Born: 3rd April 1897, Valletta, Malta.

Died: 24th November 1939; age: 42; died at Ipswich Hospital, from wounds received on the evening of the 21st November when H.M.S.’Gipsy’ struck a mine.

Enlistment details: Occupation: Waiter. Height: 5ft 1 1/2ins, dark complexion, brown eyes & black hair. Small mole under left eye.



Cormorant – Officers’ Steward III – 23rd January 1915 – 16th June 1919

Egmont – Officers’ Steward III – 20th June 1919 – 24th July 1919

Ceres – Officers’ Steward III – 25th July 1919 – 11th June 1920 – Shore

Blenheim – Skih – Officers’ Steward III – 8th July 1920 – 10th May 1921 – Shore

Egmont – Chrysanthemum – Officers’ Steward II – 20th October 1921 – 30th June 1923

Columbine – Volunteer – Officers’ Steward II – 1st July 1923 – 23rd August 1923

Vivid II – Officers’ Steward II – 24th August 1923 – 7th October 1923

Vivid II – Officers’ Steward II – 8th October 1923 – 22nd October 1923

Pembroke II – Officers’ Steward II – 23rd October 1923 – 28th November 1923

Cormorant – Splendid – Officers’ Steward II – 29th November 1923

Cormorant – Splendid – Officers’ Steward II – 4th December 1923 – 13th February 1925

Egmont – Officers’ Steward II – 14th February 1925 – 14th April 1925 – Shore.


Re-entered 17th August 1928 – Officers’ Steward III Class. Height 5ft 3ins.



Egmont – Officers’ Steward III Class – 17th August 1928

Egmont – Officers’ Steward II Class – 18th August 1928 – 19th August 1928

Pembroke II – Wild Swan – Officers’ Steward II Class – 20th August 1928 – 30th September 1928

Pembroke II – Ambuscade – Officers’ Steward III Class – 1st October 1928

Egmont II – Ambuscade – Officers’ Steward III Class – 16th October 1928.


Medals Awarded: R.N. Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.


Rank: Leading Steward; Service Number: E/LX 20820.

Regiment: Royal Navy, H.M.S. ‘Gipsy.’


Grave Reference:


Ipswich New Cemetery,



Giuseppe married Elizabeth Xureb, born 1901, Balzan, Malta.


21st November 1939


H.M.S.’Gipsy’ was a G-class destroyer, built for the Royal Navy, by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Company, in the Govan area on the Clyde in Glasgow, Scotland. Ordered 5th March 1934 – Laid down 5th September 1934 – Launched 7th November 1935 – and Commissioned 22nd February 1936. In October 1939, H.M.S.’Gipsy’ (Lieutenant Commander Nigel John Crossley) was based at Harwich, for escort shipping duty in local waters. During the day of the 21st November 1939, H.M.S.’Gipsy’ rescued three German airmen, who were found adrift in a rubber boat in the North Sea, just outside Harwich Harbour. The men were turned over to the Army. Later that evening, she set out with three Royal Navy destroyers, and two Polish Navy destroyers to hunt for U-boats, thought to be minelaying in the North Sea. Just outside the harbour at Harwich, H.M.S.’Gipsy’ struck a magnetic mine amidships, and almost broke in half. It is thought that two magnetic mines had been dropped about 2 hours earlier by German seaplane He59. Thirty one of her crew were killed. Survivors were picked up by H.M.S.’Griffen’ and H.M.S.’Keith.’


Lieutenant Commander Nigel John Crossley, was thrown into the air, and fell on his head. He died 8 days later from his wounds. He and 7 other crew members were buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Shotley, Suffolk.


Giuseppe was wounded in the explosion, and taken to Ipswich Hospital for treatment. He died from his wounds 3 days later, and received a military funeral before being laid to rest at Ipswich New Cemetery.


News reel footage.

Documentary recalling the World War II attack by German seaplanes on the British merchant vessel ‘HMS Gipsy’ in November 1939, using archive footage, off-camera commentary and witness interviews to recall the tragic incident. Building site foreman, James Biddle, previously a naval switchboard operator, and pub landlord, Barry White, previously coxswain of a boat in Felixstowe dock, and first person on the scene; both recall that fateful night.”


  • To whom it may concern,

    G. Vassallo is my Grandfather.

    I would be grateful if I could gsin access to any footage of the imcident regarding HMS Gypsy.

    With grateful thanks,

    Peter Beaumont.

  • I know this request is from a year ago. Giuseppe Vassallo was my uncle (my mom’s brother) he died before I was born but my mom spoke of him often and very fondly.

    • Hi Emma
      My name is Christine Vassallo and Guiseppe was my Grandfather

      I hope you get this as I do not know much about my grandfathers family

    • Hi Emma
      I know this comment is a while ago however Guiseppe is my Grandfather

      I hope you get this as I do not know much about my grandfathers family


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