Dedicated to Mum, Dad

and all Crewmembers on H.M.S. Dauntless, Scarab, Birmingham




Frank Sutton Taylor - Ann Mary Bridget Meehan


Courting Days - St Kilda Beach


November 1950

 Wedding Day - Wesley Church

Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

February 1951




July 1975

February 1982


My parents: Frank Sutton Taylor and my mother Ann Mary Bridget (Meehan) Taylor

The Lady who graced my Father’s home was known affectionately as Joyce 

Beloved parents –

in our hearts forever






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In recent years a photo album which had not seen the light of day for many years was recovered. The contents were faded and very worn because of time. I have since started having all them professionally re-done mainly of HMS Scarab. I also made application to the Ministry of Defence and received my Father's WW II Medal entitlement which for reasons unknown he did not collect. These include: 1939 - 1945 Star, Atlantic Star with France and Germany Clasp, Africa Star, Italy Star and 1939 - 1945 War Medal. I believe that the contribution made by gunboats Scarab, Aphis and Cockchafer and the significant role they played in the 8th Army advance in North Africa and in the Mediterranean were grossly underestimated. With her small crew of 70, the men of Scarab seem to have been a very close-knit bunch, at least from the photos I have recovered.


I have since been in contact with a former crew member of Scarab, Mr. Fred (Kiwi) Lemberg. Not only did he serve with my Father but they were good mates. He advised that the crew of Scarab were ‘a great bunch with a fantastic Skipper as well. Everyone got on well.’ One of many great blokes I have met along the way was Mr Frank Bee, a real character. He is the sort of bloke you just know you would get on with. However, going out for a good time, he'd be the one to get you into trouble. I liked him straight away. Another whom I met was Dr. Peter Miller who was Surgeon Lieutenant aboard HMS Aphis. Also Mr. Derek Grainger, who's dad (Albert Harold Grainger) was able to share some of his father's first-hand accounts and Mr. Gordon Smith the site author from http://www.naval-history.net/.


My travels have taken me around the world on a voyage of discovery. I have met so many very fine people along the way which has been very fulfilling. Contributions in the form of anecdotes, photographs, memoirs and diaries, the discovery of Scarab’s commemorative shield in the market town of Sudbury in Suffolk (not seen for 60 years) and the excitement that produced, a visit to the Royal Navy Archives at Portsmouth, the list goes on and continues to grow. (See Acknowledgments) I also visited Myanmar (Burma) to meet Si Thu Kyaw Thein Lwin (K.T.) who was the Navigation Officer of HMS Scarab 1946-47 when the ship was on-loan to the Government of Burma.


New details regarding my family also emerged which included my Uncle, Fredrick George Taylor's (HMS Victorious) Wartime Photo Album, and my Father's older brother Harry Taylor who enlisted with the 40th Anti-Aircraft Brigade in April 1939.


And to my delight I was able to re-establish contact with the family of my Father’s wartime comrade Ernest “Blondie” Thomas with whom he served for 16 months on board H.M.S. Scarab.


It is very evident that I did not know where it would take me or where I was going with this project. What started off with some very old, faded and yellowed photographs has made a tremendous impact upon my life. It has become a portal into the past, an intimate look into a time when the future, all that one held dear and survival itself was at stake. When the whole world was at war and nobody and nowhere was safe.


When I mentioned to a few people what I was doing most thought it was a great idea but many felt I would be wasting my time as WW II veterans would be very old or would have passed away. Undeterred I nevertheless felt it was a story that needed to be told, especially about Scarab as very little is written about these river gunboats that served in the Mediterranean or their contribution to the various campaigns.


Special Acknowledgment


Mr. J D (Dave) Downey of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia was my Father’s best mate. When I first enquired of him if Dad would mind me going into his war service he gave me an order - “Do it”. Dave Downey was a WWII Sergeant, a decorated veteran of the Pacific Campaign and has been a family friend for over 60 years.



With tremendous sadness we very much regret the passing of

Mr. J D (Dave) Downey


He was the best mate of my Mum and Dad, Frank and Joyce Taylor

and my long-time personal friend and mentor.

My Uncle Dave.


I will miss you in my life

With love and the greatest respect

Russell J Taylor

11 June 2016



http://frankstaylorfamilyandroyalnavyhistory.net/index2_files/image007.jpg       http://frankstaylorfamilyandroyalnavyhistory.net/index2_files/image008.jpg

           Dave and Winnie Downey                         Dave Downey Present Day (August 2014)






Uncle Dave's Original Sergeants Uniform









Dave Downey recent


WWII Pacific Medals + Ribbon Bar + MID


1939-45 Star

Pacific Star

British War Medal + MID  (Mentioned In Dispatches)

Australian Service  Medal 1939-45


Mentioned in Despatches


Author's Note

Mentioned in Dispatches (MID) is a military award for gallantry.











Remembered with honor






And by crikey what a magnificent story it has turned out to be.


Russ Taylor 2012





Russell J Taylor

      Design concept


Gordon Wright



Avola Bay

Sicily 1943

Operation Husky



In Memoriam


With tremendous sadness we very much regret the passing of:


Surgeon-Lieutenant Peter J. Miller. (HMS Aphis)

A.B. (Radar) Frank Bee. (HMS Birmingham)

A.B. Fred (Kiwi) Lemberg. (HMS Scarab)

Mr. Gordon Smith. Author and Founder of Naval-History.Net

Angus Jones (Ex 42 Commando Royal Marines) (HMS Aphis)

Ship’s Telegraphist Harry Berry. (HMS Scarab)

A.B. Ernest (Blondie) Thomas. (HMS Scarab)



Valued friends and contributors

We will miss them

With respect.

Lest We Forget



H.M.S. Scarab


Royal Navy Insect Class - River Gunboat



(A Lucky Little Ship)



The Early Years


The Hong Kong Refit 1939 - 1940


World War II

H.M.S. Scarab in World War II and My Father Frank S. Taylor JX324358 Able Seaman


Ships Complement & Crew Photos (Oct 1943)


Ship’s Logs


Operation Brassard -The Assault on Elba


 Operation Husky - The Invasion of Sicily


Warship Week February 14-21 1942 (Sudbury, Suffolk)


Sudbury Revisited  


Warship Weeks (Peter Schofield)


Ship’s Mascots


HMS Scarab, Cockchafer and Aphis

Return to the Far East - Taranto to Singapore

1 January – 26 April 1946


HMS Scarab in Burma (The Final Chapter)




 The following tributes relate to the men who served aboard H.M.S. Scarab

May their names live forever more and be remembered with affection and honour.



Lieutenant Ewan Cameron

The Skipper

 New September 2022


Fred (Kiwi) Lemberg

With tremendous sadness we very much regret the passing of A.B. Fred (Kiwi) Lemberg.

  A valued friend and contributor. This article is dedicated to his memory.

With respect.

Lest We Forget


Kiwi’s Video Interview of Life aboard HMS Scarab


Ernest (Blondie) Thomas


Harold Bainbridge


Harry Berry


Albert Harold Grainger


Isaac (Ike) Law


James McKean


 Len Mell




 H.M.S. Dauntless



The Early Years (1918–1935)


The R38 Airship Disaster


Crossing the Equator


 America and West Indies Station 1930 - 1932

A complete account of the ship's commission with photographs taken by Able Seaman W. Fox.

Three cruises, adventures and experiences in the West Indies, the West Coast of North America and circumnavigating South America.


H.M.S. Dauntless – Ship’s Personnel


 America and West Indies Station and The Mediterranean 1932 - 1935

A complete account of the ship's commission in and around South America and with the Mediterranean Fleet

including Egypt and Palestine.


World War II


Madagascar (Chronology of Events)



The following tributes relate to the men who served aboard H.M.S. Dauntless.

May their names live forever more and be remembered with affection and honour.



Thomas Barlow


Leslie Shiers



H.M.S. Birmingham



HMS Birmingham - The Early Years


World War II



The following tributes relate to the men who served aboard H.M.S. Birmingham.

May their names live forever more and be remembered with affection and honour.



Frank Bee

With tremendous sadness we very much regret the passing of A.B. (Radar) Frank Bee.

  A valued friend and contributor. This article is dedicated to his memory.

With respect.

Lest We Forget


 Herbert George Bateman


James Herbert Hemsley


Clifford Reginald Turner


 Walter Sweeting



We recently received correspondence from the son of Lawrence Harold Peart,

who was a shipmate of Frank S Taylor on the HMS Birmingham.

We thank the family of Lawrence Peart for this correspondence.



Dear Sir,


I can confirm that the sailor in the middle of the picture, a shipmate of Frank S Taylor was ABS Lawrence Harold Peart. Born on 29/01/1916, Caistor, Lincolnshire, died 04/11/1987 Louth, Lincolnshire.

My father joined the Navy & HMS Birmingham after spending time in Canada with the RAF training as a navigator. On his return there was a surplus of navigators and was given the option of a change of Service and he decided on the Navy. After the war he returned to the Police Force and the Lincolnshire Constabulary, firstly in Stamford and in 1947 he & my mother moved to Louth. Here he spent his career as Station Sergeant until his retirement. From here he became a Planning Enforcement Officer for the local district council until the age of 65 years when he retired fully.

I was his only son, I married in 1974 and have two sons. My youngest, Ross, met a Danish lady on holiday in London & formed a relationship which eventually led to marriage. They live just north of Copenhagen and have two daughters and they have the surname, Peart. The family are regular visitors to Tivoli Gardens as am I & my wife on occasion when we visit them.

I can remember seeing a photograph of my father in Tivoli after VE Day but this was a picture of him on his own but the same setting. He told me that a group of "the lads", from HMS Birmingham had gone on shore leave for a break. Somehow that picture disappeared, and I have no record of the Danish connection our family have, until now! That missing photograph has haunted me for some time and I so wanted to find it, so that my granddaughters could see and know that their Great Grandfather had been, not just in Denmark but Copenhagen and Tivoli Gardens, where they experience so much pleasure. On the evening of Saturday 30th December, I suddenly decided to start some research on the HMS Birmingham in May 1945. I was looking at pictures of sailors lining the decks, getting off the boat etc; so imagine how delighted I was when I came across this picture of Frank S Taylor with two comrades one of which is my Father!

I am now in apposition to show my Danish family a part of their history, as Danes, the surrender of the German Fleet and that their Great Grandfather is not only a part of that history, but also enjoyed the Tivoli Gardens as they regularly do.


Kind regards, 

Howard T Peart 





Taylor Family History


Frederick George Taylor

(Uncle George)


Frederick George Taylor

War Service


Harry Taylor

(Uncle Harry)

Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers

69th Searchlight Regiment and 1st Airborne Division



Royal Navy Insect Class River Gunboats


Insect Class




H.M.S Aphis


A Sea Voyage in a River Gunboat (1927)

 A handwritten account of a voyage from Malta to Hong Kong with photographs.

Recorded by Lieutenant Commander J. K. B. Stephenson of H.M.S. Aphis.


H.M.S. Aphis - China Station 1929 - 1930



The following tributes relate to the men who served aboard H.M.S. Aphis, Ladybird and Tarantula.

May their names live forever more and be remembered with affection and honour.



Peter J Miller


Jimmy Jones



H.M.S Ladybird


John James Johnson



H.M.S. Tarantula


William “Bill” Tough




China Station and The Far East


Yangtze West River Patrol Squadron

H.M.S. Cicala, H.M.S. Moth and H.M.S. Tarantula


Wanhsien Incident (2014) 


Wanhsien Incident – A. Cecil Hampshire’s Account


American River Gunboats (The Yangtze Patrol)


Judy the Dog (HMS Gnat and HMS Grasshopper)









We have added the watermark “© Taylor Family Collection” to our documents to stop illegal copying and to

ensure that re-mastered digital copies of our images will not become available on either eBay or the Internet.

The water mark is not on our originals. If anyone wishes to access an original please contact us.

We will be happy to assist you.




ANZAC Day Parade (1985) with fellow members of New Lynn R.S.A.

(Returned Serviceman’s Association)

Auckland, New Zealand

My Dad Frank Sutton Taylor (circled top left)







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