherine’s Hospital, Cawnpore, India. On the outbreak of war, and being on leave in Ballymena, she had decided to help with the war effort and had spent two years and eight months on nursing duties. She had intended to return to India after the war. She was aged 49 years and was the third daughter of Albert Dawson, Ballymena. Her sister resided at 27 Queen’s Road, Bromley, Kent. Etaples Military Cemetery, France.

1917

+LEYDEN, John Vincent
Royal Garrison Artillery, 276th Siege Battery.Gunner. 87614. Died 10/04/1917. Aged 29. His wife Florence and child lived at Seaview Cottage, Portstewart. He was formerly employed in the Grand Hotel, Glasgow. Villers Station Cemetery, Viller-au-Bois (France),

+MOFFETT, William
Royal Scots Fusiliers (Lothian Regiment) 13th Btn. Private. 41144, Died 10/04/1917. Aged 20. Born Magheragall, enlisted Glasgow, resident Kilsyth, Strilingshire. Son of William Moffat, of Magheragall, Lisburn. Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. Magheragall Parish Church WM

1918

+WRIGHT, John
Northumberland Fusiliers, 1st/4th Bn. Serjeant. 30/162. Died 10/04/1918. Aged 22. Son of Mrs. Margaret Wright, of 38, Seaview St., York Rd., Belfast. Ploegsteert Memorial, Hainaut, Belgium

1921

+BURTON, R
18 London Irish Rifles. Rifleman 602353. Wounded in France on 07/09/1917, he died of sickness on the 10/04/1921. Aged 21. He was the son of Robert and Mary Burton of 91 Longstone Street, Lisburn. His brother Rifleman W. Burton was reported to be “suffering from fever” in Salonica in October 1917. He appears to have survived. Lisburn Cemetery

1940                                                          HMS HUNTER

On 10/04/1940, at 0430, Hardy, Hunter, and Havelock steamed into the harbour at Narvik leaving Hostile and Hotspur to guard the back door. HMS Hunter grounded. See article on First Battle of Narvik and entry in Veterans below – Robert McAtamney

+ARMSTRONG, John Luney
RN. AB. Died 10/04/1940. Age 21. Three and a half years service. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 03/08/1940). Son of Thomas and Jennie Armstrong, Diver St., Belfast. British plot Hakvik Cemetery

+BAILEY, Albert Jack
RN. Leading Seaman. D/J 110423. Died 10/04/1940. HMS Hunter. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 04/05/1940). Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 36

+BAIRD
RN. CPO. HMS Hunter. Served in army in WW1 having joined up aged 15. Husband to Mrs. Annie Baird, Hazelbrook St., Belfast. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 03/08/1940). Further information would be appreciated

+COX, John
RN. AB. Died 10/04/1940. HMS Hunter. Killed in action at Narvik. His uncle, David Foster, had been injured at Dunkirk. Son of James Cox, Carnalea St., Belfast. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 10/08/1940). Plymouth Naval Monument, Panel 37

+McDONALD, Robert
RN. AB. D/SSX 16193, Died 10/04/1940. Age 25. HMS Hunter. Had celebrated his 25th birthday just before next of kin had been informed he was missing. He had not been home on leave since the beginning of the war. He had been in Hunter two years. His father was also serving in RN and a brother in the merchant service. An uncle, Francis Callender, was a CPO in the RN. His home was with his aunt, Mrs. H Callender, Runnymeade Parade, Donegall Rd., Belfast. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 04/05/1940). Son of Robert and Alice McDonald, of Liverpool. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 38

1942

+DUNLEAVY, William James
Royal Ulster Rifles, 30th Btn. Rifleman. 24588. Died 10/04/1942. Aged 41. Son of Nelson and Catherine Dunleavy; husband of Margaret Dunleavy, of Belfast. Belfast City Cemetery, Glenalina Extension.

1943

+DOUGLAS, Woodrow Craig
RN. Leading Steward. D/LX 24527. MiD. Died: 10/04/1943. Age 25. HM Submarine Tigris. Mentioned in Despatches for bravery and devotion to duty whilst HM Submarine Tigris was on her first Mediterranean patrol in December 1942. When she destroyed an Italian submarine Woodrow was in charge of passing on torpedo orders from the control room to the tubes and the citation states, “he carried out this duty with zeal and efficiency. At all times his unfailing cheerfulness even in the most adverse conditions set a very fine example to his shipmates”. HM Submarine Tigris (Lt.Cdr. George Robson Colvin, DSC, RN) left Malta on 18/02/1943 to patrol SW of Naples. She failed to return to Algiers on 10/03/1943 and was declared overdue on that date. Tigris was most likely sunk on 27/02/1943 by the German submarine chaser UJ-2210, six nautical miles south-east of Isola di Capri, Italy. Son of Harold and Nina Douglas, Belfast; husband to Margaret Y. Douglas, Tower St., Belfast. They had married in October the previous year, he being 22 and she 20, and three days after the wedding he left to rejoin his ship. He had not been home since. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 09/04/1943, 05/11/1943). Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 83

+LAW, John Douglas
RAFVR. Sergeant. 1504180. Died 11/04/1943. Age 20. 100 Sqdn. Son of Alexander and Annie Douglas Law, Glenmanus, Portrush; Nephew of Letitia Douglas, of Glenmanus, Portrush. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany

1945

+CASSELLS, Francis
RN. Able Seaman. D/JX 420407. HM MTB 710. Died 10/04/1945. Age 19. A Fairmile D Class. Mined and sunk off Zara, Italy in Adriatic. Loss of 2 officers and 15 men. Son of William and Jane Cassells, Lurgan. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 93. Lurgan WM

VETERANS

McATAMNEY, Robert Samuel (Bobby)
RN. Petty Officer. Survivor of First Battle of Narvik 1940. On 10/04/1940, at 0430, Hardy, Hunter, and Havelock steamed into the harbour at Narvik leaving Hostile and Hotspur to guard the back door. Robert, known as ‘Bobby’ was an Able Seaman on HMS Hardy at the time of the Battle of Narvik. He was only twenty years old, and when the Hardy was sinking he managed to rescue a ship mate ‘Tubby’ Cox. He saw him floating unconscious in the water and dragged him to safety. They had a laugh about it afterwards, as Bobby said that Tubby only floated because of his size. Bobby had plunged in to the icy waters and swam ashore. He was injured after being hit in the face by shrapnel and had part of his lip removed. After the ship had blown up and he and the rest of the survivors were led to safety, he was given a ski suit, and that’s what he wore to come home.

When he finally came home, the town was decorated with flags and bunting and the town’s people lined the streets to welcome him home. At a ceremony at the Town Hall, he was presented with a watch and a ring. When asked how he felt, he said “that he would look back on this day with pride”.

One of six sons of William & Jane McAtamney who served in WW 2. Born 18/03/1920 at 24 Davys Street Carrickfergus. Died 1954. Brother of: Daniel McAtamney L. Cpl. R.A.F; Francis McAtamney Flight Sgt. R.A.F.; George H. McAtamney A.B. R.N.; Thomas McAtamney O.S. R.N. And William McAtamney Sergt. Royal Inniskillings

Bobby McAtamney served in the Navy until 1960 and rose to the rank of Petty Officer. Although he loved the life, he had got married in 1958 and he found the long separations a bit too much to bear so he left the Navy and went to work at Courtaulds. It was at the factory in 1974 that he suffered a heart attack and died. He was only fifty-four years of age. He left a son and daughter and was sadly missed by many in the town where he was so well-liked.

ODDIE, Eric Roland John
RN. Commander. DSC. Served mainly in submarines 17/07/1929 – 04/1947. Commanding Officer HM Sub Narwhal, HM Sub Triad, HMS Maidstone (submarine depot ship). Senior Officer Submarines HMS Elfin. Commanding Officer HMS Ambrose (submarine base Lerwick), Admiralty (HMS President). Exec Officer HMS Charybdis (cruiser) – torpedoed and sunk by German torpedo boats off France. HMS Nabthorep (mobile air base Schofields, New South Wales). HMS Indomitable (aircraft carrier). Commanding Officer HMS Queensferry, (Reserve Fleet, Rosyth). Born Dunmurry 10/04/1903 Died Australia 02/12/1980.

WHITE, James
Class A Leading Signaller. 88X31391. Enrolled Devonport 27/09/1939. Served until 1947. HMS Orion. 1939/45 Star, Atlantic Star, Africa Star, Pacific Star, and British War Medal. Enrolled Royal Fleet Reserve 10/04/1947. His brother William served with Royal Ulster Rifles and landed on Sword Beach. Cousin of Samuel McBrinn White. Belfast

WW2 – The first Battle of Narvik begins

The first Battle of Narvik commenced on April 10. The 2nd Destroyer Flotilla under command of Capt. Warburton-Lee, with HM Ships Hardy, Havock, Hostile, Hotspur and Hunter, entered Ofotfiord to attack the German ships assigned to the occupation of Narvik. These included 10 large destroyers.

Several transports were sunk together with destroyers Anton Schmitt and Wilhelm Heidkamp in Narvik Bay. Wilhelm Heidkamp was the flagship of Kommodore Bonte, Senior Officer Narvik Destroyer Force. The stern was blown into the air, killing Bonte and eighty of his men. In the ensuing battle, the Dieter Von Roeder launched eight torpedoes, none of which scored a hit, but she sustained many hits herself, and later caught fire, as did the Hans Luderman. Whilst all this was going on the Hotspur, which had been guarding the harbour entrance, came alone into the harbour and torpedoed two merchant ships.
Derry officer’s action recognised.

Sub Lieutenant John Tillie, a son of the famous shirt- manufacturing family in Londonderry, was awarded a DSC for his action in HMS Hotspur. The citation states, “Though himself wounded, he rallied the survivors from his two guns’ crews and opened rapid and accurate fire on the enemy, causing them to keep their distance until HMS Hostile and HMS Havock could return to cover HMS Hotspur’s withdrawal”.

He was later awarded a Bar to his DSC for action in the Mediterranean. however sadly he was later killed in September 1942.

Since no German warships had been seen outside the harbour, Warburton-Lee thought he had all the Germans in the bag. He didn’t realise that there were another five Destroyers nearby. He turned his vessels at high speed and came back into the harbour to have another go at the merchant ships, blazing away with his guns, sinking and damaging six vessels.

Winston Churchill inspecting the survivors of the HMS Hardy on 19 April 1940 at the Horse Guard Parade at Whitehall. Robert McAtamney from Carrickfergus is third from right. Up to now, he had been incredibly lucky with only Hotspur suffering any hits, but as Warburton-Lee gathered his forces to depart his luck started to change for the worse.

Flagship Hardy targetted

The British Destroyers laid down a thick smokescreen to hide their departure, but as they headed out across the Fjord they ran into the five other German Destroyers as they charged into the Ofotfjord. The Georg Thiele and Bernard Von Armin came from Ballanger, and the Erich Giese, Erick Koellner and the Wolfgan Zenker sailed in from the Herjangfjord, surrounding the British Force in a pincer movement. In a fierce battle the five German destroyers fought the five British destroyers with sustained and rapid gunfire. Most of the German gunfire targeted the British Flagship Hardy, which came under fire from two ships, most notably the George Thiele. The Hardy sustained several direct hits and soon burst into flames. When the bridge took a direct hit, Warburton-Lee was severely injured, but before he collapsed he ordered his Flotilla to ‘keep on engaging the enemy’.

Other than Warburton-Lee, nearly everybody on the bridge had been killed except for Paymaster Lt. Geoffrey Standing, the Captain’s Secretary. He awoke from the fearful blast to find his foot wounded, the ship out of control and heading for the shore at thirty knots. Since the wheelhouse was below him and nobody was answering his increasingly desperate orders to put the wheel over, he managed to hop down a ladder to the wheel house and alter course, enough to stop hitting the shore. When he regained the bridge helped by some seamen, he saw that they were now heading for two German destroyers. Since he could not slow down he decided to ram one of them. Luckily for all those left alive on board, whilst he was deciding which one to have a go at, one of the boilers was hit and the engines ground to a halt.

Capt Bernard Warburton-Lee RN was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

NOTES

10/04/1940 – Bitter fighting as Germans advance north from Oslo. Six British destroyers surprise ten German Destroyers in Narvik Fiord, in what becomes known as the 1st Battle of Narvik. Two German and two British Destroyers are sunk and the British Flotilla commander, Captain Warburton-Lee is killed. He is later awarded the Victoria Cross, posthumously.

10/04/1940 – The sinking of the German cruiser Konigsberg at Bergen in Norway occurred. Royal Marine pilot Captain McIver of 803 Squadron scored a hit .

10/04/1941 – The Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) became part of the Armed Forces of the Crown, subject to the Air Force Act. It opened up more roles and career possibilities for women, although flying remained a male prerogative. The latter only changed in 1991.

Germans enter Zagreb, allowing Ante Pavelic, the Croatian Fascist leader, to return from Italian exile and proclaim the independent state of Croatia, with him as Poglavnik (leader). British forces under General Wilson withdraw from the Aliakmon line.
The 9th Australian Division withdraws into Tobruk.
10/04/1942 – The 78,000 captured Filipino and American soldiers begin the Bataan Death March under guard of the Imperial Japanese Army — a 65-mile march under the hot sun from Mariveles to San Fernando, with little food or water.

10/04/1943 – The first modified Avro Lancaster bomber was moved to RAF Manston, UK, to conduct dropping trials for attacks on German dams, prior to the Dambusters raid.

10/04/1944 – The Russians enter Odesa on the Black Sea as German forces withdraw from the city to the west bank of the Dniester river.

10/04/1945 – Churchill reveals British Empire casualty figures up to this point as 306,984 killed. Total casualties are 1,126,802, merchant navy losing 34,161 dead or captured. Civilian casualties are 59,793 killed and 84,749 injured.

The Canadian First Army continues its push North into Holland, taking Deventer, 30 miles North of Nijmegen. The British Second Army takes Wildenhausen, 20 miles Southwest of Bremen. The U.S. Ninth Army takes Hanover.

With the battle of Vienna ongoing, the German 6th SS Panzer Army succeeds in defeating fierce Russian attacks into the districts of Wiener Neustadt and to the West of Baden. The besieged Germans in Breslau continue to repel the repeated Russian attacks. A German war communique now declares that the resistance in Konigsberg has ceased, but that no surrender has occurred.

The RAF attack Kiel, while the US 8th Air Force launches its heaviest raid to date (1,232 bombers) against Berlin.
Buchenwald Concentration Camp is liberated by the Allies.
The German heavy cruiser Admiral Scheer is sunk during a massive RAF raid on Kiel.

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