|My first ship HMT Kurd Officers Lt/Commader Roy Barret & Sub/Lt Wooden
|HMT Kurd was sunk off the "Lizard Point" in Cornwall at 13:00 on 10th July 1945. (whilst bringing in the sweep) with the loss of 16 lives, 2 Officers and 14 ratings. "HMT Almandine" picked up 11 survivors and 6 of the crew were taken to "Truro Royal Infirmary including myself.
HMT Kurd FY.639 was sunk by a mine just 2 months after the end of the war. Launched in 1939 she was one of the many requisitioned trawlers used primarily for minesweeping duties
HMT Kurd casualty list published in The Times 4 September 1945:
Officers, missing, presumed killed:
T/A/ Lt Commander R Barrett RNR (in command )
T/ Sub. Lt. R W Wooden RNVR
Ratings, missing, presumed killed:
Aitkin T. A. Seaman
Bassett W. Leading Seaman
Bond J. G. Seaman
Bunnett A. G. Ordinary Seaman
Bray K. G. Stoker.
Faulkner D. R. H. Signalman
Griffiths F. W. H. Leading Cook.
Guest I. C. Stoker
Lowe C. O. Petty .Officer
McQuade P.J. Telegraphist
Ranson E. H. Engineman.
Spooner E. H. Ch. Engineman
Ware V. Seaman
Wright C. R. Seaman.
It was actually a Royal Navy laid mine that sunk HMS Kurd. Her flotilla had been moved to Plymouth (Mill Bay Dock) in order to clear a British minefield of some 800 mines laid in a 'V' formation, South of Lizard Point. These mines were for anti-submarine purposes.
At the end of June sweeping operations were commenced with night-time anchorages in Carrick Roads. On the 10th July at about midday, whilst retrieving the sweep wire, HMS Kurd apprently snagged a mine which was in the sweepwire and exploded blowing off the stem of the vessel and sinking the trawler in seconds.
I later joined MMS 283 "Lowestoft" and served on her from September 1945 to December 1945. I then joined MMS 309 "Ostend" and served aboard her from December 1945 to March 1946. She then moved to Queensborough, working out on the "Kentish Knock". All ships company transferred to MMS 56 due to a fire in the engine room. I then left MMS 56 for demob in December 1946.
A rescue ship
Like so many trawlers HMS Kurd once had to swap roles from minesweeper to that of a rescue ship. On 15th September , 1940 A Whitley Bomber P4966 of RAF Bomber Command: 4 Group. 10 Sqn ditched off Spurn Head on night of 14/15.9.40 attacking Antwerp Docks.
Squadron Leader K.F. Ferguson and Sargents C.S. Rogers, W. Fraser, E. Cummings and M. Niman were all rescued by the trawler at 0030
Mark Niman (DFC) a Wireless Operator Airgunner remembers the experience:
'We really thought we had "had it". Then to our astonishment we spotted this ship approaching us. It was HMT Kurd and it actually came into a minefield to rescue me and the rest of our Whitley Bomber crew after we had ditched into the sea after engine failure.
I think we spent a few days sweeping mines before landing at Grimsby, then I also recall taking some of the crew on a trip round the local pubs.. We had made contact with our base, and they arranged our collection. We were fascinated with the absolute bravery of the Kurd's crew, collecting us was one thing, but to even think of coming through a minefield to do so, well that was something else!'
If anyone has any information on any of the surviving shipmates who was on the HMT Kurd, I would like to hear from them. You can contact me by telephone but please first contact Nick Clark
Ted Godding 2000