- Letter Writer
- Biographies and personal histories, WWII operations
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- March 1995 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
I have been assisting author Dennis Newton (“A Few of the Few” about Australians involved in the Battle of Britain) with research for his next book,” First Impact”, and seek members advice.” First Impact” is about those Australian’s who were first into battle in WWII, from 1939-1940.
These included RAN Observers on exchange service with the RN, especially the then LCDR Palgrave Carr (only RAN Officer to be awarded the DFC in WWII), and LEUTs Victor Smith and Harrie Gerrett in HMS Ark Royal. However I believe that the first Australian Naval WWII casualty in action was Engineer Lieutenant Commander James Kenneth Macleod, aboard HMS Glowworm on 8th April, 1940.
Members will recall that HMS Glowworm was separated from her Force when detached to recover a man overboard in a hugh gale off Norway, two days before the German seaborne invasion. Glowworm came across two German destroyers of the invasion force which, in the ensuing engagement, led the Glowworm to the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper. After suffering severe damage from the Hipper, Glowworm rammed her – but was eventually sunk by the cruiser. The destroyer’s Commanding Officer, LCDR Gerard Roope RN was posthumously awarded the VC; only 31 of the destroyer’s crew of 145 survived.
LCDR Macleod was born at Warnambool in August 1890 and entered the RAN in 1913. In the rank of LCDR he transferred to the Emergency List in 1928 and the Retired List in 1933. On the outbreak of war he must have joined the RN in London, where he was residing, and had been posted immediately to the Glowworm in late 1939.
Do any members know of another Australian who might have lost his life in a Naval action in WWII before the 49 year old Macleod? Yours sincerely, Mike Taylor CMDR RANEM
[Ed: The following images were added by the editors]