LEONARD SEDGEWICK MELL
August 1944 – February 1945
Service Number PJX 633814
Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve
(Before joining HMS Scarab 1944)
Len Mell with Russ
On Saturday 16 October
2010 I travelled to
Len was born in Southport,
Scarab was literally ripped apart for rebuilding and a new bridge assembled after sustaining heavy damage in her battle with the two German corvettes.
The crew was relocated to a pavilion outside the dock area with 6 left aboard Scarab for guard duties including Len. Conditions were very rough – full of rats - toilets directly over the stern into the water, no heating to be expected for some time, 1 shilling per day. No one was very happy in the cold conditions. They had to adapt accordingly.
As Len said to me they were “a wild lot, a little bomb happy but a great crew and everyone got on well together”.
Len knew Ernie (Blondie) Thomas very well as ‘happy go lucky’ and a great bloke. One thing he said which sticks in his memory, a Petty Officer by the name of Young. Blondie made a comment to him, “You’re getting a little bit mouthy – you know what will happen – you’ll get chucked in the water - again.”
The Commanding Officer at that time was Captain Ball Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, young and recently promoted. Len added that the officers were cautious of the crew, especially those officers who tried to push their weight around.
(Click to enlarge)
Leonard S Mell
4th January 2010
My apologies for not writing earlier but I thought that someone with a longer spell on the ‘Scarab’ would be more helpful. Anyway, here goes!
I joined the Gunboat after her return from the S. of France to Taranto/Italy where it appeared never to stop raining – all our ships were tied up stern to the wall – Attacker (aircraft carrier) a Sweeper & Corvette, the Scarab, farther along were the Cockchafer and Aphis. The Scarab was literally ripped apart for rebuilding and a new bridge assembled – naturally the crew were relocated to a pavilion unit outside the dock area and a few of us left on board for Guard Duties.
As you probably know conditions were very primitive to say the
least - the toilets were directly over the stern into the water, no heating
was to be expected for some time, yes we did get one shilling a day but we
were not very happy in the cold conditions. The 8th Army were
pouring in from
I enclose a photograph of the Ship’s
I haven’t been very well lately hence the awful letter, naturally I’m in my mid 80’s, still very fit, but the brain is slowing up I am sorry to say. Maybe at a later date I will write again and be more coherent.
Len provided a photo of the original ship’s bell.
Len gardening in his allotment - Cheltenham Gloucestershire
After leaving HMS Scarab Len served on HMS Sirius
This photo taken in
Haifa Palestine 1945 during heatwave
HMS Sirius taken at
Len (1st left) St Brides Bay Gibralter