HMS Bullfinch

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Sarah Brady, Apr 1, 2021.

  1. Sarah Brady

    Sarah Brady New Member


    This is quite a long shot, but I'm hoping to uncover some information on the death of my great uncle during WW2.

    His name was Alexander Brady, service number D/JX 162071 and he was an Able Seaman in the Royal Navy. He died in Alexandria, Egypt on 17th May 1945 whilst serving on board HMS Bullfinch. He was the only casualty that day, and the cause of death listed on official records is 'accidental drowning'. He is buried in Chatby Military & War Memorial cemetery in Alexandria, which leads me to believe that this accident happened close to shore.

    Now whilst this should be enough information to accept how he died, my family have always wondered what exactly happened to cause him to 'accidentally' drown, mainly because he was known for being an excellent swimmer. Not many of my family believe this to be the real reason and think there were other factors involved/information was withheld from them at the time.

    Because the case (to me) seems unusual, and such an isolated incident (after all the war had just finished in Europe, so it seems quite the tragedy to make it this far only to pass away at the final hurdle accidentally), I wondered if anyone who may have had a relative on HMS Bullfinch might've heard a story about my great uncle's accident and shed some light on it. Like I said, I know this is a long shot especially as the ship was small, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask.

    Many thanks,
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Royal Navy Casualties- killed and died - in World War 2 by Name - Br
    BRADY, Alexander, Able Seaman, D/JX 162071, Bullfinch, 17 May 1945, DOWS

    DOWS = died on war service

    UK, British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960
    Name: Alexander Brady
    Event: Death
    Birth Date: 24 Feb 1923
    Birth Place: Glasgow, Lanark
    Death Date: 16 May 1945
    Death Age: 22

    It seems that HMS Bullfinch was a cable ship based in the Mediterranean in 1945

    History of the Atlantic Cable & Submarine Telegraphy - HMS Lasso
    He served on cable ships HMS May (Sept 1943-Oct 1943) and HMS Bankville (Oct 1943-Jul 1945), then in the Mediterranean on HMS Bullfinch, HMS Retriever (Aug 1945-Oct 1945) and HMS St. Margarets (Oct 1945-Feb 1946).
    H.M .S . Bullfinch

    It might also be worth applying for his service records from the MOD - forms are here Request records of deceased service personnel you will not need a death certificate per se but you will need to download his certificate from the CWGC page for him Casualty Details | CWGC [scroll about halfway down on the the left hand side]

    I can only assume at this point that they would have been laying or repairing undersea cables, I believe that communications cables run via Egypt from the UK to India, Australia and Far East


    September 27th
    Levant Area - H.M.S. BULLFINCH completed laying the Indicator loops at Haifa.

    I have found this but cannot date it
    This Day in the War in Europe: The Beginning
    Submarine THORN was in a collision with cable ship BULLFINCH in Alexandria Harbour. The submarine was under repair at Port Said from 7 to 16 December.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2021
    CL1, timuk and Tony56 like this.
  3. CL1

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

    Sarah it is not unusual to drown even if you are a strong swimmer
    Also many service men and women died after the war through accidents upto and including 31/12/47

    A few spring to mind
    Could have fallen off a vessel/dock knocked out
    Fainting whilst swimming
    Clothing saturated with water weighing you down
    Strong under current
    Taking own life

    What reasons do your family have to question the verdict be very wary of old family wives-tales we have all been there with convoluted stories
    Follow the information TD has given you otherwise you will go in circles and please dont use pay for sites on the internet who promise service records they do not have them.
    Although you do not require a death cert for his service records it might give you more detail on his death if you order one.

    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
    timuk likes this.

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