H.M.S. Cattistock

Commanded by Lieutenant Richard Keddie DSC

By Jim Devlin

H.M.S. Cattistock, the second ship bearing this name in the Royal Navy, was built at the Yarrow yard in Glasgow and commissioned into service in July 1940. She was a Type 1 Hunt class destroyer with the pennant number L35 and was eventually scrapped in 1957.

Photo:HMS Cattistock in 1941

HMS Cattistock in 1941

Royal Navy official photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For most of her wartime service she was an escort in the North Sea. She took part in the bombardment of Dieppe in July 1942  and was a member of Force G during the Normandy Landings on 6th June 1944 where she was deployed off Gold Beach to provide Covering gunfire for the troops.

On 29th August 1944, whilst patrolling off Cape D’Antifer with H.M.S. Retalick, she intercepted German craft fleeing from Le Havre. H.M.S. Cattistock received 26 hits including one on bridge which killed her Captain, Lt. Keddie, who is remembered on the Downham War Memorial.

Below is a photo of H.M.S. Cattistock's bell with its owner, John Hoey who lives in Queensland, Australia. The photograph in the silver frame over the bell is of H.M.S. Cattistock and the others are of John Hoey's father who was a gunnery officer on the ship. The reverse of the ship's crest has an engraved plaque from Cattistock's crew to the Keddie family in honour of their son and captain of the ship.

Photo:John Hoey with Cattistock's bell

John Hoey with Cattistock's bell

John Hoey

 

This page was added by Jim Devlin on 15/02/2017.
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My father Henry (Harry) Blake served on L35 HMS Cattistock. I understood he took part in the victory parade in London based on being decorated for his efforts in battle. He was 'mentioned in dispatches'.

He told the recruiting officer when he volunteered that he was older than he really was I believe he was actually 15 and signed on as a boy sailor. His role on ship was a steward to the officer's mess. During active service he was stationed in a sealed room passing shells and explosives from one hole in the floor to another in the ceiling, on the shell's route from the magazine to the guns to be fired. This was clearly a method of attempting to keep the magazine isolated during action. During any action he seemed to spend sometime in this room and some time 'off duty'. It was during this 'off duty' time, whilst 'in action' that my Dad went round picking up the dead and wounded, washing faces and making them presentable, which led to his actions being 'mentioned in dispatches'. I assume this was the Le Harve action where Lt. Keddie - his Captain died.

My Dad, obvious a very young man with access to the goodies in the officer's mess seems to have been mentored by a Scotsman from the crew called Jock Ross. I have seen a photo of the ship with a comment on the back 'Lest we forget' Jock.

My Dad was a Mancunian who became the head of his family of 4 x siblings with the death of his mother and father in the late 1940's. With his wife, my mother, after starting a family, tried unsuccessfully to get housing in London after the war before moving back to Manchester.

I am so very proud of my father and his contribution to 20th century history on HMS Cattistock. 

 

By Anthony John Blake
On 17/09/2017
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