Born: 30th May 1921, Le Havre, France.
Died: 15th June 1942; age: 21; MPK.
Rank: Ordinary Seaman; Service Number: P/JX 291648.
Regiment: Royal Navy, H.M.S. ‘Airedale’
Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Hendrik & Margery Spruytenburg, of Ipswich.
Father: Hendrik Spruytenburg, born August 1889, Netherlands. Conductor of 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.
Richard is also remembered on the Ipswich School Chapel war memorial, and at Little Bealings, Suffolk.
15th June 1942 – H.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