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In Memory ~ Lest we Forget

Peter John Henry AVANT PO/X4689 Boy Bugler Royal Marine Aged 14 years. Son of Lily Ruth Avant of Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire.

Leslie Richard BATES P/JX184592 Boy 1st Class Royal Navy Aged 17 years. Son of John W and Elsie Bates

Kenneth Philip William FRENCH PO/X4138 Boy Bugler Royal Marine Aged 16 years. Son of Victoria and Robert French of Portsmouth, Hampshire.

Edgar GRYLLS P/JX184617 Boy 1st Class Royal Navy Aged 17 years. Son of Mr and Mrs C.A. Grylls of West Hartlepool, Co.Durham.

Dennis PENMAN P/JX175931 Boy 1st Class Royal Navy Aged 17 years. Son of John George Penman of Murton Colliery,Co.Durham.

Harold SHARROCK P/JX184689 Boy !st Class Royal Navy Not Given Parental details not given.

Edward James SHEFFIELD P/JX180556 Boy 1st Class Royal Navy. Aged 17 years. Son of John and Mary Sheffield of Ryton-on-Dunsmore Warwickshire.

Walter WIGHTMAN P/JX184556 Boy 1st Class Royal Navy Aged 16 years. Son of Walter and Alice Jane Wightman of Bensham Co.Durham.

"Eternal Father"

Eternal Father strong to save
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea!

Brian Walker, Adelaide

I wish I could claim authorship to 'Eternal Father'
it's a lovely hymn written by a clergyman and schoolmaster
the Rev.William Whiting in 1860.The following year it was
set to music by the Rev.John.B.Dykes who is also credited
for the music to 'Holy,Holy,Holy' and 'Nearer my God to Thee'.
among others. Brian Walker

Note from Web Admin: Following is a message received today [25.01.01]

I am aware of a very sad story concerning Peter Avant, the 14 year old Boy Bugler. A few months ago I spoke to a Royal Marine survivor who had known Peter Avant. He told me that whilst on the Fiji he had had several conversations with Peter, apparently the boy came from a very disturbed family background, his mother having deserted him.

After this survivor had abandoned the Fiji he saw Peter in the water and spoke to him. An hour or so later he saw the boy again and Peter said to him - 'this is no good Corporal, we are never going to get out of this' - with that he deliberately let the air out of his life-belt and sank beneath the waves. I asked the survivor why he thought that the boy should have done this. He replied that he thought his morale had reached a point where you crack and he thought that he had nothing to live for. This strikes me as a very sad and tragic story.

I believe that Peter Avant was the youngest serviceman to die during the Second World War.

As a matter of interest, I have recently been in contact with the sister of Boy Seaman Edgar Grylls.

Ronald Bennett

Dec 17, 2003 Update

The following regarding Boy Buglers may be of interest:

At the time that the two Royal Marine Buglers were killed on the Fiji, a lot of other Buglers were also being killed in action. There were two in the Royal Oak, two in Hood, one in Bonaventure (off Crete again) and the two in Fiji to name but a few. So, in view of the bad image, Portsmouth Division decided to ask for volunteers from the H.O. marines to train as Buglers but not as drummers. However only eight volunteered and, with a mounting backlog of buglers to be relieved (one guy on a cruiser in the Indian Ocean had gone to pension !) and with new ships coming along, the outcry was ignored and just about three months after HMS Fiji was sunk boys were recruited again.

The above information was supplied by Robin Rowe, Editor of the Royal Marines Buglers Association in an e-mail which he sent me about two years ago.

Ronald Bennett

Click HERE for "My Life as a Bandboy 1936-40" - in plain text version

Click HERE for "My Service In The Royal Marines School Of Music" by
HMS Fiji Survivor Douglas Elmer

Click anywhere on Image above
to read this fascinating brief narrative

Click HERE To read a SURVIVOR'S STORY written by:

Click HERE To read a SURVIVOR'S STORY written by:
Compliments of: B.B.C. World War II - People's War

Click HERE To read a SURVIVOR'S STORY written by:
Royal Marine - HMS Fiji Musician

CLICK HERE to read these fascinating articles

Click HERE For: Complete List of HMS Fiji Survivor Stories ETC.


Click HERE to read a few Newspaper Obituaries for LT. CMDR Tanner

Click HERE for Colorized Photo of HMS Fiji Under Attack
Submitted by Geoffrey Thomas


Click HERE view photo of HMS Fiji Crew on board HMS Kandahar
Complimenmts of Mari & Brian Walker
Click HERE and view photos of H.M.S. Fiji Crew in Glasgow 1940
Submitted by Liz Hollis
Click HERE to see MORE photos of HMS Fiji Crew, Bermuda 1940
Submitted by Liz Hollis


CLick on Thumbnail Images to enlarge.
Click on Links for Details
Top photo: Leslie Ernest & Laura Rappe R. I. P.
Left Photo: Clem Walker
Middle Photo: William Henry & Lily Lipscombe R. I. P.
Right Photo: Gerard Newport R. I. P.

Expand British Red Cross Letter.. Expand Royal Navy Scroll..Expand Seamen's Will

You may also contact Vickie Snow,
Fred Tupper's great-niece @ this Email Address

Click Here to See more HMSFA Photos

EXPAND Image H.M.S. Raleigh

EXPAND Image of Ordinary Seaman Richard Millbanks
HMS Fiji Survivor - Photo taken
as crew member of HMS Raleigh

EXPAND Image H.M.S. Raleigh Crew
with Richard Millbanks

Click anywhere, on the above image, to expand the Plaque
commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Crete
Courtesy of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture.

Follow this LINK for HMS Fiji Heroes

Return to H.M.S. Fiji Homepage

George VI, King-Emperor and the George Cross

The George Cross
Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood
The Official Website of the British Monarchy

Email: internetaction@yahoo.com

Follow this link to View Updated Photos of Missing Children

Click HERE --or-- HERE to visit these Highly Recommended Internet Resources

Click Here to Visit Page Dedicated to George Lipscombe
and H.M.S. Cruiser etc.