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Site Author




Gerald Francis Hawkins


Christian Names

Service Number



Hawkins Gerald Francis D/JX 34874 AB HMS Kite



Enlisted at



Date of Death

Where killed

Cause of Death

21/08/1944 Mid way between Greenland and Norway Killed in action




Plymouth Naval Memorial Panel 86, Column 2 England

Next of Kin

Next of kin address


Joseph Frank and Sarah Ellen Hawkins   Chippenham


Son of Joseph Frank and Sarah Ellen Hawkins, of Chippenham, Wiltshire.

At 20.45 hours on 20 Aug, 1944, the British destroyer HMS Keppel got a contact on her starboard quarter, while escorting the convoy JW-59 in position 7301'N, 0357'E - Grid AB 5456. Together with HMS Kite (U 87) and a Swordfish aircraft from the British escort carrier HMS Vindex the U-boat was attacked with hedgehogs and depth charges. They hunted the U-boat throughout the night with their foxers (Anti Gnat devices) streamed, but the hunt was fruitless.

At 06.40 hours on 21 August, HMS Kite (Lt.Cdr. Andrew Neil Gillespie Campbell, RN) had slowed down to 6 knots to clear her foxers, which had become twisted around one another. At this vulnerable moment, U-344 fired a spread of three FAT torpedoes at the sloop, misidentified as Dido-class light cruiser by Pietsch. The ship was struck by two torpedoes on the starboard side and heeled over to that side immediately. The stern broke off, floated for a few seconds, then sank in position 7301'N, 0357'E. The bow remained afloat for a minute and then sank at a steep angle. At 07.30 hours, HMS Keppel stopped to pick up survivors, while the British sloops HMS Peacock and HMS Mermaid screened the rescue operation. Only 14 of the about 60 survivors in the water could be rescued from the ice cold water, five of them died on board and were later buried at sea.


Last updated - 14/01/2011



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