Stoker 1st Class

Service No KX 128168

Royal Navy

10 August 1943 – 28 February 1946





The following details were received courtesy of Mr Peter Hemsley from Leeds, Yorkshire, UK.


“I have seen your advertisement in the Navy News regarding your search for former shipmates and comrades who knew your father. Well my late father James Herbert Hemsley, Stoker 1st Class Service No. KX 128168 served on the Birmingham from 10th Aug. 1943 to 28th Feb 1946, and from  1st March 1946 to 21st May 1946 at HMS Victory a Portsmouth shore base, being demobbed on or just after that date.


Before Birmingham he served on HMS Malaya. As to whether they knew one another I'm afraid I unable to say. I've looked through the photo's I have and do not see any likeness to your father, but then I know that stokers had a separate mess, although I'm sure they knew each other.


It seems that you are doing the same thing in NZ, as I am here in the UK and in my case it came as a big surprise to find out just how far my father travelled in the ships he served in. Any way good luck in your search.


I enclose two photo's of HMS Birmingham docked in Copenhagen at the end of the war, the 13th May 1945 to be exact as I have a Danish newspaper of that date showing Field Marshall Montgomery leading a parade with the Birmingham in the background. She took the surrender of the German warships Prinz Eugen and the Nurnberg.


Also a photo of two of the Birmingham's crew on leave, the one on the left is my father.”




HMS Birmingham

Copenhagen, May 1945


(Photo’s from James’s album) 






Hospital ship




AA Battery and Swedish Göteborg class destroyer Malmö

in the background.


Ship identification courtesy of Mr Erling Baldorf,

(Ex Senior Chief Petty Officer, Royal Danish Navy)


Denmark scuttled her ships on 23rd August 1943

to prevent their use by Nazi Germany.




Capt. H W Williams - Birmingham (right)



On Leave


James Hemsley (left)



James Hemsley (centre)




James Hemsley (left) and Shipmate



James Hemsley (left)







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