SIDNEY ROBERT McNAMARA

Born: 6th September 1920, Ipswich.

Died: 9th June 1940; age 19; on board H.M.S. ‘Glorious.’

Residence: 63, Cowper Street, Ipswich.

 

Rank: Pilot Officer; Service Number: 41599.

Regiment: Royal Air Force, 263 Squadron.

 

Medals Awarded: Distinguished Flying Cross. Gazetted on the 10th May 1940. Aircraft: Gloster Gladiator 

Credited with 1 biplane victory.

 

Evening Star – 9th May 1940

 

D.F.C. FOR YOUNG IPSWICH MAN
Shot Down Heinkel Bomber in Norway

 

A young Ipswich man is among those decorated for gallantry during the air operations in Norway. He was a member with a squadron which brought down fourteen Nazi warplanes in

one day during the operations at Aandalsnes. He is Pilot-Officer Sidney Robert McNamara, son of Mr. S. McNamara, and he led a successful attack on an enemy Heinkel bomber and showed great determination and courage after landing. He displayed bravery during a bombing attack by taking-off again under machine-gun fire. Age 19 1/2, he obtained his commission in January of last year. An old boy of Ipswich School and Northgate School, he is well known in yachting circles at Bawdser Ferry, and played rugby for Northgate School.

 

Memorial Reference:

Panel 9.

Runnymede Memorial,

Englefield Green,

Surrey.

 

Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Sidney Arthur William & Ellen McNamara, of Ipswich.

 

Father: Sidney Arthur William McNamara, born January 1886, 199, Seymour Street, Somers Town, London. A Company Manager & Director – Coach Building & Motor Engineering. During the Second World War, Sidney was a member of the Special Constabulary.

Mother: Ellen Alice Griffiths, born November 1890, Brighton, East Sussex.

 

Sidney was educated at Ipswich School.

 

Sidney is also remembered on the Ipswich School Chapel war memorial.

 

Photograph courtesy of Gary Martin GLARAC photo archivist & website manager  http://glarac.co.uk/node/951

8th June 1940   H.M.S. ‘Glorious’

 

H.M.S.’Glorious’ was a battlecruiser of the Courageous class built for the Royal Navy by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, Northern Ireland, as part of Admiral Fisher’s Baltic Project. Ordered 14th March 1915 and completed on the 31st December 1916 – Commissioned January 1917.

In February 1924, H.M.S.’Glorious’ was sent to be converted to an aircraft carrier.

On the 8th June 1940, H.M.S.’Glorious’ and her two escorting sister ships H.M.S. ‘Acasta’ and H.M.S. ‘Ardent.’ They were taking part in Operation Alphabet – the evacuation of Allied forces from Norway that had been taking place simultaneously with the rather better known and remembered evacuation at Dunkirk. On the way through the Norwegian Sea  at about 15:46 pm, the funnel smoke from H.M.S.’Glorious’ and her escort ships was spotted by the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. H.M.S. ‘Glorious’ had no lookouts posted in the crow’s nest, no aircraft on patrol and no aircraft ready on the deck for a quick take-off . H.M.S ‘Acasta’ and H.M.S. ‘Ardent’ attempted to lay a smoke screen. H.M.S. ‘Glorious’ was hit by Scharnhorst in her forward flight deck and burst in the upper hangar, starting a large fire and prevented any other aircraft from taking off. At 16:58hrs a second shell hit the homing beacon above the bridge and killed or wounded the personnel stationed there, including Captain Guy D’Oyly-Hughes. H.M.S. ‘Glorious’ was hit again in the centre engine room at 17:20hrs and this caused her to lose speed.The German ships closed in and continued to fire. H.M.S. ‘Glorious’ was soon overcome and was sunk. at 18:10hrs.

The same fate then happened to H.M.S. ‘Ardent’. H.M.S. ‘Acasta’ attacked with torpedoes, and hit the engine room of Scharnhorst in a last attack before she sank, blazing beneath the waves at 18.20hrs. The damaged caused by H.M.S. ‘Acasta’ torpedoes to Scharnhorst caused the enemy ships to abandon their sortie to the north and return to port. The Germans didn’t wait to pick up any survivors. 1531 Officers and men lost their lives.

263 Squadron

Gloster Gladiator 

Posted in Second World War

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