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HMS Southsea


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Just a personal note from me:


On 16.02.1941 the minesweeper HMS Southsea hit a mine as she came into Tynemouth following a sweep. it was one o'clock in the afternoon. She settled in shallow water and was eventually beached and used as a breakwater. Declared "Constructive Total Loss" by the Admiralty, the little 825 ton paddle steamer had been a Southern Railway Isle of Wight ferry and had entered service in 1937. Seven crew died including my grandfather Lieutentant (E) Gordon Maurice Barnes RNR. He was 48 years old and was known as "Father" by his brother officers. Gordon was an ERA during WW1 and spent the inter war years getting his ticket before rising to second engineer on the Arandora Star and was engineer of the Northern Star, these were big names of the Blue Star Line fleet running people and beef from Sth America to the UK. (The line was owned by the Vestey family - also famous for the Dewhurst butchers chain). Gordon was at Dunkirk on HMS Caroline Moller an ocean going tug lost in 1942. He is buried in the military plot of Preston cemetery, North Shields, along with two of his shipmates. If anyone is passing, please pay your respects for me. The Southsea received a small amount of fame for shooting down a Dornier a few months before her loss and actually appeared in an Admiralty official history book for the early war years.





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