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H.M.S. SCARAB

 

 

 

Lieutenant Ewan Cameron

Early 1943 – February 1944

 

Royal New Zealand Navy Volunteer Reserve

Lieutenant

 

 

Far East and The Mediterranean

 

 

This page is dedicated to the Memory of

  Lt. Ewan Cameron. 

May his name live forever more

and be remembered with affection and honour.

 

 

I have one photo that I got from Christchurch Boys School that shows him quite well.

Hopefully it is of assistance to you.

Sarah Cameron

 

 

THE SKIPPER

and

LEADER OF MEN

 

Skipper Ewan Cameron with Able Seaman Charlie Wells (The Sparker)

 

 

 

 

 

Author’s Note:

 

Lt. Cameron’s war service included the Mediterranean and Italian Theatres 

as well as action along the coast of North Africa.

In our view he was also entitled to The Africa Star and Italian Star.

 

  

                                                                                           Africa Star                         Italy Star

 

 

 

Service Record

 

 

 

Lt. Cameron was also a certified cook. Under Other Information is the note:

S 450 HMS Dunedin Cert. Cook.

C. No 40 27 Sept. 1935

 

Also: Qualified as Acting Light Gun-layer

 

And lastly: Resigned 28/6/38

10 months before registering under Scheme “Y”

 

 

MICHAEL WYND

Researcher - National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy

Royal New Zealand Navy

 

Ewan Cameron was born 23/2/1910 in Dipton. He joined the navy via the Scheme Y Recruitment. This was a scheme where men who were master yachtsmen were recruited for service with the Royal Navy in the Far East. He was given a temporary wartime commission first as an Acting Temporary Sub-Lieutenant. He was granted this commission in the RNVR [Imperial] for service in Malaya. He departed Auckland for Malaya on 29 April 1940. It appears that upon arrival in Singapore he operated yachts on patrols off Malaya.

 

 

New Zealanders under Scheme “Y”

 

 

 

 

We found details for one person listed under Scheme “Y”

 

Jervis,
Stanley Godfrey

S.G. Jervis (Photo courtesy of Mr Bay Jervis)
Married Margaret …; one son, two daughters.

23.02.1912
Auckland
-

T/S.Lt. *

19.04.1940

T/Lt. *

19.04.1941

 

Distinguished Service Cross

DSC

14.09.1943

destruction U-boat Western Approaches 05.43 &tc. [nvestiture 23.05.44]

* initially RNVR, from 1942?/1943? RNZNVR

(02.1941)

 

 

HMS Sultan (RN base, Singapore) *

?

-

27.05.1941

HMS Syvern (anti-submarine escort vessel; ex-Norwegian whale catcher)
[ship sunk off Suda Bay; made his was across the island of Crete to Sfakia; evacuated on HMAS Perth 30.05.1941]

(06?).1941

-

(06?).1942

HMS Valiant (battleship) (for 12 months) **

03.1943

-

04.1944

anti-submarine control officer, HMS Oribi (destroyer) (North Russian convoy escort)

05.1944

-

(06.)1944

HMS Scarborough (sloop) (Normandy)

20.09.1944

-

(01.)1945

First Lieutenant, HMS Brissenden (destroyer)

02.1945

-

(07.1945)

HMS Golden Hind (RN manning depot, Sydney, NSW)

(1945)

-

(1946?)

First Lieutenant, HMS Redpole (sloop) (British Pacific Fleet)

(04.1946)

 

 

HMNZS Cook (RNZN depot & training establishment, Wellington) *

Clerk.
* indexed, but not listed as such
** (12.1941) indexed, but not listed as such

First Lt. Stanley Godfrey Jervis D.S. C.

https://www.unithistories.com/officers/RNZNVR_officers.html#J

 

 

Author’s Note:

 

While preparing this article we noticed that Lt. Cameron never received a Service Number. Nor did his fellow volunteers in Scheme “Y”.

Puzzled, we contacted Michael Wynd, Researcher – National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy to enquire.

 

 

Men who volunteered for naval service with the Royal Navy in wartime and were selected for officer training were issued with a temporary wartime commission. In the First World War this applied for instance to the men who were recruited to serve in Motor Launches, Armoured Cars or the RNAS. After their brief training, they were issued with a commission and attached to the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. At war’s end, these men had their commission withdrawn at the time they were demobilised and returned to New Zealand.

 

In the Second World War there were recruitment schemes that the New Zealand Government committed to - sending suitable candidates for training. Schemes A & Y covered men who were experienced yachtsmen; Scheme B was for men who wished to serve as Officers in the Royal Navy fleet; Scheme F was for those men who wished to serve with the Fleet Air Arm. It is important to note that the process that the Royal Navy dealt with wartime commissioned officers was purely an administrative act rather than an “anti-colonial” feeling.

 

Men who joined under Schemes B & F once accepted and completed initial training were given a temporary wartime commission. In Scheme A & Y the men were taken up for service without undergoing any formal training. When the men were commissioned, they were in the case of Scheme B & F placed into their nation’s Volunteer Reserve or as in Scheme A & Y the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. For example, a New Zealander would be commissioned as a Temporary Sub-Lieutenant and placed into the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve. Men would be promoted but their rank would always be preceded by the term Temporary.  As in the First World War, at war’s end the men were demobilised and returned to New Zealand and had their commission withdrawn at the time they were discharged from naval service.

 

I trust this explains things.

 

Kind regards

 

MICHAEL WYND

Researcher - National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy

Royal New Zealand Navy

 

 

 

There is one brief reference found in a note for file below.

“Copy for T/Lt. E. Cameron’s file - 10 November, 1945”

 

 

 

At some point he was posted to the destroyer HMS STRONGHOLD. There is no date when he joined, but he left the ship on 27 January 1941. He was then posted to HMS SULTAN, the naval base at Singapore and held the rank of Temporary Sub-Lieutenant.

 

 

H.M.S. Stronghold

Source: http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-10DD-05S-Stronghold.htm

 

He joined the HMS PING WO on 28 January 1941. He served in this ship until 14 July 1941. During this posting he was promoted to Temporary Lieutenant on 16 May 1941. On 15 July 1941 he joined HMS SCARAB. This posting card ends at this point and I have no information.

 

 

HMAS Ping Wo at MadangPapua New Guinea on 31 October 1944

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMAS_Ping_Wo

 

See also:

https://www.ozatwar.com/ran/hmaspingwo.htm

 

 

I do know that SCARAB served at Hong Kong from January to June 1940. She was then withdrawn from service and transferred to Singapore and HMS SULTAN in July 1940. In 1941 she was transferred into the East Indies Station. She obviously survived the Fall of Singapore.

 

In January 1943 she was nominated for service in the Mediterranean. After joining the Mediterranean Fleet, she carried out operations. Supported landings on Elba in June 1943, and then took part in Operation HUSKY in July-August 1943. She then supported British landings on mainland Italy known as Operation BAYTOWN on 2 September 1943. She was then returned to Malta and was alongside there from October 1943 to June 1944.

 

Ewan Cameron was given leave and was returned to New Zealand. Sadly, he lost his life with other New Zealanders when the passenger ship SS NELLORE was attacked and sunk by a Japanese submarine in the Indian Ocean on 30 June 1944. His card notes, ‘death presumed’. His name is remembered at the New Zealand Second World War Memorial located on the South Yard of HMNZS PHILOMEL in Devonport, Auckland.

 

MICHAEL WYND

Researcher - National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy

Royal New Zealand Navy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah Cameron

20 July 2015

 

Sorry for the delay in replying. Thanks so much for your email it was great, I was so touched to hear that my uncle Ewan was held in such regard and I regret not knowing more about him. I only found out about my uncle Ewan a few months ago after doing some research on my mum's side of the family.  Due to family circumstances my mum and her brother and sister were never told too much about Ewan from their father who was Ewan's youngest Brother. There was a 16 years age gap between Ewan and Alexander Murray, my grandfather. 

 

Ewan was born in Dipton, Southland, New Zealand on the 23rd of February 1910. He was born to Hugh Cameron and Annie Fulton Cameron and was 1 of 4 brothers (Allan born 1907, Ewan born 1910, John Gordon born 1911 and Alexander Murray Born 1926). Ewan's father Hugh died in 1950 and his mother died in 1953 a year before my mother was born. My aunty born in 1950 and my uncle born in 1953 don't recall much being mentioned about Ewan which I found extremely sad. Ewan's youngest brother my grandfather died in 1981 and John Gordon died in 1983, and I haven't been able to locate anything on Allan so far so not much is known at all. So, I was so happy to find your page with so much information and stories regarding my uncle.

 

I do know that Ewan attended Christchurch Boys School and was an Insurance Clerk before enlisting. I’m currently trying to get Ewan's Navy records and hopefully this will shed some more light on his life as currently no one in our family has any photos of him except for what I have found on the internet. I'm not even sure where any of Ewan's Medals are located which is truly sad as I'm so proud to have such a hero in my family. I'm hoping after a bit more research I can be of more assistance as I'd love my uncle Ewan to be remembered for the great man that he was.

 

 

Correspondence from Dr Bruce Harding, Curator-Archivist Christchurch Boy’s High School reveals the following:

 

Mr Cameron’s years were 1923-1926. His Headmaster was the new George Lancaster (the school’s 3rd) and Ewan had three years at Worcester St in the city. The school moved at the end of 1925 and opened in February 1926 (EC’s 4th year) at 71 Straven Road. He was a contemporary of some noted students, including poet Allen Curnow, but about a year ahead of Allen.

 

  • 1925 Prizegiving –The Jackson Memorial Medal for Boxing.  (CBHS Magazine   No.74 [May 1926] p.60)
  • E. Cameron playing 2nd Witch in The Rehearsal (play by Maurice Baring) at The Choral Hall, 5 May 1925 (CBHS Mag   No.74 [May 1926] p.61).
  • No.77 {May 1927], p.15    Exam Results 1926    P.S.E. for E. Cameron (seems an alternative to Matriculation). Public Service Exam?

 

 

 

 

 

 

No details are known regarding Lt. Cameron’s voyage from Singapore. In his own words from his application requesting leave from the Admiralty, he spent “sixteen months in the Persian Gulf where personnel are relieved and sent home after two years.” He left home 25 April 1940. Scarab’s role in Persia would have been to protect British Interests.

 

 

Background to Iraq

 

Excerpt from: Admiralty War Diaries of World War 2

East Indies Station - 16 July 1941

Source: https://www.naval-history.net/xDKWD-EF1940-41.htm

 

Iraq and Persian Gulf

 

12.  At the beginning of April a military coup d’état in Iraq resulted in the Regent embarking at very short notice in H.M.S. COCKCHAFER at Basra and a new Administration with pronounced pro - Axis inclinations being set up under Rashid Ali.  In consequence of the announced intention of H.M. Government to carry out their treaty right of establishing lines of communications in Iraq and the distinct possibility of trouble when troops arrived, the Persian Gulf Division of H.M. Ships was strongly reinforced and the Senior Naval Officer, Persian Gulf (Commodore Cosmo M. Graham, Royal Navy) transferred his headquarters from Bahrein to Basra.

 

13.  The first troop convoy from India was due to arrive at Basra about 17th April and on the 14th April, in compliance with the wishes of Their Lordships, I transferred my flag to H.M.S. LEANDER and proceeded with despatch to the Persian Gulf, arriving at Basra on 19th April, having further transferred my flag to H.M.S. SEABELLE at the Outer Bar of the Shatt al-Arab.  In the meantime, after the uncertainty which existed until almost the last minute whether the disembarkation would be opposed, the troop convoy had arrived on the 17th and the landing was affected without incident.

 

14.  I remained at Basra for four days, during which I held valuable conferences with the General Officer Command, British Troops, and the Senior Naval Officer, Persian Gulf, and exchanged calls with the local dignitaries – each of whom was affable to a degree, although one was sensible all the time that the atmosphere of tension had not dissipated.  There was however, no good reason for me to remain longer from my headquarters and with the approval of Their Lordships, I returned in H.M.S. LEANDER to Colombo, arriving 29th April.  The ship called at Bahrein for fuel, and I took the opportunity to wait upon the Sheikh of Bahrein (His Highness Sir Hamad bin ÔIsa Al Khalifah), and to inspect the naval establishment.  Off Muscat I carried out a 'flag showing' demonstration having previously informed the Political Agent.

 

15.  On 2nd May, after the British troops had been appreciably reinforced from India, hostilities with the Iraqis broke out and continued until the armistice was signed on 31st May.  While they lasted, H.M. Ships at Basra forced an integral part of the defences of the town, a landing parted from H.M.S. EMERALD seized Fao, and aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm disembarked from H.M.S. HERMES did excellent work in support of the Royal Air Force.  Later naval vessels carried a waterborne expedition to Kut. Throughout, convoys bringing large numbers of troops under the escort of H.M. Ships continued to arrive safely from India. And the work of reinforcement still goes on.

 

16.  The arrival of German aircraft in Iraq, and the probability of Syria being used as a base for large numbers of them, brought the problem of protecting the vulnerable Shatt al-Arab from enemy mining urgently to the fore.  The imminence of the danger has not passed, but nevertheless all possible measures are being taken to press on with providing against the contingency should it again arise.  One of these is the development of an alternative to Basra as the base for supplies.  There is a divergence of opinion between the Services whether this would be better situated at Umm Qasr or at Kuwait, and I have represented my views to the Admiralty. At the present time a reconnaissance of the Persian Gulf generally is being carried out by representatives of the combined Services.

 

R. Leatham, Vice Admiral, Commander in Chief.

H.M. Naval Office, Colombo

 16th July 1941

 

 

We do know the ship was at Basra, Iraq and left from Aden (25th April 1943) for North Africa and the Mediterranean. Scarab and Cockchafer arrived at Port Said, Egypt 4th May and Alexandra on 6th May.

 

Lt. Cameron took command of H.M.S. Scarab from Jack Broughton Cox on 31 March 1943. The Unit Histories listing below shows some confusion over the dates.

 

 

Cox,
Jack Broughton
J.B. Cox (Photo courtesy of Mr Bill Forster) 

Son of George Ralph Cox (1876-1954), and Rhoda Mary Delves-Broughton (1894-1956).

02.12.1914
Cheltenham district, Gloucestershire
-
04.06.1989
Sefton North district, Merseyside

Cadet

01.05.1932

Midsh.

01.01.1933

A/S.Lt.

01.05.1935

S.Lt.

16.01.1936

Lt.

16.07.1938

A/Lt.Cdr.

01.05.1945

Lt.Cdr.

16.07.1946 (retd 30.08.1957)

 

Mention in Despatches

MID

14.06.1945

HM's birthday 1945

King Haakon VII Liberty Cross (Norway)

Hkn

15.04.1947

liberation of Norway

...

-

...

...

22.08.1939

-

(10.)1940

First Lieutenant, HMS Stronghold (destroyer)

22.10.1940

-

(02.)1943

Commanding Officer, HMS Scarab (river gunboat)

(04.1943)

-

(06.1943)

HMS Scarab (river gunboat) *

(08.1943)

-

(10.1943)

no appointment listed

10.1943

-

05.1945

Commanding Officer, HMS Woolston (destroyer) (despatches)

01.05.1945

-

early 1946

Commanding Officer, HMS Ledbury (escort destroyer)

(04.1946)

 

 

HMS Ledbury (escort destroyer) *

Source: https://www.unithistories.com/officers/RN_officersC2a.html

 

 

 

 

H.M.S. Scarab was not only just a Lucky Ship.

 

She was also a Happy Ship.

 

 

H.M.S Scarab

Royal Navy Insect Class Gunboat WW II

Alexandria, Egypt

October 1943

 

For enlargement, identification and a list of Scarab’s crew members please click on the photo.

 

 

 

 

 

Skipper Ewan Cameron

1943

 

 

 

Courtesy

The Grainger Family

 

HMS SCARAB’S SERVICE

 

NEW ZEALANDER IN COMMAND

 

(Special Correspondent)

LONDON, Sept. 23.

 

The commanding officer of a Chinese river gunboat, the Scarab, which took part in the Sicilian campaign, is Lieutenant E. Cameron, RNZNVR Christchurch. The Scarab was in six successful bombardments. She shot down four enemy aircraft and came through without damage or casualties. Cameron said: “Our most successful bombardment was at Cape Molino when our target was an ammunition dump and buildings. We and another ship caused explosions and a tremendous fire which we could still see when 25 miles away. The day Taormina fell we bombarded roads and other targets north of the town. It appeared that the enemy was waiting for us for he opened up with heavy fire. We went further out but closed up again at night-time. We put a 3-inch shell right under one bomber we got in the daytime. We also shot down a bomber and a torpedo-bomber at night-time.”

 

LED THE INVASION FLEET

 

“We claim to be among the first ships to go into action against beaches, for we led the invasion fleet in and with our shallow draught got within half a mile of the shore. We spent 39 days round Sicily. We were doing patrols and bombardments or some kind of work every day but four. We sometimes went ashore and bartered old clothes and cigarettes for fruit and vegetables. I got 100 lemons for a pair of old boots.”

 

Cameron joined the Scarab in Singapore where he went in 1940. She was built in 1915 and served in the Middle East during the last war, then from 1918 to 1940 served on the Yangtze River. She fought Chinese pirates and helped to drive off the Japanese aircraft bombing the Panay. She went to the Persian Gulf in 1941 and entered the Mediterranean for the Sicilian Campaign.

 

Cameron is proud of the Scarab’s engines. “When we had to get away under heavy shelling, we increased speed from four to fourteen knots in a minute and a half.” he said

 

Courtesy

’Kiwi’ Lemberg    

 

 

 

 

HMS Scarab 1943 Bitter Lakes Egypt

 

  

                                   Aboard HMS Scarab                                                                                          Aboard HMS Scarab

                                  Front - Harold Bainbridge                                                                               Front - Leading Seaman Isaacs

                      Back row right is Leading Seaman Isaacs                                                     Back left - Petty Officer Darby Allen ('Bosun')

 

  

           Scarab crew members including “Rags” and “Jenny” (the monkey).                                      Scarab crew members - Suez 1943

        Front - Leading Seaman with Ginny and Ernie (Blondie) Thomas right.                                   Back row Harold Bainbridge (left)

                           Second row on the left 'Buck' Taylor.                                                                Ernie 'Blondie' Thomas second from right

      Harold Bainbridge (face half hidden) is the third tallest figure at the back.

                To the left of Harold is Goldie (No 64 Ship's Complement)

 

 

     

                                                       Able Sea Dog “Rags” (Ship’s Mascot).           Scarab crewmember Bert Lazell (The Painter),

                                                                              Holding Jenny with Rags - a pat and a scratch

 

 

  

Left to right

Leading Seaman Issacs, Able Seaman Charlie Wells, wearing the officers cap

 and larking about with Jenny the monkey on his shoulder.

Jenny was also called ‘Gin-girl’ or ‘Ginny’.

 Stoker Clench can be seen at the rear, with leading Seaman Jake Westlake

and Rags the dog aboard Scarab

 

 

 

                                                         Suez 1943                                                                               On Leave: House-boat to Cairo 1943

                                    Centre Back row L to R: ‘Buck’ Taylor

                                 Front row L to R: ‘Kiwi’ Lemberg 1st left

                                                              

 

HMS Scarab Soccer Team.

Harold Bainbridge front row (right)

(Note Able Sea Dog Rags skulking behind the players – right of photo)

Bert Lazell ‘The painter’ back row – dark jumper (goal keeper)

Second Row: Left No. 63 and 2nd from right No. 65 See: Ship's Complement

 

 

Frederick John Eastman Lemberg (Kiwi)

“Kiwi” was one of our first contributors.

Refer to: http://frankstaylorfamilyandroyalnavyhistory.net/HMSScarab/KiwiLemberg.html

 

 

  

                                     Buck Taylor Able Seaman 1943 – 44               Frank S. Taylor JX324358 Leading Seaman (left)

                                             Quartermaster at gangway.                         And shipmate. Note the difference in tan levels.

                                                                                                                                         My Father played water polo frequently.

                                                                                                                             

 

 

The Pyramids of Egypt and the Sphinx (27 May 1943)

Harold Bainbridge seated on a camel back row left.

He has noted on the photo: Georgoulas Pyramids (elevation 506)

 

 

 

 

The above photos were taken in Egypt while Scarab was making her way to Malta and the upcoming Operation Husky.

For more details on Scarab’s exploits in World War II please refer to:

 

 

 

THIS WEBSITE

 

 

World War II

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

 

Fred (Kiwi) Lemberg

 

Kiwi’s Video Interview of Life aboard HMS Scarab

 

Film Footage:

 

Operation Brassard -The Assault on Elba

 

 Operation Husky - The Invasion of Sicily

 

 

 

  Lt. Ewan Cameron

Ship’s Complement -1943

 

 

 

 

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