I NOTICED that the Faslane-based patrol boat HMS Pursuer took a leading part in the Henry Bell and the Comet bicentenary celebrations in Helensburgh on Saturday August 4, and I immediately recalled another Royal Navy vessel of the same name, an escort carrier in World War Two.
My father, Gerald Thomas Jones, naval registration JX53553, was the telegraphist on HMS Pursuer (right) following the Russian Convoy run in the Arctic Circle.
My mother is now 85 and my father passed away 24 years ago from an unexplained illness in his brain. We believe his ship was involved in some nuclear testing exercises. Dad was also the telegraphist on HMS Redpole.
My reason for contacting you is because we would like to make contact with anyone who may remember my father, or anything about the nuclear testing and the effects it may have had on the crew in later years.
Most of his shipmates must be dead now, and those that I have managed to locate died from ‘rapid dementia’, as did my father.
I suspect that being made to watch the Hiroshima bomb explode from the deck of their vessel was a contributing factor to these unexplained illnesses.
- HMS Pursuer, which was a Lease Lend carrier built in Mississippi, was commissioned in June 1943 and scrapped after 1946. After the Arctic convoys she was sent to the Aegean, and then to the Indian Ocean, before being sent back to America.