Dorothy Hely gave her husband a Kodak bellows camera on
his 21st birthday, the 11 December 1941, shortly before he joined HMS Venomous.
Dorothy thinks the film was developed and printed aboard ship. His
notes on the back of the photographs are very revealing but we would
like to know
more. Can you help? Look at the photographsand get in touch if you can.
After leaving Venomous at
Falmouth in October 1943 Cyril was posted to HMS Baudoin,
a cross channel ferry requisitioned by the Navy and used as a troop
transport. It carried troops to the invasion beaches at Normandy on D
Day and the landings in Southern France in August but his fondest
memories were of his eighteen months on Venomous
which took him from Murmansk in Arctic Russia to Alexandria in Egypt.
After being demobbed he returned to his prewar job with the Post Office
and was working in the Investigation Branch when he retired.
He kept in touch with many of his shipmates and was an active member of the Hecla, Marne and Venomous Association which from 1992 onwards brought together the men whose lives had crossed paths on Armistice Day 1942 when Hecla was torpedoed.
Hely (left) in a mock cutlass fight with a shipmate- note the
laughing face at the port hole "AB
Sydney Compston recalled that
a rack of cutlasses hung in a small fo’c’sle cabin, no bigger than a
broom cupboard, under the bridge behind “A” gun
ready for use should an
attempt be made to board an enemy ship"; A Hard Fought Ship.
"B" Gun Crew
crew of my watch, that is the good old blue watch. "Ginger" [Ron
Hargreaves] took this
when we missed the ship or Taff would have been in it.”
Cyril and Harry
Haddon ("Taff") were left behind in Gibraltar in March 1943 when Venomous was ordered back to Britain.
Most of the crew ashore were found in the bars but they being
non-drinkers were on the beach.
The crew of "B" gun
appear to be practicing loading the 4.7 inch gun on the bow of Venomous
But Cyril Hely wrote on reverse
"Having a skylark, October 42"
and "Ginger Hargrave, Dolly Gray, Tom Davies (Liverpool), me"
"Stand by to
receive" - a practice torpedo firing
Four 4.7 in guns and the two
triple mount torpedo tubes were the main armament of V & W Class
destroyers when built.
After Dunkirk one of the triple
mount torpedo tubes on Venomous
had been replaced by a 12 pounder HA anti-aircraft gun.
By 1943 the "Y" Gun
had been replaced by depth
charge rails and "A" Gun at the bow by the Hedgehog anti-submarine
Spanish ship for contraband, May 1943"
Harry Haddon recalled that it was
a Spanish fishing boat in the Straits of Gibraltar and nothing was