HMS Narvik

Badge

L 114/L 3044

Built by ‘Vickers-Armstrong’, Barrow & launched on 29th July 1945 as LST 3044. Named HMS Narvik in 1947. She was flagship of the British Task Force for the Atomic Bomb tests in Monte Bello Islands in May 1956. Became a ‘Submarine Support Ship’ at Chatham & then, in 1960, became a Depot Ship to the 108th Minesweeping Squadron in Malta – Broken up in 1965

We have just received (26th Aug 2014) the following information from Michael Terry who’s father served as a Petty Officer Stoker Mechanic during 1947/48.It was believed that the Narvik had been scrapped but this was not quite the case. The hull is still in use today as a floating pontoon now called Portal Narvic, it is currently in use by the Medway Maritime trust as a platform for the restoration of Paddle tug John H Amos. It is moored off St’ Mary’s island in the River Medway.

Received from Chris Evans 05-04-2015:My father Arthur Lewis Evans (died 2000) was CPO EA on Narvik during her entire commission to the Pacific in 58/59. He told me the reason for burying people at sea was because Christmas Island was composed entirely of Coral and any attempt at burial would result in the the body reappearing at a later date.
I remember going to meet the ship with my mother in Chatham on its return.
With regard to health effects from the bombs, he developed cataracts in both eyes in later life and had several nasty lesions on his arms. He died of lung cancer, (probably due to the RN fags!) but at least it was at the respectable age of 87″.
Hope this helps.
Chris Evans

15 Responses to HMS Narvik

  1. HMS Narvik left Chatham January 1958 to go to Christmas Island for the Grapple Bomb tests and returned to Chatham April 1959, after going to the pacific, and visiting Hawaii, Cook Islands, New Zealand and Australia, as well as witnessing most of the Grapple tests, and of course many of the Islands in the Christmas Island including Malden Island, another test Island. I was in Malta 63-64 and do not remember seeing her there

    • Phil,
      Thanks for contacting us.
      I should have at least one picture of her at the top of the creek opposite the WRNS quarters. However I suffered a major PC problem earlier this year and when I looked for her I found that all my support vessel pictures have disappeared. However I am hoping that my external back-up disc will have them and that I will be able to retrieve them so watch her space on this site in the hope I have found them.

      Best wishes

      Bob

  2. My father served on this ship in 1947/8 as Petty Officer Stoker mechanic.
    It was believed to have been scrapped but this was not quite the case. The hull is still in use today as a floating pontoon now called Portal Narvic, it is currently in use by the Medway Maritime trust as a platform for the restoration of Paddle tug John H Amos. It is moored off St’Mary’s island in the River Medway.
    https://sites.google.com/site/robertjohnterry/home

  3. My father Keith Brook was a stoker on the Narvik and was stationed in Malta with the ship. I was born in Malta in 1960 and have a Baptism certificate that shows I was Christened on board the Narvik in the Diocese of Gibraltar. Apparently my name would have sen put on the ships bell.

    • Wayne,
      Many thanks for your message.
      You are probably correct in thinking that your name was engraved on the inside of the ships bell as this has been the practise and tradition for many years.
      It would be interesting to know where the bell is now and to be able to confirm it. When they come up for sale at an auction they change hands for hundreds of pounds.

      Many thanks again

      Best wishes

      Bob

  4. If memory serves me correctly the bell is in the museum at HMS Dolphin – this is a good excuse to go and visit again!
    My brother and i were also baptised onboard her in the early 60’s when we were 5 and 6 years old – followed by a sip of navy neaters in my dad’s sub which was tied up alongside on the trots 🙂

    Revd Andrew Dotchin – Ipswich

    • Good Day Revd Andrew,
      Many thanks for contacting the TCA.
      As I live not too far from the Submarine Museum at Gosport I visit quite often taking family & friends. I don’t recall seeing the Narvik bell but will have a good look next time I visit.Did you have your names engraved on the inside of the bell as per navy tradition? Did this take place in Malta? I was serving out there a few times during the 60’s. Another naval tradition which I maintain is the Tot as experienced by you. I keep a bottle of Pussers rum ready for any event.
      Which submarine was your father serving on at this time?
      I look forward to hearing more in due course.
      Best wishes

      Bob

  5. Was on Narvik with P.Gilbert 1957/8 had some very happy memories the odd bad ones
    when we buried 6 I believe at sea army, air force. civilians during our time.The Narvik was
    knackerd then yet she went off to Malta amazing.
    Best Wishes All
    Stan

  6. Terry,
    Thanks for contacting us.
    I remember the Narvik when in Malta. I hope your father hasn’t suffered like other service personnel who served during the ‘H’ Bomb tests.

    Best wishes
    Bob

  7. My father Arthur Lewis Evans (died 2000) was CPO EA on Narvik during her entire commission to the Pacific in 58/59. He told me the reason for burying people at sea was because Christmas Island was composed entirely of Coral and any attempt at burial would result in the the body reappearing at a later date.
    I remember going to meet the ship with my mother in Chatham on its return.
    With regard to health effects from the bombs, he developed cataracts in both eyes in later life and had several nasty lesions on his arms. He died of lung cancer, (probably due to the RN fags!) but at least it was at the respectable age of 87.
    Hope this helps.
    Chris Evans

  8. Hi I have recently uncovered a rare recording by hms narvik at raratonga (1957) of tribal music, what if any value may this have?
    Regards

    • Andrew thanks for contacting us. I take it you are talking about the locals singing to the ship or ships company during a visit.
      The short answer is that anything to do with TONs and their su[port facilities is of interest.
      I look forward to hearing more. Please be aware that I will not be accessing this site tomorrow 7th July nor the following weekend.

      Best wishes
      Bob

  9. Sorry late with my reply re burials at sea on Narvik we did not beleive the official reason we witnessed one Airforce lads coffin did not sink
    but bobbed along until the sea boat was lowered with a chippie and a hand drill who hand drilled some holes no battery types them days he then
    along with the others pushed the coffin under, they saw the shrouded body made it all sad it no one thought to put heavy rocks inside.It was said bury them in deep waters so no one can ever do a medical on the body yes various reasons made sense.
    Best wishes
    Stan

  10. Hi Bob, my father CPO Claude Wiggins said I was christened in the Narviks bell in July/Aug of 1961. However, I am a little confused as to whether he served on her. I know he was on LCT on D Day, but I know definitely that his last posting was HMS Eagle before he left the RN in the mid/late 60’s after 30 yrs approx (joined in about 1935 as a career sailor). 93 this year and he remembers his Navel years fondly.

    • Neil,
      Thanks for contacting me.
      Interesting story and what a career your dad had. I think it highly likely that he did serve on the Narvik as christenings on board an RN ship were, by and large, restricted to the children of members of the ships company. It is also highly likely that your name was inscribed on the inside of the bell. It would be great if you could find out where the ships bell is now but guess that will be difficult.
      As the Narvik was a supoport ship to the Ton Class vessels we have little information about her history.
      Please feel free to come back to me if I can be of assistance.
      Best wishes
      Bob

Leave a Reply