Jim Hingston's War Diary

Jim Hingston did not write up his war experiences but did keep a pocket book in which he recorded significant dates. I have attempted to to provide linked notes on some of the references and to his records of particular events.

Andrew Hingston

Dec 21 1939. From Grange to Skegness to join HMS Royal Arthur1.

Jan 26 1940. Skegness to Devonport to join HMS Drake. Hut 5. [photo]

March 5 1940. Devonport to Grange on "indefinite leave".

March 20 1940. From Grange to Devonport. Detailed for Draft.

March 26. From Devonport to Liverpool to join, for passage, HMS Bulolo2.

Leave Mar 28 - April 2.

April 5 1940. Left Langton Dock at noon.

April 14 1940. Arrived at Freetown and joined HMS Alcantara3.

April 17 1940. Left Freetown.

April 19 1940. Called in Dakar for water.

May 19 1940. Arrived in False Bay.

May 29 1940. Into dry dock at Simonstown.

June 25 1940. Out of dry dock. Tied up alongside wall.

June 26. Left Simonstown, arrived Capetown.

June 27 1940. Left Capetown.

July 28 1940. Sunday. Action, 75 mins. Starting about 1400. Enemy opened fire at about 17000 yds. We closed in to 9000. 24 deg. 21 min. S, 32 deg. 25 min. W

Aug 1 1940 Arrived Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro.

Aug 5 1940 Left Rio about 1100.

Sept 6 1940. Arrived Montevideo. Ashore 8 hrs.

Sept 7 1940. Left Montevideo. Harwood 4 aboard.

Sept 17 1940. Arrived Freetown.

Sept 23 1940. "Selection Board".5

Sept 30 1940. From Alcantara to "Edinburgh Castle"6 at Freetown, waiting passage to UK.

Oct 2 1940. Joined "Pretoria Castle7 for passage.

Oct 3 1940. Left Freetown with convoy of 24 ships8.

Oct 24 1940. Arrived at Greenock.

Oct 25-26 1940. By train via London to Plymouth.

Oct 28 1940. Proceeded on 10 days foreign service leave.

Nov 9 1940. Returned to RNB Devonport.

Nov 14 1940. Attending the Depot School.

Dec 11 1940. Drafted to RNB Portsmouth.

Dec 17 1940. Examined by Admiral Harrison's Selection Board.

Dec 19 1940. Proceeded on leave from Pompey.

Dec 20 1940. Dance at U.G.S.9

Dec 26 1940. Returned to RNB Portsmouth.

Dec 27 1940. From Portsmouth to HMS King Alfred, Hove.

Feb 20 1941. Passed out by Admiral Harrison's Board.

March 6 1941. Proceeded on leave from Hove.

March 19 1941. Returned to Hove.

March 20 1941. Joined HMS Jasmine10 at Port Glasgow.

May 1 1941. HMS Jasmine commissioned.

May 1941. Left Greenock for Tobermory11.

June 1 1941. Left Tobermory.

June 2 1941. Arrived Albert Dock Liverpool. Jasmine joined LEF.

Dec 1941. Sailed from Londonderry with convoy, via Ponta Delgada to Freetown.

Feb 1942 - about - to Capetown, then Durban.

May 1942. Assault on Diego Suarez. Picked up survivors of French SM. Ran aground on coral reef. To Durban for refit. Kilindini, Seychelles, Diego Garcia. Back to Durban, local escort.

June 16 1943. Relieved from Jasmine.

July 1 Embarked in SS Forbin.

July 2 Sailed from Durban.

July 7 Arrived Capetown.

July 8 Embarked on MV Athlone Castle.

July 9 Sailed from C.T.

Jly 25 Arrived N.Y.12

Jly 26 Barbizon Plaza Hotel.

Jly 31 - Aug 2. Visited McConnels.

Aug 8 Embarked in A.C.

Aug 9 Sailed from NY. Aug 17 Arrived in L'pool. Debark 4pm. Grange at 2000.

Aug 25 To Stockport (via Liverpool)

Aug 27 To London

Aug 29 To Slough

Aug 30 Commenced course at ACO.

Sept 5 To Southwick, Hants, N* Course13 at HMS Dryad.

Oct 16 Completed course. Weekend in London Slough etc.

Oct 19 To Grange with T[reeby]. Dad & Mother.

Oct 20 - 23 New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel.

Oct 23 Honor's birthday party at Netherwood.

Nov 1st - 7th Slough & London.

Nov 8 To Liverpool. Not able to join Fowey14.

Nov 13 1943. Dick Morrish's wedding at Stroud.

Nov 14 Reading.

Nov 15 - 18 Stockport.

Nov 23rd Left Grange for Londonderry.

Nov 24. Joined "Clover" for passage.

Dec 8. Grand Hotel Gib.

Dec 14. Joined Fowey. leave in Egypt

April 22 1944. Arrived Milford Haven.

May 2. Left Fowey.

May 3. Joined Prince Charles15

June 6 1944. Normandy assault.

Aug 3 Left Prince Charles.

Aug 4 Visited Dryad

Aug 29 Joined Recruit16 at Portsmouth.

Oct 19 - Nov 4 Leave17, in Slough & Grange.

Nov 17 - 23rd Leave in Slough. Marg came.

Nov 23. Ships dance, East Ham Town Hall.

Nov 30 To Sheerness.

Feb 17 1945. Recruit left Falmouth.

May 2 - about - assault on Rangoon. To Akyab and Calcutta.

July. Flew to Ceylon, Joined Plucky18, strike on Phuket Island. Lost Squirrel & Vestal. Nelson, Sussex, 2 carriers, Rifleman & Pincher in coy.

Sept 4 Started clearance of Singapore Strait19.

Oct. To Sourabaya20.

Nov. Clearance of Penang.

Dec Flotilla returned to Colombo.

Dec 21 Left Colombo in Rosebay21.

Jan 20 1946. Arrived Chatham.

Jan 21 Left Rosebay. To Slough.

Jan 22 Demobilised from the Royal Navy.

Jan 23 Interview with Curator, Kew22.

Jan 24 To Wembley for Demob suit.

Jan 25 To Grange.

Feb 5 To London, Highgate Hill & Slough.

Feb 12 To Grange.

Feb 26 To London. AW's23.

Feb 27 Henry IV

Mar 2 To Totnes24 YHA with Treeb.

Mar 3 Aveton Gifford & Bigbury with George H.

Mar 4 Holbeton.

Mar 5 Aveton Gifford.

1. Jim volunteered for the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in September 1939 on the outbreak of war. He received his basic training as an ordinary seaman in a requisitioned holiday camp on the cold east coast of England. The pre-war advertising slogan 'Skegness is so bracing' was an attempt to make the best of a reputation which was well deserved even in summer.

2. HMS Bulolo was an armed merchant cruiser of 6500t

4. Commodore Henry Harwood was the victor of the action against the Graf Spee whose hulk was still to be seen on the sandbank outside Montevideo.

5. for selection for officer training.

6. Edinburgh Castle was an elderly liner being used as an accommodation ship as there were few suitable facilities ashore.

7. HMS Pretoria Castle was an armed merchant cruiser of 17,160t.

8. Convoy SL50

9. Presumably his old school, Ulverston Grammar

11. Tobermory was the working up establishment for small escorts.

12. This 'diversion' to New York subsequently enabled Jim to claim to have visited every inhabited continent except Australia. He and his fellow naval passengers were treated as war heroes and had a very good time seeing the sights. Though it might seem a strange route home it was common for ships from South Africa to cross the South Atlantic and join the regular series of convoys up the eastern seaboard of the Americas and thence to the UK.

13. The N* course was the advanced navigation course provided by the Royal Navy for experienced navigating officers. Jim had been promoted Lieutenant in May 1943.

14. HMS Fowey, his next ship, was a Shoreham class sloop of 1105t launched in 1930.

15. Prince Charles was a Landing Ship Infantry of 2950t. A converted Belgian channel ferry it carried 8 landing craft with 270 troops - Canadians on D-day.

16. HMS Recruit was an Algerine class minesweeper of 970t, commissioned in January 1944.

17. HMS Recruit had a long spell undergoing a refit in Prince Albert dock, London before she sailed to the Far East. leave diary

18. HMS Plucky was another Algerine class minesweeper and the acting minesweeping flotilla leader. HMS Recruit was in Calcutta for repairs. The decision to post him temporarily to Plucky for the key role of piloting the leading ship in what was to be the last big operation of the East India fleet before VJ-day suggests that he must have been highly regarded. The operation off Phucket Island, Thailand, was in mined waters and HMS Squirrel struck a mine on 24 July. The minesweepers operated in echelon which should have protected the vessels following the leader but Plucky's sweep was affected by a detonated mine and left Squirrel exposed. HMS Vestel was hit amidships on 27 July in a kamikaze aircraft attack. The cruiser HMS Sussex narrowly escaped the same day when the attacking aircraft exploded just before hitting the side of the ship. The scorched paintwork and bent plating was testimony to the closeness of the encounter.

19.HMS Recruit claimed to have been the first ship to approach Singapore after the armistice; the formal surrender of Singapore took place later that day.

20. Sourabaya was the major Japanese naval base on the the north coast of Java. Recruit's task was to sweep the harbour area, and Jim had the assistance of minefield maps provided by the Japanese. Recruit took the formal surrender of defensive forts at which Jim was present. [photo]

21. HMS Rosebay was a Canadian built 'Flower'.

22.Jim resumed his horticultural career by becoming a student at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. His leaves spent botanising in South Africa provided a useful interview topic.

23. Presumably his Aunt Winnie.

24. A trip with his brother Treeby researching family history - their grandfather was born near Aveton Gifford in 1840. See Treeby's diary account of the trip.