Richard Horncastle, RN

Born  13 Jul 1911London, England
Died  17 Apr 1987(75)Malta

If you can help with photo or any information on this Officer please
use our comment form


16 Mar 1932 S.Lt.
16 Sep 1934 Lt.
16 Sep 1942 Lt.Cdr.

Retired: 31 Jul 1962


Warship Commands listed for Richard Horncastle, RN

HMS Witherington (D 76)Lt.Destroyer23 Oct 1941Aug 1942
HMS Verity (D 63)Lt.Cdr.Destroyer2 Oct 1942mid 1943
HMS Inglefield (D 02)Lt.Cdr.Destroyer 3 Jun 1943
HMS Hardy (ii) (R 08)Lt.Cdr.Destroyer6 Jul 194310 Dec 1943
HMS Wessex (ii) (R 78)Lt.Cdr.Destroyer27 Mar 1944Nov 1945

Career information

He was born July 13 1911 in London to Arthur and Elisabeth Horncastle (nee Spiller) and had two siblings, John and Gwendolen.

He joined the Naval college at Dartmouth in 1925, approximately, at the age of 13, and went to sea at the age of 17 in 1929 or so. After leaving the navy in 1952 he married the former Juliet Purnell, and they had three children, Jason Horncastle, born 1959, Lucy Nash, born 1962, and Mary Loveday Mantel, born 1964).

The family lived in Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK until 1984. After that, Richard and Juliet, bought a house in Shingle St, near Woodbridge, as well as beginning to spend more time in Malta. He died there on Good Friday April 17 1987.

Events related to this officer

Destroyer HMS Witherington (D 76)

23 Mar 1942
HMS Witherington (Lt. R. Horncastle, RN) picks up 47 survivors from the British tanker British Prudence that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-754 north-east of Halifax in position 45°28'N, 56°13'W.

28 Jul 1942
HMS Witherington picks up 12 survivors from the American fishing vessel Ebb that was sunk by gunfire from German U-boat U-754 45 nautical miles south-east of Cape Sable, Nova Scotia, Canada in position 43°18'N, 63°50'W.

Destroyer HMS Verity (D 63)

21 Dec 1942
At 02.23 hours on 21 December 1942 German U-boat U-562 fired a spread of four torpedoes at convoy KMF-5 about 40 miles north of Oran and heard two detonations after 65 seconds and another after 5 minutes 50 seconds. However, only the ship of the convoy commodore, the British troop transport Strathallan was hit by one torpedo which struck on port side in the engine room. The explosion killed two engineer officers and two Indian crewmen on watch below, damaged the bulkhead separating the engine and boiler rooms and fractured a tank causing oil to enter the boiler room. The ship immediately developed a 15° list to port and the master ordered the nurses and troops to abandon ship in calm seas in the four motor boats, 16 lifeboats and rafts. All got away, except one lifeboat that had been damaged by the explosion and another that could not be launched due to the list. After it became clear that the ship would not sink fast, the evacuation was stopped and the troops ordered to the starboard side to help the stability. The about 1300 survivors in the boats and on rafts were picked up in the morning by the British destroyer HMS Verity (Lt. J.C. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN) and taken to Oran.

After two hours of work, at about 06.00 hours the British destroyer HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN) took the Strathallan in tow for Oran at a speed of 5-6 knots. Shortly after midday about 2000 survivors were transferred to the British destroyers HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) and taken to Oran. It appeared as though the ship could be saved as the British rescue tug HMRT Restive (Lt. D.M. Richards, RNR) went alongside to assist the pumping, but at 13.15 hours oil came in contact with the hot boilers and the fumes exploded, sending flames up through the funnel. The ship was soon ablaze amidships so the master ordered the ship to be abandoned. All men went aboard the tug except a skeleton crew and were then transferred to HMS Laforey because HMS Restive continued to tow the burning ship slowly towards Oran for 14 hours, but she capsized to port and sank 12 miles off Oran in position 36°01'N, 00°33'W at about 04.00 hours on 22 December.

The Strathallan had 440 crew members, 26 gunners, 248 Queen Alexandra nurses and 4408 British and American troops (among them 296 officers, some possibly of the Headquarter staff of the 1st US Army) on board. Of this number, only 6 crew members and five troops were lost.

20 Jan 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Verity (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN) picks up 250 survivors from the Belgian merchant Jean Jadot that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-453 about 30 nautical miles west of Cape Ténès in position 36°33'N, 0°46'E.

You can help improve officers Richard Horncastle's page
Click here to Submit events/comments/updates for this officer.
Please use this if you spot mistakes or want to improve his page.

Allied Commanders main page