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William Carmichael: HMS Loch Killinicon for Recommended story


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Royal Navy
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04 March 2004

My name is William Andrew Carmichael I was born on the 19th February 1922 at Robsart Street Everton Liverpool. I joined the Royal British Navy in March 1940 aged 18; I served as Stoker 1st Class DKX 784 for 6 years and finished my service in the summer of 1946.

After doing a three year stint in the Mediterranean Sea on the ships HMS Griffin destroyer, HMS Flamingo a sloop, HMS Arethusier a cruiser and the Emperor a Woolworth carrier we brought back from New York, I came home to Devonport Barracks England.

In September 1943 I joined a brand new ship called the HMS Loch Killin she was a frigate at Burntisland Kirkcaldy Scotland. The Scots knew how to build ships alright. They built 20 ships all named after Scottish lochs. They where all fitted with latest technology in radar and guns for catching u-boats we had a secret weapon which I can’t divulge to kill off the German u-boats. We operated [sailing from the river Clyde], convoys to Russia, USA and Canada we took the convoys mid Atlantic, the American navy bringing a convoy from the USA we would swop convoys and bring the convoys bound for Britain back home with us.

Not many u-boats survived the war. We would go ‘sweeping’ the Atlantic in search for u-boats if there was a ping from the radar we would depth charge them. These bombs would blow them to pieces therefore sinking them. They didn’t have much of a chance.

However in May 1944 in the Bay of Biscay there was a ‘ping’ we depth charged her, and then went astern, then slow ahead, [my action station was damage control aft deck, and we had 8 stokers in our team,]. We went slow ahead looking for debris then all of a sudden the u-boat was underneath us, split wide open. STOP ENGINES, the rear of the frigate was low in the water, we where being pulled under. The u-boat managed to right itself, the conning tower level with our deck. The hatch fell open and the ‘Jerries’ started streaming out. They were all in shock covered in oil and sea water from the conning tower. It was a distance from our deck ,three other stokers and myself climbed over our ships rail,[who always wore thick leather belts].The stokers mates grabbed our belts from the back inside the rails while we leaned over the u-boat and hauled the jerry’s on board our deck. They were in a bad way coughing up fuel and sea water. We managed to save 35 men but the u-boat was sinking fast. As I was leaning over I saw the last 5 men on the ladder as she went down. They never stood a chance the sea water swept them back into the u-boat. The German captain, 1st officer, engineer and two officers died.

This u-boat had a low number which meant she had been in service from the beginning of the war; she must have sunk a lot of our ships.

We had to strip and shower the ‘Jerries’ their clothes binned, we gave them all a survivors kit which included underwear, socks, slippers, shirt, slacks, jumper, towel, soap and shaving kit. We cleaned all their personal effects gave them medical attention and fed them. A Canadian destroyer on her way to Falmouth came along side us and took the rescued with her
A month before the D-Day landings we were again sweeping, there was a ‘ping’ we sent down depth charges. The u-boat dived quick and deep but we had damaged her she could not move. This was late afternoon and we carried on late into the night, it became pitch black. The German captain managed to do repairs so he could bring her up to the surface, then they abandoned ship our search lights managed to pick out five rubber rafts. Three destroyers and two frigates stood by while we picked up survivors.
This U-boat was 4 times larger than usual it was a supply boat with a crew of 100 men she had supplies for other boats including oil, water, rations and doctors with good medical facilities it had only left Ushant in France 2 days earlier. The captain was only 25 years old 6ft tall a real smart Jerry, not a Nazi, he had been educated in Cambridge England and spoke perfect English. They were all lined up on deck our ‘Jimmy the One’ [senior officer after the skipper] had a chat with the German captain who gave a speech to his men. 20 German officers stepped out and followed our officers for breakfast in the wardroom. The other 80 went to the seaman’s mess; ‘Jimmy the One’ took the German captain to our captain’s cabin to have breakfast with our captain.

By late 1943 and into early 1944 was the end for the German u-boat campaign, we sunk them by the bucketful, and we never lost a ship.

In April 1944 we left the Clyde and started operating from the Gladstone Dock Liverpool. Still the same job convoys and making the western approaches safe. We were at sea as usual in May 1944. In the English Channel there was about 50 ships destroyers, sloops, frigates all u-boat hunters sweeping everywhere right up to the French coast. Port Ushant was where the main u-boat pens were located, we oiled watered and rationed all at sea. We guessed something was coming off and it did; D-Day June 1944. We sunk every u-boat going in and coming out in to Ushant. Not one u-boat got through to the D-Day convoys and fleets in the channel. I finished my service on the battleship HMS Duke of York in the Mediterranean Sea close to Malta and then I was d-mobbed in August 1946.

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Message 1 - The U-boat menace

Posted on: 27 March 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Mr William Carmichael

I read your story with great interest; it is always enlightening to have a first-hand account and of the impression that momentous events made on you that lived through it.

I was particularly intrigued by your statement that "we had a secret weapon which I can’t divulge to kill off the German u-boats". The only secret device that I am aware of, now declassified, was the HF/DF, or Huff-Duff as it was commonly called. In September 1943 you probably had the FH4 model based on the DAQ Huff/Duff.

Depth charges continually improved but were not as effective as you imply; the most effective U-boat killers were allied aircraft, particularly the long-range Liberator and the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. Aircraft sank and destroyed 324 U-boats and finally broke the back of the U-boat menace. Had the war continued, however, the German perfected schnorkel may well have countered even that with the new Type XXI electro boats.

You say that "By late 1943 and into early 1944 was the end for the German u-boat campaign, we sunk them by the bucketful, and we never lost a ship." If only that had been the case! In 1943 U-boats were responsible for sinking 452 ships, February 1943 being particularly bad with 110 sinkings; in 1944 U-boats sank 125 ships and in 1945, to 8 May, 63. Taken from September 1942, when counter-measures really became effective, to the end of the war they sank 1,015 ships for a grand total of 5,358,874 tons. It is true, however, as you say, that from late 1943, although still dangerous, the U-boat was beaten as a war-winning weapon. In this, Huff/Duff and long-range aircraft both played their part and Germany could no longer keep up with losses.

Needless to say, yours was an extremely hazardous and effective contribution to victory.

You may find Clay Blair's two massive volumes "Hitler's U-Boat War" (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1988 - but also Cassel & Co. in paperback now in print) of interest.

Best wishes,


Message 1 - William Carmichael:HMS Loch Killin - A2384732

Posted on: 12 June 2004 by navyJimmyC

I was very interested in your artical on HMS Loch Killin as my dad was on this ship durning this period. My dad's names was James Campbell I don't know if you would have known him or not. Unfortunatly my dad is no longer with us, but I was very interested to read your story and the events on Loch Killin, and the war in general. Best wishes.

Message 1 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 19 September 2004 by navyJimmyC

My Dad Served on HMS Loch killin during WW2 His name was James Alfred Campbell or somtimes known as mic . I read an atricle on this site about HMS Loch killin and would love to here from anyone who knew him or served on her during this period or anything in general .


Message 2 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 25 May 2005 by motherhoughton

sorry that it has taken so long to reply to your letter. As you know from my letter I was a stoker on the HMS Lock Killin, it was a very big ship, did your father do the same job as me or was he a seaman? we did not see the other sailors, can you give me any more information about your father? from Bill Carmichael Liverpool.


Message 3 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 31 July 2005 by motherhoughton

I am replying to the son of James Alfred Campbell. I am now nearly 84 years of age but I have writen at leanth my memories of my years at sea with the royal navy. I feel they may be too long to put them on the web site, and my grandson will have to edit them as these are my personal memories. I feel that you need to know what your Dad and I went through during the war it was no picnic and somtimes unbearale. I dont recall his name but we must of worked together during action stations ect.,I will be puting another story on the web site soon but some of my memories are only for close relatives and friends as they are too personal I could not share will everyone. There my be another way to get this information to those chosed few.
from Bill Carmichael.


Message 4 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 27 September 2005 by navyJimmyC

Sorry I did not get back to you sooner but I did not think that anyone had answered to my posting.
My dad was called James Alfred Campbell and was a A B seaman on the Loch Killin from 1943/1946. He would have been 80 this month. He came from Belfast Nothern Ireland. I would be grateful if you got back to me it would be much appreciated.
Many Thanks


Message 5 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 27 September 2005 by navyJimmyC

I am sorry for not answering your posting but I was'nt sure how to open up the site until now. If possible I would be very interested to know anything you can tell me about H.M.S. loch Killin looking through some of my dad's things he wrote that there were good times as well as bad. He also said that it was a good crew to be with. I only wish that he was here today that we could have some good conversation's.
My dad would have been 80 this month September.
Again I am sorry. I would dearly love to hear from you.
Many thank's for your reply.


Message 6 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 19 October 2005 by motherhoughton

thanks for replying navyJimmyC, I will inform my grandad of your reply and get back to you soon.


Message 7 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 19 October 2005 by motherhoughton

Your Dads war would be similar to mine, I served on the HMS Killin, HMS Griffin(destroyer) HMS Flamingo(sloop) Arethusa(cruiser)Convoys to Malta, Action with 8th Army bombarding the Libyan coast we had to put up with Stuka dive bombers,U-Boats,High level German and Italian Air crafts we also had to keep Italian Navy botteled up in Taranto. The majority of the crew on th Killin was young men, I was 22 but I had 4 years experience some of the lads had been survivers 1,2 or 3 times from previous ships, an excellent crew and captain we gave 100%.
I will begin at Devonport Barracks NOVEMBER 1943 70 seaman 30 stokers on Draft Muster next morning 0600 hours.
Kit bags, hammocks and on to Navy lorry's. Plymouth station, train to London packed our own gear in railway vans. We get on train NO seats, packed like sardines 4 hours standing to London, we ask Chief Stoker/Jaunty "whats our destination cheif" reply "you will find out when you get there" these two men have 15-20 years Navy service you dont argue with them!
London station East Coast line, that gives us a clue, Hull Newcastle or Scotland. Same again pack kit and hammocks in vans they weigh a good 100lbs, quick mug of tea and a pie.
After 6 hours we arrive in Edinburgh lorry's waiting to take us to Fife a ship building yard Byrntisland 4 miles from Kirkcaldy, we go aboard brand new Frigate LOCK KILLIN built by expert scottish ship builders.
MORE TOMMORROW......................


Message 8 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 20 October 2005 by navyJimmyC

Thank you for writing this about the Loch Killin. I am finding it very interesting and I am looking forward to the next time that you write. Reading books and thing's are not the same as someone like yourself that has lived through those day's. I wish that my dad was still here to be able to write back to you also. He also joined the Loch Killin in 1943.

Many thank's


Message 9 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 31 October 2005 by motherhoughton

dear navyjimmyC
I will soon be continuing with my grandads stories soon.
My grandad died today.
He was so pleased to be of help to someone like yourself and he was so proud to be part of winning the second world war. He was a wonderful man very kind and generous and very proud of his childeren and grandchildren. He lived his life to the full and we will miss him very much. My mother or I will be posting his next instalment to his experiences of the war soon.


Message 10 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 31 October 2005 by navyJimmyC

I am so sorry to hear of the news of your grandfather's passing, I send all the family my deepest sympathy.


Message 11 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 11 November 2005 by motherhoughton

My Grandads funeral was on Wed, I was very proud. My Mum would like to say a few words. Thank you for asking my Dad to help you with suplying information about the War, He was very happy to do this and we all now know more first hand information thanks to him. His funeral was lovely, the church was packed inside and out with people who loved and respected him. His coffin was draped with the Ensing and a rep from the Navy walked in front of the coffin with the Royal Navy flag for a hero which he was. He has left many stories to be posted on the WW2 Peoples war and I am hoping to do this soon befor the site closes


Message 12 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 15 November 2005 by margicarmich

hi S and all

its lovely to read Uncle Billy's story, thank you for sharing it, we are very proud of him and everyone else who fought for us,

Marg Carmich


Message 13 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 19 November 2005 by motherhoughton

Thanks marg, I will be adding more soon, Dad has written another 13 pages!!!!
love from Sue


Message 14 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 19 November 2005 by motherhoughton

I am writing this story for my Dad William Andrew Carmichael, he passed away on 30th Oct 2005 these are his own words some are navel terms and I can't ask him now what they all mean so you will have to bear with me. He served on many ships for 7 years during the second world war these are a list from his service record, I hope i can list them without any mistakes, RULUGHE,DRAKE,GRIFFIN,FLAMINGO,
The Lock Killin's main gun's 4 inch. Plenty ACK.ACK. The usual dept charges, and a new weapon it looked like a 500lb bomb, firing platform 'forred' of bridge. Main engins recip very quick for going astern, we had to when firing this new weapon over the bow, the explosion and a sheet of sea water a mile high. The poor U-Boat crews, they must of wondered what had hit them.
We had done 7 days sea trials in the north sea, then we steamed around to the Clyde. Gourock was our base. Frigates, Destroyers, sloops and Corvettes all U-Boat hunters and escortes for convoys. Hundereds of cargo ships in the Clyde waiting to go on Atlantic convoys.
We would leave two days before our convoy and 'sweep' the sea for miles,
then come back and 'muster'our convoy.
Between 30 to 40 ships head north.
Sometimes we would have 10 ships in our convoy for Russia. Royal Navy escorts would be waiting, pick them up and carry on to Russia. We would then steam west with the other 30 ships bound for the U.S.A. and Canada.
Half way we would meet the convoy bound for the U.K escorted by U.S.A. and Canadian navy then we would just swop convoys.
What you must know about that time it was a very bad winter 1943-1944, it was tough on convoy duty, you did your watch then ACTION STATIONS. Only 1 in 4 could get a bit of shut eye[sleep]we only could sling our hammocks in harbour or safe waters but on convoys we had to sleep on wooden lockers[whick was also our seating] fullydressed in libro boiler suits only 8 at a time in the mess, the copack lifebelt was a handy pillow if it came to full action stations we would be ready on duty in 5 seconds. As a stoker I felt sorry for the seaman gunners, open turretts twisting and turning guns . Every 10-15 minutes trying to stop the guns icing up, chipping ice off guns and deck, freezing spray COLD COLD COLD.
to be continued.........


Message 15 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 22 November 2005 by navyJimmyC

I have just read the artical it was very interesting. Your dad and my dad were on the loch Killin at the same time.
Please keep them comming as I am enjoying them very much to know what my dad and your dad went through.
Good writting.


Message 16 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 25 November 2005 by motherhoughton

After convoy after convoy, then in April 1944 we got into the clyde bringing a convoy in, we oiled watered and replenished stores ect., then five of our escortes left. We steamed down to Liverpool, we joined the well know captain Walkers group. Then continued same job Atlantic convoys, we where still in captain Walkers group when he died.
First week in May 1944 we where bringing in a convoy, five of us had been together at Goyrock, carried on with part of the convoy bound for Cardiff and Swansea we seen them safe in harbour, then carried on to Falmouth, oiled waterered, stores ect., this was first week in May, in the next couple of days we found ourselves in the Bay of Biscay.
to be continued....


Message 17 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 26 November 2005 by motherhoughton

Gourock November 1943-April 1944
May 1944 Falmouth Bay of Biscay.
Something big is coming off. Thats the Navy their planning is always spot on.
Bay of biscay May 1944.
When we got there there was Destroyers, Frigates, Sloops, corvetts ect., most of them had been on convoy duty with us, 30 or more all U-boat hunters. Our job was to sweep the Bay of Biscay and Atlantic right up to the English Channell, right up to the north of Spain and Portugal and as near as we could get to the French coast.
The Ushant was a massive U-boat base. Our captain said on tanoy, we will be at sea a good while. Fuel by Navy tanker will be supplied fresh bread and rations if needed. Navy ships dont worry about water, we carry plenty of drinking water, and with our VAPS we turn sea water into distilled water, for boilers and washing. The captain told us what to expect in the next couple of weeks, it will be ACTION STATIONS ACTION STATIONS. He said this crew has given 100% I am now asking for 110%, he knew something was going to happen, but what? something very big, I think our captain knew, this was the first week May 1944 then it did happen
D DAY 6TH JUNE 1944.
Not one U-boat got anywhere near the landings our Navy ships seen to that. The HMS Lock Killin had a very good war record it was the crew and officers that made it so, your dad James Alfred Campbell was part of that crew, I think you and your family are very proud of him.
to be continued......


Message 18 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 27 November 2005 by motherhoughton

In home waters summer 1944 on the Lock Killin the sea war was almost finished. I left that ship at the end of August 1944 and back to barracks she was stll sinking U-boats in April 1945 she sank one just off the Lands End.
I have 5 days leave back in barracks.
Sept 1944, 300 seamen and stokers board, I think it was the County Class 8 Cruiser Sussex. We ask whats our destination? we dont know? we are only taking passage. We all muck in stokers and seamen in each others mess, thats the British Navy. These cruisers could do 30 knots at a pinch 33 to 34. Three days later we where at Noth Africa Bizerta. 300 of us go ashore. We get ferried ashore 300 men and 40 officers lined up along the quay. 10 USA L.S.T.s with yankee crews, they had seen action in the Landings of Italy and Sicily. The British had a job for the L.S.Ts, we are taking them over,30 men and 4 officers for each L.S.T. we man them and with the yanks we do 4 days training in the harbour in the harbour to get a feel of them. The yankee crews get ready to leave to go home they have been away from home for about 12 months.
Bizerta was a U.S.A Army base, for a full week we could use their canteens, the beer was great! One big hanger was fitted out with stages for shows and films they had the top bands and hollywood actors, the shows where tops 100%. We British had to put up with E.N.S.A..
The 10 LSTs left Bizerta for Tarranto Italy, I was on the third one, we docked in Italy. We picked up the 4th Indian Div, who had been fighting in Libya and Italy. Men, tanks, guns all war material we took them to Greece.
to be continued....


Message 19 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 01 December 2005 by motherhoughton

We had done lots of work in the Med between Sept 1944 to April 1945, we left the L.S.Ts in Italy, I think the yanks sold them to the Italians and Greeks. We finished up in barracks in Malta.
Grand Harbour Valletta Malta April to May 1945.
Malta was getting back to normal, it had it rough during the war. Our barracks had once been a womens prison in peace time, it overlooked the Grand Harbour. Up early for breakfast about 400 rateings,as we looked out over the harbour we got a shock, about 50 ships from our home fleet all at anchor, the HMS Duke of York, HMS King George, air craft carriers, cruisers, Destroyers, Frigates, sloops, mine layers, sweeps a full navy fleet....
We bussed down to Valletta harbour, fall in NAME AND NUMBER. They shouted out what ship you was going on, I was one of 30 from our crew on the HMS Duke of York. This also happened at port Said and Aden, The fleet had already picked up Navy men at Gibralter.

This was the last page my Dad had writen


Message 20 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 01 December 2005 by motherhoughton

It is a month now since my Dad Died.
We miss him so very much, his family are very proud of him. He was a wonderful man very kind and generous with lots of wonderful stories. His funeral was a tribute to him. A Navy Man walked in front of his coffin carrying the Royal Navy flag and his coffin was draped with the Ensign and floral tributes from his family in the shape of anchor and a lovely wreath from his loving wife Sadie. They met when he was demobbed almost 60 years ago. He re-enlisted into the Royal Engineers during the Suez crisis in 1956 and was shipped out to Egypt. He worked most of his life on the Liverpool Docks and retired after more than 30 years in 1981.
Rest in peace Bill you deserve it!


Message 21 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 01 December 2005 by navyJimmyC

Thanks for posting your dads story on this website i found it very intresting reading and i would like to wish you and your family good luck for the future. Best wishes

navy jimmy c.


Message 22 - hms loch killin

Posted on: 07 December 2005 by motherhoughton

I would like to thank everyone who has logged in to read all my Dads war time stories, he died on the 30th October 2005. He would of been 84 in February 2006. He was very happy and proud to contribute his memories of this very important time in our history to the WW2 Peoples War. And we must all remember all the brave people who defended our country in wartime. Sadly my Dad did not finish his tales of his war experiances, but he did contribute quite a few pages.
So if there is any one else out there who has any memories they wish to share please do so they are very much appreciated.

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