The loss of HMS RAWALPINDI 23 November 1939

Three local men were amongst the crew - Hector Ingate, Wilfred Frank Pettican and Anthony Driffield Seabrook


HMS RAWALPINDI was a P&O liner on the London, Bombay and Far East routes. At the outbreak of World War 2 the ship was taken over and converted to an armed merchant cruiser. While on patrol between Iceland and the Faroes, she was attacked by the German battle cruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU. Hopelessly outmatched she attempted to escape into a nearby fog bank. With her bridge and wireless-room destroyed and completely at the mercy of the enemy ships it was decided to abandon the vessel. 60-year old Captain Edward Coverley Kennedy RN of RAWALPINDI decided to fight, rather than surrender as demanded by the Germans. He was heard to say "We'll fight them both, they'll sink us, and that will be that. Good-bye". The casualties on board the Rawalpindi amounted to 275 dead including her commander Captain Kennedy and 39 other officers. Twenty-two crew members were taken prisoner by the German warships. The blazing RAWALPINDI drifted for three hours before sinking.



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Hector Ingate
Frank Pettican
Anthony Driffield Seabrook

Author: Edwin Sparrow
ID: OOD_002
Source: Mersea Museum