In Nicholas Montserrat's most famous novel the heroes are the men of the RNR and RNVR, the heroines are the Royal Navy ships and the villain is the cruel sea. 70 years ago today that villain and not the Germans claimed one of our ships off the coast of Scotland. On 30th October 1940 the Greenock built 'S' Class destroyer HMS "Sturdy" was heading towards the North Atlantic to escort the UK bound convoy SC8 in its final leg to Britain.
Severe gale force winds around the Hebrides blew the "Sturdy" off course and onto the rocks of Tiree. The ship was no match for the rocks on the West coast of the island and it broke in two. A sea boat was launched from the broken ship but soon foundered with the loss of all hands.
Luckily for the rest of the crew a Merchant Navy Captain home on leave nearby was alerted to the wreck and by lamp managed to tell the rest of the crew to remain on board and wait to be rescued in the morning.
The crew were rescued by another destroyer and taken to Oban the next day. The bodies of the five men who died were all recovered and remain in Tiree. They are buried in Soroby Burial Ground, Balemartine, Tiree.
Able Seaman Percy Cornford of Worthing, Sussex
Stoker 1st Class Thomas Cowler
Able Seaman Fred Greenshields of Middlesbrough
Ordinary Seaman John Rivett of Kettering
Leading Stoker Albert Trahearn
You can find more information on HMS Sturdy on the Naval-history.net website.