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10th January 1941: Ferocious Luftwaffe attack on HMS Illustrious

Ferocious Luftwaffe attack on HMS Illustrious

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{ 101 comments… read them below or add one }

stephen claydon September 13, 2019 at 6:21 pm

My Father Sackville Frank Claydon(known as Frank) was on the HMS ILLUSTRIOUS he always told me when he joined he was with Andrew lamb Dad was a Radar technician and Andrew Lamb was an electrician I have always been led to believe Dad was the first Radar tech on the illustrious like so many he would never talk about his days during the war if anyone I know he Boxed for the ship if anyone has any photos or recollects any stories told I would be grateful to hear them
Dad died 09/03/2009 after suffering with dementia for 5 years always called his room his cabin guessing some memory came back in his last few years

Peter Fuggle November 20, 2018 at 2:17 pm

My Father, Geoffrey Lawrence Fuggle was injured in the attack on the Illustrious on 10th Jan 1941. He was attached to the ship from the RAF.

Mike November 10, 2018 at 11:55 pm

Hello and thank you for this website. My Dad, now passed, served on illustrious, He is David Griffith Emlyn Hopkins and was a Leading Signalman. I know that he was in Malta. I also have notes of his, written in an W/T Operator’s Log from April- June 1945 where the ship visits for example Simonstown, Capetown, Freetown, False Bay, South Atlantic. Any information would be fantastic and thank you for this website.

Editor November 9, 2018 at 6:47 pm


The best way of sharing such material is to create an account on a site like Flickr, free for basic use, where you can upload your images and specify the copyright, if any, that you wish to attach to them. I am sure a lot of people would be very interested to see them.

Phil Henshaw November 9, 2018 at 3:15 pm

My uncle, Leonard Henshaw was killed in the attack on the Illustrious on 10th Jan 1941.
Gary Day, would love to see the photo album. Are you able to share?

Gary day April 28, 2018 at 1:53 pm

Hi my Grandad Stanley Ernest day was on on HMS Illustrious April 1940 to August 1945 i have a photo album from the ship if anyone is interested thankyou gary day

Maureen Beckett November 13, 2017 at 3:25 pm

My late father Tony Arthur Johnson served on HMS Illustrious as a Stoker Mechanic from May 1940 until October 1945. He left the Andrew in 1953 and died in 1960. Would love to find out if anyone knew him or have any information about him.

James Koziol July 11, 2017 at 7:50 pm

My Great Grandfather Leslie Stanley Served on HMS Illustrious during the WW2.

Liz Mardel-Ferreira February 14, 2017 at 5:35 am

My brother-in-law Sub.Lt AFX Mardel-Ferreira RNVR (Tony) took part as an observer in the Taranto raid of 11th Nov 1940 and was killed in the bombing two months later. I learnt some time ago (and other relatives might like to know) that after Illustrious limped into Grand Harbour the dead were transferred to a minesweeper, They were taken out again and buried at sea in the deepest water around the island, which is between Dingli Cliffs and the tiny island of Filfla. I put some of my husband’s (Tony’s brother’s) ashes in the sea around there as well so when I go to Malta I like to go up to Dingli Cliffs which overlook the area.

mick eames January 8, 2017 at 3:37 pm

I’m looking for anyone who knew my father Edward (Ted) Aurther Eames on board HMS ILLUSTRIOUS during 1939 / 45. I beleive he was an aircraft mechanic below / above deck.I would like to find out more about my father during his carrier on Lusty and the men he seved with. Is there any ‘shipmates’ out there that can help with pictures and information regarding my father Ted.
Mick Eames (son)

Michael Rice December 28, 2016 at 10:40 pm

My uncle (for whom I’m named), Leading Seaman Michael Rice from Kilgarvan, County Kerry Ireland, was serving as a pompom gunner on the Illustrious during the attack on January 10th/41. He died of wounds on the 12th, aged 21. From the little information given to our family, I believe he was part of the forward starboard gun crew. Though he passed years before I was born, he and those who served with him on the Illustrious hold a very special place in my heart. His wristwatch, left for safekeeping with my Dad before Mick sailed away, has been worn proudly by members of my family through graduations and weddings.

Michael Rice. Saanichton BC, Canada

Ian john McNeil December 11, 2016 at 12:14 pm

My grandfather served. Ive got all the photos. Ian john Mcneil is his name.

Sara Campbell October 15, 2016 at 9:56 pm

My Grandfather Thomas Tibbott Davies was a surgeon on HMS Illustrious. I believe he saved many lives. He died on 9th July 2007 aged 92.

John Colam May 30, 2016 at 3:50 pm

My father served in 1833 squadron FAA, this was formed after the ship went to the USA for repairs, he was an armourer and served under Lt Cmdr Norman Hanson. He was on board as it joined the British Pacific Fleet that formed up in Trincomalee Ceylon. I have some photos of landing on crashes.

sutherland May 7, 2016 at 2:51 pm

My father John Sutherland was also on this ship, he served with the Aircraft Carriers and was attached to Nighthawk base Scotland as well as Illustrious and he was in Malta and Salerno..

Alan Clark March 27, 2016 at 10:57 am

My uncle Robert Cockburn was killed during this attack he was only 21 he was on the pom-poms so to read the account above was heartbreaking. His sister my mum is still alive and she often talks about him, apparently he was a good pianist and footballer and had trials for Newcastle. Anyone with any memories of him?
Thanks, Alan.

Bill Waterworth March 20, 2016 at 12:53 am

Does anyone know what happened to the those that were killed, were they buried at sea or in Malta?

Angela ambrosioni February 26, 2016 at 9:41 pm

My father was on the illustrious he was a gunner his name was Leslie Shaw from Sheffield he would have been 96 now so only young when on illustrious does any one remember him he had bright red hair and told me he got into trouble for getting sun burnt on his very freckly skin and later got skin cancer in these places through being in the tropic he went in navy in 1935 and was on numerous ships including the Hood he was unable to sail just before it was sunk all his mates were killed which my dad never ever forgot and talked about often he died in 1994 and he will always be loved and never forgotten Angela ambrosioni x

Richard Luddington January 30, 2016 at 10:00 pm

The Luddington referenced in the letter as “a golden man” was my late Dad’s father Bill who had won 13 caps for England at rugby in 1923-26 while playing for Devonport Services and the RN.His own father Thomas was at Rorke’s Drift in January 1879(Army Medical Corps) so lots of interesting family history!

Mike Brockwell January 27, 2016 at 12:30 pm

I am look in to a incident on 9 february 1941. Members of HMS Illustrious crew killed by accidental explosion of mine on 9 Feb 1941 (on Shore) Can email at jab.brock@hotmail.com or phone on 01293 520352

Mike Brockwell January 27, 2016 at 12:27 pm

I am look in to a incident on 9 february 1941. Members of HMS Illustrious crew killed by accidental explosion of mine on 9 Feb 1941 (on Shore) Can email at jab.brock@hotmail.com or phone on 01293 520352

Fred January 22, 2016 at 2:43 pm

I was very interested in reading this as I served in Navy Cadets on the Ilustrious in
Weston Ont Canada back in the 60s

Pete burke January 20, 2016 at 12:47 pm

My dad was on the Illustrious his name was Tommy burke

Adam Foster January 19, 2016 at 12:23 am

My grandfather, NORMAN FOSTER served with the FAA on Lusty during WWII – although I know very little about his time on board. Would love to know more. He has been gone several years now, and is dearly missed.

Jason Pilalas January 10, 2016 at 8:35 pm

I was born on January 10, 1941 so have always felt an attachment to H.M.S. ILLUSTRIOUS. The Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton, Somerset has much on the ship and her crew, including her bell which was badly damaged in the attack. Well worth a visit.

Berylmiller November 18, 2015 at 6:09 pm

I have just returned from Malta and visited Mtarfar war cemetery where some sailors of HMS Illustrious are buried.

Kate Ashby September 20, 2015 at 8:45 pm

My uncle was a pilot on HMS Illustrious in 1944. He was Lt Comdr R J Cork. He died on 14 April 1944 in an accident when trying to land in China Bay, Trincomalee, Ceylon. If anyone has a relation who was on Illustrious at the time, I’d be interested to know.

Alison Stirzaker neeDodd August 6, 2015 at 5:48 pm

I saw the photo “A near miss” a few months ago on VE Day and thought “That’s my dad!” It was a strange feeling and then I thought I was just being silly. Just been trawling through dad’s old photos and found the identical photo. Can’t be sure if the photo was familiar because I’d seen it before or it is indeed my dad. He was Walter Dodd and was aboard the Illustrious at this time.
Does anyone have any more info on the photo or my dad? He passed away in 1993 and rarely dwelt on the bad times but talked about the funny side of Naval life to mum and me. I have only recently heard stories tha the told to my husband In his later life.

roger scott July 21, 2015 at 10:53 am

hi my father served on illustrious during the strike on the Italian fleet & the Anzio landings his name was George Scott he joined the royal navy when he was 16 years old ( he fibbed about his age ) and he lived to tell the tale he was a stoker . he also survived the sinking’s of three other ships during the war one was h.m.s. Spartan but I don’t know the others . thanks for reading.

Frank Neale July 20, 2015 at 8:54 pm

My Uncle George Scott served on the Illustrious as a stoker during the war – don’t know too much about it but no doubt my cousin Roger Scott (his son) will know much more.

Paul Young June 13, 2015 at 12:33 pm

My father served on the Illustrious, during this awful time. He never spoke about this time in his life very much. I believe he was a Gunner / aircraft engineer. His name was George Alfred Young. If anybody knew him or had relatives that knew him please get in touch. wyrequalitycars@aol.com

Lesley Wonfor May 24, 2015 at 5:27 pm

Hi My father was killed on the Illustious on the 10th Jan 1941.He was an armourer in the fleet air arm.His name was sgt Cyril Dare Swan Hyslop.I was born two weeks later,so never knew him.He came from Edinburgh. It seems weird but I miss him more the older I get.

Gary hayes May 24, 2015 at 12:31 pm

My farther Tom Hayes was on illustrious during the Malta blitz. He was a pompom gunner and spoke little of the experience. He was from Warley, west midlands and died in 1980

Gerry Sellars May 9, 2015 at 9:42 pm

My father, Jim Sellars, served on HMS Illustrious with Eric Watmaugh and I heard him speak of Eric on many occasions. Dad was a Royal Marine serving as a gunner I believe… He never spoke of the bad times, mostly of the good times. He suffered from Malaria as a result of service in Burma and various other injuries which led to his eventual passing ! His medals included the Italy Star, the Burma Star and Bar, The Atlantic Star, The Pacific Star and the 1939-45 Star.

Steve Palmer March 27, 2015 at 12:26 am

To Roger Anstis who commented also on this site: –

This is regarding William Reginald Anstis or Reginald William Anstis, Gunner on HMS Illustrious killed 10th January 1941 whilst being attacked in Malta by the enemy. He is listed on the war memorial on Plymouth Hoe as you may know. I had come across your uncle whilst researching the Anstis name and in particular his father William Richard Anstis (My relative was also called this). Just wanted to comment.

Veronica McDonnell March 24, 2015 at 11:51 pm

My Dad served on the Illustrious at this time.
His name was Terry Finnegan and he was a signaller.
He spoke with great fondness of his friends and colleagues.
He was always grateful for his survival and saddened by the loss of his friends ‘ lives.
How fortunate we were to have known and loved these wonderful men!

MALCOLM MCNEILL February 18, 2015 at 1:36 pm

I had the good fortune to meet a man,Sam,who had been an AB on the Illustrious. He showed me an official photograph album from the ship with pictures of the bombardment. It is only by reading the information on this site that I realise how very fortunate this man was to survive. I am sorry I do not have his surname but only know that he became a Barge Skipper in Hull and his son sails on the P&O Ferries out of Hull.

Maria Smith January 27, 2015 at 2:32 pm

My father George William Edwards was a gunner I believe on lusty during ww2 and served in all conflicts he was in the Far East and South Africa…if anyone has anymore info on him during that time it would be wonderful to hear from you as my father disappeared in 1971 and I know nearly nothing about his time served during the war on lusty! Tia…would be great if anyone knew of him or about him…Maria

Bobbie Jameson January 25, 2015 at 1:17 am

James Winton Might you have any photos of my dad John Grainger. He was in fleet air arm and maybe served with Sydney Allen your uncle. Does anyone have any photos from around 1943-45 please

Neil Duggan January 25, 2015 at 12:30 am

Hi all
My Grandfather John Duggan was killed on the Illustrious on 10th January 1941 and he was just 44 years old. This information I have gleaned from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as my Dad died in 1981 and his brothers in the next decade. All I know is that my Dad and Granddad met up in Alexandria shortly before. I was always told that my Granddad was a Chief Petty Officer and his full name was John Patrick Duggan. However on the records he was Petty Officer Stoker John Duggan. His name is on Plymouth War Memorial and that is where my Dad was from. As for me I live in Doncaster but I would love to know more but all my Dads family are now long gone. neil.duggan@blueyonder.co.uk

Neil Duggan January 25, 2015 at 12:29 am

Hi all
My Grandfather John Duggan was killed on the Illustrious on 10th January 1941 and he was just 44 years old. This information I have gleaned from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as my Dad died in 1981 and his brothers in the next decade. All I know is that my Dad and Granddad met up in Alexandria shortly before. I was always told that my Granddad was a Chief Petty Officer and his full name was John Patrick Duggan. However on the records he was Petty Officer Stoker John Duggan. His name is on Plymouth War Memorial and that is where my Dad was from. As for me I live in Doncaster but I would love to know more but all my Dads family are now long gone. neil.duggan@blueyonder.co.uk

Alistair Horn January 22, 2015 at 4:19 am

Regarding the letter supplied by Andrew Wilson signed DW.
It is definitely Admiral Denis Boyd, his middle name was William. The letter is adressed to his brother Edgar Boyd (my great grandfather). In the letter he mentions “Our young marine Manisty, whom Les knew”. I assume he is referring to Leslie Boyd, Edgars son (my grandfather). In most of their correspondence they refer to each other as EJ or DW and in the photo albums I have most of the family is labelled as EJB, DWB, or LNB etc. I hope this helps.

Jean Abbey January 12, 2015 at 10:38 pm

My late father George Henry Brockbank (born 28.12.17) also served on HMS Illustrious during the Battle of Taranto, He was in the RAF from 3/9/39 to 14/11/45 and his job was as an aircraft fitter rising to the rank of sgt. I have a few interesting pictures of him in Malta in Jan. 1941 and of going down the Hal-Far pass. Various others of comrades but unfortunately, no names added. My father never spoke much about this time in his life and so I am finding out more from these websites. I feel so proud of him and just wished I had been able to talk to him about this amazing attack on Taranto. I am visiting Malta for the first time this year in the hope that I can uncover more.

Sheila Murphy January 11, 2015 at 2:04 am

My Fathers name was John Phelan He was a stoker on the Illustrious in 1941 does anyone remember him?

sydney millen November 12, 2014 at 11:05 am

Hello, I have tried to write before but no success.I was serving on “Illustrious” on that fateful day as an Air Fitter in 819 sqdn.A day never to forget,losing several of my mates.Naturally we left the ship and many of us transferred to 806 sqdn.then with Fulmars and stayed in Malta for a period at Halfar aerodrome.After that we served on “Formidable” and after she was damaged served in the western desert for several months. After that many ships,Atlantic & Russian convoys etc. are there any persons about that have similar stories. I am 92 and still have vivid memories.

Are there any other mates with the same memories still around ??

Roger Anstis November 11, 2014 at 4:27 pm

My uncle, Reginald William ANSTIS was a gunner on board Illustrious on 10 Jan 1941 when he lost his life. His dad was too old to fight, his brothers too young, I never met him but will not forget his sacrifice.

Lorna EDWARDS November 9, 2014 at 12:33 am

My grandfather served as a chief gunner(I think) on HMS Illustrious when she was attacked in 1941. His name was William Henry AGGOTT. Known as Bill or Billy. He was badly wounded during this attack, and very nearly thrown overboard with the dead. He recovered from his wounds in Malta. when I was a child he used to show me his shrapnel wounds. The metal would travel around his body. My daughter is currently doing a project in school on him. He died in 1977, just wish he was still here to retell his experiences first hand.

charles mulchrone November 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm

My late father in law served on the Illustrious, he told me all about the German air attack, also about Malta and going to USA for repairs. He lost a lot of good friends in the attack. He did not mention the war very often, a modest man, who after the war became a Fireman in Birmingham. Where he remained after the war with his loving family. His name was Sidney Jack Morbey.

Pat kirk October 18, 2014 at 2:07 am

My dad was on hms illustrious in Malta &japan .he served as a stoker do not know his rank. He passed away in 1987

Nick Burnell October 3, 2014 at 9:40 pm

My Dad was on the Illustrious during the Med bombing. He was Chief E.R.A. but may not have been at the time of the bombing. He was Bill Burnell (Lofty). At the time he was in charge of the catapult if I remember correctly? Many a story of wrecked wires. He left the Navy in 59. He was born in Dartmouth in 1913. I believe his old school friend Bruce Inder may have been onboard as well, but not sure.

Doreen Giambrone October 2, 2014 at 10:54 pm

Hello Steven edwards, My uncle Tom was from Liverpool 8 close to stanhope street, I wonder were they mates? My Uncle Tom whitney died of cancer in 1984 .
I loved to hear the stories when I was little about the war and the ships that were sunk etc.
Best regards.

Doreen Giambrone October 2, 2014 at 10:46 pm

My Uncle Tom served on the Illustrious, His name was Thomas Whitney married to Gladys, brother of Jack Whitney.
I am trying to recreate the history I learned from my family as alittle girl, Does anyone know the name of the ship that was sunk, and only afew survivors were rescued by the illustrious, My Unckle Jack was in the water for days , his brothers ship the Illustrious rescued them.
I would appreciate any feedback,Thanks
Doreen formerly( doyle)Giambrone

Dee Wilkins September 8, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Hi. I think my grandad served on the Illustrious, but I’m not too sure. His name was Edward
Byrne. He could have been known as Teddy, or Bob. If anybody knows anything about him, I would be really greatful to hear it. Many thanks , Dee.

adrian odham September 5, 2014 at 11:10 am

Hi my father served on HMS Aribis during ww2 . Does anyone have any photos of crew members. His name was Alan Oldham, sorry dont know his rank. But any info would be gratefully appreciated.

Julie August 22, 2014 at 6:41 am

My Grandmothers cousin, Petty Officer Steward Arthur John Kerby was on the Illustrious and killed 10th January 1941. His grave is listed at being the war memorial at Chatham so can only presume he was one of those buried at sea.

George Hunter August 21, 2014 at 8:28 pm

My wife’s uncle THOMAS THOMPSON PARKIN.was on ILLUSTRIOUS when she done her tour of duty in the MED. We have a few letters that was sent to his Sister ,my wife’s mom. He tells of the bombing of LUSTY while at MALTA , MAKES VERY INTERESTING READING. He could not say where the ship was ( security reasons ) but following Lustys history it was obvious it was MALTA, THE DATES VERIFY THIS , unfortunately he was badly injured while plane crashed landed ,died of his wounds , buried at TRIMCOMILLY then CELON, now SRI LANKA.

Amanda Tallack August 17, 2014 at 11:10 pm

Hi , Re Norman Tallack .
I have since found out that he was one of the boys on the lift trying to get on deck to help when the bomb hit ,the lift was blown apart. They were buried at sea. His name is on the memorial on Plymouth hoe. If I manage to find out any more I will post it here.
Regard Amanda

Richard White July 24, 2014 at 11:34 pm

My father Geoffrey White served as a petty officer on HMS Illustrious during ww2.
He was in the Atlantic, Malta, Ceylon, Australia and the Far East.
He was in charge of one of the guns. He told me that on one occasion he was asked to go down onto the navigation room because he was able to reach charts. The ship went into action and when he emerged from the navigation room three days later his gun had received a direct hit and the gun and crew were lost.

Bob Perkins June 16, 2014 at 11:42 am

As with some of the others my cousin Sub Lt Edgar A Perkins (wave 2 in L4F during the Taranto raid) Was killed during the Luftwaffe attack when the 1,000 lb bomb came through the flight deck, he was knocked out by the concussion and unfortunately drowned in the sprinkler system flooding of the hangar deck

Ernest James May 25, 2014 at 10:27 am

My cousin was killed on HMS Illustrious on January 10th 1941. I was told that he was killed when the bomb came down the lift shaft. His name was Corporal Frederick Albert HARLEY (Bertie to most people). 815 squadron. His father Leonard Harley was killed at Gallipoli the year Bertie was born 1915, and is buried in Malta.
I see Stephan Edwards takes care of an elderly ex-Illustrious crewman. I wonder whether he knew my cousin (If he is still alive of course). Thank you.

Keith Dunstan May 1, 2014 at 9:32 am

Hi my son in laws Father served on the Illustrious in the forties as a ships cook but hard to get much info from him, I know he was all over the Pacific area, got bombed and planes crashing on the deck
His name is Les Harding and comes from Chester, Cheshire, anybody remember him.
cheers Keith ex RE’s

Karin Stowe April 15, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Hi my father served on HMS Illustrious during the war, from 1941 I think to 1943, his name was John Harold Stowe. He served in the medical quarters, is there anyone who remembers him or knows of any where I can find official records of his services in the Navy, during and after the Second World War.

Thank you for any help, regards Karin

Bobbie Jameson April 4, 2014 at 8:49 pm

James Winton Might you have any photos of my dad John Grainger. He was in fleet air arm and maybe served with Sydney Allen your uncle. Do I need to put my e-mail on here?

Jeanette Cole March 26, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Hi my Grandfather Henry Sedgemore was a Gunnery on the Illustrious in ww2. If anyone knew him please let me know.
Thanks Jeanette

James Doherty March 16, 2014 at 10:13 am

My father Patrick Doherty SFX528 was on the Illustrious from 1/1/44 till 31/12/44.
He passed away on 5 October 1970.
He was an Air Artificer 4. He was in charge of maintenance for the 854 squadron of Avengers on this ship.
The ship was the first ship in the new dry dock in Sydney Harbour to repair a bent propeller shaft during this time.
I used to know the name of the leader of the 854 squadron but what I do remember is that he flew effectively with 1 good arm having injured the other in battle.


Tom Nugent November 8, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Hi all, my uncle Bob Nugent along with his friend Charlie Browne both from Co. Clare in Irl. were both on board during the attack and survived. Bob who lived until the mid 80s rarely spoke of the events but before he died told me of the bombardment in the Med. and the sailing to Alexandria and then onto the States. Both also served on HMS Repulse but were on ships leave when she was hit.

mick sene September 24, 2013 at 9:49 am

my dad was on the illustrious he started as a boy sailor and stayed for 11 years as petty officer james sene sadly he died a few years ago

Ralph Brown September 23, 2013 at 10:01 pm

My father John Brown L/FX76703 (aka Chick Brown) served on the Illustrious during WW2 as a Leading Air Fitter (aeroplane mechanic!) and was Mentioned in Despatches in 1941 for we think manning a pom pom gun during the “Illustrious Blitz” on Malta. He died in 2000 aged 79 but would not talk much about the war or how he survived when so many of his shipmates didn’t. Any info therefore gratefully received. My email address is ralphmudplugger@aol.com

Robert Kesterton September 8, 2013 at 3:14 pm

My late uncle Petty Officer Arthur Robert Cooper was on board HMS Illustrious during WW2 when she was attack on 10th January 1941 and was severley wounded. He was a Air Artisan in the Fleet Air Arm.

If anyone had relatives who served with please can you contact me via email: rnkesterton@hotmail.co.uk

Clayton Neal September 4, 2013 at 8:16 pm

I recently visited Malta, and went to the war musem in valetta
Theres quite a few interesting artifacts from hms illustrious, including a replica of the ships bell, and also a local maltese persons account of the attacks (in italian).

Nikki August 4, 2013 at 1:49 am

My Pop was on the Illustrious when it sank.
Harry Pryor was his name.

tom Walsh June 30, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Dianne Pekama April 6, 2013 at 6:22 am

Diane my Dad served on the Illustrious only for 1 month Nov 41 to Dec 41 I think that was a crossong from Norfolk VA back to the UK. Would your Dad be able to confirm that ??/ Tom Walsh, Stoker 2nd

Tom Walsh

Deborah McKenzie June 17, 2013 at 6:16 pm

My Dad served during WW2 on the HMS Illustrious he spoke about being in Malta. I would love more information on him if anyone remembers him. I am not sure what he did on board. His name Was George McKenzie and he was from Aberdeen. I would also appreciate any help you can give me on tracing crew lists and his service record. He died in 1991 and I am trying to gather information on him for his grandchildren. Thanks in advance for any help

vicky watmough June 15, 2013 at 2:32 pm

My Dad was in Y2 gun turret during Italian landings at Salerno and was a member of HO218 squad. His name is Eric Watmough and he would love to hear from anyone who was there. He now lives near Skipton.

Diane & Richard Stoddard-Howell June 5, 2013 at 4:46 am

My husband’s father, Harold Stoddard-Howell was on board the Illustrious when it was struck by bombs on 10/1/1941. He was Chief Air Artificer No FX 75131 and was badly injured with burns to his head. He was on the aircraft shaft as the bomb came down. He saw many of his friends killed. Would love to know if anyone remembers him. He was taken to Malta to convalesce. We have a photo of him in his navy uniform. Also, would love to hear from anyone if they know were there diaries kept of the actual voyage and the damage etc. to Illustrious. Did they keep a record of the injuries sustained by people. Thanks
Diane & Richard Stoddard-Howell

Trevor Vickery May 26, 2013 at 9:47 pm

My Father was aboard the Illustrious during her fight with the Luftwaffe, he was a PO Telecommunications, after the battle he was assigned to help remove the dead from the gun turrets, he never spoke of it to me but my mother told me of it, after he had a problem being around our BBQ in the summer. He had nightmare long after this event, I suppose now its called P.T.S.D, I was told that 2/3 of the crew perished in that fight. This is the first account I have read on that day.
He died in 1984

Bobbie Jameson May 22, 2013 at 1:33 pm

My Dad served on the Illustrious in the Fleet Air Arm from around 1943-45. Unfortunately, he died a few years ago but I would love to know if anyone has photos with him on. He was John Grainger, as I’m putting together a package about his time during the war to pass on to my children. Thanks

Gary Pearson April 11, 2013 at 10:12 pm

My grandad was on the illustrious during the malta attack,his name was Walter Pearson his rank was chief petty officer. Would really appreciate if anyone know any information

Thank you

JAMES WINTON April 9, 2013 at 9:56 am

My uncle Syd Allen served on the Illustrious 1942-45 I believe in the Fleet Air Arm
He is still alive and wondered if anyone alive would know him
I do have some pictures with him and some of his mates if anyone is interested



Dianne Pekama April 6, 2013 at 6:22 am

Hi there,my father Rex Marcroft was on the HMS Illustrious and the HMS Arabis,from 1941 to 1944..As my father is still leaving to this day he is 90 years of age…i love listen to his storys of his days in the navy…we had my dads 90th birthday in march,and just hearing about his days,it was so mine blowing….I would love to hear more info…I do have photos of the HMS Illustrious and the HMS Arabis…thank you Dianne

paulgeraghty February 14, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Hi Amanda – Paul Geraghty here. If you wish to get in touch please email me at paulgeraghty2010@hotmail.com

paulgeraghty February 13, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Hi, Amanda my wife uncle was James Smyth he died on board, he was from[ Nobber] in Co . Meath Ireland

Amanda Smyth February 5, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Hi, my grandfather James Smyth died on board during the Malta convoy……we sadly don’t know a great deal about him other than he was born in County Meath in Ireland. My father was just 7 when he died. If anyone knew of him we would be most great full to hear from you. Amanda.

Roger Beaven January 16, 2013 at 9:31 pm

My father was Hubert Samuel BEAVEN and was proud to have served on H.M.S. Illustrious. On the 10th.January, 1941 he was wounded whilst operating a gun turret during during the German attack on the convoy to Malta.

He was a career Royal Marine attaining the rank of Company Sgt. Major and retired in 1953 being stationed in Lympstone, Devon.

He passed away at the age of 75 in 1987. He was awarded the D.S.M. for his actions
during the 1941 attack but never divulged the circumstances of those actions.

Roger Beaven. Ontario, Canada.

Mick Eames January 13, 2013 at 8:40 pm

I’m looking for anyone who new my father Edward (Ted) Eames on Lusty 1940 /45 I belive he was an aircraft machanic below / above decks. I would like to find out more about his war time carrier along with the men he served with during the war. Is there any shipmate still alive who new him and can help with any information regarding Ted who has now pasted over in 1978 from a heart attack.
Yours Truely
Mick Eames. (son)

Clayton Neal January 7, 2013 at 9:50 pm

My grandad Herbert Jackson was on the illustrious for all of ww2 as chief petty officier engineer. During malta he was mentioned in dispatches for operating pom pom guns.

Ian Stanley December 29, 2012 at 11:11 pm

My grandad was on the illustrious at that time and other carriers, who’s name was ‘Leslie Stanley’ a stoker. I wish I was able to remember more of what he told me as a youngster.

If anybody knows anything more information about my grandad, please post I would really appreciate it.

Andrew Macdonald October 15, 2012 at 12:37 pm

My Grandad was on the Illustrious at this time, his name was Robert Bambrough and he was a wireless operator, if anyone has any info about him it would be much appreciated.

Ken Madden August 11, 2012 at 11:38 am

My wife’s Uncle Hugh Cree was killed on 10th April 1941. He was a stoker and is buried in Haifa cemetery.

Editor July 9, 2012 at 8:12 am

Hi Amanda

Thanks for getting in touch. I am sorry I have no further details myself. Hopefully someone may have something after reading this post.



amanda(Tallack) Tunsley July 8, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Hi, My uncle airman petty officer Norman e Tallack was killed on the Illustrious in this attack in 41. I wondered if you had any info on him on record. I keep his photo on my wall as he was a hero. I am the youngest and last in this family line. Unfortunatly all Norman’s medals and trophies were lost when the house in Plymouth was bombed. My father Fredrick Tallack and my mum petty officer Betty Gillian are now deceased. Yours sincerly Amanda Jane Tallack

Stephen Edwards May 17, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I take care of an elderly neighbour who was on the illustrious went it was hit. His name is Danny Patterson he is originally from Stanhope St. Liverpool 8 but he now lives in Widnes Cheshire..He was on his way to his action station at the hangar when he saw the plane lift going up towards the deck with about 15 crew but with no plane on. All he remembers from the point of the bombs impact is a blue flash and then waking up next to a Sworfish. He sufferered an injury to his right shoulder caused by debris from the explosion.

Raymond wright May 1, 2012 at 12:47 pm

My father was on the Illustious he was a range taker on the guns. He was on board when it was bombed. The rest of the fleet left them for dead and they made it back to Malta for a refit.

charlotte phillips February 15, 2012 at 7:51 pm

my grandad was on HMS illustrious during the Malta convoy, and also did 5 other convoys on HMS illustrious too, all we know that he was a stoker (not sure of rank) he’s name was Leslie Stanley

Bridgette Kelly February 5, 2012 at 9:21 pm

My Father, John Pearson of Birmingham, was on the Illustrious – he was a navigator and in the fleet air arm. He survived when the plane flew off the deck into a freak wind that cUsed the plane un to the ocean. The ship circled twice – against all rules – but they found my Dad and Nobbie the pilot – and they were rescued. He lived until he was 64years of age but when the war ended, he refused to fly again and never left the UK.

Ivan Jenkins January 1, 2012 at 11:32 pm

Re ‘Billy’ Horton – his official names were Lancelot Harry.
He was a Stoker 1st Class not Leading Stoker.

Ivan Jenkins January 1, 2012 at 11:03 pm

My cousin ‘Billy’ Horton was also a leading stoker on Illustrious; ‘killed in action’
10.Jan.1941. His home was in Bulawayo, S. Rhodesia.

John Boorman November 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm

My uncle who was an aircraft mechanic 2nd class was killed in the attack 10th Jan 1941.
His name was Phillip Kinslow.

Keith Dunstan July 18, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Hello my son in laws Father RON HARDING was on the Illustrius in the forties, I beleive, he was a cook
came from Chester, Cheshire. ring any bells ?????

valerie wood June 29, 2011 at 8:24 pm

his name was Phillip wood

valerie wood June 29, 2011 at 8:22 pm

My dad, Philip Wood, was on The Illustrious… he was a leading stoker at the time she was bombed in Malta.

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