Gentlemen Cordite, Lieutenant Commander Warwick
edited by Nicholas Bracegirdle

Table of Contents

Title Page

 Read the article.

"Whooomphaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!" - A Son's Introduction to these stories

Warwick and Arthur's personal experiences are to the fore in this anthology, it is to the true gentlemen and ship's companies and gunners of the Second World War and also in Korea that these stories are In heaven, there are no longer Admirals and Ordinary Seamen just brave men and their loving families. There are a hundred more names that I could tell you about and luckily some remain alive more than 54 years later - Crutchley, Feltham, Oldham, Birrell, Leach, Nichols, Griffiths, Buchanan, Ray Parkin, Alliston, Wellard, Nutty Ferris, Cheadle, Perrin, Roche, Hec Waller, Nunn, Date, Shepherd, Patching, Cazaly, Cook, Wakeham, Collins …………. It would take too long to mention their bravery and a thousand pages would only set the scene for their stories. Some of them appear herein.dedicated with affection, these are Dad's and Arthur's own salute to you all and to your brave families. Read the article.

The Monkey Jacket

A challenge was issued to the Philip Term of the RANC. Noone knows who made the challenge. This is how they answered it, perhaps rather unconventionally….? Read the article.

The Mess Jackets

Even Captains need cool feet after dancing the night away. Here is how four young officers resisted temptation and won a "horse' neck " for so-called valour in unconventional dress. Read the article.

The Great Coat

Sadly, a young man's chosen career had to come abruptly to an end for reasons of economy. Nevertheless, the Royal Navy looks after her own.  A young Australian on his way to de-mob gets a heroes send off - and some! Read the article.

HMAS Perth wins her spurs

Warwick went ashore one morning to buy a new lovat pipe.  The new pipe met with an unexpected "accident".  Luckily the gunners were in their overall suits but they went to sea earlier than planned.  The firing orders for that day were NOT in the drill book!!! Read the article.

Action Battle Dress

Action battle dress (Dress code No. 8's) was a tough, blue, long sleeved shirt and matching trousers made of heavy washable cotton material worn during 1939-45 War by all naval ratings and many officers when in dangerous waters.   A steel helmet, anti-flash hood and gloves completed the outfit.  It is very functional and not becoming.   Men worked, fought, slept and died in it.  Their life jackets were never far away………….   On that day in 1941, the Chief Shipwright  of HMAS PERTH had an unusual task. Read the article.

The Life Rafts

After Matapan, a large number of survivors were in the water during further air attacks.   They could have been left to drown.   This is how many of them were saved by the action of a gallant enemy commander. Read the article.

Two Wet Lieutenants - Clan Frazer Incident

Warwick and Terence Power went ashore for an evening's relaxation in the Plaka, Athens.   This is what happened to them that evening. Read the article.

Moonlight Patrol

Ajax and Perth were patrolling North of Suda Bay in April 1941.   Sometimes, the bright bomber's moon and the strain of battle were too much to bear .... Read the article.

The Overall Suit

HMAS SHROPSHIRE took part in one of the greatest naval gunnery battles of all time - the Battle of Surigao Straits near to Leyte. HMAS ARUNTA participated in a spirited torpedo attack. A. B. Tubby Wellard distinguished himself during that Night Action. Here is how Tubby won his DSM. Read the article.

HMAS SHROPSHIRE - CPO Cooper remembers

Arthur Cooper, The Chief Gunner's Mate of HMAS Shropshire, has always had a good story to tell..... Read the article.

The Letter - From CPO Cooper to Nicolas Bracegirdle

I hope that I may call you Nicolas, as time and age seem to bridge the intimacy of friendship, without the loss of respect.   Personally - I turned 85 Years of age the other day, I cannot write well because the arthritis in my hands is bad, so hence I have purchased this Typewriter and with one finger am able to communicate. Read the article.

A Royal Salute with Live Ammunition

This one is NOT in any drill book! And the Ship's Company of HMAS BATAAN spliced the main-brace too. Read the article.

HMAS BATAAN - First of a name

Bataan was the only Tribal-class destroyer not to be named after a people or nation of the British Empire.   The Canadians took their names from Red Indians and the Australians from Aborigine tribes.   Following this naming policy Bataan was originally scheduled as Kurnai.   However, on 9 August 1942, the Australian cruiser Canberra was sunk while operating with US forces during the Battle of Savo Island.   In recognition of her brave fight, the USN launched one of their new cruisers on 19 April 1943 as Canberra.   As a return compliment the Australians renamed Kurnai, Bataan, in honour of General Douglas MacArthur who spent much of the war based in Australia. Read the article.

Operation "Round-Up"

"I'm putting thirty agents ashore tonight to take a last look around.   The weather's just right and the tide should be O.K. for the morning of the 19th.   We think ..." Planning for 'Operation Round-up', first daylight combined raiding operation of the Korean War, had begun. Read the article.

Life and Death - Tragedies of War

The explosive motor boat hit the "York" and blew a large hole in her starboard side.   She began sinking slowly.  Read the article.

A few days in the life of a Destroyer Crew in the Mediterranean during WW II

Extracts from the World War II records of  ex C. P.O.G.M. Arthur Cooper, H.M.A.S. Voyager (before the Siege of Tobruk). Read the article.

The Tale of a Cat

His name was "Pancho", short for Pancho Villa, the Mexican Bandit.   Pancho was a very well built Tom Cat.   His hair was dark ginger bordering on black and was the same colour all over.   He knew his name too, for when anyone called "Come on Pancho" he would look up with those big brown eyes, just as if he knew. Read the article.

A glimpse at Naval Gunnery. (When the Tutch holes were bunged up with fluff.)

Now the operation of Shropshire's gunnery could be likened to a human being.   The operating started at the bridge.   The brains and orders originated and began there.   The Director Tower, mounted in a high position above the bridge and behind to give a clear position all around, was the eyes.  Read the article.

Letter to the Rats of Tobruk Magazine

Dear Fellow Rat,
Please find enclosed £20 to cover costs of the Anniversary Medal and the residue for future dues.   I do miss our old fellow friend and Rat, Doug, as I very much liked to call in and have a yard.   Through the 'ROTA' Magazine Doug was an inspiration to us all.  God bless him. Read the article.

A vivid account of the re-capture of the Philippines

Since the beginning of time there have been wars and quarrels on this earth among its inhabitants. After it is all over we ask ourselves "What was it all about, and was it worth while/" There are not many MINUTE TO MINUTE DESCRIPTIONS OF ACTIONS. Read the article.

Epilogue - 22 May 1982 - Falkland Islands

Letter from Nicolas to Caroline Bracegirdle Read the article.

Postscript - The story of the Gunnery Officers Box

This box belonged to Commander Warwick Seymour Bracegirdle RAN, DSC and two bars, mentioned in dispatches (twice) and US Legion of Merit (Degree of Officer - with Combat Star).   There are only two other RAN officers ever who have been awarded three DSCs.   He was a very brave man.  More about that later. Read the article.

Gentlemen Cordite Index

This site was created as a resource for educational use and the promotion of historical awareness. All rights of publicity of the individuals named herein are expressly reserved, and, should be respected consistent with the reverence in which this memorial site was established.

Copyright© 1984/2014 Mackenzie J. Gregory All rights reserved