2349713 Signalman Norman KIRKMAN, 7th Armd. Div. Sigs., Royal Corps of Signals: 05/12/1941

Discussion in 'Royal Signals' started by CL1, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  2. Tilford

    Tilford Junior Member

    Norman Kirkman was sadly one of the many who drowned when the Chakdina sank on the night of the 5th of December 1941. We also remember the estimated 400 other Allied, mostly wounded soldiers who died along with Norman, the 70 plus Chakdina crew and an as yet unknown number of German and Italian POW's who died as well. Over 100 of those who drowned were either Australian or New Zealand soldiers along with members of Australian and New Zealand medical units who were travelling with the wounded.
     
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  3. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    WRECK SITE - HMAV Chakdina [+1941]

    Chakdina SS was a armed boarding vessel commandeered by the British in Tobruk to evacuate their wounded. It sailed from the harbour with 380 wounded soldiers on board including 97 New Zealanders. Some officers and medical personnel were also accompanying the wounded. The ship was heading for Baggush, the H/Q of the 2nd N.Z. Division. At 9 o┬┤clock in the morning a Luftwaffe plane dropped a torpedo which struck the ship in the after hold.

    It took only three minutes for the Chakdina to sink giving the wounded little chance to escape. Those who were not severely wounded managed to reach the escort destroyer HMS Farndale which picked up eighteen New Zealanders from the water. All the medical staff, except one, were saved. The Farndale reached Alexandria two days later and the survivors admitted to the No. 3 New Zealand General Hospital.
     
  4. Tilford

    Tilford Junior Member

    We know now that the Chakdina was carrying significantly more than the 380 who were listed as wounded. Our research shows that it was well over 400 and that sadly this number continues to grow.

    It has now been established that the ship was sunk sometime after 9pm on the evening of the 5th of December, not in the morning, and that it was a torpedo from an Italian torpedo bomber, not German, that sank the ship.

    There is an excellent description of what happened that night in the recently published book Red Tobruk by Captain Frank Gregory-Smith who was the Commander of HMS Eridge one of the two escort destroyers accompanying the convoy of which Chakdina was part.
     

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