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  #1  
Old 11-03-2009, 14:17
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eddies girl eddies girl is offline
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Default HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

HI. My dad served on the Asturias till she was torpedoed in July 1943. She was towed into Freetown but i have no idea which ship the crew would have been assigned to from there. I want to send off for Dad's records but they ask for ships he sailed on and I have a blank from the Asturias till landing crafts in 1944. Any suggestions welcome.
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  #2  
Old 11-03-2009, 22:25
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

Hello Eddies Girl,
I would have thought that if you supply them with his full name, date of birth, copy of birth certificate, etc (see this thread on how to apply for records - http://www.worldnavalships.com/forum...ead.php?t=3131 )
that they would tell you which ships and establishments that he served on.
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  #3  
Old 11-03-2009, 23:02
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

Welcome to the forum.
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  #4  
Old 12-03-2009, 14:05
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eddies girl eddies girl is offline
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

Thanks for the welcome, also tips on getting Dad's records. One problem is, they ask for his service number which until recently I didn't have. I now have a letter sent by the captain of the Asturias to my mum. She had to get Dad's permission to come back to England from Ireland where she had been evacuated with my sister and me. The number is X10872A Seaman R.N.R.
This number doesn't seem to fit with others I have come across on requests on other sites. Do you think this could be his service number.
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  #5  
Old 12-03-2009, 15:32
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

I do not recognise the number as an RN number, they usually had the base port as a prefix to the number ie PMX10872, but that is not to say that the number incorrect, others may be able to advise on that. HMS Asturias was an Armed Merchant Cruiser which was requisitioned by the Admiralty in 1939. She was torpedoed in 1943 and towed to Freetown until 1944 when she was towed to Belfast and repaired/converted to a troop transport ship. Was he awarded any medals for his service during the war as the documentation may be more elaborate with regards his service number?
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File Type: jpg hms Asturias amc.jpg (118.9 KB, 82 views)
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  #6  
Old 12-03-2009, 16:55
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Blaydon Blaydon is offline
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

I realy do not think that the MOD will require you to have his service number.
Full name date and place of birth should be enough for them to work with. I believe they still hold the records from this period so see the sticky notices as to how to apply for the documents. Supply as much information as you can to them. And good luck.
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  #7  
Old 12-03-2009, 22:25
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

As an afterthought, if he does have any medals, you may find his name and service number stamped on the edge of the medal
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  #8  
Old 12-03-2009, 22:52
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

I have attached copy of the letter. On Dad's Long Service Medal, the same number is around the edge. Perhaps it is because he was Royal Navy Reserve. I will just send off and see what happens.
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  #9  
Old 12-03-2009, 23:15
historydavid historydavid is offline
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

Welcome aboard eddies girl.

The service number X10872A seems legitimate. I have found examples in the Admiralty casualty db, mostly for RCN, RNZN and RNR.
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  #10  
Old 12-03-2009, 23:25
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

Thanks David. I thought the number on his medal should be right, but the letter and the fact that you have seen a similar number before, confirms it.
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  #11  
Old 02-04-2011, 09:44
derek s.langsdon derek s.langsdon is offline
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

Following up on my father (Sydney J.Langsdon)s time on the "Northern Wave" he switched to the "Asturias" whose history has been well documented,although I only found one long back earlier thread from I think "Eddiesgirl" trying to traceher fathers service.Apparently he like my father left he ship after tow-back to Freetown at the end of '43. I'd be interested to learn anything more of the actual (Italian Sub') torpedo incident. and incidentally amongst my fathers odds and ends/medals etc I find two rating cap ribbons,one from :R.N.E.F.DUCA D'AOSTA and the other HMS LEOPARD .Any ideas where he might have encountered those ships ? I assume whilst on the "ASTURIAS".
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  #12  
Old 02-04-2011, 11:52
Mark C. Jones Mark C. Jones is offline
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

Derek,

The Italian light cruiser Emanuele Filiberto Duca D'Aosta was used by the Allies for patrols off West Africa to intercept German raiders and supply ships. A considerable number of Italian warships were used with Italian crews for various training, transportation and patrol duties in the Mediterranean and Atlantic.

The authoritative book Cruisers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia by M.J. Whitley indicates that D'Aosta sailed from Italy in October 1943 for Freetown to prevent blockade runners from reaching Europe. She made seven patrols between November 1943-February 1944 and returned to Italy in early April 1944.

I suspect that Asturias, an armed merchant cruiser, was assigned similar duties as D'Aosta and so the two ships might have been in port at the same time. The cap tally R.N. E.F. Duca D'Aosta indicates the Italian Royal Navy (Regia Marina) and the short name of the ship. I hope this is helpful.

Mark C. Jones
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  #13  
Old 02-04-2011, 15:23
navalis navalis is offline
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

I'd be interested to learn anything more of the actual (Italian Sub') torpedo incident.

In July 1943 the Asturias went to Bahia to escort a floating dock across the Atlantic to Dakar. At 01.45 on 25 July when the dock (in two sections) with their tugs, plus five escorts and the Asturias, were in postion 06.40N 21W, she was hit by a torpedo fired by the Italian submarine Amiraglio Cagni, which had closed the formation on the surface. The torpedo hit just abaft the forward bulkhead of the boiler room and the explosion blew a hole twenty three feet by twenty feet in the hull and the boiler room flooded, followed by the engine room, auxiliary machinery room and deep oil tanks. She lost all power and lighting and took a list to port. She remained stable however, and the frigates Mourne and Exe passed over portable pumps to assist with keeping the water under control. A large rescue tug eventually arrived on scene to take her in tow, and the crew of Asturias helped by rigging a large sail made from deck awnings. She eventually arrived at Freetown 1 August with about 10,000 tons of water inside her.
She remained laid up at Freetown until late 44 when she was towed back to UK for repairs
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  #14  
Old 02-04-2011, 18:16
Mark C. Jones Mark C. Jones is offline
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

The second ship Derek mentioned, Leopard, was not British but Free French. The Leopard was a large destroyer (the French termed it a contretorpilleur). It arrived at Freetown in July 1942 as part of the escort to convoy OS-33. If your father collected a cap tally from an Italian light cruiser, then it seems likely that a Free French cap tally would be of interest to him.

A great source of information for British naval history in the two world wars is www.naval-history.net as it includes a huge amount of operational history. A search function easily brings you to the details you are seeking.

Mark C. Jones
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  #15  
Old 15-04-2011, 12:10
derek s.langsdon derek s.langsdon is offline
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

My apologies if I have not replied sooner to the most informative replies from "Navalis" and Martin C.Jones to my queries on my father's old ship HMS Asturias.It was the first detail ever received on the actual torpedo incident and the assistance given through to tow-back to Freetown.I was aware that the Asturias had docked in Sth America,my father having bought a watch for my mother whilst ashore there and had some trouble retrieving it from below water following the incident (my sister wears it still).It was useful also to know the arrival date back in Freetown (Aug 1st 1943) I beleive I mentioned earlier that my father thereafter was retained there on station ("Eland") on his RDF (RADAR) duties until returning to the UK in September 1944-although the dates are a little unclear on his service record.Thankyou too Mark for the information concerning the Italian and Free French vessels from which my father had collected cap ribbons.It will all help greatly in the compilation of my father's story that I am endeavouring to put together.With my thanks and regards = derek-l
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  #16  
Old 15-04-2011, 16:10
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

Good quality pictures of Asturias seem to be thin on the ground to put it mildly - this happens to be the best example I have.
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File Type: jpg HMS ASTURIAS-2TZ.jpg (327.9 KB, 51 views)
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  #17  
Old 16-04-2011, 08:27
derek s.langsdon derek s.langsdon is offline
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

Thank you for finding the "Asturias" picture its good to see,they are certainly rare.Strangely and coincidentally somewhere here I recall having a brochure from the Royal Mail steamship line which may well have old pictures of the Asturias from those years-must have been around 1936/7.The brochure was given to me with other souvenirs by a violinist member of the ship's orchestra who was a friend of my father. -derek-l
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  #18  
Old 16-04-2011, 09:52
derek s.langsdon derek s.langsdon is offline
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

Terry:Further on The "Asturias: yourself and others may already have read but I see three pages of the old"" SS Asturias "website giving good history before and through RN service with some old pictures though nothing good of the ship.One artistic impression on the front cover of an of "Asturias" -To South America" brochure (not the one I had} One murky of the 1925 Belfast launching.Was interested to see she had much further useful service after being written off following the torpedoing and tow-back to Freetown in '43 (my father's service},being refitted in Belfast in '45 by the Government and making 23 trips carrying immigrants to Australia between '46 to '52 then being used as a troopship from '52 to '57.when she was sold to breakers.Interestingly some the teak from the ship was sold and made into garden furniture and whilst being broken up she was used by The Rank Organisation for the film "A Night to Remember" (on the sinking of the Titanic)The port side of the :Asturias" being used for boat-lowering scenes while ship-breakers continued to work on the starboard.Once filming was completed the demolition was as well. The old girl certainly had an exciting and useful life ! Derek-l
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  #19  
Old 16-04-2011, 15:21
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

Here's another photo of her as a Hospital ship, not sure of the date of this one though.

Regards
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File Type: jpg Asturias (Hospital ship).jpg (1.25 MB, 60 views)
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  #20  
Old 16-04-2011, 16:04
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

Thanks Alan - for some reason I neglected to look through my Hospital Ships photos and postcards!

I have that example as well and also seem to have an old photo of her as a troopship taken in 1952!!
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File Type: jpg HMT ASTURIAS-1-1952TCC.jpg (147.3 KB, 54 views)
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  #21  
Old 21-07-2011, 13:03
derek s.langsdon derek s.langsdon is offline
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

Apologies for resurrecting my father's old ship HMS Asturias yet again after all the useful l info provided earlier this year.but does anyone know what happened to the (I think two) floating docks or dock sections that she was towing from Bahia to Dakar (for South France use ??) when she was torpedoed by the Italian sub. Were the docks still in tow when the Asturias herself was towed on by a large tug, discarded at sea or taken on and beached with the Asturias when she got to Freetown ? if the docks got that far were they then taken on by the tug to the original Dakar destination ? ......(We know what happened to the Asturias thereafter thanks to the little info I had from my father but mostly from your kind help/knowledge/references).

derek-L/Norfolk
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  #22  
Old 13-03-2015, 19:05
Dancing blind Dancing blind is offline
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

My father A.L.Fletcher and engineer was serving on the Asturias when it was taken over by the admiralty in 1939. He then stayed with it (RNVR) until early 1943 when he was reassigned to the HMS Atheling.

Has anyone seen a picture when it was serving as an Armed Merchant Cruiser---decked out with guns etc?

Regards to all.
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  #23  
Old 09-10-2017, 00:47
Flet$cher Flet$cher is offline
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dancing blind View Post
My father A.L.Fletcher and engineer was serving on the Asturias when it was taken over by the admiralty in 1939. He then stayed with it (RNVR) until early 1943 when he was reassigned to the HMS Atheling.

Has anyone seen a picture when it was serving as an Armed Merchant Cruiser---decked out with guns etc?

Regards to all.
So far no response--perhaps a photo does not exist (October 2017)
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  #24  
Old 13-10-2017, 13:23
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

ASTURIAS was employed as a troopship during the Suez war in 1956. She also made some voyages to the Far East afterwards. A school classmate of mine served onboard her during that time.
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  #25  
Old 26-11-2017, 23:39
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Default Re: HMS Asturias: Armed Merchant Cruiser

Quote:
Originally Posted by al1934 View Post
ASTURIAS was employed as a troopship during the Suez war in 1956. She also made some voyages to the Far East afterwards. A school classmate of mine served onboard her during that time.
I, with mother & two sisters, was evacuated from Egypt in late 1952 aboard Asturias. I remember being favourably impressed by the food compared to the slush served us on Empress of Australia outbound! I have a few on-board photos lurking somewhere in the loft.
Phil
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