Roy Hay sailed in HMS Malaya, HMS Snowflake

I was searching Google for information on my step grandfathers (Roy Hay) career in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. I was trying to illustrate to the youngsters of today exactly how tough previous generations had been in time of need. Until my grandfather turned 80 he seldom mentioned the war, recently he has taken to chatting to me about his experiences. Although his stories are more about the wonderful people he met I have gathered that he started the war as a stoker on the HMS Malaya.

He was onboard when she was torpedoed, stayed with the ship through the repairs and was transferred to the HMS Snowflake when the Malaya was re-commissioned. On the HMS Snowflake he achieved the rank of chief petty officer in the engine room; apparently he was demoted after an altercation with the engineer. He has told me the story of them sinking a U-boat many times, obviously from a more focussed point of view, but appeared unaware that they had failed to pick up survivors afterwards. I found your recount of “The Battle for Convoy ONS 5. 26th.April - 6th. May 1943” fascinating and I will print it out for my grandfather to read. 

He was mentioned that he also served on a 3rd ship after the Snowflake and has told me some wonderful stories about escort duty for the North Atlantic run into Russia.

He is a remarkable man as he was “small” man, even in those days. He started working at the age of 12 and ended up as a stoker in the factories before the war “for warmth”.

From my side, thank you for keeping the memory of WW2 alive for future generations. 

Mike Baynes


My thanks for your mail and your kind comment about my Battle for Convoy ONS 5, it was of course a turning point in the Battle of the Atlantic, losing 6 U-Boats was more than Donitz could bear, and he tended to withdraw his boats after that voyage.

Look at this URL: http://www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk/malaya.htm for some great picture of Malaya.

Roy Hay obviously had his share of action in WW2, I am almost 85, and believe it is important to get the personal stories of those who fought for freedom at sea in WW2 down for posterity, it will soon be too late, and we need to leave for the younger generation how hard it was at sea, especially in the North Atlantic and on the Russian Convoy route, If we had lost the fight against the U-Boats, and our merchant ships did not arrive in Britain with the sinews of war from North America, D Day would not have happened, and the lights in Europe would not have been rekindled.

The young today would not enjoy freedom as we know it.

Should Roy be prepared to give me any of his stories about his navy time in WW2, we would be delighted to put them on AHOY, hopefully to gain a wider audience.

Take a look at this URL from AHOY : http://ahoy.tk-jk.net/macslog/SavedbyWalterSchmietenkno.html 

In 1944 U-767 was sunk at the western end of the English Channel, and Walter Schmietenknop was a sole survivor from her crew od 50, The wreck was found in 2002, I found Walter still alive and well in Vancouver in 2003, now I have just received his 80 page story, and we have it up here.

That for me illustrates the wonder of both the internet and E-mail. 

Please forgive my pontificating, I seem to have got carried away, but your mail rang my bell on the importance of recording the stories like those of your step grandfather.

Please pass on my greetings to him, and the best for 2007 to you both and your family.

Kindest regards, 

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