Leading Stoker D/KX 80954
HMS Glorious Royal Navy
Killed in action at sea off Narvik on Saturday 8th June 1940.
The aircraft carrier HMS Glorious was returning to Scapa Flow from Norway separately from the other ships in the British Force, accompanied by only her destroyer escorts HMS Acasta and HMS Ardent. It was a fine clear day with light wind but HMS Glorious apparently did not have a lookout posted, did not have an aircraft on patrol - which would have given her all round visibility of approximately 40 miles, and did not have any of her aircraft on deck ready for immediate launch.
She was therefore surprised when spotted by the German battleships Gneisenau and Scharnhorst at about 1600. Although Acasta and Ardent attempted to lay a smoke screen and engaged the German ships, Glorious was first hit at 16:38. The third salvo from the Scharnhorst reached Glorious from 24,175 meters (26,450 yards), possibly the longest gunfire hit on any enemy warship ever achieved.
There were at least 900 men in the water or on floats from the three abandoned ships, including some of the pilots from 46 Squadron.
After three days in the water, 38 men from HMS Glorious and one from HMS Acasta were picked up by the Norwegian steam merchant Borgund. Only 41 men were picked up in all; one died on reaching land. The survivors spoke of the horror of watching their mates die and the helplessness of not being able to help.
HMS Glorious had sent out two distress messages, but no one reported receiving them. The reason why the two destroyers did not send distress messages, as is usually done in these circumstances, is unknown. HMS Devonshire was the closest to HMS Glorious, and a signalman on board Devonshire swore on oath that it did receive distress messages from the Glorious.
Ernest has no known grave and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.
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