U-BOAT SINKING / H.M.S. NYASALAND
The last use of the anti-submarine weapon the Hedgehog in WWII against a U-Baot
Captain of the Gun Crew Robert Frith was awarded The Distinguished Service Medal for firing the Hedgehog, a depth charge firing device, which was both a danger to the ship and the man firing it. The Skipper, Lt. Comdr. Scott of the Royal Navy Frigate H.M.S. Nyasaland had positioned his vessel above a U Boat in the Bay of Biscay, and had ordered all water tight doors to be sealed as is normal at Action Stations. He then called for the Captain of the Gun Crew to fire the Hedgehog device. Robert Frith was the trained man. The depth charge type of bombs needed to set at different depths all around the Frigate, which was restricted to 2 knots. It was fired successfully and sunk the U Boat with all hands. The Frigate was also damaged to its underside due to the force of the explosion and the lack of depth. However the Frigate made for Glasgow where it was repaired. The device which threw a pattern of depth charges all around and close to the firing vessel was discontinued in that from due to collateral damage to the firing vessels. Robert Frith and the ASDIC Operator were both awarded the D.S.M.. The Lt. Comdr Scott the Bar to the D.S.O.. The Nyasaland was afterwards handed over to the free French Navy with over twice the complement of the R.N. crew, accompanied by various farm animals i.e. chickens. Robert Frith later served on the destroyer H.M.S. Zenith which was eventually sold to the Egyptians and was scuttled as a Blockade Ship[ in the Suez Canal Crisis.
Participated in two confirmed attacks which resulted in the sinking of two U-Boats.
Robert Frith also served on numerous Russian Convoys to Murmansk and Archangel, as a Leading Seaman Gunnery, known as Captain of the Guns Crew.
Later Robert Frith joined the Metropolitan Police in Royal A Division and served as Plain Clothes Officer at the Palace of Westminster, the houses of Parliament. He retired after 28 years service plus two years allowed from his six years at war.
HMS Nyasaland (K 587)
Frigate of the Colony class
Navy: The Royal Navy
Pennant: K 587
Built by: Walsch-Kaiser Co., Inc. (Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A.)
Laid down: 7 Sep, 1943
Launched: 6 Oct, 1943
Commissioned: 31 Jul, 1944
Loss position: ,
History: Launched into British service. Returned to the US on 15 April, 1946.
Former name: USS Hoste PF-83
Noteable events involving Nyasaland include:
17 Dec, 1944
The German submarine U-772 was sunk in the North Atlantic south of Cork, in position 51º16'N, 08º05'W, by depth charges from the British frigate HMS Nyasaland.
September 17 1939, HMS Courageous torpedoed by U-29, The first Royal Navy aircraft carrier sunk during WW2.
4 Feb, 1945
The German submarine U-1014 was sunk in the Minch Channel (Hebrides, Scotland), in position 55º17'N, 06º44'W, by depth charges from the British frigates HMS Lock Scavaid, HMS Nyasaland, HMS Papua and HMS Lock Shin.
HMS Nyasaland (Lt.Cdr. J. Scott) picks up 42 survivors from the British merchant Kind Edgar that is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-1302 in the St. George´s Channel in position 52º05'N, 05º42'W.
June 10 2001:
The naval commander John Scott, who has died of pneumonia aged 94, was an unsung military hero who refused to parade his medals, despite being mentioned three times in dispatches during the second world war and seeing extensive action in the Atlantic and Mediterranean theatres.
In December 1944, while commanding the 1200-ton frigate, HMS Nyasaland, the then Lieutenant Commander Scott sank a German U-boat off the south of Ireland. His ship was accompanying a convoy that included the Duke and Duchess of Glou- cester, en route to take up the governor-generalship of Australia.
Earlier, he had been posted to North Africa in 1941, where he commanded a converted whaler, HMS Cocker, on mine-sweeping duties off Tobruk and Alexandria. During the evacuation at the Battle of Crete the same year, his ship was torpedoed and lost half its crew. From 1942, he served as a squadron commander on an Atlantic escort force corvette, operating out of Lough Foyle, Northern Ireland, at the height of the Battle of the Atlantic.
In 1944, he sailed to the United States to pick up the Rhode Island-built HMS Nyasaland, and toured dockyards and aircraft companies, addressing workers and managers about his experiences. He ran numerous convoys until the war ended.
Born in Southampton, Scott was an orphan by the age of eight - he last saw his stoker stepfather boarding the Titanic in 1912 - and, at 14, he became an ocean liner deckhand. In the years before the war, he worked as crew on Princess, the luxury yacht owned by the newspaper baron, Lord Kemsley. In 1939, Kemsley offered the Princess to the war effort, and Scott stayed on it as navigating officer patrolling the Bristol Channel. Without proper navigating equipment, the yacht was halved by a cargo vessel in dense fog.
Demobilised in 1946, Scott settled in Derry, Northern Ireland. During the Battle of the Atlantic commemorations last year, he was extensively interviewed about his wartime role, vividly describing the bravery of the merchant seamen who kept the supply lines open. He always remembered the men under his command who were lost at sea, and declared that it was they who deserved to be honoured - that was why he never wore his own medals.
Scott's decorations included a DSC and bar, and he was an officer of the Order of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem. Kind, gentle and good-natured, he was devastated two years ago by the death of his wife, Gladys, whom he had met while training in Derry 60 years ago.
• John Scott, sailor, born July 13 1906; died June 10 2001