Richard Hector Walsh telegraphist lost in sinking of HMS Mourne
October 04, 2010
Dear Mac - I am writing to let you know that I am absolutely thrilled and excited to have found your website. My father was the telegraphist aboard HMS Mourne - Richard Hector Walsh. I have Googled HMS Mourne before and came up with your site, but to read this evening the account of the U-boat 767 and the one German survivor (Saved by Walter Schmietenknop) was truly awesome. I am 72 years old and I was born on June 15th 1938. A significant date. I remember on my sixth birthday my mother received the dreaded telegram: Missing presumed dead. She just sat motionless in total shock all day. I was the only one in the house - my brother was away at school. In the post a teddy bear arrived for my birthday which my father had sent from Fareham. I still have the bear and the note that he enclosed, asking me to save him a piece of cake.
Everyone loved my father. He was tall, funny, and the 'daddy' on the ship as he was older than most of the sailors. On the fiftieth anniversary of the sinking of the Mourne, the Daily Telegraph published the In Memoriam notices and there were two entries for the Mourne. I sent a letter to the Telegraph asking them to forward it to the two entrants. I was so lucky. I had a reply from a survivor who had shared a mess with my father. He had been blown clear, but was not picked up for a long time. The poor man had the most horrendous experience. For years he was haunted by the thought: "Why me? Why was I saved?"
Today I have 4 grandsons and my 7 year old grandson is doing a school project on WW2 and it is because of this that I did a little research, so, think of me on Sunday sitting around the table when he 'interviews' me for my memories of the War.Thanks to you the interview will be all the more authentic.
I am delighted to hear from you, and pleased you enjoyed the only survivor from U-767 story.
It was an amazing survival. Ahoy is the sum of my research and writing and my Web Master Terry Kearns of Atlanta Georgia putiing it all up, on AHOY for anyone who chances on it, I enjoy my contact with people across this world of ours on various subjects.
Here is your Dad's entry at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site :
He is listed on the Plymouth Naval Memorial on Panel 89 in Column 1. It is hard to read but your Dad is lis ted in the first few names in the first Column.
My best wishes for yor interview. Let me know how it goes please.