Three crewmembers of the HMS Beaumaris Castle – Arthur Gibson, John Youngman and George Smith – all serving in the Royal Navy Patrol Group during WWII in the North Atlantic (North of Scotland), reported three interesting incidents that are today considered open to dispute and controversy. All these men were personally known to our family and are of good character and reliable nature. They did not have to make-up stories about the war – the North Atlantic theatre was treacherous enough. Although all now deceased with George Smith living into recent years, the information they conveyed is as follows:
- Occasionally Nazi German U-Boats would surface near the HMS Beaumaris Castle and no offensive action was taken by either side. This was because the HMS Beaumaris was ordered to only fire in self-defence (to conserve ammunition), and to prevent the better armed U-Boat destroying the small trawler (whose main task was minesweeping rather than U-Boat hunting). If the HMS Beaumaris Castle had been fitted-out as a submarine hunter-killer (as some Castle-Class-Trawlers were), then the Nazi German U-Boats would almost certainly have torpedoed her.
- At some point between 1942 and 1945, the HMS Beaumaris Castle escorted a surrendered Nazi German U-Boat into port. I contacted the Ministry of Defence about this and was informed that it could not convey to me any information about this alleged incident, and neither could it confirm or deny that such an incident took place. The crew of the HMS Beaumaris Castle certainly seem to have interacted with Nazi German U-Boats in a non-combative context, the question is the extent and purpose of that interaction. I assume that those who dispute this story have access to exactly the same official information as we do, which does not clarify the matter or take sides. Therefore, in the final analysis both sides have to rely upon eye witness testimony. There were at least three HMS Beaumaris Castle crewmembers who quite naturally shared this story with us – their relatives after WWII.
- At some point between 1942 and 1945 the crew of the HMS Beaumaris Castle were sent to St Kilda island situated to the North of Scotland, on a mission to collect the bodies of US or Canadian military personnel who had died when their military transport aeroplane had hit an air-pocket over the central mountains. Their bodies were literally blown to pieces, and the crew of the HMS Beaumaris Castle had to form stretcher bearing parties and gather one head, one torso, two arms n two legs together on a single stretcher, carry the remains down the mountain and back to their ship (via smaller boats). As these men were going home near to Xmas, the three crewmembers mentioned above described how the ground was littered with Xmas presents, as well as family photographs and wallets, etc. The MOD would not confirm or deny this incident, but did state that Arthur Gibson was on ‘Duty’ on the 26th of November 1942, and that this might be a significant date. The problem is that there are no reported aeroplane crashes on St Kilda for this date, which suggests some type of cover-up.