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 Rare WW1 photos on page 12

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Feltwell's Naval Connection.

Read about Feltwell's sailors from WW2 here

Raymond Walden  by Robert Walden, nephew.

Jim Cordy story

Ray was wireless operator on the Salmon, which sunk the first U-boat of the war; U-36 on the 4 December 1939. On the 12 December Salmon sighted the massive 52,000 ton liner Bremen stealing back to base from Murmansk.

The Bremen had captured the Blue Riband from Cunard's Mauretania in 1929. With a crew of nearly 1000 and a further 2000 passengers or troops, this was a massive prize and one the tiny 670 ton Salmon could not fail to hit but the rules of war at that time dictated that Lt Commander Bickford must first surface and order the merchant ship to stop. This he did, only to be bombed by the liner's air escort. Salmon dived and the liner escaped.

As if in consolation, the next day they sighted two cruisers - Nurnberg and Leipzig - assisting mine laying operations off the River Tyne. Both vessels were so badly damaged by Salmon's torpedoes that they played no active part for the rest of the war. Leipzig was eventually scuttled in 1946 along with a specially loaded cargo of poison gas ammunition rounds.

On return to base the Salmon's crew was given a hero's welcome, featuring on the front page of the Daily Mirror - the propaganda machine making much of Salmon doing the decent thing in respect of the Bremen. (Bremen made it safely back to base only to catch fire in a later air raid and was totally destroyed). Salmon's commanders were decorated for the victorious mission.

Returning on leave, Ray met sister Iris briefly for a cup of tea at Liverpool St Station - Iris was a serving Red Cross nurse - and presented her with the Salmon's flag which he had won in the ship's raffle on the return voyage. Iris later presented this to the submarine museum at Gosport when I took her there in the 1980s.

The German invasion of Norway had begun in April and it has always been assumed that on her next voyage on the 9 July 1940, Salmon hit an unknown German minefield off the south west coast of Norway, with the loss of all hands. However, a journal discovered in 1998 has been published on the internet by the descendants of one Ron Scotty Wilson, serving on Corvettes in the Atlantic and writing in 1942. "January 21 - I found out two very interesting things tonight..." He then goes on to explain that he had just learnt that Salmon had been accidentally depth charged with "3 patterns of 7 depth charges" by the Canadian destroyer Saguenay. This could have been just mess talk at the time but such incidents sadly did occur.