CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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A small church yard in the west of the Cotentin peninsular where I noticed a small green plaque. You never quite know what you will find.

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The green CWGC plaque.

CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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17 July 2020

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CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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The Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay.

CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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17 July 2020

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CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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The French war memorial with mostly WW1 and a few WW2 deaths on it.
Dates originally 1914 - 1919.
1914 six: 1915 six: 1916 four: 1917 four: 1918 five: 1919 two:
1922 - 1945 sixteen: 1949 one: 1952 one: There may be more on the otherside but for such a small village, its a lot to loose.

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CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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17 July 2020

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CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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This is the British stone that we came upon.

CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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17 July 2020

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CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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GRAVE REGISTRATION details.

CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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17 July 2020

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CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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R C Boddy,Stoker 2nd Class, RN.
All along this coast you can find burials of members of the crew of HMS Charybdis. With a total of 464 crewmen from HMS Charybdis and 40 from HMS Limbourne killed, this was a loss of life on a terrible scale and over the coming days & weeks, bodies of matelots from both ships would slowly and continuously be washed up on the shores of Guernsey, Jersey and across the water in France...

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HMS Charybdis.

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HMS Limbourne.

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HMS Talybont.

CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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HMS Charybdis BBC

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CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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Ideal for this latest task, HMS Charybdis was deputed for the Black Prince and took command of the destroyer squadron ordered to locate the German merchantman... however no sooner had the British vessels set sail, than communications between all ships were lost and a state of high confusion resulted, so much so that many ships involved in this mission actually had no idea what was unfolding and were forced to act independently of each other. A disastrous state of affairs especially when taking on the might of Hitler´s highly ordered & disciplined Kriegsmarine that were heavily defending this vital convoy with both prowling destroyers and hard-hitting E-boots..! Nevertheless our destroyers led by HMS Charybdis pressed on and approached the French coastline but were picked up by German coastal radars and their E-boots & destroyers were vectored to intercept. Charybdis picked up the German fleet 7 miles out whilst HMS Limbourne, operating new electronic warfare equipment, also acquired German naval forces and fired star shells into the night sky to try to identify the radar contacts. But almost immediately the German E-boots launched heavy torpedo attacks and both HMS Charybdis & HMS Limbourne were hit and Charybdis sunk with a loss of over 500 crewmen from both vessels. Charybdis went down so fast that there was no time to launch life-boats and so the survivors were thrown into the oily water with only flotsam to cling on to inthe hope of being rescued. Two other British destroyers, HMS Wensleydale & HMS Talybont, now aware of the disaster that had just befallen the attacking forces, set about searching for any survivors from both Royal Naval vessels they could locate in the dark and in a desperate 3-hour operation, 107 souls from Charybdis were pulled alive from the water, whilst some 85 out of a crew of 125 from Limbourne were similarly located & plucked from the sea...

But with a total of 464 crewmen from Charybdis and 40 from Limbourne killed, this was a loss of life on a terrible scale and over the coming days & weeks, bodies of matelots from both ships would slowly and continuously be washed up on the shores of Guernsey, Jersey and across the water in France...

29 dead sailors were found on Jersey’s shores whilst 21 bodies from Charybdis were eventually recovered on Guernsey’s beaches by St John’s Ambulance members between October & December and were subsequently given a German military funeral and laid to rest in Guernsey’s Le Foulon cemetery. This was an utterly tragic night in both Royal Naval history and in the history of Guernsey’s German occupation and was a military disaster that was obviously suppressed here on the mainland during the war because of the dire affect it would have on the country’s winning determination.

The British force, now under command of Roger Hill of Grenville, only came back when they learned of Limbourne's crippling and then conducted a rescue operation. 107 of the crew of Charybdis were rescued through the morning and day. The severely damaged Limbourne had lost 42 members of her crew. An attempt to tow Limbourne failed and the order was given for her to be scuttled. She was sunk by torpedoes from Talybont and surface gunfire from Rocket; 100 survivors were picked up
Franz Kohlauf was awarded the Knight's Cross for this action by Adolf Hitler soon after, while Friedrich-Karl Paul was awarded the German Cross. The action was the last clear German naval victory of the war as well as being the last defeat of the Royal Navy. Lessons were learned by the British and despite the setback Operation Tunnel succeeded with only four out of 15 blockade runners reaching France. Münsterland returned to port in Saint-Malo unscathed but the blockade running mission had been aborted. On the attempt to eventually move out, she was forced ashore and destroyed west of Cap Blanc Nez by fire from British coastal artillery at Dover, on 21 January 1944

"The Battle of Sept-Îles". (from many different sources).

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The crew of HMS Talybont.

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Navy crew.

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Beards.

CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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17 July 2020

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CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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HMS Limbourne.

CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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 23nd October 1943

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CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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The track of the battle.

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T23.

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T21.

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Funeral in Guernsey during occupation.

CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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17 July 2020

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CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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Inside the church.

CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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17 July 2020

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CWGC Church of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay

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