TARBAT WAR MEMORIAL
DATE OF DEATH 9TH APRIL 1942
Donald Mitchell, known as Dan to his family, was born in Rockfield and was a farm worker before being called up and joined the Royal Navy.
was posted to H.M.S. Hollyhock, a
Flower Class Corvette, and during 1940 and
1941 saw service in the North Atlantic on convoy protection on the routes
In October 1941 H.M.S. Hollyhock was refitted for service in the South Atlantic and duly sailed again on convoy duty to Freetown, Sierra Leone and then picking up another convoy, continued south, before finally arriving in Simonstown, South Africa.
It was at this time 17TH December 1941 that Japan entered the war; this caused problems for the South Atlantic Fleet with ships being moved to the East Indies Fleet to meet the threat of Japan. H.M.S. Hollyhock was one of the ships transferred and she sailed to Colombo, Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, arriving on the last day of February 1942.
the 9TH April H.M.S. Hollyhock was escorting a single ship, the tanker Athelstane
loaded with 7,000 tons of Fuel Oil around Ceylon from Trincomalee to
Both ships were attacked by Japanese dive bombers and in his report of the sinking of his ship Captain Moore of the Athelstane states that the Hollyhock was dive bombed, the first bomb landing along side her and the second striking her near the funnel, probably exploding in her magazine, causing the Hollyhock to blow up and disintegrate. Captain Moore's lifeboat only found 14 survivors of the Hollyhock, 53 of the crew were lost.
Dan Mitchell was 22 years old when he died; he was the son of Walter and Margaret Mitchell of Rockfield.
He has no known grave and is commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial.
© Willie McRae - Tarbat Discovery Centre