Son of Albert and Elsie Laura Smith; husband of Patricia Ruth Smith, of Chippenham, Wiltshire.
Built as French Le Rhin for Compagnie de Navigation Paquet, Marseilles.
In June 1940 taken over by Britain, converted to the special service
vessel (SSV) HMS Fidelity (D 57) and commissioned on 24 Sep, 1940. The
ship was armed with four 4in guns and four torpedo tubes and equipped with
two seaplanes, a motor torpedo boat (MTB), HF/DF and torpedo nets.
At 21.38 hours on 29 Dec, 1942, U-225 (Leimkühler) missed the HMS Fidelity
(D 57), which was straggling from convoy ONS-154 station #54. U-615 (Kapitzky)
missed the same ship with five torpedoes between 22.00 and 23.00 hours on
the same day.
At 16.38 hours on 30 December, the vessel was finally hit by two torpedoes
from U-435 and sank immediately. The landing crafts HMS LCV-752 and HMS
LCV-754 on board were lost with the ship.
The HMS Fidelity (D 57) had a crew of 284 men and transported 51 Royal
Marines for Indochina. The day before, she picked up 44 survivors from the
Empire Shackleton, which had been sunk the day before by U-225 (Leimkühler),
U-123 (Schroeter) and U-435.
The MTB with eight men floated free from the fast sinking ship and were
picked up by the HMCS Woodstock (K 238). They were the only survivors
apart from two men that had been picked up by the HMCS St Laurent (H 83)
after a seaplane of the vessel crashed on take off.