HMS Edinburgh - Was there ASDIC contact?

Dear Mac.

I had been discussing the loss of HMS Edinburgh with a member of our local club who was a survivor when the ship was lost. Naturally we both enjoyed  your Mac's Web Log on the subject and this survivor actually learned some new information concerning the events leading up to the loss.

He is however upset by what he swears is an untruth concerning the ship's actions prior to loss.  (This particular survivor was a submariner who had spent some time onshore in Russia and was returning to the U.K. on the Edinburgh - he was not a member of ship's regular company).

He states that the claim that an ASDIC contact report was ignored by an officer(s) is completely untrue and he has first hand evidence to prove this.

To establish historical fact would you be interested in his first hand account of his side of the story?  He was a regular non enlisted man so he has nothing to hide.  He is now over 80 years old but has  vivid memoirs of what happened prior to, during and after the sinking - also life onshore in Russia. I would be happy to write his account for you and you could then judge for yourself.

He is adamant in his belief that there was no asdic contact.

Thanks for a great article and best wishes,

Yours sincerely,  Ernie Wide, Poynton, Cheshire, England.

Dear Ernie,

Thank you for your message, yes indeed!! I would love to hear any account of the Edinburgh and her sinking, particularly if it throws new light on any segment I may have used or quoted on AHOY in my piece about the ship's loss etc.

I always aim to be as factual as is possible from the research I do, and sources I may quote, but never claim infallability.

Please have your friend relate as fully as possible his story as a survivor of that sinking, and fully relate the piece about  any ASDIC contact, and his life ashore as a Submariner in Russia. Post war in UK schools, over 1947 and part of 1948 I qualified as a Specialist Torpedo Anti-Submarine Officer, hence I have a special interest in Submarines, and the Anti Submarine tactics, and weapons used against the U-Boats.

How did he come to be taking passage home in the cruiser Edinburgh?

Please ensure that he will be happy for us to publish his story on AHOY, it is important that we have his approval.

With all WW2 veterans getting older, I myself am 82, it is important to get as much history as is possible recorded for posterity, and from my viewpoint, that particularly applies to our Naval History.

I await your next instalment with pleasure.

Thanks again for getting in touch.

Kindest Regards,
Mac. Gregory.

In my Article about the sinking of HMS Edinburgh when she carried two tons of Russian gold bound for the USA as payment for Materials sent to Russia to aid in their struggle with Germany, I made mention of a report about an alleged ASDIC report being ignored.

That comment elicited these exchange of E-Mails and this reaction from a British Submariner ( who wishes to remain unnamed ) but he was taking passage in Edinburgh to return to England to undertake a Higher course as an advanced ASDIC operator.

He was thus well placed to offer these remarks.


E.G. Wide
19, Oakfield Road, Poynton, Cheshire. SK12 1AR.

Tel: 01625 874326                ‘e’ mail: egwide@aol.com

England, 13 December 2004

F.A.O: Mr. Mackenzie J. Gregoey

Dear Mac,

Please refer to our exchange of messages dated November 27 re sinking of H.M.S. Edinburgh.

I have spoken to the survivor of this sinking and his story is given below.  He is happy to put the record straight but does not want to give his name because he believes that the situation has become controversial and he does not want to be involved in any political arguments.   On the other hand he feels that he owes it to the mothers, widows and children of the 64 crew lost to let them know that the ship was not lost because an ASDIC contact was ignored – he is adamant that no such contact was made.

At the time of the sinking in 1942 the submarines HMS Sealion, on which he served, and HMS Trident were based at Polyarnyyo near Murmansk – they were positioned there to counter the possibility of the Germans sending large battle ships to that area.

This survivor took passage on HMS Edinburgh in order to attend a course in the U.K; in the position of Senior ASDIC Operator (HSD) and was therefore well placed to know what happened before the Edinburgh was attacked.  It should also be noted that the ASDIC operations were relayed direct to the bridge by loudspeaker, which meant that no single officer could order that an ASDIC contact should be ignored. Also there were too many officers and ratings involved on the bridge to allow a “cover up”.  So it should be concluded that no such ASDIC contact was made.

Also of interest is the fact that for about eighty percent of the time the Barents sea was very stormy but on this day, as the photographs show, the sea was calm.  In his case he was transferred direct to the minesweeper HMS Gossamer which came along side and enabled many of the Edinburgh’s crew to board without getting their feet wet.

He also told me some of the horror stories of living onshore with the Russians but I guess that this is another story.

I hope that the above will be helpful in your trying to provide an accurate picture of this tragic incident.  Please feel free to send any questions you may have and I will be happy to pass them on and relay his answers.

With best regards.    Ernie Wide


HMS Edingurgh

HMS Edingurgh


Dear Mac,

Checked the site re HMS Edinburgh and it looks perfect and I know one old salt who will be pleased to see the record put straight.

I have printed the whole thing for him.

Best regards, Ernie Wide

back to letters index


This site was created as a resource for educational use and the promotion of historical awareness. All rights of publicity of the individuals named herein are expressly reserved, and, should be respected consistent with the reverence in which this memorial site was established.

Copyright© 1984/2014 Mackenzie J. Gregory All rights reserved