Was Gilbert Norman Webb Harvey aboard HMAS Canberra or HMS Hythe


I read with great interest and excitement the comments of people who had survived this battle, and wondered if there is a way of enquiring whether they remember my great-uncle Norm Harvey (Gilbert Norman Webb HARVEY) who was apparently hit and killed in the first volley of fire which landed on the 'Canberra'. We have so little information about him, that I would like to know more about him, or if there are any photos of him there are no family photos of him..... it would be nice to know of someone who knew him.

The only information I had was what I have given you and what I have gleaned from National Archives in his service record. Your site has already increased my knowledge of the event 100 fold.


Maureen V. Driver

Community Education & Liaison
Customer Services
State Library of South Australia


My thanks for your message,  I have a complete list of all who were on board HMAS Canberra that fateful night. It lists those who died, the severely and slightly wounded, and all survivors.

I am afraid that there is just no listing for a Gilbert Norman Webb Harvey any where. Nor could I turn up a record for him in the RAN segment of the WW2 Nominal Roll, or in the other two services.

What details did you receive from the Service Record you mention Maureen?


He was a lieutenant in the Royal Australian Naval Reserve - a volunteer. The service record is quite illegible, but the family were apparently told, according to my uncles, that Uncle Norm was on the 'Canberra' when it was hit, etc.

To the point that my Uncle Eric, who served at Rabaul, created a replica of the 'Canberra', based on the sister ship the 'Shropshire' out of match sticks in memory of him.

How bizarre.

I found him in the WW2 nominal roll as RAN.
and under Harvey, Gilbert Norman Webb


It does say there that his posting at death was the 'Hythe', but I don't know anything about that.

How confusing.

If you do come across anything that might clear up this little mystery, I would really appreciate hearing from you.

Thanks so much for your time.



HMS Hythe was a Mine Sweeper, sunk by German Submarine U-371, on the 11th. of October 1943.

Here are the details.

This date ties in with that of Lieutenant Norman Harvey's WW2 Nominal Roll record.

I can assure you as a Sub Lieutenant in Canberra when she was sunk, that your great uncle was not in her at that time, or any time from December 1941 when I joined the ship, and as she went down on the 9th. of August in 1942, that is another date that does not fit your great uncles death on the 11th. of October 1943.

It would appear that we have sorted out some detail for you, and proved beyond any doubt that the family story about Norman being hit with the first salvo in Canberra is but a myth.

See HMS Hythe (J 194) at uboat.net 
Best regards.


Thankyou so very much, Mac.
I appreciate the effort you have gone to on my behalf.
Again, I think your website is absolutely amazing.

Hi Mac.

Re HMS HYTHE, the following webpage has an article by a Jack Williams (1986) giving some details on the minesweepers SPEEDY, HEBE, RYE and HYTHE serving in Malta:


Williams was an able-seaman in the Algerine class minesweeper SPANKER during 1943-44 (HYTHE was Bangor class). The article gives some details of the loss of the HYTHE. It mentions that "At about 0100 on 11 August RYE heard an explosion" - he obviously meant 11 October. RYE picked up just 12 survivors from the HYTHE, two later died.

These ships among others seem to have done great service in escorting convoys to and from Malta. Awards for "bravery and resolution" while "escorting an important convoy to Malta" were published in The Times Sept 2 and 23 1942 respectively. There is mention of a Harvey being awarded a DSC for "skill and resource in action against enemy submarines" but it's a Lt. B. J. Harvey, R.A.N.V.R.

Kind regards,

Martin Elliget
Fig Tree Pocket QLD Australia


I am pleased that I could help in a small way.

Here is some more information about the doings of HMS Hythe, in her role with Malta Convoys.

It came to me as you can see, from Martin Elliget, a friend in Queensland who keeps a watching brief on what goes on at AHOY, and whenever he is able to complement my work or otherwise does so, Martin is often able to add grist to the Mill, and I am grateful for his interest and expertise.

His Dad, Wally was in Canberra with me when we were sunk back in August of 1942, and was the bugler in the ship.

Interesting coincidence about another Lt Harvey from Australia winning a DSC.

Best wishes. 

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