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  • Simon Biggs

RM Gun Crew Killed Christmas Day 1940 in Surface Action with Admiral Hipper

On 25 December 1940, whilst part of the escort to convoy WS-5A, a troop convoy to the Middle East, Berwick was in a surface engagement with the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper about 700 nautical miles west of Cape Finisterre, Spain 43°39'N, 25°08'W.

Despite being thoroughly ready for combat Berwick got the worst of the encounter.

HMS Berwick

During a 35 Minute engagement she scored no hits on Admiral Hipper, and sustained a fair amount of damage, being hit by several 8-inch (which for the most part passed right through the ship) and 4.1-inch shells.

Admiral Hipper

The action did however, drive off Admiral Hipper, and saved the convoy from any losses. Four of her complement a Royal Marines gun crew were killed and she had to return to Britain for repairs, which lasted until June 1941

December 1940

21st Took passage to join military convoy WS5A as relief for HM Cruiser NAIAD.

24th Joined HM Cruisers DUNEDIN and BONAVENTURE in Ocean Escort for WS5A.

25th Convoy came under attack by German cruiser HIPPER at dawn and was scattered.

Engaged HIPPER and hit by 4 shells in return fire causing casualties. After structure and gun mountings damaged with some flooding.

Marine Denis BROOM: PO/X 2701: Corporal Robert DAVISON: PO/X 762: Marine Reginald LYONS: PO/X 1825: , Sergeant Charles PAINTER: PO/X 22435,

all killed

31st Landed wounded at Gibraltar and taken in hand for temporary repair.

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