Born: 30th May 1921, Le Havre, France.

Died: 15th June 1942; age: 21; MPK.

Residence: ‘The Ride’ Little Bealings, Suffolk.


Rank: Ordinary Seaman; Service Number: P/JX 291648.

Regiment: Royal Navy, H.M.S. ‘Airedale’


Memorial Reference:

Portsmouth Naval Memorial,




Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Hendrik & Margery Spruytenburg, of Ipswich.


Father: Hendrik Spruytenburg, born August 1889, Netherlands. A Manager of a Food Distributing Company. During the Second World War Hendrik was a Special Constable at Woodbridge, Suffolk. Hendrik was also the Conductor of the Ipswich Orpheus Choir.

Mother: Margery Spruytenburg (nee Bevan), born January 1895, Pontefract, Yorkshire – died 28th July 1942, ‘The Ride’ Little Bealings, Suffolk. An amateur painter and a member of Ipswich Art Club 1938-1942


A Nationality and Naturalisation certificate was issued on the 22nd December 1930, to Richard’s father Hendrik. A resident of Ipswich. In 1931, a certificate was issued to Richard as a child of Hendrik.


Richard was educated at Ipswich School, and a memebr of Ipswich Harriers.


Richard is also remembered on the Ipswich School Chapel war memorial, and at Little Bealings, Suffolk.


15th June 1942H.M.S. ‘Airedale’


H.M.S. ‘Airedale’ was a Hunt Class Escort Destroyer, built by John Brown Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd., Clydebank, Scotland. The major part of the cost had been raised by the efforts of the people of Spenborough, West Yorkshire. She was a small fast ship designed to protect convoys from submarine and aircraft attack. Ordered on the 4th July 1940. Launched on the 12th August 1941. Commissioned 8th January 1942.

On the 15th June 1942, H.M.S. ‘Airedale’ was helping to escort a convoy in Operation Vigorous, from Alexandria to Malta. North East of Derna, Libya she was targeted by 12 German dive-bombers, after 3 near misses she was bombed and hit twice. She was badly damaged and sinking by the stern it is believed that her own ammunition or depth charge store had exploded. 44 of her crew had been killed and many more injured, she was abandoned. She was finally scuttled by a torpedo from her sister ship H.M.S. ‘Aldenham’ and gunfire from H.M.S. ‘Hurworth’ 133 of her crew were rescued

One Comment

  • Dear Sir, Richard Spruytenburg’s name has unfortunately been misspelt on the Ipswich War Memorial, where it appears as Spruytenbueg. His name (correctly spelt) is on the memorial in Ipswich School Chapel, on his parents’ grave in Rushmere cemetery(the family used to live in a now vanished house called Pinetoft in Rushmere Road) and on the Little Bealings war memorial. His name is also on the memorial in Christ’s College, Cambridge.


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