Tuesday 16 March 2010

Grandad's on the internet

When my youngest daughter joined the navy, she started her basic training down at HMS Raleigh at Torpoint, near Plymouth. Since my Dad had served on HMS Aries during WWII, I suggested she might be able to do some research into her Grandad’s service record. Imagine my surprise to get a text “Wow, can’t believe it - Grandad’s on the internet!”

Sure enough, if you Google “HMS Aries” > images, the second picture that comes up shows three sailors, the one at the back at the left with his hat tilted back is my Dad. The picture was posted as part of a family history which featured John Taylor (right). Clearly they were friends, but sadly both John and my Dad died some years ago so I have no more information.

HMS Aries was an Algerine Class minesweeper, built in Canada for the war effort. My dad joined the crew around 1943 and like many of his generation didn’t talk much about his experiences. I learned from my mother that a ship he was aboard had hit a mine, killing one of his close friends. This was confirmed as HMS Aries when I spoke with the Algerine association.

I also know my Dad was injured while on Aries; after his death I found an MOD “Certificate of Hurts and Wounds”, in his effects, which details how he was injured by anti aircraft fire. I also recall when I was young, my mother showing me his campaign medals, one of which was the Adriatic Star; I believe Aries was involved in minesweeping operations as part of the landings in southern Italy.

The crews of the Algerine class minesweepers are represented today by the Algerine Association; two memorials have been erected to the class and their crews in Portsmouth. The vessels were built in wood during WWII so as to be effective for minesweeping duty; their motto was “show the way.”

My little girl at her passing out parade, with her - er gun!! Grandad would have been proud.


  1. She looks very smart you must be proud and I'm sure her grandfather would have been.

    But, It’s not a gun you ‘orrible person, it’s a RIFLE.

  2. Not so little any more, BB. You are proud for sure. BTW, how do you properly pronounce Bursledon?

  3. Baydog - pronounced Burs - el - don spoken as it isn;t written - I've also lived near Shawell pronounced Shoal and Rothwell pronounced Rowl - funny place England.

    Timmynocky - yet another reason why I've never been in the military!


  4. Berzeldun...beautiful. Love the pronunciation

  5. Nice tribute to your father!

    I have been pronouncing it Burrels-don.
    Oh well.

  6. You can use the title of grands of the internet, but the truth is that the real biggers on internet are the search people that promote sites.

  7. hi, the gentleman sat in front of your dad is my own father Frank Lightfoot who was the Radio Opp, Dad sadly died in 1997


  8. Hello,

    We have been searching old photographs of my granddad as part of my son's school project as he studying the wars. My mum came across photos of HMS Aires so assumed he served at some point aboard. Imagine our astonishment to see granddad is indeed on the internet as we are the daughter and granddaughter of John Taylor pictured above! I saw you mentioned you got this image which was published as part of a family history of my granddad. Do you have anymore information as we couldn't find this. I know it was a few years ago now! Regards Lisa



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