In Memoriam  - Edwin Hudson                                                                            Home


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Died after Korean War: Raymond-Kimber Leslie Walters


EDWIN HUDSON, born 7.11.1922, entered the School in September 1934.  He played for 1st Cricket XI and ran for the School in Cross Country.  In July 1939 he obtained the Oxford Sch Certificate and joined the Office Staff of Weetabix Ltd. 

He joined the R.N.V.R. in April 1941, was posted to HMS Somali  as an ordinary seaman, and took part in the early convoys to Murmansk.  After his training at HMS King Alfred, he was commissioned as Sub-Lieut. and in 1942 he was second-in-command of a motor torpedo boat.  of H.M.S Beehive Squadron.  He met his death when his ship struck a mine on 19th December 1942. 

He was the son of Mr. and Mrs.E.Hudson, 26 Alma Street, Wellingborough.    In Memoriam Book

Right:  MTB Crest "Beware the Sting in the Tail"

Although Edwin entered the RNVR as an able seaman he was probably

identified even before his initial posting as a potential officer - see the selection of another able seaman who was also on HMS Somali.

HMS Somali  led the 6th Destroyer Flotilla and spent most of the winter of 1940/41 screening Home Fleet sweepsWe don't know when Edwin was posted to the Somali, which was having a very eventful  time: On 7 May 1941, she captured  the German weather ship München. prior to being boarded, the crew of the München threw overboard the ship's enigma machine, in a weighted bag. However, left onboard were documents on the operation of the enigma machine and vital codebooks, providing a breakthrough for Allied codebreakers.

Later in the month, HMS Somali with the Home Fleet pursued the Bismarck; however, running low on fuel forced her to return to base.   Most of June and July 1941 was spent refitting in Thornycroft’s Yard in Southampton and it is most likely then that Edwin joined her.  Her hull was strengthened, her after funnel was cut down and radar equipment installed.


On the 4th of August 1941, the battleship HMS Prince of Wales shipped out of Scapa Flow carrying Prime Minister Winston Churchill to his Atlantic Charter meeting in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. But the weather was so bad, the destroyer escorts including Somali were ordered home; HMS Prince of Wales continued alone at high speed. Somali returned to Scapa Flow. Action was rarely encountered during this period.  Somewhere about the end of 1941, beginning of 1942 Edwin went to HMS King Alfred and trained to be an officer - doing so meant he missed the sinking of HMS Somali.

Edwin became second in Command of Motor Torpedo Boat number 30 in 1942 with a crew of 10; A member of the 4th MTB Flotilla which contained 7 MTB's.  Sadly, on the 18th December in that same year the MTB hit a mine and Edwin was killed instantly:

Both photographs of MTB 30, but in different camouflage paint.

The sinking is described below right:


On passage to the Dutch coast, suddenly there was a flash and the roar and thump of an explosion - and there was 30 stopped in a minor maelstrom of seawater with her bow missing and wreckage all around.  She must have hit a mine and it had certainly taken its toll.  Tony Halstead, the CO, had been blown off his bridge and was clinging to flotsam some distance from the stricken boat.  Four of the crew had been killed, and another died before he could be transferred to hospital.  The rest of the crew were picked up.  Henry Franklin and his motor mechanic tried to make 30 safe to tow, but she suddenly sank from under them and they only just got off in time.   Earlier information on the flotilla action.



HMS Somali

See also: a very detailed account with dates.

Below from:

Type    Destroyer

Class    Tribal 

Pennant    G 33 Autumn 1940 - September 1942.

Launched    24 Aug, 1937 

Lost    20 Sep, 1942     Loss position    69.11N, 15.32W


Sinking of HMS Somali

From April 1942 onwards, Somali was assigned to convoy duty on the Murmansk run. By June 1942, HMS Somali, HMS Ashanti, HMS Eskimo and HMS Tartar were the last Home Fleet Tribals left. In September 1942, while escorting convoy PQ-18, a pack of U-boats located the convoy. Two merchantmen were sunk, and a short time later, HMS Ashanti sighted a u-boat running on the surface. Ashanti gave chase, at full speed firing her 4.7 inch guns as the U-boat dived. The hunt went on for two hours but the contact was lost. The Tribal was now 20 miles astern of the convoy so she steamed at full speed in order to rejoin the other ships and in doing so, ran low on fuel oil. Ashanti then changed places with Somali on the inner screen to await a favourable opportunity to refuel. At 1920hours, Somali took up Ashanti's position and was immediately hit with a torpedo in position 74.40N, 02.00W. The explosion blew the torpedo tubes over the side and cut all of the port side main stringers so that the ship was only held together by the upper deck and starboard side as far as the keel. The port engine fell through the bottom of the ship and the engine and gear rooms filled with water. The leaking bulkheads on either side were promptly shored up and seemed to be holding but there was no light or power except from an unreliable auxiliary diesel generator which powered the bilge pumps. The trawler, HMS Lord Middleton, took most of Somali's crew and transferred them to other ships. Of the 80 men left aboard, all were forbidden to go below except for any critical work. HMS Ashanti then took her crippled sister ship in tow, cruising at a slow 7 knots. The flat, calm sea was ideal for towing and for revealing periscope wakes. The tow wire parted company, but HMS Ashanti managed to rig up a new line and both ships continued to crawl to Akureyri. That evening, Somali's dynamo seized up so hand pumps were used for the bilge. These could not cope with the inflow of water so the Tribal's 17 degree list increased. With the donation of many electrical cables from other ships, an emergency power umbilical was rigged up from HMS Ashanti to another destroyer and the bilge pumps started operating again. Somali's list was reduced to 12 degrees. Power was now available for lighting and cooking as well. By the 23/24th September, Ashanti had towed Somali for 420 miles and the weather was getting worse. Somali's plates were groaning terribly. In the middle of a snow squall, observers on Ashanti's bridge saw a blue flash behind them. The towline and the electric cable had snapped and a piece of the cable was hanging over Ashanti's stern. Quickly, a 20-inch searchlight was brought to bear on the crippled ship. By now, Somali had folded in half like a hinge with bow and stern climbing skywards. For a moment, she hung motionlessly; the deckplating then snapped and her bulkheads collapsed. Her stern capsized and sank quickly and the bow went vertically and steadily. HMS Somali was gone in position 69º11'N, 15º32'W. Hit by U-boat Sunk on 20 Sep, 1942 by U-703 (Bielfeld).


1942 Casualties of H.M.S. SOMALI  @


Selection and becoming an officer


People in story:    Mr. Stanley Shield

 I went into the Navy and then because of my good educational background, (good old Bedford Modern School) they made me straight away a C.W. Candidate, now that means that you were preliminary selection as Officer material. You go to sea as an Ordinary Seaman for at least six months during which you are assessed. If it was a good assessment then you come ashore and you go through a training course and lots of examinations and selection boards, at the end of which, with luck, you get your Commission, which is what happened to me but that was much later.

My six months at sea was on H.M.S. Somali at the end of which she didn’t exist anymore. So naturally I came ashore being one of the survivors. A lot of them weren’t I must say. She was torpedoed. I was not on Watch and the crew who were not on Watch were taken off on Rescue Ships that came alongside. The poor unfortunates who were on Watch most of them drowned when she went down.



HMS Somali was the leader of the 6th Destroyer Flotilla and spent most of the winter of 1940/41 screening Home Fleet sweeps. On 7th May 1941, she captured the German trawler WBS 6 München, a prize which yielded valuable documents. (Bletchley Park

The first break for British crypto-analysts came with the capture of an intact Enigma machine and rotors from auxiliary supply/weather reporting ship WBS 6 München by a boarding party from destroyer HMS Somali near Jan Mayen island.



HMS King Alfred (Portsmouth)

With a complement of over 200 reservists, HMS King Alfred is one of the largest Reserve Training Centres in the country. It is situated on Whale Island, at Portsmouth, near many of the major naval shore bases and overlooking the Naval Base, and adjacent to the site of the new Fleet Headquarters.


Officer training at HMS King Alfred


People in story:   John Malcolm ("Jim") Hirst

The first part of the King Alfred course was somewhat incongruously spent within Lancing College from which the boys had long since been evacuated. What I remember most of that spell was doing night sentry duty among a herd of cows which made it difficult to detect the approach of patrols I was supposed to challenge. I don't think that we would have been much use against paratroops! Lancing College was a mile or two inland, but King Alfred was right on the beach. Strangely, life at HMS King Alfred itself (the partially built municipal swimming baths in Hove) seemed somewhat nearer to the war than much of what had gone before. This may have been connected with the barbed wire which covered almost everything except the short length of beach from which the Navy insisted that it retain the right to swim. We were kept quite busy, but the only `sea time' was brief spells of ship handling training within Shoreham Harbour (where we got strafed by a fighter bomber one day). My only problem was passing the test at reading Morse code by light. The test was passed with the help of a Lauderdale shipmate (who aspired after the war to be an Egyptologist) and the exercise of what we regarded as an exercise of "the Nelson touch" (I much regret that I never had the chance to thank Peter Kirwan for his help in what, I do believe, has been the only exercise of real cheating in my life). Eventually, having been more resplendently uniformed by Gieves, we had two very pleasant final weeks at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, where the newly commissioned officers (or `temporary acting gentlemen') were given the opportunity to learn how to behave in a naval wardroom (besides being instructed in other officers' duties). The basement skittle alley provided amusement and some air-raid protection. The College and the famous "Painted Hall" provided inspiration, splendour and good food which were in stark contrast with much of bomb-damaged East London outside. We were then given our next postings, mine was, as requested, to HMS St. Christopher for training for Coastal Forces. Later I learnt that up to the previous week many had been posted to `mines-rendering-safe' duties, of whom many, like the army's BDS officers, had something like a ten weeks life expectancy! Having missed it, in retrospect, it is safe to say that (if surviving successfully!) I would probably have quite liked that assignment because I do enjoy trying to unravel a mechanism.


Motor Torpedo Boats  

Source below:,M1

Angus Kongstam   British Motor Torpedo Boat   Osprey Publishing   £6.99 & this item Delivered FREE in the UK


MTB 30

One of the three 70-foot boats ordered in September 1938,  MTB 30 was built at Camper and Nicholson Yard Gosport and delivered to the Royal Navy in June 1939.  This became the standard design for MTBs of the early part of the war, as 61 of the type were built.  It was armed with two 21-inch topedo tubes and a twin .5-inch Vickers machine gun in a turret behind the bridge, although frequently single and double .303 inch Lewis guns were added to the armament when available.  Powered by three Isotta-Fraschini 1,200hp engines, it could attain speeds of up to 42 knots at 2,400 rpm.  MTB 30 was lost after striking a mine in the North Sea on 18 Dec 1942.   (includes photo of crew 10 taken in 1940 )


December 18 - Motor torpedo boat MTB No.30 (34t, 11/7/40), mined, North Sea  (Source:


MTB30. Vosper design built by Camper and Nicholson delivered July 1940. Sunk by mine in the North Sea December 1942. Two pics of her in Allied Coastal Forces of WW2 by Lambert & Ross. Also pic in British Coastal Forces of WW2 by Paul J Kemp.Also mentioned several times in Home Waters MTBs and MGBs by Len Reynolds. Had a short but eventful life. 29 & 30 built as replacements for 20 & 21 which were sold to Rumania. 20 was sunk in 1941 and 21 survived the war.   (


Reference: From Home Waters MTBs and MGBs At War 1939-1945,  by L.C.Reynolds. The timeframe is late 1940.  Source:


 Operation and Death

Source:  From Home Waters MTBs and MGBs At War 1939-1945,  by L.C.Reynolds.

Information and photos of MTB 30 from:


On 18/19 December Dickens - who had just moved the 21st Flotilla back to Beehive at Felixtowe - took a unit to patrol off the Dutch coast.-took  a unit to patrol off the Dutch coast.  He was full  of admiration for the base engineers, but knew that despite their best efforts the boats of his flotilla were still unreliable.  They were especially prone to overheating of propeller shafts and time after time this had resulted in one or more of the boats not even competing the passage out to patrol. 


John Perkins, whose 230 was more often  available for patrols than most at Lowestoft, tells how his motor mechanic once reported that one of the thrust blocks was red hot and sending off sparks; he was only able to keep it running by playing a hose on it.  There had been no option but to return to harbour.  On this occasion only MTB 241 was available for Dickens’ patrol - this was the boat of the renowned young pair of Sub Lt. Jim MacDonald and his even younger First Lieutenant Henry Franklin who was larger in statute and one of the most extrovert of MTB officers.    They made a formidable  combination.


The patrol also included MTB 30 of the 4th MTB Flotilla.  On passage to the Dutch coast, suddenly there was a flash and the roar and thump of an explosion - and there was 30 stopped in a minor maelstrom of seawater with her bow missing and wreckage all around.  She must have hit a mine and it had certainly taken its toll.  Tony Halstead, the CO, had been blown off his bridge and was clinging to flotsam some distance from the stricken boat.  Four of the crew had been killed, and another died before he could be transferred to hospital.  The rest of the crew were picked up.  Henry Franklin and his motor mechanic tried to make 30 safe to tow, b got off in time. But she suddenly sank from under them and they only just got off in time.


Below: and

HUDSON, Edwin, Ty/Act/Sub Lieutenant, RNVR, MTB.30, 18 December 1942, ship loss, MPK (missing presumed killed)

  Crew loss

 FINLAYSON, Angus, Able Seaman, D/JX 172357, DOW

 HUDSON, Edwin, Ty/Act/Sub Lieutenant, RNVR, MPK

 MILLER, Douglas G, Ordinary Telegraphist, D/JX 250726, MPK

 NISBET, George R M, Able Seaman, P/JX 323212, MPK











United Kingdom




Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve

Unit Text:

H.M.M.T.B. 30.



Date of Death:


Additional information:

Son of Ernest and Lucy Hudson, of Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.

Casualty Type:

Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference:

66, 1.