Sub Lt A.E.Howell

25 Nov 2010

G'day Mac,

Thanks for prompt reply. I have only been connected to the web for four weeks and I tend to send E-Mails winging into space, never to be seen again. But I digress. When I sent the original article to "Pembrokeshire Life Magazine," I included a group photograph of Arthur Howell at his passing out parade at HMS King Alfred, a shore based establishment for trainee officers, located at Brighton and Hove on the South coast of the UK. The editor saw fit not to include the group as they were not all from Wales, but I thought it an integral part, showing his achievement.

However, I also thought that you might like to tack it on to the article on Convoy ONS 5 as it is another link for people to check out. Since being connected I have found interesting sites and photo's included of both King Alfred and HMS Quebec, the training establishment for landing forces at D.Day. Just put the two names in and see what

An amusing anecdote was that trainees on a CW 1 Form (selected by their CO's for officer training) kept their square rig uniform till passing through, this saved the Admiralty about £40 if they failed, but to indicate the training they wore white cap bands, unfortunately in areas that did not know the meaning of this, it became common supposition that the rating had contracted VD or some such thing.

I know this for a fact from my brother Edwin Francis Howell who was a Lt Commander RNVR. He joined up early in 1939, sensing that war was inevitable and determined to secure a good berth. Being a Solicitors Clerk in Civvie street he joined up as a Writer and then Cypher-Clerk. He was fast tracked through King Alfred (where he told me about this) and was promoted to Lieutenant then to Admirals Clerk with Ramsey and Fraser of North Cape. It was mooted by my parents that he was at one time Fleet Secretary, but I have my doubts. He sailed on HMS Arrow (destroyer), Indefatigable, Renown, Illustrious, Revenge and the fast minelayer HMS Latona, when they were embarking Australian troops from Tobruk for service elsewhere. He was based for sometime in Trincomalee when going down to Australia on one of his ships.

My family comes from a long line that has been attached to naval bases. My father, born in 1885, was, with his father and five brothers three uncles working in Pembroke Dock Naval Dockyard. Winston Churchill in a move to save the English money closed this down in 1924 and my father and four brothers walked to Portsmouth Dockyard to find work. Being Welsh, both my father and I sang in the Dockyard church of St Ann's, and when that was bombed in 1943 the services were held on HMS Victory. This was good because my father knew the cook in the galley alongside and I always got a Sunday dinner, usually Liver and Onions, mashed potato and gravy, a godsend to a growing lad during the war.

I myself went to sea as an apprentice (Midshipman) with The Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co, later to be named Shell. This was much against my brother's and parent's wishes who wanted me to join the Andrew. However I spent 47 years at sea, 27 as Master Mariner (Captain) though I did join the Whale Island Cadets (HMS Excellent) where we had to double all round the place especially across the Parade Ground. I became a crack shot during training on Bofar's and Oerlikon's (?) using the simulator in the "Dome".

Anyway that is enough. I hope that the photograph is of interest.

Yours aye, Glyn.

November 29, 2010
Dear Mac,

Thanks so much for getting me in touch with Mr Hill. It seems to round off my article in as much as along with Lt Downer's son sending me his father's photograph I have, in a way, authenticated Arthur Howell's
account, the painting grows. Mr Hill was actually one of the men who went up and cleaned the gun of the Northern Spray on its way to Canada, just as he wrote in his diary. What I did not know was that the fish holds were fitted out for survivors, one imagines a bit smelly perhaps, he says that they were so thankful to be alive that any job to help on
the ship was a godsend.

Thanks once again........Glyn Howell.

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