Ralph Kerr, RN

Born  16 Aug 1891Chelsea, London, England
Died  24 May 1941(49)HMS Hood

Ranks

15 Jan 1909 Mid.
30 Mar 1912 S.Lt.
28 Feb 1914 Lt.
28 Feb 1922 Lt.Cdr.
30 Jun 1927 Cdr.
30 Jun 1935 Capt.

Decorations

11 Jul 1940 CBE
14 Oct 1941 Mentioned in Despatches (MID) (posthumous)

Warship Commands listed for Ralph Kerr, RN


ShipRankTypeFromTo
HMS Broke (D 83)Capt.Destroyer31 Jul 193927 Sep 1939
HMS Hood (51)Capt.Battlecruiser15 Feb 194124 May 1941 (+)

Career information

We currently have no career / biographical information on this officer.

Events related to this officer

Battlecruiser HMS Hood (51)


18 Feb 1941
HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) is undocked. (1)

3 Mar 1941
HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) is docked in no.2 dock. (2)

14 Mar 1941
HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) is undocked. (2)

16 Mar 1941
HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) completed her refit at the Rosyth Dockyard. (2)

18 Mar 1941
After ammunitioning on completion of her refit, HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN), departed Rosyth around 1630 hours for Scapa Flow. She was escorted by the destroyer HMAS Nestor (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) and the escort destroyers HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN) and HMS Whaddon (Lt.Cdr. P.G. Merriman, RN). (2)

19 Mar 1941
The battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN) escorted by the destoyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Arrow (Cdr. R.E. Hyde-Smith, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. C.H.deB. Newby, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN), HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) and HMS Eskimo (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN) departed Scapa Flow at 0515/19. At 0630 hours they were joined at sea by the battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) which had departed Rosyth the previous afternoon. The destroyer HMAS Nestor (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) and the escort destroyers HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN) and HMS Whaddon (Lt.Cdr. P.G. Merriman, RN), which had been escorting HMS Hood then proceeded to Scapa Flow.

The ships then proceeded to the area to the south of Iceland where they were to join the battleship HMS Nelson and her escorting destroyers which is already patrolling there to intercept the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau if they were trying to return to Germany.

23 Mar 1941
Battleship HMS Nelson (Capt. G.J.A. Miles, RN, flying the flag of A/Adm. J.C. Tovey, KCB, DSO, RN) and her escorting destroyers; HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN), HMS Boadicea (A/Cdr. E.C.L. Turner, RN) and HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow around 0030 hours.

Battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN), battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN) and their escorting destoyers; HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. C.H.deB. Newby, RN), HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) and HMS Eskimo (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow around 0700 hours.

Destroyers HMS Arrow (Cdr. R.E. Hyde-Smith, RN) and HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN), which had been detached by the Hood force, first had to proceed to Lough Foyle to refuel, after which they departed that place for Scapa Flow arriving around 1145 and 1900 hours, respectively.

4 Apr 1941
HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN), which was en-route to Scapa Flow from patrol, made rendez-vous with the the destroyers HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN), HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) and HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) which were to escort her to Scapa Flow where they arrived around 0815/6. (3)

6 Apr 1941
As the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau are thought to have left Brest the battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) departed Scapa Flow to proceed to position 54°00'N, 15°30'W (west of Ireland) in which she was to arrive around dawn on the 8th. She was being escorted by the destoyers HMS Arrow (Cdr. R.E. Hyde-Smith, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. H.T. Armstrong, RN) and HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, RN).

HMS Arrow was detached to refuel at Londonderry at 2340/8. After fuelling she departed Londonderry around 1415/10 to rejoin which she did at 0730/12.

HMS Maori and HMS Zulu was detached to refuel at Londonderry at 2000/10. After fuelling they departed Londonderry around 0845/12 to rejoin which they did around 0845/13.

Around 0730/11, HMS Hood wase joined at sea at by the destroyer HMS Cossack (Capt. P.L. Vian, DSO and Bar, RN) which came from Londonderry.

HMS Hood escorted by HMS Cossack, HMS Maori and HMS Zulu returned to Scapa Flow around 2100/14. HMS Arrow arrived at 0630/15. She had been detached at 2045/13 as she had been unable to keep up. (3)

19 Apr 1941

Intelligence reported the German battleship Bismarck proceeding to sea, British movements to intercept.

In the early morning hours of 19 April 1941 the Admiralty received reports that the German battleship Bismarck was reported to have passed the Skaw together with two cruisers and three destroyers.

The battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) with the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMS Cossack (Capt. P.L. Vian, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. H.T. Armstrong, RN) and HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, RN) were already at sea (departed Scapa Flow around 1700/18) proceeding southwards to relieve HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN) and HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN) on the Bay of Biscay patrol. They were now ordered to proceed northwards to provide cover for the cruiser patrol in the Island-Faroes passage. HMS King George V and HMS Nigeria initially turned north but soon returned to their patrol area off the Bay of Biscay. Their escorting destroyers, HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN), HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN), HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) had been detached to fuel at Londonderry on the morning of the 15th. They returned from fuelling on the morning of the 20th.

For these cruiser patrols the following ships were sailed.
From Iceland (Hvalfjord); heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.J.L. Phillips, RN), light cruisers HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN) and HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN).
From Scapa Flow; heavy cruisers HMS Suffolk (Capt. R.M. Ellis, RN), HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN), light cruiser HMS Edinburgh (Capt. C.M. Blackman, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. C.H.deB. Newby, RN), HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, RN).

HMS Inglefield joined the force of HMS Hood around 1045/20.

The battleship HMS Rodney (Capt. F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN) sailed from the Clyde escorted by ORP Piorun (Cdr. E.J.S. Plawski), ORP Garland (Lt.Cdr. K.F. Namiesniowski) and HMS Saladin (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Dover, RN).

The reported German movements turned out to be false and all British forces were back in port by the early morning of 23 April 1941 at latest. (4)

21 Apr 1941
HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Cossack (Capt. P.L. Vian, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. H.T. Armstrong, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, RN) and HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN) arrived at Hvalfjord, Iceland where they were to remain for the time being at two hours notice for sea. (3)

28 Apr 1941
The battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) departed Hvalfjord, Iceland around 2200 hours to provide cover for the convoys SC 29 and HX 122 during their mid-ocean passage from Canada to the U.K. HMS Hood was being escorted by the destroyers HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. C.H.deB. Newby, RN), HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN), HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN) and HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, RN). (3)

3 May 1941
HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) and her escorting destroyers; HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. C.H.deB. Newby, RN), HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN), HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN) and HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, RN) are ordered to proceed to Scapa Flow but before doing so they put into Reykjavik to fuel (HMS Echo fuelled at Hvalfjord).

4 May 1941
HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN), HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN) and HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, RN) departed Reykjavik, Iceland around 1800 hours for Scapa Flow. They were joined at sea by HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. C.H.deB. Newby, RN).

6 May 1941
Around 1300 hours, the battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. C.H.deB. Newby, RN), HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN), HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN) and HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow.

24 May 1941
HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) rescued the only three survivors from the British battlecruiser HMS Hood, which was sunk by the German battleship Bismarck, off Iceland.

Sources

  1. ADM 53/114435
  2. ADM 53/114436
  3. ADM 53/114437
  4. ADM 199/396

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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