Ralph Claude Hilton Jones, who died when HMS Mourne was sunk by U-767, June 1944

Dear Mac,

I read with mixed feelings Dave's letter to you of 9th December, 2003, relating the remarkable escape of Walter Schmietenknop from the stricken U-767 and Walter's commitment to God, should he survive, and to tell his story to all who will listen. One who will never have to listen is my dear cousin, ordinary seaman Ralph Claude Hilton Jones, who died when, three days before Walter's escape, HMS Mourne was sunk by Walter's U-boat. Six month's earlier, Ralph had been training for Holy Orders. God moves in a mysterious way........

Have you had any contact with survivors of HMS Mourne and, if so, I would welcome an introduction?

Roy Margrave Jones.


The only contact I had with any Mourne survivors was with David Russell who had interviewed Bill who was 20 when Mourne sank:

Greetings Mac.

I had the pleasure of interviewing an old veteran and getting his story down.

Bill was a young 20 year old sailor on the river class frigate HMS Mourne. A loader on one of the 20mm guns located outside the bridge.

He tells me the killer torpedo approached from the port side, went under the propellers and turned and slammed into the starboard side, hitting about midship.

Exploding the magazine and nearly blowing the ship in half. Bill was blown off his gun and hit the water, breaking both legs. He came to the surface to see the ship upright in the water and the stern going down. He recons it went down in less than a minute.

He is still alive, lives in Clive, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.

Hope this is helpful. I have his story if anyone is interested. Is the one survivor from the Uboat still alive ?

David Russell

I will ask David if he can put you in touch with Bill if he is still around.

Here is your cousin's certificate from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site.

JONES, RALPH CLAUDE HILTON Commonwealth War Graves Commission 

He is listed on the Plymouth Naval Memorial on Panel 88, Column 1.

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